I'm not so sure I agree with the prevailing idea that San Diego is short on theater space, because I've never seen any hard evidence (except in Encinitas) that reflects patron support potential for new construction. But the city's theater community is certainly shy on affordability among what venues exist—and that's where La Jolla Playhouse has just stepped in amid a minor stroke of genius. Its new Resident Theatre Program furnishes rent-free space, tech support and marketing advice to one company a year (chosen by application and based on the group's artistic vision and trajectory). The first lucky stiff is Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company, which will assume residency Aug. 18 through Sept. 21, 2008, and May 12 through June 14, 2009. It will open in August at the Playhouse's 99-seat Studio Theatre with Night Sky, centering on aphasia, or the injury-related inability to produce or comprehend language. Some companies actually prefer a gypsified approach to their art, but for those who don't, this program is a serious shot in the arm. Think what might get accomplished if our other major players followed suit. Yikes.Opening
Beethoven, As I Knew Him: The life of the great composer is recounted by a friend who accompanied him during his final two years. Opens in previews May 3 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org. $57-$62.
Corpus Christi: Here's a look at what Jesus' life might have been like if he were gay and growing up in 1950s Texas. Opens in previews May 1 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights. 619-220-0097 or www.diversionary.org. $20-$33, $45 opening night, May 3.
Holy Ghosts: The circumstances and the stories of members of the Southern Pentecostal Sect culminate in a snake-handling scene. Produced by Sullivan Players, the show opens May 3 at Swedenborg Hall, 1531 Tyler Ave. in University Heights. 858-274-1731. $12-$15.
* A Little Night Music: A lawyer and his trophy wife experience a series of events that reflect the pain and pleasure of romantic love. Through May 11 at Cygnet Theatre's Old Town Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St. in Old Town. 619-337-1525 or www.cygnettheatre.com. $24-$35.
Funny Bones: Four writers examine death in four short plays and from four very different perspectives. Through May 11 at 6th@Penn Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest. 619-688-9210 or www.6thatpenn.com. $12-$15.
* Hysterical Blindness: Three working-class women try to build relationships and find meaning in their lives within the cultural boundaries of 1980s Bayonne, N.J. Produced by Backyard Productions, the show runs through May 11 at Cygnet Theatre's Rolando venue, 6663 El Cajon Blvd. in the College Area. 619-995-2225 or www.sdbackyardproductions.com. $15-$25.
Mornings at Seven: Two houses with adjoining backyards set the scene for a tale about hope, love, lost dreams and family. Through May 11 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-B Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. 858-481-1055 or www.northcoastrep.org. $31-$35.
* Prelude to a Kiss: An uninvited guest at Rita and Peter's wedding congratulates the bride with a kiss, fueling a journey of hidden longings. Through May 18 at New Village Arts, 2787-B State St. in Carlsbad. 760-433-3245 or www.newvillagearts.org. $22-$26. See our review on this page.
The Glass Menagerie: The Wingfield family implodes amid its despair while daughter Laura handled matters by retreating into her collection of little glass animals. Through May 11 at The Old Globe Theatre's Cassius Carter Centre Stage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org. $47-$54.
* The Voysey Inheritance: A London family calls its values into question when a financier discovers that his father's been speculating with client money. Through May 18 at Lamb's Players Theatre's Paul & Ione Harter Stage, 1142 Orange Ave. in Coronado. 619-437-0600 or www.lambsplayers.org. $25.50-$54.
* 33 Variations: A musicologist travels to Bonn for a closer look at Beethoven's Diabelli variations and learns to embrace the legacy of her own life. Through May 4 at La Jolla Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Theater, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla. 858-550-1010 or www.lajollaplayhouse.org. $29-$45.
Chalk it Up to Murder: HIT Productions features a cavalcade of new clues for a terrible crime. Fireside Steakhouse, 439 W. Washington Blvd. in Escondido. 619-561-8673. $16-$29.50.
Joey & Maria's Comedy Italian Wedding: The fortunes and foibles at the heart of an Italian wedding are laid on the table. Holiday Inn on the Bay, 1355 N. Harbor Drive. 800-944-5639. $49.50.
Where There's a Will... There's a Wake: Gangland figure Sonny Shoehorn is heir to the family fortune unless his siblings have their way. Presented by Mystery Café Dinner Theater at Imperial House Restaurant, 505 Kalmia St. in Bankers Hill. 619-544-1600. $54.50-$59.50.