I must admit that I went into San Diego Musical Theatre's Dreamgirls without much expectation beyond reason—after all, the group is relatively untested, and Dreamgirls, a six-time Tony winner from 1982, is an extremely ambitious piece. I was wrong. This Ron Kellum-directed entry, loosely based on The Supremes' rise to stardom, is as tight and as earnest as it gets. Tonex raises the roof as James Thunder Early, a James Brown send-up, and Stacey Francis is perfect as Effie White, who comes of age in the rough-and-tumble world of show business. The piece, awash in some of the best vocals you'll find, runs through Sept. 28 at The Lyceum, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown. $32-$50. 858-560-5740 or www.sdmt.org.
Dying City: A year after her husband's death in Iraq, Kelly confronts his identical twin brother, who arrives at her apartment unannounced. Opens in previews Sept. 18 at Cygnet Theatre's Rolando venue, 6663 El Cajon Blvd. in the College Area. $22-$48. 619-337-1525 or www.cygnettheatre.com.
The Drowsy Chaperone: A die-hard musical theater fan plays his favorite cast album, only to find that the show has come to life in his living room. Produced by Broadway / San Diego, the show opens in previews Sept. 23 at the Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. $15.50-$71.50. 619-564-3000 or www.broadwaysd.com.
The Light in the Piazza: A secret two women carry may prevent young love from blossoming, and both will soon make a series of life-changing discoveries. Produced by Lamb's Players Theatre, the show opens in previews Sept. 19 at the Ione and Paul Harter Stage, 1142 Orange Ave. in Coronado. $20-$56. 619-437-0600 or www.lambsplayers.org.
The Women: Mary Haines' society girlfriends know a secret about her husband—and between the beauty parlors, the department stores, the hours in psychoanalysis and the dinner parties, something's sure to slip. Now in previews, it opens Sept. 21 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $44-$56. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org.
All's Well That Ends Well: Helena jumps through a bunch of hoops to land her man, and she finds that this marriage thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. Through Sept. 27 at The Old Globe's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $56-$64. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org.
* Fat Pig: Even Tom is surprised he's fallen in love with a woman twice his size. Co-produced by Inner Mission Productions, the show runs through Oct. 4 at OnStage Playhouse, 291 Third Ave. in Chula Vista. $13-$15. 619-422-7787 or www.onstageplayhouse.org.
Hairdresser on Fire: Lawrence meets Allan, and everything is great—until Lawrence is forced to choose between his art, his friends and his love. Through Oct. 8 at Compass Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest. 619-688-9210 or www.compasstheatre.com.
* Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris: This is a cabaret show of songs that gained the Belgium-born composer a huge cult following in the U.S. Opens in previews Sept. 10 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-B Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. $30-$42. 858-481-1055 or www.northcoastrep.org.
* Memphis: A demented rock DJ named Huey is spinning the music of black and white America for the first time—only it's the 1950s, and his defiance will get him more than he bargained for. Through Sept. 28 at La Jolla Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla. $46-$62.
* No Exit: Three strangers mercilessly exploit each other's fears and weaknesses in a windowless room. Opens in previews Sept. 11 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights. $29-$33, $45 opening night, Sept. 13. 619-220-0097 or www.diversionary.org.
Romeo and Juliet: Two crazy kids from Italy fall in love, only to die amid a pointless family feud. Through Sept. 26 at The Old Globe's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $56-$64. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org.
* The Good Body: Playwright Eve Ensler went around the world to interview women about their body images; this is the result. Produced by The San Diego Repertory Theater, it opens Sept. 12 at The Lyceum, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown. $34-$39. 619-544-1000 or www.sdrep.org.
The Merry Wives of Windsor: John Falstaff uses his celebrity to hit on two married women. Through Sept. 28 at The Old Globe's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $56-$64. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org.
Troilus and Cressida: It's bad enough that the noble warrior Hector has to die; he's taking Troilus and Cressida's love down with him. Through Oct. 5 at Compass Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest. $20-$23. 619-688-9210 or www.compasstheatre.com.