Photo by Ken Jacques
Shaina Knox and Lance Arthur Smith in My Fair Lady
Why has Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady been staged locally three times in the last two and a half years? Surely it can’t simply be “a little bit of luck,” as one of the classic musical’s memorable songs goes. Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista (summer of 2014), Cygnet Theatre in Old Town (spring of 2015) and now Welk Resorts Theatre in Escondido have all staged the classic musical. Why? Because it’s as close to perfect as a Broadway show can be even 60 years after it debuted with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews on the Great White Way. Beside its indelible tunes (among them “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” and “On the Street Where You Live”), it delivers witty dialogue, romantic shadings and two timeless characters in Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle.
The Welk’s production capitalizes on all of these built-in assets, even if its stage and its four-piece “orchestra” only adequately accommodate the sweep of this show. Lance Arthur Smith is a more likable than the usual Higgins, which is fine, and Shaina Knox, though her Cockney accent wavers at the outset, beautifully renders Eliza’s signature numbers. The formidable Randall Hickman tends to shout-sing his Alfie Doolittle showstoppers (“With a Little Bit of Luck” and “Get Me to the Church on Time”), but like My Fair Lady in general, he can’t really go wrong.
My Fair Lady runs through April 2 at Welk Resorts Theatre in Escondido. $51-$72. welktheatersandiego.com
Bess Wohl’s one-act American Hero, about three struggling workers in a foredoomed sandwich shop, is a hilarious surprise. If patrons haven’t been to the OB Playhouse (4944 Newport Ave.) before, this is certainly a great reason to check it out. Audiences will get wrapped up in the individual stories of these three hapless “sandwich artists,” especially Lydia Lea Real’s Jamie, whose scripted F-bombs can probably be heard by the Pac Shores barflies across the street. Michael Shantz’s insecure Ted is an ideal foil for fiery Jamie, while Claudette Santiago’s little Sheri is the unlikely brains of the trio. This theater space, just a few steps from the bygone Strand, is like Ocean Beach itself: relaxed and unpretentious.
American Hero runs through Jan. 21 at OB Playhouse. $22; obplayhouse.com.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses: Better known as Dangerous Liaisons, this play revolves around a couple of scheming socialites who make a bet that one can seduce a married woman. Presented by New Fortune Theatre Co., it opens Jan. 10 at the Lyceum Space in the Gaslamp. newfortunetheatre.com
Bad Jews: Three Jewish cousins feud over a family heirloom at their grandmother’s funeral in this comedy by Joshua Harmon. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it opens Jan. 12 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
Powers New Voices Festival: The fourth annual fest will feature readings of new plays from established and professional playwrights. It happens over three days from Jan. 13 through Jan. 15 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
The Wiz: The funky reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz with classic songs like “Ease on Down the Road” and “Brand New Day.” Presented by J Company Youth Theatre, it opens Jan. 13 at the Garfield Theatre in La Jolla. lfjcc.org
Waiting for Godot: Samuel Beckett’s classic play about two buddies waiting for a mysterious man that they hope will help them change their life for the better. Directed by Grant Gelvin, it runs through Jan. 29 at the Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
Play it Again, Sam: The Woody Allen comedy about a bookish and insecure fella who gets a little help with the ladies from an imagined Humphrey Bogart. Directed by Charley Miller, it runs through Feb. 4 at the OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.info
Marjorie Prime: The San Diego premiere of Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer-nominated play about a future where lifelike robots provide companionship to society’s loneliest. Directed by Matthew Wiener, it runs through Feb. 5 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach.
Beau Jest: A comical romp about a young woman who hires an actor in order to convince her parents that she’s engaged to a Jewish doctor. Written by James Sherman, it runs through Feb. 12 at Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org