Photo by Daren Scott
John DeCarlo and Joshua Jones in Perfect Arrangement
It feels strange to call a play about a subject as serious as the government-imposed witch-hunting of gays and lesbians “delightful.” But so much about Intrepid Theatre Company’s production of Topher Payne’s Perfect Arrangement is delightful: the cheery model-home set by Sean Yael-Cox; the tailored period clothes by Jeanne Reith; and a whip-smart, bantering cast.
The first act of the play is about two gay couples in 1950 who pretend, in the face of the aforementioned witch hunt, to be married off to each other is full-on madcap—plenty of slamming doors, disbelieving gasps and wide-eyed guffaws. After intermission, though, Payne’s pretenders (here portrayed by John DeCarlo, Joshua Jones, Laura Bohlin, and Jennifer Paredes) run headlong into reality. They’re forced to reconcile their “perfect arrangement” with their true sexual identities, their rightful outrage over the McCarthy-esque climate stifling them, and their heartfelt admissions about who they love most. The consequences of all that heavy weather becomes impassioned speeches from one and all while much of the madcapping persists. It’s a shaky equation that doesn’t completely add up in the storytelling.
Perfect Arrangement runs through March 12 at the Horton Grand Theatre, downtown. $29-$58; intrepidtheatre.org
The musical 9 to 5, based on the 1980 film starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton, is a fun little romp at the Spreckels Theatre downtown featuring an especially notable performance by Joy Yandell in the Tomlin role of the ill-used and defiant Violet Newstead. But what really jumps out early in this San Diego Musical Theatre production is the first appearance of repugnant boss Franklin Hart (David S. Humphrey, holding nothing back) during the smarmy number “Here for You.” Sexist beyond belief, Hart sounds like he belonged on that infamous “Access Hollywood” bus with Trump and Billy Bush. With that shameful episode part of recent campaign history, it’s hard to laugh at 9 to 5’s resident objectifier, vilified though he is. That aside, Yandell, Allison Spratt-Pearce and Karyn Overstreet are a trio to root for, and 9 to 5’s showtunes bear Dolly Parton’s singular mixture of wit, sass and sentiment.
9 to 5: The Musical runs through Feb. 26 at the Spreckels Theatre, downtown. $32-$72; sdmt.org
The Blameless: Nick Gandiello’s drama was developed during the 2016 New Voices Festival and tells the story of the Garcia family, who are struggling to recover from a traumatizing event. It opens Feb. 23 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
Sex With Strangers: Two very different writers are unexpectedly trapped in a cabin and end up having a one-night stand only to find their literary careers intertwining later. Written by Laura Eason and presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre, it opens Feb. 23 at the Lyceum Space in Downtown. sdrep.org
Shadowlands: William Nicholson’s drama tells the true story of a late-in-life romance between C.S. Lewis and American poet Joy Davidman. Directed by Kerry Meads, it opens Feb. 28 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
The Taming of the Shrew(d): In the dystopian future, a band of female warriors perform the work of Shakespeare as a cautionary tale on society’s follies. Presented by UC San Diego Theatre and Dance, it opens in previews Feb. 28 at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre in La Jolla. theatre.ucsd.edu
Good People: A struggling woman in south Boston hopes her life will get better when she meets up with an old flame in David Lindsay-Abaire’s drama. Presented by Scripps Ranch Theatre, it runs through Feb. 26 at the Legler Benbough Theatre in Scripps Ranch.
Eurydice: Sarah Ruhl’s dramatic retelling of the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Presented by the Oceanside Theatre Company, it runs through Feb. 26 at the Brooks Theatre in Oceanside. oceansidetheatre.org
An Iliad: In a clever take on Homer’s classic, a single narrator recounts humankind’s long history of conflict and violence. Written by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, it runs through Feb. 26 at the New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org
Mothers and Sons: The San Diego premiere of Terrence McNally’s drama about a mother who visits her late son’s partner only to discover that he’s now a married father. It runs through Feb. 26 at POWPAC Community Theatre in Poway. powpac.org
To Kill a Mockingbird: This staged adaptation of Harper Lee’s iconic novel tells the story of Atticus Finch and racial injustice in the deep South. Adapted by Christopher Sergel and presented by the Pickwick Players, it runs through Feb. 26 at Off Broadway Live in Santee. pickwickplayers.net
The Matsuya Mirror: Velina Hasu Houston’s adaptation of a Japanese folktale about a little girl who copes with her mother’s death by escaping into the fantasy world of a magic mirror. Directed by Peter Cirino, it runs through Feb. 26 at the SDSU Experimental Theatre in the College Area. ttf.sdsu.edu
9 to 5: Based on the classic Dolly Parton movie, this musical tells the tale of three co-workers standing up to their egotistical and sexist male boss. Presented by San Diego Musical Theatre, it runs through Feb. 26 at the Spreckels Theatre in the Gaslamp. sdmt.org
Streamers: The third in David Rabe’s Vietnam War trilogy, this play centers on a group of very different soldiers who are preparing to ship off to the conflict. Directed by Kim Rubinstein, it runs through March 4 at the Mandell Weiss Forum at UCSD in La Jolla. theatre.ucsd.edu
Beau Jest: A Jewish girl convinces her parents that she fell in love with a Jewish doctor, but then has to hire a male escort to play the part. Written by James Sherman, it runs through Mar. 12 at the Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
Freaky Friday: The musical comedy based on the Disney movie about a mother and daughter who swap bodies for a day. Directed by Christopher Ashley, it runs through March 12 at the La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
Perfect Arrangement: Two employees are tasked with identifying sexual deviants in the ‘50s U.S. State Department during the Red Scare. Problem is that they’re both gay. It runs through March 12 at the Horton Grand Theatre in the Gaslamp. intrepidtheatre.org
Picasso at the Lapin Agile: Set inside a bar in 1904 Paris, this comedy features Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso discussing art, science and everything in between with the locals. Written by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin), it runs through March 12 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
Urinetown: After a 20-year drought, the government bans all private toilets and, as expected, the shit hits the fan in this Tony-winning satire. Directed by Jennie Gray Connard, it runs through March 12 at the O.B. Playhouse in Ocean Beach. obtheatrecompany.com
2.5 Minute Ride: Lisa Kron dramatic solo show about her relationship with her father, a Holocaust survivor. It runs through March 19 at the Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. diversionary.org
The Illusion: Tony Kushner’s fantastical play about a 17th Century father seeking news of his son, who is studying under a famous sorcerer. Directed by David Ellenstein, it runs through March 19 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
Well: The pioneering Broadway comedy about a terminally ill mom who attempt to heal a racially divided community. Directed by Kym Pappas, it runs through March 19 at the Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. diversionary.org