My first CityBeat theater piece, a preview on Cygnet Theatre Company's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, ran in July 2003. I'd interviewed Cygnet artistic director Sean Murray on a day when the company's first venue, in the College Area, barely had a roof on it.
Anybody who follows local theater knows how far Cygnet's come since then—it's staged some colossal shows at its Old Town Theatre, and you can count its current Little Shop of Horrors (in which a hapless twit makes a Faustian bargain with a human-eating plant) among them. For particulars, see cygnettheatre.com.
Just as Cygnet has gone full circle, so have I—because this is my final piece as CityBeat's theater editor, a position I've held since 2006.
It's pointless to go on about how unspeakably rewarding my time here has been; I'd rather talk for a second about how local theater somehow maintains its presence with virtually no public-sector fiscal support. That's extraordinary in today's horrid business climate, and it shows that local audiences are stable enough to seek out quality fare on their own. More work on self-promotion (which it desperately needs), and San Diego's theater community will grow beyond everybody's expectation.
I write about stuff like that for Words Are Not Enough, my theater website, which publishes Thursdays at wordsarenotenough.info and which you've been following in surprisingly strong numbers for my first year, which ended July 21. I got 26,000 page views from readers in 45 states and seven countries during that time—that's more than enough to persuade me that I'm moving in the right direction. Live theater doesn't have the audience numbers that film or music does, but those who follow it are manic in their devotion, and Words seems to serve the need.
Meanwhile, I hope to occasionally contribute here with the blessing of Dave Rolland, CityBeat's total big man and the gentle bearer of bad news the other morning. Dave, with whom I've worked for 11 years in two cities, is absolutely the finest editor it's been my pleasure to serve in a career that spans nearly four decades. I wish him, associate editor Kelly Davis, art-and-culture maven Kinsee Morlan and the rest of the CityBeat family every good thing, and I thank all of you profusely for your enjoyment of Words Are Not Enough and all your bouquets (and, yes, brickbats) that fuel my stature as the greatest living theater critic in the history of the universe.
God bless, and see you at a play!
The Love Suicides at Amijima: Two star-crossed lovers conspire to take their own lives amid the futility of their relationship. Produced by DangerHouse Productions, it opens Aug.
13 at Liberty Hall Theatre in National City. $10-$13. dangerhouse13.com
Mary Poppins: The Banks children set out on a series of adventures with their magical nanny. Produced by Broadway/San Diego, it opens Aug. 10 at the Civic Theatre, Downtown. $20 and up. broadwaysd.com
Moon over Buffalo: Buffalo rep actors George and Charlotte Hay open a can of worms over which is better, the stage or the cinema. Through Aug. 13 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. $8-$16. onstageplayhouse.org
Five-Course Love: Three actors play 15 characters that frequent a series of eateries in search of true romance. Through Aug. 14 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $40-$50. northcoastrep.org
The Who's Tommy: A deaf, dumb and blind kid plays a mean pinball and becomes the leader of a messianic cult. Produced by San Diego Repertory Theatre, it runs through Aug. 14 at The Lyceum, Downtown. $42-$57. sdrep.org
Wonder of the World: After discovering a shocking secret about her husband, Cass makes a mad dash for the life she thinks she missed out on. Through Aug. 21 at PowPAC in Poway. $13-$15. powpac.org
The Sound of Music: Music fuels the von Trapp family's unshakable bond as they flee Austria before the outbreak of World War II. Through Aug. 27 at Kit Carson Park Amphitheatre in Escondido. $10-$19. patioplayhouse.com
Ah, Wilderness!: Young would-be poet Richard Miller is in the throes of first love and is sure he loves Muriel McComber with a passion and depth that no one has experienced before. Through Aug. 28 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. $22-$38. newvillagearts.org
Sleeping Beauty Wakes: When a young woman visits a sleep disorder clinic, the staff and patients start sharing her dreams. Through Aug. 28 at the Mandel Weiss Theatre in La Jolla. $47 and up. lajollaplayhouse.org
Engaging Shaw: Charlotte Payne-Townsend sets to romancing the iconic playwright George Bernard Shaw—a job more complicated than any of his scripts. Through Sept. 4 at The Old Globe Theatre's Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
Little Shop of Horrors: Seymour makes a Faustian bargain with a mean, green, man-eating plant to provide fresh meat in exchange for money, fame and the love of his life. Produced by Cygnet Theatre Company, it runs through Sept. 11 at The Old Town Theatre. $34-$59. cygnettheatre.org
Amadeus: Composer Antonio Salieri throws up a series of roadblocks to sidetrack the career of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, his supposed archrival. Through Sept. 22 at The Old Globe Theatre's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
Much Ado about Nothing: While Beatrice and Benedick hide their infatuation beneath witty barbs, young love blossoms as Hero and Claudio race to the altar, with the wicked Don John conspiring to break up the wedding.
Through Sept. 24 at The Old Globe Theatre's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
The Tempest: With the help of his spirit friend Ariel, the magician Prospero conjures up a shipwreck that restores his daughter to her rightful place in the Milan hierarchy. Through Sept. 25 at The Old Globe Theatre's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
miXtape: Generation X was torn between disillusionment and hope in this cavalcade of music from the 1980s. Produced by Lamb's Players Theatre, it runs through Nov. 6 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown. $28-$58. lambsplayers.org
Shotgun Wedding Anniversary: How else can a miserable 25-year marriage end but in murder? Presented by Mystery Cafe, it's ongoing at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. $59.50, including dinner. mysterycafe.net