Photo by Jim Cox
Josh Stamberg and Jenna Fischer in Meteor Shower
Two married couples get together, with booze, and the outrageous happens. No, this isn’t Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? It’s Meteor Shower, Steve Martin’s 20-years-in-the-making comedy, a co-production between the Old Globe and Long Wharf Theatre. Actually, the booze isn’t that integral to Martin’s play, in which swaggering Gerald (Josh Stamberg) and sexpot Laura (Alexandra Henrikson) come to the Ojai home of Norm (Greg Germann) and Corky (Jenna Fischer) ostensibly to watch a display of falling meteors. Martin’s aim here is to have fun with the psychobabble and sexual anxiety of the marriages of the privileged, along with many of the same tropes skewered in his ’91 film L.A. Story. Like that movie, Meteor Shower also lapses into fantasy, though more graphically.
Meteor Shower is chock-full of deserving laughs, and the gifted foursome on stage is deft with physicality, significant looks and well-timed lines, even when some of the latter seem incongruous. For all their talent, the play they’re in constantly tries to out-clever itself and is frankly a case of the parts being greater than the whole.
Meteor Shower runs through Sept. 18 at the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. $49 and up. oldglobe.org
For its West Coast premiere of Lisa D’Amour’s Airline Highway, ion theatre has forsaken its blackbox space in Hillcrest for the roomier confines of the Tenth Avenue Arts Center downtown. A wise decision considering that during the play’s wild Act 2 party scene as many as 17 actors crowd the stage.
D’Amour’s earthy tale of the downand-out residents of the Hummingbird Hotel along New Orleans’ titular Airline Highway, and how they hold a Mardi Gras-style “living funeral” for their beloved matriarch (an ex burlesque queen), is not just a slice of underbelly life. It’s a turbulent dissection of losers and survivors. The Hummingbird’s denizens are real-seeming people with frailties and demons. Claudio Raygoza skillfully directs the debauchery, the devotion and the naked drama that unfold, sometimes all at once, on the behind-the-hotel set. With the exception of a teenage outsider who D’Amour’s script has tell us what it all means, Airline Highway is destination theater.
Airline Highway runs through Sept. 3 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center, downtown. $14-$32. iontheatre.com
American Rhythm: A singing-and-dancing show that highlights over a century’s worth of popular American music. Directed by Kerry Meads, it opens Aug. 17 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
Titanic: The Musical: This Tony Award-winning musical has nothing to do with the movie, but (spoiler alert) the “unsinkable” ship still sinks. It opens Aug. 17 at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista. moonlightstage.com
Gutenberg! The Musical!: Two best buds have written a musical about the inventor of the printing press, but must perform all 30 roles by themselves in order to get financing from a producer. Presented by Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company, it opens in previews Aug. 18 at the Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. diversionary.org
Cabaret: Tensions and octaves run high in this classic musical about a ’20s Berlin nightclub that serves as a sanctuary from the political upheaval going on outside its doors. Presented by Roundabout Theatre Company and featuring the Broadway cast, it opens Aug. 23 at the San Diego Civic Theatre in the Gaslamp. broadwaysd.com
Last Train to Nibroc : Arlene Hutton’s moving play about two strangers who meet on a train in the ‘40s and whose lives clash and coalesce in the subsequent years. Presented by Different Stages, it runs through Aug. 20 at the La Jolla Commons Theatre. differentstages.biz
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] : This fast-paced performance will feature three actors performing 37 Bard plays in 97 minutes. Presented by Luminary Arts, it runs through Aug. 21 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. luminaryarts.org
The Last Five Years : This two-person musical play about a tumultuous relationship is told backwards with the actors also doubling as musicians. Written by Jason Robert Brown, it runs through Aug. 21 at ion’s BLKBOX Theatre in Hillcrest.
Junk: The Golden Age of Debt : This world-premiere dramedy from Pulitzer Prize winning author Ayad Akhtar centers on a brash genius who sets out to change the world of finance in ‘80s America. It runs through Aug. 21 at the La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast : The musical production based on the movie about a grumpy hairball and the belle who loves him. Presented by Patio Playhouse, it runs through Aug. 27 at the Kit Carson Park Amphitheatre in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
Avenue Q : A musical comedy about a recent college grad who moves to NYC and is surrounded by foul-mouthed puppets. Presented by the OB Theatre Company, it runs through Aug. 28 at the OB Playhouse in Ocean Beach. obtheatrecompany.com
Airline Highway : A sorted collection of miscreants gather at a seedy New Orleans motel for the funeral of a friend who hasn’t died yet. Hijinks ensue. Written by Pulitzer finalist Lisa D’Amour, it runs through Sept. 3 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center in Downtown. iontheatre.com
Gypsy : Stephen Sondheim’s lavish musical about an overbearing stage mother’s attempts to make her daughters into stars of the stage. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs through Sept. 4 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
Meteor Shower : In this world premiere comedy, sparks fly when two couples get together to watch a backyard meteor shower. Written by Steve Martin, it runs through Sept. 11 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
Love Labor’s Lost : Shakespeare’s comedy about a young king who becomes distracted from his studies when three French girls show up. Directed by Kathleen Marshall, it runs through Sept. 18 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
Oklahoma! : Two cowboys fight for the women they love in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical. Directed by Teddy Eck, it runs through Sept. 25 at the New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad.