Combine the talents of Rick Elice, who co-wrote the blockbuster Jersey Boys and the much-heralded Peter and the Starcatcher, and composer / lyricist Michael Patrick Walker (Altar Boyz), and you have the makings of a hit musical. Well, The Old Globe Theatre has the makings of a hit musical in Elice and Walker's new work, Dog and Pony, now running on the intimate Sheryl and Harvey White stage.
But it's really the rom-com story of screenwriting partners Mags (Nicole Parker) and Andy (Jon Patrick Walker) that propels this consistently hilarious show. With all due respect to Michael Patrick Walker, his songs don't add much to the proceedings. Dog and Pony, directed by Roger Rees and sent soaring by supporting turns by Heidi Blickenstaff, Beth Leaval and Eric William Morris, would zing even without music. Mags' and Andy's airline-seating improvisation, for one, and Mags' puppy-transporting car trip, for another, are howling good fun. Parker is the real deal, a striking physical comedian who makes the most out of every inch of the little theater in the round. The complicated relationship between Mags and Andy is neither predictable nor coy, and you wish them well even when you suspect all will not be in the end.
Dog and Pony runs through June 29 $35 and up. oldglobe.org
The complexity and sophistication of theater are its divergent shades of light and darkness. The latter is the prevailing atmosphere for Laura Jacqmin's Milvotchkee, Visconsin at Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company's 10th Avenue Theatre, Downtown.
The exquisite Linda Libby stars as an outdoor museum docent named Molly "with a hole in her head," meaning that she's rapidly descending into dementia. What keeps Milvotchkee from being a total one-act bummer is not only Libby's bravura (and brave) performance; it's also the smartly staged representations (in both props and from a taut supporting cast featuring Greg Watanabe) of Molly's lifelong memories, even as they slip away from her. Rather than watching Molly's mind and life erode pitiably, we see how she did live and what there was to cherish. Of course, that makes the loss of it all the harder to take—for Molly and for the audience.
Milvotchkee, Visconsin runs through June 29. $16-$22. moolelo.net
The Dixie Swim Club: A stage reading of a play about five Southern women who reconnect periodically over time, from college through middle age and beyond, at a beach retreat. It happens twice—on June 17 and June 20 at The La Jolla Community Center. ljcommunitycenter.org/?p=2334
Journey of the Skeletons: An angel brings some friends to Earth to check out a family altar, but not before having to traverse a scary underworld. Presented by Teatro Máscara Mágica, it opens June 11 at La Jolla Playhouse's Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre. teatromascaramagica.org
Monty Python's Spamalot: The legend of King Arthur is absolutely hilarious in the stage adaptation of the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. "Run Away!" Opens June 11 at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista. moonlightstage.com
Sleeping Beauty or the Famous Rose Taboo: A familyfriendly version of the Sleeping Beauty story with a modern twist. Opens June 12 at the Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
Chasing the Song : A young, female songwriter hits the male-dominated American pop-music scene in the early 1960s just as the British Invasion is starting to change everything. Through June 15 at La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
Re-designing Women : The West Coast premiere of a play that spoofs the 1980s sitcom Designing Women. Through June 15 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. diversionary.org
Faded Glory : A world-premiere comedy based on a real-life Congress member and Civil War general who nearly lost the war for the Union forces. Through June 22 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
The Motherf HH ker with the Hat : A former drug dealer fresh out of prison is back with his addict girlfriend and desperate to know whom the man's hat in her apartment belongs to. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs through June 22 at Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike : A successful actress returns home to Pennsylvania, where her siblings have spent much of their adult lives caring for their now-deceased parents, and she's brought her dumb, much younger boyfriend with her. Through June 22 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
13 Rue de l'Amour : This French farce takes on infidelity in the late 19th century. Through June 29 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
Dog and Pony : In this world-premiere musical comedy, things get complicated for a team of screenwriters when one gets a divorce and the other realizes she wants something more than a professional partnership. Through June 29 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
Milvotchkee, Visconsin : Billed as "a comedy about a tragedy," it's about a woman who works as a park docent in Wisconsin and is suffering from dementia. Presented by Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company, it runs through June 29 at the 10th Avenue Arts Center in East Village. moolelo.net
The Miss Firecracker Contest : A 24-year-old Mississippi woman seeks to shed her reputation for promiscuity by entering and , hopefully, winning the titular competition. Through June 29 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org
The Sunshine Boys : CBS asks a retired Vaudeville duo—who split after a year's worth of not speaking to each other off the stage—to reunite for a TV special. Through June 29 at Scripps Ranch Theatre. scrippsranchtheatre.org
Twelfth Night : In Shakespeare's romantic comedy, much love is professed and identities are mistaken after a shipwreck on the Adriatic coast. Through June 29 at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
Walter Cronkite is Dead : Two women who are polar opposites are forced into one another's company during a long delay at an airport. Yep, they end up learning a lot about each other. Through June 29 at the Broadway Theatre in Vista. broadwayvista.com
My Son the Waiter, a Jewish Tragedy! : A one-man show written and performed by Brad Zimmerman, who went to New York to try to make it as an actor and then waited tables for nearly 30 years. Through July 6 at the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza, Downtown.
Crime Pays : A radio game show with dastardly overtones, served up with dinner, is presented by Mystery Cafe at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. mysterycafe.net