The Tempest is probably the final play William Shakespeare wrote by himself. If that's true, then he saved the best for last. His magician hero Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, whips up a shipwreck and hoodwinks some stinkwads into restoring his daughter to her rightful place in the Milan hierarchy—but the message of reconciliation is often Bill's stock in trade, and he wrote his heart out here in what some critics think was meant as his farewell to the stage.
The thing that makes this play so great is that Prospero behaves like a rational human being in the face of it all, saddled with a set of supernatural powers he's reluctant to use and perhaps never really wanted—and the thing that makes this Old Globe Theatre Summer Shakespeare Festival entry so spectacular is actor Miles Anderson's exemplary interpretation of the role. He's a force of nature as a world-weary soul at odds with his otherworldly side, bravely taming the latter in the interest of justice and daughter Miranda's happiness.
Director Adrian Noble seizes on Anderson's consistency amid a variety of characters that play to Prospero's lesser and better angels—the loopy, beautiful Miranda (Winslow Corbett), her dutiful fiancé Ferdinand (Kevin Alan Daniels), the envious King Alonso (Donald Carrier), the poisonous slave Caliban (Jonno Roberts), Prospero's cloying brother Antonio (Anthony Cochrane) and his eager spirit-servant Ariel (Ben Diskant). The tech work is agreeably subdued for the most part, likely in deference to Prospero's preference for peaceful solutions.
At the end, Prospero renounces his powers, trusting that the real world and the supernatural are interchangeable. This splendid piece will assure audiences that they always were.
The show runs through Sept. 25 at The Old Globe Theatre's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
Amadeus: Composer Antonio Salieri throws up a series of roadblocks to sidetrack the career of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, his supposed archrival. Now in previews, it opens June 24 at The Old Globe Theatre's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
The Break-Up / Break-Down: Ten local actors and a puppet talk about their experiences, pleasant and otherwise, with love and sex and puppets. Produced by Circle Circle Dot Dot, it opens in previews June 24 at The Tenth Avenue Theatre, Downtown. $15-$20. circle2dot2.com
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. Now in previews, it opens June 29 at The Old Globe Theatre's Lowell Davies Festival Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
Rounding Third: Coaches Don and Michael have very different views on their Little League team—Donald wants the kids to win, while Michael wants them to enjoy the game. Produced by Scripps Ranch Theatre, it runs through June 25 at the Legler- Benbough Theatre in Scripps Ranch. $10-$22. scrippsranchtheatre.org
Swingtime Canteen: This show looks at the films and personalities that defined the American consciousness during World War II. Through June 25 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. $10-$20. onstageplay house.org
Humble Boy: Felix Humble confronts his mental and emotional deficiencies as he tries to fulfill his familial and professional responsibilities. Through June 26 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. $7-$15. patioplayhouse.com
Life Cycles: Topics like generational friction, internet dating, psychoanalysis, friendship, marriage, divorce and grief are under review here. Through June 26 at Poway Performing Arts Center. $12-$15. powpac.org
My Name Is Asher Lev: A young Hasidic Jewish artist is torn between following his heart and following his faith. Through June 26 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $37. northcoastrep.org
Swimming in the Shallows: Barb learns that Thai monks own only eight things—and she wonders if that's all she wants, even as her husband lavishes her with new clothes. Produced by InnerMission Productions, it runs through June 26 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. $15-$20. innermissionproductions.org For full listings, please visit “On Stage” at sdcitybeat.com.
Ten Cent Night: Country music star Hewitt Finley just put a bullet in his brain—now it's up to his family to soldier on. Produced by MOXIE Theatre, it runs through June 26 at The Rolando Theatre in the College Area. $22-$40. moxietheatre.com
Forever Plaid: Four wannabe singers killed in a car crash get one last chance to fulfill their dream on Earth. Through July 2 at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista. $27-$50. moonlightstage.com
Death of a Salesman: Willy Loman is smiling on the outside, but his emotional bankruptcy is killing his career and dividing his family. Through July 3 at New Village Arts Theatre, 2787 State St. in Carlsbad. $20-$40. newvillagearts.org
Our Town: George Gibbs and Emily Webb's everyday lives reveal humanity's deeper aspects in early 20th-century New England. Produced by Cygnet Theatre Company, it runs through July 10 at The Old Town Theatre. $34-$49. cygnettheatre.com
The Music Man: Conman Harold Hill comes to River City with a scam involving a boys marching band, but things don't go according to plan. Produced by Lamb's Players Theatre, it runs through July 24 at the Ione and Paul Harter Stage in Coronado. $22-$58. lambsplayers.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 Sept. 4 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. mysterycaafe.net