Photo by Jim Cox
Philippe Bowgen (left) and Justin Long in Picasso at the Lapin Agile
The passing of 24 years has not taken the air out of Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile. It is just as light and benignly allusive today as it was when the play premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. It’s still cute, too. Très cute, as they say in Paris, is this imagined meeting between a young Pablo Picasso and a young Albert Einstein. Its fraternal humor is as comfortable as a seat at the Lapin Agile bar, exquisitely realized at the Old Globe Theatre on John Lee Beatty’s designed set.
The Globe’s relationship with Martin has been a fruitful one, including as it does the musical Bright Star, which went briefly to Broadway, and last year’s quirky Meteor Shower. Artistic director Barry Edelstein helms this production of Picasso and it’s a clear audience-pleaser. Justin Long’s Einstein is a bit more fun than Philippe Bowgen’s Picasso, and they’re both overly drawn characters, but they share with the entire cast (especially Hal Linden, in a memorable supporting role) keen comic timing. The discourse on art and science is not as deep as it aspires to be, but neither fans of the play nor those new to it are likely to quibble.
Picasso at the Lapin Agile runs through March 12 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. $29 and up; oldglobe.org
Moxie Theatre’s Blue Door is a disquieting yet engrossing drama about race, identity and conscience. In Tanya Barfield’s one-act play, African-American college professor Lewis (stentorian voiced Vimel Sephus) has been divorced by his white wife of 25 years in part because he declined to participate in 1995’s Million Man March on D.C. Wracked by inner torment and in the grip of insomnia, Lewis is visited, like impenetrable spirits from the past, by the black men in his ancestry who were beaten, imprisoned, even killed. Not to mention by the father who beat him. All of the specters are portrayed by Cortez L. Johnson, whose aching gospel-like singing intensifies both the anguish and the hope for salvation of those who suffered. The titular blue door is a portal to salvation. Sephus and Johnson are sensitively directed by Moxie’s Delicia Turner Sonnenberg on a stark bedroom set designed by Victoria Petrovich. This production was recently extended, and deservedly so, to March 5 at the Moxie Theatre in Rolando. $30; moxietheatre.com.
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 opens Feb. 17 at the Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
The Drowsy Chaperone: This classic musical comedy set in the ‘20s is actually a parody of musical comedies. Yeah, that’s pretty meta, but it won a bunch of Tonys. Presented by Ovation Theatre, it opens Feb. 17 at the Howard Brubeck Theatre in San Marcos. ovationtheatre.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 opens Feb. 17 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 opens Feb. 17 at the SDSU Experimental Theatre in the College Area. ttf.sdsu.edu
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 opens Feb. 21 at the Mandell Weiss Forum at UCSD in La Jolla. theatre.ucsd.edu
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 opens Feb. 22 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
Three Days of Rain: A staged reading of Richard Greenberg’s Pulitzer-nominated play about two siblings and their childhood friend who are reunited to settle their business partner parents’ estate. Presented by Intrepid Theatre Company, it happens Feb. 22 at the Encinitas Library. intrepidtheatre.org
Bad Jews: Three Jewish cousins feud over a family heirloom at their grandmother’s funeral in this comedy by Joshua Harmon. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs through Feb. 12 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
Beau Jest: A comical romp about a young woman who hires an actor in order to convince her parents that she’s engaged to a Jewish doctor. Written by James Sherman, it runs through Feb. 12 at Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
Altar Boyz: A musical parody about a fictional Christian boy band on the last night of their tour. Written by Kevin Del Aguila, it runs through Feb. 19 at the Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
On Golden Pond: The classic dramedy about a retired couple whose yearly sojourn to their summer home is upended by a visit from their daughter and her teenage son. It opens Feb. 2 at the Broadway Theatre in Vista. broadwayvista.biz
What the Butler Saw: A psychiatrist tries to seduce a receptionist and hilarity ensues in Joe Orton’s classic British farce. Directed by Keith Anderson, it runs through Feb. 19 at Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa. lamplighterslamesa.com
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
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
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
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