Aside from death and taxes, it seems that change is the only sure thing these days. And nowhere is that more apparent than in this month's theatre offerings. Here is a run down of what's opening this January in sunny (yes, sunny!) San Diego:
North Coast Repertory kicks things off on January 7 by reviving a classic play from their first season: William Goldman’s The Lion in Winter. The play is a family drama of sorts, focusing on the problems King Henry II of England has reigning in his power hungry sons (who all want to be king) and his spiteful wife (who he imprisoned for helping one of his sons take the throne). Despite its focus on historically famous royalty, it is supposedly a very accessible play with real, relatable characters who speak a language that is both witty and poetic. And to top it off, North Coast Rep has assembled a dream cast to bring this medieval tale to modern life, a cast which includes Old Globe Associate Artist Kandis Chappell, TV actor Mark Pinter, and local favorite Kyle Sorrell. [The Drama King will review “The Lion in Winter" on 1/7/2012.]
Cast of "A Hammer, A Bell, and A Song to Sing." Photo by Daren Scott.
Next up is San Diego REP's production of A Hammer, A Bell, and A Song to Sing, which has been getting lots of press as of late. As we all know by now, this original musical was written by the REP’s associate artistic director Todd Salovey about the inspiring life and songs of Pete Seeger. Since Seeger pulled out of the project a few weeks before the show’s opening, Salovey (who is also directing) and his cast of three (Jim Mooney, Dave Crossland, and Vaughn Armstrong, who were supposed to represent Seeger at three different stages of his life) are now scrambling to rewrite and refocus the musical. The show must go on…and it will. The word on the street is that the show will now focus on music as a means of bringing people together, featuring songs that are about change and the betterment of society. While press are invited to see the show, it is being billed strictly as a “workshop production” and no reviews are allowed. [The Drama King will attend “A Hammer, A Bell, and A Song to Sing” on 1/15/2012 but will not review]
Speaking of last minute changes, ion Theatre was supposed to stage a world premiere play this January called Goodrock, written by the company’s co-artistic director Claudio Raygoza. However, the show is now being replaced by a short run of the one-woman show Request Programme starring powerhouse performer Linda Libby. Request Programme will open Jan 17 at the BLKBox@6th&Penn.
And the season for change continues, as Diversionary Theatre has also altered its current lineup of LGBT-oriented shows. Their 2012 season now includes two limited engagement cabaret productions. First is “The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode” which runs January 12-22 and the second is a one (wo)man show called “Beth Malone, So Far.” It features versatile performer Beth Malone, who is described on the show ads as: “Part dude. Part Lady. Full-time lesbian.” It runs for only three performances, from January 27-29.
Meanwhile, the folks over at Scripps Ranch Theatre are mounting Brooklyn Boy at the intimate Legler-Benbough Theatre on the campus of Alliant International University. The play (which opens January 21) is written by Donald Margulies and is a witty, emotionally rich tale of a novelist who hits a professional high, just as his personal life begins to fall apart. [The Drama King will review “Brooklyn Boy” on 1/21/2012]
And up in North County, Moonlight Stage kick starts its winter season at the AVO Playhouse with a production of Agatha Christie’s whodunit, The Mousetrap. The show is directed by Jason Heil and features Jonathan Sachs, Jessica John, and Phil Johnson. [The Drama King will review “The Mousetrap” on 1/20/2012]
In Carlsbad, New Village Arts is premiering two new plays as part of its New Play Festival. "L.A. (Lost Apollonia)," is written by Rob Novak and runs Jan 13-15, while "M," is written by Karen Li and runs Jan 20-22.
And over at the Welk Theatre in Escondido, they will be teaching us all How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starting on Jan 19. This classic (if a bit dated) musical about J Pierrepont Finch’s meteoric rise from mail room to executive at the World Wide Wicket Company is being directed and choreographed by Ray Limon and stars local SD favorite Scott Dreier as Bud Frump and Allen Everman as Finch. [The Drama King will review “How to Succeed” on 1/28/2012]
Over in Old Town, Cygnet starts its year off with the Southern California premiere of Martin McDonagh's hilarious black comedy, A Behanding in Spokane. Guest director Lisa Berger’s cast features Jeffrey Jones and Mike Sears, along with Cygnet debuts of Kelly Iversen and Vimel. [The Drama King will review “A Behanding in Spokane” on 1/29/2012]
And, finally, if felines are more your fancy, then the tour of CATS will be taking up residence at the San Diego Civic Theatre (under the auspices of Broadway San Diego) starting January 10.
Happy 2012 and happy theatre-going, everyone!