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By Elizabeth Youngman Westphal
Special to Village News 

The Play is the Thing

2018-2019 Theatrical Overview for San Diego


Last updated 5/31/2018 at 2:24pm

It is not too late to catch a good seat at one or many of San Diego’s diverse theatres. From reinterpreted Shakespeare to coming-out stories, tales told by raunchy puppets, or classical musicals, including several world premieres - the 2018 theatrical season in our area is hot! Grab your credit card and book your seats early or you could lose out. One of the most ambitious houses in the county might just be in Solana Beach headed up by David Ellenstein. As their artistic director for 16 years, in our telephone interview, he presented his overview for picking plays to produce and why. Explaining that North Coast Rep is a subscription house, it is important to keep the audience happy by presenting some standards interlaced with a few new works.

Under Ellenstein’s influence, North Coast Rep has been a union signatory for 15 years which he credits for building their solid base of patrons. Heading into their 37th season, North Coast Rep also provides year-around camps for kids producing four shows each year.

Passionate about his theatre, next season’s line up kicks off in September with “Blythe Spirit”, “Holmes & Watson”, “Moon Over Buffalo”, “Gabriel” (a new show), “All in the Timing”, “A Walk in the Woods” and wrapping up with “Another Roll of the Dice” about what happened after ”Guys & Dolls”. Closer to home is The Curtain Call Company which is preparing to cast “The Wizard of Oz” as a radio show. Needing four women and six men, casting is about to begin. For an audition appointment on April 6 call (760) 468-6302. In June the youth program kicks off with “Love Rides the Rails”. Speaking of youthful theatre, Cast Academy will wrap Grease today, the 29th. There might be seats if you call (760) 722-5538. Also, be sure to check out their training programs for kids 2 -18 by calling or emailing New Village Arts in Carlsbad offers an assorted line up. From highbrow to low. Currently playing through April 22 is “Men on Boats” (played – I am guessing, tongue in cheek) by a cast of 10 women. Followed by columnist Richard Lederer performing an homage to the The Bard’s 400th birthday for one night only April 23, trailed by the bawdy “Avenue Q”. For tickets or more information, call (760) 433-3245 or visit North Coast Rep is right at I-5 in Solana Beach at Lomas Sante Fe Drive. Coming up on April 11 is a delightful show called “How the Other Half Loves”, the thought provoking “The Father”, and the season closer is Sondheim’s silly “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Call (858) 481-1055 or visit LaJolla Playhouse is a smooth run down the I-5. Another reputable venue and always living up to its reputation, LJP never fails to impress. Established by the likes of Gregory Peck along with other of Hollywood’s elite in the late 1940’s, this year presenting new works like “The Squirrels”, “Queens”, “Seize the King” – a rework of Shakespeare’s “Richard III”, two new musicals and ending with “Diana” (after all what can happen to a 20-year-old girl that marries into the British monarch?) It will be another world premier! Call (858) 550-1010 or visit Further on down the road a bit off I-5 south in Old Town is The Cygnet Theatre. Right now they are playing “A Little Night Music” to happy crowds, which will be followed by “The Wind and the Breeze” opening in May. This too is a world premiere. Call (619) 337-1525 or visit As you continue downtown, to the Civic Theatre, it’s home to Broadway San Diego where all of the country’s best touring shows pop through. So far this year they have brought in “Hamilton”, “Dirty Dancing” and “Stomp” which by the way was spectacular! Coming next is “Love Never Dies”, (sequel to “The Phantom”) shadowed by “Les Misérables”, “School of Rock”, “The King and I”, and a one man show by Rob Lowe, before swinging into “On Your Feet” the Emilio and Gloria Estefan musical, culminating with “The Phantom” to wrap their season. Call (619) 570-1100, or visit

Literally around the corner from the Civic Theatre is San Diego Rep performing at the Lyceum Space. Playing until April 15 is “Beachtown”, followed by one of People Magazine’s sexist-man-alive winners, Nathan Gunn Flying Solo. Two shows follow yet the one that seems the most familiar is “A Doll's House, part 2” which is based on Henrik Ibsen’s classic play. Call (619) 544-1000 or visit If you make a quick right on 4th just down the street is the Horton Grand theatre the new home of San Diego Musical Theatre. In a just short few years, this dynamic husband and wife duo have created a thriving enriching theatre experience for San Diego patrons. Opening next month on April 27 is “South Pacific”, with “Hairspray”, then “Young Frankenstein” ending up with the rock and roll Tony Award winning show “Spring Awakening”. Call (858) 560-5740 or visit Just over the Coronado Bridge with a quick left turn on Orange Avenue you will pull up in front of the Lamb’s Players Playhouse. This group of thespians has never disappointed and is truly worth the effort to get there. Opening this season with “Camping with Henry and Tom” will be followed by the hilarious British farce “Noises Off” on April 6 then the season segues to “Once” the hit Irish movie now musical, “A Jewel in the Crown City” and finishes the year off with “Persuasion”, Jane Austen’s final masterpiece about her unforgettable heroine, Anne Elliot. Call (619) 437-6000 or visit

Wait, there is more! Lest we forget The Moonlight Theatre in Vista. Ho! It is not only commuter friendly it is also a great venue for the entire family to enjoy together time. In its glorious 38th season the opener is going to be “Mamma Mia”, trailed by “Disney’s Newsies”, the world premiere of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and winding up with the red hot crowd-pleaser, “Chicago”. Call (760) 724-2110 or visit

And still one wonders what more could there be. Not to be overlooked is The Roustabouts Theatre company probably one of the newest theatrical efforts in town. Right now they are showing “A Jewish Joke” at Moxie Theatre, followed by the gala performance for two nights, “Anyone Can Whistle” which is a little performed Sondheim musical. The big surprise is their last show, “Romeo, Romeo and Juliet” coming on June 14. Call (619) 728-7820 or email Of course, the grand dame of San Diego is still The Old Globe in Balboa Park. Erected in 1937 for a Shakespeare Festival, she has burned twice and like a griffin resurrected from the ashes with a $75 million-dollar facelift she may be considered the premiere complex for the arts in our area.

With 13 Tony Awards garnered by her New York bound productions, The Old Globe was impacted by a young actor named Craig Noel, who led the way to her present renowned reputation. Featuring a wide range of entertainment at the three stages “American Mariachi” will play until April 29. Next up will be another new show, “The Wanderers”, “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, “Native Gardens”, “The Tempest” alongside this summer’s “Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax”. Don’t miss “Barefoot in the Park” or “Much Ado About Nothing” which will wrap their season. Call (619) 234-5623 or email

It is my hope this directory will benefit you by having all of the contact numbers at your fingertips.

Requesting information from all nearby theatres, Broadway Vista opted out.

The writer can be reached at


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