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Theatre Talk from the Beatles to van Gogh


Last updated 12/16/2021 at 8:28am

A Hard Day's Night, a tribute band to the fab-four, can be heard at The Welk Resort in Escondido through Dec. 18. Village News/Gilbert Bonilla photo

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

There are very few things that can be identified with a single word. Only a few come to mind like Coke, Facebook, Disney, Pepsi, Microsoft. But, with billions of people in the world, still, just a few are recognized by their one-word name: Gandhi, Elvis, Cher, Frank, Madonna, or Ringo.

Oddly enough, it is the latter's name, the least revered of the celebrated quartet whose name identifies The Beatles immediately, more so than the three guitar playing disciples known as John, Paul, and George.

The Welk Resort in Escondido has been hosting A Hard Day's Night, a tribute band to the fab-four on Wednesday nights. The final Wednesday show is on the 18th of December. It's rock'n'roll at its best.

The Beatles music is better now than I remember when it was introduced Feb. 9, 1964, on The Ed Sullivan Show.

During the introduction, Mr. Sullivan mentions the telegram they received from none other than Elvis Presley and his agent, Colonel Parker. Both wished them good luck on their American television premier. Classy, huh?

Fifty-eight years later, we were the same audience. It was obvious by the excitement in our eyes. The only difference was our hair color.

As a group, we were dignified. We hooted, clapped, stomped and whistled while keeping all of our personal items off the stage.

A Hard Day's Night tribute band celebrates the best of The Beatles' music. Get your tickets by calling The Welk Resort at (760) 749-3182 or visit Located at 8660 Lawrence Welk Drive in their intimate theater. The performance is designed for our age group starting promptly at 7 p.m. Rated 9.5 out of 10.

Around town the holiday spirit is in full swing. Catch "Always...Patsy Cline," a nostalgic listen from Nashville at North Coast Repertory in Solana Beach. Dec. 8 – Jan. 2, 2022. For tickets, call (619) 544-1000 or visit

Moonlight Stage is going inside to the AVO Playhouse for "Miracle on 34th Street: A Musical Radio Play" tickets are on sale now for this show and continues through Dec. 23, or 760-724-2110.

Closer to home, you can catch the same show by Curtain Call Company performed at Christ the King Church on Stage Coach Lane. Remaining performances for "Miracle on 34th Street: A Musical Radio Play" are Dec. 10,17, 18 at either 2 or 7:30 p.m. Call Director Mary Fry for tickets or visit You'll save time and gas.

The Old Globe in Balboa Park is still running Dr. Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" until Dec. 31. For tickets visit or call 619-234-5623.

At The Cygnet in Old Town, you can catch Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" until Dec. 26. Call (619) 337-1525 or visit

The Golden State Ballet Company is performing "The Nutcracker" from Dec. 16-23 at the Civic Theatre downtown. For tickets, call 888-684-3582.

City Ballet of San Diego will perform "The Nutcracker" at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido for two nights only, Dec. 22 and 2, call 858-272-8663.

Broadway San Diego has two upcoming events: Dec. 27 is "A Magical Cirque Christmas" and Dec. 30 is "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas." The season opens officially in March 2022. For more information, call 800-982-2787 or email [email protected]

Meanwhile, at New Village Arts theatre in Carlsbad, "1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas" is continuing until Dec. 26 at 2787 State Street, Oceanside. Call 760-433-3245 for tickets.

La Jolla Playhouse is running "to the yellow house" until Dec. 12. Written by Kimber Lee about Vincent van Gogh's years in Paris before being sent to a sanitarium where he committed suicide.

The first thing that bothered me was the actor who portrayed van Gogh didn't look a thing like him. Paco Tolson did not physically resemble him in the slightest. He wasn't lanky or sandy haired. It was as though he went to the Paul Giamatti school of acting. Which, to me was just dandy. Clearly a talented artist but since the only thing we know about van Gogh is his appearance – it put me off.

While playwright Lee is a prize-winner, this show seems more about talky, talky, talky than van Gogh's work. One would have hoped to understand more about him as a late blooming artist than his personal habits. Maybe it's just me. Nah, it is the script.

I liked the projection design more than anything else with the exception of Tolson, simply because I like Giamatti's delivery. But in no way did he conjure Vincent van Gogh's image.

Since I knew nothing about his brother Theo (Frankie J. Alvarez), I thought he did a good job. None of the other actors fell off the stage and seemed to know their lines; but, the lines didn't go anywhere, so what was the point?

"to the yellow house" with Theo (Frankie J. Alvarez) and Vincent (Paco Tolson) discussing their upcoming show. Village News/ Rich Soublet II photo

And the music wasn't special either – it needs reworking. Maybe they should just pay some royalties to get music we all know, say "Starry, Starry Night" for instance?

A world premiere, this show is far from ready for Broadway. Take a scissor and cut a lot of the chatty going-no-where dialogue. Were it not for a few witty remarks, it would be a real snooze.

This looooong show started 20 minutes late (for me that is a minus one rating point). I do not care why it started late. Airplanes and theatres are to take off on time. Period.

Should you wish to try this show, take the Gilman exit off La Jolla Village Drive to the Osler Parking Structure on Osler Parkway. A shuttle is available or take the .3 mile hike up the hill. Which happened to be, for me, one of the nicest parts of the afternoon. For tickets, call 858-550-1010 or email [email protected] This show is rated 6 out of 10.

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at [email protected]


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