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Theatre Talk through September

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

Mythical. Magical. "Annabella in July" reignites forgotten love.

Richard Strand's new work opened the 41st season at North Coast Repertory Saturday, Sept. 10.

Lost in the ordinariness of the past 20 years of marriage, Nebraska couple Vanessa (Jacquelyn Ritz) and Brian (Louis Lotorto) drive to Northern California to acknowledge their anniversary. She is a librarian; he is a tile setter and amateur nature photographer. It seems Brian spends more time behind his camera than engaging with Vanessa; that is until the handsome Alexander (Bruce Turk) shamelessly woos her.

It is the strength of this trio's interaction that carries the night. Brilliantly directed by David Ellenstein, Strand's quirky tale is brought to life.

Camelia (Leilani Smith) and Piper (Catalina Zelles) round out the cast.

Award winning set designer Marty Burnett captured the mystique of the High Sierras by reimagining the famed restaurant at the end of the gondola ride atop Heavenly Valley. Working closely with prop designer Cindy Rumley, it is their combined vision that transforms a trivial space into a marvelous visualization.

The costumes by Renetta Lloyd and Peter Herman's hair designs were beautifully lit by Matt Novotny. The sound and artful projection is cleverly imagined by Aaron Rumley to complete the vision. Kudos to dialect coach Kris Danford and stage manager Heather Bennett for their superb contribution.

A must see. "Annabella in July" by Richard Strand plays until Oct. 2 in the cozy theatre at 955 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach just 40 minutes down the road. For tickets, call 858-481-1055 or visit Rated 9 out of 10.

Also playing in San Diego is "Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)" opening on Sept. 8 running through Sept. 25 at the Mandell Weiss Forum at La Jolla Playhouse. For tickets, call 858-550-1010 or visit

Further down the road The Cygnet Theatre in Old Town San Diego continues with "Cabaret" until Oct. 2. For tickets, call 619-337-1525 or visit

"The Little Shop of Horrors" will open at San Diego Musical Theatre September 30 for one month. For tickets, go to or call 858-560-5740.

The Scripps Ranch Theatre officially opens "The Outsider" on the 16th. For tickets, call 858-395-0573 or go to The theatre is located at 9783 Avenue of Nations.

"Ain't Misbehavin'" is taking the stage in Escondido at the California Center for the Arts, with intermittent performances. Call 800-988-4243 or visit

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


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