San Diego summer theater preview

    Staff Writer

    This summer, the San Diego theater scene is hotter than ever. Improv troupes, independent theaters and smaller regional theaters are doing great work every day of the week all over the county. Pick your theme – love, hate, lust, sex, violence, laughs, destruction, revelation, elevation, temptation – it’s all on stage somewhere, just take your pick:

    Classic Comedy: “”Private Lives”” – Lamb’s Players Theater,

    Hardly a “”small theater,”” the Lamb’s Players Theatre, which seats over 300 people, brings yet another classic comedy to life. The theatre that showcased “”Detective Story”” last fall now brings us “”Private Lives”” – Noel Coward’s hilarious look at passion, impatience, self-centeredness, mockery, impulsiveness, abandonment and other fascinating elements of modern love. Those of you fortunate enough to see UCSD’s undergraduate production of “”Stage Door”” caught a glimpse of the caustic wit of Noel Coward with his performances of the humorous songs.

    “”Private Lives”” runs Aug. 15 through Sept. 21 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre, which is located at 1142 Orange Ave. in Coronado. Tickets range from $20 to $40.

    Timeless/Timely Drama: “”The Children of Heracles”” by Euripides – 6th@Penn Theatre, “”Medea, Queen of Colchester”” – Sledgehammer Theatre

    Originally, Greek dramas were played outside in arenas that held upwards of 20,000 patrons. Luckily, times have changed, and we have the opportunity to see the same Greek tragedy, but without the amphitheatre. The 6th@Penn, just beside Balboa Park, is proud to present “”The Children of Heracles.”” With death, destruction and superb acting, Euripides’ “”The Children of Heracles”” illustrates the brutality of which the Athenians were often guilty. In addition, “”The Children of Heracles”” is about war and vengeance, tyranny in contrast with democracy, and the heroism of a young girl.

    “”The Children of Heracles”” runs July 19 through Aug. 24. For tickets and show times call (619) 688-9210. Admission is $20 general and $17 for seniors and students. You can also find more information at http://www.6thatpenn.com.

    On the flip side of Greek tragedy is “”Medea, Queen of Colchester,”” set for its world premiere at the Sledgehammer Theatre. Taking its title from the classic Sophocles play, “”Medea, Queen of Colchester”” is about a Cape Town transvestite expelled from her homeland for betraying her family for the love of a man who is the hottest thing on the Las Vegas strip. Medea is driven to avenge his betrayal the only way a “”woman”” knows how. Written by Marianne McDonald of the UCSD Theatre and Dance faculty, this tragedy looks to be quite a show. This Sledgehammer production was written by Marianne McDonald and directed by Kirsten Brandt (a UCSD alumnus) and David Tierney.

    “”Medea”” runs Aug. 21 through Oct. 12 at the Sledgehammer Theatre and is playing on a rotating schedule with “”Phaedra in Delirium.””

    Amazing Improv: San Diego Theatresports, the National Comedy Theatre

    The City of San Diego is blessed with not one, but two stellar comedic improvisation troupes. San Diego Theatresports, located in Hillcrest, has weekly performances suitable for all audiences in the comfy confines of the Swedenborgian Theatre. There you will see a variety of styles and stances games such as “”Chameleon”” and “”School Yard Insults,”” which challenge the wit and style of two opposing teams of improvisers. Also on the improv scene is the National Comedy Theatre. The NCT boasts a wider range of ages among their players, including the occasional UCSD student, and four performances a weekend. They also sport a monthly midnight show, which is reserved for those who want to see their theater go… naughty.

    TheatreSports (http://www.improvise.net) performs every Friday at 8 p.m. at the Swedenborgian Theatre, located at 1531 Tyler St. in Hillcrest. Call (619) 465-SHOW or e-mail [email protected] for tickets. The NCT (http://www.nationalcomedy.com) is located at 3717 India Street. Performances are every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Both troupes host classes and are always on the search for volunteers and future company members. Tickets are only $10 for students.

    Musicals that rock: “”Falsetto”” – The Diversionary Theatre, “”Beehive”” – The Theatre in Old Town

    The Diversionary Theatre has a long-standing reputation for doing some of the best small theater work in San Diego. Currently, the one-cat musical “”Falsetto”” is the project earning great reviews of the primarily gay and lesbian themed theater company. William Finn’s musical is a dazzling and touching story that relates the loves and life of a “”typical family””: a son, his mother, his divorced father, his father’s gay lover and the family psychiatrist who makes house calls and marries the mom. When the dysfunctional family butts heads with the disco phenomenon, laughs are followed by sincere revelation.

    “”Falsetto”” is playing at the Diversionary Theatre, located at 4545 Park Blvd in University Heights. For information and tickets call (619) 220-0097, or visit http://www.diversionary.org.

    “”Beehive”” is San Diego’s smash-hit ’60s musical revue now in its 2nd year at the Theatre in Old Town. “”Beehive”” celebrates the sights, sounds and spirit of the 1960s through the era’s legendary women of rock’n’roll, including everyone from the Supremes, Connie Francis and Lesley Gore to Janis Joplin, Dusty Springfield, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin. Night after night, the six-member all-female cast has audiences jumping to their feet for their renditions of the decade’s biggest hits. Filled with tons of nostalgia, glorious music and a feel-good ending, “”Beehive”” is great for audiences of all ages.

    Tickets are going fast for “”Beehive.”” Call (619) 688-2494 or visit http://www.theatreinoldtown.com for tickets and information.

    Comedy or drama – musical of improvised, it’s all here on San Diego’s stages.

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