At the end of every year you see the countdowns listing the best of 2013. So before you say your final "cheers" to 2013, here is what I think were the best shows (in no particular order) that I had the pleasure of seeing in San Diego this year!
The Old Globe Theatre
This production, put on to celebrate the plays 100th Anniversary, featured Robert Sean Leonard in the role of Professor Henry Higgins. With Charlotte Parry as his more than worth pupil, Eliza Doolittle, this classic play was as charming And full of wit as it was when it premiered. And no one in the audience will ever forget where it rains in the plains!
The Cygnet Theatre
Unlikely as it may seem, a show about assassins, which is set to music can be a pretty amazing piece of theatre. This season opener for the Cygnet brought all of the dark humor, musicality, and the pathetic pathos this piece deserves. With strong performances by Braxton Molinaro as Booth, Geno Carr as Charles Guiteau, and Melinda Gilb as Sarah Jane Moore, this show was one that was both humorous and poignant.
Broadway San Diego
This beautifully sung and visually stunning version of EVITA brings a more subtle title character played by Caroline Bowman, a fantastic everyman version of Che by Josh Young, and a distinctive period feel supported by great lights, sets, and choreography.
La Jolla Playhouse
This dark comedy about friendship, finding yourself, and drinking copious amounts of wine was a hilarious stage adaption of the movie of the same name and directed by Des McAnuff. This is a bit of a coming of age story as buddies Miles and Jack try to figure out their place in this world and who they want to spend it with, and more importantly, what wine to drink along the way.
"The Importance of Being Earnest"
The Cygnet Theatre
This social comedy that was described best as Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people” was brought to hilarious life by this ensemble. The pace of the show never lost its swift pace, the dialogue sparkled, and there was not a weak link in the cast.
"Venus in Fur"
San Diego Repertory Theatre
This play within a play explores the power of a director over an actor, and man versus woman in this S&M fantasy comedy. Jeffrey Meek and Caroline Kinsolving were fabulous adversaries as they circled each other with chemistry that leaps off the stage and brings the audience back straight into the middle of their whip smart battle of the sexes.
"Catch Me If You Can"
The Segerstrom Center
As fizzy as a glass of champagne, this bright and bubbly show told the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. who promised that his life “had more curves than a Playboy Bunny.” Created by much of the team that gave us the long-running Broadway hit “Hairspray” — including the songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and the director Jack O’Brien, this show has a similar happy feel and made you want to dance and cheer, even if you were cheering for a con man.
"In the Heights"
San Diego Repertory Theatre
This Latin/hip-hop inspired musical about a neighborhood where everyone is trying to achieve their version of the American Dream is as infectious and energetic as the music that flows through the show. Usnavi , played by the fantastic Jai Rodriguez, is the sweet dreamer that holds the neighborhood together. Supplemented in the cast by students from School for the Creative and Performing Arts, I loved seeing the diversity and talent on San Diego on stage!
"The Last Goodbye"
The Old Globe
This musical adaption of "Romeo and Juliet", this play brought a wonderfully goth/punk/emo edge to a play that is about two teenagers in love. Ahh, teenage love, is there anything more dramatic? Accompanied by music by the late Jeff Buckeley, and with choreography by 2013 Emmy Award-nominated choreographer Sonya Tayeh, this play was a very interesting take the story of woe that is of “this of Juliet and her Romeo”.
Best Theatre at the movies: "Much Ado about Nothing"– Joss Whedon edition
This movie takes all the mischief, merriment, and misunderstandings and brings into the modern, if black and white, modern times. With an all star cast of Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Sean Maher, and more this movie is a joy to watch and rewatch.
Best theatre online – "Hamlet" with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart
Shakespeare in the hands of these two, how could it be anything less than fascinating? Courtesy of the Great Performances Series on PBS (click here to watch it now) this is a wonderful adaption of the Bard’s most famous melancholy Prince and his treacherous Uncle.
What is on your best list from 2013?
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