What’s Going On: Entertainment, Short and Sweet

by Eileen Sondak January 30, 2012


By Eileen Sondak

February is the shortest month of the year, but thanks to the local arts community, it’s not short on entertainment. The eclectic mix includes music, opera, theater, dance and a cornucopia of museum exhibitions and hands-on activities. The return of the Jewish Film Festival, a recital by Itzhak Perlman and a theatrically rich opera based on “Moby-Dick” are among the highlights of the busy February slate.

The San Diego Opera’s tantalizing production of “Salome” will complete its run Feb. 5. If you can still snare a seat for this blood-thirsty and eerily erotic opera, don’t miss it. The world premiere co-production of the literary masterpiece “Moby-Dick” will follow “Salome” at the Civic Theatre Feb. 18-26, with Ben Heppner as Ahab and Morgan Smith as Starbuck.

“Moby-Dick” has already been performed to standing ovations, and the opera seems destined to carve a strong niche in the operatic world, thanks to its highly theatrical effects and achingly beautiful score. Maestro Karen Keltner will preside over the pit, and Robert Brill designed the stunning nautical sets for this emotionally charged tale of obsession.

The Old Globe’s production of Horton Foote’s “Dividing the Estate” will complete its stay in San Diego Feb. 19. This black comedy about family, money and greed takes place in present day Texas, when a family reunites to consider whether to divide their estate. Michael Wilson directed this West Coast premiere.

“The Recommendation” plays on at the Globe’s White Theatre through Feb. 26. The story revolves around a chance encounter with an accused felon that puts the longtime friendship of two college roommates at risk. This world premiere was written by Jonathan Caren and directed by Jonathan Munby.

The San Diego Symphony has a very special offering set for Feb. 18. Itzhak Perlman will be on stage for one thrilling recital. Music aficionados will want to catch this performance by the world-famous violin virtuoso. The Symphony’s Chamber Music Series will bring Johannes Moser and Orion Weiss together to perform “Dvorak and More” Feb. 28. They will perform (with members of the orchestra) a program that features Dvorak’s Piano Trio No. 4 (Dumky).

Valentine’s Day weekend will bring Maestro Marvin Hamlisch to the podium at Symphony Hall for “A Valentine’s Romance with Broadway’s Best” (Feb. 10-11). Jennifer Holliday and Hugh Panaro will sing your favorite Valentine’s Day songs.

Moscow Festival Ballet will bring its romantic ballets to Symphony Hall as well. “Sleeping Beauty” will be danced Feb. 14, followed Feb. 15 by “Swan Lake.” If you like the power and spectacle of ancient Japanese drumming, “Tao —  Taiko Drummers of Japan” is coming this way with its throbbing percussions Feb. 17.

Orchestra Nova will deliver “Favorite Opera Moments” at Jacobs Qualcomm (Feb. 11) and Sherwood Auditorium (Feb. 13).

North Coast Repertory Theatre will unveil “Visiting Mister Green” Feb. 15. Starring Robert Grossman, this bittersweet play about family loneliness and friendship is laced with humor and has already snared numerous awards throughout the world. The company will showcase this highly acclaimed play until March 11.

San Diego Repertory Theatre will present “In the Wake,” a politically charged tale set in the early years of the 21st century. Penned by the award-winning playwright Lisa Kron, the play will open Feb. 11, under the direction of Delicia Turner Sonnenberg. You can see “In the Wake,” with its opinionated characters and clever dialogue, through March 4 at the Rep’s Lyceum Space.

Cygnet Theatre’s “A Behanding in Spokane” remains on the boards in the troupe’s Old Town Theatre through Feb. 19. This play, directed by Lisa Berger, takes audiences on a hilarious roller coaster ride of emotions. But it also comes with a warning for violence and strong language.

The Lamb’s Players Theatre will revive an American classic Feb. 3. The musical comedy gem “Guys and Dolls” will dominate the Lamb’s Coronado home until March 18.

“Mix-Tape,” the Lamb’s long-running musical, is keeping its ‘80s-style music alive at the Horton Grand Theatre through Feb. 26.

The La Jolla Playhouse will continue to fascinate audiences at the Potiker Theatre with “American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose” (a Culture Clash production) through Feb. 26. The Playhouse is revving up another “Without Walls” production for Feb. 23. “The Car Plays: San Diego,” conceived by Paul Stein, is a site-specific theatrical work that features a series of 10-minute plays. Each mini-work takes place in a different car. You can see this unique show through March 4.

Welk Resort Theatre’s production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” is entertaining audiences through Feb. 26. The clever musical comedy is preceded by a lavish buffet. Tuesdays are ventriloquist days, with Kevin Johnson performing. Wednesdays at the Welk bring “Illusions with Anthony Hernandez” and Saturdays promise Abbey Road’s “Ultimate Tribute to the Beatles.”

Moonlight’s winter series at the Avo Playhouse in Vista continues with a production of Agatha Christie’s ever-popular mystery, “The Mousetrap.” The thriller will end its run Feb. 5, but following soon on its heels is “Little Women — The Musical.” This musical version of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel will be ensconced at the Avo Feb. 15-March 11.

The La Jolla Music Society will present Jonathan Biss on Feb. 17 as part of its Frieman Family Piano Series. The one-night event is slated for Sherwood Auditorium. Meantime, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be performing at Symphony Hall, compliments of the Music Society, Sunday afternoon, Feb. 17. Takacs Quartet is next on the docket. The chamber music ensemble will appear at Sherwood Auditorium Feb. 25. The Discovery Series will bring the First Prize in Piano at the International Tchaikovsky Competition to the Neurosciences Institute Feb. 26 to complete an exciting month for the La Jolla Music Society.

San Diego Junior Theatre will celebrate the New Year with a first — the first three-production repertory in its history. The three shows will be performed between Jan. 6-22. “The Complete History of America” (abridged), “Harold and the Purple Crayon” and “School House Rock” will share the stage at the troupe’s Casa del Prado home in Balboa Park. All three shows in this rotating repertory are family-friendly, but “History of America” is aimed at kids 8 and older.

The 22nd annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival will feature a cornucopia of must-see flicks Feb. 9-19 at five venues, including the Lawrence Family JCC in La Jolla. The offerings are as varied as “Jews in Toons” (featuring Jewish-themed episodes of “The Simpsons,” “South Park” and “Family Guy”); “When Israel Went Out” and “The Kissinger Saga.”


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