By Eileen Sondak
Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, but there are still plenty of summer-only productions on tap, including the three outstanding shows that comprise the Old Globe’s Shakespeare Festival. September is also the time when some arts organizations, such as the North Coast Repertory Theatre, celebrate the start of a brand new season.
The North Coast Rep will launch its 31st season Sept. 5 with Carl Sternheim’s “The Underpants,” a roll-in-the-aisles farce adapted and reinvigorated by Steve Martin. This hilarious romp (originally unveiled in 1910) will enjoy its San Diego premiere at the NCR’s Solana Beach home through Sept. 30.
Jewish playwrights Sonja Linden and Adah Kay will give “Welcome to Ramallah” its San Diego premiere at Swedenborgh Hall Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 7-29. The play is a love story between a Palestinian man and a Jewish woman in the West Bank, and it holds a looking glass to the ongoing conflict in that volatile part of the world.
The La Jolla Playhouse’s West Coast premiere of “An Iliad” continues to enthrall audiences on the Mandell Weiss Forum Stage through Sept. 9. This riveting show is an adaptation of Homer’s epic tale about the 10-year siege of Troy, and the virtuosic performances by the two-man cast have earned rave reviews.
The Playhouse will take on David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, “Glengarry Glen Ross” Sept. 18. This powerful play deals with a group of cut-throat real estate salesmen and the extreme measures they resort to in order to succeed. “Glengarry Glen Ross” will be ensconced at the Potiker Theater through Oct. 21, and it should be on your list of must-see shows.
The Old Globe is showcasing a world premiere American musical, titled “Allegiance.” The show is about love and patriotism during the Japanese American internment during World War II. “Allegiance” is headed for the Shiley Stage Sept. 7, where it will remain until Oct. 21, offering insights into one family’s experience during this dark chapter in American history.
The Globe’s White Theatre closes its production of “God of Carnage” (a comedy of bad manners) Sept. 2. Following Sept. 29 is the San Diego premiere of “Good People.” The play (set to remain on stage through Oct. 28) takes place in South Boston and provides a funny and thoughtful look at the American dream.
The Globe’s Shakespeare Festival will continue to dominate the outdoor stage with three classic plays performed in rotating repertory through Sept. 30. “As You Like It,” one of the Bard’s most beloved comedies, alternates with “Richard III,” a portrait of one of the most diabolical villains in all of literature. The only non-Shakespeare play in this summer mix is “Inherit the Wind,” the taut drama that brings together two great lawyers in a no-holds-barred courtroom battle (loosely based on the real-life Scopes Monkey Trial).
The exciting cast members include Dana Green (Rosalind in “As You Like It” and Queen Elizabeth in “Richard III”), Jay Whittaker (title character in “Richard III” and Oliver in “As You Like It”). Robert Foxworth and Adrian Sparks play the dueling lawyers in “Inherit the Wind,” and you can also see them both in other repertory productions. Foxworth takes on Lord Hastings in “Richard III,” and Sparks is featured in all three Festival productions.
Whittaker makes “Richard III” as vile a villain as you have ever seen, and his vocal gymnastics are incredible. This is a Richard for the ages, and the modern setting only enhances the play. Foxworth and Sparks give “Inherit the Wind” its vibrant theatricality, and a well-balanced cast will win you over to this 1930s-era “As You Like It.” Take advantage of this late summer bounty of alfresco theater, compliments of the Globe.
The Lamb’s is still tickling local funny bones with “See How They Run,” a madcap dash through 1940s England. This comedy (set to remain on stage through Sept. 23) overflows with mistaken identities and unexpected visitors, and director Robert Smyth knows how to squeeze every laugh from this period caper. Fans of “MixTape” will be pleased to know that this long-running show will continue through Nov. 25, at the Lamb’s downtown theater in the Horton Grand. What a run!
Cygnet Theatre’s stunning revival of “Man of La Mancha” will end its summer stay at the Old Town Theatre Sept. 2. Sean Murray stars as the beloved Don Quixote in this production of the classic musical. The West Coast premiere of “Mistakes Were Made” opens in Old Town Sept. 29, with local favorite Phil Johnson starring as a fast-talking B-list producer. The comedy will continue through Oct. 21.
The San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops will come to a spectacular close Sept. 2, but not before Matthew Garbutt leads the orchestra in a weekend of the “1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular.”
San Diego Repertory Theatre’s 37th season will continue Sept. 29, when Sam Woodhouse’s staging of “Exit Interview” makes its debut at the Lyceum. This satirical examination of facts, faith and fate in the 21st century will be ensconced at the Rep’s downtown theater through Oct. 21. In the meantime, Steve Solomon’s new show, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m Still in Therapy,” will complete its run at the Lyceum Sept. 9.
Moonlight’s summer season at its outdoor amphitheater continues with “Anything Goes.” The delightful flapper-era musical comedy will be performed through Sept. 3.
But its alfresco season doesn’t end there. “Sweeney Todd” will take over the venue Sept. 19-Oct. 6 to complete the outdoor season on a strong note.
The Poway Center for the Performing Arts will feature “O Berkley Where Hart Thou?” on Sept. 22. The musical captures timeless classics with minimal embellishments.