There’s a merry mix of entertainment on the calendar for May — including the last bloom of “Art Alive,” a tribute to the Beatles, the revival of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives,” a portrait of Golda Meir at the Old Globe, the final concerts of the San Diego Symphony’s 2009-10 series, balletic odes to Balanchine and Chopin and the opening of a glittering exhibition of gems and minerals at the Natural History Museum, just to name a few. The San Diego Museum of Art’s “Art Alive” extravaganza will fade after May 2, but if you can get to the museum before it’s gone, you will see the creations of 100 floral designers complementing selected artworks in the museum’s permanent collection.
The San Diego Symphony starts off the month May 1 with the final notes of its Beethoven Festival. You will hear the Egmont Overture and Piano Concertos Nos. 2-3 with Yefim Bronfman on the keyboard and Jahja Ling conducting. Youngsters can get an introduction to Beethoven’s genius May 5-6 when the symphony presents Bravo, Beethoven. Silent film buffs will enjoy “Nosferatu” May 7-8, with Gillian Anderson conducting the orchestra. The Maestro returns to the podium May 14-16 with a program that features Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Strauss’ Alpine Symphony. Nuvi Mehta hosts the Symphony Exposed series May 20, with Ling leading the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. The season finale is slated for May 21-23, when Maestro Ling conducts a Tchaikovsky program with violinist Sergey Khachatryan as guest artist.
The Old Globe made a wonderful addition to its roster this month. Tony Award-nominated Tovah Feldshuh will perform her one-woman show “Golda’s Balcony.” This tribute to the legendary Golda Meir follows the life of Israel’s fourth prime minister from her early days as a Russian immigrant in America to her spectacular rise to the center of the world stage in Israel. The fascinating piece will continue at the Globe through May 30. The Globe’s west coast premiere of “The Whipping Man” opens May 8 for a month-long run. Written by Matthew Lopez, an emerging young voice, the play is set in the days following the Civil War, when American slaves were set free throughout the South. A Jewish soldier returns to his childhood home to discover it in ruins and occupied by his former slaves preparing for a Seder. The play is a moving and provocative examination of a pivotal time in American history. It will play in the Globe’s new Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre until June 13.
“Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles,” is headed to the Civic Theatre May 15 for two performances, compliments of Broadway-San Diego. “Rain” has been called the next best thing to seeing the Beatles, with its repertory of almost 200 Beatles favorites. The show covers the Fab Four from their first Ed Sullivan appearance through the long-haired hippie period, all with multi-media and multi-dimensional effects. Apparently, the four performers are electrifying showmen in their own right, so this should be a must-see for Beatles fans. City Ballet will perform at its Spreckels Theatre home May 7-9. The program, “Celebrate Balanchine,” will feature three works by the leading choreographic voice in the history of the art form. They include “Valse Fantaisie,” “Rubies” and “Sonatine” (a company premiere). The troupe even scheduled a Mother’s Day Ballet and Brunch for the Sunday performance.
Ballet is also on tap for the Balboa Theatre May 1, when California Ballet presents two performances of Chopin Repertory. The program will feature “Les Sylphides” and other pieces choreographed to Chopin’s music. It’s all part of the 200th anniversary celebration of the composer’s birth.
Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater will feature “Rhapsody in Blue” and other dances May 15-16, when the troupe performs “Feeling Blue” at San Diego State University.
North Coast Rep turned a different page in American history with “The Voice of the Prairie,” a play that celebrates a time of itinerant radio, before networks, sponsors and regulating agencies. The story focuses on one hayseed broadcaster and the shaggy tales he shared with his listeners. The show opens May 26 and will remain at the Solana Beach theater through June 20.
The Welk Resort Theatre’s stunning staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” takes its final bow May 2, but on May 6, Welk kicks off a new production — “Footloose.” The dance-happy musical will play through June 27, and you can opt for a buffet lunch or dinner at the nearby Canyon Grille before each performance. Cygnet Theatre’s production of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” will delight audiences at the Old Town Theatre beginning May 27. The sophisticated comedy will continue through July 3.
The Lamb’s Players in Coronado continues its production of “The Rivalry” through May 16. This seething political drama provides a portrait of the two larger-than-life personalities in the Lincoln/Douglas debate. You don’t have to be a history buff to be hooked on this powerful and witty look at Abe Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.
The La Jolla Music Society will bring a lively assortment of events to local aficionados. It all starts May 1 when the Eroica Trio performs works by Gershwin, Dvorak and others. Dance buffs will want to mark their calendars for May 8, when Paul Taylor Dance Company, a leader in modern dance, makes its way to the North Park Theatre for one performance. Latin rhythms will take over May 15 when Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band perform for one night only. Orion Weiss will celebrate the Chopin Bicentennial May 21 with Chopin’s Two Polonaise, Opus 26.
J*Company will bring the fairytale musical “Cinderella” to life on stage May 6-16. This Rodgers and Hammerstein classic began life as a made-for-television musical with Julie Andrews back in 1957. This lively production is a treat for kids of all ages. The San Diego Natural History Museum features “Fossil Mysteries” on permanent exhibition. “Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries” will offer the most up-to-date look at the way scientists are reinterpreting many of the mysteries of dinosaurs. This fascinating traveling show will stay put through Sept. 5. The Natural History Museum also offers “Dinosaurs Alive!”, a 3D film experience that takes audiences on a global adventure through the entire age of dinosaurs. Narrated by Michael Douglas, the film is a marvel of computer animation. “Ocean Oasis,” a giant-screen film, continues to offer up-close encounters in Mexico’s beautiful Sea of Cortez and the Baja California desert. You can check out the eye-popping “All That Glitters: The Splendor and Science of Gems and Minerals” show May 15. This exhibition includes a stunning selection of exquisite jewelry and works of art and will stay at the museum through April 2012.
The Reuben Fleet Science Center is featuring three IMAX films. “The Greatest Places” transports audiences into seven amazing geographical destinations, including Tibet’s Chang Tang Plateau. The newly opened “Under the Sea” is an underwater adventure that will awe you with its close-ups of undersea life (including the Leafy Sea Dragon and the Flamboyant Cuttlefish). “Hubble” chronicles the astronauts’ difficult task of getting the Hubble telescope operational in space and follows them through distant galaxies as they explore our celestial surroundings. Leonardo DiCaprio narrates the film. Visitors to the Fleet can play with “Block Busters” (blocks that defy gravity) and explore other hands-on exhibitions, such as “So WATT! An Illuminating Look at Energy,” “Aging for All Ages” and “Motion Mania: an Exhibition to Move Your Mind,” which is here for a year-long stay. The popular “Kid City” (designed for the under-5 set) has been refurbished and is now a permanent fixture at the Fleet. “San Diego ‘s Water: From Source to Tap” is another interesting show on permanent view.
The Air and Space Museum is exhibiting the airplane used in the movie “Amelia” (on permanent display) and the Horten Flying Wing from the National Geographic show “Hitler’s Stealth Fighter.”