Volume III, Issue I Spring 2004

Small stages, big emotions

By Charlene Baldridge


May was bustin' out all over at San Diego's smaller venues – Cygnet Theatre, Adams Avenue Studio of the Arts and 6th at Penn.

Some of the plays were produced in-house, others booked in. The fare ranged from fair to fabulous; the runs, from a mere week to a month. Nonetheless, it was exciting to bear witness, if only to see these fledglings flap their wings and in some cases fly.

Cygnet Theatre Co.For two weeks only, Cygnet resurrected David McBean's one-man tour de force in Becky Mode's "Fully Committed." The production opened in January and according to Cygnet there was such a clamor for tickets they decided to play it again prior to opening the final production of the current season.

Bed and Sofa
Julie Jacobs in 'Bed and Sofa'
Set to run June 5 (previews June 3-4) through July 18, that final production is Polly Pen and Laurence Klavan's Obie Award-winning, Russia-set musical "Bed and Sofa," featuring Julie Jacobs, Eric Anderson and Michael Elliott. The three play a 1926 Moscow ménage a trois, Ludmilla, Kolya and their houseguest, Volodya. Cygnet Artistic Director Sean Murray directs. Don LeMaster is the music director. (Cygnet, 6663 El Cajon Blvd., www.cygnettheatre.com or (619) 337-1525.)

Meanwhile, through June 6, 6th at Penn is showing a double bill, Renaissance Theatre Company's production of "Shirley Valentine" starring the highly praised Rosina Reynolds, and, through June 2, its own production of Athol Fugard's "The Road to Mecca," starring Priscilla Allen. It helps to be a fan of Reynolds and an aficionado of Allen.

6th at Penn Theatre Next up at 6th at Penn, playing Thursday through Sunday matinees June 20-July 25, is Jean Genet's "The Maids" (directed by Sam Woodhouse and featuring Laurie Lehman-Gray, Dana Hooley and Anne Tran. In tandem, playing Sunday at 7 and Monday through Wednesday at 7:30 June 22-July 21, is Athol Fugard's "A Lesson from Aloes," directed by Luis Torner and featuring Bernard Baldan, Linda Castro and Rhys Green. (6th at Penn, 3704 Sixth Ave. and Pennsylvania, www.sixthatpenn.com or (619) 688-9210.)

Bob Korbett (accent on the last syllable) at the Adams Avenue Studio of the Arts hosted a string of book-in productions, including Poor Players' fascinating "Taming of the Shrew," a fabulous one-night, sold-out fundraiser for the Susan Komen Breast Center; a reading of "Vagina Monologues" with the actors seated in the audience; through June 5, a Korbett-directed production of Stephen Adley Giurgis' off-Broadway hit, "Our Lady of 121st Street," with Walter Murray turning in a magnificent performance; and also, a one-week run, now closed, of David Mamet's "Duck Variations" with Charlie Riendeau and Fred Harlow. Coming in June, Backyard Theater presents Shelagh Stephenson's across-the-centuries "An Experiment with an Air Pump," directed by Robert May and featuring, among others, Ron Choularton and Jessica John. In July, Korbett produces "Hot Summer Madness," billed as "one acts that will make you sweat", and in August Poor Players returns with "Twelfth Night" and "Measure for Measure." (This troupe is not to be missed – www.poorplayers.com.) Korbett's web site is under construction currently. (Adams Avenue Studio of the Arts, 2804 Adams Ave. (619) 584-3593.)

Meanwhile, in another part of town the mighty Fritz is holding forth at Sixth Ave. Bistro (the grub is good) with dinner theater/cabaret performances of "I Do! I Do!" Featuring Duane Daniels and Leigh Scarritt (www.fritztheatre.com, (619) 233-7505 or (619) 239-4196.)

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