As an avid fan of live theatre, whenever I go on vacation, I try to check out the plays in any of the cities I visit. My holidays for the end of 2018 included a quick trip to San Diego – and one of the best parts was attending The Old Globe. Wow! I couldn’t believe I’d never been there before, but you can be sure I will return soon and often.
The Old Globe is California’s oldest professional theatre and one of the country’s leading regional theatre complexes. They have a rich history that began in 1935 when it was first built, modeled after Shakespeare’s Old Globe in London, to present versions of Shakespeare plays as part of the California Pacific International Exposition. Over the past eight decades, there have been thousands of performances and numerous renovations, but it has always maintained its status as one of the most exciting and dynamic theatres in the U.S.
Since it was the holiday season when we were there, the two productions were both Christmas themed. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a favorite that has been performed annually at The Old Globe for 21 years. We attended the new World Premiere Musical, Clint Black’s Looking for Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed the superbly talented performers singing Clint Black songs, most of which were from his 1995 chart-topping holiday album. The book was written by James D. Sasser along with Clint Black and revolves around an American soldier returning from Afghanistan and trying to readjust to life with his family and rid himself of the painful memories of war. The show was directed by Kent Nicholson.
Now that 2019 is here, theater-goers will have the opportunity to see a variety of exciting shows in The Old Globe’s new season.
Familiar, written by Tony Award nominee Danai Gurira is a new comic drama about tradition, marriage, and family. It deals with a married couple who emigrated to the US from Zimbabwe almost three decades ago, and the issues that arise when one of their daughters is about to get married and wants a traditional African wedding ceremony. The play is directed by Edward Torres and runs from January 26 – March 3, 2019.
Tiny Beautiful Things is based on the best-selling book by Cheryl Strayed, and adapted by Academy Award nominee Nia Vardalos, who is most well-known for her film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The emotional and uplifting play revolves around the relationships between an anonymous advice columnist and the readers who reach out to her with their problems. This West Coast Premiere, directed by James Vasquez, runs from February 9 – March 10, 2019
Their next show is the American premiere of a new musical, Life After, with book, music and lyrics by Britta Johnson and directed by Barry Edelstein, the Artistic Director of The Old Globe. It revolves around a 16-year-old girl who tries to find out the truth about the recent death of her famous father. The Old Globe describes it as “a bittersweet, witty and life-affirming new musical that explores the mess and beauty of loss and love.” The play already received strong reviews in Canada, including one from Broadway World, calling it “musical theatre perfection… exquisite from start to finish.” Life After runs from March 22 – April 28, 2019.
Also on the 2019 schedule: They Promised Her the Moon, by Laurel Ollstein, directed by Giovanna Sardelli (April 6 – May 5, 2019); The Gods of Comedy by Ken Ludwig, in association with McCarter Theatre Center (May 11 – June 16, 2019); and What You Are, by JC Lee, directed by Patricia McGregor (May 30 – June 30, 2019)
No question about it, with The Old Globe’s history of exceptional theatre, people should order their tickets soon. Many of their previous productions have gone on to Broadway and have won or been nominated for Tony Awards. To name just a few: Bright Star – music and book by Steve Martin and music and lyrics by Edie Brickell, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – book by Robert L. Freedman; music by Steven Lutvak; lyrics by Freedman and Lutvak; A Catered Affair – book by Harvey Fierstein; music & lyrics by John Bucchino; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – book by Jeffrey Lane; music & lyrics by David Yazbek; and The Full Monty – by Terrence McNally; music & lyrics by David Yazbek.
The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s magnificent Balboa Park that houses 17 museums, along with lush gardens, fountains, eateries, playgrounds, plazas and paths, as well as the famous San Diego Zoo. You’ll need to spend a few days exploring everything there is to see, but make sure you secure your tickets to The Old Globe, for a few hours of first-class entertainment you’re sure to love.
The Old Globe is located in Balboa Park off of El Prado between the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Man. Two of the stages are located in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center — the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 580-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. The 620-seat Lowell Davies Festival Theatre is The Old Globe’s outdoor venue and home to the summer Shakespeare Festival.