For its 30th anniversary season, the San Diego Repertory Theatre celebrates with an eclectic offering of premieres and re-imagined classics, humor and poignancy, docudramas and whimsy.
The lineup includes two world premieres, three female directors, plays by three women playwrights and a new first in the Rep's long-running "A Christmas Carol" tradition, an "American" version.
Kicking things off in September is the U.S. premiere of Trey Anthony's "'da Kink in My Hair," which was held over by popular demand five times at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre. Set in a West Indian hair salon in Toronto, this new musical play gives voice to eight black women who share the trials and sorrows of their lives through drumming, singing and dance. Their unforgettable stories uncover subjects of incest, love and sadness. Anthony, one of Canada's most acclaimed female comedians, also stars as the wickedly funny and brutally honest salon owner Novelette. Music and lyrics are by Weyni Mengesha, and Marion Caffey, whose hits at the Rep include "Three Mo' Divas" and "Cookin' at the Cookery," directs.
Local acting favorite Rosina Reynolds takes the director's seat in "Bad Dates," opening in October. Theresa Rebeck's hilarious and touching comedy revolves around Haley, a successful restaurant manager and divorced mom to a teenage daughter who has a collection of 500 pairs of shoes and has finally resolved to re-enter the terrifying world of adult dating. But finding the right man proves as difficult as choosing the right pair of shoes for the occasion. As Haley prepares for, and then recovers from, one dreadful date after another, she recounts the stories of her life, revealing the universal traumas associated with searching for the perfect mate.
San Diego lost a powerhouse director when Kirsten Brandt moved to Santa Cruz with her husband, lighting designer David Cuthbert. Luckily for us, she's making the trek back to San Diego often, and she'll be back at the Rep in December for a brand new version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
This all-new "American Carol," with production concept and design by Cuthbert, is set in America in the first half of the 20th century. The show will burst with live jazz music, from ragtime to swing to be-bop, leading us through a world of speakeasies and dance hall girls.
The season continues early next year with Allan Havis' "Restless Spirits." Havis, a UCSD Theatre and Dance professor in playwriting, has spent two years crafting this story about the spiritual and mystical influence of ancestral ghosts and spirits on the lives of contemporary San Diegans. This world premiere drama was inspired by over 100 interviews with your neighbors, in an epic tale that crosses boundaries of time, culture and ethnicity. Rep Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse directs this love story cum mystery with exotic puppetry and music from around the world.
In March, local director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg will lead the award-winning "Intimate Apparel," written by Lynn Nottage. This elegant portrait of a black seamstress in New York City in 1905 is an exploration of race and class, desire and hope in America. Esther lives in a boarding house for women and sews intimate apparel for clients who range from wealthy white patrons to prostitutes. The intimate undergarments become a metaphor for the intimate relationships the private fittings foster.
The Flying Karamazov Brothers, following their wonderfully wacky "Life: A Guide for the Perplexed" at the Rep earlier this year, will bring a new adaptation of "Don Quixote" next spring.
This contemporary, magical and Karamazovian world premiere tells the story of that beloved dreamer, Don Quixote, a gentleman from La Mancha obsessed with the chivalrous ideals in books he has read. In a time when such things are long past, he decides to take up a lance and a sword to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked. Aided by his faithful servant Sancho Panza, Don Quixote rides the roads of Spain in search of glory and grand adventure. Count on lots of hilarity, music, juggling and absurdity from the Flying Ks.
The season wraps up with the 14th Annual Kuumba Festival and the 13th Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival.
Under the direction of Daj-Ahn Blevins, the Kuumba Fest is San Diego's longest-running celebration of African and African-American performance and culture. The three-day festival includes workshops, community service awards, an African marketplace, gospel concert and more.
Artistic Director Todd Salovey again directs the Jewish Arts Festival, which celebrates the diversity of the Jewish diaspora through art and performance. The event will feature music, dance, theater and speakers from around the world, with the world premiere of new plays, the critically acclaimed Klezmer Summit and a new partnership with Mainly Mozart.
Six-play subscription packages are on sale now for the 2005-2006 season, and start from $102. Tickets are available at the Rep's box office, 79 Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego, or by calling (619) 544-1000.