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Fall arts preview 2021: Top theater picks this season

Charlayne Woodard, left, and Stephanie Berry co-star in La Jolla Playhouse's "The Garden."
(La Jolla Playhouse)

Theater highlights this fall include La Jolla Playhouse’s ‘The Garden,’ San Diego Rep’s ‘Mother Road,’ Moxie Theatre’s ‘The Minneola Twins’ and more

Many San Diego theaters are planning to reopen in the next few months with a diverse mix of world premieres, solo plays, comedies, dramas and musicals.

Subject to change due to COVID-19. Please check websites for updates.

Moonlight Stage Productions: ‘On Your Feet!’

This musical based on the life and music of Cuban-American entertainers Emilio and Gloria Estefan will close the 2021 summer season at Vista’s Moonlight Amphitheatre. The musical traces the duo’s humble beginnings to the bus crash that nearly killed Gloria Estefan at the height of her fame. James Vásquez directs with choreography by Carlos Mendoza. Sept. 15-Oct. 2. 1250 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista. (760) 724-2110. moonlightstage.com

La Jolla Playhouse: ‘The Garden’

Tony Award-nominated playwright/actor Charlayne Woodward will co-star in the world premiere co-production of her new play about two “Alpha” Black women, elderly mother Claire Rose (played by Stephanie Berry) and her middle-aged daughter, Cassandra (Woodard), who meet at a garden gate after three years of estrangement in an attempt to heal old wounds. Delicia Turner Sonnenberg and Patricia McGregor will co-direct this play, which is being co-produced by Baltimore Center Stage. Sept. 21-Oct. 17. Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. (858) 550-1010. lajollaplayhouse.org

Diversionary Theatre: ‘One in Two’

Diversionary will reopen its newly remodeled theater with the West Coast premiere of Donja R. Love’s play about three men sharing the harrowing and often hidden experience of what it means to be Black, queer and HIV positive. Old Globe artist-in-residence Delicia Turner Sonnenberg will direct. Sept. 23-Oct. 24. 4545 Park Blvd., San Diego. (619) 220-0097. diversionary.org

Moxie Theatre: ‘The Mineola Twins’

Moxie’s first live onstage production since February 2020 is Paula Vogel’s 1999 satire, billed as “a comedy in six scenes, three dreams and five wigs.” It chronicles 40 years in the relationship between twins Myra and Myrna, who are on opposite ends of the political, social, religious and cultural spectrum. San Diego actor Samantha Ginn will play both twins. Sept. 26-Oct. 24. 6663 El Cajon Blvd., Suite N, San Diego. (858) 598-7620. moxietheatre.com

Cynthia Gerber will star in Lamb's Players Theatre's "The Belle of Amherst" Oct. 2 through Nov. 14, 2021.
(Nathan Peirson)

Lamb’s Players Theatre: ‘The Belle of Amherst’

Lamb’s company member Cynthia Gerber will star in this season-opening solo play that takes a humorous and moving look at American poet Emily Dickinson. Playwright William Luce based the play on the Massachusetts author’s diaries and letters about the encounters she had with significant people in her life. Oct. 2-Nov. 14. 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. (619) 437-6000. lambsplayers.org

Old Globe: ‘Shutter Sisters’

First workshopped in the Old Globe’s 2020 Powers New Voices Festival, this world premiere commissioned play by Mansa Ra is the story of two mothers living parallel lives on the hardest days of their lives. A White woman named Michael attends her adopted mother’s funeral, while a Black woman named Mykal kicks her adult daughter out of her home. Donya K. Washington directs this play in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. Oct. 7-Nov. 7. 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. (619) 234-5623. theoldglobe.org

"Mother Road" by playwright Octavio Solis will make its local premiere at San Diego Repertory Theatre.
(Courtesy photo)

San Diego Repertory Theatre: ‘Mother Road’

San Diego Rep artistic director Sam Woodhouse directs this 2019 play by Octavio Solis about the last surviving descendants of the Tom Joad family from John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” An 80-year-old White descendant and his mixed-race Chicano farmworker relative take a road trip from California back to the Joads’ family farm in Oklahoma. Oct. 7-31. Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego. (619) 544-1000. sdrep.org

North Coast Repertory Theatre: ‘Ben Butler’

Richard Strand’s 2012 race-relations comedy-drama is inspired by the real-life Civil War-era story of Union Gen. Benjamin Butler, who was faced with the decision of whether to return runaway slaves to their Southern masters. The law required him to turn the slaves over to the Confederates, but offering sanctuary could change the course of history. It’s part comedy, part historical drama and part biography. Oct. 20-Nov. 14. 987D Lomas Santa Fe Ave., Solana Beach. (858) 481-1055. northcoastrep.org

"Iron Chef" host Alton Brown
“Iron Chef” host Alton Brown will present a live stage show for Broadway San Diego on Nov. 14 at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego.
(Broadway San Diego)

Broadway San Diego: ‘Alton Brown Live: Beyond the Eats’

Broadway San Diego opens its season with author and “Iron Chef” host Alton Brown in this road show, an all-ages culinary variety show that’s a mix of comedy, music, science-infused cooking demonstrations and audience interaction. Nov. 14. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., San Diego. (800) 982-2787. broadwaysd.com

Cygnet Theatre: ‘A Christmas Carol’

After presenting its annual Christmas play last year as a filmed solo play, the full musical spectacular returns live for its 10th year. Adapted for the stage from Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella by Cygnet artistic director Sean Murray, the musical features caroling, humor, puppetry, a miniature village and special effects. Nov. 23-Dec. 26. 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town San Diego. (619) 337-1525. cygnettheatre.com

Cygnet Theatre's "A Christmas Carol" returns on Nov. 23, 2021.
(Ken Jacques)


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