Fall arts preview 2018: Top 10 theater picks this season


From Jane Austen to Frankenstein to sweet cherry pie: There’s a little bit of everything on San Diego’s fall theater menu. Here’s a look at what’s cookin’:

“Hundred Days”

This folk-rock musical memoir from the husband-and-wife duo The Bengsons explores what choices you might make — and chances you might take — if you had just 100 days left to live. Anne Kauffman directs the piece, written and performed by Abigail and Shaun Bengson. Sept. 22 to Oct 21. La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Forum, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, Playhouse/UC San Diego Theatre District. (858) 550-1010.

“Young Frankenstein”

Larry Raben starred as Dr. Frankenstein — that’s “Fronkenshteen” to you! — in Moonlight Stage Productions’ rendition of this movie-based musical five years ago. Now he directs San Diego Musical Theatre’s staging of Mel Brooks’ comic ode to the cheesy B-flicks of yesteryear. Sept. 28 to Oct 28. San Diego Musical Theatre at the Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. (858) 560-5740.

“Guadalupe in the Guest Room”

New Village Arts puts up the West Coast premiere of Tony Meneses’ play about two people who bond over shared grief and pulpy telenovelas. Nadia Guevara, the company’s associate artistic chief, directs the show, part of the Teatro Pueblo Nuevo initiative. Sept. 28 to Oct 28. New Village Arts Theatre, 2787 State St., Carlsbad. (760) 433-3245.

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”

The Broadway musical about the life of the groundbreaking pop singer-songwriter returns to town on tour, with such indelible King compositions as “You’ve Got a Friend” and “I Feel the Earth Move.” Oct. 2-7. Broadway/San Diego at the San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown. (619)/(858)/(760) 570-1100.


The playwright, performance artist and MacArthur fellow Taylor Mac’s black comedy centers on Isaac, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who returns to find massive upheaval on the home front. Cygnet associate artistic chief Rob Lutfy directs the piece, whose title (a gender-neutral pronoun) hints at some of the family surprises Isaac encounters. Oct. 3-28. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. (619) 337-1525.


Lamb’s Players stages the California premiere of this new musical take on Jane Austen’s final work. Composer-lyricist Chris Jeffries and writer Harold Taw adapted the great novelist’s story of romance and second chances in early 19th-century England. Oct. 5 to Nov. 18. Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1124 Orange Ave., Coronado. (619) 437-6000.


This college-set piece by the prolific and highly regarded Anna Ziegler, whose “The Wanderers” had its world premiere at the Old Globe in April, touches on topics highly relevant to the #MeToo movement. San Diego State University faculty member and rising director Jesca Prudencio stages the work, which premiered off-Broadway last year. Oct. 11 to Nov. 4. San Diego Repertory Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown. (619) 544-1000.

“Holmes & Watson”

Jeffrey Hatcher’s play — not to be confused with the upcoming film comedy starring Will Ferrell — centers on puzzling events involving the illustrious (and possibly deceased) Sherlock Holmes himself. North Coast Rep artistic chief David Ellenstein directs the West Coast premiere of the mystery-steeped piece. Oct. 17 to Nov. 11. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. (858) 481-1055.


The movie-based Broadway hit makes its first visit to town on tour. A pie contest is part of the fun in the comedy-laced show, set at a Southern diner and featuring songs by Sara Bareilles. Nov. 27 to Dec. 2. Broadway/San Diego at the San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown. (619)/(858)/(760) 570-1100.

“The Year to Come”

Anne Kauffman returns to the Playhouse to direct Lindsey Ferrentino’s world-premiere drama about a family’s annual, often fraught New Year’s Eve gatherings. The play, set in a Florida backyard, unfolds backward in time. Dec. 4-30. La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, Playhouse/UC San Diego Theatre District. (858) 550-1010.

(Note: This story was updated to clarify that director Jesca Prudencio teaches at San Diego State University.)

Twitter: @jimhebert