Spring arts 2018: 10 things to watch in theater this season


San Diego’s spring theater scene boasts a play called “The Father,” another called “The Madres,” and a whole bunch more that cover myriad creative definitions of family. (Although how “The Squirrels” fits into this is anyone’s guess.)

Here’s a look at some of the most promising shows that local theaters are rolling out this season (in addition to Cygnet Theatre’s “The Wind and the Breeze” — see our accompanying profile of cast member Nadia Guevara):

“The Wanderers”

The rising playwright Anna Ziegler, whose tennis-centric piece “The Last Match” premiered at the Old Globe in 2016, returns with another brand-new work. Globe artistic chief Barry Edelstein directs “The Wanderers,” which looks at love through the experiences of two very different couples. April 5-May 6. Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, Balboa Park. (619) 234-5623.

“Noises Off”

The British playwright Michael Frayn’s great “backstage” farce gets its first area revival in quite a while at Lamb’s. April 6-May 20. Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1124 Orange Ave., Coronado. (619) 437-6000.

“South Pacific”

The former San Diego theater maverick Bartlett Sher re-energized this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic on Broadway a decade ago; now SDMT takes on the surprisingly timely piece. April 27-May 27. San Diego Musical Theatre at the Horton Grand, 444 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. (858) 560-5740.

“The Madres”

Moxie artistic director Jennifer Eve Thorn teams with Patrice Amon to direct the “rolling” world premiere of Stephanie Alison Walker’s play, which centers on three generations of women confronting the fallout of the 1979 “dirty war” in Argentina. May 13-June 10. Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd., Rolando District. (858) 598-7620.

“Avenue Q”

Puppets go wild as this 2004 Tony Award winner for best musical hits the NVA stage for the first time. A.J. Knox directs the sometimes raunchy and yet “Sesame Street”-sweet ode to diversity, family and Gary Coleman. May 18-July 1. New Village Arts Theatre, 2787 State St., Carlsbad. (760) 433-3245.

“Nathan Gunn Flying Solo”

The pianist-playwright-actor and frequent San Diego Rep collaborator Hershey Felder returns to the downtown company with this new solo show starring and centered around Gunn, the celebrated operatic baritone. May 23-June 10. San Diego Repertory Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown. (619) 544-1000.

“The Loneliest Girl in the World”

The LGBTQ-centered Diversionary Theatre has become an active incubator of new work under executive artistic chief Matt M. Morrow, who now directs this world-premiere musical about how Anita Bryant helped spark the gay-rights movement. May 24-July 1. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. (619) 220-0097.

“The Father”

North Coast Rep artistic director David Ellenstein directs the West Coast premiere of Florian Zeller’s play (as translated by Christopher Hampton); the Tony-nominated “tragic farce” takes its cues from the divergent story lines in an older man’s faltering memory. May 30-June 24. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. (858) 481-1055.

“The Squirrels”

Playwright Robert Askins inspired lots of laughs (and more than a little shock) with “Hand to God,” his sleeper Broadway hit about an apparently demonic puppet. Now the Playhouse stages the world premiere of his latest piece, which sounds a little like a darkly comic “Lord of the Flies.” But with squirrels! Tony-winning Playhouse artistic chief Christopher Ashley directs. June 5-July 1. La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Forum, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, Playhouse/UC San Diego Theatre District. (858) 550-1010.

“School of Rock”

The Andrew Lloyd Webber-composed musical, based on the Jack Black movie about an unconventional (and kind of accidental) music teacher, makes its first San Diego touring visit. June 12-17. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown. (619)/(858)/(760) 570-1100.

Twitter: @jimhebert