'A Jewel in the Crown City' celebrates Lamb's Players' 25 years in Coronado

Lamb’s Players Theatre has a knack for looking back: Five years ago, the company set a Guinness world record for nonstop live performance by staging a 100-hour reading of plays it had produced over the previous two decades.

Now, the Coronado-based theater is presenting a new piece that echoes “100 Hours of Stories” in inspiration if not duration.

Titled “A Jewel in the Crown City,” the show is a retrospective of Lamb’s Players’ quarter-century of making theater in its beachside burg, whose name means “Crowned One” in Spanish.

The show will take in 25 songs from productions that have crossed the company’s Orange Avenue stage over the 25 years since Lamb’s moved to the picturesque peninsula from National City.

But Robert Smyth, the theater’s longtime producing artistic director, says “Jewel” is not intended to be some insider nostalgia-fest for those who’ve been attending Lamb’s shows for decades.

“The last thing we wanted to do was Uncle Ernie’s slide show,” as he puts it. In fact, the intention was that “anybody needs to be able to walk in off the street and, even if they don’t know us from Adam, have a thoroughly entertaining evening.”

Of course, longtime Lamb’s followers can expect the piece to rekindle fond memories of shows past, as “Jewel” delves into productions both from recent history and further back in the company’s Coronado tenure.

Smyth ticks off a list of just some of the shows that will be touched upon: “Once," “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Les Misérables,” “West Side Story,” “Smoke on the Mountain,” “The Light in the Piazza,” “1776,” “The Music Man,” “My Fair Lady,” the original work “Oz.”

Not all are musicals, either: Such plays as “Servant of Two Masters” and the world-premiere work “Glory Man” also will get stage time, partly through the original music of Deborah Gilmour Smyth — Robert Smyth’s wife and a Lamb’s associate artistic chief, gifted actor and more.

The two Smyths have joined with Kerry Meads (likewise a longtime associate artistic director) and musical director G. Scott Lacy to piece the show together.

They’ve also teamed with a Lamb’s house band that has played with the company for more than 20 years, and numerous go-to Lamb’s performers will return to collaborate with the theater once again.

It’s a “Jewel” with many facets — one of the biggest shows Lamb’s has staged over the years — and promises to cover a whole lot of history.

But in something closer to two hours than 100.

‘A Jewel in the Crown City’

When: Previews begin Jan. 11. Opens Jan. 18. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Through Feb. 17.

Where: Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado.

Tickets: $24-$74 (discounts available)

Phone: (619) 437-6000.

Online: lambsplayers.org

jim.hebert@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @jimhebert

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