Volume III, Issue II Summer 2004

Turbulence - Charlene Baldridge's theater diary

A broad abroad, heading into August 2004

San Diego al fresco

It's been lovely, outdoors at Starlight and Moonlight and the new Pops site at Embarcadero Marina Park South with its spectacular view of downtown. Everyone else is there, too, so allow ample time for parking – in the case of the Pops – especially when the Padres are at home. Petco Park is right across Harbor Drive from Embarcadero South. Catch schedules at sandiegosymphony.com, starlighttheatre.org and moonlightstage.com.

'Twelfth Night' times two

Twelfth NightMeanwhile, Shakespeare's bittersweet comedy "Twelfth Night" is on the indoor menu at Adams Ave. Studio for the Performing Arts and on the lawn up yonder at the David H. Thompson Performing Arts Center in Carlsbad. Indoors it'll set you back $12. As directed by Nick Kennedy, who also plays Feste the clown, Poor Players' production is well spoken with a delightful performance by diminutive Beth Everhart, who holds a BA in theatre from USC. She looks adorable dressed in male attire, standing next to her Orsino, handsome Brandon Walker. Company artistic director Richard Baird portrays the insufferable Malvolio, steward to the grieving Olivia, portrayed by Tara Denton. Crystal Verdon is almost two beautiful as Olivia's housekeeper, Maria, and she's lively – a joy to listen to and watch – as she collaborates with Sir Toby Belch (Max Macke) and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (impressive Neil McDonald) to bring Malvolio down.

Poor Players keeps adding young, serious Shakespearean actors. The productions, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays, are exhilarating to say the least. Check out Poor Players' "Twelfth Night" through August 22, to be followed by "Measure for Measure" August 27-September 19 and "Macbeth" October 15-31.

Meanwhile, the Old Globe's Brendon Fox stages New Village Arts' Roaring 20s "Twelfth Night" at 7:30 p.m. August 12-15 and 19-22 in Carlsbad. The company includes many of the city's favorite and best actors, including NVA artistic director Frances Gercke. These free performances are followed by two benefit performances in the amphitheater of a private home in La Jolla, August 28 and 29. The $50 benefit ticket includes drinks, a chocolate buffet and music. Phone (760) 433-3245.

After attending the entire San Diego Actors Alliance Festival, I must say I was generally pleased with their awards. See the web site for a complete list. Of the winners, my favorites among the six Best of the Fest awardees were David Mamet's "Duck Variations" featuring Jack Banning and Jim Chovick and directed by Robert Dahey, who received an award for his efforts; "The Two O'Clock" written by and starring Jason Connors and Matt Scott, directed by George Ye. Dahey also directed another Best of Fest, Jim Caputo's "At Rise" featuring D. Candis Paule and Walter Murray. D.W. Jacobs was cited for his direction of yet another winner, "Sick in Love," written by Todd Blakesley and marvelously performed by the playwright and Liv Kellgren.

Morgan Hollingsworth received an award for the original music he wrote for Jean-Claude van Itallie's "Serpent," in which he also performed. Director Punit Auerbacher's company received an award for outstanding ensemble. The actors, who ranged from 12 to 30, were mesmerizing.

For those who love to see new works, some of it quite astonishing, the Fritz Blitz takes over the Lyceum in Horton Plaza August 5-29. See fritztheatre.com and click on the Blitz.

And for those who loved Barry Manilow's La Jolla Playhouse-premiered musical "Harmony," a recording of the songs has been made and will come out in September. Plenty of theater between now and then. I'll keep you posted.

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