DESERT THEATRE BEAT
ByJack Lyons,Sun Runner Theatre Editor
With sizzling summer temperatures, come diminished live theatre productions. Out here, in both the hi- and low desert, that’s a fact of life. Result being a smaller Desert Theatre Beat column.
But, not too worry, as Alfred E. Newman used to say. Your intrepid theatre editor and columnist can always find some intrepid theatre company for you to enjoy. For example, with many of our desert theatres shuttered for the summer, you can always head for the cooler climes of San Diego and Los Angeles, and Big Bear Lake and check out their theatre scenes.
HI-DESERT THEATRES …
Theatre 29 – Twentynine Palms
Theatre 29 is the youngest member of hi-desert theatres and is the only theatre in the hi- or low desert that remains open year round. Thanks to an excellent air conditioning system and a toasty warm heating system, the family values theatre company has been pleasing audiences for 12 seasons.
Their June production is “The Memory Jar,” a drama written by local playwright Kurt Schauppner, and is part of the theatre’s original play series, which opens Friday, June 8 and performs June 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17. Performances begin at 7 p.m.
Following “The Memory Jar” is the highly popular musical the entire family can enjoy “Seussical The Musical.” The production marks the 12th teaming of Director Gary Daignault and Musical Director Ed Will.
The musical opens June 29 and runs through July 28. All curtains are at 7 p.m.
For reservations and ticket information for both shows call the box office at (760)361-4151.
Groves Cabin Theatre – Morongo Valley
The award-winning Groves theatre concludes its 2011/2012 Season, with an original drama “Pablo Picasso,” written and directed by local playwright Delores Becker Trost. The production stars award-winning actor Lloyd Steele as Picasso.
Pablo was a larger than life creative force in the arts for most of the 20th century. His story is rich with the drama of life and his many romantic affairs are the stuff of legend.
For reservations and ticket information call the box office at (760)365-4523. With only 22 seats, reservations are a must.
LOW DESERT THEATRES …
The Palm Canyon Theatre – Palm Springs
The Palm Canyon Theatre, now in its 15th season, presents “Forever Plaid,” the musical tribute to four-part harmony.
The popular musical written by Stuart Ross opens Friday, July 6 and runs thru July 15.
For reservations and ticket information call (760)323-5123.
REGIONAL THEATRES …
The Old Globe Theatre – San Diego
The Tony Award-winning regional theatre opens its Summer Shakespeare Festival Repertory Series in the Lowell Davies Outdoor Theatre beginning June 3 with Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” It’s one of his most liked comedies about flirtation, friendship, and mistaken identity. It’s a lighthearted look at the fickle and passionate nature of love.
“Richard III” is one of the most outrageous villains in all of literature. The Bard paints an unforgettable portrait of obsession, seduction, betrayal, and a man who would be king, at all costs.
The third production that runs in repertory at the outdoor festival theatre is the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee courtroom drama, “Inherit The Wind.” It’s one of the great American dramas of the 20th century.
Based on the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, the play pits two great lawyers face to face in the age-old conflict between science and faith.The Summer Festival begins June 3 and runs thru September 30. (Remember to take a sweater or wrap if you attend. Once the sun goes down, the cool sea breezes take over).
For reservations and ticket information for all Old Globe productions call (619)234-5623 or go online at www.theoldglobe.org.
Community Arts Theatre Society (CATS) – Big Bear Lake
To escape the sizzling June and July heat of our desert, perhaps a visit to the Big Bear Lake area is order. They have a wonderful community theatre company that presents first-rate musicals during June and July.
This year they are presenting the lush Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King & I,” starring Robin Field as the King, and Diana Sintergardt as Mrs. Anna.
Produced, directed, and choreographed by Karen Sargent Rachels, the show features a cast of over 40, and it’s a treat and feast for the eyes and ears.
For reservations and ticket information call the Box Office at (909)866-4970.
The Center Theatre Group - The Ahmanson Theatre – Los Angeles Music Center
The “real” theatre event of the decade comes to LA’s Center Theatre Group, at The Ahmanson Theatre, with the spectacularly brilliant production of “War Horse.”
This highly inventive spectacle, that garnered five Tony Wins: for Best Play, Direction, Set Design, Sound, a Special Technical Tony for Puppetry, opens June 14 and runs through July 29.
I saw the NY/Lincoln Center production last October and was completely blown away by the sheer genius of how the creative team met the onstage challenges of capturing the power and the poignancy of a story about a boy and his love of his horse during World War I.
If you’ve seen the movie, great! But you haven’t experienced “War Horse” on a gut level until you see the play.
Take a trip to LA in June or July and see “War Horse.” You won’t be disappointed.
For tickets and information call the box office at (213)972-4400.
Remember, a great nation deserves great art. Support the arts whenever you can.