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San Diego’s Top Weekend Events: A Look To 2019

A 2018 photo of Jeanna de Waal, who will portray Diana in La Jolla Playhouse’...

Photo by Little Fang

Above: A 2018 photo of Jeanna de Waal, who will portray Diana in La Jolla Playhouse’s world-premiere musical "Diana."

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This time of year, when people are talking about the year's best, we look ahead to some to some of the most anticipated arts events coming up in 2019, from world-premiere shows to art exhibitions.


"Familiar," a play about a family from Zimbabwe taking a look at what it means to be American.

When: Jan. 26 through March 3

Where: The Old Globe

Why we're excited: This show is written by Danai Gurira, the actress known for her roles as Michonne on "The Walking Dead" and Okoye in "Black Panther." She is also a successful playwright.

Tickets: Find tickets via The Old Globe

"Diana," a world-premiere musical about the life of Princess Diana.

When: Feb. 19 through April 7

Where: La Jolla Playhouse

Why we're excited: This ambitious show brings together Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, the team behind the Tony-winning "Memphis." It's also directed by Tony-winning director and Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley.

Tickets: Find tickets via La Jolla Playhouse

"Angels in America," The epic, two-part play that looks at the United States in the mid-1980s, during the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration.

When: "Millennium Approaches" (part one), March 6 through 9; "Perestroika" (part two), March 22 through 24.

Where: Cygnet Theatre

Why we're excited: The show just had a successful Broadway revival starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield. The local version will be more intimate and will be handled by Cygnet Artistic Director Sean Murray.

Tickets: Find tickets via Cygnet

"Romeo and Juliet," Shakespeare's iconic tale of forbidden young love.

When: Aug. 11 through Sept. 15

Where: The Old Globe

Why we're excited: We've seen lots of "Romeo and Juliet" productions, from high school shows to movie adaptation. But this version will be directed by Globe artistic director and Shakespeare expert Barry Edelstein.

Tickets: Check Old Globe later in 2019 for details

"West Side Story," the classic musical inspired by "Romeo and Juliet" about young, forbidden love.

When: Aug. 14 through 31

Where: Moonlight Amphitheatre

Why we're excited: This is considered one of the best musicals of all time. And with its production of "In the Heights," Moonlight proved that it can handle a massive show like this.

Tickets: Subscriptions go on sale March 9, single tickets go on sale March 30. Find details via Moonlight Amphitheatre.

A 2018 promotional poster for Justin Timberlake's "The Man Of the Woods" tour.


Justin Timberlake, everyone's favorite pop star and Saturday Night Live guest returns to San Diego.

When: Feb. 21

Where: Pechanga Arena San Diego (formerly Sports Arena)

Why we're excited: Timberlake is a true showman, and even though this Man Of the Woods tour has a more toned-down feel, it still promises all the dancing, costume changes and projections we'd expect from Timberlake.

Tickets: Find tickets via Ticketmaster

Paul McCartney, the former Beatles member takes us on a nostalgic musical tour.

When: June 22

Where: Petco Park

Why we're excited: It's Paul McCartney! His 2014 performance in San Diego featured a mix of Beatles favorites, songs from Wings and McCartney's solo material.

Tickets: Find seats via Paul McCartney's official site

Massive Attack, the seminal 1990s electronica group reunites.

When: April 2

Where: California Coast Credit Union Open Air Amphitheater at San Diego State University

Why we're excited: The band is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its album, "Mezzanine" with Cocteau Twins vocalist Elizabeth Fraser performing its best-known single, "Teardrop."

Tickets: Find tickets via Ticketmaster

Classical Music

Rafael Payare joins the San Diego Symphony as its music director.

When: His inaugural concert is Jan. 10.

Where: Jacobs Music Center at Copley Symphony Hall

Why we're excited: After more than a year without a music director, the symphony will now be guided by this young conductor from Venezuela.

Tickets: Find tickets via the San Diego Symphony

La Jolla Music Society opens the doors to its new venue, The Conrad

When: April 5

Where: 7600 Fay Ave. in La Jolla

Why we're excited: This world-class venue was designed for classical music, plus it should also attract more high-quality arts events to San Diego.

Tickets: See events and find tickets via La Jolla Music Society

Photo credit: San Diego Museum of Art

A photo of Francisco de Zubarán, Virgin and Child with Saint John, 1658 for the exhibition Art and Empire: The Golden Age of Spain. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R., Amy and Irene Putnam. 1935.22

Visual Arts

San Diego Surreal, a look at Surrealism in Southern California.

When: Feb. 23 through June 16

Where: Oceanside Museum of Art

Why we're excited: This exhibit will put our sunny landscape and poolside lifestyle in a completely new perspective. Expect to see about 50 pieces from contemporary artists and earlier 20th-century modernists.

Tickets: Find admission information and details via Oceanside Museum of Art

Where to Find a Donkey Show: Teleborder Images, curated by Deslave, focuses on the representation of border issues in TV, film and online.

When: April 6 through May 19

Where: San Diego Art Institute

Why we're excited: This Balboa Park organization puts on provocative, meaningful exhibitions. Along with border representation, this show will also show how technology has shaped the artists working in Tijuana and Southern California.

Tickets: More information and tickets will be available via San Diego Art Institute

Art and Empire: The Golden Age of Spain, a collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts from about 1550 to 1750.

When: Opens May 18

Where: San Diego Museum of Art

Why we're excited: This exhibition expands on Spain's "Golden Age" to include Hispanic areas abroad including Naples, Mexico, Lima, and the Philippines.

Tickets: Find details via San Diego Museum of Art


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the groundbreaking modern dance company returns to San Diego.

When: March 26 and 27

Where: Jacobs Music Center at Copley Symphony Hall

Why we're excited: Alvin Ailey helped popularize modern dance and also created a company of diverse dancers to tell stories of African-American experiences. The company is in San Diego for its 60th anniversary tour.

Tickets: Find tickets via La Jolla Music Society

Romance: En Pointe!, excerpts from beloved classical ballets.

When: April 27 and 28

Where: California Center for the Arts, Escondido

Why we're excited: San Diego Ballet's Javier Velasco is one of the city's best choreographers and he'll be putting his spin on classic ballets like "Giselle," "Don Quixote" and "Romeo et Juliet."

Tickets: Find tickets via San Diego Ballet

California Ballet's "The Nutcracker," San Diego's most popular production gets an update.

When: December

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre

Why we're excited: Jared Nelson, California Ballet's new artistic director, is updating the annual holiday ballet. While this one is already San Diego's most popular "Nutcracker," Nelson hints that he'll be keeping the new version traditional but to expect something grander and more professional.

Tickets: Keep checking California Ballet for details and tickets


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