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Arts & Culture

A Summer Of Musicals In San Diego

"Sleeping Beauty Wakes" is currently playing at the La Jolla Playhouse.
"Sleeping Beauty Wakes" is currently playing at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Summer Of Musicals In San Diego
We’re in the dog days of summer here in San Diego, but an evening’s escape is only a stage away. KPBS arts reporter Angela Carone says the local theater scene has a summer bounty of musicals, including some familiar and not so familiar productions.

If you’re a San Diegan who loves musicals, this is your summer.

There’s one on almost every stage in town. That means in a thriving theater scene like San Diego’s, you’ve got options: rock, pop, doo wop, old school, new school, there’s someone singing your tune in a San Diego theater this week.

If you listen to my radio story at the left (available at 10am), you can hear the music from many of these musicals. But here's a list:



This is a fresh staging of a musical developed at the La Jolla Playhouse in the early 90s. It became a hit on Broadway. San Diego Rep's staging, under the direction of Sam Woodhouse, features a young enthusiastic cast. We recently profiled the lead actor, B. Slade.

Where: The San Diego Repertory Theatre

When: July 16-August 14



If you like more pop in your rock, then the La Jolla Playhouse’s dreamy “Sleeping Beauty Wakes” may be for you.

Members of the band GrooveLily composed the score for this modern take on the Sleeping Beauty fable. No forest slumber for this present day princess, she’s off to a sleep disorder clinic. Believe it or not, love can bloom in such a setting, especially if our heroine finds someone with similar interests, like a narcoleptic orderly, for example.

Where: The La Jolla Playhouse

When: July 19-August 28


Speaking of love, head up to North Coast Rep for a comic - and musical - take on today’s dating scene, with some built-in appeal for all those foodies out there. “Five Course Love” follows a group of dating hopefuls as they meet in restaurant after restaurant, looking for love among the appetizers. Sparks fly, and fizzle, and most are played for laughs.

Where: North Coast Rep.

When: Extended through August 14th!


Now, I happen to prefer a little Motown in my rock musicals. Throw in a healthy dose of camp from the B-movie director Roger Corman and I’m sold. "Little Shop of Horrors" is based on a 60s Corman movie and in the 80s, it became a hit off-Broadway. It’s also the only musical I know of about a flesh eating plant. Cygnet has an impressive track record of reimagining familiar musicals, as they did last year with "Sweeney Todd" and more recently with "Cabaret." Let’s see if the trend continues with "Little Shop."

Where: Cygnet Theatre

When: July 28-Sept. 11


On a stage across town, Hershey Felder returns with another one-man musical biography. He’s brought his versions of Beethoven, Gershwin, and Chopin to the Old Globe in the past. This year, it’s Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein is probably most famous as the composer of "West Side Story." He was also a colossal figure in the classical music world with a larger than life personality to match. Felder has his work cut out for him this time.

Where: The Old Globe

When: July 22-August 28

And now for something completely different...


Lambs Players continues its celebration of 80s music, with the musical "miXtape," which has been extended for the 5th time. It’s now the longest running homegrown musical in San Diego history. The show has a cult following. Fans will see shows over and over again and dress in 80s neon and spandex. Singing along with the cast is also encouraged.

Where: Lamb's Player's Horton Grand Theater

When: Extended through November 6


Some of the old musical war horses can also be found on stages around the county. At Moonlight in Vista, "Annie" finishes up a summer run this weekend, to make way for "Hairspray."

Where: Moonlight Stage Productions

When: "Annie": July 20-August 6. "Hairspray:" August 17-September 3rd.


And finally, something for the whole family, "Mary Poppins" - the original nanny - the one that launched a thousand nanny TV shows and movies, comes to town. The Civic Theater hosts the Broadway touring production of "Mary Poppins" beginning August 10th.

Where: Civic Theatre (Broadway San Diego presents)

When: August 10-21st.

And there you have it – proof that it’s good to be a musical lover this summer in San Diego.