5 Plays To See In San Diego In October
Live theater is back. On our radar this fall are shows at La Jolla Playhouse, Diversionary Theatre, Moxie Theatre, The Old Globe, San Diego Junior Theatre (and your Apple TV).
'The Garden' at La Jolla Playhouse
Runs Sept. 21 through Oct. 17, 2021
In "The Garden," playwright (and co-star) Charlayne Woodard brings us to a moment, at a garden gate, when an aging Black woman and her daughter (played by Woodard) reconcile after being estranged for three years. It won't be a sweet and easy reunion; these two women are fighters, and they have years of issues, secrets and history to unpack, right there at the garden gate. I am always here for the complicated, aging relationships between mothers and daughters. This is a commission from the Playhouse, and it's co-directed by Patricia McGregor and Delicia Turner Sonnenberg.
Details: Event information. Performances Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at both 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. from Sept. 21 through Oct. 17. Sunday performances are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. October 3, 10, and 17. $25-47.
COVID information: Proof of vaccination or proof of negative PCR test within 48 hours. Masks required indoors.
'The Mineola Twins' at Moxie Theatre
Runs Sept. 26 - Oct. 24, 2021
Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel's late-'90s work, "The Mineola Twins" is a great showcase for a gifted comedic actress, and local Samantha Ginn is up for the challenge. Ginn plays both Myrna and Myra, "almost identical" twins as they navigate entirely different outlooks during multiple decades of the women's movement in America from the mid-1950s through the first Bush administration. That alone is quite the task, and toss in the complicated acting (and costume changes) associated with swapping between Myra and Myrna, this promises to be a wild one to watch. Directed by Moxie cofounder Jennifer Eve Thorn, the cast is rounded out by three more actors who also portray multiple characters (Emily Jerez, Phillip Magin and Desireé Clarke).
COVID information: Proof of vaccination or proof of negative PCR test within 72 hours. Guests under 12 not allowed. Masks required in the theater.
'One in two' at Diversionary Theatre
Runs Oct. 3-24, 2021
In a note in the event program, executive artistic director Matt Morrow wrote, "One night during the pandemic I woke up with these words resonating in my mind clear as a bell: 'one in two must be our first show back.' This is the west coast premiere of 2019's "one in two," by Donja R. Love, who identifies as an Afro-Queer playwright and filmmaker. The work is inspired by a 2017 CDC report that revealed one in every two Black gay or bisexual men would be diagnosed as HIV-positive. Directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, the cast is just three actors, Kevane La'Marr Coleman, Durwood Murray and Carter Piggee. The roles are identified only by their position on stage ("Person on Left," "Person in Middle," and "Person on Right"), and the play promises to be intimate and revelatory.
This isn't just the return from the pandemic shutdown for Diversionary — it's also a debut of their newly renovated theater space.
COVID information: Proof of vaccination required. Masks required in the theater. No unvaccinated guests, including children under the age of 12. For unvaccinated ticketholders, livestreams will be available.
'Shutter Sisters' at The Old Globe
Runs Oct. 7 - Nov. 7, 2021
First unveiled as a reading in The Globe's Powers New Voices Festival in January 2020, this is the theatrical premiere of "Shutter Sisters," a Globe-commissioned work by Mansa Ra (who also has playwriting credits under his previous name, Jiréh Breon Holder). It's a surrealist work, following two women with parallel lives, one, who is white, named Michael, and another, who is Black, named Mykal. There's themes of motherhood, identity, womanhood, belonging, resilience — and ultimately finding common ground. The work, directed by Donya Washington, will star Terry Burrell and Shana Wride.
COVID information: Proof of vaccination or proof of negative PCR test within 72 hours. Masks required indoors.
'A Year With Frog And Toad' at San Diego Junior Theatre
Runs Oct. 29 - Nov. 14, 2021
Is there anything more wholesome than Arnold Lobel's delightfully unlikely though unconditionally devoted friends, Frog and Toad? This Willie Reale adaptation of the beloved children's books is a musical journey through the seasons, and marks Junior Theatre's return to their usual intensive youth performances. In a way, there's no better choice than Frog and Toad to hold our hands as we face an ever-changing world full of seemingly insurmountable differences. Directed by SDJT's artistic director Desha Crownover.
COVID information: Pod-based seating. Proof of vaccination or proof of negative PCR test within 72 hours. Children under 12 are welcome while seated with vaccinated adults in a pod. Masks required indoors.
Bonus virtual pick: The 9/11-based musical "Come From Away" premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2015, under the direction of The Playhouse's Christopher Ashley, then ultimately went to Broadway. When Broadway theaters briefly reopened this year, a full production was performed and filmed — also directed by Ashley — with an engaging cast deftly snapping between multiple roles. Set in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, the plot follows both the townsfolk and the 7,000 airline passengers who were diverted there when air traffic was abruptly grounded over the United States. It's now available to watch on Apple TV+.