Theater Notebook: San Diego Rep’s new play-reading festival to celebrate Black voices
Plus more local theater news from San Diego Musical Theatre, UC San Diego, Point Loma Playhouse and Hershey Felder
As part of its expanded inclusion and diversity efforts, San Diego Repertory Theatre will launch a new program this month, its inaugural San Diego Rep Black Voices 2021 Play Reading Series.
The four-week series — taking place live online at 5:30 p.m. Mondays, March 15 through April 5 — will feature works by four Black playwrights, directed by four Black directors and starring a combined 23 actors, 18 of whom are either Black or Asian-American.
Each performance will include a live salon hosted by leading theater artists and scholars. The play series is being curated by director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg and Rep associate artistic director Danielle Ward, with additional curation by dramaturg Kimberly King and Rep development and artistic associate Ahmed K. Dents.
“Now, more than ever, attention must be paid, and minds and hearts must open wide to listen closely to these essential American voices,” Sam Woodhouse, San Diego Rep’s longtime artistic director, said in a statement.
Tickets will be “pay what you can” with a suggested donation of $20. To register, visit sdrep.org. Here’s the series lineup:
March 15: “Polar Bears, Black Boys, and Prairie Fringed Orchids” by Vincent Terrell Durham, directed by Rondrell McCormick. The play is about a cocktail party in Harlem where race and redemption in today’s America come up in conversation.
March 22: “Baton” by Deneen Reynolds-Knott, directed by Dexter Singleton. A Black couple, whose date is interrupted by a news story about a Black man beaten by White police officers, debate police brutality and the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements.
March 29: “Mud Row” by Dominique Morriseau, directed by Patricia McGregor. Two generations of sisters protect and defy the legacy of their foremothers in a story of a family home, shared heritage, estrangement and hope.
April 5: “The Great Khan” by Michael Gene Sullivan, directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg. Two Black teen boys seek to define their identities when Genghis Khan shows up to challenge their ideas about their stories and who gets to tell them.
Point Loma extends ‘The Meeting’
Point Loma Playhouse has extended the run of its filmed production of Jeff Stetson’s play “The Meeting, which imagines a fictional 1965 meeting at a Harlem hotel between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. The play will be available for streaming on March 5 and 6 for $10 a ticket at showtix4u.com/events/17491.
Rep’s Puccini play announced
San Diego Repertory Theatre will co-present the world premiere of “Hershey Felder, Puccini” at 5 p.m. March 14. Felder is writing, producing and co-starring in the filmed play starring opera singers Nathan Gunn, Charles Castronovo and Gianna Corbisiero. Based on the life story of Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini, it is being filmed on location in Puccini’s hometown of Lucca, Italy, and will feature excerpts from Puccini’s operas “La bohème,” “Tosca,” “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot.”
After its premiere, the Puccini play will be available for streaming through March 21. Tickets are $55. Visit sdrep.org.
SDMT’s ‘Date Night’ returns
San Diego Musical Theatre’s “Date Night: The Concert,” rescheduled from February following a COVID scare, will be available for streaming March 11 through 14. The fundraising concert features Emmy Award-winner Carolyn Hennesy and four San Diego musical couples: Kelly Derouin and David Humphrey, Luke Monday and JD Dumas, Stephen and Eve Jack and Katie Sapper and Charlie Gange. Tickets are a minimum $15 donation. Visit sdmt.org.
Forum on opera and social justice planned
From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, UC San Diego’s Arts and Humanities event series will host a virtual webinar discussion titled “Opera and Social Justice: How can opera give voice to a new historical narrative?” Moderated by Los Angeles Times classical music critic Mark Swed, the forum will feature UCSD composer Anthony Davis, who won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for music for his opera “The Central Park 5,” as well as composer John Adams, librettist Thulani Davis, librettist Michael Korie and composer/activisti Daniel Bernard Roumain. To learn more, visit artsandhumanities.ucsd.edu.
Pam Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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