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Theater Notebook: Old Globe-born ‘Almost Famous’ musical to make a Broadway run later this year

Members of the Old Globe's cast for the musical "Almost Famous" pose in 1970s attire in front of a tour bus
The cast for the musical “Almost Famous,” which made its world premiere in 2019 at the Old Globe in San Diego. The producers have just announced plans for a Broadway run later this year.
(Neal Preston)

Also in this week’s theater news: ‘Freestyle Love Supreme’ tickets are on sale, San Diego Opera will host a third hackathon, and more

The producers of the musical “Almost Famous,” which made its world premiere in fall 2019 at the Old Globe in San Diego, have announced that the show will make its Broadway premiere later this year.

No dates have been announced, but the musical’s website (almostfamousthemusical.com) has been updated with the words: “It’s All Happening ... Broadway 2022.” A publicist for the musical said producers will be announcing the dates later this month.

The “Almost Famous” musical, inspired by the 2000 film of the same name, features a book and lyrics by Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Cameron Crowe, who was born and raised in San Diego. The film and musical are based on Crowe’s own experiences as a teenage rock ‘n’ roll correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 1970s.

The musical features a score Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal,” “American Idiot”), and it was directed at the Old Globe by Jeremy Herrin. The musical had been poised for a much earlier berth on Broadway, but the pandemic delayed producers’ plans.

‘Freestyle Love Supreme’ on sale

The Old Globe has opened single-ticket sales for its summer engagement of “Freestyle Love Supreme,” the Manhattan-born improvisational hip-hop stage show that is now on national tour. It plays at the Old Globe from June 21 through July 10.

“Freestyle Love Supreme” was conceived in 2004 by improvisational theater expert Anthony Veneziale, who co-created the show with “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and “Hamilton” director Thomas Kail. Cast members create rap and musical theater songs in the moment from audience suggestions.

Miranda starred in the original “Freestyle Love Supreme” shows before moving on to write his own Tony-winning musicals. Kail went on to direct Miranda’s “In the Heights” as well as “Hamilton,” for which he won a 2016 Tony Award. Veneziale has continued to produce “Freestyle Love Supreme” in a variety of venues and formats, including a Broadway run last fall. Veneziale is leading the national tour as the show’s emcee.

For tickets, visit theoldglobe.org.

S.D. Opera hosting third ‘hackathon’

San Diego Opera has announced plans to host Opera Hack 3.0, the third in a series of events where it invites technology experts to explore ways that technology can be used in the production, presentation and consumption of opera.

With the support of an Opera America Innovation Grant, San Diego Opera hosted its first “hackathon” in 2019, where a diverse group of opera industry composers, librettists, producers, directors and designers met with experts in the fields of virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, software design, creative coding and 3D printing. A second event was held in 2021.

Among the winning Opera Hack proposals that are now under development are an OperaMap, which will be a shared online database of theater interiors, stages and backstage areas mapped with 360-degree “protogrammetry” that opera companies can use to see how scenery will work in their theaters, and “Becoming,” a concept where virtual and augmented reality technology can be used to put the viewer inside a sonic world where they can both see and feel the environment and voices of opera singers.

Opera Hack 3.0 will be conducted entirely online this spring and summer. Details on registering for the project can be found online at sdopera.org/operahack.

Lamb’s extends ‘Quartet’ again

Lamb’s Players Theatre has extended for the second time its production of the musical “Million Dollar Quartet.”

The musical, based on a real-life 1956 recording session featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, will now play through July 3.

Meanwhile, one of the roles in the Lamb’s production has been recast with a new actor. Michael Louis Cusimano, who has played Presley since the production opened in April, has left the show for a role in La Jolla Playhouse’s upcoming production of the musical “Lempicka.” Taking his place will be Walter Brinskele, who played Presley in Lamb’s Players’ 2019 production of “Million Dollar Quartet” at the Avo Playhouse in Vista.

For tickets, visit lambsplayers.org.

New play to debut in Vista

Vista’s Broadway Theater will produce a new play in June by local playwright Phil Olson.

Olson’s romantic comedy “Love or Best Offer” will be presented as a staged reading in four performances June 3-5. It’s the story of four 50-something adults learning to navigate the world of online dating. It will feature Broadway Theater co-founders Randall Hickman and Douglas Davis along with actors Susan Stuber and Julianna Palma.

Olson will attend all the performances and is seeking feedback from audiences as he further develops the script. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. June 3 and 4 and 2 p.m. June 4 and 5 at 340 E. Broadway, Vista. Tickets are $15. Call (760) 806-7905 or visit broadwayvista.biz.

Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at pam.kragen@sduniontribune.com.


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