Theater Notebook: Cygnet Theatre unveils final season in Old Town before move to Liberty Station

Karole Foreman, seen here in North Coast Repertory Theatre's "Blues in the Night."
Karole Foreman, seen here in North Coast Repertory Theatre’s “Blues in the Night,” will star in Cygnet Theatre’s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.”
(Courtesy of Aaron Rumley)

Also this week, La Jolla Playhouse announces casting for its upcoming “Untitled, Unauthorized Hunter S. Thompson Musical.”


With construction now under way on its new theater building in Liberty Station, Cygnet Theatre has announced the lineup for the final season it will produce at its longtime home theater in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Cygnet’s upcoming 2023-24 season will run from December of this year through October of 2024. The company’s new home, the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Performing Arts Center, is projected to open in 2025. To get a sneak peek at new theater complex being built inside an historic former Navy recreation building, visit

To celebrate the company’s upcoming 20th season, Cygnet will be presenting an all-musicals slate that pays homage to its past and future.

“As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Cygnet’s first season back in 2003, we decided to take that spirit of celebration in mind and assemble a selection of shows that feels very Cygnet: something new, something different and a revival of one of our most requested plays,” said Sean Murray, Cygnet’s founding artistic director, in a statement.

Season tickets are now on sale starting at $120 at

Here’s the lineup:

“A Christmas Carol”: Cygnet artistic chief Murray returns in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge for the company’s long-running, music-filled version of Charles Dickens’ holiday novella. Cygnet’s adaptation, which Murray wrote and directs, incorporates holiday carols with an original score, puppetry, live sound effects and spooky special effects. Dec. 1-30.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”: Being produced in association with Ebony Repertory Theatre, this one-act musical by Lanie Robertson will star San Diego’s Karole Foreman as blues legend Billie Holiday. Set in a small Philadelphia bar in 1959, Holiday is performing what will be the last concert before she died from heart failure at age 44. In this story, Billie sings her most famous song and reflects on her loves and losses. Wren T. Brown directs. Jan. 24-Feb. 18, 2024.

“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”: Making its West Coast premiere, this electro-pop opera by Dave Malloy was adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel “War and Peace.” Young and impulsive, Natasha Rostova arrives in Moscow to await the return of her fiancé from the front lines. When she falls under the spell of the roguish Anatole, it is up to Pierre, a family friend in the middle of an existential crisis, to pick up the pieces of her shattered reputation. April 10-May 12, 2024.

“tick, tick ... BOOM!”: Before the late Jonathan Larson wrote “Rent,” he penned this autobiographical rock musical about a struggling theater composer in 1990 battling anxiety over not making his mark in the world before he turns 30. July 3-Aug. 4, 2024.

Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show”: Murray directs this original stage musical that was later made into the cult classic film. Inspired by campy sci-fi horror films, the rock ‘n’ roll comedy/sex romp is about a young couple who get lost in a thunderstorm and meet the strange inhabitants of an old castle, including the cross-dressing mad scientist Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter. Patrick Marion is music director. Sept. 11-Oct. 20, 2024.

Meanwhile, still to come for the 2022-23 season are Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita,” opening in previews next week, and “The Little Fellow (or The Queen to Tarts Tells All)” by Kate Hamill, running Oct. 25-Nov. 19.

Tony Award-winning actor Gabriel Ebert
Tony Award-winning actor Gabriel Ebert will play the title role in La Jolla Playhouse’s upcoming “The Untitled, Unauthorized Hunter S. Thompson Musical.”
(Associated Press)

‘Hunter S. Thompson’ casting news

La Jolla Playhouse has announced principal casting for its upcoming “The Untitled, Unauthorized Hunter S. Thompson Musical.”

Written by Joe Iconis, Gregory S. Moss and Jon Rua, and directed by Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley, the musical about the infamous gonzo journalist will run Aug. 29 through Oct. 8.

Tony Award-winning actor Gabriel Ebert will play the title role in of the famously immersive journalist who took his own life in 2005. The 35-year-old Denver native Ebert won a Tony Award in 2013 for his featured performance as Mr. Wormwood in the Broadway production of “Matilda the Musical.” He also won an Obie Award in 2012 for his performance in the play “4000 Miles” at New York’s Lincoln Center. He is also known for TV roles in the streaming series “Mr. Mercedes” and appeared in the Tom Hanks movie “News of the World.”

San Diego actor Giovanny Diaz de Leon.
Giovanny Diaz de Leon is featured in La Jolla Playhouse’s “The Untitled, Unauthorized Hunter S. Thompson Musical.”
(Hershey Felder)

Also featured in the musical are George Abud (Marinetti in the Playhouse’s 2022 production of “Lempicka”) as Nixon; Tony nominee Jeannette Bayardelle as Jann; Marcy Harriell as Sandy; Lorinda Lisitza as Virginia; Lauren Marcus as Flower Child; George Salazar as Oscar; Jason SweetTooth Williams as Ralph; Ryan Vona as Juan; and San Diego’s own Giovanny Diaz de León as The Kid.

The cast of Lamb's Players Theatre's "Cotton Patch Gospel."
The cast of Lamb’s Players Theatre’s “Cotton Patch Gospel.” Front row: Ernest Sauceda (left), Bryan Barbarin and Michael Louis Cusimano. Back row: Greg Campbell (left), Shawn Rohlf, Oliver Shirley and Brandon Wallace.
(Courtesy of Lamb’s Players Theatre)

‘Cotton Patch Gospel’ extends

Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado has extended its summer production of “Cotton Patch Gospel,” a contemporary bluegrass take on story of the life and death of Jesus. Originally scheduled to close Aug. 20, it will now run through Sept. 3. For tickets, visit