What Are YOUR Top Theatre Experiences?

Our colleague, Welton Jones, was recently interviewed by Jeff Smith, and he detailed his choices for his most vivid theatre experiences in a two-parter run by the San Diego Reader. Here’s a link to Part 1, which contains his national and international picks, and another to Part 2, which has his local picks.  To save you a little time looking here’s a summary of the two parts:

National/International, in chronological order:

1.) The Visit, by Frederick Durrematt (1958) at the renovated Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway.

2.) The Threepenny Opera, Marc Blitzstein’s adaptation of the Brecht/Weill “play with musical elements,” Theatre de Lys, off-Broadway (1958).

3.) West Side Story, by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim, staged by Jerome Robbins, Winter Garden Theatre, Broadway (1958).

4.) La Plume de Ma Tante, Royale Theatre, Broadway (1958).

5.) Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Momma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin So Sad. Phoenix Theatre, New York (1962).

6.) Baby Want A Kiss (Broadway, Little Theatre, 1964).

7.) Hair, James Rado, Gerome Ragni, and Galt McDermott’s “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” (off-Broadway, 1967, Broadway, 1968).

8.) A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Royal Shakespeare Company (1970).

9.) The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1980).

10.) The Mahabarata (1985).

And, his local productions:

1.) Twelfth Night, Old Globe Theatre, directed by Edward Payson Call (1967).

2.) Plymouth Rock, written and directed by Scott Busath, Earth (former Pacific Beach concert venue), directed by Christopher R, (1971).

3.) The Tempest, Old Globe, directed by Ellis Rabb (1974).

4.) Tartuffe, Old Globe, Cassius Carter, directed Charles Vernon, (1974).

5.) The Exchange, Crystal Palace (1975).

6.) Salad Daze, by Joe Hogan, Crystal Palace (1976).

7.) A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Old Globe Theatre (1978).

8.) Uncommon Women and Others, by Wendy Wasserstein, directed by Will Simpson, Second Avenue Theatre (now a Horton Plaza parking lot), downtown (1979).

9.) Albington Square, written and directed by Maria Irene Fornes, San Diego Repertory Theatre (1992).

10.) Jersey Boys, La Jolla Playhouse, music by Bob Gaudio, lyics, Bob Crewe, book, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, directed by Des McAnuff (2004).

Read both pieces for an explanation of why he made each selection.

Of course, theatre is personal, and we are all moved in different ways. What are your favorite theatre experiences? Put them in the comments below.

1 Comment

  1. Bill Eadie on August 15, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Ok, so I’ll start. My list won’t be comprehensive or in any particular order, but here are some of my most memorable experiences in the theatre:

    1. King Lear, at the Old Globe in 1973, with Ken Ruta and Sandy McCallum. Directed by Edward Payson Call.
    2. Kennedy’s Children, by Robert Patrick, performed in a London pub in 1975.
    3. Follies, at the Winter Garden Theatre, 1971 – my first show seen in a Broadway theatre.
    4. Cabaret – pretty much every version I’ve seen.
    5. Sweeney Todd – Kennedy Center, with the late Jane Pesci Townsend, who went on for Christine Baranski and knocked ’em dead.
    6. Merrily We Roll Along – 1983 production at the Roland Dupree Studio in Los Angeles got this difficult show as right as I’ve ever seen it.
    7. A Chorus Line – the show I’ve probably seen more than any other. The first time (in LA) was the most magical.
    8. Henry IV, Part 2 (Le Theatre du Soleil), The Tempest (Piccolo Teatro di Milano), and Six Characters in Search of an Author (American Repertory Theatre), all part of the great 1984 LA Olympic Arts Festival.
    9. Angels in America – every time I see it.
    10. Jersey Boys – three times at La Jolla Playhouse – definitely a guilty pleasure.

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