Jean Lowerison

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THEATER REVIEW: “Billy Elliot” at San Diego Civic Theatre

Billy Elliot just wants to dance.

Billy is the 11-year-old son of coal miner Jackie (Rich Hebert) and brother of Tony (Cullen R. Titmas), another miner. Mum (Molly Garner) has died, though she turns up from time to time in fantasy sequences, but Billy’s spunky Grandma (Patti Perkins) is still around, and has one of the best songs.

The place is Durham County; the time, 1984, the year British prime minister Margaret Thatcher decided to break the union much the way her friend Ronald Reagan had broken the U.S. air traffic controllers’ union three years earlier.

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THEATER REVIEW: Chance Theater’s “The Laramie Project” plays

People do not like to change long-held opinions, no matter how much new information or how many facts can be marshaled against them. I don’t have the stats, but I’d hazard a guess that the likelihood of changing someone’s opinion is inversely related to the length of time it’s been held.

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THEATER REVIEW: North Coast’s “The Odd Couple”

Brown and green sandwiches that have sat for two weeks in a fridge with no electricity may not be your idea of party fare, but then you’re not Oscar, Neil Simon’s favorite slob, to whom food is much less important than the cards you play.

Oscar (Matt Thompson) is a New York sportswriter who hosts a weekly poker game in his disheveled apartment for buddies Murray (Bernard X. Kopsho), Speed (John Nutten), Vinnie (Cris O’Bryon) and Roy (Albert Park).

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THEATER REVIEW: San Diego Rep’s “Federal Jazz Project” | VIDEO

“Jazz, like history, can never be silent,” says el Poeta (Richard Montoya), narrator of “Federal Jazz Project,” now have its world premiere at San Diego Repertory Theatre.

Sam Woodhouse directs this big, loud, raucous valentine to border towns San Diego and Tijuana, encompassing the years from 1939 on. It’s a collaboration between Richard Montoya (writer of the often-poetic script) and trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, composer of the original jazz score who also leads the boffo onstage band of five.

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THEATER REVIEW: Diversionary’s “The Further Adventures Of Hedda Gabler”

Hedda Gabler, splayed out on the couch with a bullet through her head, wakes from her final scene.

“Did I miss?” she asks. Then, seeing husband Tesman: “Am I in hell?

Well, not quite, but she and many other fictional/historical/mythological characters will flit through Jeff Whitty’s witty “The Further Adventures Of Hedda Gabler” on their way to ... well, I’m getting ahead of myself.

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THEATER REVIEW: Diversionary’s “The Further Adventures Of Hedda Gabler”

Hedda Gabler, splayed out on the couch with a bullet through her head, wakes from her final scene.

“Did I miss?” she asks. Then, seeing husband Tesman: “Am I in hell?

Well, not quite, but she and many other fictional/historical/mythological characters will flit through Jeff Whitty’s witty “The Further Adventures Of Hedda Gabler” on their way to ... well, I’m getting ahead of myself.

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THEATER REVIEW: New Village Arts Theatre’s “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”

Every institution needs to be shaken up now and again, to clear the bureaucratic cobwebs and offer a fresh start.

In Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” that force comes in the person of new mental patient Randle P. McMurphy (Jeffrey Jones), a wisecracking wheeler-dealer who has feigned mental illness in order to get out of the work detail specified by his prison sentence.

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THEATER REVIEW: Intrepid Shakespeare Company’s “Oleanna”

It begins innocently enough, with university student Carol (Rachael VanWormer) in the office of Professor John (Francis Gercke). She says she’s flunking his course, doesn’t understand his lectures or his book and wants help.

John (who has just been recommended for tenure) is willing to help, but this day will find him distracted by phone calls from his wife and their real estate broker about the house they are buying.

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THEATER REVIEW: The Old Globe’s “A Doll’s House” | VIDEO

Being a trophy wife and called cutesy things like “songbird,” “little lark” and “little squirrel” must be an awful drag.

Ask Nora Helmer (Gretchen Hall). Not only does her husband Torvald (Fred Arsenault) call her silly names like those above, but he doesn’t bother her pretty little head with serious talk of any kind. Consequently, despite eight years of marriage and three children, she really does feel like a doll, an inanimate object kept around the house for looks alone.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Damien” at Lamb's Players Theatre

“For 16 years I have been the sole keeper of this city of the dead,” Father Damien says in 1889.

That “city” is the Kalaupapa Settlement, a leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, and Father Damien speaks from the grave. He was the settlement’s priest until he contracted leprosy himself and died among his parishioners.

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