Jean Lowerison

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THEATER REVIEW: La Jolla Playhouse’s “His Girl Friday”

What a quaint picture: a makeshift press room with a large table of male print reporters shooting the fat, playing poker and waiting for the big execution to happen so they can call in their stories to the rewrite desk.

Those were fast-talking, wisecracking times with very few women and no computers or cell phones, inhabited by writers who never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

It’s “His Girl Friday,” John Guare’s rewrite of a remake of the source material – Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 play “The Front Page,” playing through June 30 at the Mandell Weiss Theatre.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Fiddler On The Roof” at Lamb’s Players

If you’ve ever wondered just how popular “Fiddler On The Roof” is, consider that Lamb’s Players Theatre extended the current run of the show twice before it opened.

The 1964 musical favorite is now open and running through July 14. Robert and Deborah Gilmour Smyth share directorial responsibilities.

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THEATER REVIEW: “American Idiot” at San Diego’s Civic Theatre

Let’s face it, there are shows old ladies with an artistic allergy to loud rock music and unintelligible lyrics shouldn’t review.

“American Idiot” – the Tony-nominated punk rock opera with a vestigial plot about three teenage dwellers in suburbia who must choose between the safety of staying home or the challenge of chasing their dreams in the Big City – just might be in that category.

The one-act Broadway hit blasted into San Diego’s Civic Theatre last night for shows through April 2. Michael Mayer (who co-wrote the book) directs.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Moonlight And Magnolias” at Scripps Ranch Theatre

The making of the film version of “Gone With The Wind” is a story almost as wild as the plot itself. Here are just a few factoids:

Producer David O. Selznick had to wait two years to get Clark Gable (after being unable to get his first choice – Gary Cooper); it took him 1,400 auditions to find his Scarlett; director George Cukor was replaced in mid-shoot. He went through several screenwriters.

That’s where “Moonlight And Magnolias” comes in, Ron Hutchinson’s farce about the vagaries of Hollywood moguls and the risks filmmakers take.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Shakespeare’s R&J” at the Cygnet

When I read Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in school, I thought it an impossibly wonderful romantic story of love, loss and death.

I guess I was lucky, because these days the play (featuring teen sex and suicide) is almost as likely to be banned as assigned. This may have inspired the four boys in Joe Calarco’s “Shakespeare’s R&J” – pupils in 1964 in a Catholic boys’ school identified as Student 1, Student 2, etc. – to squirrel away a forbidden copy.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Seascape” at New Village Arts Theatre

Cast your mind back to the mid-1970s, when the American women’s movement was just picking up steam, and consider Edward Albee’s 1975 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Seascape.”

Long-married Nancy (Dana Case) and Charlie (Jack Missett) lounge on an unspecified beach. Charlie is happy just lying there with his hat over his face, but Nancy thinks if one beach is good, visiting two or three or 25 must be better. She suggests they spend their retirement having adventures – say, beach-hopping around the world.

Charlie wants none of it. “You’ve had a good life,” he says. “We’ve earned a rest.”

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THEATER REVIEW: ion’s “Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo”

“When I get hungry, I get stupid,” says the titular Tiger (Ron Choularton), by way of explanation for his death.

Death itself, the senselessness destruction of war and the meaning of “tigerness” are among the topics explored by the Tiger’s ghost, who will spend the rest of the evening as narrator and resident philosopher in Rajiv Joseph’s extraordinary play “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” on the boards through June 1 at ion theatre. I advise you to get your tickets now.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Be A Good Little Widow” at The Old Globe | VIDEO

The fear of flying inspired playwright Bekah Brunstetter’s “Be A Good Little Widow,” but the topics that propel this strange and oddly uninvolving one-act dramedy are grief, loss and getting on with life.

“Widow” is in its West Coast premiere through June 9 at The Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. Hal Brooks directs.

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THEATER REVIEW: “The Sound Of Music”

It’s old, long, even a little sappy – and it gets me every time.

I’m talking about Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound Of Music,” now getting a splendid revival from San Diego Musical Theatre. Directed and choreographed by Todd Nielsen, the 1960 winner of five Tonys plays through May 26 at Birch North Park Theatre.

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THEATER REVIEW: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

I was (and am) a pretty good speller, but I never won any spelling bees. Neither will most of the contestants in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” the musical that pokes gentle fun at that great old grammar-school institution.

“Spelling Bee,” running through June 8 at OnStage Playhouse, is a paean to being different, full of recognizable types. The kids who couldn’t spell would call them “losers” because, let’s face it, they are not like the others.