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By  Alex Huntsberger 

For the Sun-Times Apr 21, 2023, 10:46am PDT

If the devil himself appeared on your doorstep and offered you the chance to help your favorite sports team win big — not real big, mind you, but a more-than-decent showing — in return for your immortal soul, how would you respond? 

I wouldn’t take that deal. But Joe Boyd, the sick-and-tired of being a sick-and-tired Washington Senators fan at the center of “Damn Yankees,” says yes — and part of the show’s everlasting charm lies in how easy it is for us to understand why. 

After all, that’s just the nature of being a sports fan, in this case, baseball. It’s a secular religion that inspires more belief, more prayers, and more invoking of the Lord’s name than most actual religions. In that sense, it’s the perfect place for the devil — the real one — to set up shop.

A lot’s changed since “Damn Yankees” first premiered in 1955, but sports fans? They haven’t changed one bit.

That’s one of the reasons why the musical holds up so well — surprisingly well. Director James Vásquez’s engaging new production at Marriott Theatre finds ways to delight that go beyond the show’s disarming lack of creakiness. With a strong cast, charmingly athletic choreography and dynamic staging, this “Damn Yankees” has an OBP that would make Bill James blush. 

The offer that the quite literally devilish Mr. Applegate (a wonderfully grubby Sean Fortunato) makes to old Joe Boyd (Ron E. Rains) is an enticing one: He will transform Joe into a young, slugging superstar who will personally carry the Senators to glory, in return for Joe’s immortal soul — and for temporarily abandoning his stalwart wife Meg (Daniella Dalli).

Sure enough, once the over-the-hill Boyd has joined the team as the aw-shucks, young baseball god Joe Hardy (a winning Andrew Alstat), the Senators take off. They even stand a chance of beating those titular Yankees for the pennant. Faustian bargains: The original Moneyball. 

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By Pam Kragen

Aug. 8, 2021 5 AM PT

In a few days, a multicultural sign-toting troupe of young people will gather in Balboa Park to protest war, racism, environmental destruction and government control. They’ll also sing, dance and get a little naked. 

Tuesday marks the first preview performance of “Hair,” the 1967 counterculture musical opening the Old Globe’s 2021-22 season on the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre stage. It will be one of the first major Equity theater productions to open in the U.S. since the pandemic began last year.

The long-haired, free-spirited “Age of Aquarius” hippies in the musical may seem a relic of another age. But Old Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein said its characters’ efforts to create change, and the story’s message of hope and healing, make it the perfect show for reopening after a 17-month closure.

“‘Hair’ goes to some dark places, but ultimately, the sun shines in,” Edelstein said. “It’s a story about young people coming together convinced that they can build a better America — an America that truly fulfills its promise and its values. There’s an optimism to it, a forward-looking feeling, that just seemed to me exactly the note that we should sound after this terrible, painful, often ugly year-and-a-half.” Read full article...

The Old Globe presents the American tribal love-rock musical Hair, which marks the Globe's first full-scale production in 17 months since the pandemic. Resident Artist James Vásquez (The Old Globe's American Mariachi and Tiny Beautiful Things), who directs a cast of 16, begins rehearsals today.

The award-winning musical features book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot. Performances will play August 10 - September 26, with the official opening on Sunday, August 15, at The Old Globe's outdoor venue, the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Tickets go on sale next week with online-only pre-sale starting Tuesday, July 13, followed by phone and window sales on Friday, July 16.

"The Globe's return to full production with Hair fills me with pride and happiness," said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "As we thought about the right show for this moment, Hair, which we'd planned for our indoor theatre in 2020, seemed perfect. What could the world use more right now than a group of passionate young people, gathered in a spirit of 'harmony and understanding,' singing out for the sun to shine in? At its core, Hair is about optimism. Its characters share a vision of an America that's more peaceful, just, and inclusive. In this production, staged under the stars in our beautiful outdoor venue, that vision is in the hands of immensely talented artists whose gifts herald a period of recovery and return. The Globe is back, and I'm deeply moved and very delighted to share our work again, at long last, with San Diego."

SAN DIEGO: The Old Globe has announced the appointment of four new resident artists who will join the Globe’s artistic staff. During this two-year residency, which began on April 1, the four artists will offer counsel and artistic insight to the Globe’s leadership. The four artists are Patricia McGregor, David Israel Reynoso, Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, and James Vásquez.

“It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome these four extraordinary artists into the very center of the Globe’s artistic life,” said Erna Finci Viterbi artistic director Barry Edelstein in a statement. “Patricia, Delicia, James, and David are already important figures at this theatre, and their superb work has graced our stages many times. But now they will help me and the Globe’s artistic staff set our future course. In particular they will help us honor the commitments we’ve published in our Social Justice Roadmap, aimed at making the Globe and its work more inclusive, equitable, and accessible to San Diego’s—and the nation’s—BIPOC theatremakers. I know that they will enrich the Globe immeasurably. Their arrival here is an important moment, and I look forward to celebrating them in an ongoing partnership, collaboration, and, above all, friendship.”

As part of the residency, the artists will be involved in the play selection process, helping to democratize that process and center Black, Indigenous, and people of color works and artists in the process and life of the Old Globe. They will attend artistic staff meetings, read plays under consideration and offer opinions, weigh in on creative teams being assembled, offer ideas for additional programming materials, and additionally submit projects on which they are primary creatives.

More information, including full bios for the resident artists, is available through the Old Globe’s website.

SAN DIEGO, CALIF.: The Old Globe has announced its eighth annual Powers New Voices Festival, a four-day festival of new-play readings, which will be presented virtually this year for the first time. The festival will stream online Jan. 21-24 on the Hopin platform. The festival is free and open to the public, though reservations are required.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the Globe’s commitment to the safety of our artists and audiences remains paramount, and so, for the first time, we are pivoting our annual festival of new writing to this exciting virtual format,” said artistic director Barry Edelstein in a statement. “Though we cannot gather in person, we can and will continue to share with our audiences the best new work for the stage. This year we focus with even more intensity than in past years on plays by BIPOC artists, and we are excited to investigate a classic of world literature alongside world-premiere, Globe-commissioned work. We’re also thrilled to shine a bright light on San Diego writers, both those in our own playwriting programs, and the members of the San Diego Black Artists Collective. These valued partnerships will yield rich and important work both in this Festival and beyond. I’m looking forward to a great and varied weekend of excellent theatre.”

The festival begins with Celebrating Community Voices (Jan. 21), featuring short works created by San Diego residents through the Globe’s engagement programs. The evening will feature works from Queen Kandi Colke, KishaLynn (“KL”) Moore Elliott, Jonathan Hammond, and Thelma Virata de Castro. Directors for the evening include Freedome Bradley-Ballentine, Katherine Harroff, Gerardo Flores Tonella, and Lamar Perry.

The festival will continue with Fuente Ovejuna (Jan. 22), translated and adapted by William S. Gregory and Daniel Jaquez. Based on the true story of a 1477 uprising in a southern Spanish town, Fuente Ovejuna follows a group of townspeople who band together against a tyrannical leader.

Next up will be An Evening With the San Diego Black Artists Collective (Jan. 23), produced by Karen Ann Daniels and Lamar Perry. The evening will feature works from Tanika Baptiste, Dea Hurston, Joy Yvonne Jones, Tamara McMillian, and Milena (Sellars) Phillips, in addition to an adaptation of Rich Soublet II’s Black Presence photo docu-series. Daniels, Perry, and Delicia Turner Sonnenberg will direct.

The festival will conclude with Under a Baseball Sky (Jan. 24), by José Cruz González, which brings together two unlikely friends around a story about baseball’s deep roots in the Mexican American community. James Vásquez will direct.

Three additional panel discussions will also be held during the festival, including Cocktails with the Canon, discussing the festival’s Latinx artists’ relationship to classic Spanish-language plays; Arts and Activism, where members of the San Diego Black Artists Collective will discuss their artistic and social goals; and Playwrights in Action, which will see festival playwrights discussing their process, plays, and views on new-play development in a pandemic world.

More information on the festival lineup is available online.

The Old Globe announced today that its 23rd annual production of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! will be presented by KPBS Radio in San Diego as a free audio-only production. Due to the ongoing pandemic, The Old Globe is unable to produce the San Diego favorite on its stage this year. The free audio production of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! On the Radio will pivot this San Diego tradition to a new form, giving San Diegans the chance to continue their holiday season visit with The Grinch, and introducing this beloved production to many for the first time. The performance can be heard on the radio in San Diego on KPBS 89.5 FM and can be streamed live on the KPBS website, on the KPBS app, and on smart speakers on Thursday, November 26 (Thanksgiving Day) at 12:00 noon; Saturday, December 5 at 12:00 noon; Sunday, December 20 at 12:00 noon; and Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) at 6:00 p.m. All times are Pacific Standard Time (PT).

Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! On the Radio is a wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book. The family favorite features the songs "Santa for a Day," "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," and "Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze)," the delightful carol from the popular animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Celebrate the holidays with the Whos and The Old Globe.


The audio-only Grinch production is directed by James Vásquez, with book and lyrics by Timothy Mason and music by Mel Marvin. The original production of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was conceived and directed by Jack O'Brien with additional lyrics by Theodor S. Geisel, additional music by Albert Hague, and original choreography by John DeLuca.

The Old Globe today announced the complete cast and creative team for the West Coast premiere of Hurricane Diane, the new unconventional, Obie Award-winning comedy from Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeleine George (The Sore Loser, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England). Directed by James Vásquez (the Globe's Tiny Beautiful Things, the world premiere of American Mariachi, Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, upcoming Hair), Hurricane Diane will run February 8 - March 8, 2020 in the Sheryl and Harvey WhiteTheatre, part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Preview performances run February 8-12. Opening night is Thursday, February 13 at 8:00 p.m. Single tickets on sale now, starting at $30.00, and can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.

This unconventional new comedy from Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeleine Georgesees the Greek god Dionysus return to the modern world disguised as the butch gardener Diane, whose secret mission is to seduce mortal followers and restore the earth to its natural state. Where better to begin than with four real housewives from New Jersey? The New York Times cheered Hurricane Diane as an "astonishing new play," and New York Magazine hailed it as "hilarious and full of keen observation and profound human affection."

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"Playwright Madeleine George swirls together a number of unlikely ingredients to make this remarkable play," said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "She combines an ancient Greek play, the terrors of climate change, and the reality TV world of the various Real Housewives, and then adds a dollop of LGBTQ pulp fiction. The result is a funny and serious work about Mother Nature and human nature, and about the wild and crazy dilemmas that arise as each of us figures out how to respond to a changing natural environment. James Vásquez and a company of brilliant comediennes conjure a vivid theatrical storm that I'm thrilled to share with San Diego."


The cast includes Opal Alladin as Renee Shapiro-Epps (the Globe's Tiny Beautiful Things and Hamlet, Broadway's The Lifespan of a Fact, Tony Award-nominated Travesties, On Golden Pond opposite James Earl Jones, United 93), Jenn Harris as Pam Annunziata (the Globe's In Your Arms, Silence! The Musical, Lucille Lortel and Theatre World Awards for Modern Orthodox Off Broadway), Rami Margron as Diane (Pride and Prejudice at Long Wharf Theatre, Angels in America at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Macbeth and Pericles at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, upcoming "High Maintenance," "Ray Donovan"), Jennifer Paredes as Beth Wann (the Globe's American Mariachi, Twelfth Night, and Waking La Llorona), and Liz Wisan as Carol Fleischer (Broadway's Other Desert Cities, Gloria: A Life, DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment and These Paper Bullets Off Broadway).The creative team includes Jo Winiarski (Scenic Design), Shirley Pierson (Costume Design), Cat Tate Starmer (Lighting Design), Drew Levy(Sound Design), Golden Howl (Original Music and Music Direction), David Huber(Dialect and Voice Coach), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting), and Jess Slocum(Production Stage Manager).

Madeleine George (Playwright) has written the plays The Sore Loser, Hurricane Diane (Obie Award), The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist), Precious Little, and The Zero Hour (Jane Chambers Award, Lambda Literary Award finalist). She is a founding member of the Obie Award-winning playwrights collective 13P (Thirteen Playwrights, Inc.); the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Two River Theater in New Jersey; and the Fellow for Curriculum and Program Development at the Bard Prison Initiative at Bard College.

James Vásquez (Director) is happy to return to The Old Globe. Previously with the Globe, he directed the West Coast premiere of Tiny Beautiful Things, the world premiere of American Mariachi, Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Rich Girl, and Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show. He will direct Hair this summer. Vásquez received the Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical in 2018 for In the Heights (Moonlight Stage Productions) and in 2010 for Sweeney Todd (Cygnet Theatre Company). His other recent directing/choreography credits include In the Heights (Dallas Theater Center), American Mariachi (Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company), Dr. Seuss's The Lorax (as associate director; Children's Theatre Company), The Addams Family and Chicago (Moonlight Stage Productions), West Side Story and Cats (San Diego Musical Theatre), the West Coast premiere of [title of show], Pippin, and Next Fall (Diversionary Theatre), and Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Pageant (Cygnet Theatre Company), as well as developmental workshops at La Jolla Playhouse and Goodspeed Musicals. Vásquez is an amateur gardener, lover of dogs, and graduate of The Juilliard School.Hurricane Diane is supported in part through gifts from Production Sponsor U.S. Bank. Financial support is provided by The City of San Diego.

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