Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 35 of 195

34 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A DREW ALTIZER/SF OPERA . OPPOSITE: KRISTEN LOKEN; JOAN MARCUS/FLIICKR Performance is the lifeblood of Cali- fornia. From the Barbary Coast docks to the Paramount studio lots, theater and music have always been an indelible part of the "Left Coast" spirit. It makes perfect sense that, in the classic 1936 film San Francisco, Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald) is singing her heart out when the Great Earthquake strikes. Today, nearly every town in Cali- fornia boasts a stage of its own—from the Lighthouse Repertory Theater in Crescent City to San Diego's Coronado Playhouse. The state's scores of concert halls, sym- phony orchestras, jazz clubs, dance companies, comedy troupes, cabarets, operas, fringe festivals and circuses lay waste to the notion of spending a quiet evening (or even an afternoon) at home. What would one expect, though, from the birthplace of I Love Lucy and the home of the San Francisco Mime Troupe? The performing arts are one of California's great attractions, with a variety of choices—sacred, profane and everything in between—that is both inspiring and maddening. A full accounting is impos- sible, but here are some suggestions to consider if you are visiting any of the state's urban hubs. Regional Theaters In San Diego, near the Mexican border, the La Jolla Playhouse has seen 24 of its pro- ductions move across the continent to Broadway, earning 35 Tony Awards. The Old Globe Theater presents the plays of Shake- speare (of course), as well as works by the likes of Arthur Miller and an annual Christmas production penned by a late local resident: Dr. Seuss. Los Angeles, naturally, features dozens of small theater companies—such as Santa Monica's Open Fist, the Actor's Co-op, the diverse Cornerstone and Hollywood's pro- found Blank Theater (which hosts the Young Playwrights Festival in June 2015). The city's star attraction is the Center The- atre Group, with three stages: The Mark Taper Forum, Kirk Douglas and Ahmanson theaters. Here you'll find everything from top-shelf classics (including Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit in 2015) to cutting-edge solo performance. CA.PERFORMING ARTS On With the Show For Californians, performance is a passion BY JEFF GREENWALD SAN FRANCISCO OPERA The world-renowned San Francisco Opera is the second largest opera company in North America. Founded in 1923, the company's first performance was Puccini's La Bohème. Opera had been popular in San Francisco since Gold Rush days, but until 1923 had only been performed by visiting opera companies. Today, opening night is a festive occasion, with the War Memorial Opera House always packed, above. A scene from a recent production of La Bohème appears above right.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Travel Guide to California - 2015 Travel Guide to California