Edit ModuleShow Tags

33 Must-See Shows in San Diego

Mainstream productions made over for the stage, locally-born plays, musicals on tour, and so much more


Published:

A.I.M. (Abraham in Motion) | Photo: Sharen Bradford

September 11

Cygnet Theatre’s The Virgin Trial (featuring Tom Stephenson) concerns the investigation of the attempted murder of King Edward VI. Peek into the lives of a powerful family as they fight through a royal mess of political and personal divisions.
Through October 6

 

September 12

Set to Matthew Sweet’s alternative rock album by the same name, Girlfriend follows a romance between two teen boys. It’s the summer of 1993 between high school and whatever lies ahead, when the fear and thrill of discovering who you are is at an all-time high. Diversionary Theatre stages the San Diego premiere.
Through October 13

 

September 13

Written by Academy Award–winner Cameron Crowe based on his iconic film, Almost Famous premieres at The Old Globe. Read more on the next page.
Through October 20

 

September 20

It’s Christmas Eve and Chaldean Christian refugees Noura and her husband are celebrating in America for the first time after leaving Iraq. From acclaimed playwright Heather Raffo comes Noura, a powerful drama making its West Coast premiere at The Old Globe.
Through October 20

 

September 27

Sometimes we just want a classic we can sing along to. Head to Horton Grand Theatre for Man of La Mancha, a musical retelling of Don Quixote.
Through October 27

 

October 3

In Bad Hombres/Good Wives, Don Ernesto is a powerful drug lord who has young Eva trained to be his perfect wife. When Eva secretly falls for a younger man, Ernesto sends his gang out to take care of business in this new comedy by the San Diego Rep at the Lyceum.
Through October 27

 

October 5

San Diego Symphony’s opening weekend sees the debut of its new music director, Rafael Payare (see page 105). Throughout the 2019–2020 season, the orchestra will celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary as well as composers like Shostakovich, Strauss, and Mendelssohn. Payare is including some of his favorite music this season and is excited to welcome Principal Guest Conductor Edo de Waart in January, as well as international soloists such as German soprano Dorothea Röschmann and Venezuelan trumpeter Pacho Flores.
Through May 24

 

October 11

Ring Around the Moon at Lamb’s Players (featuring Joy Yvonne Jones and Rachael VanWormer) is a smart comedy about identical twins finding love at a society ball. The play is a 1950 Christopher Fry adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s Invitation to the Castle.
Through November 17

 

October 17

Intrepid Theatre Company celebrates the power of women and survival with Eclipsed, which was nominated for six Tony Awards. Four women use their wit and determination to band together and endure the hardships of civil war in 2003 Liberia.
Through November 9

 

October 17

La Jolla Playhouse celebrates its fourth Without Walls Festival (WOW)—and this year, it’s happening in Arts District Liberty Station. A Senior Prom dance number by senior citizens, 10-minute plays scattered around Stone Brewing, and bobblehead office workers rolling around as an homage to T. S. Eliot‘s Peregrinus are all on the docket for the four-day festival. Experience performances by international artists without getting on a plane—but do pause for the planes taking off overhead.
Through October 20

 

October 19

Moxie Theatre presents the Olivier Award–winning comedy Handbagged. The play follows the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—the ladies who famously led the UK with handbags draped over their wrists.
Through November 17

 

October 23

Written by Tony Award–winning composer Jason Robert Brown, The Last Five Years brings bittersweet emotion to the Cygnet stage. New Yorkers Jamie and Cathy reminisce about the half decade they spent together as a couple and the ups and downs they faced.
Through November 17

 

October 23

Written by America’s favorite playwright, Neil Simon, The Sunshine Boys at North Coast Rep follows two comedians who, after more than 40 years of performing together, split up, but agree to reunite years later for a TV special.
Through November 17

 

November 8

Here we go again! Director and choreographer Jennie Gray Connard presents Mamma Mia!, with all of its beloved ABBA hits, at Coronado Playhouse.
Through December 15

 

Cambodian Rock Band | Photo: Jenny Graham

November 12

From UC San Diego alumna playwright Lauren Yee comes Cambodian Rock Band at La Jolla Playhouse, featuring songs from the band Dengue Fever. Yee also wrote The Great Leap, which is playing in January at Cygnet Theatre.
Through December 15

 

November 14

Homer takes care of and provides for his younger brother Langley, a talented but troubled pianist. As much as he loves his brother, Homer longs to escape his duties, and sees an opportunity to do so when a young woman takes an interest in Langley in The Dazzle by Backyard Renaissance at Tenth Avenue Arts Center.
Through December 7

 

November 21

Jump into the chaotic life of an elf working at Macy’s in New York City at Christmastime. Based on a true story by comedian David Sedaris, The Santaland Diaries brings humor and the holiday spirit to Diversionary Theatre. Stay after a weekend show to catch Season’s Greetings, a short after-hours play in Fritz Lounge.
Through December 22

 

December 31

Dear Evan Hansen is possibly the most anticipated musical to come to the Civic Theatre—after last year’s Hamilton, of course. 
Through January 12

 

January 8

Get in the Valentine’s Day mood with Steven Dietz’s Irish love story about an older couple looking back on their lives and seeing how love changes as people reach different stages. Bloomsday makes its San Diego premiere at North Coast Rep.
Through February 2

 

January 9

Winner of the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play, The Humans at San Diego Rep is a bone-chilling drama with unexpected laughs. Follow a family’s Thanksgiving holiday that takes an interesting turn when things get eerie at night.
Through February 2

 

January 30

Art Power at UC San Diego brings A.I.M. (Abraham in Motion) to the Balboa Theatre stage for one night only. Choreographed by 2013 MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham, the dance company showcases top-notch talent in a wide range of disciplines and personality.

 

Cha Wa

February 6

Inside UCSD’s Price Center you’ll be transported to the streets of New Orleans with Cha Wa. Its signature sound is brass band crossed with “Mardi Gras Indian music.”

 

February 18

Fans of Peter Pan won’t want to miss La Jolla Playhouse’s West Coast premiere of Fly. Directed by Tony Award winner Jeffrey Seller, the musical brings Neverland to the stage with a powerful score and aerial acrobatics.
Through March 29

 

February 19

This nonpartisan comedy is meant to be a hilarious breath of fresh air for anyone who’s struggling reading the news these days. Paul Slade Smith’s The Outsider will make its West Coast premiere at North Coast Rep, giving viewers a fun-house-mirror perspective on contemporary politics.
Through March 15

 

March 5

Directed by Sam Woodhouse and Arpita Mukherjee, San Diego Rep’s House of Joy is about a female bodyguard in an emperor’s harem who helps an abused queen escape the terrors of the institution.
Through March 29

 

March 14

If you enjoy the upcoming film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women this Christmas, it’s also coming to The Old Globe next spring. See the West Coast premiere of the story of the March sisters, based on the beloved classic.
Through April 19

 

March 26

Disney’s Frozen is blowing into town thanks to Broadway San Diego. Expect all of the best parts of the movie to make an appearance on the Civic Theatre stage, including stellar special effects, Olaf the snowman, and the powerful princess ballad “Let It Go.”
Through April 12

 

April 25

First developed at New York’s Public Theatre, and now coming to Moxie, Manahatta is a story about a young Native American woman who moves to New York for a job, then discovers the heartbreaking ancestral history of the ground she walks on.
Through May 31

 

May 7

Hershey Felder, San Diego’s beloved pianist behind the “Great Composer Series”—which has included works from Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and more—returns to the Lyceum with a rendition of his own personal journey, featuring the work of Debussy, in Hershey Felder’s A Paris Love Story.
Through May 31

 

May 8

Local families will empathize with the characters in The Falling and the Rising, a story about a severely wounded soldier, based on interviews from returning soldiers in Maryland. The San Diego Opera production is sung in English at the Balboa Theatre.
Through May 10

 

May 21

From the creatives behind Avenue Q and Spring Awakening, the San Diego premiere of Head Over Heels at Diversionary Theatre features music from The Go-Go’s and follows a royal family on an adventure to save their kingdom, discovering love and diversity along the way.
Through June 21

 

 May 27

When a medical mix-up causes them to cross paths, two couples with polar opposite political opinions are forced to form a relationship. A story about the beauty of unlikely friends, Human Error makes its West Coast premiere at North Coast Rep.
Through June 21

 

Mean Girls | Photo: Joan Marcus

June 9

From so-fetch writer and comedian Tina Fey, Mean Girls the Musical is said to be just as LOL-worthy as the hit film. Wear your pink and get ready to see the infamous reign of Regina George firsthand at the Civic Theatre.
Through June 1

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Arts Preview 2019–2020:

33 Must-See Shows in San Diego

Mainstream productions made over for the stage, locally-born plays, and so much more

22 Can't Miss Exhibits in San Diego

Nail art, watercolor, insects, and more subjects appearing in galleries and events this season

8 San Diego Actors Share What Makes the Local Theater Scene Unique

The local thespians sound off on making names for themselves in San Diego and beyond

Dear San Diego, You Must See This Show

Director Michael Greif on bringing Dear Evan Hansen to San Diego

Rafael Payare Tells Us 'Why Mahler 5?'

The new music director of the San Diego Symphony explains why he chose Mahler 5 for his first performance

State of the Arts: New Venues and Public Troupes in San Diego

Newly opened art venues, cohorts that perform publically, and one space in desperate need

5 Hours with a San Diego Street Artist

Cecelia Linayao shares her process of chalking up a portrait

San Diego Lands a Michelangelo

And much more art from the Italian Renaissance as part of USD's Christ: Life, Death, and Resurrection exhibit

Hot Ticket: “Almost Famous” Debuts at The Old Globe

The iconic Cameron Crowe film premieres on stage this month
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

8 San Diego Actors Share What Makes the Local Theater Scene Unique

The local thespians sound off on making names for themselves in San Diego and beyond

22 Can't Miss Exhibits in San Diego

Nail art, watercolor, insects, and more subjects appearing in galleries and events this season

Hot Ticket: “Almost Famous” Debuts at The Old Globe

The iconic Cameron Crowe film premieres on stage this month
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Problem With Bright Red Tuna
    Many Americans still think bright red tuna means it’s fresher (it’s not)
  2. First Look: Animae
    Puffer Malarkey Restaurants unveil 5.5 million-dollar pan-Asian concept
  3. The Hunt For San Diego's Best Chicken Wings
    How wings became the No. 1 kickoff food in the U.S., and our hunt for the best
  4. Jason Mraz and his Historic Coffee Bean
    The singer and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters unveil the first California-grown Geisha coffee
  5. How San Diego Are You?
    Take our quiz to see where you land on the newcomer to old-timer spectrum
  6. The Best Chicken Wings In San Diego
    The results of food critic Troy Johnson’s epic quest for the city’s best tiny chicken
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles

October is Rideshare Month

Join the Rideshare 2015 Challenge and get there together
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Private Dining Guide 2019

These private rooms and dining services are ready to treat you like family

San Diego Holiday Entertaining Guide 2019

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags