In the Wings: October 16-22

Queer Heartache at Diversionary Theatre

Three nights only! This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (10/18–20)

I’m sold on this one just based on how the artist describes writing: as "a spaceship into the borderless ancestral past, the puzzle pieces of an imagined queertureverse, and a lifeline back onto this earth." Count me in. Queer Heartache is a one-person slam-poetry performance by Kit Yan, a trans spoken-word artist from New York. The show, which won Best of Fringe and Volunteer’s Choice awards at the San Francisco Fringe Festival, navigates "the intimate and formidable landscape of family, the dating pool, and the medical establishment." If the whole evening is as intimate and evocative as Yan’s video for "26 Steps," it should be pretty out-of-this-world.

Tickets at

Fade at Moxie Theatre

Low-price previews this Thursday and Friday (10/18 and 10/19); opens Saturday (10/20)

Moxie’s latest is a comedy that follows Lucia (Sofia Sassone), a new writer for a TV show, who’s chagrined to realize that she’s the "diversity hire" in the room—and Abel (Javier Guerrero), another Mexican living in the same building, who faces some of the same inequalities, but from a markedly different place in the power structure. It’s directed by Maria Patrice Amon, producer-in-residence and founder of the Latinx New Play Fesitval at the San Diego Rep. I previously saw her work codirecting The Madres, which was a fine, gripping show. Writer Tanya Saracho is the showrunner of Vida on Starz and a writer for HBO series like Girls and Looking; she said she hopes Fade communicates "the complexity of what it’s like to be Mexican right now. How we have to navigate and code switch in a way that maybe your average American doesn’t have to."

Tickets at

PoeFest, by Write Out Loud

This weekend and next weekend (10/19–21 and 10/26–28)

What better way to get into a spooky Halloween mood than gathering in Old Town’s historic Adobe Chapel for some classic Edgar Allan Poe? Following up on their hit event TwainFest—coming up on its tenth year—Write Out Loud presents the inaugural PoeFest, in partnership with San Diego’s Save Our Heritage Organisation. Gather round to savor the chilling short stories of Poe and other "authors of the phantasmic"—among them Berenice, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontillado, and, of course, The Raven. The cast includes Rhianna Basore, Paul Maley, Jason D. Rennie, Jane Longenecker, Walter Ritter, Steve Smith, Rachael Van Wormer, Tim West, and Travis Rhett Wilson—many of them new names to me (reflecting only my ignorance, not their experience), but I’ve seen Van Wormer excel in several roles, most recently in Lamb’s Players Theatre’s Silent Sky, so she’ll undoubtedly be one of many captivating performances.

Tickets at

The Marriage of Figaro at the San Diego Opera

Opens this Saturday, four performances only (10/20, 10/23, 10/26, 10/28)

I’m still kicking myself for missing Turandot earlier this year. Don’t make my mistake—we have a truly world-class opera here and its productions are usually in and out before you can blink. Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is a madcap comedy of master vs. servant, about a lecherous count who tries to explode his barber’s wedding at the last minute. This coproduction with Opera Philadelphia, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Palm Beach Opera brings conductor John Nelson, a 25-year veteran of the Met, to San Diego for the first time. It’s a sumptuous period work with an amazing frieze-like set of cameo portraits, though as General Director David Bennett told the SD Opera podcast, "It’s not a museum piece. It’s a vital, compelling dramatic work. And it’s funny." Even if your only experience of Mozart is the film Amadeus, you’ll know his music is precisely constructed and perfectly approachable to newcomers. Our city hasn’t put this show on in 12 years, so now’s a perfect chance to see it.

Tickets at

Dan Letchworth is the copy chief of San Diego Magazine. His print column Dansplaining explores San Diego trivia, and his theater review blog Everyone’s a Critic was a finalist for best online column in the 2019 National City & Regional Magazine Awards.

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