'Jerry Springer' Vs. Arthur Miller Vs. 'The Underpants'

[SUMMER GUIDE] And more from OC and Long Beach stages this summer

From Sept. 6 to 18, the boards host the national tour of the 2008 Broadway revival of perhaps the greatest American musical, West Side Story. The first Broadway revival, in 1980, disappointed Arthur Laurents, who wrote the book, so he attempted to contemporize it in 2009, revamping some of the cornier parts (such as the rather silly-looking and -sounding gang members), as well as weaving Spanish into the dialogue and score. 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 556-2787; www.scfta.org.

One thing you can count on during OC summers is a couple of high-quality professional Shakespeare productions at the most gorgeous venue in the county, the Grove Theater Center's Festival Amphitheater. The two shows on tap this year include The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (July 7 to 23) and The Comedy of Errors (Aug. 4 to 20). One is filled with cross-dressing, mistaken identities and dick jokes; the other with political intrigue, grandiose speeches and brutal stabbings. You decide which is which. 12852 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 590-1575; www.shakespeareoc.org.

The county's greatest contribution to world theater launches its 2011-12 season in September. On the larger Segerstrom stage is a play that really seems to need to justify its existence, an adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (Sept. 9 to Oct. 9). Some 2,000 words would seem warranted to dismiss this, but we'll use just one: yawn. Much more enticing is the Sept. 25 to Oct. 16 run of a world-premiere play on the more intimate Argyros stage, How the World Began, Catherine Trieschmann's take on a battle in a Kansas school centered on the debate between evolution and mindless stupid ignorance. 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555; www.scr.org.

"The Beauty Queen of Leenane" at Hunger Artists Theatre Co.
"The Beauty Queen of Leenane" at Hunger Artists Theatre Co.
"The Twilight Zone" at STAGEStheatre
"The Twilight Zone" at STAGEStheatre

Location Info


The Chance Theater

5552 E. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92807

Category: Theaters

Region: Anaheim

Hunger Artists Theatre Co.

699 S. State College Blvd., Ste. A
Fullerton, CA 92831

Category: Theaters

Region: Fullerton

The Garage Theatre

251 E. Seventh St.
Long Beach, CA 90813

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Long Beach

Laguna Playhouse

606 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Theaters

Region: Laguna Beach

Maverick Theater

110 E. Walnut
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Fullerton

Monkey Wrench Collective

204 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Fullerton

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Music Venues

Region: Costa Mesa

The Festival Amphitheatre

12762 Main St.
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Garden Grove

South Coast Repertory

655 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Music Venues

Region: Costa Mesa


400 E. Commonwealth Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Theaters

Region: Fullerton

Theatre Out

402 W. 4th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Theaters

Region: Santa Ana

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You couldn't dream a more diverse collection of shows this summer than what OC's most venerable storefront is offering. Through July 16, it's mounting late-night (they begin at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays) adaptations of The Twilight Zone. Get your tickets early because this is one American cultural institution that still has plenty of legs. As far as mainstage shows, its production of the campy musical adapted from the campy film The Little Shop of Horrors runs through July 24. Then comes American theatrical royalty, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (Aug. 5 to Sept. 11), one of those rare literary dinosaurs that deserves every iota of praise it has received. In the late-night slot Aug. 13 to Sept. 10 is The Underpants, Steve Martin's take on a 1910 farce. Finally, as summer ends (Sept. 23 to Oct. 30), check out Charles Busch's ferociously jaded and incredibly smart and funny take on 1960s-era summer beach movies, Psycho Beach Party. 400 E. Commonwealth Ave., Ste 4, Fullerton, (714) 525-4484; www.stagesoc.org.

This young, decently funded, creatively oriented company took over the producing responsibility at Fullerton's Plummer Auditorium from the Fullerton Civic Light Opera earlier this year. It will hopefully step up the game from run-of-the-mill musicals. But we'll have to see what happens after it begins choosing its own shows; Always, Patsy Cline, which runs July 15 to 31 is an insipidly cloying holdover from the former regime. Not to demean a legend of American music such as Cline, but this show stinks. Trust us: We reviewed it and cringed. More info at www.3dtshows.com.

Orange County's gay-and-lesbian theater company is running Andrew Lippa's musical The Wild Party through July 2. Based on a full-length poem written in the Roaring '20s, the musical won the Outer Critics Circle Award for best off-Broadway musical in 2000. Theatre Out also stages a short play festival, "Briefs," from Aug. 12 to 28, featuring a selection of new, short plays with gay and lesbian perspectives. 202 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 826-8700; www.theatreout.com.


This article appeared in print as "Jerry Springer Vs.The Underpants: And more from OC and Long Beach stages this summer."

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