Theater Notebook: Backyard Renaissance Announces Three-Show Season in New Home Theater

The Backyard Renaissance Theatre, which spent its first six seasons moving from venue to venue, has announced its seventh season and a new home theater space.

All three shows for the upcoming season, which begin later this month and run through December, will take place at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center at 930 10th Ave. in East Village. In addition to the three full productions, the season will include short-term events like the fourth annual Live Lip Sync Face-Off and Bad B-Movie Staged Readings. For tickets and more details, visit Here is the schedule:

“Abigail’s Party” by Mike Leigh: Described as a comedy of suburban manners, this wicked satire tells the story of a 1970s woman whose plan to host a cocktail party goes awry with a mix of scandals, gossip and suburban drama. Directed by Rosina Reynolds, it features a cast of five. From February 24 to March 19.

“Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling: This bittersweet 1987 off-Broadway hit is the story of Southern women who regularly meet at a hair salon to come together, chat, and support each other through sometimes heartbreaking tragedies. Directed by Anthony Methvin, this will be the first production of “Steel Magnolias” in San Diego in a decade. From August 25 to September 12.

“The October Night of Johnny Zero” by Francis Gercke: This world’s first play is based in the Delaware Valley on real and imagined events. It’s a true crime/sci-fi tale about two high school friends exploring the myths and monsters that lurk beneath the surface of small-town American life. From November 17 to December 10.

Pacific Lyric launches a youth symphony

Pacific Lyric Association, an Escondido-based opera company, will present its new youth symphony at an inaugural concert later this month.

The orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s overture to “Romeo and Juliet” and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” at 7:30 p.m. on February 18 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

The Pacific Lyric Association Youth Symphony is open to graduate and post-graduate musicians between the ages of 18 and 32. The orchestra is conducted by Pacific Lyric’s artistic director, Alexandra Keegan. Young musicians will receive a small stipend and perform alongside 12 professional musician-mentors.

“This youth symphony is a wonderful addition to our opera company. It will provide young players with professional experience, much-needed financial support and new relationships,” Keegan said.

Founded in Los Angeles in 2009 by physician and retired opera singer Carlos Oliva, PLA has been producing annual opera productions in the Escondido Arts Center’s 404-seat Center Theater since 2013. In 2019, conductor and local pianist Justin Gray and Keegan took over the reins of the organization when Oliva retired. PLA’s mission is to provide an engaging introduction to opera for beginners, students and young people. His operas are lightly condensed and sung in their original language, but the sung recitative parts are replaced with spoken vignettes in English to set the scene between songs.

PLA 2022’s opera production, which will feature the PLA Youth Symphony in the pit, is “Carmen” by Georges Bizet, which will run for six performances from October 14-23. To learn more, visit

Bodhi Tree and Opera News

Diana DuMelle, co-founder and co-director of San Diego’s Bodhi Tree concerts, is in New York this week as production manager for the world premiere of the New York City Opera’s production of “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis , a new opera by Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie, based on the novel by Giorgio Bassani.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer from San Diego Anthony Davis, who is creating a new opera for Bodhi Tree Concerts, ‘Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote’, will have another of his works, ‘X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X’, produced by the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2023 .

And finally, San Diego contralto Sharmay Musacchio, who performs regularly with Bodhi Tree, recently premiered the role of Iphigenia the Elder in the world premiere of Wayne Shorter’s jazz opera “…(Iphigenia)”. and Esperanza Spalding, presented in December at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Pam Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email him at [email protected]

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