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OnStage Playhouse set to stage world-premiere play ‘Blue Period’

Herbert Siguenza stars in "Blue Period" at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista.
(Courtesy photo)

The Picasso-themed play is one of several new projects debuting on stages around San Diego this month

This has been a busy time of world premieres at San Diego theaters.

In May and June, Diversionary Theatre debuted the new musical “Eighty-Sixed” and several new plays debuted at the San Diego International Fringe Festival. This month’s premieres include CCAE Theatricals’ musical “Witnesses,” La Jolla Playhouse’s play “Here There are Blueberries,” North Coast Repertory Theatre’s “The Remarkable Mister Holmes” and the new “Dial M for Murder” adaptation at the Old Globe.

OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista has also been developing a new play, “Blue Period,” which makes its world premiere on Friday. Written by part-time San Diego playwright, poet and essayist Charles Borkhuis, it’s about the life-changing trip painters and best friends Pablo Picasso and Carles Casamegas took to Paris in 1900. For Picasso, it set his work on a new path known as the “blue period,” which became his career breakthrough. But for Casamegas, the events of that trip set him on a path of destruction.

Playwright Charles Borkhuis
Playwright Charles Borkhuis is the author of “Blue Period,” a play making its world premiere July 15 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista.
(OnStage Playhouse)

OnStage artistic director James P. Darvas, who is directing “Blue Period,” said he was introduced to the play’s script in 2019 by local actor Herbert Siguenza, who has performed his own solo play, “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso,” several times in San Diego over the past decade.

“He e-mailed me a copy of ‘Blue Period.’ After reading it in one sitting, I thought it would be such a beautiful piece to workshop and then fully produce,” Darvas said. “It’s beautiful, smart, sexy and funny.”

Over the past three years, Darvas and Borkhuis, who splits his time between San Diego and New York, have shepherded the play through five workshop readings and multiple rewrites.

“It was a truly rewarding experience,” Darvas said. “We are fully producing script No. 34; I believe we started on his version 28. It’s a beautiful piece of theater that OnStage Playhouse is happy to have a hand in crafting.”

The four-character play stars Javier Guerrero as Picasso, Jose Balistrieri as Casamegas, Siguenza as art dealer Pere Manyac and Claire Kaplan as Germaine, a Parisian model.

“Blue Period” plays 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 7, at 291 Third Ave., Chula Vista. Call (619) 422-7787 or visit onstageplayhouse.org

New Fortune sets return

After a three-year hiatus, San Diego’s New Fortune Theatre Company is returning to production this summer.

Co-founded in 2014 by Richard Baird and Amanda Schaar, the company specializes in performing fresh interpretations of theatrical classics. Past productions have included Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” Harold Pinter’s “Birthday Party” and Christopher Hampton’s “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”

On Aug. 3, New Fortune will open Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” in an outdoor production in an amphitheater at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Point Loma. It will play Fridays-Sundays, through Aug. 28. For tickets, call (619) 380-3706 or visit newfortunetheatre.com.

Coronado Playhouse plans rockin’ Shakespare

For its 26th annual free summer Shakespeare production, Coronado Playhouse is presenting “Two Gentlemen Rock Verona,” Friday through Aug. 7.

While directing a traditional production of William Shakespeare’s “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” in Michigan in 2001, James Saba edited down the text and moved the story forward from 1590s England to 1950s America. Then Saba, who is executive director of San Diego Junior Theatre, worked with musical director Steve Gunderson to add several popular songs from the 1950s to the show. The comedic story is about two close friends falling in love with the same woman.

Because the production is underwritten by the city of Coronado as a gift to the community, tickets are free but reservations are required. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays at Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way. Call (619) 435-4856 or visit coronadoplayhouse.org.

Charles Evans Jr. as Johnny Cash in Lamb's Players Theatre's "Million Dollar Quartet."
(Ken Jacques)

Lamb’s extends ‘Quartet’ again

Lamb’s Players Theatre has extended, once again, its long-running production of the musical “Million Dollar Quartet.”

The show is now playing through Aug. 28, with future extensions possible. Lamb’s has slightly adjusted the show times. Now, performances are at 7 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For tickets, call (619) 437-6000 or visit lambsplayers.org.

SDJT planning ‘Head Over Heels’

San Diego Junior Theatre is in rehearsals for a youth-cast production of “Head Over Heels,” a 2015 Elizabethan-themed jukebox musical comedy featuring songs by the ‘80s all-girl rock band the Go-Go’s. Based on the 17th-century play “The Arcadia” by Philip Sidney, “Head Over Heels” was conceived by Jeff Whitty and adapted for the stage by James Magruder. It’s about a royal family who embark on an epic journey to save their kingdom from an oracle’s prophecy of doom. It will play July 29 through Aug. 14 at the Casa del Prado Theatre. For tickets, call (619) 239-8355 or visit juniortheatre.com.

Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at pam.kragen@sduniontribune.com.


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