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‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ ‘Saturday Night Fever’ highlight Moonlight’s 2023 season

Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista's Brengle Terrace Park.
(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Vista’s Moonlight Stage Productions has also announced the hiring of new managing director Mike Bradford

Moonlight Stage Productions has announced its five-show 2023 season at Vista’s Moonlight Amphitheatre, featuring the regional premieres of three musicals and the return of two classics.

Here’s a look at Moonlight’s 2023 summer season. Subscriptions are on sale at (760) 724-2110 or moonlightstage.com.

“Jesus Christ Superstar”: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s iconic rock opera about the final weeks in the life of Jesus of Nazareth returns to the Moonlight for the first time in 30 years. May 10-27

“The Wedding Singer”: Moonlight presents the San Diego premiere of this 2006 Broadway musical inspired by the 1998 Adam Sandler film comedy about a 1980s-era wedding singer who falls in love with the bride at a wedding he’s been booked to play. The musical features a score by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin with book by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy. June 7-24

Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”: Another regional premiere, this 2013 Broadway musical is based on Dahl’s 1964 novel, with a book by David Greig and score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It’s the story of a poor boy and a reclusive and eccentric candy-maker who hosts a contest and factory tour to search for a child to take over his global business before he retires. July 19-Aug. 5

“42nd Street”: Last seen at the Moonlight in 2009, this Tony Award-winning 1980 throwback musical is known for its epic, full-cast tap-dancing numbers. Featuring a score of hit songs from the 1930s and book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, it’s adapted from a 1933 Hollywood movie about a company of hard-working singer-dancers rehearsing a new Broadway show during the Great Depression. Aug. 16-Sept. 2

“Saturday Night Fever — The Musical”: This little-known 1998 jukebox musical is based on the 1997 movie starring John Travolta about a Brooklyn paint store clerk who explores his passion for dancing and meets the girl of his dreams at a local disco. The musical features the famous Bee Gees songs from movie’s top-selling film soundtrack. Sept.13-30, 2023

The 2023 announcement arrives as Moonlight is nearing the end of its first full five-show summer season since the pandemic. “Ragtime” continues through Sept. 3 and “Kinky Boots” will close the season Sept. 14 through Oct. 1. After that, Moonlight Youth Theatre will present the Disney-Cameron Mackintosh musical “Mary Poppins,” running Oct. 14-22.

Mike Bradford is the new managing director of Moonlight Stage Productions.
(Moonlight Stage Productions)

In other news, Moonlight this month also announced the hiring of Mike Bradford as the organization’s new managing director. Bradford served as Moonlight’s acting technical director from 2019 to 2021. He also created the design elements for the annual pandemic-born “Jingle Terrace Park” drive-through holiday event. Previously, Bradford also worked for the Moonlight Cultural Foundation for 14 years, serving as director of arts education and producer of Moonlight Youth Theatre. Bradford replaces Colleen Kollar Smith, who left Moonlight last month for a new events coordinating position at UC San Diego.

OnStage pushes back ‘Rest’

Chula Vista’s OnStage Playhouse has pushed back by one week the production of the Samuel D. Hunter play “Rest” because of a COVID outbreak among its cast. Originally scheduled to open Aug. 26, the play will now open Sept. 2. The play is a tragicomedy about a retirement home in northern Idaho where a record-breaking blizzard forces the last three residents to contemplate their own mortality when one of them wanders out into the storm. For details, visit onstageplayhouse.org.

Lamb’s switches up fall schedule

Thanks to the success of its long-running production of “Million Dollar Quartet,” Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado has announced a final extension of the musical’s run to Sept. 18. As a result, it has reorganized its fall and winter season schedule. Ken Ludwig’s “Baskerville,” a Sherlock Holmes mystery play, will run Oct. 1 through Nov. 20. “A Christmas Carol” will play Dec.1 through 24. And “Respect,” a musical revue of music by women songwriters of the 1960s, will play Jan. 21 to March 12. For more, visit lambsplayers.org/202122-shows.

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


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