Fall arts preview 2023: Our top theater and opera picks for the season

 Matthew Broderick as Richard Sackler in the first episode of the Netflix series "Painkiller."
Matthew Broderick as Richard Sackler in the first episode of the Netflix series “Painkiller.” He’ll play the title character this fall in La Jolla Playhouse’s “Babbitt.”
(Courtesy of Keri Anderson/Netflix)

Local theater companies and San Diego Opera are bringing new works and classics this fall


San Diego’s theatrical stages will be alive with fresh new works and classics this fall, including some world premiere plays, two Pulitzer Prize winners, a Matthew Broderick-led drama and a mariachi opera.


Diversionary Theatre: ‘Dragon Mama’

Sara Porkalob will bring her solo play "Dragon Mama" to Diversionary Theatre this fall.
(Courtesy of Diversionary Theatre)

Diversionary Theatre presents the San Diego premiere of “Dragon Mama,” the centerpiece of playwright-performer Sara Porkalob’s Dragon Cycle of three musicals about three generations of women in a Filipino American gangster family. “Dragon Mama,” which debuted at American Repertory Theatre in Seattle in 2019, is a solo show about 25 years in the life of Maria, a queer woman looking for a more diverse life, so she leaves her family behind in rural Washington state for the wilds of Alaska. Porkalob will star in the production. Sept. 14 through Oct. 8. 4545 Park Blvd., San Diego. diversionary.org


New Village Arts: ‘Doubt: A Parable’

Kym Pappas stars in New Village Arts' "Doubt: A Parable" this fall.
(Courtesy of Kym Pappas)

New Village Arts presents John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2005 play — the story of a nun who accuses a priest at a Bronx Catholic school of an inappropriate relationship with a student, but she begins to doubt her suspicions. Dea Hurston New Village Arts Center, 2787 State St., Carlsbad. Sept. 22 through Oct. 22. newvillagearts.org


San Diego Musical Theatre: ‘The Addams Family Musical’

San Diego Musical Theatre presents this 2009 Broadway musical by Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice that was inspired by Charles Addams’ cartoon characters about a spooky American family. Sept. 29 through Oct. 29. SDMT Stage, 4650 Mercury St., Kearny Mesa. sdmt.org


The Old Globe: ‘Dishwasher Dreams’

Comedian-playwright Alaudin Ullah stands on a city street.
The Old Globe presents the West Coast premiere of comedian Alaudin Ullah’s 90-minute solo autobiographical play with music “Dishwasher Dreams.”
(Courtesy of Mohammed Amir Hamza)

The Globe presents the West Coast premiere of comedian Alaudin Ullah’s 90-minute solo autobiographical play with music. It’s about Ullah’s Bangladesh-born parents and their goal to achieve their American dream in 1970s Spanish Harlem and present-day Hollywood. Chay Yew directs, with music by Avirodh Sharma. Sept. 16 through Oct. 15. Sheryl & Harvey White Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. theoldglobe.org


North Coast Repertory Theatre: ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’

Jeffrey Hatcher attends "The Good Liar" New York Premiere on November 06, 2019 in New York City.
Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher.
(Getty Images)

Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, whose stage adaptation of the 1905 Swedish novella “Dr. Glas” made its world premiere at North Coast Rep in 2021, returns with this fall with another literature-inspired drama. The 2008 play, directed by Shana Wride, was adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” In this play, one actor plays the good doctor Hyde and four actors play his evil alter-ego Hyde. Oct. 18 through Nov. 12. 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org


Cygnet Theatre: ‘The Little Fellow (Or — The Queen of Tarts Tells All)’

Playwright Kate Hamill, right and her husband Jason O'Connell.
Playwright Kate Hamill, right and her husband Jason O’Connell will star in Hamill’s world premiere play “The Little Fellow,” which opens Cygnet Theatre’s 19th season in September 2022.
(Jemal Countess / Getty Images)

Cygnet closes its 19th season with the world premiere of Kate Hamill’s new play. Hamill will co-star with her real-life husband, actor Jason O’Connell, in the risqué comedy drama based on the memoirs of real-life 19th-century British courtesan Harriette Wilson. Oct. 25 through Nov. 19. 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. cygnettheatre.com


Scripps Ranch Theatre: ‘The 39 Steps’

Patrick Barlow’s wacky, fast-paced murder mystery unfolds across the British landscape in the early 20th century. “The 39 Steps” began as a 1915 novel and was later adapted by director Alfred Hitchcock into a suspenseful 1935 film. Barlow’s version has just four actors playing all of the characters and using only their bodies and a few props to create the ever-changing scenery. Oct. 27 through Nov. 19. Legler-Benbough Theatre, Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations, San Diego. scrippsranchtheatre.org


La Jolla Playhouse: ‘Babbitt’

Matthew Broderick will star in "Babbitt" at La Jolla Playhouse in November 2023.
(Courtesy of Tawni Bannister)

Making his first trip back to the Playhouse since the pre-Broadway tryout of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” stage and screen star Matthew Broderick will star in Joe DiPietro’s new stage adaptation of the 1922 satiric novel by Sinclair Lewis. Broderick will play George F. Babbitt, a middle-aged real estate broker in the Midwest who becomes disillusioned with the conservative materialism of his middle-class life. Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley will direct. Nov. 7 through Dec. 3. 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. lajollaplayhouse.org


Backyard Renaissance: ‘Proof’

Playwright David Auburn.
Playwright David Auburn is the author of “Proof,” which will be presented by Backyard Renaissance Theater this fall.
(Bruce Glikas / Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)

David Auburn’s drama won the 2001 Tony Award for Best New Play and the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It’s about a young mathematician who may have inherited both her father’s genius for equations, as well as his mental illness. Backyard co-founder Anthony Methvin will direct. Nov. 16 through Dec. 9. Tenth Avenue Arts Center, 910 Tenth Ave., San Diego. backyardrenaissance.com


San Diego Opera: ‘El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering)’

Javier Martinez's holiday mariachi opera "El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering)."
A scene from Javier Martinez’s holiday mariachi opera “El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering),” which will be presented as part of San Diego Opera’s 2023-24 season.
(Courtesy of San Diego Opera)

This 2019 mariachi opera, co-produced by Houston Grand Opera and Arizona Opera, was written by Javier Martinez, son of the late Jose “Pepe” Martinez, whose “Cruzar la Cara de la Luna” and “El Pasado Nunca Se Termina” mariachi operas were presented by San Diego Opera in 2013 and 2015, respectively. “El Milagro” is a prequel to “Cruzar la Cara” and features the same characters. Set during Christmas time in a small village in Michoacán, Mexico, this production is about how the townspeople are impacted by the loss of men who move to the U.S. for work. Dec. 1 and 3. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., San Diego. sdopera.org

— Pam Kragen is the Arts and Entertainment editor for The San Diego Union-Tribune