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Home / Articles / Arts / Theater /  Words are not enough
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Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011

Words are not enough

The Story of My Life and the rest of this week's theater

By Martin Jones Westlin
theater Thomas Weaver (Robert J. Townsend, left) and Alvin Kelby (Chad Borden) obsess—a lot—about Clarence the Angel and Alvin’s mom’s robe.
- Photo by Ken Jacques
“Write what you know,” Thomas Weaver tells himself as he tries to craft a eulogy for his late friend, Alvin Kelby—after all, that simple formula has fueled Tom’s path to best-selling and award-winning authorship. But for once, he’s at a loss for words amid memories of the flaps that colored the men’s relationship. Now, he must call on the only resource he has—his stories of Alvin—to find where things fell apart between them.

The Story of My Life, a San Diego Musical Theatre local premiere, paints some outstanding tales about Tom and Al, whose friendship dates to age 6. It’s lush with playwright Brian Hill’s anecdotes involving snow angels, a bookstore called The Writer’s Block (so named because it sits on a single city block), a female teacher’s facial hair and both boys’ fascination with It’s a Wonderful Life.

But often enough, a certain incompleteness touches many of the stories—even as the men exchange bittersweet memories about everything from Alvin’s mother’s robe to Wonderful Life’s Clarence the Angel, we’re never really told much about the nature of the bond that helped forge such a rich relationship.

Nonetheless, actors Robert J. Townsend and Chad Borden infuse Thomas and Alvin with spot-on baritones and stage movement under Nick De Gruccio’s direction and amid Tom Buderwitz’s expressive set. And if you have an opinion one way or the other about Stephen Sondheim, be advised: Neil Bartram’s words and music sound a lot like Steve’s.

It runs through Feb. 6 at The Lyceum, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown. $30-$60.


Wonder Wounded Heroes: Dangerous skirmishes and Shakespeare mix as siblings face off over a mysterious past. Produced by Ion Theatre Company, it opens in previews Jan. 26 at BLK BOX @ 6th & Penn in Hillcrest. $10-$25.

Death of a Salesman: Salesman Willy Loman promises his clients the moon but never delivers the same in his private life. Now in previews, it opens Jan. 27 at The Old Globe Theatre’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67.

Leading Ladies: Leo falls in love with a dowager’s niece after a series of costume changes and mistaken identities. Opens Jan. 28 at Coronado Playhouse. $12.50-$25, $50 for catered dinner on opening night. coro

Seussical, the Musical: This piece integrates the storylines from more than 20 of Dr. Seuss’ works, using each town and species of creature as inspiration. Produced by Actors Conservatory Theatre, it opens Jan. 28 at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre in the College Area. $12-$16.

The Threepenny Opera: Who’s the worse criminal—the man who robs a bank or the man who founds one? Produced by UCSD’s Department of Theatre and Dance, it opens Jan. 29 at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre in La Jolla. $10-$20.

The Tragedy of the Commons: The Adams’ neighbor is selling his house, and the beautiful view—to say nothing of the fragile relationship between two people—is in jeopardy. Produced by Cygnet Theatre Company, it’s in previews now and opens Jan. 29 at The Old Town Theatre in Old Town. $24-$49.

Now playing

Once Upon a Mattress: Queen Aggravian has declared that Prince Dauntless may marry only the woman who passes her test. Produced by Patio Playhouse Youtheatre, it runs through Jan. 30 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. $7-$10.

Barefoot in the Park: Newlyweds Paul and Corrie Bratter learn to live together in a tiny New York apartment. Produced by Moonlight Stage Productions, it runs through Feb. 6 at Avo Playhouse in Vista. $30.

Shadowlands: This is the true story of educator-author C.S. Lewis and the student who leaves behind an abusive husband for him. Through Feb. 6 at Poway Performing Arts Center in Poway. $6-$10.

* The Toughest Girl Alive: Oceanside’s Candye Kane performs her memoir of the same name, detailing her triumphs over countless adversities. Through Feb. 6 at MOXIE Theatre in the College Area. $22.

* Waving Goodbye: Lily Blue and her estranged mother manage to patch things up even as their lives are woefully incomplete. Through Feb. 6 at New Village Arts in Carlsbad. $20-$40.

* Two Pianos, Four Hands: Ted and George dream of classical piano stardom and put up with just about everything to get there. Through Feb. 13 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $34-$41.

Shotgun Wedding Anniversary: What happens after 25 years in a less-than-blissful marriage? For Basil and Petals, it can mean murder. Through Feb. 26 at Mystery Cafe, in the Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. $59.50, including dinner.

* miXtape: Generation X was torn between disillusionment and hope in this cavalcade of music from the 1980s. Produced by Lamb’s Players Theatre, it runs through Feb. 27 at the Horton Grand Theatre Downtown. $28-$58.

* Jane Austen’s Emma—a Musical Romantic Comedy: A beautiful and clever young woman who prides herself on her matchmaking is clueless to her own feelings of love. Through March 6 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage in Balboa Park. $39-$94.