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San Diego Repertory Seeing Daylight With '93-94 Season : Theater: West Coast premieres of Baitz drama, Bessie Smith musical and jazz opera are highlights.

August 20, 1993|NANCY CHURNIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Repertory Theatre will present the West Coast premieres of a drama by Jon Robin Baitz and a blues musical about Bessie Smith along with a world premiere jazz opera as part of its six-play 1993-94 season running Oct. 2-May 28 at the Lyceum Theatres in Horton Plaza.

The company, which battled a crippling deficit of $400,000 last season, ended the 1992-93 season with an operating surplus of $160,000--its first surplus in four years. The deficit remains at $240,000 with a budget of $1.8 million that allows for further deficit reduction as the company heads into its 18th season. Executive administrator Keith Davis credits strong single-ticket sales, expense reduction and a fund-raising campaign that included benefits by Whoopi Goldberg and the Los Angeles company of "The Phantom of the Opera" for bringing down the deficit.

The 1993-94 season opens with the West Coast premiere of "Bessie's Blues," a 1993 musical about blues singer Bessie Smith, written and directed by Thomas W. Jones II, Oct. 6-23 on the Lyceum Stage.

The return of last year's popular gospel version of "A Christmas Carol," adapted by Douglas Jacobs and directed by Sam Woodhouse, Rep producing director, and Osayande Baruti runs Dec. 2-26 on the Lyceum Stage.

The West Coast premiere of Baitz's "Three Hotels," a drama about the rise and fall of an international marketing executive, will be directed by Todd Salovey, Rep associate artistic director, Jan. 19-Feb. 12 in the Lyceum Space. The show has been running at the Circle Repertory Theatre in New York since March. The original TV version of the play ran on PBS in 1991 and received a Humanitas Award.

The world premiere of "Burning Dreams: A Jazz Opera," inspired by Calderon de la Barca's "Life's a Dream," will play Feb. 16-March 5 in the Lyceum Space. The scene and libretto are by Julie Hebert and Octavio Solis, with compositions by Gina Leishman and direction by Woodhouse.

Josefina Lopez's "Real Women Have Curves," a comedy about five Latina women in a Southern California sewing shop, follows March 30-April 23 in the Lyceum Space. The show is part of the Rep's 5-year-old Teatro Sin Fronteras project, a commitment to producing works by Latinos and to provide English and Spanish performances in the main season.

The final show, billed as a comedy to be announced, will be directed by Woodhouse May 11-28 on the Lyceum Stage.

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