El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Andrew Perez

It is that time of year again, when the nights grow longer and a deathly chill swirls through the air, the time when Boogeymen and ghosties and ghoulies come out to play. Yes, it’s Halloween season, and that means it is also time for the Annual Fall Fundraiser being put on by the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department.

The somber strings of a violin vibrate enchantingly, the delicate plink of the keys of a piano resonate indelibly.

These beautiful sounds filled the Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre at Cuyamaca College courtesy of violinist Cindy Wu and pianist Orion Weiss who were performing the sonatas of Mozart as part of the East County Harmonics Organization (ECHO) series of concerts.

The series seeks to bring internationally acclaimed classical musicians to perform at the college, and Wu and Weiss are two of the best.

Albert Einstein once remarked that, “the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.” In Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia,” currently being staged at the Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre, time is put to the test as the lines between the past and present and science and emotion become blurred.

It is a tale as old as time, passed down from generation to generation. It is a tale of love and passion, wonder and magic. It is a tale about a Beauty and her Beast.

This delightfully gothic romance has been captivating audiences for centuries and has now been brought to grand life by the talented cast and crew of the Grossmont College Stagehouse Theatre as part of their 2018 Summer Conservatory program. 

Adapted by Jeanette Thomas and directed by Allison Spratt Pearce and Mitzi Smith, this musical take on the classic fable is a bit different than past iterations.

Love is a complicated affair full of many contradictions. It can be magnificent or torrid, sublime or bittersweet, mutual or one-sided.

All of love’s forms take center stage in Lamplighters Community Theatre’s wonderfully acted production of John Cariani’s “Love/Sick.”

Consisting of nine different vignettes, “Love/Sick” is a humorous and oftentimes twisted look at the ways love weaves itself into our lives.

It is 1893, and a perpetual fog permeates the gas-lit streets of London. The sound of approaching footsteps on the cobble stoned floor echoes throughout the lonely lane, reverberating off the hollow walls of the buildings. Suddenly the silhouette of a tall, lean man steps out of the dense curtains of mist, almost like a ghost.

The man politely doffs his hat and introduces himself, “The name is Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, at your service.”

In the 18th century, Paris, France was the place to be. Full of luxury and excess, the city was the pinnacle of opulence and culture. Yet, despite all this sophistication, theatregoers still loved a good fart joke. Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre brilliantly brings this sumptuous world to life in the hilarious and lively staging of David Ives’ adaptation of Jean-Francois Regnard’s 1708 comedy of manners, “The Heir Apparent.”

Empty cereal boxes, broken wine glasses, disused ticket stubs, moldy popcorn, the rotting trunk of a tree. To most people these items are just junk, useless detritus that belong in a landfill. But to collage artist Len Davis, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. 

Davis has built a career on turning trash into art and a selection of his work is currently being showcased at Grossmont College’s Hyde Art Gallery from Jan. 29 to Feb. 23. 

The stage is dark save for a lone spotlight illuminating a figure sitting at the edge of the set. Upon closer inspection we see that it is a disheveled looking man, his body bent from old age. He is wearing a tattered coat and pants and holds a moth eaten Stetson hat in his bandaged hands. His dirty spectacles fall from a face that is tinged with sorrow and he stares forlornly at the crowd. 

The Christmas spirit is alive and well at the Lamplighters Community Theatre this holiday season with the staging of “A Christmas Cabaret”, an uproariously fun and joyful take on classic Christmas standards.

Directed by Shirley Johnston and produced by Raylene J Wall, “Cabaret” was a delight from start to finish with many standout vocalists among the small ensemble.