Jean Lowerison

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THEATER REVIEW: “Old Jews Telling Jokes”

The news lately has been alternately scary, disgusting and head-shakingly nutty. At times like this, it’s good to forget all that and kick back with a quintet of “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” onstage through May 25 at the Lyceum Theatre.

It’s Borscht Belt night in this 90-minute jokefest touching on birth, courtship, marriage, death and those little annoyances in between (like doctors and rabbis).

“Old Jews Telling Jokes” is the brainchild of Daniel Okrent and Peter Gethers, who were inspired by the series of jokes on the website of the same name.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure”

The game’s afoot one last time at Coronado Playhouse, as everybody’s favorite sleuth tries to solve a blackmail case before bidding farewell to his long and storied career.

“Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure,” Steven Dietz’s mashup of two Holmes stories (“A Scandal In Bohemia” and “The Final Problem”) gets a lively production through May 18, directed by Nick Reeves. The play won the 2007 Edgar Award for the best play in the mystery genre.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Mandate Memories”

Sixty-something British divorcee Jane Stirling (Rosina Reynolds) is rousted from her morning gardening by a knock on the door. It’s an elderly stranger named Gustav Frolich (Apollo Dukakis), who has earlier written to say he has something to give Jane.

But first he wants to talk about World War II, the British mandate that created the Israeli state and Jane’s father.

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THEATER REVIEW: “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Harper Lee tells us it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird because they cause no harm, but only give pleasure with their song.

Lee’s 1960 classic “To Kill A Mockingbird” tells the story of two metaphorical mockingbirds harmed by a society rife with prejudice and injustice, wrapped in a story of growing up in the Depression-era South, seen through the eyes of six-year-old Jean Louise “Scout” Finch (Katelyn Katz) and narrated by the grown-up Jean Louise (Kristianne Kurner).

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THEATER REVIEW: World premiere of “Rest” at South Coast Rep

In “The Whale,” Samuel D. Hunter’s best-known play, an online English teacher is quietly eating himself to death in his apartment.

In his latest, “Rest,” the locale shifts to a retirement home, where the problem is another thief of vitality and the life force: Alzheimer’s. The world premiere of “Rest” plays through April 27 at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Tricks,” a coming-out story

In an exquisitely awkward first scene, Hank (Bryant Hernandez) cruises park hustler Daryl (Jacob Narcy) for the umpteenth time, finally managing to summon the courage to share the park bench.

A shared sandwich later, Hank is willing to endanger an 11-year marriage for the chance to “be held by another man.”

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THEATER REVIEW: “Red” at San Diego Rep | VIDEO

He’s imperious, irascible, difficult ... and brilliant.

He’s 20th-century abstractionist painter Mark Rothko (John Vickery), and starts right in bullying his new assistant Ken (Jason Maddy), a fledgling artist himself.

After a long recitation of his expectations (Ken will largely be a go-fer) comes this admonition: “I am not your rabbi, I am not your father, I am not your shrink, I am not your friend, I am not your teacher. I am your employer. You understand?”

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THEATER REVIEW: “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum”

The title underestimates the show. Not a funny thing, but a whole lot of funny things happen in this middle-aged but still hilarious musical (and winner of six Tonys), now getting a sparkling production from Premiere Productions at Welk Resorts San Diego.

Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics (marking his Broadway debut as a composer), and Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart the book (based on the comedies of Roman writer Plautus) for this goofy 1962 show guaranteed to take your mind off lost airplanes and health care plans.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Time And The Conways”

The staging is clever, the costumes elegant, the acting top-drawer in the Old Globe’s revival of J.B. Priestley’s “Time And The Conways.” Rebecca Taichman directs.

But the British accents are sometimes impenetrable and so is (for me) the concept that gives this play its importance in the theatrical world.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Doctor Anonymous” at Zephyr Theatre

“I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist.” -- Dr. John E. Fryer

Today that opening gambit wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. But in 1972, when Dr. Fryer spoke at the convention of the American Psychiatric Association, the admission was so dangerous to his career that he wore a grotesque mask and used a voice-altering microphone so as not to be recognized.

Fryer’s speech was the first salvo in the crusade to remove homosexuality from the “mental illness” category in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.”

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