Culture Spotlight: Broadway San Diego
Posted on November 10, 2016
In 1976, a theater group named the San Diego Playgoers — part of the Nederlander Producing Company of America — staged a performance of Equus at Spreckels Theatre. Productions were later staged at the Copley Symphony Hall (the old Fox Theater), and a decade later, the company found a home at the San Diego Civic Theatre. Renamed Broadway San Diego, it has become one of the leading theatre companies in the San Diego region. It has produced more than 375 shows and special events, including hot tickets like The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, The Producers, Les Misérables, The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, and Wicked.
As the name indicates, the focus is on bringing the best of New York’s Broadway shows to San Diego. The organization prides itself on delivering top talent and exceptional insights into the entire Broadway experience. On Wednesday nights, “Actor Chatbacks” give patrons an inside look into the acting process and how it translates to the stage. Friday nights’ “Broadway Insider” program offers guests a 30-minute sneak peek and behind-the-scenes look at the evening’s performance. The organization’s “Musical & A Meal” is perfect for foodies, with discounts at local restaurants before or after the show.
San Diego youngsters benefit from Broadway San Diego’s outreach department. The Ben Vereen Awards offer scholarship opportunities for San Diego high school students to follow their dreams into musical theater. A partnership between J Company Youth Theatre and Broadway San Diego allows kids ages 11-18 to take acting and dance master classes taught by cast members. And the San Diego Union Tribune’s “Newspaper in Education” program offers discounted tickets that fund literacy programs.
A brilliant marquee lineup highlights Broadway San Diego’s 40th anniversary season, including The Sound of Music, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rent, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, Matilda, Finding Neverland, and more. With two theaters in which to stage plays, theatergoers have two uniquely different venues to experience performances. The Civic Theatre, which opened in 1965 in the heart of downtown, retains its classic charm and seats just under 3,000. The Balboa Theatre, built in 1924 as a vaudeville/movie palace with a more intimate seating capacity of about 1,500, was recently fully renovated, including its 1929 Wonder Morton organ — one of only four in the world.
Ticket options for Broadway San Diego’s productions include group and corporate rates. The President’s Club includes invitations to cast parties, drink vouchers, dinner for four at select restaurants, and signed cast posters. All the fabulous theatre of Broadway; Times Square Elmo not included. 619.564.3000, broadwaysandiego.com Ryan Thomas