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Best San Diego Plays Running in 2024

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Published on: Nov 5, 2023
Last Updated on: May 18, 2024
By: Kathryn Willingham
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Photograph: Dianne Purcell

Best San Diego Plays Running in 2024

San Diego is known for its beaches, the San Diego Zoo, the Padres baseball team in Petco Park, and some of the best theater on the West Coast and in North America. Broadway shows like Come From Away and Jersey Boys started at La Jolla Playhouse, while the Old Globe Theatre has produced such classics as Into the Woods, The Full Monty, and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and its annual Shakespeare Festival each summer always attracts crowds. Downtown, the San Diego Civic Theatre and Balboa Theatre host touring shows in addition to local productions, and in Balboa Park, the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater delights audiences of all ages with shows geared toward both kids and adults. Meanwhile the Cygnet Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, Horton Grand Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Lamb’s Players Theatre and more all produce top-tier plays and musicals for visits and locals alike.

Here are the plays you can see in San Diego right now and what performing arts events are coming up soon!

Plays Currently Running in San Diego

Notes on Killing Seven Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board Members at the Diversionary Theatre

NOTES ON KILLING SEVEN OVERSIGHT, MANAGEMENT AND ECONOMIC STABILITY BOARD MEMBERS

NOTES ON KILLING SEVEN OVERSIGHT, MANAGEMENT AND ECONOMIC STABILITY BOARD MEMBERS, written by Mara Vélez Mélendez and directed by Andréa Agosto, plays at the Moxie Theatre. This co-production between the Diversionary Theatre and the Moxie Theatre follows Lolita, who finds herself in the Wall Street office of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board. Like a Boricua Lolita before her, she is here in the name of La Revolución! She’s got glamour, glitter, and a gun, but is she really ready?

Running May 2 – May 26, 2024, at the Moxie Theatre.

Stir at The Old Globe

STIR

STIR, written by Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez, runs at The Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. A Globe-commissioned, world-premiere play about family, food, and healing. Two siblings, separated by distance and circumstance, meet to share their mother’s favorite recipe. What starts as a simple project leads to surprising connection as they reminisce and reveal secrets of their own. This tender comedy from Melinda Lopez (Mala at The Old Globe) and Joel Perez (Kiss My Aztec! at La Jolla Playhouse) invites audiences to grab a seat at the table and savor the possibility of reuniting with loved ones after a long time apart.

Running May 4 – May 26, 2024 at The Old Globe.

Upcoming Plays

Vanity Fair from the Scripps Ranch Theatre

VANITY FAIR

VANITY FAIR, directed by Jacquelyn Ritz and written by Kate Hamill based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, is produced by the Scripps Ranch Theatre. Becky is “bad.” Amelia is “good.” But in an unfair world, it isn’t always that simple. Two women—one born into privilege, another straight from the streets—attempt to navigate a society that punishes them for every misstep. Clever Becky’s not afraid to break the rules; soft-hearted Amelia’s scared to bend them. Both strive for what they want—but neither can thrive without the other. Through Becky and Amelia’s victories and losses, this thrilling, highly theatrical (im)morality play explores how flexible our morals can become when the wheel of fortune turns. This brilliant adaptation of the classic novel uses seven actors to play all of the roles. The fluid setting moves easily from one simply suggested location to another. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Vanity Fair charts the girls' misadventures in love, marriage, and family. The Arts Fuse called it “Amoral fun galore!...you’ll never see a show quite like it.”

Running May 23 – June 16, 2024 at the Scripps Ranch Theatre.

Fat Ham at the Old Globe

FAT HAM

FAT HAM, written by James Ijames and directed by Sideeq Heard, runs at The Old Globe’s Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage. Originally directed by Saheem Ali in its Broadway run, this 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a fresh and funny take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. During a Southern family cookout, Juicy is confronted by the ghost of his father, who demands revenge for his murder. But Juicy, a young, queer, Black man, has enough on his plate. James Ijames’s remarkable play uses uproarious humor and profound insight to explore the conflict between what you owe your family and what you owe yourself. Variety called it, “the funniest and most invigorating new show on Broadway.”

Running May 25 – June 23, 2024 at The Old Globe.

Henry 6, Part 1 at the Old Globe

HENRY 6, PART 1

HENRY 6, PART 1, adapted and directed by Barry Edelstein from William Shakespeare’s classic, runs at the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Acclaimed Shakespeare director and the Globe’s Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein turns the rarely produced Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III into a thrilling two-part event, running simultaneously through the summer in our beautiful outdoor theatre. Two ruling families of England, the Yorks and the Lancasters, fight each other in a high-stakes civil war for power known as the Wars of the Roses. These adaptations include everything people love about the Bard—ingenious language, vibrant characters, breathtaking battles, and sweeping crowd scenes—as they explore the impact of national politics on individual lives. And the action is framed by a design team working at the very top of their craft, and a sprawling cast of professional actors and local community members.

Running June 30 – September 14, 2024 at The Old Globe.

Don't Dress for Dinner at North Coast Rep

DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER

DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER, directed by Christopher Williams and adapted by Robin Hawdon based on the play Marc Camoletti, runs at the North Coast Repertory Theatre. The most requested return engagement of the past twenty years, DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER is written in the style of a classic French farce, full of mistaken identities, rapid-fire dialogue, and unexpected twists. Witty dialogue, funny sight gags and a touch of slapstick are just a few ingredients that make DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER simmer into action. Playwright Marc Camoletti’s recipe for comedic confusion combines some sexy hanky-panky, mistaken identity, and, of course, dinner in a French country house. Audiences will be laughing from start to finish at the antics of these lovable (and sometimes not-so-lovable) characters. Don’t miss this deliciously hilarious night of theatre.

Running July 17 – August 11, 2024 at North Coast Rep.

Derecho at La Jolla Playhouse

DERECHO

DERECHO, written by Noelle Viñas and directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, runs at La Jolla Playhouse. Some storms you can’t hide from. A series of intense storms – a “derecho” – is bearing down on an affluent Virginia neighborhood near D.C., where Eugenia Silva is preparing for a crucial meeting. Eugenia is a politician hoping to join the wave of women of color elected to public office. Her sister Mercedes is a struggling musician fighting to find her way on her own terms. As winds rise and thunder cracks — and tensions between the sisters reach boiling point — Eugenia’s political ambitions crash into Mercedes’s need to reconnect her sister with their roots. Propulsive and whip-smart, Derecho confronts how traditional Latino values conflict with an ever-changing American definition of success. Will the storm wipe out their relationship and derail Eugenia’s campaign, or will the rains provide a fresh start?

Running in July and August, 2024 at La Jolla Playhouse.

Duel Reality at The Old Globe

DUEL REALITY

DUEL REALITY, created by The 7 Fingers artist collective and directed by Shana Carroll, runs at The Old Globe’s Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage. It is the triumphant return of the company that brought Globe audiences last summer’s smash hit Passengers. Love, honor, and betrayal come to life through a blend of acrobatics, theatre, and music in this one-act romp perfect for all ages. Two feuding families engage in a battle of skill, each competition more daring than the last. While the two groups face off, cheered on by their side of the audience, a pair of star-crossed lovers struggles to escape the showdown. The exhilaration and danger of competition provide the thrilling backdrop to The 7 Fingers’s one-of-a-kind daredevil theatrical extravaganza.

Running July 6 – August 4, 2024 at The Old Globe.

Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson - Apt 2B at The Old Globe

MS. HOLMES & MS. WATSON – APT. 2B

MS. HOLMES & MS. WATSON – APT. 2B, written by Kate Hamill and directed by James Vásquez, plays at The Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. A fast-paced and wildly entertaining new play that reimagines the most iconic detective team of all time. In present-day Baker Street, steampunk hipster Shirley Holmes and her spunky new roommate Joan Watson become entangled in a series of cases all related to the same supervillain, who always seems to be one step ahead of them. From the witty imagination of Kate Hamill, one of the most popular playwrights in America, this irreverent take on the beloved characters packs nonstop laughs into a rollicking murder mystery with a bold and modern lens. 

Running July 27 – August 25, 2024 at The Old Globe.

Sasha Velour: A Drag Spectacular at La Jolla Playhouse

SASHA VELOUR: A DRAG SPECTACULAR

SASHA VELOUR: A DRAG SPECTACULAR: Fierce. Fabulous. Unforgettable. A groundbreaking new theatrical experience about the rise and rise of a superstar. Sasha Velour is “a glossy, living piece of art” (Interview Magazine) and a true polymath – a gender-fluid drag queen, author, activist, artist, and winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race who has performed her fantastical shows to sold-out audiences around the world. Moisés Kaufman has created some of the most powerful theatre works of recent times (The Laramie Project, Here There Are Blueberries). Their iconic collaboration is part memoir, part manifesto, and a modern coming‑of‑age tale inspired by Sasha’s own origin story and the history of Drag. Expect dramatic reveals, high camp, sumptuous couture, an irresistible soundtrack, and a visually magical pop-art universe.

Running in August and September 2024.

Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express at The Old Globe

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, adapted by Ken Ludwig and directed by Peter Amster, runs at The Old Globe’s Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage. Get ready for a glamorous and enthralling journey in this adaptation of Agatha Christie’s masterpiece. On a train traveling through Europe, a wealthy American tycoon is found dead in his compartment, the door locked from the inside. Enter world-famous detective Hercule Poirot, who must navigate a train full of suspects and solve the murder before the killer strikes again. With humor and romance, Tony Award–nominated playwright Ken Ludwig takes audiences on a thrill ride in a spectacular production whose gorgeous designs and innovative staging are a true knockout.

Running September 7 – October 6, 2024 at The Old Globe.

Primary Trust at La Jolla Playhouse

PRIMARY TRUST

PRIMARY TRUST, written by Eboni Booth and directed Knud Adams,

Running in September and October 2024 at the La Jolla Playhouse. Kenneth, a 36-year-old bookstore worker in a small upstate New York town, spends his evenings sipping mai tais at the local tiki bar with his best friend Bert. When he’s suddenly laid off, Kenneth faces challenges he has long avoided—with transformative and heart-warming results. Primary Trust is a touching story of new beginnings, old (and new) friends, and finding the courage to see the world for the first time. The Daily Beast called it “five-star exceptional” and “beautifully written…perfect-anything rarely exists, but Primary Trust is pretty darn near to a perfect play.”

Running in September and October 2024 at La Jolla Playhouse.

The Importance of Being Ernest at the Lamb's Players Theatre

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST, written by Oscar Wilde. Hijinks! Shenanigans! Impersonations! Gorgeous Costumes! Witty Dialogue! And love. Come see this beloved farce in person as bachelors John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff create alter egos to escape their more tedious social obligations. 

Running from September 14 – November 10, 2024 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre.

Dracula at The Old Globe

DRACULA, A COMEDY OF TERRORS

DRACULA, A COMEDY OF TERRORS, written by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen and directed by Gordon Greenberg, plays at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. Celebrate Halloween with a new side-splitting adventure based on Bram Stoker’s classic tale that’s sure to induce blood-curdling screams—of laughter! Famed vampire hunter Jean Van Helsing and her motley crew chase Count Dracula around the English countryside in a madcap race to save his innocent victims. Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen return to The Old Globe following their wildly popular Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show! and Crime and Punishment, A Comedy. Filled with their signature imaginative staging, irreverent farce, and special effects, this hilarious scarefest is the perfect way to get spooky this season!

Running September 20 – October 20, 2024 at The Old Globe.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Again at The Old Globe

YOUR LOCAL THEATER PRESENTS: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, BY CHARLES DICKENS, AGAIN

YOUR LOCAL THEATER PRESENTS: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, BY CHARLES DICKENS, AGAIN, written by Anna Ouyang Moench and directed by Les Waters, runs at La Jolla Playhouse. Leave the little ones at home and gather ‘round for a very Playhouse take on Christmas. Your Local Theater Presents: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, Again is a laugh-out-loud funny and heartfelt story for theatre lovers and holiday enthusiasts alike. Eddie is a young actor, fresh out of Juilliard and ready to make his mark on the American Theatre. His dreams are within reach… sort of. First he’s just going to do this regional production of A Christmas Carol. As the years pass, Eddie finds himself back at the same local theatre, over and over and over again. Much remains the same: the play, the stage manager, the green room — though Eddie finds himself in different costumes as he ages through the male roles over the course of his career. Anna Ouyang Moench’s comedic and moving new play is a love letter to actors, artists and dreamers of all professions who make sacrifices large and small in service of their work… and ultimately wonder whether it was worth it.

Running in November and December 2024 at La Jolla Playhouse.

Special Offers and Discounts

For special offers and discounts to great San Diego plays, musicals, as well as live music, comedy, dance, and other special events, patrons should check out ArtsTix, a not-for-profit ticket vendor that sells tickets to shows and attractions in and around the San Diego area. Visit them in person in Horton Plaza Park or buy tickets online for both current and upcoming events.

Musicals in San Diego

If you're looking to see a great musical, check out our article on the Best Musicals in San Diego to see what's running now and what will be on stage soon!

Kathryn Willingham

Head of Creative Development at Jean Doumanian Productions

Kathryn Willingham has worked in entertainment for over ten years, and recent credits include: Co-producer of SHRINK currently streaming on Peacock, Associate Producer of the independent film UNA, and Creative Executive on multiple theatrical productions including HANGMEN by Martin McDonagh on Broadway, NASSIM by Nassim Soleimanpour Off-broadway and Associate on productions EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe and THE EFFECT by Lucy Prebble. She was Producer of Todd Almond’s musical travelogue “Wyoming and Parts of Kansas” and Production Coordinator for Karen O and KK Barrett's “Stop the Virgens.”

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Education: B.A. in English, Literature & Creative Writing from Rhodes College
Knowledge: Theatrical Production

Published

May 24, 2024

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