The Playhouse Finishes Season With 'Funny Girl' And 'Tommy'

Feb 21, 2014

This week I caught up with The Playhouse’s Asia Ciaravino for an overview of the remaining season, and a peek at the fall. By any measure it’s been a wild year for The Playhouse. After last May’s damaging spring thunderstorm, they’ve managed to fix the theater, then pull off an ambitious winter schedule in both of their theaters. Now comes their spring and summer schedule.

“Next up we have 'Funny Girl,' which is going to be an amazing show, and we just cast it" said Ciaravino. "We found our Fanny Brice so we’re really excited about that show. That’s coming up soon, and then we’re doing 'Tommy' as well. But downstairs we’re doing 'Clybourne Park, which is a really interesting piece that is a spin-off of "A Raisin in the Sun." It’s a very incredible piece which is about gentrification and neighborhoods and race, and relationships and power struggle," Ciaravino said. "And then we’re also doing a really interesting new piece called Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Rule, which is about technology, and how it takes over your life. It has one of the best opening scenes of all time. A woman walks into a café, and I’m not going to tell you what she comes upon but it’s a very provocative piece!”

The San Pedro stages productions both in their upstairs Russell Hill Rodgers Theater, and the downstairs Cellar Theater.

I asked Ciaravino about the difficulty of casting the Barbara Streisand role of Fanny Brice.

“No one is going to be Barbara Streisand -- she’s one of a kind. They broke the mold with her. Of course they have to be completely talented and sing their guts out. But what’s important to us the most about Fanny is her sense of comedy and timing and quirkiness,” Ciaravino said.

Next comes their fall season, featuring titles like "The Wizard of Oz," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Gypsy," and many others. More on those in subsequent reports.