The Coronado Playhouse has opened its 2023 season. Pictured in the center of the photo is Kimberly Miller, who played Sweet Sue, in the 2016 production of "Sugar." Photo by Barron Henzel.

 The Coronado Playhouse, a 75-year tradition, opened its 2023 season in mid-January, and the musical comedy “Company” is coming in March.

 The Playhouse, as part of its diamond anniversary, will host six plays this season and provide a new schedule that includes Saturday matinees, in addition to staged readings, concerts and cabarets that will be announced at a later date. 

Technically, this is The Playhouse’s 78th season of plays, though it can only celebrate a 75th birthday due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the imposed cancellations and postponements, Barron Henzel, president of the Playhouse Board of Directors, has high hopes for the upcoming season.

“We took a hard hit from COVID, attendance was certainly down and we had to cancel a lot of things, but we’re coming back stronger than ever, in part because of our amazing patrons and subscribers,” he said.

The Playhouse is situated on the bay, neighboring the Glorietta Bay Park promenade and nestled in the City of Coronado Community Center.  Unlike a traditional theater, this space has seats centered around tables, hosting about 120 people, with a bar and overflow seating area in the back of the venue. Tickets range from $24 to $27, depending on the time of the show, with active military, student, senior, and group discounts available. Season subscriptions are also available for $96. 

The season opened in January with a comedy, “Ripcord,” that depicted a conflict between two elderly women in an assisted living home, who routinely tried to one-up each other in attempting to convince the other to move out of their shared upper floor living space. Their originally harmless bets began  to slowly get out of hand and the women discovered that, despite their age, their actions still held  graspable consequences. “Ripcord” ran from Jan. 13-29.  

“Company,” winner of six Tony Awards, will run March 3-26.

Next in line for the 2023 season is Stephen Sondheim’s musical comedy, “Company,” based on the book by George Furth.

“Company, “ first opened on Broadway in 1970 and won six Tony Awards,  travels through the memories, thoughts and dreams of Robert, a 35 year-old bachelor, as he reflects and ponders on whether or not he wishes to be content with his life or become a married man. 

With vignettes occurring out of chronological order, this modern musical reshaped and reinvented the musical comedy. “Company” will be running Thursdays through Sundays, from March 3 to 26.  

The Playhouse will be running its following play, “Hay Fever” by Noel Coward, as part of its 27th Annual FREE Classic Series, made possible by a grant from the City of Coronado. 

This flapper-era play made its debut in the West End of London in 1924, and “Hay Fever” tells the story of the Bliss family and the guest they invite with them to spend the weekend at their English country home. A classic comedy of manners, “Hay Fever” will be running Thursdays through Sundays, from May 19 until June 4. Patrons are permitted five free tickets per party, and are asked to inquire at the box office for more information.

After that throwback, The Playhouse will be treading into new territory with the world premiere of a new musical, “Underground.” 

In collaboration with Blindspot Collective, a San Diego-based theater company, “Underground” is based on the discography of singer-songwriter and composer Ben Folds. 

The play will attempt to transform the stage into a dive bar, where the stories of patrons, friends and lovers will clash and intertwine in a new and immersive musical format. The performance will run every Thursday through Sunday, from July 7 to 23.

Continuing the theme of a comedic season, “Underground” will be followed by the hilarious 1985 musical, “Nunsense,” a story about a convent of nuns who must find a way to raise money for a funeral, after an absurd accident leads to the death of 52 other residents of the convent. With a whacky cast of characters, and an otherworldly premise, this absurd farce comes to the Coronado Playhouse every Thursday through Sunday from Aug. 25 until Sept. 10. 

The final production of the season will be the musical, “Xanadu,” based on a book by Douglas Carter Beane and a film by Universal Pictures of the same name. 

“Xanadu” is about a disenchanted chalk artist who lacks the will to live, until one of the Greek Muses descends from Olympus to enlist his help in opening a roller skating, disco rink. Put on your pads and lace up, “Xanadu” will be showing Thursday through Sunday, from Oct. 20 until Nov. 12.  

Inside Scoop: Sunday matinees are very busy and popular, so try a Saturday matinee if you want to avoid crowds. The Playhouse prides itself as the “oldest arts organization in Coronado.” For more information call 619-435-2866 or email: 

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Anthony Le Calvez is a features writer for The News. He’s a senior at Point Loma Nazarene University and will graduate in May. He has been published in the San Diego Union Tribune and is the Arts & Entertainment Editor for The Point.

The Coronado News is a 24-hour news website and direct-mail free newspaper to all residents and businesses of Coronado as we cover city government, schools, businesses, entertainment and the Navy.