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Theatre in San Diego

Broadway bound hits, award-winning companies and local talent

San Diego’s theatre scene is on fire, fueled by a cadre of award-winning companies that has sent more shows to Broadway than any other city in the U.S.

The Road to Broadway

Since the 1980s the Old Globe Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse together have sent nearly 60 productions to Broadway, winning multiple major Tony Awards® and numerous Tony nominations. Additional productions have gone on to successful runs Off-Broadway and to regional theaters across the country. San Diego is also a hotbed of smaller theater companies that keep the city’s creative juices flowing. Spend just one day in our city and you’ll see why San Diego is among the most thriving and creative theater towns in the country.

Discounted Tickets

Head Downtown to be first in line at the ArtsTix booth, conveniently located in Horton Plaza along San Diego’s own Broadway. Sponsored by the San Diego Performing Arts League, a service organization to the cultural community, ArtsTix offers half-priced tickets to many of the hottest shows on San Diego’s stages. Can’t make it Downtown to the booth? Purchase tickets online and your tickets will be waiting for you at the event’s box office.

So Many Excellent Options

If you’re overwhelmed by the abundance of theatrical offerings here, you’re not alone. As a new production opens here every week, San Diego has become the most active theater producer per capita outside New York and Chicago. Topping the list are the city’s two flagship institutions: the Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse.

Old Globe Theatre

A stalwart of San Diego’s arts and cultural community, the nearly 90-year-old, Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre is one of the most renowned regional theaters in the country. Producing a year-round season of dramas and musicals on three stages, the Old Globe has launched world premieres such as "The Full Monty – The Musical" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," which enjoyed successful runs on Broadway. Score your tickets now and you’ll join the legions who saw it first in San Diego.

The Old Globe's audiences patronize popular upscale restaurants nearby for pre- and post-theater dining. The Prado Restaurant at Balboa Park and Cucina Urbana offer creative menus that are authentically San Diego.

La Jolla Playhouse

Matthew Broderick in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," Billy Crystal’s "700 Sundays," and "Jersey Boys," the musical telling of the Four Seasons story, are just a few of the Broadway-bound productions brought to life on a La Jolla Playhouse stage. Founded in 1947 by Hollywood greats Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the Playhouse stages brilliant productions of classics, new plays and musicals, and has won more than 300 major honors, including the 1993 Tony Award as America’s Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Located on the campus of the University of California San Diego, the Playhouse is minutes away from La Jolla Village, where shopping and dining gems are abundant. For dinner, try the innovative Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar. Don’t be afraid to put yourself at the “Mercy of the Chef” when you order the special prix fixe menu.

The Smaller Companies

The major players aren’t the only ones making a name for the San Diego stage scene — smaller companies dotting neighborhoods across the city are also stoking the flame.

  • Cygnet Theatre believes in the power of live theater to startle the soul and ignite debate. The company's home in Old Town is an incubator for memorable, committed productions.
  • Get off the beaten track and discover Diversionary Theatre in University Heights, one of the most vibrant showcases of theatrical talent in San Diego. Producing plays with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender themes, Diversionary’s works are about the humanity in us all.
  • The women-centered Moxie Theatre carries the torch for female playwrights and stage artists, and produces works that pop from the stage with power and insight.

After the Show is Over

And where do local theater artists flock when the curtains close and the house lights go up? Where else but Nunu’s Cocktail Lounge in Hillcrest? Christmas lights above the bar, mirrored walls and naugahyde booths — the authentic dive-bar décor of Nunu's makes it the ideal watering hole to talk theater until the wee hours.


Between trips to the theatre, take in a performance by San Diego's world-class symphony or entertainment at one of the many live music venues around San Diego County.

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