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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 combined have sent more than 50 productions to Broadway, winning nearly as many Tony Awards® and numerous Tony nominations. Additional productions have gone on to successful runs Off-Broadway and to regional theatres across the country. San Diego is also a hotbed of avant-garde indie playhouses 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 theatre towns in the country.

Discounted Tickets

Head Downtown to be first in line at the Arts Tix booth conveniently located in Horton Plaza along San Diego’s own Broadway thoroughfare. Sponsored by the San Diego Performing Arts League, a service organization to the theatre community, Arts Tix 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, tonight!

So Many Excellent Options

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

Old Globe Theatre

A stalwart of San Diego’s arts and cultural community, the 70-year young 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 launched world premieres such as "The Full Monty – The Musical" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," which enjoyed successful runs on New York stages. Score your tickets now and you’ll join the legions who saw it first in San Diego.

If the Old Globe is your choice, its audiences patronize popular upscale restaurants nearby for pre- and post-theatre 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 award-winning theatrical productions brought to life on a La Jolla Playhouse stage. Founded in 1947 by late greats Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the Playhouse’s brilliant productions of classics, new plays and musicals have merited over 300 major honors including the 1993 Tony Award as America’s Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Located on the magnificent campus of the University of California, San Diego, the Playhouse is minutes away from the 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 created at the whim and inspiration of the Nine-Ten chef.

San Diego Repertory Theatre

When a theatre complex operates as the “cultural town hall” of a city as diverse as San Diego, you can expect to see the world on its stages. The San Diego Repertory Theatre, resident managers of Horton Plaza’s Lyceum Theatres, has been commissioning and producing bold new works since its beginnings in 1976. To date, the REP has produced more than 40 world premieres, including the multiple Tony® Award-nominated "Ain’t Nothing but the Blues."

Ideally located steps from the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the REP knows that its patrons aren’t limited to what’s on their stages for entertainment. Browse the area’s fine art galleries, unique shops and specialty stores or sip late night coffee at one of its many charming sidewalk cafes.

The Smaller Companies

The major players aren’t the only ones setting stages on fire—it’s the smaller companies dotting neighborhoods across the city that are also stoking the flame.

  • Cygnet Theatre believes in the power of live theatre to startle the soul and ignite debate. Locating their intimate 146-seat neighborhood theatre may be tricky, but their fearless productions are worth the trek.
  • Get off the beaten track and discover Diversionary Theatre, 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 surprisingly about the humanity in us all. 

After the Show is Over

And where do local thespians flock to 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—Nunu’s authentic dive-bar décor is the perfect watering hole for the old school to the neo-hip who think nothing of talking theatre until the wee hours of the morning.

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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