While most theater companies are taking a summer breather before launching their upcoming seasons, Vanguard University remains in fourth gear with two off-season shows before heading into 2018-19.
Summer at the Costa Mesa college means a pair of professional productions by the American Coast Theater Company, the first of which, the Tony Award-winning musical “Grey Gardens,” is now on the boards.
Sasha Stewart-Miller is directing the story of the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Onassis who became a pair of notorious recluses. The show is running through June 10 in the university’s Lyceum Theater.
The second attraction of the theater will be one of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedies, “Macbeth,” in which regicide leads to an epic and violent showdown.
Directing is Connor Berkompas, son of Vanguard’s artistic director Susan Berkompas. The bloodletting will run from June 22 through July 8.
The new Vanguard season arrives Sept. 21 with “All Shook Up,” a rock musical inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley. It plays weekends through Oct. 7.
On Halloween, Vanguard will unveil what it hopes will be a monster hit — “Frankenstein” — a stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Gothic drama and not to be confused with Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein.” Performance dates are Oct. 31 through Nov. 11.
“Once Upon a Christmas Time” will kick off the holiday season The yuletide fantasy opens Nov. 30 and will run through Dec. 9.
Gilbert and Sullivan will take over the Lyceum Feb. 21 through March 10 with their most famous comic operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance.” Sentimental buccaneers and bumbling bobbies will share the stage with an eccentric major general.
Audiences will be admitted free to “Seven,” a student-directed documentary about seven women fighting for justice around the globe. Performances will be given March 14 and15 only.
Mike Todd’s movie masterpiece, “Around the World in 80 Days,” has been adapted for the stage. The epic production will close the Vanguard season, playing from April 12 through 28.
Vanguard’s Lyceum Theater is at 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, though access is from Newport Boulevard. Information on ticket prices and curtain times is available at (714) 619-6424.
TOM TITUS reviews local theater.