Mark Dressler is a Laguna treasure. If he were a football coach, more people might know his name, and more people would come to see his teams play, than come to the Artist’s Theatre to see his teams of high school students put on their magnificent theatrical performances. Just as with athletes from Mater Dei and Servite who become college football stars, the caliber of theater performers that bless our high school year after year is truly outstanding.
In the past their performances have included “The Sound of Music,” “Anything Goes,” “Hello Dolly,” “The Crucible,” and “Grease.”
The high school’s current offering of the musical, “Little Women,” masterfully directed by Karen Culliver, is no exception to Mr. Dressler’s drama department’s long series of outstanding productions. Each of the characters acted, sang, and danced thrillingly. Claire Howell, who played Jo, filled the room with her intensity and the power of her voice. The older characters looked convincingly worn by their years. The audience was drawn into the story and several in our party cried. The staging was simple and elegantly effective. My only quibble was that the musical background was at times a bit too loud for the voices.
One of our companions in the audience recently saw a professional production of “Little Women” and volunteered that the LBHS show was clearly superior. I recommend that anyone with an interest in theater, as well as in supporting our community’s education program, attend as many of the high school drama productions as possible. You won’t regret it.
Joel Kotin, Laguna Beach