Laguna Playhouse leaders lifted the curtain on its 91st year of productions, a six-play series seasoned with contemporary classics, musicals and a premiere as well as three shorter-run special engagements.
Filled out with youth productions and collaborations with community arts presenters, the Playhouse’s line-up represents “a baker’s dozen for the ’12-’13 season,” Executive Director Karen Wood told theater supporters and board members at a get-together Monday.
In a surprise, the Playhouse’s former artistic director Andy Barnicle will return to a stage he knows well to direct Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical comedy “Chapter Two,” Jan. 8-Feb. 3.
The season’s newest show, “Having It All,” about five women who meet unexpectedly at JFK airport and confront their life choices, premiered last March at NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood and received glowing reviews. The Playhouse’s show March 5-31 will be produced in association with its original co-producer, local resident and theatre impresario David Elzer.
“It speaks to men as well about the challenges of juggling family and career,” said Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham, who hopes the original cast will reprise their roles for the Laguna production as well.
Shannon Warne, who portrays the character “Amy,” provided a sample of the show’s vocal firepower and topical lyrics.
In fact, “Wonderettes” reunite in the Playhouse’s first show July 3, a premiere of Roger Bean’s “The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps & Gowns,” where high school girls wrap up their dreams in a score of ‘50s and ‘60s hits, Wareham said.
The remainder of the schedule includes Alfred Hitchcock’s award-winning comedy-thriller “The 39 Steps,” and a four-part harmony troupe in “Plaid Tidings, A Special Holiday Edition of Forever Plaid.”
“Steel Magnolias,” a 1987 play and popular 1989 film, will complete the Playhouse season, running April 30 through May 26. Jenny Sullivan, who will direct the show in its 25th anniversary, said its premise about the bond between strong Southern women was meant to honor the playwright’s sister and mother. “One of my favorite lines is ‘it’s up to us to figure out why we were put here on this earth’,” Sullivan said.
Shorter run special Playhouse engagements include “Rita Rudner: Act 3,” Aug. 24-26; the folk-music act “The Lonesome Travelers in Concert,” Aug. 28 to Sept. 2; and “Late Night Catechism Las Vegas: Sister Rolls the Dice!”, June 4 – 23, 2013.
As part of its opening week events for the Rita Rudner play, “Tickled Pink”, closing out this year’s season, the Laguna Playhouse will be having a fundraiser in Laguna Beach at the Marine Room on Wednesday, April 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Rita Rudner and the cast of the play will be making an appearance.
In her first season as Playhouse artistic director, Wareham believes the line-up offers a well-rounded theatergoing experience. “Fantastic singing; music, familiar and brand new; heartfelt comedy; poignant drama that delivers laughter as well and some clever, clever antics,” she said.