Unwrapping Next Season’s Drama, Music Highlights


The next season of six performances at the Laguna Playhouse promises a more expansive range of theater experiences, ranging from a Noel Coward farce to Joan Didion’s memoir about surviving the most challenging of life’s trials.

“We’re changing it up,” Executive Director Karen Wood told supporters last week at a Hotel Laguna reception, where she mapped out a line-up of contrasts, showcasing country music star Johnny Cash and Beatles tribute group Britishmania.

Supporters of Laguna Beach Live also learned last week that Jeffrey Kahane, music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, will headline next year’s Laguna Beach Music Festival next February.

The Playhouse’s line-up begins more traditionally July 9 with the musical “I Do! I Do!” but features unusual vocal star power in Davis Gaines and Vicki Lewis.

Next is Noel Coward in the rarely revived “Fallen Angels” (Oct. 8 – Nov. 3). “By popular demand, we’re bringing him back,” Wood said, referring to the success of “Private Lives,” another Coward production of the Playhouse in 2011.

A yet-to-be-announced holiday show hits the stage Nov. 22 through Dec. 29. “It will be fun, festive and filled with good cheer,” Wareham promised.

Next is a musical based on the songs of Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire,” Jan. 7 – Feb. 2.

Then comes “All the Great Books”, March 4–30, described by a reviewer as “intellectual vaudeville,” Wareham said.

Linda Purl stars in the adaptation of Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking”, April 29 – May 25, ending the season.

“She’s trying to marry the familiar with the interesting,” said spokesman David Elzer, in describing the line-up assembled by Wareham and artistic associate Lauren Simon.

The theater will also offer three bonus shows, “Britishmania” (Aug. 13 – Aug. 25), “Hershey Felder as Franz Liszt in The Piano Show” (Sept. 17 – Sept. 29), and “Rita Rudner and Her New Dress” (May 30 and 31).

For the Laguna Beach Live music festival, which takes place on the Playhouse stage, Kahane will be joined by Gabriel Kahane, the Linden String Quartet and yMusic, Sandy Robertson informed supporters at a museum reception.

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