Playhouse announces 2017-2018 season: countdown to 100th anniversary includes three Tony winners

Laguna Playhouse has announced its 2017-2018 season of shows.  Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, “We are incredibly excited about our 97th season.  It is a huge season of musicals and plays, unlike anything we have been able to produce in years. And there are several shows next year that people will find particularly timely. Pieces that look at diversity, justice and inclusion through the lens of brilliant writers.  I know our audience will leave the theatre having very interesting conversations.”  

This summer get ready to rock with an all-new production of Hairspray in July; then get ready to be rocked out some more as you spend A Night with Janis Joplin; then the Playhouse will try to seduce you with the Broadway version of the classic The Graduate; followed by the remarkable Pulitzer & Tony award-winning I Am My Own Wife; the riveting courtroom drama 12 Angry Men; and completing the season will be another Pulitzer Prize & Tony winner, Clybourne Park.  

Also included in the season is a yet to be announced Artistic Director’s Choice and a special bonus with the third engagement from Lythgoe Family Panto with Aladdin & Jasmine’s Winter Wish.  

“There is simply no better year to subscribe and become a member of our Playhouse family as we are about to turn 100 and have never looked better!” adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham.

Subscriptions to the 2017-2018 - 97thseason are now available by calling the box office at 949-497-2787 (ARTS) or online at 6-Play Season Tickets range from $279 - $351.

Single tickets range from $48 - $66. Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. The box office is open Mondays – Saturdays: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); Sundays: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

From classic plays and musical comedies to the current off-Broadway smash, cutting edge and traditional music exhibitions, dance festivals and stand-up comedy performances, Laguna Playhouse brings the magical experience of the performing arts direct to more than 80,000 patrons each season. Laguna Playhouse is also home to the annual Laguna Dance Festival, Laguna Beach Music Festival and Laguna Beach Concert Band. 

For more information on all shows and programming, with complete details about the dates and times of the upcoming season’s shows, visit

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Cyn Rd.

Summer parking: Eight recommendations about rates and spaces are approved


The city is getting in gear for the summer parking implosion.

Eight recommendations to manage 2017 summer parking were approved by the City Council at a meeting in early March. 

The goal of the recommendations was to encourage visiting motorists to park outside of downtown by providing more peripheral sites, improving service and increasing downtown meter rates. 

Hourly meter rates will be increased from $3 to $3.75 on downtown streets, the Glenneyre Street parking structure, on Coast Highway from Legion to Aster Street, with meters enforced two hours longer until 9 p.m., which will affect residents as well as tourists. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Lots of cars on a winter’s day near Las Brisas…and summer is still a’comin’

Some Forest Ave merchants said last year that the summer meter rate increase hurt their business. Others said they were not aware of the increase.   

The council also approved a reprise of last year’s star improvement: Summer Breeze, a partnership with Orange County transportation Authority to bus folks from an Irvine Co. parking lot on weekends. 

“Summer Breeze is a good idea,” said South Laguna resident John Thomas. “The problem is, it is a very expensive program for the results we get. The cost to the city was $85,000.”  

Thomas calculated that about 65 cars a day were kept out of the downtown.

However, he said, to keep those cars out of the city, 26 bus trips were added, for a net reduction of 39 trips per day.

“On that basis, it cost $134.98 for every net vehicle kept out of town,” said Thomas. “It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t repeat the experiment, but we need to reduce the cost.”

He suggested finding a closer parking lot. 

City Public Works Deputy Director Paula Faust said Summer Breeze is expected to draw more motorists this year.

“We are working on a more robust public relations program,” Faust told the council. 

The recommendation to lease peripheral parking sites at the Laguna College of Art and Design, Mission Hospital Laguna Beach and the Boys and Girls Club was approved. Two electronic message signs will bought to direct motorists to them, at a cost of $36,505.

Michael Baker International will be paid $30,000 to collect data and analyses of the 2017 summer parking management plan and report back to council.

Winners of LPAPA’s 11th Annual “Less is More” juried art show announced

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) announced the award-winning artists for its 11th Annual “Less is More” juried art show of small works.  

First place went to Kirsten Anderson for “Into the Glow” (8” x 8” oil); second place to Judith Cameron for “Back Bay Morning” (8” x 10” oil); and third place to LPAPA Signature Artist Carolyn Hesse-Low for “Watery Route” (9” x 12” oil).

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Into the Glow by First Place Winner Kirsten Anderson

Artist Member Toni Danchik, “Dog Walker 2” (9” x 12” oil) and Artist Member Julia Seelos, “Eucalyptus Glory” (9” x 12” oil) earned honorable mentions.

The paintings are on exhibition from Feb 28 – April 3 at Forest and Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave.

Lumberyard hosts 8th Annual SchoolPower Chef Challenge fundraiser for local schools

Quite a while back, Cary and Suzanne Redfearn, owners of the Lumberyard, approached SchoolPower with an idea for a fundraiser titled the “Chef Challenge”: one night, two teams, and two competing three-course menus with delighted participants selecting the winner by voting for their favorite dishes. 

Now, eight years later, the event is legendary.

“The level of support from the Redfearns for our schools and community has been exemplary,” enthused Taylor Pillsbury, SchoolPower president. “It’s people like them who make our town so special.” 

Photo credit: Kristin Karkoska, Blue Sky Studios

The Redfearns are the kinds of people “who make our town so special” says SchoolPower President Taylor Pillsbury

Fast forward to Monday night when the 8th Annual Chef Challenge was held to great success. In the seven previous years, the event’s competition was based around some variation of either two or all four LBUSD schools’ principals competing against one another. This year the competition broadened its scope and became the “City vs Schools” contest, with Laguna Beach Police Chief Laura Farinella and Laguna Beach Fire Chief Jeff LaTendresse vs LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria and Interim Assistant Superintendent Jeff Dixon.

More than 110 enthusiastic patrons filled the Lumberyard. In a hint of the competition to come, before guests were seated for dinner they were treated to yet another new twist this year: dueling guest bartenders. Taylor Pillsbury and SchoolPower Endowment president Chris Clark gamely mixed their own signature cocktails for the lively crowd. 

Once the crowd was seated for dinner they had the delightfully difficult job of selecting which item they preferred: Crab ricotta ravioli or roasted lamb meatball? Pan-roasted Arctic Char or grilled filet medallions? Coconut crème brulee or Belgian chocolate tart?  The items were so delicious it was extremely difficult to choose.

The competitors worked tirelessly the entire night serving, bussing, refilling glasses – anything to sway the crowd to their side. When the diners were stuffed to capacity and the votes were all tallied, Team Schools went home with the title. Of course, the night’s real winners were Laguna Beach schools. The evening raised approximately $8,000.

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Photo credit: Kristin Karkoska, Blue Sky Studios

Fire Chief Jeff La Tendresse, Chief of Police Laura Farinella, LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria and Interim Assistant Superintendent, Business Services Jeff Dixon shake hands before the competition kicks off.

Superintendent Viloria said, “It was an amazing opportunity to support SchoolPower and the students that attend LBUSD.  Special thanks to Lumberyard staff for an amazing meal and service as they ran circles around the four of us. We are so thankful that Chief Farinella and Chief LaTendresse were willing to participate. Their partnership and ongoing support is important to the education of our students. I am hopeful that even though Jeff Dixon and I won hands down, it won’t scare them away from a potential rematch next year.”

Chief La Tendresse had his own ideas about the evening, saying, “I was honored to be able to give back to the community, to SchoolPower, as a member of their Fire Department. This community supports us each and every day, which is why I cherish these opportunities to show the appreciation on behalf of all of our Firefighters.

“It was fun to ‘compete’ with the Police Chief against the schools; frankly I think we worked harder but they got more votes. I hope we can build from the relationships established that night and continue to serve the students and community. Watch out for next year!”

Life is a cabaret old chum, come to the LOCA Grand Cabaret Art Party and Fundraiser on April 30

LOCA hosts its Grand Cabaret Art Party and Fundraiser on Sunday, April 30, between 4 and 7 p.m. at Sandra Jones Campbell Studio in Laguna Canyon.

Guests will sip champagne and celebrate to the music of acclaimed cabaret performers (thanks to Nelson Coates and Ruben Flores) who will entertain with some classics and a few surprises.

Grand Cabaret participants will enjoy libations, fresh crepes, music, and art

Original fine art (including limited editions) donated by local artists will be up for auction, as well as unique cigar boxes and, new this year, Fascinator Hats from the Art Club workshop with Brad Elsberry. 

While viewing the auction items, guests will enjoy wines, appetizers, and a choice of fresh crepes, and then take advantage of activities such as face painting, a scavenger hunt, and more.

During the event, LOCA will honor the members of the Arts Commission whose support insures the heritage of Laguna as a cultural arts city.

Submitted photo

Ruben Flores, Pat Kollenda, Arts Commissioner, Nelson Coats

Grand Cabaret proceeds support free and affordable arts education programs serving children, families, seniors, residents, and visitors throughout the LB community.

Tickets are limited. General 4 p.m. tickets - $50, VIP tickets $100 (includes early 3 p.m. kickoff reception, art preview, and a special musical performance).

For tickets, go to

Legendary Laguna band, Members of Honk, will perform benefit for Boys & Girls Club on April 26

Laguna Beach Live! will present great music for a great cause – an evening with rock/surf legends The Members of Honk on Wed April 26 to benefit Live! Music & Kids, a music education program offered, at no charge, to children at the Boys & Girls Club and Laguna schools. 

Members of Honk is a local Laguna surf/rock/pop band that became a legend early on after scoring Greg MacGillivray’s epic surf movie, 5 Summer Stories. They went on to release three records notching a #1 record with a song from the film entitled Pipeline Sequence and toured nationally with Loggins and Messina, Chicago and The Beach Boys. 

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Submitted photo

Members of Honk concert will raise funds for free music education for kids

Along with Tris’s connection with Chicago, Richard Stekol penned several songs with Kenny Loggins for the film Caddy Shack and Steve Wood toured with Kenny as his keyboardist and musical director for ten years where, among other things, he arranged, sang backgrounds and played keyboards on Kenny’s biggest hit Footloose.

Members of Honk features Beth Fitchet Wood, Richard Stekol and Steve Wood, the 3 singer songwriters that make up the core of the legendary Orange County band Honk. The group also features Alan Deremo on bass and Matt Magiera or Frank Cotinola on drums.

To listen to HONK, click here.

Laguna Beach Live! Music & Kids programs give students the opportunity to connect to the joy and creativity of music, critical to their academic, social and emotional growth. By introducing youth to music, the programs are building future audiences and encouraging students to explore music as a hobby or profession. Music enhances education and nurtures our youth. Studies have shown that youth given guided musical instruction for an hour or two a week show measurable improvements in cognitive and social skills.

This special concert is in the cabaret setting, 6 – 8 p.m., at [seven-degrees], 891 Laguna Cyn Road. Doors open 5 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door, and a special VIP package for $100 includes premier seating, a visit with the artists and a signed CD. A special menu and full bar are available. 

For tickets, visit or call 800-595-4849. For information, call 949-715-9713.


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