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Top 5 reasons to give the gift of Pageant of the Masters this Valentine’s Day

The Pageant of the Masters presents the top 5 reasons to give the gift of “living pictures” this Valentine’s Day that will have you and your special someone feeling the summer love.

1. February 14 discounts: Save 20 percent on tickets to this summer’s production with promotional code VAL20 (excludes loge center seats). To take advantage of this offer, call (800) 487-3378 or visit www.PageantTickets.com. Offer begins January 17 and ends February 14. 

2. Date night done right: If you’re looking for a unique and romantic gift idea, look no further. Art aficionados, entertainment seekers, and music lovers alike will be swept away with the star-lit amphitheater of the Irvine Bowl. Elevating the romantic atmosphere, the Pageant of the Masters amazes couples nightly with a professional orchestra playing an original score to accompany the scenes on stage. 

Top 5 wine

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Diane and Angel Duarte enjoying the Pageant of the Masters

3. No last supper here: Let your taste buds fall in love with sips and tastes available on the Festival of Arts grounds, including the new on-property dining destination: Terra Laguna Beach. Focusing on delicious and healthy California cuisine, Terra Laguna Beach creates artfully crafted dishes at a beautiful sit-down restaurant that is sure to tempt everyone’s taste buds. Or bring your own picnic and dine on the beautiful festival green and enjoy live entertainment. 

4. Monet all day: Make a date night into an all-day rendezvous and arrive before the Pageant to enjoy the highly praised Festival of Arts Fine Arts Show. As one of the nation’s oldest juried fine art shows, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts offers a breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers to enjoy, mingle, and participate. Sweeten the moment and purchase art from your favorite artist to make a memory last a lifetime.

5. The Time Machine: Pay homage to the groundbreaking sci-fi work that inspired everything from Dr. Who to Back to the Future – this year’s theme will bring time travel to Laguna Beach. Cuddle up with your sweetheart as The Time Machine comes to life with the tableaux vivants and the musical accompaniments celebrating the world of H.G. Wells.

The 2019 Pageant of the Masters, The Time Machine, offers many reasons to spoil your loved ones with tickets to this summer’s showcase, July 7 - August 31, starting at just $15 per person. 

The 2019 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will take place July 5 - August 31, with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person. A Pageant ticket is also a season pass ticket to the Festival of Arts so patrons can enjoy the art show all summer long. 

For more information and to purchase Pageant tickets, visit www.pageantticktes.com.


Opening night of Driving Miss Daisy at the Playhouse driven by a splendid cast and powerful storytelling

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Ed Krieger

The brilliance is in the details, and the opening performance of Driving Miss Daisy at Laguna Playhouse on Sunday certainly proves that adage to be true. Fine-tuned by an incredible cast of Michael Learned (Daisy Werthan), Lance E. Nichols (Hoke Colburn), and David Nevell (Boolie Werthan), each actor superbly grounds and propels the story over a span of 25 years. 

Together, they form a trifecta of remarkable talent.

Michael Learned won a record four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in The Waltons (1973, 1974, 1976) and Nurse (1982).

Lance E. Nichols is a veteran character actor, best remembered for his starring role as dentist Larry Williams in HBO’s critically acclaimed Treme.

David Nevell returns to Laguna Playhouse, having previously appeared in Twelve Angry Men and The Odd Couple

Opening night three

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(L-R) Michael Learned, Lance E. Nichols, and David Nevell star in the Playhouse production of “Driving Miss Daisy” by Alfred Uhry, directed by Michael Bloom

To most, this is not an unfamiliar story. Playwright Alfred Uhry’s groundbreaking Pulitzer-prize winning story chronicles the decades-long relationship between a strong-willed, well-to-do Jewish woman and her black chauffer in the Jim Crow South. Set against the backdrop of changing world events between the late 1940s and the early 1970s, what begins as a hostile pairing blossoms into a life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries between them.

Driving Miss Daisy has absorbed audiences since its off-Broadway opening in 1987, productions meandering their way from three national tours, to an Oscar-nominated film, to London’s West End, and a Broadway opening – finally – in 2010. 

Clearly, covering a wide range of subjects like aging, race, class, and religion, particularly in an iconic play and Academy Award-winning movie, is tricky, but this production handles it with delicacy and heart.

Opening night Daisy

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Michael Learned as Daisy Werthan

As directed by Michael Bloom, who is the former artistic director of Cleveland Playhouse, it is masterfully orchestrated in all respects. 

Learned has perfected the look, voice, accent, and prickly personality of Daisy as well as the hard shell that barely hides her vulnerability. Measuring every scene with subtle yet profound nuances, Daisy’s brittle nature is reflected in the stiffness of Learned’s movements, and the quavering of her mouth and chin in the last scenes, underscoring that she’s no longer in control of even her own body. I challenge anyone over the age of 60 not to tear up during the scene in which Daisy thinks she’s still a teacher and can’t find her papers. That interaction with Hoke is worth the price of admission. 

Nichols approaches Hoke’s character with confidence and calm resolve, and the humorous jockeying with Miss Daisy is a delight to witness, although one of the best scenes is when they have a disagreement over his need to stop the car to go to the bathroom. He is a strong entity on stage and a formidable counter to Learned.

Opening night in car

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Michael Learned and Lance E. Nichols star in “Driving Miss Daisy,” now playing at the Laguna Playhouse through Jan 27

In one moving scene, Miss Daisy finds out from Hoke that her temple has been bombed, and although she doesn’t want to believe it, when Hoke relates the story of his friend’s father being hanged, there’s a moment of quiet revelation that these two characters are more alike than different. 

Nevell’s “Boolie” is less stereotypical than the son in the movie version, and however disturbed the audience might be about his beliefs, we do care about him. Nevell has great command of his character and he’s a pleasure to watch. One of his best scenes is when he’s trying to talk his mother out of going to the Martin Luther King dinner.

Adding to the overall atmosphere is the minimal setting, which never changes. It serves to emphasize the aging of the cast as time passes. And the benches (standing in for the automobile) make audience members feel as if they’re riding in the car with Miss Daisy and Hoke.

Opening night Boolie

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Michael Learned as Daisy Werthan and David Nevell as Boolie Werthan

Each aspect of the production adds to its authenticity. The entire design team should be commended: Scenic Design by James Fouchard; Lighting Design by Martha Carter; Original Sound Design by Aerick Harbert; Sound Design by Kate Weeker; Original Costume and Wig Design by Jackie Rebok; and Production State Manager Karen Schleifer.

Even though Uhry’s play was first performed in 1987, neither the story or the production is dated in any way. (He has the distinguishing honor of being the only American writer to win a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar, and a Tony.) The moment Learned, Nichols, and Nevell take the stage, they fill the theater with their presence and take us back to marvel again at the timeless impact of Driving Miss Daisy

Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Ellen Richard says, “We are thrilled to ring in 2019 with this powerful and still vitally important play.”

As evidenced by the long-standing ovation on Sunday, it’s a “not to be missed” event.

Driving Miss Daisy will run through Sunday, Jan 27 with performances on Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be added performances today, Jan 15, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan 20, at 5:30p.m., and Thurs, Jan 24, at 2 p.m.

Tickets range from $55 - $85 and can be purchased online at www.lagunplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-2787.

For complete biographies of the actors and director, go to the Playhouse website listed above.

The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.


LOCA Art Club features gallery owners, married artists & more – season kicks off Jan 17

LOCA Arts Education invites artists and creative people to its Art Club events, offered monthly in Laguna Beach. The fun, educational, and interactive gatherings take place on the third Thursday of each month. 

“Everyone can participate,” said founder Betty Haight. “It’s for artists and non-artists alike”. 

The 2019 season opens with gallery owners on Thursday, Jan 17 from 4 - 5:30 p.m. at LCAD Gallery. 

LOCA Art Club Sue Greenwood

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Sue Greenwood is among gallery owners presenting at LOCA Art Club on Jan 17

Presenters will include Sue Greenwood, owner of Sue Greenwood Fine Art; Michael and Kelsey Irvin, co-owners of Kelsey-Michaels Fine Art; Todd Kenyon, owner of Pure Laguna Beach; and others. They will discuss their business perspectives, and working relationships between artists and galleries.

On February 21, Anne and Hyatt Moore will share insights on being married to another working artist, and how they share influences – yet maintain individuality in their work.

LOCA members are admitted free to all regular art club events. Guests and visitor admission is $20 per event. Advance registration is requested.

For more information, call (949) 363-4700, visit the calendar page at www.LOCAarts.org or click here.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave.


Don’t miss LAM’s Art Colony: The Laguna Beach Art Association, 1918-1935, closing on Sunday

Don’t miss out on seeing Laguna Art Museum’s exhibit of the century, Art Colony: The Laguna Beach Art Association, 1918-1935, closing on Sunday, Jan 13. The exhibit is part of a year-long celebration of the museum’s history and legacy, honoring the artists of 100 years ago, whose organization eventually became Laguna Art Museum.

The exhibit includes over 100 works by 66 artists, including a number seen in the original exhibitions. While monographs have been published on several members of the art association, and some scholarship has focused on aspects of the organization, Art Colony is the first large-scale, critical study to focus exclusively on the art association’s growth and development. 

Dont miss LAMs

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LAM’s “Art Colony: The Laguna Beach Art Association, 1918-1935” includes over 100 works by 66 artists

On both the east and west coasts, art associations were a phenomenon of the late nineteenth century, but no two art associations were alike. The Laguna Beach Art Association was a pioneering organization whose inception helped determine the fortunes of the Laguna Beach art colony and its artists. It grew from a relatively small organization to one that included hundreds of members throughout the country. Attendance records at exhibitions were impressive. Its leadership was devoted to promoting art in Southern California, but it also traveled its exhibitions to cities outside California and championed arts education in schools. 

The Laguna Beach Art Association charted its own course, but its development and struggles were a mirror of artistic and economic issues that confronted many art colonies in the early twentieth century. Its membership included Laguna luminaries – artists who exhibited on the national and international fronts – as well as many artists whose reputations never extended far beyond the local confines.

For more information, call (949) 494-8971 or visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive.


No Square is holding auditions for Avenue Q starting Monday, Feb 18

No Square Theatre is looking for talented cast members – singers, actors, and puppeteers – for its production of Avenue Q, a puppet-filled comedy that follows a group of 20-somethings seeking their purpose in big city life. Auditions start on Monday, Feb 18 at 6:30 p.m., and are by appointment only.

The show will be directed by Joe Lauderdale, with musical direction by Roxanna Ward and the puppetry skills of Puppet Master McKay Mangum. Roles are being cast for both puppeteers and human-character actors.

Forms and audition details are available at www.nosquare.org/auditions. 

No Square Avenue Q Bree and Joe

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No Square Theatre founder and artistic director Bree Burgess Rosen pictured with Joe Lauderdale, who will direct No Square’s production of Avenue Q

Puppeteer roles include:

--Male puppeteer – age 20s-30s, to play Princeton and Rod, baritone-tenor

--Female puppeteer – age 20s-30s, to play Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut, alto-mezzo

--Male puppeteer – age 20s-30s, to play Nicky, Trekkie, Idea Bear, and other puppets, baritone-tenor

--Female puppeteer – 20s-30s, to play Mrs. T and Bad Idea Bear, plus additional puppets, alto-mezzo

Human roles include:

--Christmas Eve – female, 20s-30s, therapist, Japanese, mezzo

--Brian – male, 20s-30s, laid-back, engaged to Christmas Eve, baritone-tenor

--Gary Coleman – female, 20s-30s, African American, building superintendent, alto-mezzo

Puppeteers will work with Puppet Master McKay Mangum in workshops on how to use puppets March 18 - 26, at a time to be determined.

Auditions are by appointment only. To make an audition appointment, contact the director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Before auditioning:

--Download and fill out the audition form and conflict calendar from www.nosquare.org – three conflicts maximum.

--Prepare about 32 bars of an up-tempo musical theatre song. You may also be asked for a ballad. You will need to sing a portion of your song in a character puppet voice if you are auditioning for a puppet character.

--Prepare to bring sheet music in the proper key (no transposing). Sheet music must be two-sided if more than two pages, and placed in a three-ring binder.

--Bring a resume and photo.

Rehearsals begin around March 18. The general rehearsal schedule will be Monday - Friday, 6:30 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This schedule is only approximate and is subject to change. Not everyone will be needed at every rehearsal.

Performances will be Friday - Sunday, May 10 to 26, at 7:30 p.m. at No Square Theatre, located at Historic Legion Hall at 384 Legion St.

For more information on events, auditions, classes, and to purchase tickets, visit www.nosquare.org.


FOA Foundation funding grants available, submission deadline is Feb 15

The Festival of Arts Foundation is pleased to announce that applications are now available for 2019 Art Grants. Nonprofit organizations that have programs that promote fine arts in and about the City of Laguna Beach may apply. Grant applications are available online at www.foapom.com/about/grants-scholarships/grants. The submission deadline is February 15.

“The Foundation board looks forward to reviewing your organization’s grant application this year,” said FOA Foundation President Scott Moore. “We’re proud to be able to help fund the many art-related nonprofits in the Laguna Beach community, emphasizing the enrichment of our children and young adults in all disciplines of art.”

For more information on the grant application process, contact Moore at (949) 494-9680 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

FOA Community Grant applications

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The FOA Foundation offers grants to nonprofits that promote fine arts locally

In 1989, the Festival of Arts with a $1.5 million donation established the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Foundation, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, to guarantee annual financial support for the arts in Laguna Beach.

The FOA Foundation, co-founded by John Rayment and David Young, was designed to hold these funds in a permanent endowment. The earnings and income from this endowment would be distributed annually in the form of scholarships to graduates of Laguna Beach High School and as grants to nonprofit art organizations and educational institutions in and about the City of Laguna Beach.

The FOA Foundation operates independently from the Festival of Arts. In 2007, the Festival of Arts assumed the financial responsibility of the art scholarships, enabling The FOA Foundation to focus on its grant program for local nonprofit art organizations.

The FOA Foundation is comprised of a five-member board of trustees who oversees and administers the program including Scott Moore (president), John Campbell (vice president), Bob Earl (treasurer), Jacquie Moffett (secretary), and Kathy Jones (board member).

For more information, visit www.foapom.com/about/grants-scholarships/grants.


Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series kicks off Jan 30

at [seven-degrees], tickets now available

Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series 2019, presented by Laguna Beach Live!, promises to deliver some of the hottest straight-ahead jazz musicians in the region in an intimate cabaret setting at [seven-degrees]. Jazz Wednesdays concerts are every two weeks, January 30 - March 27, from 6 - 8 p.m.

The Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series concert schedule includes:

January 30: Grammy-winning drummer Peter Erskine Trio feat. Alan Pasqua on piano and Darek Oles on bass (Trio Jazz)

February 13: World-renowned saxophonist Rickey Woodard Quartet feat. very special guest vocalist (Vocal Jazz)

Febuary 27: Acclaimed guitarist Will Brahm and the World Music All-Stars (Latin/World Jazz)

March 13: Critically acclaimed bassist/vocalist Kristin Korb Trio (Classic Jazz)

March 27: All-Star Tribute to Chet Baker and Peggy Lee feat. world-renowned trumpeter Bijon Watson, very special guest vocalist, and the Laguna Beach Live! All-Stars (Iconic Jazz)

Jazz Wednesdays

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A must see, Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series 2019 kicks off on Jan 30

Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series 2019 takes place at the distinctive [seven-degrees] event facility at 891 Laguna Canyon Rd. Concerts are from 6 - 8 p.m., with doors opening at 5 p.m. A full bar and buffet dinner menus are available for purchase starting at 5 p.m.

Single-concert tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door; season tickets are $125. Seating is assigned according to date of purchase, season ticket holders, and Laguna Beach Live! membership. Reservations are accepted until noon on the day of the concert or until sold out. 

For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.lagunabeachlive.org or call (949) 715-9713.


Laguna Playhouse presents Pulitzer Prize-winning show Driving Miss Daisy

Laguna Playhouse presents four-time Emmy winner Michael Learned from “The Walton’s” and Lance E. Nichols of HBO’s “Treme” starring in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Driving Miss Daisy. The play will begin previews on Wednesday, Jan 9 and open on Sunday, Jan 13 at 5:30 p.m. Performances will run through Sunday, Jan 27. 

Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, “We are thrilled to bring in 2019 with this powerful and still vitally important play.” Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “Michael Learned and Lance E. Nichols will ignite the stage with their critically acclaimed powerful portrayals of these iconic characters. Led by our brilliant director Michael Bloom, this is a not-to-be-missed production to start the New Year.” 

Laguna Playhouse car

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Courtesy of Facebook

Driving Miss Daisy, written by Alfred Uhry, is a classic play you won’t want to miss

Driving Miss Daisy is written by Alfred Uhry and directed by Michael Bloom. Sparks fly in Alfred Uhry’s groundbreaking story about the decades-long relationship between a strong-willed, well-to-do Jewish woman and her black chauffeur, in the Jim Crow south. 

Set against a backdrop of changing world events between the late 1940s and early ‘70s, what begins as a troubled and hostile pairing soon blossoms into a profound, life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries placed between them. 

Performances will be Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. There will no performance on Sunday, Jan 13 at 1 p.m. There will be added performances on Thursday, Jan 10 at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, Jan 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Jan 20 at 5:30 p.m.’ and Thursday, Jan 24 at 2 p.m. 

Tickets range from $55 - $85 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). 

Group discounts are available by calling (949) 497-2787 ext. 229.  Prices are subject to change.     

The box office is open Mondays - Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Laguna Playhouse open during facelift

Laguna Playhouse construction

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Renovation continues on Laguna Playhouse with building updates

which include the replacement of the existing textured stucco with a smooth finish, lowering the front screen walls, additions to the metal canopy, landscaping, and new signage and color palette programs. The Playhouse remains open with Driving Miss Daisy, which runs from January 9 - 27, and Forever Motown from Jan 30 - Feb. 2. The groundbreaking took place on Nov 5, and the project will take six months, which puts the completion date in April.


Laguna Art Museum presents free film night screening of The Band’s Visit on Jan 17

On Thursday, Jan 17 at 6 p.m., Laguna Art Museum will host a free film night screening of The Band’s Visit

Local musician Jason Feddy will introduce his personal favorite, the 2007 comedy-drama film directed and written by Eran Kolirin.

Laguna Art Museum presentsb

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LAM hosts free film screening of “The Band’s Visit” with an introduction by Jason Feddy

In The Band’s Visit, the eight men of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra arrive in Israel from Egypt. They have been booked by an Arab cultural center in Petah

Tikva, but through a miscommunication (Arabic has no “p” sound, and regularly replaces it with “b”), the band takes a bus to Beit Hatikva, a fictional town in the middle of the Negev Desert.

Film Night is generously sponsored by Compass.

For more information and to reserve tickets, go to https://lagunaartmuseum.org/events/the-bands-visit.   

For questions or to reserve tickets by phone, call (949) 494-8971 ext. 203.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

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