LBHS Theatre Boosters gala honors Angela Irish

By Kelly Lieber, Theatre Booster co-chair

Not a dry eye in the house. That was the consensus at the Woman’s Club on Saturday night, Jan. 20, at the Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) Theatre Boosters Gala: “A Night at the Copacabana.” The gala was held to raise funds for and awareness of the theatre program.

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Photos by Christina Shook

LBHS alum Hannah Glass plays a tune from “Fiddler on the Roof”

As a secret part of the gala and to honor more than 30 years of her service to the LBHS Theatre program, Angela Irish, was serenaded, flash mob style, with the song “Tradition” from her favorite musical, Fiddler on the Roof.  Angie, as she is sometimes called, was treated to the magical fiddling of LBHS alum, Hannah Glass.

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Angela Irish was honored at the LBHS Theatre Boosters gala

The number began with the emcee, Howard Lorey’s (of the Strangers, Dirty Bird fame) rendition of Teyve leading into the meaning behind “Tradition” and then Irish’s beloved LagunaTunes (including Patti Jo Kiraly, Robin Casselman, Rebecca Lyles, Jay Rechter, RonDee Kelly, Diane Kloke and Regina Hartley) joining in song alongside LBHS Theatre alumni (including Wyatt Shipp and Irish’s son, Michael), parents of LBHS Theatre alumni, including Martha and Tom Davis, friend, Steve McIntosh and current students. Irish’s son and his wife, Jesi as well as Irish’s sister, Jennifer and niece, Victoria, flew in for the surprise dedication.

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LBHS Theatre members perform

Simultaneously, Irish was adorned with roses from her loyal fans.  She was truly surprised and notably moved by the gestures. After LBHS English and Theatre teacher Meghan Minguez-Marshall gave a beautiful speech about the beloved Irish and presented her with an award, Irish gave an impromptu speech thanking all of the gala attendees, while admitting that she is uncomfortable in the spotlight and explaining that all of her hard work and decades’ commitment to the theatre program is for the students.

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Angela Irish presented with roses

Irish has indeed been working with the LBHS Theatre program for more than 30 years. She’s been there since her son performed at the Artists Theater. She also helped to start the Theatre Boosters that hosted the gala. Some may remember Irish’s years as a teacher at Top of the World Elementary School. She also works with all the high school performing arts disciplines and sometimes, assists with other community groups. Additionally, she provides costumes and props for Thurston Middle School and loans materials to other local high schools. When she isn’t clothing the local thespians, Irish can also be found working at the Laguna Library bookstore as part of Friends of the Library. She is also on the Friends of the Library board and serves on the board of LagunaTunes. She sings as a member of this local community choir.

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Angela Irish and Meghan Minguez-Marshall

Keeping Irish’s surprise dedication was no small feat, as she seems to know everyone in Laguna Beach. From her Quilting Club buddies, to her library friends, to her LagunaTunes pals, to the multiple generations of the Drama-Mamas, to her school district coworkers, her friendships run deep and wide. She is blessed with a plethora of friends who all adore her.

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LBHS kids rock the house

The flash mob serenade was the brainchild of LBHS Theatre Boosters’ co-chair Sophia Callisto. Callisto, along with Theatre Boosters co-chair Kelly Lieber, were so excited to honor Irish and they wanted people from the span of her 30+ years of service to join them. They have been working on the gala and Irish’s surprise over the last several months, and their hard work paid off as funds were raised for the California and International Thespian Festivals. Meghan Minguez-Marshall and Musical Theatre Director Lindsey Parker helped select and coached some of the students who performed at the gala. The kids sang and danced. Many audience members besides the parents of the performers were glassy-eyed while they watched the students rock the house. The evening was very well received by a wide array of attendees.

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Not a dry eye in the house

Next on tap for the LBHS Theatre program is the screenplay musical version of the original film, Mean Girls, running March 8-10 and March 15-17 at the LBHS Artists Theater. Most of the students who performed at the gala will be in the musical. Minguez-Marshall and Parker will be directing the students while Irish will be in her most comfortable spot, behind the scenes, providing costumes, props and support to the students. Tickets will go on sale at the end of February.

Follow the LBHS Theatre program via Instagram to be up to date on ticket sales and the latest LBHS Theatre information: @lbusdtheatre.  Also, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the LBHS Theatre Boosters at

Please link the following Instagram account to

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