Go To Cool Off, Stay For The Theater
In the flea-infested, plumbing-challenged, air conditioner-less Fullerton hovel that this glorified typist hangs his hat, it's hot. Krakatoa East of Java hot. Head of a thousand suns hot. Just plain fucking hot.
So, at some point this summer, I'm sure I'll point my camel's snout south to Laguna Beach. Even the traffic congestion and sense of inferiority at looking at far more toned and beautiful bodies is worth the more temperate clime.
There's even some cultural stuff to do while down there--and we ain't talking Pageant of the Masters.
The Laguna Playhouse, the stately old bird that first brandished her feathers in 1922, has, like all major regional theaters in America, weathered a shitstorm of economic turbulence the past two years. But though it has fewer productions and shorter runs, these days, it's still doing what it does best: presenting high-quality theatrical fare with professional actors and top-notch production values.
The playhouse's summer fare isn't the most cerebral in terms of literary merit, but both productions on tap sound like fun.
The first, which opened July 11, is the Orange County premiere of Roger Bean's Life Could be a Dream, a sequel of sorts to Bean's phenomenally successful off-Broadway musical, The Marvelous Wondrettes. In that play, an all-girl singing group is asked to play the 1958 Springfield High School Prom, after the original band, the Crooning Crabcakes, is banned from the prom.
Life Could be a Dream is a doo-wop musical about the aforementioned Crabcakes, who get a chance to revive their careers by entering a radio contest. Again, it ain't George Bernard Shaw, but if you're a fan of 1960-era oldies like Runaround Sue, Sh-Boom, The Great Pretender and Duke of Earl, this cup of tea may not taste like hemlock.
The other show has a bit more of a bite: the latest installment of the wildly popular Late Night Catechism series: 'Til Death Do Us Part: Late Night Catechism 3. Maripat Donovan's "one-nun" show has played 17 years in Chicago and is also currently running if five other states (obviously there is one more actress performing the role)
More stand-up than a real play, it's an interactive comedy deal where our good sister teaches catechism with tongue firmly in cheek. 'Til Death Do Us Part focuses on marriage and relationships.
Elsewhere, 3D Theatrical's production of Hello Dolly is generating a cool buzz (if you haven't noticed by now, this week's blog is about plays that are anything but serious and important). This is a young, fiery enthusiastic company who have made an enormous splash in their first few productions. This one features the illustrious scenic design talents of one John Iacovelli, a noted film, TV and theatrical designer who has worked extensively with South Coast Repertory and other theaters across this fair land of ours.
Life Could be a Dream, Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, (949) 497-ARTS. Tues.-Fri., 7:30 p.m; Sat., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Thru Aug. 29. $40-$70, students $15-$20.
Late Night Catechism 3: Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, (94) 497-ARTS. Sun.-Mon., 8 p.m; $35-$55.
Hello Dolly, OC Pavilion, 801 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 550-0880. Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Thru Aug. 1. $15-$45.