About to enter its 97th season, the Laguna Playhouse has been named as “Best in OC” for live theatre for the past two years. And its 2017–2018 season, running July 2017 through June 2018, promises to continue that reputation by bringing even more sought-after and well-known productions to the Playhouse’s stage.
According to Executive Director Ellen Richard, “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.”
The season starts with the ever classic and timely Hairspray with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan. In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, our teenage heroine Tracy Turnblad’s only dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show. After winning a role on the show she is thrust into overnight stardom and launches a campaign to integrate the show. Performances run July 5–30, 2017.
Switching to the music of the latter part of the 1960s, A Night With Janis Joplin written by Randy Johnson, is essentially a concert in 1970 featuring Janis backed by a band of hippies. The concert is a celebration of her art, music, and an homage to some of her greatest influences. Performances run August 16–September 10.
Continuing the theme of shows and events from the 1960s, The Graduate will run from October 4–22. Adapted by Terry Johnson and based on both the novel by Charles Webb and the screenplay by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, it tells the coming-of-age tale of 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate with no direction or goals, who is seduced by the older Mrs. Robinson. Shortly after he meets and falls in love with her daughter Elaine. Directed By Michael Matthews.
The 2018 half of the season starts with I Am My Own Wife, by Doug Wright and based on his conversations with German Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. This solo show tells the story of Charlotte, who killed her father as a young girl and went on to survive not only Nazi Germany, but life in East Berlin as a transvestite. Brought to life through the stories of 40 different characters and directed by Jenny Sullivan. Performances run January 10–28, 2018.
Twelve Angry Men, the famous courtroom drama by Reginald Rose, puts you where true crime TV shows can’t: behind those closed doors with the jurors as they deliberate and decide the life—or death—of another human being. Performances run February 28–March 18.
Set both before and after events of A Raisin In The Sun, the spinoff play Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris takes place in Chicago and is loosely based on historical events during that time period. The action of the play centers around a house and, according to Laguna Playhouse, reflects the “shifting racial landscape of a community.” Directed by Matt August. Performances run May 30–June 17.
Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. For more information about the 2017-18 season, call (949) 497-2787 or go to LagunaPlayhouse.com.