Our Laguna: A busy weekend for community events

February 09, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • A reading of "My Funny Valentine," a musical featuring the music of Rodgers and Hart, was performed on Feb. 3 and 4 at No Square Theatre. The cast and production team (left to right) were Nancy Miller (Narrator), Patrick Quilter (audio), Ella Wyatt (Betty Boone), Joe Lauderdale (Director/William Boone), Carol Robinson (Alice Boone), Roxanna Ward (Music Director), Bree Burgess (Cornelia Jones), Chris Quilter (Playwright), Natalie Powers (Gloria Jones), Steve McIntosh (Fergus Crampton), Joey Sims (Valentine).
A reading of "My Funny Valentine," a musical… (Courtesy Paul Nygro )

As Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson has often said, "There is never a dull moment in Laguna Beach. If you can't find a nonprofit to support or an event to attend, you are not paying attention."

Never truer than last weekend.

On Feb. 3, No Square Theatre presented a "reading" and singing of "My Funny Valentine," a musical by Chris Quilter at the Veteran's Memorial Center and No Square Theatre headquarters.

On Saturday, folks had a choice: the second night of Quilter's play; a tribute to Toni Iseman as outgoing mayor coupled with a fundraiser for the Community Clinic and the Laguna Beach Woman's Club, where the event was held; or the annual Laguna Art Museum auction (see full story on page B1).

Sunday morning, the Patriots Day Parade brunch was held at Tivoli Terrace. Later that afternoon, Councilman Kelly Boyd hosted a Super Bowl potluck at the Marine Room.

Matt and Mary Lawson were among those who attended all five weekend events.


Quilter's play was sold out Feb. 3 and Saturday. He began writing the play as an antidote to his job of "business theater." Quilter wanted to adapt a play into a musical comedy. He chose George Bernard Shaw's "You Never Can Tell," the tale of young Mr. Valentine and ingénue Gloria. The burned-out Quilter was fiddling with the play, when he happened to hear Ella Fitzgerald on the radio singing "My Funny Valentine."

Almost without trying he had a score of other Rodgers and Hart songs that fit the bill.

The weekend performances featured narrator Nancy Miller, who set the storyline and locations, and singer-actors Carol Robinson, Ella Wyatt, Joe Lauderdale, Bree Burgess, Natalie Powers, Steve McIntosh and Joey Sims.

It was the culmination of years of tinkering, which probably would have continued for another decade or so had Burgess and Lauderdale not intervened. With their feedback, the script was given a final rewrite. Roxanna Ward worked on the score.


In the audience Feb. 3: Mayor Jane Egly, Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger, council members Pearson and Iseman; City Treasurer Laura Parisi, Friends of the Library President Martha Anderson, Pat and Jim Kollenda, Carolyn and Dr. Tom Bent, Stephany Skenderian and her mother, Shirley Griffin, and Sande St. John, still recovering from leg surgery.

All of the above also attended the tribute to Iseman. Burgess and Quilter, whose show didn't start till later, made their presence felt.

Burgess sang Quilter's adaptation of "My Funny Valentine:"

"Behold today, I honor a friend

With heartfelt accolade.

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