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Our Laguna: Playhouse's 'Marvelous Wonderettes' full of pizazz on opening night

July 12, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • Greg Renoe and Cody Engle attend the opening night of the Marvelous Wonderettes at the Playhouse.
Greg Renoe and Cody Engle attend the opening night of the…

Rah! Rah! Rah! Sis Boom Bah!

The Laguna Playhouse is putting some pizazz into the opening nights, starting with the debut of "The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps & Gowns."

Playhouse staff dressed up the affair. Executive Director Karen Wood wore a black, embroidered tulle long gown. Development Director Elizabeth Pearson went retro in a black chiffon-over-lilac-silk dress from the 1950s — right in style for a musical trip down memory lane to the early days of rock 'n' roll.

The cast wore fluffy crinoline underskirts in the first act — as well-remembered by some in the audience as the songs sung in the show. Sh Boom Sh Boom.

That was a bit before sculptor Louis Longi's time.

"I must admit I wasn't looking forward to this, but I laughed my head off in the first act," said Longi, who escorted Stacy Blangrun to the opening night performance.

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That act included the "girls plucking a man from the audience to join them onstage as 'Coach,'" on whom one of them had a crush.

Michael Barker wasn't expecting to be a part of the cast.

"I knew something was up when they put me in the seat in the front row, but I didn't know what," said Barker, theater general manager.

His wife, Heidi, thought it was a hoot.

Wood and Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham welcomed the audience, which included the newly elected Playhouse board President Joe Hanauer and his wife, Jane, owner of Laguna Books in the Old Pottery Place.

"The Playhouse's contributions have been enormous over the past 91 years and will grow even more in the years ahead," Hanauer said. "It is with great enthusiasm that I assume this role and work with a very committed board as the Playhouse expands its impact on the cultural and intellectual life of South Orange County."

A special welcome also was extended to Laguna Beach Mayor Jane Egly, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristine Thalman; Irvine Chamber of Commerce executive Kim Sherman, representatives of 2012-13 season sponsor Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel and play underwriter U.S. Bank, Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts President Wayne Baglin, Laguna Beach Unified school board member Betsy Jenkins, city Arts Commissioner Pat Kollenda, Playhouse board members Tim Carlyle and Heidi Miller, and "Wonderettes" creator Roger Bean.

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