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NEWS
By Tom Titus | January 6, 2011
With the rain pouring outside and Laguna Canyon Road blocked to traffic a couple of miles away, one might not expect an appreciable turnout at a Laguna Playhouse matinee of what's very nearly a one-show production. One would be impressed, nay astonished, then, at the packed house that turned out for Hershey Felder's "The Great American Songbook," which bowed in Sunday and will be repeated twice more at the end of the month. It's all due to Felder's enormous popularity with playhouse audiences, established in 2010 with "George Gershwin Alone," "Monsieur Chopin" and "Beethoven as I Knew Him. " He's now an established old friend, and that's how he presents his latest one-man show.
NEWS
By Tom Titus | December 23, 2010
The Laguna Playhouse saved the best for last this year. Its production of the original musical "Daddy Long Legs" proved the best in show for 2010, a year that saw several excellent and innovative attractions. This column dubbed the show "the most heartwarming, fully realized offering from the Laguna Playhouse in this, its 90th season" and praised its two-character cast, Megan McGinnis and Robert Adelman Hancock. John Caird, who staged the original production of "Les Miserables," adapted the script and directed the Laguna production.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | January 1, 2010
Imagine, for a moment, what American music would be like had George Gershwin not succumbed to a brain tumor at the age of 38. It’s somewhat like envisioning what Hall of Famers Ted Williams or Bob Feller might have further accomplished had they not served their country in wartime. Gershwin, arguably America’s greatest composer, gave us a plethora of musical standards as well as the operatic “Porgy and Bess,” all the music of the Oscar-winning “An American in Paris” and, of course, the sublime composition “Rhapsody in Blue.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | January 13, 2011
Quick, what do "On the Town," "On the Waterfront" and "West Side Story" have in common? Give up? All three were propelled musically by the genius of Leonard Bernstein, the latest subject in Hershey Felder's series of tributes on the stage of the Laguna Playhouse, this one titled "Maestro. " In his fifth visit to Laguna in a little over a year, Felder changes tempo a bit and may sacrifice some attention as a result. If you're not Jewish and not conversant with musical terminology, "Maestro" may not be as accessible as his previous one-man shows on Gershwin, Chopin and Beethoven.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | January 29, 2010
Hershey Felder, who’s captivating Laguna Playhouse audiences as the title (and only) character in “George Gershwin Alone,” is out to prove his Gershwin is only the tip of an iceberg chock full of musical geniuses. Felder, who’d already been signed for a return visit to the playhouse as “Monsieur Chopin” at the end of February, also has a Beethoven show in his trilogy titled “Composer Sonata.” And he’ll unveil that one at the playhouse from May 11 to 23. The latest exercise, titled “Beethoven as I Knew Him,” was just announced by the playhouse this week.
NEWS
August 26, 2010
In the midst of celebrating its 90th anniversary, it seems Laguna Playhouse is suffering yet another loss: that of longtime artistic director Andrew Barnicle, who announced his resignation this week. Barnicle says he wanted to step down before planning for the new theatrical season got underway but will stick around to help find a successor and bridge the gap between his tenure and the future. Barnicle's resignation, after 20 years, comes three years after the departure of Richard Stein as managing director, a post he had held for 17 years.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | December 22, 2011
Of the seven productions staged during 2011 at the Laguna Playhouse, four of them featured one-person casts. And two of these surged to the front ranks as this column's choice for the theater's best shows of the year. Both "Shirley Valentine" and "This Wonderful Life" - each based on a fully cast movie - excelled as solo accomplishments. And both featured performers who had previous experience with their roles, increasing the depth of characterization in each case. In the case of "Shirley Valentine," the show marked the return of director Andrew Barnicle, who had just finished a 20-year run as artistic director of the playhouse with an admirable production of "Private Lives.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | January 22, 2010
Some of our brightest entertainment legends — James Dean, Marilyn Monroe — have led relatively short lives, but few have packed as many accomplishments into an abbreviated time frame as did George Gershwin. Gershwin wrote more than 1,000 songs for Broadway and the movies, including the entire score for the Oscar-winning “An American in Paris,” as well as a folk opera (“Porgy and Bess”) and arguably the greatest piece of music ever (“Rhapsody in Blue”)
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | December 22, 2011
Of the seven productions staged during 2011 at the Laguna Playhouse, four of them featured one-person casts. And two of these surged to the front ranks as this column's choice for the theater's best shows of the year. Both "Shirley Valentine" and "This Wonderful Life" - each based on a fully cast movie - excelled as solo accomplishments. And both featured performers who had previous experience with their roles, increasing the depth of characterization in each case. In the case of "Shirley Valentine," the show marked the return of director Andrew Barnicle, who had just finished a 20-year run as artistic director of the playhouse with an admirable production of "Private Lives.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | February 3, 2011
Master pianist Hershey Felder has displayed his keyboard artistry in five separate programs over the past year at the Laguna Playhouse. And he's not finished. Felder first caught playhouse patrons' attention in spring with "George Gershwin Alone," a program featuring one of the greatest American composers. He returned shortly afterward to demonstrate his classical skills as "Monsieur Chopin. " "Beethoven as I Knew Him" was the third installment in Felder's impressive repertoire, followed by "The Great American Songbook," a one-on-100 engagement with the audience.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 27, 2011
YOUR WEEKEND FRIDAY: Welcome a new board to the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and help honor local businesses at the chamber's Spirit of Laguna Awards and Installation Dinner from 7 to 10 p.m. at Tivoli Too, 777 Laguna Canyon Road. Tickets are $75. For more information about either event, call (949) 494-1018. SATURDAY: Learn about the history of surf music from 2 to 4 p.m. during the Laguna Beach Historical Society's "Surf's Way Up: Our Surf Musical Heritage" program at the Susi Q Senior Center, 380 Third St. Tickets are $5 per person in advance, and $10 each the day of the program.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | January 13, 2011
Quick, what do "On the Town," "On the Waterfront" and "West Side Story" have in common? Give up? All three were propelled musically by the genius of Leonard Bernstein, the latest subject in Hershey Felder's series of tributes on the stage of the Laguna Playhouse, this one titled "Maestro. " In his fifth visit to Laguna in a little over a year, Felder changes tempo a bit and may sacrifice some attention as a result. If you're not Jewish and not conversant with musical terminology, "Maestro" may not be as accessible as his previous one-man shows on Gershwin, Chopin and Beethoven.
NEWS
By Tom Titus | January 6, 2011
With the rain pouring outside and Laguna Canyon Road blocked to traffic a couple of miles away, one might not expect an appreciable turnout at a Laguna Playhouse matinee of what's very nearly a one-show production. One would be impressed, nay astonished, then, at the packed house that turned out for Hershey Felder's "The Great American Songbook," which bowed in Sunday and will be repeated twice more at the end of the month. It's all due to Felder's enormous popularity with playhouse audiences, established in 2010 with "George Gershwin Alone," "Monsieur Chopin" and "Beethoven as I Knew Him. " He's now an established old friend, and that's how he presents his latest one-man show.
NEWS
By Tom Titus | December 23, 2010
The Laguna Playhouse saved the best for last this year. Its production of the original musical "Daddy Long Legs" proved the best in show for 2010, a year that saw several excellent and innovative attractions. This column dubbed the show "the most heartwarming, fully realized offering from the Laguna Playhouse in this, its 90th season" and praised its two-character cast, Megan McGinnis and Robert Adelman Hancock. John Caird, who staged the original production of "Les Miserables," adapted the script and directed the Laguna production.
NEWS
August 26, 2010
In the midst of celebrating its 90th anniversary, it seems Laguna Playhouse is suffering yet another loss: that of longtime artistic director Andrew Barnicle, who announced his resignation this week. Barnicle says he wanted to step down before planning for the new theatrical season got underway but will stick around to help find a successor and bridge the gap between his tenure and the future. Barnicle's resignation, after 20 years, comes three years after the departure of Richard Stein as managing director, a post he had held for 17 years.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | May 21, 2010
The pantheon of musical geniuses certainly includes George Gershwin, Frederic Chopin and Ludwig von Beethoven. It’s about time they dusted off a niche reserved for Hershey Felder. Felder brings all three composers to life in his fascinating repertoire, which has been concen- trated this season on the Laguna Play- house where his third presentation, “Beethoven as I Knew Him,” is winding up its abbreviated two-weekend engagement. A bit darker than the preceding two, and somewhat less accessible, “Beethoven” still captivates even the non-musical playgoer, thanks to Felder’s immense interpretive talent.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | April 16, 2010
The Laguna Playhouse — which has been around for 89 years — just can’t get enough of Hershey Felder and the late, great composers he brings to life. Felder occupies three slots in the current playhouse schedule, having already performed as George Gershwin and Frederick Chopin, and he’ll return with a Beethoven program later in the season. Now, as the playhouse reveals its 90th anniversary season lineup for 2010-11 — which includes a pair of world premieres — we find Felder again penciled in, this time as the solo architect of a program titled “Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein.
LOCAL
By Barbara Diamond | April 9, 2010
Several community and art organizations are rallying to participate in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Laguna Playhouse and their representatives showed up for the kickoff Monday. “You are here so I know you are ready to celebrate the 90th anniversary,” said Visitors Bureau and Sister Cities President Karyn Philippsen , chairwoman of the celebration. “You received invitations because we need a lot of help and I will be calling on you.” The anniversary celebration season will feature five plays, announced Monday by playhouse Artistic Director Andrew Barnicle , who is beginning his 20th year with the playhouse.
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