Laguna Playhouse announces 2013-2014 shows

Laguna Beach — It was a packed house as The Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood and Artistic Director Ann Wareham, provided Playhouse patrons a sneak peek into the starriest-ever season of shows at a special soiree held recently at The Hotel Laguna.

A surprise appearance by Davis Gaines (of Phantom of the Opera) sang “My Cup Runneth Over” from the Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt musical “I Do1 I Do!” about the trials and tribulations in sharing a marital bed for 50 years.  Gaines will star with Vicki Lewis in the season musical opening show in July.

The Playhouse’s 2013-2014 season is filled with award-winning writers, directors and stars in a range of high comedy, musicals, and poignant drama.  Joan Didion, Noel Coward, Johnny Cash, the Beatles, Hershey Felder and Rita Rudner will be represented.

Additional season Main Stage lineup includes:

§ Everyone’s favorite Phantom of the Opera’s Davis Gaines and the irrepressible Vicki Lewis starring in the musical, I DO! I DO!.

§ The wit and wonder of Noel Coward in his rarely-revived side-splitting farce FALLEN ANGELS.

§ A soon-to-be-announced holiday show that is sure to bring much enjoyment to the holiday season at playhouse

§ Some of the greatest country music ever written by the man of? black, Johnny Cash, in RING OF FIRE. “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and, of course, “Ring of Fire”–all performed by 10 musician/singer/actors who breathe new life into these country classics!

§ A “great” read without leaving your seat in the Orange County Premiere of ALL THE GREAT BOOKS. It’s Monty Python-meets-Cliffs Notes in Reduced Shakespeare Company’s fast-paced comic farce. that leaps from page to the stage.

§ Finally, spend an evening enjoying Joan Didion’s beautiful play based on her best-selling memoir THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, starring Linda Purl. It tells one woman’s remarkable story of loss, grief, and renewal.

Three additional show options have been added, as Karen Wood explained, . New shows by HERSHEY FELDER and RITA RUDNER, and BRITISHMANIA, featuring the authentic sounds of the Beatles we all know and love so well, and the unique spirit of that time .

Plus the year is punctuated also by some of the finest other Laguna Beach producing organizations have to offer such as the Laguna Dance Festival, The Laguna Music Festival, the Laguna Concert Band, and Jammin’ At The Playhouse–a new Monday night smooth jazz series brought to us by Ivan Spiers and Mozambique!

For information and to book tickets or a season subscription, visit or call the box office at (949) 497-2787.

Cable car to link Western Wall with rest of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, May 1, — The city of Jerusalem is moving forward with a plan to build a cable car system that will bring visitors to and from the Western Wall.

One line will connect Dung Gate (the Old City gate closest to the Western Wall) with the Mount of Olives to the east, and a second line will connect Dung Gate with the Khan Theater on Hinnom Ridge to the west, Israel Hayom reported.

The system will be able to transport 6,000 passengers per hour.  Each of the 1.6 kilometer routes will take around four minutes to traverse.

Jerusalem municipal officials said the cable car system will meet the needs of the growing millions of people who visit the Western Wall and the Old City each year.

“Beyond being a transportation solution, the cable car will also serve as a unique and innovative tourist attraction that will provide breathtaking views,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said.

First Century Club debuts at Kisco Senior Living

Escondido, May 1 — This month, Kisco Senior Living will be celebrating a major milestone with 35 of its residents who have achieved the distinction of reaching 100 plus years of age.  The “First Century Club” will debut during National Older American Month.  This newly created program will honor the centenarians with special events and luncheons at Kisco communities during the month of May.

Cypress Court in Escondido will honor its centenarians Harry Hecock, 103, Lorraine Peterson, 102, and Viola Van Londerssele, 100 this year, at a special luncheon on May 9.  The celebration will include unique gifts as well as a personalized video that will capture their secrets to longevity and displayed on the Kisco website

As a preview to the videos, when asked about his secret to a long life, Harry Hecock said, “I’ve always had something in my mind about what I was going to do.  I’ve always had a goal.”

Lorraine Petersen attributes her longevity to good genes as her mother lived to 103.  “I always enjoyed birthdays and consider them just another number,” Lorraine said.  She celebrates her birthdays by going to casinos “not just for the slot machines, but also for the delicious food”.

“Our centenarians epitomize Kisco Senior Living’s innovative The Art of Living Well lifestyle that keeps residents engaged physically, spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally and vocationally”, according to Maria Connelly, Kisco’s National Wellness Team Leader.

Cypress Court is located at 1255 N. Broadway, Escondido.  Call (760) 747-1940 for more information, visit or follow online at

URJ offers grants for “Taste of JudaismTM” classes

New York, May 2 –The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is offering grants to help congregations offer Taste of Judaism ™, a free, 3-session class for beginners — Jewish or not — that explores the topics of Jewish spirituality, ethics and community values.

A Taste of Judaism is a high visibility, low threshold program of liberal Jewish content designed to pique the interest of all who are searching for an access point to Jewish life.  The class is designed for those who would like to explore or re-explore the foundations of Jewish tradition and are looking for an entry into Judaism.  The class has been remarkably successful with unaffiliated Jews, those who are not Jewish but who are interested in learning about Judaism, interfaith couples and their families and those considering conversion.

Congregations may apply for grant funding if they have not received a URJ Taste of Judaism grant within the past three years.  The URJ will fund 75% or more of anticipated advertising costs plus a modest honorarium for the instructor.  Congregations with 150 or fewer members may be considered for full grant funding.  Grant applications are due by May 31 and notification of awards will be made by June 30.

With or without URJ financial support, all URJ congregations offering A Taste of Judaism™ receive training, camera-ready advertisements, a class listing on the URJ’s new website for people interested in Judaism, access to Taste of Judaism™ administrative documents, and more.

”A Taste of Judaism™ is one of the URJ’s best tools for expanding our reach beyond the walls of our congregations,” said URJ Senior Vice President Rabbi Jonah Pesner.  “We offer these grants so that congregations will have the advertising dollars to share the beauty of our Jewish tradition with all who are curious.”

”It was a joy teaching the Taste of Judaism series,” said Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, Connecticut.  “We never would have reached this diverse group of people without it.  For the Jews who took the class, they learned more about their heritage.  For those in interfaith families, it helped created greater understanding.  And for non-Jews, who knew little about Judaism, they came away with information to be more informed.  This type of class is an example of what the URJ does best.  The financial, educational, and organizational support made this an easy and effective program that touched many lives.”

For more information and to apply, visit:

Spirit of Independence

Moscow — Students celebrated Yom Haatzmaut at the Lipman Jewish Day School in Moscow.  Lipman is the first Jewish day school that was established after the fall of the Soviet Union 22 years ago.  The Yom Haatzmaut celebration was organized by the Jewish Agency.

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