If you are familiar with the city of Laguna Beach then you know it is as “artistic” as it is beautiful. The landscape and natural light are reminiscent of the French Riviera and have lured artists and painters here for years. What you may not know however is that this quaint, beachside town is also home to a wonderful community theater, the Laguna Playhouse.
Founded as a community theatre in 1920, Laguna Playhouse is actually one of the oldest continuously operating, not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast. Every year, the playhouse draws talented celebrities who come to perform and stay to play (and can you blame them)? So if you see Harrison Ford, Rita Rudner or Val Kilmer soaking up some Laguna sunshine you now know they may just be on a “working vacation.”
And the playhouse’s Moulton Stage isn’t just a theater venue. It is also home to the annual Laguna Dance Festival, Laguna Beach Music Festival and Laguna Concert Band. Plus, the Playhouse’s theater programs reach beyond the curtain and into the community. This is done with special V.I.P. events that are held in beautiful homes in the area. These special events give you a chance to meet the artists in residence and hear music in an intimate setting from people like pianist Hershey Felder.
But don’t forget about the kids! Laguna Playhouse also recognizes the importance of educating our youth and exposing them to the world of theater. And they understand that sometimes you need to come to them. So along with the special productions designed for young audiences and its thriving Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre, the Playhouse also makes a concerted effort to maintain its youth community outreach. Playhouse actors spread their magic and enthusiasm by visiting local schools to share unique educational productions. As a result of this program, the Playhouse has been honored by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, Arts Orange County and the Orange County Department of Education.
To say there is a lot going on here would be an understatement and it’s about to get even better. The city of Laguna Beach recognizes the importance of supporting the arts and it has put its money where its mouth is so-to-speak. In recognition of the Laguna Playhouse’s Centennial in 2020, the Laguna Beach City Council has offered the Playhouse a matching grant of up to $250,000 per year for four years for a total of $1,000,000. That’s right a million dollars! So if you have ever been motivated to be a “patron of the arts” yourself, you couldn’t have picked a better time to really make a difference.
For more information on how you can make a donation please visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com/support/matching-grant/. And to experience the wonderment of live theater treat yourself to an evening (or matinee) you won’t forget at the Laguna Playhouse. For information on the 2016-2017 performance schedule and ticket prices please call (949) 497-ARTS (2787), visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com or come down in person to 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. You can never go wrong with an impromptu trip to one of the most beautiful cities in Orange County.