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SUMMER SIZZLES : THEATER : A Curtain Call for Musicals, Shakespeare : A Guide to what’s Hot in Orange County

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The heat is on in more ways than one for local arts and entertainment this summer. The new Anaheim Arena will open, but before the Mighty Ducks inaugurate professional hockey in the county, such country and pop stars as Wyonna Judd, Alan Jackson and Barry Manilow will try out the area’s newest concert facility. Shakespeare abounds, indoors and out; Mikhail Baryshnikov dances in Costa Mesa; those classic hot rods and twisted underground comics from the ‘50s and ‘60s will be the subject of a major exhibition at the Laguna Art Museum, and fireworks and violins will mix once again under the stars at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre.

The Complete Schedule

What’s happing this summer in Orange County, plus our critics pick the most noteworthy events.

Orange County’s two largest theater troupes--the professional South Coast Repertory and the amateur Laguna Playhouse--customarily shut their doors for most of the summer.

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And the professional GroveShakespeare--which has made its reputation with summer offerings of Shakespeare-under-the-stars for more than a decade--is teetering on the brink of collapse.

But there is so much theatrical fare taking up the slack from Memorial Day to Labor Day that, to paraphrase Jaques in “As You Like It,” all the county’s a stage and all the men and women theatergoers merely spectators.

For starters, the Orange County Performing Arts Center is offering four musicals this summer: a Broadway-bound version of “My Fair Lady” starring Richard Chamberlain; a national touring version of the 1992 Tony Award-winner “Crazy for You,” a Gershwin revue that is still on Broadway; “Tommy Tune Tonight!” which had a Broadway run last year, and for those who can’t get enough Andrew Lloyd Webber, his “Aspects of Love.”

Also, for the first time in several summers, a tradition of alfresco dinner theater will be renewed at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton. A three-play season comprising “Quilters,” “Lend Me a Tenor” and “Foxfire” will be produced at the Muckenthaler by the Fullerton Civic Light Opera.

If you’re looking for a more serious playgoing experience, the professional offerings of Shakespeare Orange County may just suit your taste. SOC is staging two of the Bard’s plays, “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Julius Caesar” at the Waltmar Theatre on the Chapman University campus in Orange with a company of top-notch players.

Of course, if GroveShakespeare gets its act together, all theatergoers will be better off. Then we may see Alan Mandell, one of Southern California’s most-respected classical actors, doing Lear at the Grove’s Festival Amphitheatre.

Not that Shakespeare will be in short supply at other venues. They’re doing him everywhere, from the Huntington Beach Playhouse (“The Comedy of Errors”) and the Irvine Community Theatre (“Twelfth Night”) to South Orange County Community Theatre (“The Taming of the Shrew”) and the Vanguard Theatre Ensemble (“Othello”).

A star (*) denotes a show of special interest.

Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive., Costa Mesa. (714) 556-2787 or Ticketmaster (714) 740-2000.

“Aspects of Love” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Charles Hart. June 22-27. Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday at 2 and 8 p.m. $19 to $45.

“Tommy Tune Tonight!,” a musical revue. July 13-14. Tuesday, Wednesday at 8 p.m. $18 to $38.

* “My Fair Lady” by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. July 20-25. Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday at 2 and 8 p.m. $23 to $50.

* “Crazy for You,” music by George Gershwin with book by Ken Ludwig and Michael Okrent. Aug. 24-Sept 5. Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sept. 5 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. $19 to $45.

Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive., Cerritos. (310) 916-8500 or (800) 300-4345.

“Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney. June 8-13; Tuesday-Sunday at 8 p.m.; matinees June 10 and 13 at 2 p.m. $40 to $47.50.

South Coast Repertory, 655 Center Drive., Costa Mesa. (714) 597-4033.

“Shadowlands,” by William Nicholson. Through June 27. Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 8 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. $26 to $34.

“Hispanic Playwrights Program,” staged readings of plays in progress. Aug. 6-7. Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. $6.

Fullerton Civic Light Opera at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center Theatre on the Green, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton. (714) 879-1732 or (714) 526-3832.

“Quilters,” a musical by Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek. June 10-July 10. Tuesday, Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. $20. Thursday-Sunday at 8:15 p.m. (with dinner served at 7). $28 to $29.

“Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig. July 15-Aug. 7. Tuesday, Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. $20. Thursday-Sunday at 8:15 p.m. (with dinner served at 7). $28 to $29.

“Foxfire” by Hume Cronyn and Susan Cooper. Aug. 12-Sept. 4. Tuesday, Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. $20. Thursday-Sunday at 8:15 p.m. (with dinner served at 7). $28 to $29.

Shakespeare Orange County at the Waltmar Theatre, 310 E. Palm St., Orange. (714) 744-7016.

* “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare. July 9-Aug. 7. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.; also July 11 at 8 p.m. $21 to $23.

* “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare. Aug. 13-Sept. 11. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.; also, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. $21 to $23.

GroveShakespeare, 12852 Main St., Garden Grove. (714) 636-7213.

* “Monsieur Shaherazad,” one-man show by Carol Wolf, starring Ron Campbell. June 4-6 and 11-13. Friday-Sunday at 8:30 p.m. in the Gem Theatre. $10 to $12.

“Dream Street,” a one-hour children’s play for age 7 and up. June 5-July 3. Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Gem Theatre. $6.

* “King Lear” by William Shakespeare. June 23-July 24. Wednesday-Sunday at 8:30 p.m. in the Festival Amphitheatre. $12 to $35.

“Cinderella Caterpillar,” a one-hour children’s play for age 2 and up. July 10 and 17. Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Gem Theatre. $6.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare. July 28-Sept. 4. Wednesday-Sunday at 8:30 p.m. in the Festival Amphitheatre. $12 to $35.

The Laguna Playhouse at the Moulton Theatre, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. (714) 494-8021.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare. Through June 6. Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. $14 to $19.

Alternative Repertory Theatre, 1636 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana. (714) 836-7929.

“Tartuffe” by Moliere. Through June 12. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m. $13.50 to $16.

Backstage Theatre, 1599 Superior Ave., Costa Mesa. (714) 646-5887.

“Call Me Back,” one-man show by Tony Webster, starring Al Valletta. Through June 19. Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m. $15.

“Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” by Terrence McNally. July 23-Aug. 28. Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m.

Cabrillo Playhouse, 202 Cabrillo Ave., San Clemente. (714) 492-0465.

“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen. Thursday-June 19. Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m. $10.

Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse, 661 Hamilton St., Costa Mesa. (714) 650-5269.

“The Dining Room” by A.R. Gurney. June 3-27. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. $10.

“Youth Theater Workshop.” Aug 6-7 at 7:30 p.m. $5.

Huntington Beach Playhouse, 21141 Strathmoor Lane, Huntington Beach. (714) 832-1405.

“On Golden Pond” by Ernest Thompson. July 16-Aug. 14. Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m.; matinee July 25 at 2 p.m. $9 to $10.

“The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare. June 5-27. Saturday, Sunday at 2 p.m. in Huntington Beach Central Park Amphitheatre, 7111 Talbert Ave. $6.

Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. (714) 854-4646.

“Wizard of Oz,” performed by the National Theater for Children. June 1 at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. School groups only. (800) 245-4603.

“Bread, Games & Green Card,” performed by the Iranian Theatre Co. (in Farsi). July 18 at 8 p.m. Admission to be announced.

Irvine Community Theatre, 1 Sunnyhill (in Turtle Rock Community Park), Irvine. (714) 552-1939.

“Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare. Outdoor production. June 19-27. Saturday, Sunday at 4 p.m. Donation.

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” adapted from the novel by Harper Lee. Aug. 6-28. Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m.; matinee Aug. 15 at 2 p.m. $6 to $10.

La Habra Depot Playhouse, 311 S. Euclid St., La Habra. (310) 905-9708.

“Beauty and the Beast,” a children’s production. June 11-July 3. Friday, Saturday at 7:30; Sunday at 2:30 p.m. $8 to $10.

Newport Theatre Arts Center, 2501 Cliff Drive, Newport. (714) 631-0288.

“Fiddler on the Roof” by Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock and Joseph Stein. Through June 13. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m. $15.

“Story Theater” by Paul Sills. July 9 through August. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m. $13.

Orange County Crazies, 115 E. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana. (714) 550-9900.

“Confessions of a Studio Musician” with jazz guitarist Tommy Tedesco, singer Debbi Ebert and Allon Sams and his band Upside Out. June 12. Saturday 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Club Crazie. $10 to $12.

“As the Orange Turns,” a comedy revue. June 19-Aug. 14. Saturday at 8 p.m. $12 to $15.

Saddleback College Summerstock, 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo. (714) 582-4656.

“Yesterday: A Tribute to the Beatles,” a musical revue. June 11 at 8 p.m. in the Saddleback College Gymnasium. $10.

“Nunsense,” a musical by Dan Goggin. June 25-Aug. 15. Wednesday-Friday at 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday at 3:30 and 8:30 p.m. in the Cabaret Theatre. $14 to $16.

“Oklahoma!” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. July 9-25. Thursday, Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.; and July 21 at 8 p.m. in the McKinney Theatre. $14 to $16.

“Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Fantasy,” a one-hour children’s production. July 16-Aug. 8. Thursday-Sunday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the Kids’ Theatre. $5.

“Sweeney Todd” by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. Aug. 6-22. Thursday, Friday at 8 p.m; Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.; and Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. in the McKinney Theatre. $14 to $16.

South Orange County Community Theatre at the Camino Real Playhouse, 31776 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano. (714) 489-8082.

“The Actor’s Nightmare” and “ ‘Dentity Crisis”, a pair of one-acts, by Christopher Durang. Aug. 11-14 at 8 p.m., and Aug. 19-21 at 8 p.m. $10.

“The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare, at Lantern Bay Park (adjacent the Dana Point Resort) in Dana Point. (714) 489-8082. July 23-Aug. 15. Friday-Sunday at 8 p.m. $10; two for $15.

Vanguard Theatre Ensemble, 699 S. State College Blvd., Fullerton. (714) 526-8007.

“A Man for All Seasons” by Robert Bolt. Through June 5. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 5 p.m. $10 to $14.

“Present Laughter” by Noel Coward. July 1-31. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 5 p.m. $10 to $14.

“Othello” by William Shakespeare. Aug. 25-Sept. 25. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 5 p.m. $10 to $14.

Way Off Broadway Playhouse, 1058 E. 1st St., Santa Ana. (714) 547-8997.

“Paper Walls” by Linda Ballew and Terence Alaric. Through June 27. Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m.; and June 13, 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. $12.50 to $15.

“Way Off The Wall Variety No. 8,” variety show. July 2-17. Friday, Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $10.

“Cheaters” by Michael Jacobs. July 9-Sept. 26. Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m. $12.50 to $15.

Westminster Community Theatre, 7272 Maple St., Westminster (714) 527-8463.

“Romantic Comedy” by Bernard Slade. Through June 12. Friday, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.; matinee June 6 at 2 p.m. $7 to $9.

“Lovers and Other Strangers” by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna. July 9-Aug. 7. Friday, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.; matinee Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. $7 to $9.

Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera at the Yorba Linda Forum, 4175 Fairmont Blvd., Yorba Linda (714) 779-8591.

“Me and My Girl” by L. Arthur Rose, Douglas Furber and Noel Gay. June 4-27. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. $11.50 to $13.50.


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