In The Arts

Pearson now full-time at Playhouse

Laguna Beach City Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson is now a full-time staffer at the Laguna Playhouse, where she previously did consulting work as a marketing and public relations expert.

On Feb. 6, the Playhouse announced it had named the former three-time mayor as its director of development.

As she is still serving on the council, Pearson will have to recuse herself from voting on any council matters relating to the Playhouse, officials said in a news release.

"My company, ADworx, will now be defunct since I'm now going to work as a director of development for the playhouse," Pearson said in a voicemail response to a reporter's questions, referring to her Laguna-based marketing, advertising and P.R. firm. Laguna Playhouse was listed online as an ADworx' client.

Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood told the Coastline Pilot that Pearson has already started to play a key leadership role at the 90-year-old Laguna institution.

"She's just a delight to partner with," Wood said. "She's innovative, inventive, thoughtful .... The board of directors and I are just very excited about the opportunity to have Elizabeth in this leadership role."


Playhouse gets grant money

The Laguna Beach Community Foundation has granted the Laguna Playhouse $5,000 to help with its capacity building and capital projects, Playhouse officials announced in a news release.

The foundation's mission is to support philanthropy in the Laguna area through charitable groups and local individuals.

"We are honored to receive this community-driven grant and offer heartfelt thanks for the Foundation's continued support of the Playhouse and our efforts in building community and enriching lives through shared cultural experiences," Karen Wood, the playhouse's executive director, said in a prepared statement.


Youth production opens Friday

Meanwhile, the Playhouse's Youth Theatre this weekend will present its adaptation of "The Giver," the Newbery Medal award-winning children's book by Lois Lowry about a dystopian society.

The first performance will be at 10 a.m. Friday, followed by performances at 7 p.m. Friday, and 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday. This production will be followed by the Youth Theatre productions of two classic fairy tales, "Hansel and Gretel" and"Cinderella,"which will play from Feb. 24 till March 4.

Tickets for "The Giver," which runs an hour and 10 minutes, cost $12.50. To book tickets, call the Laguna Playhouse at (949) 497-ARTS (2787) ext. 1. The Playhouse is at 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.


'Learning from John Lautner'

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Friends of Laguna Beach Architecture will present a repeat presentation of its popular program, "Learning from John Lautner."

The presentation by local architect David Parker will deal with Lautner's approach to design. Lautner (1911-1984) studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and later started his own practice in Los Angeles, according to a news release.

Two Lautner-designed homes in Laguna will be featured in the presentation, which is being co-hosted by Sean McCracken, a Realtor with Surterre Properties in Laguna.

The Friends of Laguna Beach Architecture, a group founded by Parker and McCracken, will be holding monthly presentations related to architecture and design on the fourth Wednesday of the month. The Wednesday event will take place at the DeBilzan Fine Arts Gallery, 224 Forest Ave.


Shakespeare in the park OKd

"Shakespeare's Fool" will be performed on four Fridays in June in Heisler Park.

On Feb. 7, the City Council approved a pilot program titled "Shakespeare in the Park."

Performances will include monologues from Shakespeare's plays and original music. Limited amplification was also approved.

John Gardner and Jason Feddy proposed the program to the Arts Commission at its Jan. 9 meeting. The commission unanimously approved the proposal for recommendation to the council.

Feddy said performances will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the new amphitheater and conclude at sunset on June 1, 8, 15 and 22.

Funding is available from savings in the commission's special programs budget, due to a $3,000 donation to Friday Flicks, which will be redirected to the Shakespeare performances.

Both programs are financed by the Business Improvement District, a voluntary bed tax hoteliers that imposed on themselves in addition to the regular city tax to support arts activities and organizations that bring tourists to Laguna.

—Imran Vittachi and Barbara Diamond

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