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Premieres aplenty a Laguna Playhouse

Tom Titus

The Laguna Playhouse may be a senior citizen among America’s theaters

-- soon to embark on its 82nd season -- but there’s nothing “old timey”

about the lineup of six plays set to grace the playhouse’s stage for the

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2002-03 campaign.

The new season, just announced by Executive Director Richard Stein,

will include two world premieres, one U.S. premiere and two West Coast

premieres. A seventh play is still to be selected.

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Starting off the new season July 13 through Aug. 11 will be the only

non-premiere of the lot -- “Always, Patsy Cline” by Ted Swindley. A

popular attraction in theaters across the country, it’s the story of the

legendary country singer as told by devoted fan Louise Seger. The show

includes 27 of Cline’s songs -- including “Crazy” and “I Fall to

Pieces.”

The world premieres begin in the fall as “Jumping for Joy” by Jon

Marans takes the stage Sept. 7 through Oct. 6. It’s described as a dark

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comedy about a prodigal son who returns home to dictate the future of his

ailing father and his troubled sister, only to find himself engulfed in

his family’s growing expectation that he’s there to stay.

Another musical, “The Spitfire Grill,” makes its West Coast premiere

Nov. 2. Based on the 1996 movie with Ellen Burstyn (nominated for an

Oscar), it traces the story of a young woman’s search for a new

direction in her life in a rustic, Wisconsin town, this time with music.

The show plays through Dec. 1.

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The play to be announced is ticketed from Jan. 4 through Feb. 2, to be

followed by the American premiere of Bernard Farrell’s “Lovers at

Versailles.” This bittersweet comedy focuses on three women left behind

when the husband of one and the father of two others dies. Performances

will be Feb. 22 through March 23.

“Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood” is the second world premiere and will run

from April 5 to May 4. Playwright Mark Saltzman turns back the clock to

1933 when George Bernard Shaw stops off at the movie capital on a

round-the-world tour with his wife. Supporting characters include Louis

B. Mayer, William Randolph Hearst, Marian Davies, Clark Gable, John

Barrymore and Charlie Chaplin. The clash of all those egos should

reverberate indeed.

Making its West Coast premiere in time for the start of the next

baseball season will be “Rounding Third” by Richard Dresser, whose

“Wonderful World” and “Gun Shy” also were produced at the playhouse. The

comedy about a die-hard Little League coach and his new, idealistic

assistant coach will run from May 31 through June 29.

Laguna’s Youth Theater also is set for its new, four-play season. This

will be the subject of a forthcoming epistle.


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