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THEATER:Playhouse receives $15,000 federal agency grant

When the Laguna Playhouse mounts its U.S. premiere production of Shmuel Hasfari’s “The Master of the House” late in March, it’ll have an extra $15,000 with which to do so.

The playhouse has been awarded a grant in that amount from the National Endowment for the Arts, marking its first receipt of funding from the federal agency.

The grant will help support the theater’s production of “Master,” scheduled to run from March 27 to April 29.

“‘The Master of the House’ is a wryly comic drama based on the universal conflict between a husband and wife over remodeling their home,” observed Richard Stein, the playhouse’s executive director, who will stage the Laguna production.


“The marvelous thing about the play is that it also is a deeply perceptive exploration of the conflicts between fashion and tradition in a society that values both.”

Hasfari is one of Israel’s most prominent and most produced playwrights, Stein noted, a writer whose work is both popular and controversial there.”

His plays frequently debut at the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv, the nation’s foremost theater company, where ‘Master of the House’ premiered and has run for over 600 performances, according to Stein.

“It is the first Israeli play ever produced by the Laguna Playhouse, and the author will travel to Laguna Beach for this American debut,” Stein said.


“The Master of the House” is one of a season of premieres being commissioned by the Laguna Playhouse this season.

The theater opened its season with the Orange County premiere of “Shear Madness” and followed it with the West Coast premieres of “Sonia Flew” and “A Marvelous Party.”

This weekend marks the first of two world premieres at the playhouse. One is “The Pursuit of Happiness.” The other is the season closer, “The Verdi Girls,” opening May 29.

“Pursuit” will be followed by the Southern California premiere of “The Ice Breaker” and the American premiere of “Master of the House.”

“We feel especially privileged to have our project selected for support since the NEA has extremely limited funding,” Stein declared.

“Although the playhouse enjoys strong private sector support, an NEA grant not only provides needed funds but communicates that our organization is highly regarded on a national level — and that can generate even more support locally.”



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