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THEATER:Three world premieres in playhouse’s new season

It’s become rather obvious, over the last few years, that when you visit the Laguna Playhouse, you’ll more than likely be seeing a show for the very first time.

Next season, the playhouse will underscore that assumption with three world premieres — the most ever offered by the Laguna theater in a single season.

Two of these premieres have been commissioned by the playhouse itself in its 87th year of continuous operation.

Summer is the time for fun, and kicking off the 2007-08 campaign will be the Orange County premiere of Jeanie Linders’ “Menopause: the Musical” July 10 to Sept. 2.

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It’s a comedy about four women at a lingerie sale warbling restructured baby boomer classics — “Puff the Magic Dragon” becomes “Puff, My God, I’m Draggin” and “Staying Alive” is reworked as “Staying Awake”.

The lone familiar entry on the slate is “Art.” Staged several years ago at South Coast Repertory, this is Christopher Hampton’s translation of Yasmina Reza’s literate treatise about appreciation — and interpretation — of an all-white painting.

Artistic director Andrew Barnicle will stage the comedy, which plays from Sept. 11 through Oct. 14.

“Hank Williams: Lost Highway” is the musical fare from Nov. 13 to Dec. 16. Randal Myler and Mark Harelik created this tribute to the country music legend who gave the world “Lovesick Blues” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

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Hank would have been at home in the era of the next production, “Red Herring,” a Southern California premiere set in the McCarthy period of the 1950s and directed by Barnicle.

Love, murder and espionage are intertwined in this Michael Hollinger spoof, ticketed from Jan. 1 to Feb. 3.

The first of three consecutive world premieres arrives Feb. 12 with Bob Clyman’s “Tranced,” to be directed by playhouse executive director Richard Stein.

It’s a suspense thriller about hypnosis by the author of the playhouse’s recent drama, “The Secret Order” and will play through March 16.

On its heels comes “Brownstone” by Catherine Butterfield, who wrote last season’s hit comedy “The Sleeper.”

Commissioned by the playhouse, it’s set in a Manhattan apartment building in three different eras — the 1930s, the 1970s and the present. Barnicle is directing and the show runs March 25 through April 27.

The second playhouse-commissioned premiere is “Alexandros” by Melinda Lopez, author of this season’s “Sonia Flew.” Again the characters are Cuban exiles, and the play will be presented from May 27 to June 29.

“Late Nite Catechism” may be gone from the Monday night schedule, but “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold” will return for its third staging from Dec. 17-13.

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There’ll be audience involvement aplenty in this rollicking presentation.

Season tickets are available at prices ranging from $175 to $700, and further information may be obtained by calling the playhouse at (949) 497-2787 or on line at www.lagunaplayhouse.com.


  • TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Coastline Pilot.

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