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THEATER PREVIEW:Young Laguna actors using ‘Imagination’

As the Imagination Celebration of Orange County offers its family-oriented festival of performing and visual arts events this month and next, the Laguna Playhouse will chip in with a pair of children’s shows.

The playhouse’s TheaterReach program will mount a production of the popular barnyard fantasy “Charlotte’s Web” April 21, followed by a performance of a locally generated piece, “By the Great Horn Spoon,” May 12.

Both shows will be directed by Donna Inglima, the playhouse’s director of youth theater, education and outreach, and both will feature original music and lyrics by Mark Turnbull.

“Charlotte’s Web” focuses on a young girl named Fern, her pet pig Wilbur and a creative spider named Charlotte. The book by E.B. White has become a literary classic, inspiring a movie version. The stage adaptation is by Joseph Robinette.

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Director Inglima and her predecessor, Joe Lauderdale, adapted “By the Great Horn Spoon” from the book by Sid Fleischman.

This show, set in 1849, follows young Jack Flagg and his butler who stow away on a ship from Boston to the California gold fields where they encounter a wild, swashbuckling adventure.

Both shows are scheduled for performances at 10 a.m. on April 21 and May 12, respectively. They’re suitable for ages 5 and up, and admission is $5 for each.

TheaterReach is a touring program of the playhouse that brings professional productions into area schools. The plays are hour-long stage adaptations of books included in the grade school literature and history school curriculum with stories similar to G-rated movies.

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Teachers are provided with study guides in advance, and the shows are followed by question-and-answer sessions, enriching the program’s educational value.

Imagination Celebration of Orange County is the largest arts festival of its kind in the Western United States. The concept was created in 1986 by the Kennedy Center in Washington, and Orange County was named as one of a handful of satellite sites in the United States.

Prospective playgoers may obtain additional information on “Charlotte’s Web” and “By the Great Horned Spoon” by calling the playhouse at (949) 497-2787.


  • TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Coastline Pilot.

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