On Theater: Playhouse adds show, names director

What’s new at the Laguna Playhouse? Well, a show and a new director of development for openers.

The theater, which earlier had announced its 2009-10 schedule with a vacancy in the March 16 to April 11 slot, has filled that gap with a world premiere of a show written especially for Laguna Beach and Orange County.

It’s called “Can You Be More Pacific” and will feature the famed sketch comedy troupe the Second City, which produced such comedic talents as John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Stephen Colbert, Mike Myers, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

None of these legends will be featured in the Laguna show, of course, but Playhouse Artistic Director Andrew Barnicle promises “an avalanche of laughs that will highlight the most comedic and relevant elements of what it means to live behind the Orange Curtain.


“Whether you’re a lifelong O.C. resident or a recent transplant, you’ll see yourself, your neighbor or your favorite plastic surgeon highlighted on stage for a good ribbing,” he adds.

“Can You Be More Pacific” is the sixth regional-specific show created by the Second City — a comedy troupe created in 1959 in Chicago (which at that time was the second-largest city in the nation). The show’s March 16 to April 11 engagement will close out the upcoming season and, as Barnicle notes, “From real housewives to theme part mania, this California adventure is a wild comedy ride that doesn’t require a toll road.”

The newcomer to the playhouse staff is actually a returnee. Amy Larson, the playhouse’s director of individual giving from 2002 to 2007, is back as the theater’s director of development.

Larson, a former actress and onetime stalwart of Santa Ana’s Alternative Repertory Company, left Laguna to serve as development director for the Saint Joseph Ballet in Santa Ana.


“I’m very pleased to be back at the Laguna Playhouse,” Larson said. “Our board, our trustees, our supporters and our staff are all so passionate about the importance of theater and about our wonderful educational programs.”

Managing Director Karen Wood noted that Larson’s “record of achievement and strong connection with the community will be a real asset as we approach our 90th anniversary season.”

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Coastline Pilot.