The Crowd:

It was “An Affair To Remember.” The Noble Viking Charities of Orange County held their annual Valentine Viking auction and dinner Saturday evening at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort, Newport Beach. The organization’s purpose is to assist disadvantaged families in the community, especially during the holidays.

The Noble Vikings are a fraternal charity, founded more than 50 years ago in Los Angeles by restaurateur Ken Hanson, owner of the one-time legendary Hollywood bistro known as Scandia. Hanson’s protégé was Hans Prager, who became arguably Orange County’s most celebrated restaurateur through the operation of his Ritz Restaurant in Fashion Island. Prager adopted the Viking charity from his former boss, Hanson, and started the Orange County chapter with a group of high-spirited gentlemen who began meeting for monthly luncheons.

Their purpose evolved into finding the best ways to do something to help less fortunate children and families within the community. Now, some 30 years later, the Vikings flourish, and their collective goal on an annual basis is to provide some 1,400 local families with holiday meals and gift baskets at Christmas time. In addition the Vikings support such organizations as Share Our Selves, Costa Mesa, Father Serra’s Food Pantry, the Boys & Girls Clubs’ of Santa Ana, Tustin and the Newport Harbor Area, Latino Health Access, and other hands-on nonprofits.

The Valentine-themed dinner and auction attracted dedicated Viking members including Wayne and Sherry Smith, Glenn Bianchi, Frank and Michelle Di Bella, Rich and Mary Scott, Mary Jo Hausman, Larry Noggle, Kristilyn Goff, Rich Evanich, and Trish Keefer. Also front and center was dedicated Viking and Balboa Bay Club & Resort President Henry Schielein and his wife, Carol.

Run — don’t walk — to the box office of the Orange County Performing Arts Center today to buy tickets for the remaining performances of the “Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber” presented in two shows today and two shows Sunday. The Jeffrey Finn production of the music of the great Lloyd Webber is a stunningly simple tour de force musical experience that is totally engaging.

Six talented and different performers join an orchestra led by musical director Edward G. Robinson. The show takes the audience into the world of iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical theater, from “Cats” to “Jesus Christ Superstar” to “Joseph,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Evita,” and the crowd-pleasing crowning glory of “The Phantom of the Opera.” Musical selections also include performances from lesser known Lloyd Webber productions including “Song and Dance,” “The Woman In White,” “Whistle Down The Wind” and more.

Opening night Tuesday attracted a full house in Segerstrom Hall, including a number of local “movers and shakers” and Center supporters such as Roger Kirwan, Tom and Joyce Tucker, Raj and Marta Bhathal, Hetty and John Robinson, Gini and Bob Robbins, Rita Snyder and Phil Magiera, and Center VIPs, including Terry Dwyer, Judith Morr, and Tom West.

Again, if you are able, don’t miss this production. It is great entertainment presented in Orange County’s treasured Performing Arts Center. Coming in March the Center will present another musical review, “Rain: A Tribute To The Beatles” debuting March 23 through the 28. For all tickets and information go to www.ocpac.org or call (714) 556-2787.


THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays.

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