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On Theater: Tourists gone; locals get their nights

With the arts festivals over for another year, Laguna Beach’s local theatergoers can take advantage of a half-price offer they can drink to.

The Laguna Playhouse is offering Laguna residents two tickets for the price of one on its two touring shows this month — “Ethel Merman’s Broadway” and “Cloris Leachman: A One-Woman Show” — but only for the Sept. 18 and 25 performances.

And, playhouse officials promise, they’ll throw in one complimentary drink voucher good for any beverage at the lobby bar for each ticket purchased.

“Ethel Merman’s Broadway,” which opened Thursday and will be reviewed next week, spotlights Rita McKenzie channeling the queen of Broadway musicals from the 1940s and ‘50s. The singer’s life story is weaved into the collection of her signature songs.


When “Ethel” leaves the stage, another showbiz legend — this one living — arrives. Cloris Leachman, an Oscar winner for “The Last Picture Show,” will take the playhouse stage to reminisce on her long career.

Leachman may have won her award for a heavy dramatic performance in 1971, but she’s also equally well known for her broad comedy in such farcical Mel Brooks movies as “Young Frankenstein” and “High Anxiety.”

She’s starred on Broadway in Shakespeare (“As You Like It” with Katharine Hepburn), musical comedy (“South Pacific”) and headlined her own television show (“Phyllis”). And she also competed recently (at 83) on TV’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

The Merman production plays through Sept. 19, while Leachman’s show runs from Sept. 22 to 26. The “locals night” tickets are for the Sept. 18 and 25 Saturday evening performances.


The special offer cannot be combined with any other deals, the playhouse noted, and no refunds will be offered on previously purchased tickets. More information may be obtained by calling the playhouse at (949) 497-2787 or going online to