Our Laguna: Looking ahead to their greatest hits

"Lagunatics," which wound up its 19th season with a gala performance Oct. 30, is already looking ahead to the 20th anniversary of the "Roast of the Coast," which will reprise the greatest hits in the show's history.

Everybody has a favorite they would like to see included. Selections will be culled from the master list of every show in the possession of "Lagunatics" founder Bree Burgess Rosen.

"When we did the 10th anniversary 'Greatest Twits,' I whittled the list down to 38, but it needed to be 26," Burgess Rosen said.

She asked for advice, and when she got it, the number increased to 44.

Burgess Rosen has a number of favorites, but two that stand out are "In the Nude," sung to Glenn Miller's "In the Mood," from the 2010 show and the Girl Scout number performed the year the City Council proposed the sale of the Girl Scout House property and hit a buzz saw of objections.

She loves the drag numbers, particularly "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got that Schwing)," parodying the 1931 Duke Ellington standard of almost the same title.

Burgess Rosen's husband, Leon Rosen, maintains that much can be learned about Laguna's history from the show's scripts.

Councilman Kelly Boyd would like to see Damita Crivello's "Down in Laguna Today" in next year's show.

"I always thought that it should be the last song in every show," Boyd said.

Ann Johnson, who loved "Chicago" on stage and on film, would like to see the parody on the Bob Fosse kick-off tune repeated.

Arts Commissioner Pat Kollenda member of the Festival of Arts and Laguna Sister Cities Assn. boards and perennial performer in "Lagunatics," doesn't think one of her favorites will make the cut because it is no longer on the front page.

"The funniest thing I ever heard was the 'Do You Want to Know a Secret' duet sung by Bree and Roxana Ward," said Kollenda. "Bree played Monica Lewinsky eating handfuls of junk food, and Roxana had a great big flower on her outfit with a boombox" — a send-up of Linda Tripp taping Lewinsky's confidences about her extracurricular activities at the White House.

Kollenda tap danced with others in stained blue dresses.

Laguna College of Art & Design board member Terry Smith will always remember "The Very Model of a Modern City Manager," parodying Gilbert and Sullivan's "I am the Very Model of a Model Major-General."

Arts patron Bobbi Cox liked various numbers that ribbed the city manager, but school board member Betsy Jenkins said the best was the 2010 parody of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," a group with which Ken Frank was not familiar until the show.

"Lagunatics" lyricist Chris Quilter, whose writing skills and quirky mind pair ideally with Burgess Rosen, loves big splashy numbers: "Bohemian Rhapsody," of course; "Circle of Cars," which opened the show about five years ago; and "Hear the Beat of Alien Feet," the year outsiders tried to politicize the Patriots Day Parade.

Friends of the Library President Martha Lydick recalls with pleasure the trash can number "It's Not Easy Being Green" and the unforgettable "Montage Cash," with former Police Chief Jim Spreine stripping to the waist to the 1962 hit "Monster Mash." Spreine will be invited back for the 20th anniversary show.

"But I loved the hospital number in this year's show," Lydick said.

The performance featured a choir of nuns, led by Kollenda rapping.

"I think it was the best show ever," Lydick said.

The show is an insiders' delight, but programs include "a cheat sheet for out-of-towners or locals who haven't been paying attention," and an introduction to the cast. It is worth the price of admission.

The 2011 show highlights included the usual riff on the Pageant of the Masters, which raises the question of what kind of mind can rhyme cash cow with Oberammergau?

For those who haven't a clue what Oberammergau is: It is a town in Germany that has presented performances of tableau vivants a bit longer than the Festival of Arts — since 1634.

Other show highlights included "Highway from Hell." That would be the 133 Freeway or Coast Highway, in either direction.

The goats that crop the flammable brush between the city and open space got their usual space in the program, but with less emphasis this year on bodily functions.

"As Long as She Feeds Me" had the audience in stitches every time, with Burgess Rosen barking like an ailing sea lion as a means of delaying her return to the ocean.

Mayor Toni Iseman brandished scissors in "Another Op'ning" and cavorted with a stuffed dolphin in "Just in Time," following a solo by Boyd, who opposed the fishing ban.

And my personal favorite: "Days of Wine and Poses," with Rob Harryman portraying City Manager John Pietig singing "Frank's Just a Memory," to the tune of the Bob Hope's trademark song, "Thanks for the Memory." Harryman accompanied himself on the piano and someone in the audience was heard to say, "I didn't know the city manager could play the piano that well."

Newcomers to the cast and crew included "virgins" Kimberly Clark, Bridget English, Shen Heckel, Natalie Powers, Jay Rechter, Kelly Ruiz, Ella Wyatt and Councilwoman Verna Rollinger.

Next to Burgess Rosen, who has appeared in all 19 shows to date — which makes sense since she founded it — veteran Clare Robinson has the most appearances with 17. Bill Harris has narrated the show for seven years.

Show sponsors included the Retreat in Laguna, K'ya Bistro, Ketel One Vodka, Mark West, Avalon, Bex, Four Vines, Rock Rabbit Wineries, dentist Mark W. Brisley, Spydernet, Festival of Arts Foundation, Laguna Board of Realtors Charitable Assistance Fund, local lodging establishments and the city.

Special thanks went to Lloyd Charton, Greg Dotts, Chris Keller, Amy Amardio, the Dave LaBohn charity golf tournament, Chip McDermott and Norman Healy.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (949) 302-1469 or email coastlinepilot@latimes.com with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.

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