Laguna Playhouse Raises $370K at its Annual Gala March 3

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Oh, What a Night Performers: Courter Simmons, Christopher Kale Jones, Ryan Williams and Shonn Wiley

Laguna Playhouse held its annual gala on Sunday, March 3 wit the theme of “Oh What a Night! Celebrating Songs from Jersey Boys & The Sensational 60s.”

Courter Simmons, Christopher Kale Jones, Shonn Wiley, Ryan Williams from the Broadway, Chicago and Los Angeles companies of the Broadway musical “Jersey Boys” performed many of the hit songs from the show including “Sherry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

The Gala raised $370,000 to support Laguna Playhouse’s Youth Theatre programs, funding for actors and designers for its live theatrical productions, as well as technical equipment required for both backstage and onstage.

Clint Bell, Jared Mathis, Lisa Hale and David Ellenstein

Artistic Director David Ellenstein welcomed the donors and their guests and provided an update on the renewed success of the Playhouse. He also shared a sneak preview of the 2024-2025 season which kicks off in September with the comedy hit “Don’t Dress for Dinner.”

Cast members from the Laguna Playhouse Youth Conservatory displayed their talents by presenting a montage of Broadway songs from their upcoming production of “The Addams Family,” which performs May 10 – 12 at the Laguna Playhouse.

“What a fantastic evening filled with good feelings, wonderful spirits, and great entertainment,” said Ellenstein. “It was a night to celebrate Laguna Playhouse and the energy at the Playhouse was high as our loyal patrons and donors joined together in supporting live theatre in Laguna Beach.”

Kathleen D’Angelo, Bertrand and Kimmy Richardson, Kris Rossfeld and Katie Driver

Added Board of Trustees Co-Chair Lisa Hale, “This annual fundraiser supports our extraordinary work with young people in Laguna Beach and Orange County, as well as the great theatre we produce on our stage.  The success of the evening is evident when we witness year-round how live theatre engages people of all ages and proves that theatre matters to everyone.”

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Founded in 1920, the historic Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast and is proud to be an active participant in the celebrated Laguna Beach arts community. From classic plays and musical comedies to current off-Broadway hits, cutting edge and traditional music exhibitions, dance festivals and stand-up comedy performances, Laguna Playhouse brings the magical experience of the performing arts direct to over 80,000 patrons each season.

Joan Riach-Gayner and Laguna Playhouse Emeritus Trustee Otis Healy

Laguna Playhouse educational programming includes year-round classes, productions by and for children and teens (Youth Theatre) and is one of the few companies in the region that offer a curriculum-based professional theatre-touring program called TheatreReach, which aligns with the California State Standards for literature, history and performing arts curriculum.

Laguna Playhouse has been recognized for the past five years as one of Orange County Register’s “Best of OC” in the category of Live Theatre. The Laguna Playhouse has featured many talented performers on its stage, including Ed Asner, Leslie Caron, Hershey Felder, Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, Val Kilmer, Gregory Harrison, Dan Lauria, Hal Linden, Wendie Malick, Rita Rudner, Peter Strauss, Jobeth Williams, Joely Fisher, Charles Shaughnessy, French Stewart, Loretta Swit, and Bette Davis.

Roderick and Kathy Reed, Christine Scheuneman, Annee Della Donna and Eric Alcouloumre
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