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Directed by Bree Burgess Rosen, Choreographed by Paul Nygro, Music Directed by Roxanna Ward
Performances Oct 13 - 14, 20 - 22, 27 - 29, Nov 3-5, 25th Anniversary Gala Nov 5
Lagunatics is a must-see: Pepper tree skit brings entire audience to its feet, teary-eyed with laughter
Story and photos by LYNETTE BRASFIELD
The first half of Lagunatics this year features some terrific numbers, to which I can attest (though a few are a little edgier than some may like): the second half, I hear from several sources, is beyond sensational – and sadly I missed that half due to a family emergency that forced Bill and me to leave at intermission (all sorted out now).
So I will be back next weekend to see for myself. But clearly the show is un-missable for anyone who is a true Lagunan.
I’m told by several very reliable sources that the pepper tree number, “And I Am Telling You,” with lyrics by Chris Quilter and music by Henry Krieger, was sung exquisitely by Eric Anderson, who commanded the stage with his performance.
And the skit was so clever and so well performed, it had people crying with laughter and holding their stomachs in pain (the good kind of pain).
“I saw so many people wiping away tears of laughter,” Sande St. John tells me. “That’s the only time I’ve witnessed a standing ovation in all the years I’ve attended Lagunatics. It went on and on.”
Click on photo for a larger image
Pocket mouse (not actual size)
From pepper tree to pocket mice to police chief – Laguna’s peculiarities get the full Bree Rosen treatment, enhanced by a great cast, crazily good writers, and props and costumes that wow the audience, given how over-the-top, so giddily ridiculous and yet how apt they are.
Rebecca Lyles, who wrote several of the song lyrics, says, “I’m amazed at how the simple words we put on paper come to life with costumes, choreography, talented singers, and comedic point of view.
“It’s a special thrill to see theater-goers lap it up they way they did last night. How often do you see audience members dabbing at laughter-tears and jumping to their feet to applaud?”
I’m told Lyles’s “Chump” was also a great hit with the audience.
“Send in the Drones” sends audience into convulsions
The standout in the first half was unquestionably Bree Rosen and Bridget English’s “Send in the Drones,” sung by Rufino. It was a unique take on the issue and perfectly suited to Rufino’s brand of talent.
Sande St. John also praised the incredible skills of costume designer Brigitte Harper. “She’s just amazing,” Sande says. She adds that the trolley skit, featuring outer-wear of the automotive kind, was also enormously popular with the audience. “A hit!” Sande says.
Another of my favorites from the first half was “Farinella,” with lyrics by Chris Quilter, whose brilliant, quirky wit shone through many of the performances. Other standouts, I hear, were “My Shot,” which apparently had Gregg McGillivray moving to the beat, clearly enjoying the music and the lyrics, and another favorite was “I’ve Just Seen a Space” parodying parking problems.
You had to be there! So go!
Click on photo for a larger image
For a moment, I thought I was doing a dining feature: delicious al fresco dinner
And a word to the wise (oh, to the unwise, too, what the heck!): the dinner served beforehand, for just $10, is exquisite. Prepared by The White House, eaten al fresco, and paired with wine in the gloaming, as my Scottish father used to call the twilight hours, this is a great way to begin an evening of laughter and escapism, something we all dearly need these days – some days more than others.
ANNIE includes such unforgettable songs as “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” plus the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”
Book and Score by Tony Award®-winners
Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin
Directed by Joe Lauderdale
Choreographed by Ellen Prince
Music Directed by Roxanna Ward
Little Orphan Annie charms everyone with her plucky optimism, despite humble beginnings in 1930s New York City.
Performances Dec 2 - 3, 8 - 10, 15 - 17
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