By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Most theaters have returned to normal operations again; however, County mandates for mask requirements are still being decided as we go to press, so please check the current guidelines before you leave to attend any performances. COVID protocols also vary from venue to venue, so you may still have to show proof of vaccination and/or wear a mask during the show, so please check with the theater before you attend an event to find out what is their current policy.
The information presented in this column is the latest available at the time of printing; however, you should check with the theater to confirm before making definite plans.
Here are the shows that have announced opening dates for this month or are already running at this time:
“Xanadu” “Xanadu” follows Clio, the lovely and precocious Greek muse who decides to don her roller skates and legwarmers to become Kira in order to help Sonny Malone, a chalk artist with half a brain and a heart of gold, rediscover his own creativity. With both help and hindrance from the other muses – and from a clarinetist-turned-real estate mogul named Danny Maguire – Sonny and Clio work to rebuild their “apex of the arts,” a roller disco. “Xanadu” is the rare musical with a big heart, an even bigger funny bone, and a tongue stuck firmly in its cheek. The smash-hit score includes “I’m Alive,” “Magic,” “Have You Never Been Mellow” and “Xanadu.”
Written by Douglas Carter Beane, with music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, and directed by Paula Hammons Sloan, it runs Aug. 7 through Aug. 21 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets, call (949) 497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“A Salute to Sondheim” Countertenor John Holiday has performed at world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall and London’s Barbican Centre. Known for his star turn on “The Voice,” Holiday has curated “The John Holiday Experience” to showcase his affinity and talent for many different genres, from pop to jazz and R&B. Holiday has released three pop singles: “Alive in Me,” “Waste Mine” and “Love Finds a Way.” In the 2021-22 Hollywood Bowl season, Holiday made his debut at the premier venue under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel in an all-Gershwin program with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, followed by his Metropolitan Opera debut in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice.
Written by Stephen Sondheim, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Ernest H. Harrison, it runs Aug. 13 and Aug. 14 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Westwood. For tickets, call (310) 267-4465 or visit www.GMCLA.org.
“Mud” After the collapse of society, a group of people band together for safety, survival and community. As they begin to rebuild, they examine the failures of the past with an eye on truth. But can they escape the beast that haunts them and avoid falling into the holes humanity has left behind?
Written and directed by Bree Pavey, it runs Aug. 19 through Sept. 11 at the Loft Ensemble in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 452-3153 or visit www.loftensemble.org.
“Nunsense” is a hilarious spoof about the misadventures of five nuns trying to manage a fundraiser. Sadly, the rest of the sisterhood died from botulism after eating vichyssoise prepared by Sister Julia Child of God. Thus, the remaining nuns – ballet-loving Sister Leo, streetwise Sister Robert Anne, befuddled Sister Mary Amnesia, the Mother Superior Sister Regina and mistress of the novice Sister Mary Hubert – stage a talent show in order to raise the money to bury their dearly departed. With catchy songs and irreverent comedy, “Nunsense” is sure to keep audiences rolling with laughter.
Written by Dan Goggin, with music by Dan Goggin, and directed by Alta Abbott, it runs Aug. 26 through Oct. 2 at the Theatre Palisades in Pacific Palisades. For tickets, call (310) 454-1970 or visit www.theatrepalisades.org.
“Valley Song” In this poignant and hope-filled coming-of-age story that transcends politics, a young girl seeks the courage to embrace the future while her grandfather searches for the wisdom to let go of the past.
Written by Athol Fugard and directed by caryn desai [sic], it runs Aug. 26 through Sept. 11 at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets, call (562) 436-4610 or visit www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.
“Pageant of the Masters: Wonderful World” “The Pageant of the Masters” is arguably one of the most unique productions in the entire world. Each evening during the summer season, classic and contemporary works of art are faithfully re-created with theatrical illusion and real people posing as living pictures. Enjoy art that comes to life under the stars in the Pageant’s outdoor amphitheater. A kaleidoscope of international art becomes your passport to distant lands, cultural celebrations, and fascinating history in the 2022 production of “Wonderful World.” Transported through the theatrical art of living pictures, the Pageant sets sail in pursuit of seasonal festivities, ancient and modern, promising new surprises at every turn. Prepare to be amazed by the Pageant’s intoxicating blend of original music, storytelling and stage illusions. “Wonderful World” is a love letter to our common humanity and the countless ways in which artists have asked the eternal question: “Why are we here?”
The show runs through Sept. 2 at the Festival of Arts Grounds in Laguna Beach. For tickets, call (949) 497-6582 or visit www.PageantTickets,.com.
“90th Annual Festival of Arts” This summer the Festival of Arts is celebrating a major milestone: its 90th anniversary. On Saturday, Aug. 13, 1932 the Festival of Arts opened its doors for the very first time as two dozen artists hung their paintings on fences, trees and buildings along Laguna’s main street hoping to lure tourists to the first Festival of Arts. This summer, on Tuesday, July 5, the world-renowned Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will open its doors to celebrate 90 years of art, welcoming hundreds of patrons to relish in one of the nation’s top fine art festivals. The Festival of Arts is sponsored in part by Volvo, Fidelity Investments, Celebrity Cruises, KOST Radio 103.5, and The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
In celebration of its 90th anniversary, the Festival of Arts will host 120 award-winning artists from July 5 through Sept. 2. This professionally juried fine art show features a diverse selection of artwork including paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, jewelry, and more from artists around Orange County. Since opening in 1932, thousands have shown and sold their artwork at the Festival and many have their work featured in the private collections of leading art collectors, celebrities, and museums around the world. For a full list of the 2021 participating artists, please visit www.foapom.com/exhibitor-gallery.
The Festival has been rated one of the top festivals in the nation and each year hosts over one hundred of Orange County’s most talented artists. Recent accolades include Orange County Register’s Best Place to Buy Original Art, Art Fair Calendar’s Top Five Art Fairs in the West and Top 5 Art Festival in the nation voted by USA Today readers.
In addition to the variety of artwork, the Festival of Arts offers a wide range of daily activities that the whole family can enjoy. The calendar includes nightly live music, guided art tours, art workshops and weekly series including Concerts on the Green, and Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate (sponsored by Charles Schwab and Cambria Estate Winery).
Steve Zall and Sid Fish of Scene in L.A. know a lot about L.A. theatre and are ready to share with CV Weekly readers.