Laguna Playhouse Presents THE LONESOME TRAVELERS: IN CONCERT, 8/26-9/2
Laguna Playhouse presents THE LONESOME TRAVELERS: IN CONCERT who will be performing songs from the hit show, LONESOME TRAVELER, as well as new songs, including an interactive audience sing-along, for nine performances only, August 26 through September 2 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.
When LONESOME TRAVELER played at Rubicon Theatre in Ventura last year, it became the best-selling premiere in Rubicon history. It then moved to Laguna Playhouse, where it was one of the top-grossing shows of recent seasons. Created and directed by NAACP Award-Winner James O’Neil, with Musical Arrangements by Tony nominee Dan Wheetman, Lonesome Traveler is a musical journey down the rivers and streams of American folk. It was dubbed a “Critics’ Choice” by the Los Angeles Times and The Coastline Pilot described the evening as “entertaining” and “inspirational…a high water mark for the Laguna Playhouse.” Now, by popular demand, those same “masterful” young singers and musicians return for special one-week-only engagement in the newly formed THE LONESOME TRAVELERS: IN CONCERT. This special engagement includes performances of beloved folk music of the 1940’s to the 1970’s plus the fun of singing along to many.
Says Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham, “Our audiences had a deep and beautiful connection to the music – and we had many requests for a return engagement, so we are thrilled to offer an all new unique evening with even greater focus on the music, combining songs from the previous incarnation with a few added surprises.”
“Our audiences will have an opportunity to sing along on “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight,” “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore,” “Can the Circle Be Unbroken,” “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You” and many others. They will also enjoy encores of “Deportee,” “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” and the title song, “Lonesome Traveler.” Finally, we have added some new folk favorites, such as “I’ll Fly Away,” “The Cruel War,” “The MTA” and “16 Tons.”
All nine artists from the previous Laguna run will be back as THE LONESOME TRAVELERS IN CONCERT: Justine Bennett, Brendan (B. Willing) James, Sylvie Davidson, James Webb, Trevor Wheetman, Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper, Justin Flagg; Anthony Manough and Jennifer Leigh Warren. All of the singers are multi-instrumentalists as well.
The concert is conceived by and co-produced with James O’Neil, who is co-founder and Artistic Director of Rubicon Theatre Company. “My relationship with this music goes back to when I was six or seven-years-old,” O’Neil remarks. “My father was a child of the Great Depression. He grew up in Oklahoma and came to California during the Dust Bowl. Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger were his heroes. As I was growing up in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, our house was filled with the sounds of the folk revival.”
O’Neil’s thoughts are echoed by Musical Director Dan Wheetman: “This music was born out of hardscrabble living. However, it reflects the joy of life; no matter how many obstacles we face, the human spirit rises above and rejoices in being alive.”
“Many are story songs; still other American folk songs influence and change the times,” continues O’Neil. “Many of these are songs of praise, solidarity and rebellion and include patriotic songs, union anthems, political commentary, etc.
THE LONESOME TRAVELERS: IN CONCERT will perform NINE PERFORMANCES ONLY, beginning Tuesday, August 28 through Sunday, September 2 at the Laguna Playhouse. Performances are Tuesday - Saturday Evening at 7:30pm; Thursday and Saturday Matinees at 2:00pm and a special Sunday Matinee at 4:00pm.
Tickets range from $40 - $70 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Student, Senior, Children and group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. The box office is open Tuesdays – Sundays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 8 pm on performance days).
Founded in 1920, The Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating theatres on the West Coast. In 2011, The Laguna Playhouse was honored at the Laguna Spirit Awards and received The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Premiere Business of the Year award. More than 100,000 theatergoers annually attend performances at the Laguna Playhouse. Its continued artistic excellence, audience popularity and critical acclaim have helped make The Playhouse one of Southern California's most important nonprofit theatre companies. The Playhouse has produced national tours of The Belle of Amherst (with Julie Harris) and Copenhagen, and has presented many world, national and regional premieres.
Over the years, the Laguna Playhouse has garnered numerous awards from LA Drama Critics Circle, NAACP, Backstage, OC Weekly, and many more, and was named Best Arts Organization by ArtsOC. Notable performers that have performed at The Laguna Playhouse include Bette Davis, Harrison Ford, Charles Durning, Marlo Thomas, Roddy McDowell, Rita Rudner, Cloris Leachman, and Sally Struthers.
The Laguna Playhouse is noted for its Youth Theater Education and Outreach programs. In 1989, its Youth Theater was recognized as "Outstanding Children’s Theatre" by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. The theater’s touring production, TheatreReach, brings books to life on stage for elementary school children throughout southern California.