Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Laguna Playhouse Announces the World Premiere of NATHAN GUNN FLYING SOLO


Laguna Playhouse Announces the World Premiere of NATHAN GUNN FLYING SOLO

Laguna Playhouse is thrilled to present the sixth show in its 97th season, the world premiere of Nathan Gunn FLYING SOLO, written and directed by Hershey Felder, with musical direction by Michael Bagby. Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, "What an honor to be presenting this world premiere of a new work by Hershey Felder with the incomparable Nathan Gunn." Adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham. "That voice! Our subscribers and audiences are going to enjoy the best of Broadway and more, with one of the great baritones of all time, right here on our Playhouse stage!" Nathan Gunn FLYING SOLO will begin previews on Wednesday, April 4; will open on Sunday, April 8 at 5:30pm and perform through Sunday, April 22, 2018 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Drive in Laguna Beach.

America's leading baritone Nathan Gunn sings selections from classic American musicals, contemporary songs and a little bit of opera fun in his personal story, FLYING SOLO. This "Sexiest Man Alive" (People Magazine) recounts how he became elder of his heritage, the Scottish Clan GUNN, and learned what life is really about is this world premiere, moving, musical journey.

But there's a whole lot more to this story about a boy who wants nothing more than to please his Scottish Dad as he becomes an elder of his heritage, the Scottish Clan GUNN, and who ends up realizing what life is really about. Written and directed in his signature style by Hershey Felder (Our Great Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Bernstein, Berlin, Beethoven) Nathan Gunn, FLYING SOLO features the true story of one of America's greatest baritone voices!


Nathan Gunn has made a reputation as one of the most exciting and in-demand baritones of the day. He has appeared in internationally renowned opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Royal Opera House, Paris Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Theater an der Wien, Teatro Real in Madrid, and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie. His many roles include the title roles in Billy Budd, Eugene Onegin, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Hamlet; Guglielmo in Cosí fan tutte, the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Belcore in L'Elisir d'Amore, Ottone in L'incoronazione di Poppea, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucetia,Danilo in The Merry Widow, and The Lodger in The Aspern Papers. A noted supporter of new works, Mr. Gunn most recently created the role of Inman in Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain at the Santa Fe Opera. He also created the roles of Sid Taylor in Jake Heggie's Great Scott, James Dalton in Iain Bell's The Harlot's Progress at the Theater an der Wien, Yeshua in Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at the San Francisco Opera; Paul in Daron Hagen's Amelia at the Seattle Opera, Alec Harvey in André Previn's Brief Encounter at the Houston Grand Opera, Father Delura in Peter Eötvös' Love and Other Demons at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, and Clyde Griffiths in Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera. Because of this dedication to new works, Mr. Gunn held the title of Director of the American Repertoire Council at the Opera Company of Philadelphia, a steering council that focused on advancing the company's American Repertoire Program which was committed to produce a new American work in 10 consecutive seasons.

Mr. Gunn is working on a number of creative projects that will premier over the next three seasons, in which he is a collaborating artist with the creative teams. These include projects with producing companies such as the English National Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Beth Morrison Projects, and are created with some of today's leading and cutting edge composers.

Mr. Gunn has recently ventured outside the standard opera repertoire with appearances in performances of the title role in Sweeney Todd with the Houston Grand Opera, Camelot and Carousel with the New York Philharmonic (both broadcasted on PBS) and Show Boat at Carnegie Hall and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He also appeared in the New York Philharmonic's 80th birthday gala celebration for Stephen Sondheim and appeared with the orchestra in an evening of Broadway classics with Kelli O'Hara. Other engagements have included appearances with Mandy Patinkin in Rochester, the Krannert Center the Ravinia Festival and on tour in Australia and New Zealand, a series of cabaret shows at the famed Café Carlyle in New York City and at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County, special guest artist in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, and a performance of Sting and Trudie Styler's work,Twin Spirits in the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Hershey Felder (Director/Playwright) Named to Time Magazine's 2016 Top 10 Plays and Musicals, Hershey Felder has played over 4,500 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world's most prestigious theatres and has broken box office records consistently. American Theatre Magazine has said, "Hershey Felder is in a category all his own." His shows include: George Gershwin Alone(Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre, West End's Duchess Theatre); Monsieur Chopin; Hershey Felder, Beethoven; Maestro (Leonard Bernstein); Franz Liszt in Musik, Lincoln: An American Story, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, and Our Great Tchaikovsky. His compositions and recordings include Aliyah, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Fairytale, a musical; Les Anges de Paris, Suite for Violin and Piano; Song Settings; Saltimbanques for Piano and Orchestra; Etudes Thematiques for Piano; and An American Story for Actor and Orchestra.

Hershey is the adaptor, director and designer for the internationally performed play-with-music The Pianist of Willesden Lane; and producer and designer for the musical Louis and Keely: 'Live' at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford. Upcoming projects include The Story of My Cello, a solo work for cello virtuoso Antonio Lysy. Composition projects include EDITH, an opera, based on the story of British nurse Edith Cavell; a Washington Irving musical, and Chosen by God, a musical journey based on journalist Joshua Hammer's memoir. Hershey has operated a full-service Production Company since 2001. He has been a scholar-in-residence at Harvard University's Department of Music and is married to Kim Campbell, the first female Prime Minister of Canada.

MICHAEL BAGBY (Musical Direction) is a native of Iowa, earned a DMA in vocal coaching and accompanying from the University of Illinois under the direction of Julie Gunn. He completed his master's at the University of Michigan where he studied with Martin Katz. He also holds bachelor degrees in piano performance and K-12 vocal education from Iowa State University. Bagby has been afforded opportunities not only as a pianist and coach but also as a singer and conductor. Most recently he worked as the music director for Coastal Carolina's production of The Color Purple and made his NYC debut as the assistant music director and co-arranger for Musicals Tonight's production of The Boys from Syracuse. In July, he will return to Opera North to work as the assistant conductor on Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Among his various awards and achievements, he premiered his composition for solo piano, "Bells," in the Issac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. He is honored to be a two-time recipient of the Nancy Wustman Memorial Award in Vocal Accompanying, established by John Wustman.

The Scenic Design is by Hershey Felder. The Lighting Design is by Richard Norwood. Projection Design is by Brian McMullen. The Sound Design is by Erik Carstensen. The Production Stage Manager is Annette Elena Nixon.

This season is generously underwritten by The Hale Family. Additional Season Sponsors are South Coast Plaza, Haskell White, Surterre Properties, Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, Gelson's, and Nolet's Silver Dry Gin.


Nathan Gunn FLYING SOLO will begin previews on Wednesday, April 4; will open on Sunday, April 8 at 5:30pm and will run through Sunday, April 22, 2018 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.

Performances will be Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm; Thursdays and Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm; Sundays at 1pm. There will noThursday performance on April 12 at 2pm. There will be an additional Sunday performance on Sunday, April 15 at 5:30pm.

Tickets range from $55 - $80 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. Prices subject to change.

The box office is open Mondays - Saturdays: 11a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); Sundays: 11a.m. - 4p.m.

For more information on all shows and programming visit

PHOTO CREDIT- Joshua Spencer

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You