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'Having It All' Makes Regional Debut at Laguna Playhouse

ED KRIEGER

Having It All
The Laguna Playhouse
606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach
Through March 31
8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays,
2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays,
2 p.m. Sundays
Additional performances:
March 17 at 7 p.m.,
March 21 at 2 p.m.
949.497.2787 :: lagunaplayhouse.com

You gotta love a show that opens with a musical number about shoes. No joke, women really do make assumptions about each other, based on what they don on their feet, and no doubt, all of us have worn many styles during different stages of our lives. This opening premise in Having It All, now playing at The Laguna Playhouse, segues into deeper emotional waters in this 90-minute journey shared by five different women.

Having It All, the bible for many women’s libbers, written by Helen Gurley Brown in the '80s, challenged females to do just that: be fulfilled and successful at work, in love, be a good parent, and strive for balance... (A more realistic interpretation of this reality is portrayed in the amusing book, I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson.)

Conceived by Wendy Perelman, who was inspired by her personal life experiences/juggling act as actress and mother, Perelman teamed up with David Goldsmith on the book, enlisting her friend and Disney composer John Kavanaugh to write the music while Goldsmith penned the lyrics. Since 2006, the show has been in New York and went through revisions before successfully performing in Los Angeles. It makes its regional debut with four out of the five original LA cast members.

Five female characters, stuck at a departing gate at JFK for hours are thrown into a relationship that inspires and challenges all of them. Julia (Jennifer Leigh Warren) is a tough, driven career woman; Sissy (Lindsay Alley) a struggling writer, single not by choice; Carly (new cast member Michelle Duffy) is a yoga instructor, single by choice; Lizzie (Kim Huber), is a Midwestern married woman heading home from the Big Apple; and Amy (Shannon Warne) is a housewife and mother of two boys and the character Perelman portrayed in the New York run.

What unfolds is a heartfelt story revealing each woman’s struggles, challenges and triumphs. Delivered by a terrific cast of seasoned female performers, and directed boldly by Richard Israel and musically directed by Gerald Sternbach, this show tugs at your heart and offers anecdotes that so many women can identify with. Through song, we learn about Lizzie’s attempt to get pregnant in “A Baby for Bobby and Me” and her disappointment in “Meant to Be”; Carly’s extensive homeopathic knowledge in “An Herb for Ev’rything”; and the songs that brought on the waterworks for me, Amy’s “In My Other Life” and her lovely tribute to her children, “Masterpiece.”

This is a show about women and would be a great date night with your girlfriends. There were a lot of men in the audience the night I attended with my bestie, and I have to admit, I was watching them to see if they were squirming in their seats during the show. However, post performance, the men I spoke with were impressed with the emotional connections and terrific casting of this intimate show.

Kudos go out to David Elzer and Peter Schneider for collaborating with the Playhouse to bring this gem of a show to The Laguna Playhouse, as well to Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood and Artistic Director Anne Wareham. There is definitely an audience of goddesses and their admirers in Laguna Beach and beyond who will appreciate Having It All’s sentiment and perhaps they may engage in some post-show discussion about which shoe fits them best.  




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