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Laguna Playhouse salutes 95 years

Joe Hanauer, Barbara MacGillivray, Melinda Masson and Paul Singarella

It’s an accomplishment no other regional theater west of the Mississippi can claim: “The Laguna Playhouse has been open 95 consecutive years,” said Melinda Masson, co-chair with Barbara MacGillivray, of the venue’s 95th Season Gala, a mix of theatrical acts, pink Champagne toasts, gourmet fare and dancing into the wee hours at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Capping the November black-tie romp was the announcement that theater supporters Jamie and Mohamed El-Erian of Laguna Beach were donating $500,000 to the playhouse’s Theater Reach program, aimed at bringing performances to area schools. Event proceeds were a record-setting $350,000.

Surprise OCMA Art of Dining locale: The Orange County Museum of Art’s future site next to the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall will be the location of its annual gourmet blockbuster, The Art of Dining, May 21. The Newport Beach museum, planning to relocate in late 2019, the museum, seeks to create a “presence” in Costa Mesa, insiders say.  “As the museum looks toward its future home at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, we felt 2016 was the perfect year to throw our biggest gala on the lawn of the new site,” said Museum Director and CEO Todd D. Smith. Multimedia sexual imagery artist Marilyn Minter of New York will receive the museum’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the foodie event, to be co-chaired by nine museum activists: Marsha Anderson, Susan Etchandy, JoAnn Fanticola, Teri Kennady, Deborah Lake, Twyla Reed Martin, Tracy Schroeder, Jennifer Segerstrom and Jennifer Van.

Gala opening planned for Musco Center:  The opening of the Marybelle and Sebastian P. Musco Center for the Arts will feature a black tie gala dinner with opera legend Placido Domingo when it opens March 19 on the Chapman University campus. Five hundred tickets are being sold to the reception, a dinner and concert starring Domingo, Deborah Voigt and Milena Kitic. Prices range from $5,000 per person to $100,000 for 20 guests (two tables). Single tables (10 guests) are selling for $50,000. Co-chairing the gala are Bette Aitken, Julianne Argyros and Marybelle Musco. For tickets: 714.744.7623 or bautista@chapman.edu.

Segerstrom Center turning 30: How will the Segerstrom Center for the Arts celebrate its 30th anniversary this year besides planned community events, with  free performances and parties on its Arts Plaza? But there’s also a black-tie bash yet to be conceived. (Both Segerstrom Hall and the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall marked their openings with formal galas featuring world-class performers.) Most likely, insiders say, the center’s 43rd Candlelight Concert on December 2 will have the 30th anniversary as its centerpiece. Mark your calendars and stay tuned.

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