Best Live Theater – Orange County Chronicle

1. Segerstrom Center for the Arts

600 Town Centre Drive, Costa Mesa; 714-556-2787;

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts has a sense of prestige that you won’t find anywhere else in Orange County. Opened in 1986 (originally the Orange County Performing Arts Center), this nonprofit arts organization oversees multiple venues on the arts campus and serves as the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Orange County Philharmonic Society, Pacific Choir and home to the South Coast Repertory Theatre.

“The center continues to bring internationally acclaimed performances, not only in our theaters, but also in Julianne and George Argyros squares with curated outdoor performances by eclectic artists,” said Carla Cruz, senior director of communications at Segerstrom. “We stay true to our mission and continue to grow an amazing arts community…our education program regularly serves 300,000 people each year.

“We’re always developing and bringing new experiences,” Cruz added, citing the new author series’ conversations with Fran Lebowitz, Amy Tan and Erik Larson as examples.

The 2022-23 Curtain Call and Broadway Series schedule will include “Hamilton,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Frozen,” “Mean Girls,” “Tee” Na – The Tina Turner Musical” and the North American premiere of “Chocolate Water.” Over the next few months, Belinda Carlisle, Mavis Staples, Chita Rivera, Jane Lynch, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Various other types of dramas such as George Benson will appear one after another.

Cruz added that dance classes were popular and Segerstrom continued to maintain COVID-19 safety protocols.

— George A. Paul

2. Laguna Playhouse

606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach; 949-497-2787;

The Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously operating non-profit theaters on the West Coast. Since its opening in 1920, it has offered acting classes, workshops and summer camps for children.

Last summer, the theatre played “Saturday Night Fever – The Musical”, “Xanadu” and tribute shows Forever Simon and Garfunkel. “Kim’s Convenience,” a comedy based on the critically acclaimed Canadian TV sitcom, runs until October 9th.

Executive Producer Alan Richard explained that the venue was founded by “members of the local community whose dreams were supported by theatre lovers in Orange County. (Millions) of artists, volunteers and audiences for We come in charge today. I want them to recognize the role they have played over the past 10 years.”

Speaking of regulars, Richard said: “I believe they see the theatre as their home theatre. There is a strong sense of pride and ownership in this heritage institution.”

3. South Coast Repertory

655 Downtown Blvd, Costa Mesa; 714-708-5555;

Back in the early 1960s, South Coast Repertory staged its first productions at the Newport Beach Ebell Club. After several venues, the company is now located on the Segstrom Center campus. Throughout the summer, SCR’s theatrical credits include “Million Dollar Quartet” and “Matilda – The Musical.”

Art director David Ivers said SCR was “fortunate to have the resources to produce work across the country”, which allowed it to “tell complex and compelling stories that are compelling even when entertaining”.

The 2022-23 season features “Nina Simone: Four Women,” “Snow White,” “A Christmas Carol”; “The Kissing Prelude – The Musical” and “Coleman ’72” (Pacific Playwrights Festival) ; “Little Fox” and “Decent” will perform on the same stage, with overlapping casts.

Ivers said SCR’s “diverse representation of voices, themes, styles and cultures is at the heart of our show. It all intersects with a passionate commitment to new voices, new writers, new plays and how they speak to existing productions. “

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