Theaters aim for the popular and upbeat – Orange County Register

Need a pick-me-up? Local theaters will stage productions with a theme of lightheartedness in the 2017-18 season, with a packed schedule of optimistic plays and toe-tapping musicals that are sure to leave theatergoers with good feelings.

Intense anticipation has circled Orange County’s performing arts since the announcement that the touring Broadway phenomenon “Hamilton” will come to the Segerstrom Center of the Arts on May 8-17, but each of the theaters have other premieres that patrons can get excited about. This includes the Broadway musical “Something Rotten!” at the Segerstrom Center on Nov. 7-19, “I Am My Own Wife” at the Laguna Playhouse on Jan. 10-28, 2018 and “Little Black Shadows” at South Coast Repertory on April 8-29 – all of which are theater or world premieres.

“Pure excitement and anticipation, that’s the feel for our upcoming Broadway season. We are welcoming back beloved megahit shows by popular demand and also presenting five Center premieres, including ‘Hamilton,’” said Terry Dwyer, Segerstrom Center president, “Orange County audiences can look forward to a thrilling and eclectic line-up of musicals.”

A recurring theme of romance will also pervade theaters this season, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Love Never Dies” (Feb. 27 through March 11) and the Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” (April 24 through May 5) at the Segerstrom Center and South Coast Repertory’s “Once” (Sept. 2-30), “Shakespeare in Love” (Jan. 13 through Feb. 10) and the battle of the sexes play “SHREW!” (March 24 through April 21).

SCR artistic director Marc Masterson said the Costa Mesa-based theater, which will celebrate its 54th season this year, will present “some familiar and exciting names, some new discoveries that will change things and some great live theater for our audiences.” This includes NPR commentator, former UCI professor and returning playwright Sandra Tsing Loh’s play “Sugar Plum Fairy” (Dec. 3-24.)

Laguna Playhouse’s 97th season will feature larger casts, more full-scale productions and award-winning plays and musicals, said artistic director Ann Wareham.

“Theater is unique in that it provides opportunities to open our eyes and hearts and minds to new points of view and contemporary stories and lay witness to experiences that might be different from our own,” said Wareham, “We are looking forward to presenting important works like the…

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