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Home Travel Guide Travel Guide Topics Post Cards from You Laguna's Pageant of the Masters

Laguna's Pageant of the Masters

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Postcards ...from you    

    Each July and August, Laguna Beach, part quintessential California Beach town and part artist colony lures visitors to its fabulous Pageant of the Masters.              
    This year’s Pageant is entitled “The 20th Century: 10 Decades Of Art.”  Pablo Picasso, Rene Lalique, Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell are just a few artists whose works will be performed.
    In the outdoor amphitheater in a spectacular canyon just after sunset the curtain opens. Over the orchestra and vocalists we hear the resonant voice of narrator Skip Conover.
    Classical masterpieces, contemporary works, and statues are recreated with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces--they’re living pictures!     
    “The person in the picture’s alive,” my 4 year old informed the lady next to him.  She smiled and did the same double take we all do throughout the performance. Scene after scene appears--famed portraits and bronzed figurines or statues--still-lifes faithful to the original in every minute detail.
    The production includes the work of professional artists such as sculptors, carpenters, and scenic painters.  More than 500 volunteers work on costumes, headpieces, and as backstage assistants, cast members, and makeup artists.
    A favorite among regulars, and most impressive for the first-timers, is the demonstration of “building a set.” The lights are cranked up, backdrops are rolled in, then foregrounds, and actors are placed in various spots making a show of interacting with each other and the setting.  Then the lighting is dimmed, shaded and colorized, every character freezes into place and the 3-dimensional melts into a life-size recreation of the painting or sculpture. The music, all originally composed for the show, is momentarily drowned out by gasps and applause from the audience.  The curtain closes, and the narrator ushers us into the next scene.  In the cool evening air, we sit back and enjoy cups of hot chocolate.  The stars glitter above.
    The only predictable sequence of the evening is the ending. Since 1936, with just one exception, each year’s Pageant has closed with a living representation of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous fresco, The Last Supper.  No one is ever ready for this wondrous show to end.
    I think what appeals most is that within this serious production it is obvious that the performers are having so much fun.
     Tickets range from $10-50.  Advanced purchase is recommended, as show dates often sell out long before the summer begins.  For tickets and more information call 800-487-3378. Also, visit their website at
  The beaches of Laguna Beach are the stuff soda commercials are made of: surfers, roller-bladers, skateboarders and beautiful people.  The sun is warm and the air is fresh and crisp in the shade, even in August. Suggested family beaches are Main Beach in downtown Laguna, Salt Creek State Park just below the cliffs of the Ritz Carlton, and Capistrano State Park in front of the Marriott in Dana Point. There are many unspoiled beaches stretching south from Huntington Beach all the way to Dana Point.  
       For casual dining, the kids love the singing waiters at Johnny Rockets and memorabilia at Ruby’s.  There are many hip and colorful cafes with kids’ menus such as Tortilla Flats (Mexican), Marc’s (Californian), Dizz’s As Is (Creative International).  For really upscale, but still kid-friendly try Splashes, a restaurant with an exquisite view (Mediterranean), and 5 Feet (Creative Asian).   
    There are many family friendly resorts and small hotels in Laguna.  On the high end: the Surf & Sand, situated on its own stretch of Laguna Beach. Full-scale family resorts: Ritz Carlton Laguna Nigel and Marriott Laguna Cliffs at Dana Point.  Upscale, but not as pricey are: Best Western Las Brisas Spa & Hotel, Laguna Riviera, By The Sea Inn.  For inexpensive try: The Aliso Creek Inn or Best Western Laguna Reef Inn
    For more information contact the Visitor’s Bureau at 800-877-1115 and check out

--Stephanie Citron


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