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On Theater: A big year on the small stage

December 26, 2012|By Tom Titus

This is the second of three columns reviewing the year 2012 in local theater.

Home-grown theater, as practiced by community playhouses and collegiate drama departments, was particularly prevalent during 2012 in the cities covered by this column: Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Westminster.

Here, in this summary, are the highlights of the year on community and college stages.

At the Costa Mesa Playhouse, David Auburn's well-traveled "Proof" was the standout production of 2012, under the direction of Michael Serna. Runners-up were Danielle MacInnis' production of "Wait Until Dark" and "The Crucible," directed by John McQuay.

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As to individual performances, Darcy Porter takes top honors for her riveting portrayal of a math whiz fearing mental decay in "Proof." Other outstanding depictions were delivered by Rebecca Bollar in "Wait Until Dark," Gordon Carmadelle in "The Crucible" and Michael Dale Brown in "Proof."

The Newport Theatre Arts Center showcased a stellar production of "Art," directed by both Michael Ross and Gigi Fusco Meese, who took over when Ross fell ill. Also impressive were "Ladies in Retirement," directed by Terri Miller Schmidt, and "Pack of Lies," staged by Sharyn Case.

Among the actors, the top performances came from Vincent Campbell in "God's Favorite" and Harriet Whitmyer in "Pack of Lies." Also notable were Valerie Lohman and Tara Golson in "The Crucible" and Ben Green in "Proof."

The musical "Can-Can," directed by Larry Watts, headed the parade at the Huntington Beach Playhouse. Watts' production of "Guys and Dolls" shared runner-up honors with "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," directed by Austin Peay.

Top performances were those of Adriana Sanchez, both for "Can-Can" and "Guys and Dolls," and Eric Anderson for "Spelling Bee." Also impressive were Ryan Holihan in "Sherlock Holmes — the Final Adventure," Kristen Matson in "Spelling Bee" and Kyle Myers in "Guys and Dolls."

In Laguna Beach, the No Square Theatre staged a superb 20th-anniversary production of "Lagunatics," the annual roast of the coast, directed by Bree Burgess Rosen. Also notable was director Joe Lauderdale's production of "Ruthless."

Tops among the No Square performers was Yvonne Browning in "Ruthless." Charlotte Rubino and Paul Nygro also excelled in the same show.

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