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Laguna Beach is Southern California's premier seaside destination, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach goers, Laguna Beach features seven miles of soft sand and surf.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Caught in the Web of ‘Daddy Long Legs’

This year has been a time of celebration for The Laguna Playhouse, as it is their 90th Anniversary. They have brought in some fantastic shows and are closing out this milestone year with the heartwarming musical, ‘Daddy Long Legs.’ The musical is adapted from the novel, ‘Daddy Long Legs,’ by Jean Webster.

The story is about a teen orphan, Jerusha Abbot, who is given the chance at a college education by a wealthy benefactor. He gives her several stipulations that she must follow; that she writes monthly correspondence to him about her education, that she is not to ask questions of him and additionally he makes it clear that he will never respond to her letters. What he did not count on was a curious, forthright and witty young woman that would find her way into his heart.

The majority of the musical is sung through letters, those written by Jerusha Abbott (played by Megan McGinnis) to her benefactor, Jarvis Pendleton (played by Robert Adelman Hancock.) I initially thought that a two-actor musical might become mundane and repetitive, but quite the contrary! I quickly became so absorbed in the story of this young woman and her relationship with Jarvis that I completely forgot that there were only two actors in the play.

Jerusha learns of her benefactor through a letter, while residing at an orphanage, she does not see the man whom has taken an interest in her and  only catches a glimpse of his shadow, dominated by long ’spidery‘ legs.  This is how she comes to call him ’Daddy Long Legs.’ McGinnis does a tremendous job at portraying a young, innocent girl experiencing the world for the first time. Her voice is pure and sweet never missing a beat or a note. She is the kind of actor that has a way of settling in next to you, putting her arm around your shoulders and welcoming you into her story. When she sings with Hancock, the melodies fill the theater and the duo pulls you deeper into their story.

As I watched and listened to Jerusha find herself, I was reminded of my own days in college, my early twenties, and my personal coming of age story. We all have one, a story of how we came to know about this world and what is of importance in it. ‘Daddy Long Legs’ plays on those themes in a way we can all relate to. By the end of the show, I could feel my heart swelling and cheering for Jerusha and Jarvis. I glanced around the theater and saw others doing the same, some even wiping away a fallen tear or two.

‘Daddy Long Legs’ was a heart warming musical that reminded me of something so easily forgotten and what Jerusha found to be the secret to happiness:  life is about getting through the petty hazards of the day with a laugh, that’s what takes real courage.

Now playing  thru December 26th. Click here for ticket information.

When you purchase your tickets to the show and are planning your night in Laguna, don’t forget to plan dinner beforehand. Nirvana Grille is the ideal place to dine when going to the theater. Only steps away from The Laguna Playhouse, you will have a hassle-free night and plenty of time to eat before the show.

Nirvana Grille has a chic vibe and Chef Lindsay Smith Rosales has created an unexpected menu combining American, French and Asian influences.

Asian Influence
Chicken Wontons with chicken, pine nuts, corn, cilantro and Manchego Cheese fried in wonton wrappers and served with a chipotle cream sauce.

French Influence
Soup of the day: a creamy, tomato bisque.

These appetizers were a wonderful way to start our meal on a cool Laguna night.  After enjoying them and some good conversation, my girlfriend and I decided to try two house specials for our main courses.

Pistachio and Dijon Crusted Chilean Sea Bass
The Chilean Sea Bass was light and melted in my mouth. It was served with caramelized leek mashed Yukon gold potatoes and tender asparagus in lemon-infused olive oil.

Roasted Bone-In Prime Pork Loin
Cooked to perfection, and paired with a tomato citrus compote and caramelized leek mashed potatoes and glazed carrots, this dish was awesome! I love having a balanced meal of protein, a vegetable and a starch. All of the flavors blended wonderfully together and were completely satisfying.

When our waiter brought out the dessert menu and recommended the house specialty, we could not pass up the opportunity to try this unique dessert. It was a Grand Mariner glazed seasonal fruit (we had strawberries) served over homemade goat cheese maple ice cream. What a sweet ending to our meal! It is difficult to explain how the flavors fused together in every bite and made my mouth sing!  

Nirvana Grille lives up to their name of perfect peace; us girls enjoyed our food and wine in a calming and quiet environment. We had wonderful service and savored our meals and dessert to the very last bite.  For reservations call: (949) 497-0027

By Anne-Marie S.

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