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The Last Session arrives in Laguna

It's the little musical that could. The Last Session opens at Laguna Playhouse tonight.

Talkin' Broadway first met this musical in New York last season and absolutely fell in love with it. We liked it so much that we put all kinds of banners on the website hoping to spread the word about this little miracle of a show. And now West Coasters will be able to see what all those Easterners were raving about. From major press reviews to Liz Smith the show was heralded as something very special. Very special indeed!

Due to a leasing situation with another show booked for the 47th Street theater in New York, The Last Session simply folded at the peak of its popularity.

Since then, I've become cyberfriends with both Jim Brochu, the director and writer, and Steve Schalchlin, the show's composer/lyricist. They've kept me posted on the developments over the summer and it is with great anticipation that I revisit this show tonight. In addition to Laguna, there is talk of future productions in Australia, Rochester and other cities before it heads back to Broadway. Okay, okay. Broadway is not in the cards right now, but it should be. Is the Walter Kerr or Golden theater vacant?

The Last Session is about Gideon, a songwriter with AIDS, who has decided to kill himself after a final recording session. He gathers his friends together to record some material and the story unfolds. Now if this sounds depressing, forget about it. Brochu has written some wickedly funny lines and inserted them in the script just when you're heart is about to break. It becomes a roller coaster of an emotional ride that makes for an evening of theater that you will never, ever forget.

Veteran cast members Bob Stillman and Amy Coleman return to the roles they created in the New York production. Joining them are P.M. Howard, Michele Mais and Joel Traywick.

Schalchlin has made many cyberfriends due to his popular internet website, www.bonusround.com, where he keeps his online diary. His diary and this musical have served as great inspiration to many with AIDS, and to those who care or simply know anyone with AIDS.

The fact that Schalchlin is alive is a miracle in itself. At his lowest point, knowing he was dying of AIDS, he said his good-byes to his partner, friends and family. The drug Crixivan is the reason he is alive today. As his health improved, he returned to the dormant piano and began to write The Last Session with Brochu. As a result, you will find a musical that often times touches you deeply and other times makes you laugh silly. But underneath it all, you'll be looking at the exposed hearts and souls of these two very gifted writers.

Get on a plane, bus or train and head to Laguna for this limited run. I guarantee you it will be an evening in the theater you will never forget.

The Last Session opens tonight, Thursday Sept. 17th at the Moulton Theater of the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Tuesdays thru Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m. $31-$38. Closes Oct 11. (949) 497-2787

See you Sunday!


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