Venue Details

5454 Star Starred
Laguna Playhouse
606 Laguna Canyon Rd. Laguna Beach, CA 92651
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Quotes & Highlights

“Hilarious…A richly rewarding production.” —Orange County Register


Richard Dresser’s plays are widely produced regionally, in New York, and in Europe. The Pursuit of Happiness is the second play in a trilogy of plays Dresser has written about happiness in America, with each play set in a different social class.  It centers on Annie, who believes her whole future happiness depends on her daughter going to college in the fall, and who will stop at nothing to make sure that happens. Her husband, Neil, has an obsession with his work that is gradually being overtaken by his fascination with a new and dangerous hobby. Jodi, their daughter, doesn’t believe that attending college made either of her parents happy, and detests the burden of their living vicariously through her. The first play in the trilogy, Augusta, debuted at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia last summer and has several upcoming regional productions slated.  The third play, A View Of The Harbor, has just been completed.

The Laguna Playhouse has been associated with Richard Dresser since 2000, when it produced the Southern California Premiere of his play Gun-Sh*y*, directed by Richard Stein, a comedy about a recently divorced couple who are far more compatible with each other than with their new significant others.  That was followed in 2001 by the West Coast Premiere of Wonderful World, directed by Andrew Barnicle, a play about the alcohol-enriched internal politics of a New England family. 

In 2003, the Playhouse produced the West Coast Premiere of Rounding Third*,* also directed by Andrew Barnicle, a comedy about a take-no-prisoners Little League coach and his naïve new assistant.  Rounding Third also enjoyed regional productions at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre and at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego before opening in New York off-Broadway at the John Houseman Theatre in 2003.  Since then it has had over one hundred productions.

Other plays by Richard Dresser include Below The Belt and Gun-Shy, both of which started in the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville before moving off-Broadway.  Also, Wonderful World, Something In The Air, The Downside, Alone At The Beach, and Better Days.

One acts include At Home and Bed & Breakfast_, both of which started at the Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon, and The Road To Ruin and Splitsville_.  Recent short plays include What Are You Afraid Of?, staged in the front seat of a car with the audience in the back seat.  It premiered in the 1999 Humana Festival and has been running for a number of years in Germany, with a frequently sold-out back seat.  Greetings From The Home Office premiered at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany and has no actors.  Additionally, he wrote the book for the Broadway musical_ Good Vibrations_, featuring the music of the Beach Boys.

Dresser has twice attended the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and is a former member of New Dramatists.  In addition to his work in the theater, he is active in film and television, including the HBO series “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,” starring Blair Brown, “Vietnam Stories,” “The Job” with Denis Leary (ABC) and The Education of Max Bickford with Richard Dreyfuss (CBS).  He wrote the film Human Error (from his play Below The Belt) which appeared in the Sundance Film Festival.  He is a graduate of Brown University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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