At the 75th Anniversary Festival of the
Arts/Pageant of the Masters pageant celebrity host Neil Patrick Harris,
right, with Belinda Montgomery, who played his mother on the ABC comedy
"Doogie Howser, M.D."
Art comes to life with Laguna gala
The Orange County Register
It was a magical evening Saturday at the 75th annual Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters, and host Neil Patrick Harris, popular star of the CBS comedy series "How I Met Your Mother" and self-admitted magician, agreed. "When it comes to stage magic, the pageant is in a class by itself," he said.
A sold-out house of 2,600 enjoyed a viewing of the Festival of Arts; the music of the Derek Bordeaux Group; food from Chef Molly's Gourmet Solutions; and a chance to bid on a 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK 280 give-away. Nearly 400 of the attendees enjoyed a gala fundraising dinner at Tivoli Terrace restaurant, overseen by its gracious general manager, Bobby Fader, before joining everyone in the Irvine Bowl for the famous Pageant of the Masters, this year themed "All the World's a Stage."
The Shakespeare theme was beautifully presented by the artwork of Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Joshua Reynolds, and particularly through Everett Shinn's painting "Footlight Flirtation."
Pageant director Diane Challis Davy said she loved incorporating the Italian commedia dell'arte troupe she created into the "living pictures," the name given the theatrical presentation at its founding in 1933. Challis Davy gave the audience a brief history of the pageant, from the parade of locals costumed as famous works of art marching down Coast Highway to the festival site to assume their classic poses on a makeshift stage to the glorious evolution it enjoys today, portraying works of art on a large stage with painted backdrops, live music and narration to sold-out audiences every night for two months.
Festival of Arts president Wayne Baglin commented, "What a long way it has come!"
The gala always draws celebrities, and among those spotted were former pageant host and current "Criminal Minds" star Joe Mantegna, "Without a Trace" star Eric Close, former "West Wing" actor Joshua Malina, "Days of Our Lives" bad guy Joseph Mascolo, "Leave It to Beaver" star Jerry Mathers, actor Chad Everett and actress Belinda Montgomery.
The gala benefit's net proceeds of more than $200,000 are designated for the Building Fund to renovate the property.
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