For those in Orange County, California, the South Coast Center area is a bastion of culture and entertainment—as well as its world-class shopping. And, what’s more, not too far in the future it will be the site of the new Orange County Museum of Art.

The museum will be adjacent to Segerstrom Performing Arts Center, the heart of the artistic complex. There are four unique performance venues, now here,  including: the Samueli Theater (which holds 300 ) Segerstrom Hall (holding 3,000 seats), Founders Hall (250 seats) and the Renee and Henry Segerstrom concert hall (1700 seats). Next door is South Coast Repertory Theater, As well, there are sculptures on exhibit in two nearby open spaces.

To indicate how vibrant this area is, three major attractions were going on simultaneously during a mid-March weekend.

South Coast Repertory presented the world premiere of “Reunion,” by Gregory S. Moss on its Julianne Argyros Stage.  The show, running through March 30,  brings new luster to the to the well-worn plot involving old high school buddies meeting up after 25 years during  a school reunion. After, they adjourn to “party-hardy” in a motel room.

Here, they revive old grievances and hidden desires. They reminisce over girls and misadventures. And as a climax, they “trash” the room, dancing to raucous music and throwing around furniture. Their liquor-fueled ribaldry soon erupts into physical violence amidst  emotional rants. As can be imagined there is much laughter in their carrying-ons, along with considerable psychic and physical pain revealed. All three actors are excellent and energetic: Kevin Berntson, the nerdish Peter, seeking to be liked; Tim Cummings, the aggressive macho type; and Michael Gladis, the sensitive one, now a recovering alcoholic.

For tickets: 714-708-5555;

The world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra led by with Wynton Marsalis performed   at the center, March 14, in Segerstrom Hall. The critically acclaimed orchestra presented the music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington, noted jazz band leaders and composers. The Chicago Tribune wrote:  “One rarely hears this music played with such technical brilliance, stylistic authenticity and tonal sheen…Here were the throaty reeds, percussive trumpet blasts and visceral sense of swing that have made the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra the greatest large jazz ensemble working today.”  With selections covering several decades of jazz’ glory days, the congregation is comprised of 15 of today’s finest jazz soloists and ensemble players.

Michael McDonald played March 13-14  at the Segerstrom Concert Hall. He wowed fans with his distinctive voice and of the modern era’s smoothest pop music, backed by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra.

For tickets and information on All Segerstrom Center’s attractions: (714) 556-2797;

A little background on the Orange County Museum of Art currently in Newport Beach–it is the premier visual arts organization in Orange County, California. The museum’s collection comprises nearly 2,500 objects of modern and contemporary art, with a concentration on the art of California from the early 20th century to works by local, national, and international artists working today.

Critically acclaimed exhibitions such as Birth of the Cool: Art, Design, and Culture at Mid-century, Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone, Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterpieces from the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, and Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series, have drawn  more than 40,000 visitors annually.

About the author: Larry Taylor worked in newspaper industry for 15 years after graduating with a journalism degree. In 1973 he went into teaching media at Cal. State Fullerton and Fullerton Colleges in Southern California. In 2000, he retired and devoted himself to theater reviews and travel writing.