Don’t-Miss O.C. Events in May

Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen, The Mozart Project, Scottish Fest, and more happenings this month.
Photograph by Danielle Earl / Skate Canada

THROUGHOUT MAY
“THE PERSUASIVE PAST OF ORANGE COUNTY”
Photographs, maps, brochures, and artwork created in the 20th century to persuade people to move to Orange County make up the bulk of this exhibit. The advertisements and marketing materials highlight the ideal climate, beautiful beaches and parks, brand-new roads and railroads, rich soil and ample water, and even affordable housing. All the items on display were drawn from the Sherman Library’s archives. Sherman Library and Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, 949-673-2261, thesherman.org

 

MAY 1
HAWAIIAN FESTIVAL
This free, family-friendly annual event celebrates Hawaii with live music and dance performances, as well as themed arts and crafts, activities, and vendors selling Hawaiian foods and goods. Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton, 714-738-6595, themuck.org

 

MAY 5
EMERSON QUARTET
In 46 years of performing together, this quartet has won nine Grammy Awards, including two for Best Classical Album, and Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year honor. As the quartet-in-residence at Stony Brook University in New York, the musicians also teach up-and-coming classical students. They’ll play selections from Mozart, Bartok, and Beethoven. Samueli Theater, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-556-2787, scfta.org

 

OPENS MAY 5
“EMBRACE”
Curated by the Korean American Women’s Artist Network, this show spotlights 12 Korean artists alongside 16 invited artists. The works included speak to the diverse cultures living and working in Los Angeles and encourage harmony and peaceful coexistence. Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton, 714-738-6595, themuck.org

 

OPENS MAY 7
“OUR TOWN”
Thornton Wilder’s 1938 masterpiece, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama, has been a staple of the American stage for decades. It follows the residents of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, between 1901 and 1913, as George Gibbs and Emily Webb grow up, fall in love, get married, and grapple with the meaning of life. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-708-5555, scr.org

 

THROUGH MAY 7
“BRADFORD J. SALAMON: FORGING AHEAD”
Portraits, landscapes, and still life paintings by Salamon, a Southern California-based artist who grew up in Newport Beach, line the gallery walls in this exhibit. Known for his charcoal drawings of celebrities and his colorful paintings of vintage objects such as typewriters and record players, he is working on a series of large-scale portraits. A portrait-in-progress of Frida Kahlo is part of the exhibit, and Salamon will drop in from time to time to work on the piece and answer questions from museum visitors. Hilbert Museum, 167 N. Atchison St., Orange, 714-516-5880, hilbertmuseum.com

 

MAY 7
DONA NOBIS PACEM
“Dona Nobis Pacem,” a composition by Ralph Vaughan Williams that melds the words of the Bible, Latin Mass, and Walt Whitman, caps this performance by the Pacific Chorale. Other works in the show, which features Grammy Award-winning bass-baritone Dashon Burton as a guest soloist, include a new piece by Tarik O’Regan, a West Coast premiere of a Frank Ticheli composition, Caroline Shaw’s “Music in Common Time,” and Jake Runestad’s setting of Whitman’s “Proud Music of the Storm.” Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-662-2345, pacificchorale.org

 

MAY 11
AN EVENING WITH IRA GLASS: SEVEN THINGS I’VE LEARNED
Glass’s program “This American Life” is one of the most popular shows in public radio history: Broadcast on more than 500 public radio stations, it garners more than 2.2 million listeners each week, as well as 2.2 million podcast downloads. In this lecture, the master storyteller reveals the lessons he’s learned from his successes and failures through audio clips, music, and video. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, 949-854-4646, thebarclay.org

 

MAY 12, 19, AND 26
17TH ANNUAL MUCK JAZZ FEST
Jazz takes center stage at this annual event, which stretches over six weekends in May and June. This month kicks off with a concert from vocalist Debbie Ebert and saxophonist Josh Childress with the Cal State Fullerton Jazz Orchestra (May 12). The following weekends feature Bill Cunliffe and Imaginacion, with vocalist Carol Bach Y Rita and trombonist Francisco Torres (May 19), and jazz flugelhornist, trumpeter, and composer Tony Guerrero (May 26). Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton, 714-738-6595, themuck.org

 

OPENS MAY 14
“STRIKING FIGURES: FRANCIS DE ERDELY”
The first major exhibition of De Erdely’s work, this show spotlights the classically trained painter’s portraits of regular people, from dancers and musicians to laborers. The paintings, created after De Erdely moved to Southern California after World War II, depict the social reality of the time, shining a light on racism and social stratification. Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949-494-8971, lagunaartmuseum.org

 

OPENS MAY 15
“TIGER STYLE!”
Brother and sister Albert and Jennifer Chen did everything they were supposed to: excelled in school, became accomplished classical musicians, graduated from Harvard, and embarked on high-powered careers. But they’re still feeling unfulfilled. After demanding an apology from their mom and dad for their “tiger parenting” and getting a lecture instead, they take off for Shenzhen, China, in this comedy satirizing the stereotypes and pressures that Chinese American children confront. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-708-5555, scr.org

 

THROUGH MAY 15
“DIALOGUES WITH THE SACRED: HYUN AE KANG”
In her large-scale canvases, Kang uses the Korean dansaekhwa approach, an abstract style of painting in which paint is applied in multiple tiny brushstrokes, creating layers and texture. The original dansaekhwa paintings were monochrome, but Kang’s work is multicolored and bright. Muzeo, 241 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, 714-956-8936, muzeo.org

 

MAY 18
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA AT 100: PHILIPPE QUINT AND MEMBERS OF THE JOFFREY BALLET
To commemorate what would have been Astor Piazzolla’s 100th birthday, Grammy-nominated violinist Quint and his quintet will play 10 of the Argentine composer and bandoneón player’s classic tango nuevo pieces, while dancers from the Joffrey Ballet perform on stage. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, 949-854-4646, thebarclay.org

 

MAY 19 THROUGH 21
THE MOZART PROJECT
A collaboration between the Pacific Symphony, Pacific Chorale, and South Coast Repertory artistic director David Ivers celebrates the beloved composer in this evening of music and drama. The show begins with the overture to “Don Giovanni,” continues with Ivers’s portrayal of Antonio Salieri—Mozart’s greatest rival—and concludes with “Requiem in D Minor,” the masterpiece requiem mass that Mozart left unfinished on his death at age 35. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-755-5788, pacificsymphony.org

 

MAY 21
STARS ON ICE
2022 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen headlines this show, which also features Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, the Beijing bronze medalists in ice dancing. Fellow U.S. Olympic team members Karen Chen, Jason Brown, Vincent Zhou, and Madison Chock and Evan Bates will join them on the ice. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714-704-2500, hondacenter.com

 

OPENS MAY 25
“A CHORUS LINE”
The iconic 1975 musical about the lives of chorus dancers won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book of a Musical, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Featuring classic songs such as “One,” “What I Did for Love,” “I Can Do That,” and “At the Ballet,” it’s one of the most successful Broadway musicals of all time. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949-497-2787, lagunaplayhouse.com

 

OPENS MAY 27
“FANCY NANCY, THE MUSICAL”
Based on the popular children’s books, this musical follows the irrepressible Nancy and her friends as they audition and rehearse for their very first show, “Deep Sea Dances.” Though she was certain she’d be cast as a mermaid, she’s chosen to play a tree instead—and, true to form, works through her disappointment to bring her signature flair to the role. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, 714-777-3033, chancetheater.com

 

MAY 27 AND 29
HEARTBEAT OF MEXICO HEADLINERS
Two performances bring the Heartbeat of Mexico series to a close. The May 27 concert will feature La Santa Cecilia, a Latin rock band known for combining cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero, tango, and jazz music. The May 29 show will bring norteño singers Graciela Beltran and Lupita Infante together with Mariachi Grullense. Musco Center for the Arts, One University Drive, Orange, 844-626-8726, muscocenter.org

 

MAY 28 AND 29
SCOTTISH FEST
Highland dancing contests, Celtic music, Scottish heavy athletics, piping and drumming competitions, and a children’s glen filled with fantasy creatures bring the spirit of Scotland alive. Attendees can also learn more about Scottish clans at the more than 60 clan booths and clan parade. OC Fair and Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, scottishfest.com

 

OPENS MAY 31
“TOOTSIE”
Based on the 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman, this hit musical follows Michael Dorsey, a struggling actor who auditions for a musical as his alter ego, Dorothy Michaels. He gets the part and has to continue living as Dorothy for the length of the show’s run. When it debuted on Broadway in 2019, it was nominated for 11 Tony Awards. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-556-2787, scfta.org

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