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Henry Prego Sings Sinatra: Live From the Sands

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Call him Ol’ Blue eyes; or The Voice; or Chairman of the Board. However you identify him, Frank Sinatra was America’s crooner incarnate. From his resonate, uniquely recognizable baritone to his innate interpretive abilities (both as a vocalist and as an Academy Award-winning actor), Sinatra was a singular 20th century sensation.

Now, Southern California audiences have an opportunity not to see Sinatra live (after all, he died in 1998), but to see a remarkable recreation of this master’s musical prowess in the corporeal form of Sinatra,  doppelganger extraordinaire, Henry Prego (at the Encore Dinner Theatre and Club in Tustin, through December 2).

With the Henry Prego Big Band lending full-blown back up, Prego (a veteran of long-running “Rat Pack Live” tribute shows in Las Vegas and London). Not only is he a dead ringer for the late singer in his bright-eyed, tuxedo-clad appearance, vocally he is spot-on in a variety of Sinatra classics, including "Come Fly With Me,"  "The Summer Wind," "Strangers in the Night,"" New York, New York", and "My Way," to mention just a few of the memorable numbers recreated from the Sinatra songbook.

What’s even more wonderful about Prego’s presentation is that he never overtly claims to be the signing legend; nevertheless, the emotionality, sound, phrasing and demeanor exuded by Prego is unmistakably vintage Sinatra. Prego only goes so far as to say he is an ambassador for the Sinatra songbook. And what an effective diplomat he proves to be. Prego, telling of his own journey into show business, allows us to understand how Sinatra serves as a creative inspiration to so many popular recording artists from Barbra Streisand to Michael Buble and from Justin Timberlake to Justin Bieber.

Further, Henry Prego Sings Frank Sinatra: Live at the Sands, is both dinner and a show. Similar to a Sin City showroom, the entertainment begins with hardworking comedian, Mark Cohen, getting laughs from exchanges with the audience such as, Comic: “Where are you from?” Patron:“(The city of) Orange.” Comic: “Oh, that’s appealing.”

Additionally, the Encore Dinner Theatre and Club offers a varied menu, a full-bar, and to-die-for desserts. With an efficient wait staff, comfortable rotating chairs, and terrific views from every area of the theater, Henry Prego, et al is a pleasing, multisensory experience.

Henry Prego Sings Frank Sinatra: Live From the Sands continues at the Encore Theatre and Club – 690 El Camino Real, Tustin – through December 2. For reservations, dial (855) 545 – 5400. For online ticketing and further information, visit



Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”


Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.