- Dates: Every night, early July through early September
- Location: Laguna Beach, Orange County
- How Long: Each performance lasts about 90 minutes
About Pageant of the MastersIt started in 1932, when artist and vaudevillian Lolita Perine dressed local residents in costume and seated them behind a makeshift frame to recreate famous works of art. Laguna Beach's Pageant of the Masters has lost none of its appeal over the years. Every summer, audiences pack the Irvine Bowl to watch real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in recreations of original art pieces.
Over the 90-minute performance, about 20 different art works go on display accompanied by a professional orchestra playing an original score. It's an experience that's hard to fully describe, but perhaps this will help. The picture you see above is not a woman looking at a painting. It's a member of staff inspecting four living, breathing women to be sure they're in the right spots and ready for their "scene."
In the past couple of years, the pageant is taking itself less seriously, mixing in some tongue-in-cheek modern references with the serious art.
Smoking, cameras, audio recorders and babies-in-arms are not permitted.
Festival of ArtsOver the same time period as the Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach hosts the Festival of the Arts, a rigorously-juried show of original works in all media. The festival takes place in a six-acre canyon park near the ocean and is open daily.
A Pageant of the Masters ticket or ticket stub gives you unlimited free admission to the festival. For those who don't attend the Pageant of the Masters, the festival charges a small admission fee. Laguna Beach residents with ID receive free admission, as do children under the age of 12.
Pageant of the Masters TicketsEveryone who attends the Pageant of the Masters must have a ticket, regardless of age. No babies-in-arms permitted.
Pageant of the Masters ticket prices start at $20. You can order online or by calling the box office at 949-497-6582 or 800-487-3378, but do it early. The best seats sell out by January for performances starting in July. There is no waiting list.
If you find you've procrastinated too long, you may be tempted to try buying tickets from a street scalper. It can be risky, but if you're determined, these tips may help you keep from getting cheated:
- Know what the ticket looks like. Politely ask someone if you can see theirs.
- Bring a seating chart. Unscrupulous scalpers may show you an altered one.
- Bring cash.
- Test the seller by asking if they'll walk to the gate with you. If they're reluctant, it could mean the tickets are fake and they don't want to be nearby when it's discovered.
- Be patient. You may get a better deal if you wait until just before the show starts.
You may also find Pageant of the Masters tickets for sale on eBay. This is an even more risky way to get them. If you decide to try it, be sure the seller has a good feedback rating, with more than just a few entries. Try to get the seller to give you a physical address where you can contact them in case of trouble.
A much more reliable (albeit more expensive) way to get a Pageant of the Masters ticket after the box office sells out is to go through a broker.
Getting to the Pageant of the Masters
Pageant of the MastersFestival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters is held near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) and Laguna Canyon Road. You can get there from I-405 by exiting at Laguna Canyon Road, or by taking CA 55 (Newport Freeway) to Pacific Coast Highway and turning left. For more detailed directions and parking tips, call the Festival of Arts office during weekday business hours at 949-494-1145.
650 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Pageant of the Masters Website