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"Love Among the Ruins" at Laguna Playhouse

An Adaptation of the Film

Who hasn’t dreamed of being a lawyer, and having your ex come crawling to you, begging you to save her or him from financial ruin, and you have her or his life clasped firmly in your educated, capable hands? We’ve all had those thoughts, right? Right. And that’s exactly what happens in Love Among the Ruins. You might be familiar with the story; it’s an adaptation of a movie by the same name, and it’s coming to Laguna Playhouse.

It tells the story of a woman named Jessica Mendlicott who is being sued by an ex-lover, for breach of promise. To protect her fortune, which she earned herself as an actress, she hires the best lawyer around, Sir Arthur Granville-Jones — who also happens to be an ex of hers.

I think we all see where this story is going, but the telling of it will unfold with lots of twists and turns, which the director, Michael Arabian, says is one of his favorite things about this play.

“In the play version of this story, the twist/plot reveal will come at the end of the story, where it belongs,” he said.

From Left: Peter Strauss and JoBeth Williams

The writers of the play (Robert Papazian and James Hirsch) loved the original film, but felt that there were some plot holes that really demanded a lot of suspension of disbelief in the audience. Their adaption fills those holes, while maintaining the humor, charm, and romance in the original film.

Not only is this a hilarious romance, but it’s an anti-ageist and a feminist one, at a time when feminist messaging in our entertainment is incredibly important. Mr. Arabian said, “Everyone should see this play. Women’s rights are under attack in this country. And this is the story of a powerful, brave, self-made woman.”

And not a young, barely-legal woman either. Jessica Mendlicott is a mature woman — and she has a hot, steamy, ultra-romantic romance with a handsome, distinguished gentleman. Mr. Arabian says that it’s important for older people to see that in their entertainment — to see depictions of people their own age who are experiencing a great love story. And it’s unfortunately not something we see too often in our movies and plays.

From Left: JoBeth Williams and Peter Strauss

This production will star JoBeth Williams and Peter Strauss, and Mr. Arabian is excited to work with two such wonderful talents, and he knows they’ll work well together. (JoBeth Williams is playing Jessica Mendlicott, who was played by Katherine Hepburn in the movie. Peter Strauss will play Sir Arthur Granville-Jones, who was played by Laurence Oliver.)

All in all, this promises to be a fun, classic romantic comedy, crafted by some of the best storytellers out there. You won’t want to miss this relevant, smart production.

Dana Hammer is a writer and local theater enthusiast living and working in Orange County.

‘Love Among the Ruins’

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

October 26 - November 13, 2022

(949) 497-2787,

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