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Pageant of the Masters 2022 ‘World Wonders’  Honors Early Investigative Journalist Nellie Bly



By Lydia E. Ringwald

July 10, 2022 ~ LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. ~ The 2022 Pageant of the Masters opened July 6 and continues throughout the summer until September 2 with living tableaux of artworks celebrating the theme ‘Wonderful World.’

Performances are nightly throughout the summer, with ticket prices starting at $30, which also includes a season’s pass to the Festival of the Arts.

This year’s Pageant theme ‘World Wonders’ features a world art tour of art masterpieces highlighting a stunning tableau of the Parthenon in Athens along with a medley of artworks including art by Swedish painter Carl Larsson, Mexican artist Diego Rivera, Japanese woodblock artist Toyohara Chikanobu and more.

Stunning tableaux recreations of Tiepolo’s ‘Carnivale’ revelers in Venice along with African sculptures are included in the 90-minute artwork extravaganza that showcases art from a variety of countries and cultures throughout the world.

“There are so many great artworks to recreate,” commented Pageant Director Diane Challis Davy. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure ‘Wonderful World’ is full of thrills, great stories, beautiful music and extraordinary living pictures under the stars.”

A narrative written by Pageant scriptwriter Dan Duling binds the artworks into the story of Nellie Bly, an early American investigative journalist who in 1889 was not only the first woman but also the first person to travel around the globe.

Inspired by the Jules Verne novel ‘Around the World in 80 Days,’ Bly, in 1889, with sponsorship and promotion from The New York World newspaper, decided to make the fictional account into a reality.

Setting off as a lone woman traveler, with only one small satchel and minimal funds for the journey discreetly hidden in her bodice, Bly completed the tour around the world in only 72 days.

When she returned to New York in January 1990, a popular heroine, local manufacturers created board games and other merchandising to celebrate her amazing feat.

The Pageant 2022 classic finale includes a tableaux recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ with the touching music of the Pageant orchestra’s heart-felt rendering of Massinet’s ‘Meditation’ from ‘Thais.’

This year, renowned pianist Colin Freeman performs with the Pageant orchestra. Music, dance and festival pageantry add to the ambiance of the Pageant’s multidimensional theater and performance art presentation that has brought international fame to Laguna Beach.

Those who purchase tickets to the Pageant may also enjoy multiple visits to the Festival of Arts to enjoy the array of art in a maze of artist booths and also the wonderful schedule of events throughout the summer.

Visit the Festival of Arts website to explore the many entertainment opportunities, including jazz, classical and pop music performances on the stage on the festival grounds, a fashion show, art classes and many other wonderful art experiences.

Visitors may bring a picnic and enjoy the ambiance of wandering through the maze of artist booths. Here are a few highlights of artists in the beautiful array of Festival artist booths; visitors may find these and discover many more on their own.

Artist Debbie Zoller with one of her graphic drawings of native Americans.


Artist Debbie Zoller explores the depths of the soul of native Americans in her striking graphic drawings of native Americans and in a nearby booth, find artist Judith L. Haron’s luscious and colorful ‘Illuminated Letter’ paintings. Photographer Peter Levshin travels the world and shares his photographic journey through Singapore, Burma, Thailand and Papua in a stunning exhibit of his photography. Wander a little further and enjoy Vinita Voogo’s prints and Ray Brown’s nature drawings Scuba diver Beverly Factor exhibits her photography of underwater flora and fauna and shares her children’s books. Beverly has been a scuba diver and photographing the amazing world under the sea for over 25 years.


Scuba diver and photographer Beverly Factor.


The variety of artistic expression is amazing. David Milton explores historical sign art. Larry Marley’s charming sculptures capture the fancy. Kirahsplace art plunges into the occult. WizArts collection of occult jewelry captivates. The intuitive mixed media artist Kate Cohen is both whimsical and deep. Troy Poeschl explores bones and vertebrae in an archeology of sculptural inspiration and insight.

This year Dr. Peter Keller, Director of the Bowers Museum is the art festival judge, an especially good choice for this year’s theme ‘Wonderful World’ theme.

Orange County’s Bowers Museum with over 100,000 art objects has continued to inspire and share wonders of the world in exhibits of art and cultural treasures throughout year.

Since its inception in 1932, Bowers has enriched the Southern California cultural community with a schedule of exciting exhibits along with educational opportunities, along with the adjacent Kidseum for teachers and families to explore art and archeology with school-age children.

The Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts also trace their inception into the early 1930s and have remained over the years a steadfast Orange County cultural phenomenon that links the art of the local Laguna and Southern California community to the art of the world. Enjoy a summer of art, music, dance and art classes and visit the Festival of Arts often.

Please visit the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters websites for tickets and a schedule of events throughout July, August until September 2.