Laguna Playhouse will be opening its fifth show this 97th season – The Graduate – starring Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Melanie Griffith, as Mrs. Robinson. Ovation Award-winner Michael Matthews is the director.

The Graduate will run in a limited engagement, beginning with previews on Wed, Feb 21; the opening night will be on Sun, March 4, at 5:30 p.m., and performances continue through Sun, March 18.

Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, “We are just thrilled to welcome Melanie Griffith to the Laguna Playhouse in one of the most iconic roles of all time – Mrs. Robinson.”

Terry Johnson’s stage adaptation of The Graduate, based on the novel and the iconic 1967 film, is a bitterly hilarious dark comedy, full of rapid-fire dialogue between fascinating characters boldly celebrating a May-Dec romance in 1960’s California, in which the future can be summed up in one word: Plastics.

Adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham. “We have been trying to seduce Melanie to perform on our stage for quite some time. We are overjoyed that she has said yes and know our subscribers and audiences will be utterly mesmerized by her return to the stage under the inspired direction of Michael Matthews!”

Melanie Griffith received an Academy Award nomination, a BAFTA nomination and won a Golden Globe award for her memorable role as Tess McGill in Mike Nichol’s smash hit “Working Girl.” She has had an extensive career in film and television, garnering many honors and awards. In 2003, she made her Broadway musical debut in Chicago as the fame-hungry Roxie Hart, impressing critics and audiences alike.

In 2001, Griffith was honored with a Special Festival Award for her body of work at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2014, Melanie was honored with the Taormina Arte Award in Taormina, Italy.

Director Michael Matthews is thrilled to be returning to Laguna Playhouse after directing its critically acclaimed production of Twelve Angry Men. A few of his other numerous credits and awards include: Billy & Ray at the Laguna Playhouse, Take Me Out!, The Women of Brewster Place, the Musical (Ovation Nom, Director; NAACP Award, Director). Michael is the recipient of the 2015 LA Drama Critics Circle Award for Career Achievement in Direction.

The cast will also feature: Nick Tag as Benjamin (Sex and Education at Laguna Playhouse; “My Crazy Ex,” “Brothers in Arms”), Geoffrey Lower as Mr. Robinson, Martha Magruder as Elaine Robinson, Richard Burgi as Mr. Braddock, Valerie Perri as Mrs. Braddock and the ensemble will feature John Massey, Greg Butler, Joey Fabrizi and Taylor Rene LaBarbera.

Performances will be Tues through Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Thurs and Sat at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 1 p.m. There will no Thurs performances on Thurs, March 1 & Thurs, March 15 at 2 p.m. There will be additional Sun performances on Sun, Feb 25; Sun, March 11 & Sun, March 18 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $86 – $101 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229.  Prices subject to change.