Champagne may have been on hand for the premiere night audience of "The Road to Mecca" at South Coast Repertory on Friday night. But it was an announcement by producer David Emmes that went to guests' heads. During his "curtain remarks" (given seconds before show time) Emmes said SCR would launch its California Play Festival in April with the world premiere of "Abundance," a new play by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Beth Henley. Heady stuff for any audience. Faces in the crowd: Kathy and Ron Merriman, Bobbin and James Vandeberg, Olivia and Andrew Johnson, Catherine and Delane Thyen, Lydia and Kenneth Himes, Sally and Ben Perks, Melody and Hal Schultz, Kimberly and Bob Peterson, and Jean Moriarty.
[Kitty Leslie] of Juvenile Diabetes Foundation kids around with Dr. Mickey Goldsmith. Chefs included, from left: Supervisor [Tom Riley], Judge [Calvin Schmidt] and [Peter Leung].; [Mike Ciecek] tastes foundation official Glenn Salsbury's cooking. / DON KELSEN / Los Angeles Times; In audience of "The Road to Mecca" at South Coast Repertory were Catherine Thyen, left, David Emmes and Liz Toomey. / R. VERONICA DECKER / Los Angeles Times