Pageant Packages at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Planning on doing the wondrous Laguna Beach spectacular this summer? There's a way to peer deeper into the behind-the-scenes action.

THERE ARE THOSE EVENTS... in this world that are slickly produced and amazingly presented and yet we, as audience members, don't want to know how they've come to be. That seems a bit harsh, at first glance, understandably, but we simply mean this: We're content to bask in the beautiful experience as presented, understanding that many talented people have worked incredibly hard to make the experience as seamless and entertaining as possible. And for that, we have gratitude and respect. However, very occasionally, a rather wondrous production comes along that inspires a different set of thoughts among viewers, and those thoughts involve this question: "How in the world are they doing what they're doing, up on the stage?" You want to know, you have to know, you long to peer deeper, but peeking behind the curtain isn't in the cards. Pageant of the Masters qualifies here, for how real people are made to look so painting-like, in both make-up and costume, and how the sets seem to have sprung straight from a museum, gets audience members thinking. And how does a human stand so still for so long? Goodness, the questions. Are you curious? Then look to...

THE RITZ-CARLTON, LAGUNA NIGUEL, which just announced not one but two Pageant of the Masters-themed packages for the summer of 2018. One of the packages, "Behind the Velvet Rope," will take you on a "Behind the Scenes Tour of the Pageant of the Masters stage performance." So tempting in and of itself, but the luxe package also includes "Two Premier Loge Center tickets" to a Pageant performance, a private tour, led by a docent, of the Festival of Arts, and The Ritz-Carlton ocean view accommodations for the night. Oh yes, and a welcome amenity, and a Pageant of the Masters program, which you'll want to page through, extensively and perhaps even languidly, after you've retired back to your ocean-amazing space. The cost? It starts at $1,199.

AND YET, you may want the mystery of Pageant of the Masters to remain just that: mysterious. If this is you, consider the "Under the Sun" package at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, which includes overnight accommodations on the swanky property, a pair of Loge Center seats for the Pageant, admission to the adjacent and amazing Festival of Arts, and that welcome amenity and Pageant of the Masters program, too. The price is $899 per night. If you're a longtime devotee of the venerable event, and you love the notion of overnighting it at a not-too-far Ritz-Carlton, you'll now need to decide this: To know or not to know? Surely you have that appreciation for the tireless staff that makes the on-stage enchantment, but do you venture into that world for a look around or stay on the audience side of the stage? Either way, know this: Pageant of the Masters opens for its 85th season on July 7, 2018, with a closing date of Sept. 1. And "Under the Sun" is the sunshiny thematic ribbon that shall hold many of the chosen artworks together as a fabulous whole.

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