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Laguna Beach High School's Beloved Shap Show Turns 25

February 4, 2013

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Laguna Beach High School's Beloved Shap Show Turns 25

Diamond Jubilee "No Suits Allowed" Concert Brings Its Distinctive Coffee House Vibe to the Artists Theatre on February 9 for Annual Senior Class Fundraiser

Every winter, Gary Shapiro, an upper level math teacher at Laguna Beach High School (LBHS), becomes a musical impresario, collaborating with seasoned student vocalists and reluctant first-timers alike to stage "No Suits Allowed," a unique showcase of song that has turned a shared passion for performance into an annual benefit for the Senior Class. Long known simply as "The Shap Show" by its many fans, this community favorite has raised a cumulative total of more than $100,000 and involved at least 350 young singers since it was first staged 25 years ago.

This year's show, February 9, at 7:30 PM, features nearly 30 songs covering contemporary and classic popular hits, each sung by a student with Shapiro accompanying them on guitar.

"I've enjoyed playing in front of an audience for a long time but putting this show together with the students is always very special," said Shapiro, who began performing in coffee houses after college and now appears every summer at The Sawdust Festival. "No Suits Allowed” has become a great way to reach across age differences and briefly change the dynamic from teacher/student to collaboration between creative partners.

Shapiro credits the original idea for the show to two "somewhat entrepreneurial" LBHS students who, knowing he played the guitar, approached him about putting on a small concert to raise money for the Senior Class. He jumped at the chance to perform on the Artists Theatre stage, deciding to call the show "No Suits Allowed" - capturing the informal, spontaneous, and welcoming feeling he wanted it to have.

"Performance is an essential part of the culture of our school district and the Shap Show has provided a wonderful opportunity to explore musical expression for generations of LBHS students," said Joanne Culverhouse, Ed.D., principal of LBHS. "Mr. Shapiro is a great motivator and these students will carry their No Suits Allowed memories, as well as the enhanced self-esteem they gained from participating, into college and adult life. I share the gratitude of 25 Senior Classes for Mr. Shapiro's dedication. He has brought us this show year after year for the sheer joy of performing with young people. Somehow, he assembles the program, gets in some rehearsal time with each act, and then delivers a wonderful evening to a sell-out crowd, all without losing a beat as a full-time member of our math department."

The Shap Show - No Suits Allowed - benefitting the Class of 2013 Grad Night is one night only, Saturday, February 9, 2013, at 7:30 PM on the LBHS Artists Theatre stage. Tickets go on sale at 4:00 PM on the day of the show at the Artists Theatre Box Office. Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for adults, and $30 reserved. For information regarding advanced sales of limited preferred seating and pre-show dinner packages, contact Johnna Gherardini at

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