Some ‘Salvation’

By Richard Mineards   |   December 14, 2021
Michael Shasberger led the 17th annual Christmas Festival (Photo by Brad Elliott)

The venerable Granada was socially gridlocked when Westmont College held its 17th annual Christmas Festival “Salvation For All” over two days given the demand for tickets.

Michael Shasberger, Adams professor for music and worship, who is retiring in May after 16 years, created the hugely popular event and has directed it each year, normally at the First Presbyterian Church.

Featuring music from around the world and throughout the centuries, the concert featured the Westmont orchestra conducted by Shasberger, the Westmont College Choir and Chamber Singers led by Daniel Gee, and the Westmont Choral Union conducted by Grey Brothers.

Christmas hymns and carols featured large as well as classics by Bach, Handel, and Mendelssohn.

A delightful kickoff to the Yuletide season.

Getting in the Spirit

Having shown the more gracious and opulent upstairs living arrangements with the first production in Ensemble Theatre Company’s Jane Austen trilogy four years ago, it was time to move downstairs at the New Vic for The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, its second production of the current season.

The Michael Butler-directed play takes place in the servants’ quarters, cleverly designed by Bruce Goodrich, and tells an 1815 tale of the youngest sister Lydia and her ne’er-do-well former military husband George Wickham. Add in to the grand mix a trio of domestic staff, including the housekeeper, new maid, and the footman as they prepare for Yuletide and a gaggle of aristocratic guests upstairs.

The show, which runs through December 19, has an excellent seven-member ensemble cast, including Adam Poss as Darcy, Kyle T. Hester as bounder Wickham, and Chelsea Kurtz as Lydia.

A rollicking Regency romp which will undoubtedly get you in the Christmas spirit!

Standing the Test of Time

The musical Hairspray, which spawned two films in 1988 and 2007, not to mention a successful multi-Tony Award winning Broadway show, has stood the test of time.

The hugely entertaining production, which follows teen Tracy Turnblad in 1962 Baltimore as she searches for national TV fame, is witty and funny with a very definite message, particularly in the current era.

Tracy’s laundress mother, famously played by Harvey Fierstein, John Travolta, and the late Divine in previous guises, is equally splendid with Andrew Levitt in the over-the-top-role urging on her starstruck daughter, delightfully played by Niki Metcalf, in the Matt Lenz-directed American Theater Guild show at the Granada.

It was a show to dye for!

Empire Expands

Rosewood Miramar owner Rick Caruso has embarked on his latest mega project, a 165-unit residential six-story apartment building on a 7.5-acre commercial parcel at The Lakes shopping center in Thousand Oaks.

Rick has leased the property from the city since The Lakes opened in 2005.

His eponymous company has holdings in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and across the Los Angeles area, including The Grove, a charming shopping complex, near my old home in Hancock Park.

The apartment project is due to start being built next year.


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