Tag archives: Ensemble Theatre Company

Granada Legends: Annual Gala Takes the Stage
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 12, 2023

There’s no doubt that The Granada Theatre has played a vital role in developing and extending Santa Barbara’s thriving music and performing arts landscape for many decades – especially since 2008, when the theater reopened after a massive multi-million dollar renovation. The result not only restored The Granada to its 1930s glory but established the […]

An Unshakable Audience
By Richard Mineards   |   August 29, 2023

Note even a 5.1 earthquake near Ojai or Tropical Storm Hilary could impact the Ensemble Theatre Company’s annual Curtain Up! gala at the historic Santa Barbara Club, attracting 167 guests and raising around $260,000 for the popular New Vic theater, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. A 90-minute show preceded the boffo bash hosted by […]

Homer is Where the Heart Is
By Richard Mineards   |   August 22, 2023

Jonathan Fox, who left the Ensemble Theatre Company after 17 years as artistic director, has been spending the summer in Santa Barbara’s sister city Kotor, Montenegro. Jonathan has been presenting a production of An Iliad, a modern-day retelling of Homer’s classic. The opening performance was at the 18th century St. Nicholas Franciscan monastery. The production […]

The Granada Theatre
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 15, 2023

There’s no doubt that the Granada Theatre is one of the crown jewels in Santa Barbara’s enviable and outsized arts scene, one that after undergoing a mega-millions upgrade has become home to nearly all of the South County’s major presenting arts organizations. What’s more, the nonprofit continues to upgrade on a regular basis, most recently […]

Seared’ Extends Savory Run 
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 27, 2023

Emotions ran high on opening night for Seared – the kitchen comedy sans kitsch that closes out Ensemble Theatre’s current season as well as artistic director Jonathan Fox’s career at the company. It came from both the smartly cast quartet of actors in the play about art-vs.-commerce and power struggles, but also the audience who […]

An Order of Theater, Well ‘Seared’
By Richard Mineards   |   June 20, 2023

Jonathan Fox, who is departing as artistic director of the Ensemble Theatre Company after 17 years, has come up with a culinary cracker with his last production Seared, a fast-paced kitchen comedy, which is also the last show of the current season at the New Vic. Andrew Elvis Miller does an excellent job as the […]

Adversarial and Amusing Aromatic Adventure ‘Seared’ Arrives at New Vic
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 13, 2023

It’s likely that Jonathan Fox’s tenure at Ensemble Theatre Company will be seared into the local theater community’s collective memory for many years to come. ETC’s artistic director is departing after 17 years at the helm, a period that saw the company move from the quaint Alhecama Theater to the gleamingly refurbished New Vic, and […]

Help in the Kitchen
By Richard Mineards   |   June 6, 2023

Montecito chef Dario Furlati, who owns the Ca’Dario chain of Italian eateries, has been helping out with the Ensemble Theatre Company’s latest production Seared, directed by departing artistic director Jonathan Fox. “The play takes place in a small restaurant kitchen that suddenly gets acclaim in New York Magazine and is absolutely overwhelmed with customers,” says […]

Fox Says Farewell to ETC
By Richard Mineards   |   May 30, 2023

Jonathan Fox, artistic director of the Ensemble Theatre Company for the last 17 years, is moving to newer pastures. Jonathan, who I’ve known since moving to our Eden by the Beach in 2007 when the company performed at the rustic Alhecama Theatre, directs his latest and last play Seared at the New Vic, the final […]

Also on Local Stages This Week
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 25, 2023

Ensemble Theatre Company’s area premiere of Lucy Kirkwood’s 2016 drama The Children winds up its three-week run at the New Vic on April 23. ETC favorite helmer Jenny Sullivan directs the trio of well-traveled actors Michael Butler, Linda Purl, and Nancy Travis – all of whom are familiar to recent ETC audiences – in the […]

Motown Magic
By Richard Mineards   |   April 11, 2023

The audience at the Lobero was transported back to the Swinging ‘60s when Los Angeles-based tribute band The Magical Music of Motown returned to the historic venue after appearing in our Eden by the Beach last May. The vibrant and colorful two-hour show paid homage to the legendary Detroit-based record label. Founded by now 93-year-old […]

New Chair for Almost, Live from New York
By Richard Mineards   |   February 21, 2023

Prince Harry, 38, was this close to hosting the iconic NBC show Saturday Night Live as part of the promotional tour for his bestselling memoir, Spare. But talks reportedly stalled at the final hurdle and he went on to appear on other high-profile shows, including 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper and The Late Show with […]

Backstage Again… Outdoor at Trinity
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 20, 2022

It wasn’t the COVID pandemic that caused Trinity Backstage Coffeehouse to come to a close after a Christmastime holiday show in 2019. The underground listening-room series that spent nearly 20 years bringing some of the finest, if often unheralded, acoustic singer-songwriters to Santa Barbara had already scaled back from monthly shows to quarterly concerts for […]

Memories of Theaters Past
By Richard Mineards   |   December 13, 2022

What could be more festive for Yuletide than Charles Dickens’s classic ghost story A Christmas Carol? It is a show dear to my heart as it was the first-ever theater production I saw at the tender age of eight at the Northampton Repertory Theatre in England with a group of classmates from my local prep […]

Caroling to a New Tune
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 6, 2022

The veteran actor, director, and choreographer Jamie Torcellini is no stranger to Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC), having performed at ETC in The School for Lies and The Mystery of Irma Vep, and directed both Tell Me on a Sunday and The 39 Steps. It’s the latter play that’s most germane, as Torcellini has been enthralled […]

‘Carmen Jones’ Opens at the New Vic
By Richard Mineards   |   October 18, 2022

Carmen Jones, the Oscar Hammerstein musical that opened the latest season of the Ensemble Theatre Company at the New Vic, took two years to come to fruition given the pandemic delays, but it was clearly worth the wait! Directed by Artistic Director Jonathan Fox, the hugely entertaining show featuring an all-Black cast and based on […]

ETC Presents ‘Carmen Jones’
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 11, 2022

People have been bewitched and beguiled by the story of Carmen as consistently as the fiery gypsy seduces the brave men she encounters. Bizet’s opera remains wildly popular worldwide, almost 150 years since it premiered in Paris, and countless adaptations in dance have spun the tale through musical movement.  Even Oscar Hammerstein fell under Carmen’s […]

Case Closed on ETC’s Big Season
By Richard Mineards   |   June 21, 2022

Ensemble Theatre Company has concluded its 42nd season at the New Vic with an absolute cracker! Anthony Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning 1970 play Sleuth, directed by Jenny Sullivan, staged on a magnificent baronial set, is an absolute old-fashioned delight with two perfectly chosen British actors, Daniel Gerroll and Matthew Floyd Miller as the principal characters of […]

Sleuth: Theater’s Biggest Brain-twister is Back
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 14, 2022

The New Vic sounds like a theater in England, but the downtown venue is actually an old, converted church, although Ensemble Theatre Company’s lavish remodeling left few of those attributes visible inside. But there’s no way ETC’s old digs at the antiquated Alhecama Theater could have supported the sets and stagecraft required for its next […]

Painting the Stage
By Richard Mineards   |   May 31, 2022

Ensemble Theatre Company staged its tour-de-force one-man show Vincent at the New Vic, originally presented by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in March to sold-out audiences as it mounted its highly acclaimed Vincent Van Gogh exhibition. The play paints a thoughtful, imaginary scenario about one of the most famous names in the art world […]