Tag archives: Ensemble Theatre

The Show Must Go On
By Richard Mineards   |   September 6, 2022

Social gridlock reigned at the historic Santa Barbara Club when the Ensemble Theatre Company marked its 43rd season with a Curtain Up! gala for 150 guests, raising more than $200,000 for productions at the New Vic. Susan Van Abel chaired the fun fête that featured the ubiquitous Chris Fossek on classical guitar, singer Linda Purl, […]

Vincent & Theo: Through Charles’ Eyes
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 17, 2022

Ensemble Theatre Company is bringing back its production of Vincent, the critically-lauded one-man show created by Leonard Nimoy, who spent years researching the hundreds of letters exchanged between the artist Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theo, to fashion the intimately-scaled 1980 play in which the actor portrays both brothers. Veteran thespian Charles Pasternak takes […]

American Son Impresses
By Richard Mineards   |   April 19, 2022

Racial dynamics are at the forefront of the Ensemble Theatre Company’s latest New Vic show American Son. The nail-biting drama, directed by Jonathan Fox, takes place at a Miami, Florida, police station where, in the middle of the night, the parents of an African American teenager anxiously await news of their son, who may have […]

Ensemble Goes Solo for Rare Bird ‘Lillian’
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 4, 2022

While film lovers will be flocking to Santa Barbara over the next 10 days to watch scores of world premieres and welcome widely loved movie stars in the Arlington and other cinemas, the Ensemble Theatre will be staging a premiere of its own just across Victoria Street in the New Vic, one that also boasts […]

Vivacious Vocals in Vogue with Baker’s Dozen
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 11, 2022

There’s a plethora of a cappella singing groups at Yale, the Ivy League School known for theater and music as much as the liberal arts. “I think there’s 16, including four all-male,” said Jacob Wu, the current tour manager and a bass singer for Baker’s Dozen (BD), which despite its name actually boasts 16 singers. […]

A Debut at ETC
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 7, 2021

Were it not for a pandemic-induced postponement, former 20-year Laguna Playhouse artistic director Andrew Barnicle would have returned to Ensemble Theatre to direct The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s witty companion piece to Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley and the second in a planned trilogy that serves as an imagined […]

Staying Civil
By Richard Mineards   |   October 26, 2021

Former corporate attorney and Harvard Law School graduate David Gersh has published his seventh book, The Whisper of a Distant God, an historical fiction of the Civil War. “It explores a little-known battle in that war and the struggle with duty, honor, and compassion by the Union commander’s wife, Louisa Canby, which made her the […]

‘Quite Extraordinary’: Broadway Legend Bringing Talents to Santa Barbara
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 12, 2021

It’s not hyperbole at all to suggest that the original production of Kismet that will play three performances at the Granada Theatre later this month might be the most exciting show ever to play in Santa Barbara. While official touring shows of classic Broadway hits and more modern musical fare are still appearing at the […]

Curtain (Back) Up!
By Lynda Millner   |   September 14, 2021

Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) director Jonathan Fox spoke to the audience at the Santa Barbara Club, saying, “I dreamt over and over while we were building the new theater, ‘If we build it, will they come?’” No problem they came but will they come back? The answer is yes. The new season has been announced. […]

‘No Substitute for Live Theater’: ETC Raises its Curtains
By Richard Mineards   |   August 31, 2021

It was just the ticket when the venerable Ensemble Theatre Company, which is fully reopening after 15 months of pandemic lockdown, hosted 150 guests and raised a hefty $250,000 with its “Curtain (Back) Up!” bash at the Santa Barbara Club. “When the New Vic theater opened in 2013, we had a Curtain Up fête,” says […]

Fear Turns into Needed Hope
By Mark Leisure   |   August 5, 2021

I’m going to reveal something right here you may not know about me: I’m a 6 on the Enneagram, the ancient personality typing system that dates back before Christianity, which is at the heart of the fear-based triad of types. So as scary as the idea of catching COVID was, the lockdown worked for me, […]

Bringing Back the Beatles: ETC Music Benefit Honors the Fab Four
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 1, 2021

For Ensemble Theatre Company’s education director Brian McDonald, the theme for this year’s fundraiser for the ETC’s education and outreach programs was a bit of a no-brainer: “Come Together.” After all, the title of the Beatles song from their penultimate album provides the perfect prescription for emerging from a pandemic that has kept people apart […]

Summer in Solvang
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 10, 2021

With the continued easing of pandemic restrictions, PCPA is returning after two summers to the Solvang Festival Theater, the charming outdoor amphitheater in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley village. The stars will be live on stage as well as visible in the sky above starting in mid-July, when PCPA debuts an original production […]

Telly Us More About It
By Richard Mineards   |   June 10, 2021

TV Santa Barbara, the area’s community access center that operates channels 17 and 71, is the recipient of four 2021 Telly Awards, including the prestigious Gold Award for the production of “Make Goleta Count!” Silver and bronze honors were also earned for video productions created in partnership with the Central Coast Division of the American […]

“An Iliad”: Tale of War, With a Modern Twist
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 22, 2021

Our troubles coping with the COVID pandemic have stretched beyond the one-year mark. But that’s a short blip of time compared to the arduous ordeal of relating conflict, rage, war, and more over three millennia — with no end in sight.  Such is the plight of the storyteller in An Iliad, the modern-day adaptation of […]

Smart Like a Fox
By Richard Mineards   |   April 15, 2021

Ensemble Theatre Company isn’t letting the pandemic interfere with its production schedule. The popular company, helmed by Jonathan Fox, is presenting five live-streamed performances of the critically acclaimed 90-minute, one-act play An Iliad, with each live performance being aired and viewable on computers, smart TVs, iPads, and iPhones. Translated by Robert Fagles from Homer’s 3,000-year-old […]

A Bold Take on the Iliad
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 7, 2021

In a COVID coincidence, the second weekend of the school’s zany take on Greek myth cozies up to a more serious – and perhaps even more ambitious – approach to some of the same material in the Ensemble Theatre Company’s live stream of the one-man show, An Iliad. The work is crafted around the stories […]

Go with Gordon: Christmas in January
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 28, 2021

Sure, Christmas is almost a month in the rear-view mirror. Yes, Estella Scrooge, which takes place on a present-day December 24-25, is absolutely meant to be a Yuletide holiday story. But if you have yet to see this clever mashup of A Christmas Carol with several of Charles Dickens’ other books, now would be a […]

Here We Go a-Carol-ing: Dickens of a Time for a Ghost Story
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 31, 2020

Just like redemption doesn’t come easy, recovering from the wounds of 2020 from the COVID pandemic and other tough situations this year will likely take significant time. But perhaps a local take on a legendary allegory can go a short way toward helping the healing, or at least create a satisfying enough diversion to bring […]

James Corden’s Son Stars in Janet Adderley Play
By Richard Mineards   |   November 5, 2020

British TV talk show star James Corden, who has hosted both the Tonys and Grammys, has given the ultimate accolade to Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble Theatre founder Janet Adderley. Bubbly Janet, whom I have known for 12 years, is a Broadway veteran and starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express in 1978 before founding her […]