Tag archives: musical

PCPA’s DeLaurier Heads ‘Into the Woods’… and Retirement
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 16, 2022

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Pacific Conservatory Theatre’s (PCPA) associate artistic director Roger DeLaurier is retiring at the end of the summer, heading off into the woods after 34 years and following one last time helming a show, which just so happens to be Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, a magical, memorable, […]

Onegin a Win
By Richard Mineards   |   July 26, 2022

We were all clearly in the right aria when the Music Academy staged Tchaikovsky’s classic Eugene Onegin at the Granada, directed by Peter Kazaras, head of Opera UCLA. With the orchestra under Slovenian-born conductor Daniela Candillari, Yale-educated baritone Samuel Kidd as Onegin, and soprano Johanna Will as his lover, they were absolutely superb in the […]

A Rotten Spectacular
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 5, 2022

If campy and clever is your path to pleasure – at least in the theater – you can do no better than the mirth-making musical Something Rotten. The show, which earned 10 Tony nominations on Broadway just five years ago, takes place in the 1590s when the theatrically-minded Nick Bottom, whose lot is a lot […]

OOB’s ‘Tick….’ 
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 3, 2022

Also emerging from the pandemic for its first live theatrical production in 30 months, Out of the Box (OOB) is reviving a three-decade-old work as well, in this case tick, tick…Boom! (TTB), originally a semi-autobiographical one-man show that Jonathan Larson created in the early 1990s before his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Rent. Coincidentally, TTB […]

SBHS Chicago
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 12, 2022

Nearly two years after taking over for the legendary Santa Barbara High School theater director Otto Layman, newcomer Justin Baldridge is getting his chance to put his stamp on the kind of big classic musical Layman loved to bring to the school’s auditorium. Chicago, the second longest-running show in Broadway history, is a song-and-dance filled […]

Lights Up on Luke’s ‘Rotten’ Musical
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 8, 2022

Something rotten happened to Lights Up!, the teen theater conservatory/company, which opened for business back in 2018. That would be the COVID-19 pandemic, which of course has been pretty rotten for all of us. But the pandemic really put Lights Up! through its paces as the company has been operating under the restrictions for more […]

Pie in the Sky Role for ‘Waitress’ Star
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 18, 2022

Actress Jisel Soleil Ayon never suspected the casting directors were considering her for the lead role of Jenna when she auditioned for a part as a member of the ensemble for the musical Waitress last year. “I went through the entire process, from Zoom to my last call back in person, thinking I might at […]

Folk Heroes
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 4, 2022

The popularity of Simon & Garfunkel, the most famous duo in folk music history, remains unabated more than a half-century since the pair first broke up over artistic differences and personal issues following the release of the groundbreaking album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Problems persisted each time Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel contemplated reuniting after […]

Singing Kismet’s Praises
By Mark Leisure   |   November 22, 2021

Theater came roaring back to life in town since last we published these pages known as the Sentinel, with every local company save for Ventura’s Rubicon offering something to savor. I caught three of the productions, including the biggest of them all in the revival of Kismet,executive produced and presented by philanthropist/publisher Sara Miller McCune. […]

Adding Needed Depth ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ coming to the Granada Theatre
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 9, 2021

When the musical version of An Officer and a Gentleman plays November 9-10 at the Granada Theatre, it won’t be quite the singular sensation provided by the massive Santa Barbara-only one-off presentation of Kismet at the same venue two weekends ago. But Officer does offer a rare chance for locals to get an early viewing […]

‘Kismet’ Fated to Make Santa Barbara History
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 21, 2021

The dictionary says “kismet” is an Arabic word that has come to mean fate or destiny in English. In theater, Kismet was a hit on Broadway back in the 1950s, as the love-and-duty musical about a glib-tongued street poet in old Baghdad whose family encounters princesses and a young caliph was smartly adapted from a […]

Heading Into the Home Stretch
By Sara Miller McCune   |   October 12, 2021

As I write this early in October, I can really feel my heart beating just a little bit faster. Kismet, that wonderful musical show, is coming to life once again — right here in Santa Barbara. For one thing, the first week of rehearsals late September in New York City are now over. For that […]

The Devil’s in the Details!
By Sara Miller McCune   |   September 7, 2021

One of the more interesting things I have learned now that we are getting closer to our Kismet performance dates in late October is the fact that all businesses are full of details — and then still more details. This should not have come as a surprise to me since I started my own publishing […]

Playing ‘Day’ at Night
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 24, 2021

While PCPA Theaterfest’s first show of the summer was a self-referential original revue celebrating a return to live performance at the Solvang Festival Theater, the season closer is tried-and-true. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill is a two-character musical that finds the legendary singer Billie Holiday performing in a seedy South Philadelphia bar in […]

Revels’ Pandemic Promise: Join Us (Virtually) and Be Joyous
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 24, 2020

Every year, the December performances of Santa Barbara Revels are meant to mark the winter solstice, which represents the shortest day of the year, the deepest dive into darkness before emerging back into the light. So perhaps it was fitting that my conversation with Susan Keller, founder of and still the main force in the […]

Good Grief Goes Virtual
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 20, 2020

While you won’t be able to check out the talented kids at Ensemble Theatre’s Young Actors Conservatory this summer, audiences are invited to join in virtually for the season-ending production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. The musical that explores life through the eyes of Charlie Brown and his friends in the Peanuts gang […]

Crane School’s Traditional Year-End Events Go Virtual
By Ann Pieramici   |   June 11, 2020

The theater at Crane Country Day School is dark, but that hasn’t stopped production of its annual Upper School musical. In fact, the school has barely missed a beat as it continues with nearly all of the spring traditions that have come to define the K-8 school. “Our spring culminations are still happening, just not […]

Layman Leaves a Lasting Legacy After 24 years at SBHS Theater Helm
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 14, 2020

If things were different, if the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 hadn’t turned into a global pandemic shutting down almost everything across the world, this would have been a weekend of wonder for Otto Layman. The theater director had planned a big blowout of a show to serve as his crowning achievement in a career […]

5Qs with Keaton Eckhoff
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 27, 2020

Buddy Holly died more than 60 years ago in a famous plane crash that also killed Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. But it seems the early rock star just won’t stop touring. And the ongoing Holly performances aren’t even in the guise of tribute bands. Unlike Elvis and the Beatles, say, Holly hasn’t attracted […]

Enamored by Emma
By Richard Mineards   |   February 13, 2020

More than 200 years after her death in 1817, Regency writer Jane Austen is as popular as ever. A new film version of her novel Emma, directed by Autumn de Wilde and starring Bill Nighy, Josh O’Connor and Rupert Graves, is being released later this month, and Masterpiece Theatre on PBS is running Sanditon, based […]