Tag archives: PCPA

The Wonder of ‘The Book of Will’ 
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 5, 2023

Every literate person knows who Shakespeare was, but if a couple of his aging actor friends hadn’t taken it upon themselves to get all of the Bard’s plays published in a single, bound volume after his death in the early 1616, chances are nobody would have ever heard of Romeo or Juliet, or Hamlet, King […]

Hoofin’ and Heroes in the Valley
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 18, 2023

It’s not necessary to be a big fan of bluegrass music to enjoy PCPA Theaterfest’s Bright Star, the Tony-nominated musical created by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell playing at Solvang Festival Theater through July 23. But it sure helps. Based on real events in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the show has a gentle pace, with […]

Theaterfest is Back!
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 27, 2023

PCPA Theaterfest kicks off its 2023 summer season on June 22 at the Solvang Festival Theater with Emma in the West Coast premiere of Joseph Hanreddy’s latest adaptation of a beloved Jane Austen novel. Opting to direct the playwright’s new piece was an easy choice for Polly Firestone Walker, a veteran PCPA resident artist (and […]

Herb Your Enthusiasm
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 13, 2022

PCPA Theaterfest could hardly have found a more appropriate director than Catalina Maynard to helm Native Gardens, Karen Zacarias’ 90-minute play in which a battle between formerly friendly new neighbors over cultivating gardens in their separate yards echoes the polarization and cultural wars currently characterizing the country. Maynard has previous PCPA experience as an actor […]

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, […]

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 […]

Coming Back ‘Together’: PCPA Returns with Show Searching for Commonality
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 29, 2021

Although even its outdoor theater in Solvang was dark all last year, PCPA Theaterfest took to virtual programming right away after COVID hit, offering weekly conversations with alumni around the country along with Zoom readings of works new to the area, then upped the ante with produced longer-form videos, including cabarets over the holiday season […]

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 […]

Ensemble Theatre’s Ensemble Holiday Shows
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 24, 2020

Ensemble Theatre Company is bursting with some holiday pride about a new show streaming virtually out of Las Vegas this weekend. That’s because the star of The Elijah Rock Variety Show Christmas Special played Porgy in ETC’s 2017 production of Porgy and Bess, an ambitious, critically acclaimed and socially prescient adaptation of the show that […]

Honing in on ‘Home for the Holidays’
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 17, 2020

A cabaret for Christmas might seem like the mixing of metaphors, but the idea made a lot of sense for PCPA as a way to produce something during the pandemic. That was partly because a show that’s akin to a revue could be done from people’s homes during lockdown without damaging the storyline. But it […]

PCPA’s Holiday Cabaret
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 10, 2020

PCPA’s 2020 Christmas-season treat is called Home for the Holidays, with the subtitle of “… because where else are you going to be?” Fair enough. With the coronavirus raging all over again, the Central Coast conservatory keeps its virtual programs flowing with a holiday cabaret featuring its resident artists. The free streaming event will be […]

Gobble It Up
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 24, 2020

PCPA previews America’s annual fall feast two month’s early with Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play, the second in its new series of staged reading previews of relatively new works of current interest. The “bitingly funny satire” find good intentions colliding with absurd assumptions as a troupe of supposedly racially awakened white teaching artists are tasked […]

At PCPA, Interplay is the Thing
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 3, 2020

Every arts organization has responded to the coronavirus crisis in their own way and in their own time, from raiding the archives to shutting down completely to, in the case of Ventura’s Rubicon Theatre (see above), trying innovative new ways to still go live and in person despite the pandemic. PCPA Theaterfest, which in normal […]

‘Dancing’ into Love
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 13, 2019

Saundra McClain would seem to be an inspired choice to direct Ensemble Theatre Company’s area debut of Dancing Lessons even if she hadn’t already helmed several successful prior productions for ETC, including Intimate Apparel, In The Continuum, The Fantasticks, and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. While McClain found her earlier ETC efforts […]

Labor of Love: Studios Open for Tour
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 30, 2018

Montecito has always been an integral part of the Santa Barbara Studio Artists (SBSA) Open Studios tour. But not so much this year. The annual Labor Day weekend event when local artists who are members of the organization welcome guests into their working home studios or off-site locations has just one site for visitors to […]

Oh, Mamma Mia!
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 26, 2018

Director Brad Carroll said it was just a coincidence that the sequel to the movie version of Broadway smash-hit musical Mamma Mia opened just days before PCPA Theaterfest’s production opens at the Solvang Festival Theater this Friday night, July 27. But there’s no accident that the long-standing conservatory booked the show as the centerpiece of […]