Tag archives: play

A Pretty Big Break for Baker
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 23, 2024

In the film Pretty Woman, courtesan Vivian catches lightning in a bottle when she meets Richard Gere’s charming and chivalrous billionaire businessman. Being cast in the title role of the film’s touring stage musical serves as a similarly unlikely lucky break for Ellie Baker. A really big break.  Not only does Pretty Woman: The Musical represent […]

Proctor-ing Recent History
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 7, 2023

Both the #MeToo movement and The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s allegory about the Salem Witch Trials to examine the McCarthy-Era Red Scare of his time,inspired playwright Kimberly Belflower to come up with John Proctor Is the Villain.  “What would it be like to be a teenager in rural America at that moment, feeling the world shift […]

The Voice of Survivors: Finding Inspiration, Tolerance, and Hope From Our Past
By Zach Rosen   |   October 24, 2023

If the innumerable performances of Shakespeare’s plays are any testament – theater has the ability to preserve a story for centuries. And it is exactly that preservation that the play Survivors hopes to achieve at the Raise Our Voices event at the Marjorie Luke Theatre this Thursday, October 19, at 7 pm.  Written by Wendy […]

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 […]

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 […]

Trial by Theater
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 30, 2023

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, the allegorical play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy), already turns typical storytelling on its ear as it involves a courtroom trial over the ultimate fate of perhaps the most famous sinner in the story of the Bible. To examine existing understandings of heaven, […]

Horror Show at SBHS 
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 18, 2023

Santa Barbara High School is the first of the local public schools to mount their spring production, leading the charge with the ever popular The Rocky Horror Show, the stage musical from which the 1975 cult film was adapted, running April 14-22 at the school’s theater. New theater department director Gioia Marchese chose the deliberately […]

Final Weekend for Flying A
By Scott Craig   |   March 7, 2023

Wet weather and storm watches didn’t keep people away from the opening weekend of the Westmont College Festival Theatre’s world premiere Diamond to Dust: A Flying A Fantasy. Director John Blondell and writer Michael Bernard, a local actor, educator and playwright, have brought Santa Barbara’s treasured cinematic history to the stage in a creative exploration […]

Talk Explores Bringing Flying A to the Stage
By Scott Craig   |   February 14, 2023

Westmont’s John Blondell discusses the world premiere play that will bring Santa Barbara’s silent film history to the stage in a Westmont Downtown Lecture Thursday, February 16, at 5:30 pm in the Community Arts Workshop (CAW), 631 Garden Street, in downtown Santa Barbara. “The Film Within a Play: Celebrating Santa Barbara’s Flying A Studios on […]

‘Patient’ Is a Virtue 
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 24, 2023

An age-old artists’ conundrum of the relationship between creativity and madness gets explored anew in a world premiere original play, The Patient, at Center Stage Theater this weekend. Peter Frisch, the veteran theater director, TV producer, and educator, collaborated on the writing with Shay Munroe, an L.A.-based actress and writer (and former student of Frisch’s […]

Paying (and Singing) Respect
By Richard Mineards   |   January 17, 2023

The late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin was a larger-than-life character with vocal talents to match. The singer, songwriter, and pianist, the daughter of a Detroit Baptist church preacher who died in 2018 aged 76, was admirably brought to life again in the American Theatre Guild’s electrifying Broadway production R.E.S.P.E.C.T. at the Granada with four […]

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 […]

The Absurdity of It All 
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 15, 2022

Jumping from high school to college, and from a harrowing drama to an absurdist comedy, there’s also UCSB Theater’s offering of a long weekend of The Government Inspector at the Hatlen Theater on campus November 16-20. UCSB faculty member Michael Bernard, whose tenure in town following 10 years as Associate Artistic Director of the 52nd […]

SBCC Comedy: From Simply Silly to Social Satire 
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 8, 2022

Fresh from the over-the-top antics, physical pratfalls, and intentionally terrible timing of The Play That Goes Wrong, which pulled out the stops – and mantle pieces and body parts, but no punches on closing night last weekend – SBCC Theatre Group segues into a student production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, one […]

Spring-ing Back to Lincoln Land 
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 18, 2022

Given that Abraham Lincoln might be the most popular president in U.S. history, one whose story is the stuff of legends, it would seem there isn’t a whole lot left to tell about Abe. And even less likely, that a practicing insurance litigator would be the one to tell it.  Yet, here’s Terrence L. Cranert, […]

The Play’s the Thing (That Goes Wrong)
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 18, 2022

The Play That Goes Wrong began life in 2012 in a British pub as a frothy vehicle for its three writers to star in. But the comedy about amateur actors attempting to mount a fictional murder mystery called The Murder at Haversham Manor that goes hopelessly awry, chock full of pranks and pratfalls and all […]

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, […]

Alcazar’s Concise Community-centric Comedy
By Steven Libowitz   |   August 9, 2022

Last summer, the community theater company at Carpinteria’s Alcazar Theatre launched Laugh Out Loud, a one-weekend summer series of several short comedic plays, both to keep its actors and the community engaged, and to test the waters of producing live theater during the pandemic.  Audiences responded, filling up more than half of the seats at […]

Lodging a Love Story
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 19, 2022

The pandemic might have been a cause for pause for most of us, but Claudia Hoag McGarry took a different path. Not only did the screenwriter-turned-playwright take up watercolor painting – she’s created more than 575 pieces in 27 months, several hundred of which have sold online or, more recently, at Kathryne Designs in Montecito […]