Tag archives: theater

The Moving ‘Willesden Lane’
By Richard Mineards   |   February 13, 2024

Ensemble Theatre Company’s latest New Vic production The Pianist of Willesden Lane, a true story about a young Jewish musician navigating the Nazi regime in Vienna and London during the Blitzkrieg, is a truly thought-provoking show. Told by Mona Golabek, a world-renowned Grammy nominated pianist and the daughter of Lisa Jura – a pianist who, […]

Playing the Part
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 6, 2024

Stepping onto the stage to perform a one-woman show in your first-ever theatrical acting experience might seem to be sheer folly. But for Mona Golabek – starring in The Pianist of Willesden Lane which makes its Santa Barbara debut at Ensemble Theatre from February 2-18 – it is an opportunity to share her family’s story; […]

Sullivan’s Travels 
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 6, 2024

In something of a coincidence, Ventura’s Rubicon Theatre also stages a poetic, powerful and poignant family story, J for J – theater veteran Jenny Sullivan’s semi-autobiographical memory play about her relationship with her developmentally disabled older brother, Johnny. The title comes from a phrase her father – famed Hollywood actor Barry Sullivan (The Great Gatsby, […]

Major Milestone for the Marjorie Luke
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 2, 2024

It was shortly after the dawning of the new millennium that Santa Barbara Unified School District and a new nonprofit got together to upgrade the auditorium at Santa Barbara Junior High that had gone dark and fallen into disrepair. What started as a cleanup turned into a full-blown renovation of the historic Spanish colonial revival […]

Something to Celebrate A-boot
By Richard Mineards   |   December 19, 2023

Opera Santa Barbara took over the Paseo Nuevo’s Center Stage Theater when it staged Xavier Montsalvatge’s charming El Gato con Botas with singers from the Chrisman Studio Artists. Puss in Boots, to give it its English title, was a purr-fect production with director of the studio, Tim Accurso, on piano for the hour-long show, mezzo-soprano […]

Lighting Up ‘The Tempest’
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 19, 2023

There’s something quite magical and yet weighty in the way in which Lights Up! Theatre Company has taken a firm toehold in the Santa Barbara youth theater scene – one that has never been sorely lacking in the first place. Theater stage and screen veteran Amy Love has parlayed her professional and teaching background into […]

Setting the Stage
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 19, 2023

Ensemble’s Johnny Cash tribute/story-through-song musical revue winds up its run at the New Vic with a final extended weekend through December 17. The Alcazar Theatre in Carpinteria has a second and final weekend helping of its homegrown adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street featuring an all-local cast and production crew, also closing December 17, the […]

A Well-Rounded Musical
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 12, 2023

In a strange coincidence, three Broadway music revues have arrived on our shores in sequence, and, as it turns out, you have your choice to see any of them for one night on Thursday, December 7. The Cher Show winds up its two-day run at the Granada, Ensemble’s Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny […]

The Beat Goes On: It Takes Three Actresses to Play Cher
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 5, 2023

Morgan Scott was understandably excited Monday morning over the phone from the Coachella Valley, where The Cher Show had just wound up five performances over the weekend in Palm Desert. The area is home not only to one of Cher’s famed exes, Sonny Bono, who was both mayor of Palm Springs and a U.S. representative […]

‘Poor Clare’ Offers Theater for the Soul
By Scott Craig   |   December 5, 2023

Westmont Festival Theatre reimagines the life of Saint Clare of Assisi as if she spoke like a Beverly Hills teenager in Chiara Atik’s Poor Clare on December 7-9 at 7:30 pm and December 9 at 2 pm in Porter Theatre. Tickets, which cost $20 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors, may be […]

Honoring ETC’s Jonathan Fox
By Richard Mineards   |   November 14, 2023

An old friend, Jonathan Fox, who was artistic director of the Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) for 17 years, has been honored for his sterling work at the New Vic. First District Supervisor Das Williams has proposed a resolution marking Jonathan’s many contributions to Santa Barbara’s art and culture. Under his supervision, ETC acquired and renovated […]

The Alcazar Theatre New Board President and VP
By Joanne A Calitri   |   November 14, 2023

Mike Lazaro is appointed the Board President of the Alcazar Theatre Carpinteria as of Oct. 28. We talked via phone Nov. 5, and he shared: “Right now, these are exciting days for the Alcazar Theatre. We are blessed with so many opportunities to show the diversity of what the theater can provide, from live performances, […]

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 […]

Kudos to ‘Godspell’
By Scott Craig   |   October 24, 2023

Congratulations to director Mitchell Thomas, the cast, musicians and creative team for putting together such wonderful performances during Godspell, October 12-15. Unfortunately, the student actors and musicians have other artistic and scholarly commitments and the production has run its course. The enthusiasm and energy that emanated from this tightknit group of actors delighted audience members […]

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 […]

SBDTCrosses Borders… and Boundaries 
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 17, 2023

José Limón – or at least the dance company founded by the famed dancer and choreographer from Mexico who developed a technique that employs visceral gestures to communicate emotions – runs deeply through the new season from Santa Barbara Dance Theater (SBDT), the professional dance company in residence at UCSB. Which is not surprising, given […]

Heeger and Brown on Board
By Richard Mineards   |   October 10, 2023

Alan Heeger and Cynthia Brown have joined the board of directors of the Ensemble Theatre Company. These additions underscore the company’s commitment to advancing its mission and expanding its reach within the Santa Barbara community. Both bring a wealth of experience, diverse perspectives, and a shared passion for the arts. Welcome on board…

Getting Playful on Stage
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 10, 2023

Given the small and rather insular nature of the local theater scene, Santa Barbara’s Ensemble Theatre Company and Ventura’s Rubicon Theatre Company don’t often open productions the same week, let alone ones that kick off their respective seasons. What’s rarer still is that both of the plays are tackling exceedingly current topics that resonate in […]

Music, Theater Combine in ‘Godspell’
By Scott Craig   |   October 3, 2023

Westmont presents Godspell, one of the most popular musicals of all time, on October 12-15 at 7:30 pm and October 14 at 2 pm in Westmont’s Porter Theatre. Music and theater students join together to stage a production for the first time since 2019. Tickets, which cost $20 for general admission and $12 for students […]

Up North and Down South 
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 19, 2023

The title role in Jesus Christ Superstar was neither the first nor the last major part in a musical or movie for Ted Neeley, as he had a record deal at 22, played the lead role of Claude in both the New York and Los Angeles productions of the breakthrough rock musical Hair, and later […]