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 […]

All It’s ‘Crack-ed Up to Be
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 21, 2021

Some folks spend all year looking forward to the holidays just so they can watch The Nutcracker once again. Others don’t care if they never hear Tchaikovsky’s classic again.  There’s no doubt on which side State Street Ballet founder Rodney Gustafson resides.  “I’ve seen our production so many times,” said Gustafson, who just returned to […]

 

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Revels Redux: Original Show Comes Back
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 21, 2021

More than a dozen community companies around the country present Christmas Revels performances this December, including such places as Lebanon, New Hampshire; Boulder, Colorado; and Oakland, each of which reworks shows created by the flagship company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The shows bring together people of all ages and backgrounds — both on stage and in […]

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 […]

Back With a Bang
By Richard Mineards   |   November 23, 2021

Broadway is back with a bang at the Granada, courtesy of the American Theatre Guild. With the musical version of An Officer and a Gentleman, based on the 1982 multi-Oscar winning film with Richard Gere, Debra Winger, and Louis Gossett, Jr., the traveling version of the Great White Way hit our Eden by the Beach […]

Christmas Festival Makes Its Granada Premiere
By Scott Craig   |   November 23, 2021

The 17th Annual Westmont Christmas Festival appears for the first time at Santa Barbara’s famed Granada Theatre on Saturday, December 4, at 7 pm and Sunday, December 5, at 3 pm. Tickets, which cost $20 each, go on sale Tuesday, November 23, at 5 pm at westmont.edu/festival. Each year, the festival celebrates the birth of […]

Granada, the Great
By Steven Libowitz   |   November 18, 2021

It’s purely coincidence that this week’s Montecito Journal hits newsstands the same day the Granada Theatre officially unveils Plaza Granada, a new pathway to the theater and the historic arts district in downtown Santa Barbara with a private ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Plaza transforms the formerly barren parking lot behind the theater and the previously dark […]

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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 […]

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Wilco? We’ll Go
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 19, 2021

Not that anybody needs any more reasons to attend a Wilco concert whenever Jeff Tweedy and cohorts come to town, that is if intelligent heartfelt alt-country singer-songwriter meets crafty subtly experimental soundscapes floats your musical boat. (If it doesn’t, perhaps check your pulse or the contents of your metaphorical heart.) But us longtime locals also […]

From Broadway’s ‘Nosebleeds’ to the Granada
By Nick Masuda   |   October 19, 2021

“Love is a game that two can play and both win by losing their heart.” – Eva Gabor For Sara Miller McCune, her first crush wasn’t sitting across from her in a classroom or a neighbor from the Queens, New York block she grew up on — her heart belonged to Broadway, a lifelong love […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

Embracing Experimental
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 28, 2021

As the inaugural collaboration between UCSB’s much-lauded Launch Pad artist residency and performance program with Local Theater Company, the Boulder-based leader in new play development, Yellowstone will have a lot of voices shaping its first-ever fully staged reading on Friday, September 24. But for playwright Jennifer Barclay, the process has been playing out for more […]

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