Over the last 10 years, The Christmas Revels have transported audiences to Scotland, Ireland, England and Andalusia to enjoy the traditions of each time and place.
This year, the Revels will be staying home.
The new show—An Early California Celebration of the Winter Solstice—is set in Santa Barbara in the year 1836, and is based on an actual historic event, when young Harvard student Richard Henry Dana took time off from school and sailed on a merchant trader ship up and down the West Coast. While anchored in Santa Barbara Harbor, he and his shipmates were invited to the wedding of Anita de la Guerra—and you are invited to the wedding–aka, the social event of the season!
The original script is written by award-winning historian and writer Erin Graffy, in collaboration with Santa Barbara Revels Founder and Artistic Director, Susan Keller. The music is selected and arranged by Erin McKibben, an instrumentalist and choral director who led the talented Children’s Chorus last year and has taken over the position of Revels Music Director this year. She is assisted in her research by music historian Nicholas Jurkowski, who is unearthing wonderful material from that era, and by James Garcia, an expert in the music of this period. Stage Director Matt Tavianini draws on his extensive experience with Boxtales Theatre Company and his many directing assignments around the community.
This new show will include the beloved Revels touchstones found in every production of “The Christmas Revels” done by each of the nine Revels communities throughout the U.S. From the traditional musical and theatrical elements that enliven and enrich each performance of “The Christmas Revels” to the lively audience participation, “An Early California Celebration of the Winter Solstice” is sure to satisfy history and holiday buffs alike.
The Lobero may be California’s oldest continuously operating theatre, but that doesn’t mean we’re shying away from new media.
We’re got new features in place for you–from selecting your own seat to making a gift via text.
The Lobero is embracing online giving in a variety of new ways. We embarked on our first virtual “Lobero Give Day” on February 22, 2017, raising over $10K in online donations, and achieving a wide reach across several social platforms–#LoberoGiveDay was a viral success! Thanks to dozens of postings featuring photos, memories, and pledges from our patrons and fans, we estimate that the audience for Lobero Give Day was over 100,000+ impressions. It was so heartwarming to see friends and followers making gifts and sharing memories that the Lobero Theatre Foundation will make Give Day an annual tradition. Save the date for our next Give Day, February 22, 2018–the 145th Birthday of Jose’s original theatre.
Encouraged by the success of Give Day, we are engaging a new text donation service that allows patrons to make a gift right from their seats in the auditorium while attending Lobero LIVE events, or wherever a generous mood strikes. Starting on Wednesday, October 18 patrons can Text Lobero to 41444 to make a donation via text.
New improvements in the checkout process at include the ability to choose your own seat from a virtual map of the auditorium. Featuring bold and easy-to-understand colors and makings, this feature helps patrons to see their seat before purchasing and select the best seats in the Lobero’s intimate and inviting auditorium.
For several years, we’ve worked to improve their e-newsletter program, which has quickly become our most productive sales tool. The Lobero’s “eClub” members get first notice for newly announced events, ticket offers and special pre-sales. It’s not uncommon to see tickets get snatched up from online pre-sales and social media these activities alone, so if you’re not already receiving our enewsletters, we encourage you to sign up for the eClub here or, by calling the box office so they can assist in getting on that list.
In addition, ticketholders can look forward to automated ticket reminder emails, so they won’t miss that event they purchased six months before and now forgot about. Three days before the ticketed event, those who have emails in the system, or purchased online, will receive a little heads up reminding them of their plans.
For those who prefer Facebook as their preferred network, new integrations in place allow you to purchase by logging in with their Facebook credentials, meaning, fewer forgotten passwords and an easy way to share events with your friends after purchasing tickets.
Even though we’re working to improve the digital experience, you can look forward to great human interaction at the box office and at every performance.
In this highlight from BACKSTAGE, Board president Amy MacLeod highlights stats from last year and gives a shoutout to some star performers.
Welcome to a new season at the Lobero!
photo: Jackson Augustus
As I begin my second year as Lobero Board President, I am pleased to reflect on a wonderfully successful 2016-17 season. Theatre activity was up by nearly 14% from the prior year, the community enjoyed a number of (sold out!) performances by incredible artists, and we provided a professional performing arts experience to more than 2,000 local youth through our Youth and Community Outreach programs.
I am also happy to report that the Board and staff are making clear strides toward building an endowment for the Lobero, a critical tool for ensuring the long-term stability and vibrancy of this important venue. We are committed to making sure that we leave this theatre stronger and more financially secure for the generations of artists, audiences, and volunteers who will follow in our footsteps.
As I look forward to the coming season, I’m excited for the opportunities and experiences awaiting us. Santa Barbara Revels will be premiering a brand new performance based on California and Santa Barbara history. We will also see the return of the AHA! Sing it Out program, which had their Lobero debut in April. Watching these teens overcome their challenges and perform fearlessly on stage is a touching and inspiring experience, and we are happy to be the new hosts for their annual show.
I hope you will join me often at the theatre and share another great season.
Santa Barbara, Oh Say Can You See… the Stars and Strips are on display for National Flag week
The Lobero Theatre Foundation has brought out their specially-engineered rigging to hang a massive 40 ft x 60 ft American flag on the back of the Lobero Theatre’s flyspace–one of downtown’s most visible facades for National Flag Week.
The flag is visible when facing toward the ocean from Carrillo Streets and higher. This is a great opportunity to climb up to the top of the courthouse or enjoy a stroll through the paseos this week to get a look at Old Glory. Flag day will be celebrated this Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
If you get some good photos of the flag, tag us @loberotheatre on Facebook & Twitter and we’ll share
Hale Milgrim is a rock ‘n roll raconteur and a die hard fan whose passion for music has never dimmed.
There is a lot we can say about Hale; beyond an incredible career that including being the President of Capitol Records, he is incredibly generous, supporting Lobero LIVE and Sings Like Hell, and giving his time to compile and share personal memories in several, “Go to Hale” evenings at the Lobero Theatre. We wrapped the first round of the Go To Hale Film series in January and wanted to share our thoughts as we head into Series 2 this summer.
Hale has amazing insights and stories, but, prefers to keep the spotlight on the musicians he so admires.
After David Bowie’s death in early 2016, Hale was reliving some of Bowie’s best performances and came across the incredibly touching opening of the Concert for New York City – a stripped-down medley of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” and “Heroes.” Seated on the floor with only a Casio keyboard, Bowie’s raw vocals soared as he sang to his own local FDNY Ladder before being joined by a full band. It was a standout performance in a brilliant career of standout performances, and it inspired Hale to craft a loving tribute to honor the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, focusing on how these incredible musicians came together to heal in the face of tragedy. Held on Sunday, September 11 to a packed house, this showing of hand-selected excerpts from the
Held on Sunday, September 11 to a packed house, this showing of hand-selected excerpts from the Concert for New York City featured performances from Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, The Who, and more. Hale shared stories about artists he knew and worked with and thanked Santa Barbara’s First Responders who enjoyed complimentary tickets.
As he worked on the Concert for New York City evening, Hale conceived of two more in the burgeoning film series, choosing to honor George Harrison and Bob Dylan. On the 15th anniversary of George Harrison’s passing, Hale led audiences through select performances from the moving concert film, Concert for George, featuring to Eric Clapton and friends giving the performance of their lives. Besides truly special performances by Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Lynne, Billy Preston, the Traveling Wilburys, and of course, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, there were bits of comedy from Monty Python, and clips of Dhani Harrison carrying on George’s legacy.
The third was the Bob Dylan: 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration comes on the heels of Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature award, which only adds to his growing mythology. Recorded at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1992, the concert features many artists performing classic Dylan songs including members of Booker T. and the MG’s, Kris Kristofferson, Roger McGuinn, Ronnie Wood, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Eddie Vedder, The Band, and more.
“Go to Hale” has always been a celebration of the Lobero, held to thank our wonderful volunteers and raise needed funds. Each of these evenings featured a coordinated silent auction featuring items from Hale’s personal collection–from gold records and record industry sales awards on down to DVD’s and collectibles that tied into each performance. All proceeds went to supporting live music on the Lobero stage. Best of all, items went home with passionate fans, just like Hale.
This story is currently featured in the Spring 2017 BACKSTAGE at the Lobero, but we were forced to edit it down for space. We hope you’ll read on to learn more about this powerful work of theater, and the talented team that’s putting it all together. This project is a part of the Lobero Theatre Foundation’s Youth and Community Outreach Programs.
How did you begin working with Opera for youth?
I am a Lyric Mezzo Soprano with a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance/Opera from the Manhattan School of Music. I have sung as a soloist throughout the US and Europe, and while most of the audiences I have sung for have been adults, I have always loved sharing the art form with younger audiences as well. While in New York City, I sang for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, performing outreach education to over 15,000 public school children in underserved areas, which is how I started sharing the operatic art form with youth. I started an Opera Camp at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in the summer, where I brought colleagues from New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera to do workshops and masterclasses with the children. When I moved to Ojai five years ago with my budding family, I carried on this work as an Artist-in-Residence with the Ojai Music Festival, going into the schools in Ventura County and starting a program called “Ojai Creates Opera.” I then started my own company in Ojai, “Ojai Youth Opera,” where we have been holding masterclasses, workshops and opera scenes for youth ages 7-18 every summer for the past five years. We are bringing a level of excellence in classical music education to the youth of this area and exposing them to a new art form, and the results have been truly rewarding.
There is a reason why this opera survived the war. It makes me feel there is still more insight, more hope, more tolerance, more love that can be spread and shared through this work of art. The children of Theresienstadt will forever be remembered through the voices of our children.
Tell me a little bit about this collaboration with Ojai Youth Opera and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony for Brunidbár. How did that come together?
Maestro Protopapas had heard about what was happening in Ojai through a mutual colleague at the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, Director Andy Radford. Maestro had been considering doing a youth production of Brundibár in Santa Barbara as an addition to the regularly scheduled OSB performances for the 2016/2017 season; what he didn’t know initially was that Ojai Youth Opera had also been planning on staging Brundibár in the Spring of 2017 as our first featured Opera! Kostis reached out to me, and we marveled at the serendipity of it all–Brundibár is not a common opera and the chances of us both being drawn to the same material at the same time are quite rare. We decided to co-collaborate and align our vision to make one production that could be performed both at Ojai’s Libbey Bowl and at the Lobero in Santa Barbara in May of 2017. We decided to share our staff, resources, and talent as a truly collaborative effort because all three organizations, Ojai Youth Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, believe strongly in the message of hope and tolerance that has inspired this opera and we believe it is timely and important to share it.
What can you tell us about the work, Brunidbár?
At its most basic level, Brundibár is a musical fable told from the perspective of a brave brother and sister who are confronted by a larger-than-life organ grinder who bullies and scares them. The animals and townspeople of their small village serve as symbols of resistance and encouragement to help the siblings find their voices and ultimately succeed in standing up to Brundibár, despite being children.
Although the story is simple, its message is anything but. Originally written in 1938, Krasa and librettist Adolf Hoffmeister created the opera for the Children’s Orphanage of Prague. It debuted in secret in 1941, due to the occupation by the German army. When the war escalated, Krasa was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp and re-wrote the opera, (some of which was destroyed along the way) for the children and instrumentalists in the camp. Overall, Brundibár was performed 55 times by the children of Theresienstadt. Hitler failed to realize was that the opera itself was a work of resistance. The Brundibár character symbolized Hitler himself, a bully and tyrant who would stop at nothing to get his own way, including threatening small children. In this story, the children overcome the tyrant and refuse to be intimidated. The victory chorus at the end of the opera is the ultimate triumph–a defiant plea to not give into hatred, prejudice, and bigotry, sung from the courageous hearts of the children. It is their innocence and hope that prevail, and those qualities are reflected in Krasa’s score.
What do you envision for the future of the Youth Opera program?
Maestro Protopapas has said that soloists come and go, but it is the ensemble, the people who are part of the community and committed to season after season, that are really the lifeblood of the organization. My hope is that the Youth Opera program will also become a musical cornerstone for the opera company, so that year after year, we watch these children return to OSB and mature into polished young artists who become a permanent part of the ensemble. Even if they don’t become professional opera singers or classical musicians, we will be cultivating the next generation of opera aficionados, educators, leaders and advocates in a time when they are so desperately needed. Their presence in the Opera Company can, in turn, ignite a whole new audience–younger, more diverse, and open to new art forms. And in this way, we all grow.
Help us celebrate the Lobero by joining in our first Lobero Give Day on Wednesday, February 22–our 144th birthday!
“Give Days” are like a 24-hour digital pep rally, and we’re throwing our first this Wednesday. And, like any party, we want to invite all our friends to be there.
The Lobero is Santa Barbara’s community theater, a home for so many of our favorite memories; whether you performed on this stage, or watched a young performer here, so many of us got our first taste of the stage right here. The Lobero has been right here for 144 years, which, is pretty incredible. It’s been a big part of Santa Barbara history, standing proud since the big earthquake of 1925, seen each and every Old Spanish Days celebration, and remains the favorite venue for many top performers.
Making a gift on #LoberoGiveDay will help to ensure this community stage remains a viable community asset for many years to come. But don’t worry, if you can’t make a gift, there are other ways to get involved:
Save me and use as your profile pic on #GiveDay!
We’d love to hear your stories on Wednesday, February 22. Please share a memory or story on Facebook and Tag us @LoberoTheatre. (Add the hashtag #LoberoGiveDay so we can keep track)
Would you be willing to share on your own page asking people to make a gift to support your favorite theater? Let us know, and we’ll send you everything you’ll need.
We’re partnering with the Santa Barbara Bowl to fill both venues’ Klean Kanteen pint cups and work together toward a greener concert experience.
Purchase a reusable, built-to-last Klean Kanteen Pint to use here at the Lobero–and at the Santa Barbara Bowl–and help to save countless single-use cups from the trash.
+ $10 for Souvenir Pint
+ $17 with First Beverage
+ Save $1 on Each Refill!
Take me home with you.
In 2015, the Lobero became Santa Barbara’s first Green Business-certified historic building and theatrical venue, and we want to continue to build on that momentum. Tackling an issue like single use cups seems like a great place to go next. Since the Lobero features live performances with concessions almost 200 nights per year, creating a possibility for thousands of single-use cups to be thrown away. Just like bringing your own bag to the store or mug to the coffee shop; now we invite you to bring your reusable cup whenever you head out to see live music at your favorite Santa Barbara venues.
The Lobero Theatre is a Santa Barbara County Green Business. To earn the certification, the Lobero Theatre has implemented solutions to improve efficiency in electricity, water use, and implement a sustainable transportation plan staff members. This certification marks several years of gradual changes to ensure environmentally safe practices at the Lobero Theatre, including the City of Santa Barbara’s Recycling and Foodscraps Recycling Programs requiring the use of compostable and biodegradable plates, flatware and paper products at all Lobero events, concessions and receptions. Learn more at greenbizsbc.org.
“It was almost exactly 20 years ago that David Asbell accepted the position of executive director at the Lobero Theatre… he not only brought the kind of savvy that only comes from working backstage, but he also brought a profound vision of what the Lobero Theatre could become: Santa Barbara’s beating creative heart. By establishing a welcoming atmosphere and by being open to a creative team that includes such area luminaries as Hale Milgrim, Dianne Vapnek, Peggie Jones, and Stephen Cloud, Asbell has turned the Lobero into what we need most, in good times and bad: a blessed community of like-minded people, alive to the arts and ready to listen and share the love of great music, ideas, dance, and theater.” (Read the full story)
For the past 20 years, David has worked hard to make the Lobero the bustling, vibrant performing arts venue that it is. He created the Lobero LIVE and Jazz at the Lobero series, bringing truly legendary artists to the stage. He has had a leading role in the completion of more than $10 million in major renovations behind the scenes and in the auditorium. Most important, David has championed the Lobero’s essential role as a community resource, a place that our local artists call home. From the Chamber Orchestra to the Film Festival to Sings Like Hell – they are all welcomed here by the man at the helm.
This Thanksgiving, the Lobero Board and Staff are thankful for David and all he’s created.
I am the Talent Director/coordinator. I work closely with all the families and dancers on scheduling and provide them with all the necessary information needed to perform in Teen Dance Star. I am also their main point person if they have any concerns. I am like their backstage mama!
Can you tell me a bit more about your background in dance and/or in presenting dance in Santa Barbara? I understand you’ve worn quite a few hats!
My training originally started out as a gymnast and I crossed over into dance later. I danced for several small boutique dance companies in Los Angeles and Miami. I was the former Dance Director of a cirque troupe based in Los Angeles called Zen Arts, and performed regularly with The Diamond Betties. I relocated to Santa Barbara upon taking the position as Entertainment Director of The Savoy where I created an in-house cirque show called “Gypzy Suite” that featured elements of eclectic cabaret. Over the past two years, I have been creating and working on an immersive theatrical show with elements of cabaret and acrobatics called “When The Lights Go Out” which originally debuted at The Carr Winery in 2014 and had a run at the beautiful Lobero Theatre last November. In recent years, I performed solo burlesque for local charities like Teddy Bear Foundation and even did a little gig for first Thursday at The Lobero in 2014.
I am also a board member for Arts Mentorship Program, an organization that provides creative guidance, mentorship, and financial support to young and emerging performing artists in the greater Santa Barbara Area. I am most inspired by the edgy underground burlesque scene out of Los Angeles and the new wave of immersive theatre that is taking the performance world by storm.
Can you elaborate a bit about the collaboration between the Arts Mentorship Program / Teen Dance Star / and the Lobero Theatre foundation?
Teen Dance Star has teamed up with the Arts Mentorship Program (AMP) to expand access to the performing arts in our community. The proceeds from the Showcase Final will create scholarship funds for low-income and at risk youth to train at local dance studios administered by AMP. Arts Mentorship Program has the existing infrastructure to administrate the scholarship request, while Teen Star has a successful model of producing quality events that showcase youth performing arts.
This partnership is important since the mission of Teen Star is to support youth in performing arts with the goal to nurture talent by inspiring passion, instilling drive for success and encouraging excellence and professionalism. Teen Dance Star is a year-long program where the finalists act as ambassadors in the community while leaving legacy to help educate a generation of dancers who would not otherwise have access.
What would you like to see for the future of Teen Dance Star?
Growth. I would love for all of the dancers in Santa Barbara County to realize that they can do this. I would love to see more of a variety of styles of dance come out and audition. This year we did not have many dancers representing hip-hop, ballroom, or flamenco come to audition; and I want to encourage them to participate.
Do you have any favorite moments performing at the Lobero Theatre?
Performing my show at The Lobero was a magical experience. Not only is the stage an absolute dancer’s dream–but the staff and crew are magnificent as well! They are incredibly supportive, and make you feel as though your show is equally as important to them as it is to you. When The Lights Go Out had a unique format in the fact that the audience was seated on the stage with the performers, which could have been a technical nightmare for the crew, but they handled it flawlessly. I also love the fact that it is one of California’s oldest working theaters; to me it has a David Lynch-esque vintage vibe.