The Lobero Theatre: Newly Refurbished, bolder sound and history in between
Guest post by Emily Solomon
Whether you’re a native Santa Barbarian or you haven’t been in this beautiful paradise for very long, it’s likely you have seen at least one show at the Lobero Theatre. It’s hard not to get addicted to the intimate atmosphere the theater provides, bringing anyone who crosses its path that much closer to the magic of live entertainment. After 140 years of award-winning performances, the recent “Encore: Lobero” preservation work of the Lobero Theatre has proved that the music truly still lives on in this historic landmark.
“Fantastic restoration of the theater. Thanks so much for preserving history for all to enjoy.”
In 2013, with the compassion and desire of board members and generous contributions from the Santa Barbara community, the renewal of the Lobero Theatre was ready to begin. This construction project was no small task. Because the theater has been around since 1873, it’s a historical landmark. The Foundation design team worked diligently with the Historic Landmarks Commission, historians and archivists to ensure that the changes to the Lobero Theatre would keep with the architectural integrity of the original theater. The Lobero Theatre was going to get a much-needed facelift with the following end goals: new seats, ceiling preservation work, interior painting, improved air flow, expanded restrooms and ADA compliance upgrades throughout.
“The Lobero is one of Santa Barbara’s crown jewels! I wanted to cry when I first saw what you have done for this beloved venue! Excellent work you guys!”
Today, every patron that walks through the beautiful Lobero Theatre is able to enjoy new, comfortable seats, a heating and air conditioning system that have improved airflow within the theater immensely. Restrooms have also been enlarged to meet today’s accessibility requirements. The theater is now equipped with eight wheelchair spaces and areas for companion seating. For hearing impaired patrons, the auditorium is now wired with Hearing Loop technology, allowing patrons wearing hearing aids to adjust their devices to amplify the sound to their comfort.
“Your new seats are sooo comfy!”
This is truly what makes supporters of the Lobero so special. No matter what walk of life you are, we all have the right to hear and appreciate the art of live performance. The Santa Barbara community understands that through and through.
The outside of the building has also undergone necessary changes too. The walkway to the main entry is now equipped with a compliant ramp and level landings at the top and bottom. The area where many people enjoy mingling on before and after shows, was redone to create a level area for patrons to gather safely. The Paseo at the side of the theater was re-paved with brick and a new ramp leading to the Green Room stairs,a nd side steps have been put in place to meet code.
“Beautiful historic feel, love the attention to detail.”
If you haven’t gotten the chance to experience the new and improved theater, there are some huge acts to check out. See for yourself why the Lobero Theatre is where the fantasy world of music lovers comes to life.
Read more audience comments:
“I love the Lobero. Wonderful facelift. Every time I am here, I feel the spirits. The place just resonates with wonderful energy.”
The Lobero is the perfect size. Not too big, not too small. Perfect for a Tierney Sutton concert!!
Great remodel, especially the ‘loos!
I used to dance on the Lobero stage as a young girl. Fond memories and still my favorite theatre.
My family appreciates the theatre donating tickets to senior living facilities; my dad is able to participate in that.
Still the best musical venue in Santa Barbara.
You do a wonderful job of enriching my life and the lives in our community.
My first visit, but it’s beautiful! I love the seats and ceiling!
Just the right size venue. Every seat is a good seat. Beautiful interior, comfortable new seats and newly enlarged men’s restroom. Small town location and ‘feel.’
While the mission may be our Queen, the Lobero is definitely our Princess. So proud of our town and how the Lobero is this beautiful jewel in our crown.
How wonderful to see that the Lobero is still the fantastic, vibrant venue I remember! Kudos to all involved in preserving and enhancing of this fabulous theatre.
I moved here from Chicago a year and a half ago. I have seen amazing dance, music and films here. Thank you for all the wonderful events that help make me feel a part of the community.
Emily Solomon, Go-Content
Author Bio: Emily Solomon is no stranger to the Lobero Theatre. She recalls dancing in the theater during her early teenage years. While she spends most of her time writing content for local Santa Barbara businesses and for online publications, she always manages to escape to her favorite music venue to hear her favorite tunes and discover new artists to love. Emily is a graduate of Emerson College with a degree in Writing and Publishing. She currently runs an online content business called, Go-Content. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Come one, come all to It’s Magic! Santa Barbara’s Favorite Annual Magic show.
Feast your eyes on the quick slide-of-hand or sit on the edge of your seat as you watch samurai swords being juggled two or even three at a time. You won’t be able to take your gaze off the stage, trying to figure out the illusionist’s next move, while wondering how humanly possible the stunts are that continue to roll out throughout the show. This family show has something for everyone from dancing, big illusions, acrobatics, comedy, fire tricks and more.
It’s Magic!is America’s longest-running magic revue with 50 years of jaw-dropping entertainment under its belt. It once again graces the Lobero stage for TWO performances on Sunday, February 15. The show features a new line-up every year of world-renowned magicians including two-time “Stage Magician of the Year,” Danny Cole, “Best female Magician,” Mystina, star of the FOX show The Great Magic of Las Vegas,Tom Ogden, national and international “Master of Illusions,” Garry Carson and “juggling genius,” Dan Raspyni. Many of these stars have been in their own Vegas variety shows or featured on The Tonight Show, NBC and FOX.
The tale of It’s Magic! begins with two young entrepreneurs, Milt Larsen and Oliver Berliner, in 1956. The first showing was at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, a 1300 seat venue. The show continued to grow, proving that Magic was indeed still alive and well in America. Eventually, Larsen had the idea to form a full-time private club for magicians and magic enthusiasts that would later be called the Magic Castle. Today, his creation of the Magic Castle has housed top performers including Lance Burton, Harry Anderson and Jeff McBride to name a few.
After 30 years of successful show runs, Larsen thought it was time to hang up the ol’ It’s Magic! top hat. It wasn’t until 1994 when Terry Hill, longtime member of the Magic Castle, suggested to Larsen that they reopen It’s Magic! to venues for all-ages so that anyone and everyone could experience a full evening of family fun. The show opened up again to rave reviews at the newly restored Alex Theater in Glendale, California, and expanded the show into other theaters around the country. Each year, a new show destination is added, allowing the art of magic to live on and thrive.
It’s Magic!appears at the Lobero Theatre on February 15 for two performances. Get your tickets by clicking here, or by calling the box office at 805.963.0761.
Jim Dougherty honored as Fundraiser of the Year for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties
Jim is the Lobero’s affable Director of Development, and in November was honored as Santa Barbara County’s Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He was in good company with local volunteer and philanthropy honorees Janet Garufis, Michael Towbes and Montecito Bank & Trust. It was an honor well-deserved and a long time coming.
Since his very first days at the Lobero, Jim has been a mentor to all the staff. He entirely changed the way we fundraise, with a strong emphasis on developing personal relationships and ongoing cultivation. In the first three years, our average donation size more than doubled. His Influence has changed the way we do business and the way we think about Development work.
The December edition of Inside Santa Barbara explores Hearing Loop Technology, with the Lobero Theatre at the center of the story.
Approximately 20% of American adults (that’s 48 million!) have some form of hearing loss in at least one ear, making it the most prevalent form of disability in the United States. Despite legislation and available technology to provide access, many individuals find their communication needs to be misunderstood and unaddressed. Consequently, they seriously cut back on attendance, reducing audience size at performances, events, meetings and religious services throughout our community.
Hearing Loops are the only assistive listening system to send clear, pure sound directly to hearing aids and are considered the international standard for universal hearing access. As a part of the Encore: Lobero preservation work completed in 2013, the Lobero Theatre was wired with loops, bringing clear sound back for many patrons to experience via their own hearing aids. Blog readers may remember learning about these in this previous post, or by visiting loopsantabarbara.org.
Learn more from the Lobero’s House Manager Daniel Ramirez in this video.
Inside Santa Barbara airs on the following days and times on City TV Channel 18: Mondays at 8 p.m.; Tuesdays at 5 p.m.; Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday at 9 p.m.; and Sundays at 10 p.m. Viewers can also watch Inside Santa Barbara online at www.santabarbaraca.gov/citytv. For more information on Inside Santa Barbara, call CityTV at 564-5311.
Encanto, All Things Beautiful, presents a Lobero Theatre Fundraising Event* to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the lovely shop located in La Arcada.
During 1st Thursday Art walk on November 6, Encanto will be starting the fun early with style salons beginning at 1PM and continuing with live music by the idiomatiques as they play Gypsy Jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt. There will be a raffle with a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Gypsy jazz afficionado’s Dorado Schmitt and the Django Festival All-Stars at the Lobero on November 11, as well as other great prizes. Plus, enjoy wine, Gypsy fortune telling and other gorgeous encounters.
*Encanto will be donating a portion of any sales that day to the Lobero Theatre, so we hope to see a packed shop next Thursday!
1st salon: 1:00 – 2:30 pm / 2nd salon: 2:30 – 4:00 pm Holiday Dressing Santa Barbara Style
There is very limited seating for the style salon events so book reservations asap by calling the shop @ 805.722.4338 or emailing email@example.com.
Big thank you to Event sponsors Peggy Mathis: hair stylist, Salon Marceline. Shannon Loar-Cote: make up. Hello Gorgeous models. Luna, Gypsy fortune teller extraordinaire
e n c a n t o 1114 state street number 22 (located in La Arcada) Santa Barbara, CA 93101 / 805.722.4338 / firstname.lastname@example.org Shop hours: Monday thru Saturday 11 – 6 & Sunday 12 – 5
Watch more of Dorado Schmitt and the Django Festival All-Stars here, and get your tickets for this incredible evening of Gypsy jazz from the masters.
UPDATE: October is National Disability Month, and this year’s theme is just that: Expect, Employ, Empower. Read more about the Award Ceremony and meet the day’s winners, here.
Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, left, with Mayor’s Award recipients Thomas Kaufmann of Otojoy; Mary Tremel of DuPont and David Asbell of the Lobero Theatre. (Mayor’s Organizing Committee photo)
The Lobero Theatre has won a Design & Accessibility award from the Mayor’s office in honor of the work undertaken to improve the theatre’s access to patrons with disabilities, including the installation of hearing loop technology, creating an accessible path of travel with a level gathering space, enlarging and improving the restrooms, the installation of a wheelchair lift to the stage and the new seat map with eight wheelchair spaces in a variety of locations.
The Mayor’s office states, “The Design/Accessibility Award will be presented to a person or entity that has developed innovative and creative solutions for accessible structures, buildings or services, or provided accommodations to create equal and aesthetic access. This year’s award goes to the Lobero Theatre, for their two-and-a-half-year renovation to improve their accessibility. Executive Director David Asbell will accept the award.”
On behalf of the Lobero Theatre Foundation, I can say that we are thrilled to be a community resource that is welcoming and accessible to all of our patrons. This is a very rewarding accolade and one that means a great deal to us.
“Hearing loop user Jim Glass had this to say, “I just wanted to reiterate how terrific the hearing loop installation is at the Lobero…All of a sudden, when David [Crosby] hit the first note, I literally couldn’t believe my ears! I heard the pick against the guitar strings, his swallowing before the next verse – the depth of the sound was truly overwhelming.”
Lobero Theatre Foundation Board President Jeff DeVine commented, “The Lobero owes a debt of gratitude to so many: to our very generous patrons and the people who faithfully attend Lobero shows; and to our staff and Board of Directors who serve with compassion and an inspiring sense of responsibility; our tireless Campaign Chair Jim Morouse; and also to the experts who helped us preserve historic and architectural integrity while enhancing performance and audience comfort aspects so the theater remains viable. We extend our heartfelt thanks.”
You can learn more about Hearing Loop here, but the best way to experience the upgrades to the theatre is to come and see a show.
The Brubeck Circle of donors has made it possible for the Lobero to bring amazing jazz, blues and roots artists like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dr. John, Chris Thile, Robert Cray, and Keb’ Mo’ to the stage. Jazz at the Lobero subscribers and this dedicated group of individuals anchor our various American Roots series, which are vital to to our programming.
But the Brubeck Circle does more than just bring great performers to Santa Barbara. Funds are used to ensure that local students receive music education and carry the legacy of uniquely American music into the next generation.
Contributions made by the Brubeck Circle ensures that we can continue to bring music programs to local youth, like:
Santa Barbara Vocal Jazz Foundation residencies at local elementary schools, teaching jazz history, appreciation and performance to hundreds of children each year.
Jazz and rock performances by local students on the Lobero stage, giving participants a professional performance experience with a skilled stage crew and state-of-the-art equipment.
Residencies and master classes with touring artists like Tierney Sutton, Terence Blanchard, and the Brubeck Fellows from University of the Pacific.
Free or discounted tickets to students and families for jazz and family-friendly performances at the Lobero.
Participation in these programs gives students necessary tools for future success in all aspects of life: creativity and problem solving, confidence, greater focus and dedication, and the ability to collaborate with and learn from their peers. It also inspires children to continue pursuing the arts throughout their education, and in some cases throughout their careers.
Click here to read more about this program, and we hope you’ll want to get involved. You can designate a gift to the Brubeck Circle here.