A long time ago (2009), in a magical land (Santa Barbara), Lara Hollaway and Mathew Edwardsen were cast together in Opera Santa Barbara‘s performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” as Kate and Frederic.
In the musical, for those not familiar, Frederic falls for the character of Mabel — but in this performance, it was Mabel’s sister Kate, who stole this Frederic’s heart. (That’s Lara as Kate in purple, and Mathew as Frederic)
Two years later, Mathew proposed to Lara on the stage of the Lobero, and a few months later they were married in a short ceremony underneath the Lobero’s beautiful olive tree–officiated by “Pirates” director Miller James. Also attending the ceremony was Lara’s son Jordan Lemmond and the couple’s dear friend Shannon Saleh, who played Edith in “Pirates.”
“Needless to say, the Lobero means a GREAT DEAL to us. The theatre has played such a huge role in our story.” – Lara Hollaway
Since their wedding(s), the couple moved to New York City for a few years, and have now relocated to Austin, TX, where they are still performing–and we presume, making beautiful music together.
Lara was gracious enough to share a few photos from their days here at the Lobero, and their wedding reception held afterwards. We wish this talented twosome nothing but the best, and are thrilled to have played a role in their romance.
Do you have any Lobero stories you’d like to share? We’re so proud of being the community’s stage, and your stories bring it to life!
In this excerpt from BACKSTAGE, learn more about brilliant architect Jeff Shelton, and his work on the Lobero’s courtyard tent.
Jeff Shelton has been called “Santa Barbara’s Architectural Wizard,” conjuring up whimsical buildings that evoke Spain’s famous Gaudi, and bring a fun artistic sensibility to downtown. He’s also the man who designed the Lobero’s Moorish-style tent that has been providing shelter for many a pre- or post-show gathering. Earlier this summer, the Lobero Theatre Foundation begun work with Mr. Shelton on a new summer tent intended to provide shade for the space when the sun is blazing.
Do you work with any other performing arts groups or venues in Santa Barbara?
The Lobero is the only one. I don’t have a lot of time to get into too many more things. Designing buildings, tiles, fabric, graphics and furnishings takes most of my time.
I have of course always loved the Lobero Building, so I am happy to work with the organization. I like to support good architecture.
How did your partnership with the Lobero begin?
I think that I got a call from David Asbell. I’m sure he did his homework and knew that I couldn’t pass up working on a great building like the Lobero.
How was it for you to create something new to work with a historic building?
The Historic Landmarks Committee wanted to make sure the tent had a “Historic” reference, and in addition, they did not want the tent to be attached to the physical building. The tent is based on a North African/Southern Spain Moorish tent; also, we had to make the tent in a way that not only can it be removed, but also when it is, you shouldn’t find any trace of where it was. Dan Upton, the contractor, devised some clever detailing to make this happen…
Isn’t that a great way to sum it up? (Of course, we’re biased.)
The Lobero is proud to be part of such a fabulous and diverse group of arts organizations — performing arts, visual arts and otherwise, and we had a blast learning more about the social media efforts to promote our cultural wares taking place over at Visit Santa Barbara.
Back in April, a few fun and influential social media pros came to town to see what Santa Barbara had to offer their followers. The Lobero was chosen as one of the stops along the way for Jessica Doll, aka TeamWiking.com / @teamwiking came by the theatre for a behind-the-scenes tour of the auditorium, and got to see the stage and ghostlight in a quiet moment. (That’s a portion of one of her gorgeous photos at the top of this post.)
Afterward, we got to enjoy a tour and wine-tasting in the Presidio Neighborhood–of which, the Lobero is a member–with some of the other visiting social media pros. Wayne and Pat Dunlap have traveled extensively and run a hugely popular travel blog. (here’s their Santa Barbara post) They would make for amazing dinner guests, and their travel knowledge has been well documented. Meeting Ted Nguyen was also a treat, as this guy really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to social media, and was a lot of fun to spend an afternoon with as we sipped wine and chatted about travel and social media.
Check out the posts generated from this busy afternoon:
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 email@example.com
With the Lobero’s first event on December 4, (aka, TONIGHT) November’s behind-the-scenes shots are showing that the end of the dust is mess is near. New seats have been installed, the remodeled bathrooms are taking shape, the lobby and promenade have been repainted, and new acoustical fabric has been hung on the auditorium back wall. Other important updates to the Lobero’s accessibility programs are in place, including braille signage, hearing loop technology, and new wheelchair ramps and lifts. You’ll see updated signs throughout the theatre. Plus, check out a closer look the Lobero’s new Olive Trees.
Watch the new seats being installed over the course of three days here, in less than 90 seconds.
and, as you may have seen in a previous post, the Lobero received two new, mature Olive trees. Watch the exciting process of these large trees being planted here.
Thanks to David Bazemore for the vids, and shots below — and thank you for keeping up to date with all the Encore: Lobero progress. Our Encore Season has officially begun!
Preservation work in October saw the tides turning, as items are now being installed instead of removed. There is beautiful tile work taking shape in the newly enlarged restrooms, and there’s a sneak peek of the extensive drainage and plumbing now in place below the Esplanada. The huge system of scaffolding was removed from the auditorium once ceiling preservation work was finished. Concrete was beginning to be poured outside, and, at time of this writing, the original bricks are being returned to the Esplanade in order to be re-installed in the new configuration.
Take a look at the Lobero’s iconic Spanish-revival chandelier as it’s lifted back to its rightful home. Now, that’s a good sign that things are returning to normal.
The intrepid Matt “Muahaha” Mazza, of the Santa Barbara Sentinal spent a few chilling hours in the Lobero Theatre last week in his own “Blair Witch Project” to bring us a spooky Halloween story. Read all about Matt’s experience in the full story below and here.
The Lobero has stood on its current spot for 140 years, racking up thousands of live performances, hours of raw emotion in theatrical performances, energy spent in musical performance… seems like an ideal playground for spirits.
“Theaters are places filled with lots of intensity, places that are full of meaning. I think some of that energy remains.” – Nancy Moore, former executive director
The Lobero Theatre staff and stage crew make allowances for our, how shall I say, ‘bodily-challenged’ guests, by leaving a light on all night, every night – the Ghostlight.
First, and most commonly encountered, is former stagehand and night watchmen, Harry Pideola. Harry passed away in the theatre, and continues to make his presence known to staff here alone after dark, stomping around or playing tricks. The other, Dr. Frank Fowler, a founding member of the Alcahema Theatre Group, has been known to turn up in the crowd or wings of the stage in his top hat and tails, eager to share in that curtain call.
We’ve embraced the philosophy behind the ghostlight and the “spirits” of the Lobero for a select group donors, who keep the lights on and the “muses” at home in this historic hall. (Learn more about this crucial group, and email Jim Dougherty if you have any questions.)
As we stand on the edge of the Lobero’s next 140 years, it’s fun to look back, and see what memories remain–some, more viscerally than others… I’m looking at you Harry.
With our newest issue of Backstage at the Lobero landing in mailboxes, and digital distribution now complete, I wanted to follow up with a few personal notes about this special edition, as the editor. Starting from the cover — a striking image of the Gail Towbes Auditorium without any seats in it — to the personal stories of contractors, donors, and passionate friends who have made all this possible.
I had been hesitant to show photos of the theatre during demolition, close-ups of cobwebs and the general grimy nature of construction… I didn’t want our friends to worry about what was happening behind closed doors, but I wanted to share some of the exciting bits of renovation. (Full disclosure: I’m an avid DIY-er in my own home, and fan of all the related television series.)
As with any issue of BACKSTAGE, it’s the stories that have the most heart, and remind us why the Lobero is Santa Barbara’s favorite theatre. For example, the Lobero’s newest board member, Steve Hayes, shares a personal story about meeting legendary jazz-man Wynton Marsalis with his son. Comedian Jonathan Winters‘ memorial was held at the Lobero Theatre earlier in 2013, and many stories and photos of him and his friends at the theatre came to light. This is also the first time the Lobero LIVE has listed some of the exciting Encore Season events, so remember, you’re the first to read about them. (Stay tuned, more to come!)
The issue can be downloaded here, if you have, or create, an account. Enjoy it on your digital device, anytime.
BACKSTAGE AT THE LOBERO Behind the scenes of Encore: Lobero Preservation work
Don’t forget, the Lobero will re-open in December with new seats, bigger restrooms, heating and air conditioning, and improved access for all patrons as a part of Encore: Lobero. Learn more at LovetheLobero.com.
There’s a new clothing company based off Cota Street in downtown Santa Barbara company with an innovative catalogue, Meet 32 Bar Blues, who produces quality apparel with casual styling. They also feature music by noted artists and clever tech pieces that folks who appreciate a Marshall amp will dig.
Baby Ride With Me jacket seated in Row J
Just before closing to begin Encore: Lobero preservation work in June, 32 Bar Blues came in to shoot their products for the fall catalogue throughout the Lobero theatre.
There’s great shots of supple leather jackets slung over seats, shoes tapping on guitar pedals, and sweaters hung in the dressing rooms. Fans of the theatre will have fun pointing out all the Lobero locations used in the instagram-styled book, and jazz and blues fans will enjoy the spliced insights from John Scofield and more. Live music fans should check out the Marshall ipod speaker and their selection of music available for sale by, wouldn’t you know it, a few Lobero LIVE alum. Best of all, proceeds on music and other arts pieces goes directly back to the artists.
The clothes and other pieces look comfortable and worn-in, unpretentious and full of deep knowledge and experience–kinda like the Lobero. The catalogue is available now by request, and we fully encourage you to learn more about 32 Bar Blues – a company committed to finding “the sweet spot where commerce and art meet.”