Cabrillo Music Theatre to Celebrate IN THE HEIGHTS with CARNAVAL DE CABRILLO, 1/12

Family and Community combine with music, entertainment and youth when Cabrillo Music Theatre celebrates their upcoming production of IN THE HEIGHTS with CARNAVAL DE CABRILLO! As part of Cabrillo Music Theatre's 20th Anniversary Celebration, and modeled after the "Carnaval delBarrio" that plays a pivotal role in the show, CARNAVAL DE CABRILLO unites enthusiastic young people, dancers of all ages, city officials, community leaders and local businesses for a free afternoon of dance, music, food and fun. CARNAVAL DE CABRILLO takes place on Sunday, January 12, 2014, from 12 Noon to 5:00PM, in Carpenter Park, directly outside Cabrillo Music Theatre's home venue, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

"At its heart, IN THE HEIGHTS celebrates family and community," says Cabrillo Music Theatre's Artistic Director, Lewis Wilkenfeld. "CARNAVAL DE CABRILLO takes that theme and brings it right into the community's backyard! On January 12th, the Latin musical beat of IN THE HEIGHTS will become the heartbeat for all generations in the neighborhood, with music, dance, and energy." Adds Wilkenfeld, "I'm so glad that Claudia Bill-De La Pena, Thousand Oaks' City Councilwoman and former Mayor, will make a formal presentation, and that local businesses have partnered with us. It's our goal to bring all of the many people and organizations from across the region together at one place, at one time, for a single moment of musical joy."

Indeed, the centerpiece of CARNAVAL DE CABRILLO will be "Dancin' With Cabrillo," a live participatory demonstration by the entire community of a dance from IN THE HEIGHTS, using the original Tony Award-Winning Broadway Choreography of Andy Blankenbuehler, and taught by Cabrillo's director-choreographer, Morgan Marcell. Partnering with Morgan to teach will be members of Cabrillo's cast of IN THE HEIGHTS, who in turn will be joined by local leaders of the dance community. These instructors include Heather Castillo (Cal State Channel Island), Tracy Wilson (Oak Park High School), Ginny Grady (Cabrillo's Kabrillo Kids/Young Artists Ensemble), Kim Maselli (Pacific Festival Ballet/California Dance Theatre), Cameo Carolan (Newbury Park High School), Tracy Powell (Louisville High School) and more to be announced. Participants may sign up in advance through http://carnavaldecabrillo.rsvpify.com/or in person on the day of the event, then begin learning the choreography from Marcell and her team. The choreography will be taught at all skill levels, allowing for full participation from anyone who wants to learn (ages 6-106, please!). Participants can show up at any time from Noon to 1:30PM and learn the moves, and the multi-level instruction allows for entire families to participate together.

At 1:45PM, after a welcome from Thousand Oaks City Councilwoman Claudia Bill-De La Pena and a sneak peek from Cabrillo's IN THE HEIGHTS and other shows, the entire community will perform the dance together, providing a timely reminder of the power of music and movement to unify many individuals into a single entity.
After that point, the teens take over! Young people age 14 and up are encouraged to participate in Cabrillo's Online Video Competition. With information also available on Cabrillo's Facebook page, contestants can sign up online and, during the month of December, submit a short video that captures their feelings on "What IN THE HEIGHTS means to me" in words, music and dance. The finalists will compete live at the CARNAVAL, with judges including Morgan Marcell and other arts/community leaders, as well as a "popular vote" among the crowd, and will culminate in the choosing of the winning act. Winners receive a "walk-on" role in a performance of Cabrillo's IN THE HEIGHTS, as well as other prizes, and runners-up will receive prizes as well. And, in the spirit of musical theatre, everyone who attends is a winner as well, with prizes for all, many provided by the local business community. Food and drink will be available, thanks to the presence of local businesses.

Participating Dance Studios include: California Dance Theatre, The Ballroom World of Dance, A Step in Time School of Dance, with others to be announced. Schools slated to participate include Newbury Park High School, Agoura High School, Simi Valley High School, Thousand Oaks High School, Louisville High School (Woodland Hills) and more signing on every day.

For a youth-centric event, it's only appropriate that CARNAVAL DE CABRILLO be governed by the young. Co-chairing the afternoon are teens and young adults involved with the local theatre community: Gabby Chambers, Gabi Ditto, Josh Ditto, Lexi Greene, and Sarah Larson. CARNAVAL partners include Q104.7FM, Live 105.5FM, Gelson's Supermarket, with more to be announced.




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