Photo Flash: Rubicon Theatre Presents the World Premiere of I DIG ROCK & ROLL MUSIC

Rubicon Theatre presents the World Premiere of I DIG ROCK & ROLL MUSIC which opens this Saturday, September 1 at 7:00 p.m. at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street in Ventura's Downtown Cultural District. A co-production with Laguna Playhouse, the event continues through September 16 at Rubicon Theatre and runs September 19 through 23 at Laguna.

A sequel to Lonesome Traveler, which premiered at Rubicon in 2013 and transferred Off-Broadway, earning Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations, I Dig ROCK & ROLL Music is a celebration of folk-rock then and now. Described as a theatrical concert, the evening features songs from 1965 through the 1970s made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary; The Mamas and the Papas; Carole King; Joni Mitchell; Carly Simon; The Fifth Dimension; The Association; Otis Redding; Cat Stevens; The Youngbloods; The Beatles; The Eagles; and many others. I Dig ROCK & ROLL Music also includes original songs inspired by the era written by Noel Paul Stookey (Paul of Peter, Paul and Mary), and several of the performers. The event was conceived by Ovation winner and Rubicon co-founder James O'Neil, Lifetime Grammy Award-winner George Grove, and LADCC-winner/Tony nominee Dan Wheetman. Musical direction is by Trevor Wheetman, with arrangements by George Grove and the performers.

I Dig ROCK & ROLL Music features six performers, most singer/songwriters and multi-instrumentalists: Caitlin Ary, Sylvie Davidson, Brendan Willing James, CHRIS LASH, and Trevor Wheetman, with Matt Tucci on drums. James, Davidson and Wheetman met in the cast of Lonesome Traveler (Davidson and Wheetman later married, moved to Nashville and became writing recording partners). Tucci returns to Rubicon having been a part of the company of Return to the Forbidden Planet. Partners Ary and Lash are making their Rubicon debut.

According to Director and Co-Conceiver James O'Neil, "I Dig ROCK & ROLL Music came about as an offshoot of our experience on Lonesome Traveler. After years of research, reading about the inception and evolution of folk music in America, several themes came to the fore.

First, as you might guess from the title, Lonesome Traveler expresses the thought that we all take a solitary journey through life - we come in and out of this world alone. But music and storytelling are great unifiers - great healers. They can help us feel a little less lost or alone."

O'Neil quotes Pete Seeger, saying, "When one person taps out a beat, while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world."

"Another major theme of LT," continues O'Neil, "is the idea that there is nothing new under the sun, and that we are influenced musically and otherwise by those who have come before. (Imagine my joy and surprise when one of my folk heroes Noel Paul Stookey contributed a song for this show entitled 'Standing on the Shoulders' which expresses that very timeless sentiment, as appropriate to folk-rock as it is to folk."

LT also spoke to the impact of history on music, and of music on history. It was this idea that propelled O'Neil and the group into exploring the music of the '60s and '70s and the creation of I Dig ROCK & ROLL Music. Once Dylan picked up the electric guitar at Newport in 1965, folk took a turn. "The electric sound had already been a part of our culture," says O'Neil, "specifically in the Blues, but when Dylan embraced the electric sound, the expression of American music changed in a radical way."

According to O'Neil, the folk music of the '50s and early '60s told external stories - "Tom Dooley," "Rock Island Line" and "Puff the Magic Dragon" are a few examples. As folk-rock emerged, storytelling exploded in new directions. It became more personal, more poetical and in some cases, more political. Artists like Joni Mitchell sang songs swathed in the soulful expression of very private joys and hurts. Dylan wrote music that was filled with mystery and metaphor. And the electric sound brought with it a political potency - something about the raw, forceful energy spoke to the upheaval that was happening in America. Songs of passion and protest reflected what was happening and also became anthems for racial equality, women's rights and other Civil Rights concerns."

"The performance is not a theatre piece," concludes O'Neil. "It is a theatrical concert celebrating folk-music then and now. Audience members hear music of the era, and also new songs by Noel and some of the singer/songwriters in the company that relate to issues of the time and which still resonate today."

Tickets for I Dig ROCK & ROLL Music at Rubicon Theatre may be purchased online at www.rubicontheatre.org, or by phone at 805.667.2900. Performances are Wednesdays at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. (new time this season!), Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the theatre box office, open Noon to 6:00 p.m. and one-hour prior to curtain Tuesdays through Sundays during the run. Rubicon Theatre is located at 1006 E. Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001.

Photo Credit: Kirby Ward

Photo Flash: Rubicon Theatre Presents the World Premiere of  I DIG ROCK & ROLL MUSIC
The company of the world premiere theatrical concert “I DIG ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC�

Photo Flash: Rubicon Theatre Presents the World Premiere of  I DIG ROCK & ROLL MUSIC
The company of the world premiere theatrical concert “I DIG ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC�

Photo Flash: Rubicon Theatre Presents the World Premiere of  I DIG ROCK & ROLL MUSIC
The company of the world premiere theatrical concert “I DIG ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC�

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