Rubicon Theatre Company’s 2011-2012 Slate
The Ovation nominations are in, and once again RTC is once again among the most celebrated theatres in the region – even as the new season progresses, with neither the time nor inclination to rest upon laurels. Rubicon's fourteenth season is here, replete with a little something for everyone and a lot of fun; truly a season of Magic, Mystery & Music!
With turns of comedy, drama and music all in just the right proportions, RTC's season for 2011-12 promises to be another to please both crowds and critics, in the style for which they've become so well known. As always, great theatre comprises the centerpiece of a broad offering that includes an ongoing Broadway Cabaret Series (which recently brought Tony Award-winner Levi Kreis to the RTC stage, and continues next month with the arrival of David Burnham's one-night only A Broadway Holiday), the developmental presentations of Plays In Progress, the acclaimed Young Playwright's Festival, a "wanderlust" ethic that takes RTC patrons to experience great theatre well beyond Ventura's borders, a summer program of youth theatre that is second to none, gala opening night events, and compelling "talkback" sessions with the artists themselves.
Rubicon's Season of Magic, Mystery & Music has already become a year to remember, as audiences howled for the quick-change farce The Mystery Of Irma Vep, (recently honored as "Ovation Recommended") even as past season favorites like Daddy Long Legs, The Best Is Yet To Come; The Music of Cy Coleman, and Lonesome Traveler continue to bring Rubicon's - and Ventura's – reputation and penchant for great theatre to audiences across the nation.
Next up is the return of one of RTC's favorites,
Ted Neely and His Little Big Band – January 20 – 29, 2012
Before his epoch-making performance in the motion-picture production of Jesus Christ, Superstar, Ted Neeley was a singer, songwriter, vocal arranger and record producer from Ranger, Texas. He applied those talents on the work of such artists as Nigel Olssen, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Meat Loaf and others.
Following years of sold-out stage tours and TV and film work, Ted now melds his cross-genre musical passion to create a theatrical concert event that kicks off a national tour at Rubicon. Backed by a (little) five-piece band of great big talent, Ted takes us back to his Texas roots, with a winsome bit of backwoods blues and country, along with show-stoppers from such rock musicals as Tommy, Hair, Sgt. Pepper & Superstar, to name only a few. He'll also sing excerpts from his film scores for filmmakers like Robert Altman, and premieres never-before-heard pop compositions.
Audiences can expect a mix of electric and acoustic music, some lively chat, and a few special surprises in an evening few will soon forget.
Rounding out the season's schedule of main stage productions will be:
Nazi Hunter - Simon Wiesenthal - February 18 - March 11, 2012
Written and performed by Tom Dugan
Directed by Jenny Sullivan
A powerful one-man show which has just been nominated for three Ovation Awards, including Best Director, Best Play and Best Leading Actor! The story follows Wiesenthal, sometimes called "The Jewish James Bond," and recounts-like a gripping spy thriller-how this heroic man, after escaping death at the hands of Hitler's S.S., devoted his life to bringing war criminals to justice. Told with warmth, insight and surprising humor, this critically acclaimed production stars Tom Dugan, who himself has a personal connection to the story. "Astonishing… there are righteous stories here that you will not forget." – Los Angeles Times.
Hello! My Baby - March 24 - April 15, 2012
Book and New Lyrics by Cheri Steinkellner
New Music and Arrangements by Georgia Stitt
Directed by BrIan McDonald
From Golden Globe and Emmy-Award winning writer Cheri Steinkellner, award-winning composer Georgia Stitt, and a dream-team of great American songwriters comes Hello! My Baby, a riotous new-fashioned musical comedy that reboots Berlin, Gershwin, Kern and a score of others; smartly weaving their updated hits into a timely romantic farce for all ages.
Set on the sidewalks of New York in the early nineteen-teens, the charming tale weaves an updated Tin Pan Alley score into the story of streetwise song-sellers, sweatshop-workers, debutantes, gangsters, and Whiffenpoofs as they sing and dance through young love, gender-bending and many ukuleles.
Young Mickey McKee, King of the Song-Pluggers, dreams of writing the next million-selling song. The only problem is, Mickey can't write a note - a problem that finds a possible solution in Nelly Gold, a young factory girl with a talent for tunes and moxie to spare. Mickey and Nelly make beautiful music together until she puts on the trousers she once sewed, calls herself Ned, and becomes the new King of the Pluggers, and Mickey's arch-rival. These mismatched young lovers and their unlikely friends sing, dance, bicker, and coo from Debutante Balls to Delancey Street, confronting class struggles, social reform, gender-swapping, and street-thugs, as they sell the songs we're all still humming a hundred years later.
The RTC production will also bow in Santa Barbara next spring:
Rubicon Theatre March 24 - April 15, 2012
Santa Barbara's Lobero Theatre April 25 - 29, 2012
Gem Of the Ocean - May 19 - June 10, 2012
By August Wilson
Directed by James O'Neil
Rubicon's first play by August Wilson is also the first installment in the playwright's powerful decade-by-decade, ten-play chronicle dramatizing the African American experience in the twentieth century. Wilson's play bowed at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway in 2004, where it garnered five Tony Award nominations. The New York Times called Gem "a touchstone for everything else he has written."
Gem of the Ocean is a mystical experience set the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1904, set amid the turmoil of racial unrest after a mill worker is falsely accused and subsequently martyred.
Against this turbulent backdrop, young Citizen Barlow arrives at the home of Aunt Ester, a 285-year-old healer who is the keeper of tradition and history for her people. Barlow is in search of redemption, and finds Aunt Ester is not too old to practice healing; she guides him on a soaring, lyrical journey of spiritual awakening aboard the slave ship Gem of the Ocean to the City of Bones, where he must learn about his ancestors and face the truth about himself.
Private Lives - September 8 - September 30, 2012
A chance meeting wreaks havoc in the headlong pursuit of heart's desire in Noël Coward's Private Lives. The 1930 comedy of manners offers a textbook case of 'be careful what you wish for,' when a divorced couple discover that they are honeymooning with their new spouses in the same hotel, discovering in the same course that the flame that first brought them together still burns – in this case, merrily burning their hopes and new lives to the ground.
While the work is a study in the English etiquette and social reserve of an age long gone, Private Lives offers themes that have resonated with audiences ever since its jazz-age debut; the play has been raised in countless revivals, no less than six turns on Broadway, and in a 1931 film adaptation, demonstrating that we remain well acquainted with the transformative power of love, for better or – all too often – for worse.
Private Lives could easily read like a tragedy, but Coward's deft pacing and rapier comic timing never let us descend from mirth, even as the lovers' passions careen like a wrecking ball, skipping tragedy altogether in favor of full-blown farce before the third act has had its way.
RTC's Season of Magic, Mystery & Music is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the following patrons:
Barbara Meister ~ Barber Ford • Volkswagen • Subaru • RV
Janet and Mark L. Goldenson
Sandra and Jordan Laby ~ San Buenaventura Foundation for the Arts
Loretta and Mike Merewether
Subscriptions are on sale now:
Become a subscriber and be sure to miss not a single gem among the season's treasures. Subscribers benefits are numerous, including a discounted ticket price, as well as discounts on extra tickets to bring along extra friends and family; lost tickets are replaced on the spot, at no charge and enjoy other exclusive benefits on a per-event basis – all while supporting the art that they love! For more information or to enroll, log on to www.RubiconTheatre.org, or call the box office at 805.667.2900 – or stop by the box office at 1006 East Main Street in Ventura.