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Summer Stages: This Summer's Theatre Lineup in Santa Barbara 2016

The June gloom is melting to memory as the summer solstice closes in on the central coast. This season in theatre and dance includes farces, musicals, new work, fresh styles and ... an Armenian Grandmother. Keep reading to discover the upcoming entertainment events this summer's performance season has to offer!

Fallen Angels (by Noël Coward)
Ensemble Theater Company
June 9th-26th

Ensemble Theatre Company commences the summer festivities at the New Vic with the Noël Coward farce, Fallen Angels. A socially progressive play for its time of writing (1925), Fallen Angels features two idle housewives who receive notice that their erstwhile lover-in-common is returning to town. With their husbands missing in action, the two restless women begin to drink with some abandon as they prepare to receive their mutual ex. Social niceties turn sloppy as the women vie for the returning Romeo's affection before he's even set foot on stage. With a seasoned cast and director, Fallen Angels brings scandal to the stage from June 9th-26th.

This June, Center Stage Theater in Paseo Nuevo offers a variety of dance performances, with new groups taking the stage every week.

June 16th: Inspire Dance's summer recital features youth dancers of all ages. This performance sequence includes dance programs from the preceding year of study, as well as an excerpt from Inspire's theatrical performance of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

June 10th, 17th, 18th: Get ready for Santa Barbara's favorite dance instructor, Harout Aristakessian's, annual summer dance-stravaganza: Love, Seduction, & an Armenian Grandmother. A high-octane, multi-genre production featuring dancers from Harout's studio, Love, Seduction & an Armenian Grandmother promises an unforgettable showcase of jazz, hip-hop, burlesque, and theatrical comedy.

June 24th, 25th: The Dance Network's third annual studio showcase will present the dancers' most recent work. Series 7 is an energetic performance set in a variety of styles that presents dancers of all ages. Featuring the choreography of Kyleigh Carlson, Lauren Hovey, Karyn Laver, Deja Re, Daniel Rojo, Hector Sanchez, Bethany Sutherland, and Kyle Ybarra.

The Glass Menagerie (by Tennessee Williams)
June 16-26

For those looking for productions in the American theatrical tradition, PCPA presents Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater, giving local viewers the chance to see this intimate performance under the stars. A play of worn and weary Southern elegance lost to familial decay, The Glass Menagerie vaulted Tennessee Williams to prominence.

Once upon a time, Amanda Wingfield was a Southern belle. After being left by her husband, Amanda finds herself a down-and-out slave to memories of happier days. Living in St. Louis with her two adult children, the Wingfields scrape by on her son's meager warehouse salary. Tom dreams of a future away from his overbearing mother and the obligation to care for his sister, Laura, who, with a limp and crippling shyness, shows little likelihood of finding a husband. When Amanda convinces Tom to bring a potential "gentleman caller" to meet Laura, the meeting turns awkward. Secrets are revealed, and the family, at the cusp of hope for the future, sees the truth of their fading way of life.

Out of the Box Theatre Company's Summer Backyard Concert, Cutting Edge Composers, is a fun (and free!) performance that brings the work of the newest, hottest musical theatre writers to the community. With songs performed by some of Santa Barbara's most talented high school and college-aged vocalists and actors, this concert shows off the chops of up-and-coming stars and composers. Come support the next generation of musical theatre and enjoy an afternoon garden party!

Launch Pad, UCSB's program for reading, workshopping, and previwing new plays, presents this summer's 2016 Reading Series, including 3 new works: Staging The Daffy Dame, by Anne Garcia-Romero on 6/23; STANDBY by Christina McMahon on 6/30; and Bad Touch by Joyce Carol Oates on 7/7. Each of these readings represents the early stages of these fresh dramatic works. To experience the theatrical process in a new and intimate way, discover the Launch Pad Summer Reading Series!

It's not theatre, but it's certainly fun! The UCSB Arts and Lectures Summer film series returns with Bogey and Bacall in their best films as the Hollywood "It" couple of yesteryear. Every Friday night, stake out your space on the glorious courthouse lawn for a different dose of Hollywood nostalgia. This season's lineup includes The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, To Have and to Have Not, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, Key Largo, and my personal favorite, How to Marry a Millionare. If you're out near Isla Vista, these movies also play Wednesday evenings at Campbell Hall.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (by Christopher Durang)
SBCC Theatre Group
July 15-30

The SBCC Theatre Group begins their season this July with a modern visualization of a Chekov-inspired familial collapse. Celebrity actress Masha arrives at the family home (which she now owns) to attend a party at the home of rich neighbors. Although aging and losing relevance, she arrives with young, insignificant actor-boy, Spike, rather than her (fifth) husband. Masha's protected, emotionally stunted siblings, Vanya and Sonia, have lived their entire lives in the family home. They are overtaken by various forms of jealousy and regret when melodramatic Masha turns their home, where time stands still, into a chaotic, emotional circus.

With nods to Chekhov's work throughout, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a comedic theatrical playground that brings modern perception to concepts inspired by classic theatrical work.

Sense & Sensibility (Adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan)
July 21-30, 2016
Marian Theatre

August 5-21, 2016
Solvang Festival Theater

At PCPA's Marian Theater at Hancock College, Jane Austen's classic tale of two sisters looking for love in late-1700s England comes to the stage. Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are both eligible bachelorettes looking for proper husbands, but they go about the courting process in opposite manners. The more sensible Elinor seeks a steady, dependable relationship with someone she can truly connect with, while Marianne looks for a more passionate affair. Jane Austen's popular work will be in the Marian theatre until the 30th, when it will then take up residency at the Solvang Festival theatre for the month of August.

In The Heights (Music & lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda; Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes)
August 11-20, 2016
Marian Theatre

August 26-September 11, 2016
Solvang Festival Theater

Before Lin-Manuel Miranda took over the entire world with Hamilton, he was a lesser-known force of Tony-winning theatrical power with his lauded show, In the Heights. A story of growing up in the Washington Heights area of New York City, In The Heights is a fresh, contemporary musical that depicts its characters grappling with the concepts of home, community, gentrification, and how to follow an authentic, individual path through life while remaining connected to family, friends, and self-definition. Another rousing American story infused with hip-hop, In The Heights is a theatrical classic in its own right. See it at the Marian Theatre in August, or under the stars at the Solvang Festival Theater in early September.

Last summer, Santa Barbara hosted the very first On The Verge theatre festival for new works. The festival offered a flurry of fresh-off-the-typewriter plays-in-progress, and featured a vigorous young production unit and talent pool. This year, back from her first year as a directorial graduate student at Brown, Executive Artistic Director Kate Bergstrom and her motley crew are poised to present another festival of fresh-pressed dramatic works.

This year's exciting line-up of plays won't be announced until June fifteenth; however, works in consideration include multi-genre crossover pieces that play out in art galleries and other non-traditional spaces; dramas that denounce the importance of absolute time, space, and being; and plays that focus on the lifestyles and sufferings of the Millennial generation.

Watch for their announcement here:

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From This Author Maggie Yates