What an achievement this show is… a TERRIFIC new production!” –SB Independent
An EXTRAORDINARY work of art … See it!” –CASA Magazine
An absolute WINNER.” –Richard Mineards, Montecito Journal
One of the most POWERFUL productions in the annals of area theater!” –Barney Bratingham, SB Independent
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim & Book by Hugh Wheeler
October 8 – 25, 2015
Sondheim returns to ETC with a soaring musical masterpiece that tells the tale of a barber seeking justice for the corrupt London judge who exiled him. Partnered with a delicious pie shop proprietress, they exact a fearsome revenge as she concocts an alarming new recipe that has the people of London lining up. Hysterically funny and chillingly intense! Sponsored by Dana White. Directed by Jonathan Fox.
David Studwell (photo: David Bazemore)
Sweeney Todd has become a bloody, worldwide success since being awarded 8 TONY's, one of them for Best Musical, for its Broadway premiere. Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler (A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures) crafted a tasty, thrilling, theatrical treat with Sweeney Todd that has simultaneously shocked, awed, and delighted audiences across the world.
An infamous tale, Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, returns to 19th century London seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful owner of a failing pie shop, above which he opens a new barber practice. Mrs. Lovett's luck sharply shifts when Todd's thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies, and the carnage has only just begun!
Featuring two unforgettable star turns and some of the most chilling music ever written for the stage, this masterpiece is sure to both thrill and delight audiences.
Heather Ayers (Mrs. Lovett) is trilled to be returning to ETC after appearing as Charlotte in A Little Night Music & Mrs. Van Buren in Intimate Apparel. Her Broadway credits include Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, with Harry Connick Jr., & Trevor Nunn’s A Little Night Music. Off-Broadway, Heather has been seen in several Encores! productions, Five Course Love, Forbidden Broadway, and Sarah, Plain, & Tall. Regionally, she has performed at Yale Rep, The Old Globe, Barrington Stage, St. Louis Rep, Kansas City Rep, & Cincinnati Playhouse, among others. TV credits include “Scandal,” “The Exes,” “Lights Out,” & “Z Rock.” Much thanks to Jonathan, Aleah, & Dianne!
Justin Cowden (Pirelli) is both honored and proud to be making his Ensemble Theatre Company debut with the incredible cast and crew of Sweeney Todd! Notable credits: A Town Without Pity (Singer), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Joseph), A Few Good Men (Kaffee), and most recently the critical hit Memphis at Cabrillo Music Theatre (Perry Como). Justin has voiced several popular cartoons and video games including Guaka on "The Emperor's New School," and Hayner in "Kingdom Hearts 2!" Very special thanks to my incredible agent, Anthony Boyer, for believing in me, my Voice teacher, Mary Jo Duprey, for her incredible training, and my Father in-Law, Kent Marman, for taking care of my girls and my pups. Love to my amazing family! This show is dedicated to my beautiful wife, Lexi, and our GREATEST achievement, "Layni Rose!" To God be the Glory!
Karole Foreman (Beggar Woman) recently appeared as Rose in International City Theater’s production of Fences in Long Beach. Last season Karole played Esther in ETC’s production of Intimate Apparel. Other roles: Julia Augustine in Antaeus’ production of Wedding Band and Diana Goodman in Next to Normal with Cal Rep. Other Productions: Long Beach Opera: Difficulty of Crossing a Field and Queenie Pie. PCPA: Caroline or Change (Caroline). Alliance Theatre: Jelly’s Last Jam (Anita). Mandalay Bay: Tanya in Mamma Mia! Worked with L.A. Women’s Shakespeare Co., two seasons with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and performed in numerous regional theaters across the country. Awards: Stage Raw Nomination for Best Actress in Wedding Band, OC Weekly 2014 Best of Award and Scenie Award for Next to Normal. Suzi Bass for Jelly’s Last Jam, Garland for As Bees in Honey Drown, Robby Nomination for Carla, Drama Logue Awards for Minamata, The Illusion, and Whole World is Watching. TV: "Gortimer Gibbons," "Switched at Birth," "Rizzoli & Isles," "Murder in the First," "The Kroll Show," "Pretty Little Liars," "See Dad Run," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Bones," "Medium," "Law & Order," "Third Watch," "The Bold and the Beautiful." Film: 42, Buddy Solitaire, and Rebirth.
Parker Harris (Jonas Fogg) has been doing musical theatre all his life. His highlighted roles include Riff in the Rubicon Theatre Company's production of West Side Story and Robert Martin in the Rubicon's production of The Drowsy Chaperone. He sang with the VC choir for three years and now continues his vocal and dance training. He is excited to be in his first show with Ensemble Theatre Company and honored to be working with such a professional and talented cast. He hopes you enjoy the show.
Chris Kauffmann (Tobias) ETCSB debut! This marks Chris' fourth production of Sweeney Todd (and third as Tobias), including critically acclaimed productions at Goodspeed Musicals and Casa Mañana both directed by Gabriel Barre. Chris appeared as Princeton/Rod in Avenue Q (DOMA Theatre Company, Ovation nomination) and was in the West Coast Premiere of Real Men: a Musical for Guys and the Woman Who Put Up With Them (PVPA). Chris can also be seen as Iago in the record-breaking run of Disney's Aladdin: a Musical Spectacular. O ther credits: Courier in 1 776 (Goodspeed), Mickey in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Off--Broadway), Busker Alley, Where's Charley? (Musical Theatre West), Prince Hal in T he King's Face (The Blank Theatre), and Boop: a Cartoon Musical directed by David Foster. Film: Shadows on the Wall, and Ugly Benny. Chris sends many thanks to all at ETCSB, as well as Steven Dry and the Connor-Ankrum team for this rewarding opportunity, and love to his beautiful fiancée, Sandra. ChrisKauffmann.com.
Norman Large (Judge Turpin) has enjoyed an extremely varied career from principal artist with The New York City Opera to ten LA Ovation award nominations. From symphony engagements under Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa to playing more different guest starring roles on "Star Trek" than anyone in all of the series combined. From voicing characters in numerous Disney animated features to being recorded live at Carnegie Hall. From numerous original Broadway casts including Les Miserables (Bishop, Javert, Thenardier) to playing scenes with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. From dancing as star of CATS to playing opposite Leslie Nielson in Repossessed to standing by for Michael Crawford in The Phantom of the Opera. From recurring as a judge on "NYPD Blue" to touring Europe as Tony in West Side Story.
Michaelia Leigh (Johanna) is delighted to be making her ETC debut, and to reprise a role very dear to her heart. Other favorites include Light in the Piazza (Clara), Into the Woods (Cinderella), Oklahoma! (Laurey), 1776 (Martha Jefferson), Marvelous Wonderettes (Cindy Lou), Life Could Be a Dream (Lois), Miss Saigon (Ellen), Scarlet Pimpernel (Marguerite), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hermia), Taming of the Shrew (Bianca), and Romeo & Juliet (Juliet). She has also traveled the world performing for Azamara Cruises and The Walt Disney Company. She would like to give a huge thank you to Jonathan, Matt, Amy, the entire ETC staff, and her wonderful friends and family for their endless support. Love to her husband, Andrew.
Craig McEldowney (Beadle Bamford) is making his Ensemble debut, and his 3rd return to this murderous and thrilling score — previous productions at the El Portal Theater in LA (Beadle) and Mendelssohn Theater in Ann Arbor, MI (Pirelli). Recent central coast credits include a concert version of The Secret Garden (Neville) at Rubicon, and Show Boat at Opera San Luis Obispo (Ravenal). Other regional credits include: Road Show (Addison) with MTG, Serrano (Papa, et al) at the Matrix, and Ragtime (Father) with 3D Theatricals. Tours: Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas u/s) and Grease (Doody). Proud AEA member and graduate of the University of Michigan.
Chirp @craigmceldowney, click www.craigmc.org, or stalk/like/poke facebook.com/craigmceldowney.
Michael Spaziani (Anthony) is thrilled to be making his ETC debut! LA credits: Violet (Monty), Adam & Eve & Steve (Adam - world premiere, original cast recording). Other regional credits: South Pacific (Cable), The Last Five Years, Altar Boyz (Matthew), On The Town (Gabey), Little Women (Laurie), The Great Gatsby (Gatsby), Much Ado About Nothing (Claudio), Into the Woods (Cinderella's Prince/Wolf), and Legally Blonde (Warner), among others. StageSceneLA's 2014-15 "Breakthrough Star of the Year - Musicals." Graduate of The Hartt School - BM Voice Performance/Music Management. Native of Nashua, NH. Thanks to Elena and his family for all the love and support! www.MichaelSpaziani.com
David Studwell (Sweeney Todd) makes his Ensemble Theatre Company debut in Sweeney Todd. Central Coast audiences may recognize David from his recent appearance as Cervantes/Don Quixote in PCPA'S production of Man of La Mancha at Solvang Theatrefest this past summer. He was seen off-Broadway in the NY City Center’s Encores! Applause! (Bert). Last year he performed in Sweeney Todd at TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley (Sweeney). He has appeared at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca NY in Red (Rothko), The Westchester Broadway Theatre in Titanic (Isidor Straus), and Portland Center Stage in Fiddler on the Roof (Tevye) for which he won the 2013 Drammy Award. Other regional theatres include Syracuse Stage, Indiana Repertory, The Alliance, The Goodman, Maltz Jupiter, and the Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre among others. Mr. Studwell was a company member for seven years at PCPA Theatrefest acting in over 35 productions there and worked for The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s educational outreach for two years. Mr. Studwell appeared in the film Dave Barry’s Guide to Guys and the TV series "Crime Story" on NBC. More information is available at www.davidstudwell.com.
Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics) wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1991), Passion (1994) and Road Show (2008) as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959) and Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Anthologies of his work include Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me A Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting it Together (1993/99) and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010). He composed the scores of the films Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (1990) and the television production “Evening Primrose” (1966). His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: Finishing the Hat (2010) and Look, I Made A Hat (2011). In 2010 the Broadway theater formerly known as Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed in his honor.
Hugh Wheeler (Book) was a novelist, playwright and screen writer. He wrote more than thirty mystery novels under the pseudonyms Q. Patrick and Patrick Quentin, and four of his novels were transformed into films: Black Widow, Man in the Net, The Green-Eyed Monster, and The Man with Two Wives. For films he wrote the screenplays for Travels with My Aunt, Something for Everyone, A Little Night Music, and Nijinsky. His plays include Big Fish, Little Fish (1961), Look: We've Come Through (1961), and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1966, adapted from the Shirley Jackson novel), he co-authored with Joseph Stein the book for a new production of the 1919 musical Irene (1973), wrote the books for A Little Night Music (1973), a new production of Candide (1973), Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979, based on a version of the play by Christopher Bond), and Meet Me in St. Louis (adapted from the 1949 MGM musical), contributed additional material for the musical Pacific Overtures (1976), and wrote a new adaptation of the Kurt Weill opera Silverlake, which was directed by Harold Prince at the New York Opera. He received Tony and Drama Desk Awards for A Little Night Music, Candide and Sweeney Todd. Prior to his death in 1987, Mr. Wheeler was working on two new musicals, Bodo and Fu Manchu, and a new adaptation of The Merry Widow.
Jonathan Fox (Director/Executive Artistic Director) joined ETC in 2006. He directed ETC’s productions of Woyzeck, Amadeus, Metamorphoses, A Little Night Music, The Liar, Crime and Punishment, Creditors, Underneath the Lintel, Ghosts, Loot, The Glass Menagerie, Buried Child, Striking 12, Take Me Out, Old Wicked Songs, Thérèse Raquin, This Is How It Goes and Visiting Mr. Green. He directed Opera Santa Barbara's production of The Consul at the Granada Theatre. He is the recipient of seven Indy Awards. Recent European productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Streetcar Named Desire, Visiting Mr. Green and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the English Theatre of Frankfurt, and Old Wicked Songs, Crimes of the Heart, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Vienna English Theatre. Before joining ETC, Mr. Fox spent 12 years with Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, which he helped establish in 1994. He served as managing director of the company from 1994-99, and subsequently became its artistic director. For Two River, he directed over a dozen acclaimed productions. His production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was profiled in American Theatre Magazine, as was his festival of work by Samuel Beckett. His directing work has been seen in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cologne, and has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Variety, the LA Times, and other publications. He received his MFA from Columbia University, and is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. He has served as an adjunct faculty member in theatre departments at UCSB, Columbia University, University of Utah, and Monmouth University.
Matthew R. Meckes (Music Director) marks his first production with Ensemble Theatre Company with Sweeney Todd. Regional credits include Man of La Mancha, Peter and the Starcatcher, and San Patricios (PCPA), A Year With Frog and Toad, Grease, Always Patsy Cline, and Seussical (Post Playhouse). Assistant/Associate credits include Oklahoma, Spring Awakening, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, and Christmas Is Here Again (PCPA), Drowsy Chaperone, Godspell (Post Playhouse), Next to Normal, and Shake-Rattle-Roll (Florida Studio Theatre). Meckes holds a degree in composition from Berklee College of Music with a concentration in conducting and vocal pedagogy. Special thanks to Jonathan Fox for the opportunity to tackle such a complex piece, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler for their incredible adaptation and contribution to the theatre, and to John and Jane Meckes for their never-ending love and support.
Brain Sidney Bembridge (Scenic and Lighting Design) is considered one of North America's most prolific scenic and lighting designers. Based in Chicago, Brian designs sets, lighting and costumes for theaters internationally in addition to playing an integral role in Chicago's distinguished theater community. He is a member of Lookingglass Theatre Company and Circle X Theater Co. and an Artistic Associate of Timeline Theatre Company, Teatro Vista, and Uma Productions. Brian is a native of Londonderry, New Hampshire, and received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts' School of Design and Production. Shortly after college, Brian assisted Alessandra Branca, when he got his big break in the business designing sets for Sony/Henson's Muppets From Space. He has since collaborated with directors, choreographers, musicians, and visual artists such as Gary Griffin, Christoph Esenbach, Nate Berkus, David Cromer, Brian Henson, Nilo Cruz, Gale Edwards, The Q Brothers, and Eduardo Vilaro. Brian has been profiled in Live Design, Lighting & Sound America, Entertainment Design Magazine, Lighting Dimensions, PLSN, Stage Directions, American Theater Magazine, Chicago Social, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and numerous other publications. He has been named one of the "Most Prolific Theater Artists of the Decade" by Time Out Chicago magazine and one of The "Top 50 Players in Chicago" Theatre by New City Magazine. The Chicago Sun-Times declared him one of "the finest theatrical architects in Chicago." Brian has been honored with six Joseph Jefferson Awards, five After Dark Awards including Outstanding Season, three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, three Garland Awards, an Ovation Award, and a LA Weekly Award.
Dianne K. Graebner (Costume Design) is happy to be back at ETC, having previously designed Venus in Fur, Intimate Apparel, The Best Brothers, Amadeus, Red, Frankie and Johnny, Opus and Bell, Book and Candle. Her MFA in Costume/Set Design is from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She has designed and created costumes nationwide in theatre, film and television. A few of her recent credits include: Breath & Imagination at Virginia Stage Company, The Brothers Karamazov (Ovation nomination) and Battle Hymn at Circle X, What I Learned in Paris, Breath and Imagination, Sex and Education and Falling for Make Believe at Colony Theatre, Dying City (Ovation Winner: Production of the Year) and the New Electric Ballroom at Rogue Machine, Dogeaters and Clay at Kirk Douglas Theatre, A Delicate Balance at The Odyssey Theatre, Bright Light City at LATC, 365 Days/365 Plays at Center Theatre Group, Philosophy of the World, and The Shaggs (original production). She has originated the costumes for many new works and world premieres. She is a member of United Scenic Artists Local-829. www.diannegraebner.com.
Avery Wheeler (Sound Design) has worked with Ensemble Theatre Company as resident sound engineer for Venus in Fur, Woyzeck, Intimate Apparel, The Best Brothers, Amadeus, Looped, Red, Metamorphoses, and Good People. A graduate of Musician’s Institute Hollywood, Avery was previously Assistant Engineer at Santa Barbara’s Playback Recording Studio, where he engineered audio for short films, music, national advertising campaigns, and television.
Jeff Mills (Fight Director) is best known in Santa Barbara for his work with Boxtales Theatre Company. With Boxtales he co-created, performed, toured and/or directed ten original plays between 2000 and 2010. Jeff is a director, actor, fight choreographer, musician and movement artist. With his new company, Proboscis, he wrote, directed, and performed in La La La Strada which premiered at Center Stage in Santa Barbara. Jeff teaches acting, movement and stage combat at UC Santa Barbara.
Amy Lieberman, CSA (Casting) has worked with Ensemble Theatre Company for eight seasons. The recipient of six CSA Artios Awards, with a total of twelve nominations. Broadway: The Dinner Party, Flower Drum Song, Big River. Recent Past: Reprise Theatre Company for three seasons. Center Theatre Group (Mark Taper Forum/Ahmanson/Kirk Douglas) 1999–2006, 1983-1989. Many regional theatres throughout the states as well as locally. L.A. TheatreWorks, Pasadena Playhouse, Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Granada, KCRW, Sundance Theatre Lab, Deaf West, Theatre@Boston Court, Falcon Theatre, Hollywood Theatre of the Ear. Film and television throughout the 90’s. Visiting Assoc. Prof. UCLA- MFA 3rd yr. graduate program 2007-2013.
Anna Jensen (Dramaturg) happily returns to Ensemble after serving as Dramaturg for Venus in Fur, Woyzeck, Intimate Apparel, The Best Brothers, Amadeus, Looped, Red, Metamorphoses, Good People, A Little Night Music, Creditors, Crime and Punishment, and The Liar. In March of 2013, Austin College in Texas produced her new translation and adaptation of When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen. She has her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, where she majored in Rhetoric, focusing on the rhetoric of historical discourse. Her master’s degree was from UC Santa Barbara, where she wrote on the playwright August Strindberg’s dramas as interpreted by the film and stage director Ingmar Bergman. Her dissertation research, also at UC Santa Barbara, considers how Norse Saga material was instrumental to Henrik Ibsen’s dramaturgy. She teaches full-time in Santa Barbara at the Brooks Institute.
Aleah Van Woert (Stage Manager) is pleased to be stage managing her third season with ETC. Previous credits include Black Pearl Sings!, Crime and Punishment, Bell, Book and Candle, The Liar, The Year of Magical Thinking, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Little Night Music, Good People, Metamorphoses, Red, Looped, Amadeus, The Best Brothers, Intimate Apparel, Woyzeck, and Venus in Fur. A resident of Santa Barbara for nine years, she has also stage managed over 20 shows for PCPA Theaterfest in Santa Maria and Solvang, including All My Sons, Hairspray, Caroline or Change, Pride and Prejudice, Peter Pan, Songs for a New World, Curtains, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Heart’s Desire, Art, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Originally from Fallon, Nevada, she graduated in 2003 from Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre Arts, emphasis in Stage Management.
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the largest selection of great musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 60,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.
- Book Club, October 13, 2015, 5:30 - 6:30pm: PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPECIAL TUESDAY DISCUSSION. Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk, October 14 & 21, 2015 at 7:15 pm: Join us in the courtyard of The New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night, October 16, 2015 at 7:15pm, performance at 8:00pm: Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- Talk Back, October 22, 2015: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
"A terrific new production!” says the Santa Barbara Independent. (read full review)
"In one of the most powerful productions in the annals of area theater, Ensemble Theatre Company is staging Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Brilliantly directed by Jonathan Fox with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, it’s a musical thriller, with bodies galore. They kept coming as I watched." - Barney Bratingham, SB Independent
"Jonathan Fox’s Direction is masterful and sensitive. Being beautifully staged, it is both strong and nuanced, with touches of Brecht bursting forth to break the sometimes almost unbearable intensity." - Casa Santa Barbara
By David Ives
June 11-28, 2015
Seriously smart and very funny" –The New York Times
A sexy, smart and funny adaptation of the 1870 erotic novel Venus in Furs by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, which inspired the term "masochism." A woman arrives late to an audition, which gradually turns into a dance of dominance between the actress and director, as well as a laugh-out-loud depiction of sexual politics. Nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play in 2012. Directed by Andrew Barnicle. Production Sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation with support from Peter and Debby Stalker.
Annie Abrams and Bruce Turk photo by David Bazemore
A sexy, smart and funny adaptation of the 1870 erotic novel Venus in Furs by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, which inspired the term "masochism."
Annie Abrams (Vanda) is thrilled to be back at Ensemble Theatre Company after having played the role of Clea in ETC’s production of The Scene. She also recently appeared as Miss MacKintosh opposite Danny DeVito in The Sunshine Boys (Center Theater Group/Ahmanson Theatre). Other theatre credits include: Brooke in Noises Off (La Mirada Theatre); Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Reprise!); Ursula Duran in Tickled Pink with Rita Rudner (Laguna Playhouse); Serenity in And the Winner Is… (Laguna Playhouse); Sibyl in Private Lives (GTC Burbank); Luciana in The Comedy of Errors (A Noise Within); Sybil Vane in A Picture of Dorian Gray (Boston Court); Cécile in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (The Blank); Myrrhine in the premiere of Amy Freed’s Lysistrata (Stanford Summer Theater). She also performs stand-up regularly at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank. TV credits include "Major Crimes," "Weird Loners," "True Blood," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Without a Trace." She received her B.A. in Drama from Stanford University. Follow Annie on Twitter @AnnieAbrams and @SallyDuBaine.
Bruce Turk (Thomas) Broadway: The Green Bird (title role; Julie Taymor, dir.), Juan Darien (LIncoln Center; Julie Taymor, dir.). Off-Broadway: Faust, King John, and Pericles (Brooklyn Academy of Music). Regional: 15 productions of Shakespeare at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, including Leontes in The Winter’s Tale (Craig Noel Award for Best Actor); Resident Artist at Hartford Stage (Connecticut Circle Award Nomination for Malvolio in Twelfth Night); Pasadena Playhouse (Henry Higgins in Pygmalion). Seasons and productions at the Goodman Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Denver Center Theatre Company, Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Portland Stage, and many more. International: Tadashi Suzuki’s Acting Company, Mito (Japan). TV: “Murder in the First,” “Numb3rs,” “ER,” and “Third Watch.” Education: Northwestern University and École Philippe Gaulier (Paris). TCG/Fox Fellowship for Distinguished Achievement. Proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
David Ives (Playwright) has written over three dozen one-act plays for theatre and the radio. The greater part of them are collected in the anthologies All In The Timing. His full-length plays include The Liar, The Heir Apparent, The School for Lies (adapted from Molière’s The Misanthrope), Don Juan in Chicago, and Polish Joke. He has translated Feydeau’s A Flea In Her Ear, as well as Yasmina Reza’s A Spanish Play. He is also the author of three young-adult novels: Monsieur Eek, Scrib, and Voss. A former Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting and a graduate of Yale School of Drama, he lives in New York City. He is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Andrew Barnicle (Director) served as Artistic Director of The Laguna Playhouse from 1991 through 2010. In that time, he produced over 100 Playhouse shows and directed over 40 of them, including many World, U.S., West Coast, and Southern California premieres. Recent directing projects at the Playhouse include The Odd Couple, Shirley Valentine, Private Lives, and Ron Hutchinson’s Moonlight and Magnolias, which also played the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts as a co-production with McCoy/Rigby Entertainment, and Burbank's Colony Theatre. In the past few years, Andy directed Present Laughter at Chapman University, The Odd Couple, The Lion In Winter, Who Am I This Time? and Gunmetal Blues at North Coast Rep in San Diego, Shirley Valentine and the world premiere of Ken Levine’s A or B? at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, The Irish Curse at the Odyssey Theatre in LA, John Morogiello’s Blame It On Beckett, Lissa Levin’s Sex and Education, starring Stephanie Zimbalist, and Charles Evered’s Celadine at the Colony Theatre, and Private Lives at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura. He has also directed at San Diego’s Theatre at Old Town, Michigan’s Meadow Brook Theatre, and San Jose Repertory Theatre.
Book Club: June 17, 2015. Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
Pre-Show Talk: June 17, 2015 at 7:15 pm. Join us in the courtyard of the New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
Ladies Night: June 18, 2015 at 7:15 pm. Live music, drink specials, and Ladies get 50% off tickets!
Martini Night: June 19, 2015 at 7:00pm; performance at 8:00pm. Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
Pre-Show Talk: June 24, 2015 at 7:15 pm. Join us in the courtyard of the New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
Talk Back: June 25, 2015. Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
Music and Lyrics by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan
April 16 to May 3, 2015
A rarely performed musical adaptation by Tom Waits of one of the most influential plays ever written, Georg Büchner’s classic Woyzeck. When a soldier returns home from the war, desperate poverty leads him to take odd jobs that gradually tear him apart. As he starts to lose his mind, his love for Marie becomes increasingly obsessive. With his poetic combination of blues, jazz, and vaudeville, Tom Waits, along with his wife and collaborator Kathleen Brennan, has created a musical both carnivalesque and tender. Directed by Jonathan Fox.
Matthew MacNelly, Steven Good, Stephen Van Dorn (L to R)
Franz Woyzeck is a military barber who has lived a poor and difficult life. He has a child out of wedlock with a woman named Marie, and spends his time trying to make ends meet by performing odd tasks for his Captain, and participating in medical experiments with an eccentric Doctor. These tribulations have led him to a breaking point - including recurring apocalyptic visions.
When Marie's eye starts to wander toward a Drum Major, Woyzeck seeks counsel from his friend, Andres, and receives some unsolicited advice from the Doctor and the Captain.
As Woyzeck’s insanity grows, his actions become wild and sporadic, leading him down a dark and violent path.
Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan have created a tender and carnivalesque score that is uniquely suited to the classic German play. Most songs can be heard on the “Blood Money” album, and include vaudeville numbers such as “Misery’s the River of the World,” love songs like “All the World is Green,” and hilarious Irish drinking songs such as “Just the Way We Are Boys.”
Phillip Brandon (Carnival Announcer) is returning to the beautiful city of Santa Barbara, having not been here since the tender age of 2, and is very excited to be making his debut with Ensemble Theatre Company. Broadway National Tours: The Color Purple (Preacher/Ol' Mister). Regional/International Theatre: Tarzan (Kerchak), Ain't Misbehavin' (Ken), Ragtime (Coalhouse), Festival of The Lion King (Scar), and Meet Me in St. Louis. In addition to numerous nationally-branded commercials, voiceovers and TV, he recently wrapped his 5th year of sold out arena tours as a member of the multi-platinum rock group, Trans Siberian Orchestra. He currently has a Billboard Smooth Jazz Most Added Single entitled "Sail On." Next up: Phillip will be headlining the iconic Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood, CA on Wednesday, May 13th. www.phillipbrandon.com
Steven Good (Drum Major) is an actor, singer, and musician originally from Gilroy, California. He studied music composition and operatic voice at UC Santa Cruz before achieving an MFA in acting at Harvard where he performed in the musicals Once, and Prometheus Bound, as well as a run of Alice vs. Wonderland at the Moscow Art Theater. Since moving to LA, Steven has shot a series regular role in the pilot "Hallowed Halls," guest appeared in the CW’s "Hart of Dixie," recorded and written on several studio albums, starred in multiple readings of new works, and has appeared in national and international commercials for Carl’s Jr., New Balance, and Sony. Steven is a front man, guitarist, and founding member of the rock group Cylvia. Follow him on twitter @thestevengood and like him on Facebook to keep up with performances and film/television appearances. www.stevengood.net.
Matt Gottlieb (Doctor) was last seen at Ensemble as Mark Rothko in Red. He recently appeared at the Fountain Theater as Ben Weeks in The Normal Heart, which garnered him an LA WEEKLY Nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He has performed with A Noise Within, ACT, Berkeley Rep, The Intiman, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, San Jose Rep, Sacramento Theater Co., Marin Theatre Company, Laguna Playhouse, The Colony Theatre, Pacific Resident Theatre, The Odyssey, Kingsmen Shakespeare Co., and at the Mark Taper Forum. He used to live in NY, and performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Circle Rep, Soho Rep, Long Wharf. Television appearances include "CSI," "Desperate Housewives," "Wings," "JAG," "Nash Bridges," "The Practice," "Boston Public," "Still Standing," "Without a Trace," and others. Movies include Sheldon in Frank D. Gilroy's The Luckiest Man in the World and the leading role in James Merendino's The Handyman. He has received several Ovation and LADCC award nominations for both acting and directing. He dedicates this performance to his father, Saul.
Matthew Henerson (Captain) has appeared regionally at the Ahmanson, ACT, A Noise Within, Celebration Theatre, Deaf West, East West Players, International City Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Main Street Theatre Company, Northern Stage, San Diego Repertory, San Jose Repertory, and South Coast Repertory, as well as at Shakespeare festivals in Arizona, Colorado, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Utah. Recent work: the world premiere of Serrano at the Matrix Theatre, Fluellen in Henry V at the New Fortune Theatre Company, and the first national tour of Flashdance: The Musical. Film and Television credits include "The Bernie Mac Show," "Torn Apart," "Hung," A Christmas Carol, Mars Needs Moms, Ticking Clock, and Disney’s upcoming Jungle Book. He has a Supporting Actor Dramalogue Award and a Craig Noel Award for Best Director. He holds a BA from Yale and an MFA for UCSD. Matt lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Nancy, and their daughter, Miriam.
Matthew MacNelly (Andres) is an actor and musician currently based in Los Angeles. Regional Credits include Three Plays in a Tattoo Shop, Our Town (The Trip), Glengarry Glen Ross (La Jolla Playhouse), Titus Andronicus, June Moon, The Storm, Hookman, A Man, His Wife and His Hat (UCSD), Time Sensitive (Guthrie Theater), Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library), and Fucking A (Studio Theater, DC). New York Credits include What We Know (Shrunken Shakespeare), Washougal, My Heart (Communal Spaces), True Believer (TheatreLab), and Fourteen Flights (NYC Fringe Festival/SoHo Playhouse). Matt received his BA from Georgetown University and his MFA from the University of California, San Diego. He is thrilled to be making his Ensemble Theatre Company debut. mattmacnelly.com.
Gina Manziello (Marie) has performed in Los Angeles in If You Can Get To Buffalo and The Wallowa Project (Son of Semele Ensemble), What of the Night? (The Vagrancy), Culture Clash’s The Birds (Getty Villa), Small Craft Warnings and Exit the King (City of West Hollywood), Don Juan Dispenso (Tony Tanner), Komitas (Atwater Village Theater), Surviving Mama (Edgemar Center), and BOTH (Open Fist). She is a graduate of USC’s MFA in Acting program, where she appeared in productions of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Dispute, The Constant Players (David Bridel, Dir.), The Serpent, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Andy Robinson, Dir.), and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Andrei Belgrader, Dir.). Other credits include Caviar on Credit (Guthrie Theater), the title role in Robert Xavier Rodridguez’s Frida (Society for New Music, Syracuse), and numerous musical theater productions. She has won several awards for her work on film. TV credits include "Leverage" and "Gilded Lilies."
Willie Simpson (Karl) is thrilled to be a part of this rarely performed show and make his first appearance with Ensemble Theatre Company. Willie moved to Santa Barbara in 2008 and made his debut as Rod in the hit Avenue Q at the grand reopening of the Garvin Theatre. Favorite performance credits include Lt. Joseph Cable in South Pacific, a live concert re-recording of Stan Kenton’s Back To Balboa, backing vocalist for jazz legends Diane Schuur, Tommy Newsom, Don Shelton and John Hendricks at the Berkeley and Playboy Jazz Festivals, and appearing in several original musicals such as We Love You Sonja (Henie), and Among The Chosen Few with Cal Rep. Willie serves on the Board of Directors at Elements Theatre Collective which brings free, accessible theatre to greater Santa Barbara using intimate offbeat venues, and also provides musical performance opportunities to elementary-aged local children. Raised in Boulder, cultivated in Long Beach and Berlin, Willie is elated to call Santa Barbara home.
Tiffany Story (Margaret) has performed in over 200 theater productions, films, and commercials. She’s thrilled to be performing in this gloriously renovated theater, where years ago she'd gather with her three friends to watch weird foreign films. She was last seen in the sold out run of Boeing Boeing as Gloria in Circle Bar B’s final show. On that same stage she also appeared in Ghost of a Chance, Noises Off, Return Engagements, Sylvia (Independent Award), It Had to be You, Pump Boys & Dinettes, The Odd Couple, I Love You You’re Perfect, Now Change, Rumors, Nunsense, and 1940’s Radio Hour (Independent Award). She also could be caught in other venues like the Santa Barbara City College Theater Group in August Osage County, You Can’t Take It With You, The Laramie Project, Anton in Show Business, Wild Oats, Seascape, The Buddy Holly Story, and Gunfighter: a Gulf War Chronicle, as well as several Center Stage productions including Bob Potter’s The Last Empire, The Last Liberal (Independent Award), and the original rock musical Success (Independent Award). Tiffany sings in her favorite band, The Henderson Brothers, and dances with the local La Boheme Dance Troupe. Tiffany dedicates everything she does to her mother, Barbara.
Stephen Van Dorn (Woyzeck) recently portrayed John Jasper/Clive Paget in Actors Co-op's production of Drood, which he also directed. He's taken turns in Lend Me a Tenor, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Learned Ladies, and Silence! The Musical, directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Gatelli, wherein he played serial killer Buffalo Bill/Jaime Gumb, opposite Christine Lakin and Davis Gaines. Recent film credits include Turnaround Jake, and A Chance of Rain. Van Dorn holds degrees in Sacred Music and Theatre Arts from Bethel University, in St. Paul, MN, and hails from Broomfield, Colorado, where he grew up singing, dancing, and acting in the Colorado Children's Chorale. He has performed for Presidents and First Ladies, and under the batons of Zubin Mehta, Robert Shaw and Peter Matz. Soli Deo Gloria. www.stephenvandorn.net.
Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (Composers/Lyricists) Tom Waits was born in Pomona, California, to schoolteachers Alma Fern (Johnson) and Jesse Frank Waits. Described as one of the last beatniks of the contemporary music, Tom Waits - in fact - had two separate careers. From 1973 (LP "Closing Time") to 1983 ("One From The Heart" soundtrack), he recorded nine LPs for Asylum Records, writing songs mainly in the manner of Tin Pan Alley, mixing them with jazz and blues. Extraordinarily, he never produced a hit, but he earned a cult following all over the world. The second part of his career coincided with his marriage to Kathleen Brennan, a former writer for Francis Ford Coppola. Brennan is credited as a co-writer and collaborator on numerous songs and projects written since her marriage to Waits. She is generally regarded as the catalyst for Waits' more experimental sound beginning with the album "Swordfishtrombones."
Georg Büchner (Playwright) was born on October 17, 1813 in Germany. His father, a scientist and rationalist, primed him from an early age with a scientific approach to the world, which would later manifest itself in the sharp, realistic, and critical nature of his writing. He began his medical training at Strasbourg in 1831, where he became clandestinely engaged to Minna Jaegle, the daughter of a pastor. Because of his radical political involvement, Büchner was eventually forced to flee Germany altogether for Zurich. After settling there, he relinquished his political fervor and developed a politically-disillusioned outlook that manifested itself deeply in his three plays, Danton's Death, Leonce and Lena, and especially his ultimate effort, Woyzeck. Despite the short length of his literary career, Büchner contributed immeasurably to the dramatic canon, but never considered himself a playwright by profession. Buchner died of an undiagnosed fever, probably typhus, at the age of 23 on February 19, 1837.
Jonathan Fox (Director/Executive Artistic Director) joined ETC in 2006. He directed ETC’s productions of Amadeus, Metamorphoses, A Little Night Music, The Liar, Crime and Punishment, Creditors, Underneath the Lintel, Ghosts, Loot, The Glass Menagerie, Buried Child, Striking 12, Take Me Out, Old Wicked Songs, Thérèse Raquin, This Is How It Goes and Visiting Mr. Green. He is the recipient of seven Indy Awards. Recent European productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Streetcar Named Desire, Visiting Mr. Green and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the English Theatre of Frankfurt, and Old Wicked Songs, Crimes of the Heart, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Vienna English Theatre. Before joining ETC, Mr. Fox spent 12 years with Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, which he helped establish in 1994. He served as managing director of the company from 1994-99, and subsequently became its artistic director. For Two River, he directed over a dozen acclaimed productions. His production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was profiled in American Theatre Magazine, as was his festival of work by Samuel Beckett. His directing work has been seen in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cologne, and has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Variety, the LA Times, and other publications. He received his MFA from Columbia University, and is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. He has served as an adjunct faculty member in theatre departments at UCSB, Columbia University, University of Utah, and Monmouth University.
Sean Alexander Bart (Music Director) is honored to work with Ensemble Theatre. Originally from San Francisco, he's worked onstage and off with many top NorCal theaters, including Berkeley Rep, Theatreworks, and ACT. He received his BA in Vocal Performance from SF Conservatory of Music, also excelling in piano and acting. Today he is a sought-after vocal coach, music director, actor and accompanist. Sean tours frequently with Ragazzi Boys Chorus, recently to Montreal and Cuba, and this coming summer to South Africa. He was on the Notre Dame de Namur University Vocal Department staff for classical and musical theater. His extensive experience in other genres includes pop and rock projects, jazz, cabaret and a large assortment of original songs and compositions. He is currently collaborating on a piano/voice-duo reimagining of Queen songs. Sean became a Tom Waits fan upon first hearing “T’aint No Sin” as a teenager.
Heather Castillo (Choreographer) is thrilled to be making her choreographic debut with Ensemble Theatre in Santa Barbara. Credits include Meet Me In St. Louis, The Sound of Music (Ovation Nominee for Best Musical in 2011), She Loves Me (Backstage Critics Pick), Loving Repeating (Critics Pick of the Week, LA Times), Suessical (Best Choreography from BroadwayWorld.com), Cinderella, The King and I, 1940’s Radio Hour, The Fix, Annie, and For a Look or a Touch. Heather is a dance researcher and is currently working on a film documentary focusing on the lives of ensemble dancers during Golden Era movie musicals from 1940-1965. She is a Professor of Performing Arts in Dance at California State University Channel Islands.
François-Pierre Couture (Scenic Designer) originally from Canada, discovered his love for theatre and the arts in the extraordinary diverse cultural scene of Montréal. Work from artist such as Robert Lepage, Jocelyne Montpetit, Cirque du Soleil, Lalala Human Step, Dominic Champagne and Ariane Mnouchkine contributed in shaping his visual aesthetic and taste. After completing a degree in Theatre and Fine Arts at Concordia University, he set sail to California to complete a Masters degree at UCLA in Scenic and Lighting design. Little did he know he would discover in Los Angeles a rich artistic milieu that would soon become his new home. Since then he has worked continuously around the U.S. Some of his works include the scenery and lighting design for the critically acclaimed production of Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Actor’s Gangs Theater, scenery for Médée for the Chicago Opera Theater, Scenery, lighting, and projections for Maestro at the Geffen Playhouse, scenery for Beethoven as I knew Him at the San Diego Old Globe (also at the Geffen Playhouse, Chicago Water Tower, Phoenix and Tucson Herberger Theatre Center, Cleveland Bolton Theatre), lighting for Opus at Ensemble Theatre Company, scenery for 1951-2006 at the LATC, lighting for Dementia at the LATC, scenery for Jewtopia at the Greenway Court Theatre, scenery and lighting for KLÜB and Gulliver’s Travels at the Actors’ Gang Theatre, scenery and lighting for Wounded, Spring Awakening, and Survived at the Power House Theatre. Mr. Couture has been nominated for an Ovation Award for his scenic design of A Picasso at the Los Angeles Geffen Playhouse, received the 2010 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for Sustained Achievement in Set Design, received a Garland Award for the scenery of The Quality of Life, also at the Geffen Playhouse, was nominated for Best Scenic Design for Stranger at the 2010 LA Weekly Awards, and received the 2010 Ticket Holder Award for Best Lighting Design for Solitude at the LATC. For complete information, please visit www.fpcouture.com.
Kate Bergh (Costume Design) is delighted to be designing her third production at Ensemble Theatre Company where she has designed Metamorphoses and A Little Night Music Kate has worked on several productions at The Colony Theatre including The Lion in Winter, The Morini Strad, Blame it on Beckett, The Savannah Disputations directed by Cameron Watson, American Fiesta, and Old Wicked Songs. At Pasadena Playhouse she designed Sleepless in Seattle: the Musical, Under My Skin, Art, South Street, and Amahl and the Night Visitors. At Reprise Theatre she designed Cabaret, for which she received a Backstage Garland Award for Best Costume Design, Gigi, How to Succeed in Business..., The Fantasticks, directed by Jason Alexander, They’re Playing Our Song, I Love My Wife, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. At The Geffen Playhouse she designed Next Fall and Yes, Prime Minister Her recent foray into the world of science fiction had her designing 11 one-act plays in two weeks for Sci-Fest 2014 and her videos of Firefall and World of Tanks Rap Battle are showing all over the Internet. Two of her recent short films, Cash for Gold and In Confidence, have been on the festival circuit. She received an Ovation Nomination for her design of Shrek: the Musical for 3-D Theatricals, and has been named "Costume Designer of the Year" two years in a row. Her most rewarding assignment is designing for the "Night at Sardi’s" Alzheimer’s Benefit every year – always a challenge, a highlight, and for a very good cause. Kate is honored to be a part of this production of Woyzeck at Ensemble Theatre Company.
Pablo Santiago-Brandwein (Lighting Design) has enjoyed over 15 years experience lighting for stage, film, and TV. Pablo is nominated for the 2015 Stage Raw Award for Best Lighting Design for his work on The Brothers Size at Fountain Theater. In addition, he was nominated for a 2014 Ovation Award for Best Lighting Design for Premeditation at LATC and was nominated for the 2014 LA Weekly Award for Best Lighting Design for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at Actors Co-Op Theater. He won a "Memorable Design" Scenie Award in 2014 for The Brothers Size and Time Stands Still at Chance Theater. He is also the winner of the Cirque Du Soleil Scholarship Award. His work has been seen at Disney Hall, LA Philharmonic, and Latino Theater Co. at the Getty Villa. Pablo is a Lecturer in Lighting Design at the Department of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA. For more information on his film work, check his IMDB profile, or visit pablosantiagodesign.com.
Julie Ferrin (Sound Designer) is honored to be with Ensemble Theatre Company and the New Vic for another fantastic show! It is always great to work in Santa Barbara! Julie recently designed Suessical, starring Cathy Rigby, with 3D Theatricals, Jesus Christ Superstar with DOMA Theatre Company and the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer tour, with HERKON Entertainment. She is president of Sound Advice LLC, a sound design, engineering and rental company. Please visit www.soundadvicedesigns.com for more information and follow on Facebook at Sound Advice LLC. Julie is a proud member of USA 829. Thank you for supporting the arts and enjoy the show!
Amy Lieberman, CSA (Casting) has worked with Ensemble Theatre Company for seven seasons. The recipient of six CSA Artios Awards, with a total of twelve nominations. Broadway: The Dinner Party, Flower Drum Song, Big River. Recent Past: Reprise Theatre Company for three seasons. Center Theatre Group (Mark Taper Forum/Ahmanson/Kirk Douglas) 1999–2006, 1983-1989. Many regional theatres throughout the states as well as locally. L.A. TheatreWorks, Pasadena Playhouse, Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Granada, KCRW, Sundance Theatre Lab, Deaf West, Theatre@Boston Court, Falcon Theatre, Hollywood Theatre of the Ear. Film and television throughout the 90’s. Visiting Assoc. Prof. UCLA- MFA 3rd yr. graduate program 2007-2013.
Anna Jensen (Dramaturg) happily returns to Ensemble after serving as Dramaturg for Intimate Apparel, The Best Brothers, Amadeus, Looped, Red, Metamorphoses, Good People, A Little Night Music, Creditors, Crime and Punishment, and The Liar. In March of 2013, Austin College in Texas produced her new translation and adaptation of When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen. She has her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, where she majored in Rhetoric, focusing on the rhetoric of historical discourse. Her master’s degree was from UC Santa Barbara, where she wrote on the playwright August Strindberg’s dramas as interpreted by the film and stage director Ingmar Bergman. Her dissertation research, also at UC Santa Barbara, considers how Norse Saga material was instrumental to Henrik Ibsen’s dramaturgy. She teaches full-time in Santa Barbara at the Brooks Institute.
Aleah Van Woert (Stage Manager) is pleased to be stage managing her third season with ETC. Previous credits include Black Pearl Sings!, Crime and Punishment, Bell, Book and Candle, The Liar, The Year of Magical Thinking, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Little Night Music, Good People, Metamorphoses, Red, Looped, Amadeus, The Best Brothers, and Intimate Apparel. A resident of Santa Barbara for nine years, she has also stage managed over 20 shows for PCPA Theaterfest in Santa Maria and Solvang, including All My Sons, Hairspray, Caroline or Change, Pride and Prejudice, Peter Pan, Songs for a New World, Curtains, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Heart’s Desire, Art, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Originally from Fallon, Nevada, she graduated in 2003 from Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre Arts, emphasis in Stage Management.
- Book Club: April 21, 2015. Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk: April 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm. Join us in the courtyard of the New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night: April 24, 2015 at 7:00pm; performance at 8:00pm. Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- Pre-Show Talk: April 29, 2015 at 7:15 pm. Join us in the courtyard of the New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Talk Back: April 30, 2015. Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
By Lynn Nottage
February 5-22, 2015
Utterly capitivating" –Broadwayworld.com
Set in New York in 1905, this story of an African-American woman who sews “intimate apparel” for clients ranging from wealthy white ladies to prostitutes plays against a backdrop of cathouses, ragtime, and massive European immigration. Still unmarried at the age of 35, Esther’s life is upended when a foreign stranger starts to write her love letters, even though she harbors a secret love for an Orthodox Jewish tailor. Directed by Saundra McClain. With support from Elaine and Herb Kendall.
L to R. Karole Foreman, Jon Levenson
Tell me about Intimate Apparel. Why should I see it?
Partly a love story and partly a confrontation of race and religion, Intimate Apparel reaches across a century of discrimination and gender inequality to remind us that, deep-down, we’re all searching for the same things – a sense of purpose, a professional pursuit that makes us happy and, most importantly, someone to love us. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage has penned a striking play to keep us grounded in a time when we are too often focused on an external locus of control, disappointed by our outward appearance, or bound by a set of rules forced on us by our socio-economic class.
The play will resonate with anyone who has loved too hard, or too easily. It will ring true to those who have missed their opportunity to be with “the one” because of uncontrollable circumstances. It’s perfect for those who read Buzzfeed articles on “being your best self.” Set in 1905, it is a window into the past, while simultaneously being a reflection of the present. Beautiful costumes, superb acting, and dynamite story telling make this show a regular fixture in theatres across the county, and a must-see for Santa Barbara audiences.
Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Heather Ayers (Mrs. Van Buren) is thrilled to be returning to ETC after appearing as Charlotte in A Little Night Music. Heather’s Broadway credits include Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, with Harry Connick Jr., and Trevor Nunn’s A Little Night Music. Off-Broadway, she has been seen in several Encores! productions, including Five Course Love, Forbidden Broadway, and Sarah, Plain, and Tall. Regionally, Heather has performed at St. Louis Rep, Kansas City Rep, Yale Rep, The Old Globe, Barrington Stage, and Cincinnati Playhouse, among others. TV credits include “Scandal,” “The Exes,” “Lights Out,” and “Z Rock.” Thanks BBR!
Peggy Blow (Mrs. Dickson) is a veteran, German-born actress, has been performing professionally over the span of years, and has garnered numerous theatrical awards and nominations. Most recently, she played Lula Green in the Antheus Theatre production of Wedding Band. Prior to this, she won a 2013 Best Ensemble Ovation Award for In The Red and Brown Water in Los Angeles at the Fountain Theatre. Additionally, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the same production. Peggy's television resume is equally as extensive as her theatrical. "Castle," "Dexter," "Crash & Bernstein," and "Delirium" are just a few of her most recent credits. Her ability to perform in all media is testament to her endless talent.
Karole Foreman (Esther) recently appeared as Julia Augustine in Anteaus Theater's production of The Wedding Band. She also won the 2014 OC Weekly "Best of" Award for her portrayal of Diana Goodman in Next to Normal with Cal REP. Long Beach Opera: Difficulty of Crossing a Field and Queenie Pie. PCPA: Caroline or Change (Caroline). Alliance Theatre: Jelly’s Last Jam (Anita). Mandalay Bay: Tanya in MAMA MIA! Worked with L.A. Women’s Shakespeare Co., two seasons with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and performed in numerous regional theaters across the country. Awards: Suzi Bass for Jelly’s Last Jam, Garland for As Bees in Honey Drown, Robby Nomination for Carla, Drama Logue Awards for Minamata, The Illusion and The Whole World is Watching. TV: "The Kroll Show," "Pretty Little Liars," "See Dad Run," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Bones," "Medium," "Law & Order," "Third Watch," and "The Bold and the Beautiful." Film: 42. www.karoleforeman.com
Jon Levenson (Mr. Marks) is honored to be returning to ETC and joining the cast and creative team of Intimate Apparel. He was last seen at ETC as Danny in Looped. Jon has appeared in the American Conservatory Theatre and Arena Stage productions of The Normal Heart and covered several roles in the 2011 Broadway production. Off-Broadway, Levenson played Harold in the 40th anniversary revival of The Boys in the Band at Transport Group. Other Off-Broadway credits include Gaslight and The Hairy Ape at Irish Repertory Theatre, and Crime and Punishment at 59E59. Regionally, Levenson played Orlando in As You Like It and The Baker in Into the Woods at Clarence Brown Theatre, and Treplev in The Seagull at Porchlight Theatre. Film/TV Credits include: Better Half (2014), “Modern Family,” “Guiding Light,” The Gift, and Glacial Erratics. He received his first M.F.A. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and is a proud SAG-AFTRA and AEA member. Levenson is currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts through UC Riverside. A big thanks for everything to Connor Ankrum and Associates.
A.K. Murtadha (George) is a classically trained American actor (MFA, UC San Diego). A.K. has played roles from Shakespeare (Othello, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona) to Noël Coward (Sandy Tyrell in Hay Fever) and August Wilson (Floyd Barton in Seven Guitars), worked in major American repertory theatres (La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre), and acted in roles on daytime and primetime TV ("NCIS-LA," "All My Children," "Raising the Bar," "The Unit," "Medium," "Numb3rs"). A.K. is pleased to be joining Ensemble Theatre company of Santa Barbara for the first time after playing the empathic camera-man, Gamaliel, in New Wave Entertainment’s first feature film Redstone (horror). He won the Best Actor award in the New Orleans Short Film Festival for playing an Iraqi War vet returning home after Hurricane Katrina in In the Wind and played Chris Keller in the Matrix Theatre Co.’s production of All My Sons, (Winner NAACP Award: Best Ensemble). He was also the Featured Guest Artist in Auburn University’s production of Suzanne Lori-Parks' The America Play in the role of The Foundling Father. He looks forward to, “God Willing, acting in the next Emmy award winning TV series or in any feature opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins!” Member: Actors Equity Association, SAG/AFTRA. www.akmurtadha.com
Leilani Smith (Mayme) was born in Osan City, South Korea and is half Korean, half Black — or, as she puts it, part kimchee, part cornbread. Leilani received her 1st degree black belt in 2007, specializing in a blend of Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Jiu Jit Su. Leilani is currently training and teaching with Allen Levin at Lifebook Acting Academy in Improv and scene study. She also trained with Jeffery Brooks of Red Rock Ent./Inner Circle Theatre in Audition Technique, Daryl James & Ivana Chubback in the Master class and Bennet Guillory of the Robey Theatre Company. Leilani is the creator, one of the writers, and the lead of the upcoming dramatic thriller web series "JANE." In 2014 she was on stage in Flyin' West at ICT, in the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival's Four Tree Plays, and is a jogger getting chased by Sally Field and Tyne Daly in the upcoming film Hello My Name is Doris. She's working on her one woman show, People are f%@$&#ing Ridiculous, which has showcased excerpts at the Two Roads Theatre. Leilani was involved in Discovery Channel's 2010 "The Colony." She is truly amazed and in awe to be a part of Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara's production of Intimate Apparel, and is thankful to Yuliya Rodriguez, Saundra McClain, Amy Leiberman and Jonathan Fox.
- Book Club: February 11, 2015. Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk: February 11, 2015 at 7:15 pm. Join us in the courtyard of the New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night: February 13, 2015 at 7:00pm; performance at 8:00pm. Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- Valentine's Day: February 14, 2015 at 4pm and 8pm. Join us for a sweet treat during intermission.
- Pre-Show Talk: February 18, 2015 at 7:15 pm. Join us in the courtyard of the New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Jewish Culture Night: February 19, 2015 at 7:15pm. Celebrating Santa Barbara's Jewish community, your ticket includes the performance and complimentary wine before the show.
- Talk Back: February 19, 2015. Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
By Daniel MacIvor
December 4-21, 2014
Comedy at its purest" -The Toronto Star
The U.S. premiere of a new comedy. Kyle Best has been estranged from his brother, Hamilton, until their mother dies in a freak accident at a gay pride parade, crushed by a drunken drag queen. As the two brothers meet to iron out details of their mother’s funeral, they wrestle with the long-simmering questions of whom Mom loved more and who’ll get her dog. A hit at the Stratford Festival, this bittersweet comedy is surprising and touching. Directed by Brian Shnipper. Production Sponsored by Dana White.
Kasey Mahaffy and Michael Polak photo David Bazemore.
What is The Best Brothers like? Should I see it?
A bittersweet comedy about family, furry friends, and the unforseen, unplanned moments in our lives -- The Best Brothers is sure to resonante with anyone who has had a spat with a sibling, felt an inseparable bond with a pet, or argued over the undeniable importance of chocolate cake. The perfect fit for those who enjoy the awkward laughs and sentimental tears that come from the [often forced] family relationships found in Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited, or the recent book-turned-film, This is Where I Leave You. Lover's of last season's Good People, or fans of the mismatched banter found in Neil Simon, Samuel Beckett, or Tom Stoppard plays will get swept up in the eccentricity of Kyle and Hamilton's brotherly relationship. Recommended ages 10 and up.
Kasey Mahaffy (Kyle Best) Kasey Mahaffy is thrilled to be back at ETC after The Violet Hour some years ago. Other theatre credits include: the world premier of Partners at the 2014 Humana Festival; Crimes of the Heart, Taking Steps at South Coast Rep; Clybourne Park, Metamorphoses at Pioneer Theatre Company; You, Nero at Arena Stage and Berkeley Rep; The Miracle Worker, Assassins at Berkshire Theatre Festival; The Merchant of Venice at Portland Center Stage; The Last Night of Ballyhoo, The Winter’s Tale at PCPA; and Tartuffe, Much Ado About Nothing at Sonnet Rep in New York City. Television: Rick Joy on HBO’s "Getting On," "Franklin & Bash," "American Horror Story: Asylum," "Castle," "Bad Teacher," "CSI," "Bones," "Law & Order: LA," "Medium," "ER," among others.
Michael Polak (Hamilton Best) is thrilled to be back at Ensemble Theatre after playing Kippy in Take Me Out. His New York credits include Soldier’s Wife at the Mint Theatre. Regional Credits: Rabbit Hole (La Mirada Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, You Can’t Take It With You, (Pioneer Theatre Company), Doubt (Northern Stage), Turn of the Screw (Delaware Theatre Company), Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare), The Story (Philadelphia Theater Company), Take Me Out (Caldwell Theatre Company) – New Times Award winner and Carbonell Award nominee for the role of Shane Mungitt. Much Ado About Nothing (The Shakespeare Theatre & Hartford Stage), The Laramie Project (Playmaker’s Repertory Theatre), Edward II (A.C.T.), Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (West Coast Premiere), and Dracula (Cape Playhouse), among others. T.V & Film Credits: "The Young and the Restless," "All My Children," "Guiding Light," Sticks & Stones, and Compossibility Theory. Michael received his M.F.A. from Pennsylvania State University.
Daniel MacIvor (Playwright) has been creating theatre since 1986. A writer/performer/director and Artistic Director/Founder of da da kamera. His plays include Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Yes I Am and Who Are You?, See Bob Run, Wild Abandon, This is a Play, 2-2 Tango, The Soldier Dreams, Marion Bridge, and You are Here and In On It. His play, Never Swim Alone won the award for Over All Excellence at the 1999 New York Fringe Festival and was remounted Off Broadway at the Soho Playhouse in 2000. With long-time collaborator Daniel Brooks, he has created The Lorca Play, House, and Here Lies Henry and Monster, which have travelled through Canada, the U.S., Europe, Israel, and Australia. Also a film-maker, Daniel's projects include writing the award winning short film "The Fairy Who Didn't Want to be a Fairy Anymore" and writing and directing "Parade" (with Brad Fraser), "Permission," "Until I Hear From You," and "Sydney That Summer" (for da da kamera). Daniel recently finished his first feature film, "Past Perfect." Daniel can also be seen in Thom Fitzgerald's "Beefcake", Don McKellar's CBC Series "Twitch City" and Jeremy Podeswa's film "The Five Senses," for which Daniel was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Performance as an Actor. The Village Voice and the New York theatre community recently honoured Daniel by presenting a Village Voice OBIE award to him in recognition of In On It.
Brian Shnipper (Director) is happy to be back at Ensemble Theatre Company after directing Red, Opus, and Bell, Book, and Candle. He conceived and directed the world premiere of Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays (Los Angeles Drama Critics Award) at the Coronet Theatre where it was hailed in the Los Angeles Times as “a burgeoning phenomenon” and a “vital achievement.” It has since been performed in over 70 theatres across the world including the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York, ACT in San Francisco, La Jolla Playhouse, Trinity Rep, and Syracuse Stage. Celebrities who have performed include Debra Messing, Zachary Quinto, Alfre Woodard, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Matthew Broderick, Kathy Najimi and Amy Brenneman to name a few. Off Broadway: Standing on Ceremony (New York Theatre Workshop), the world premiere of Will Scheffer’s Alien Boy (OOBR Award), Lubna, and Family Commitment (EST). Regional credits include A View of the Mountains (Pasadena Playhouse), Miracle on South Division Street (Colony Theatre), Voice of Good Hope about the life of Barbara Jordan starring Frankie Faison (Luna Stage – Star Ledger’s pick for the Year's 10 Best). The world premiere of Wendy MacLeod’s Undescended, Say You Love Satan, and All the Rage (Attic Theatre - Artistic Director 2008 - 2010). He served as Artistic Director for 12 Miles West Theatre Company in New Jersey (1998 - 2001) where his credits include the world premieres of Joyce Carol Oates’ Separated and Nagle Jackson’s Barney Downsized. Other 12MW credits: Bluff, Private Eyes, All the Rage, Three Viewings, The Notebook of Trigorin, A Hotel on Marvin Gardens, The Water Children, The Misanthrope, Brutality of Fact, The Complete History of America (Abridged), and Hitting for the Cycle. Mr. Shnipper returned to his alma mater, Montclair State University, to direct Lanford Wilson’s Balm in Gilead which was a regional finalist for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival.
- Book Club, December 10, 2014. Scripts are now available for checkout at the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street. Join other theatregoers for a lively discussion about the play from a literary and dramatic perspective. FREE!
- Pre-Show Talk, December 10 and 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm. Join us in the courtyard of The New Vic for an informative and insightful discussion about the play before you see it, sure to enhance your theatrical experience.
- Martini Night, December 12, 2014 at 7:00pm; performance at 8:00pm. Free to ticket holders. Come early to enjoy a complimentary martini and mingle before the show.
- LGBT Pride Night, December 18, 2014 at 7:15pm. Celebrating Santa Barbara's LGBT community, your ticket includes the performance and complimentary wine before the show.
- Talk Back, December 18, 2014. Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.