By Allan Knee
Directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill
Choreography by William Soleau
A collaboration with State Street Ballet
June 8–25, 2017
Ensemble Theatre Company closes the 2016-17 Season with a magical romance set in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1910’s. Desperate for an escape from his solitary life as a meatpacker and dishwasher, Henry places a classified ad in the newspaper in hopes of landing a dance partner. When the shy Anna answers his ad, Henry’s dreams of becoming a ballroom dancer are put to the test… but with each tango and foxtrot they are drawn closer together, setting off an unlikely romance. A fascinating blend of theater and dance from playwright Allen Knee, author of Little Women and The Man Who Was Peter Pan — the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film, Finding Neverland.
Sponsored by: Leatrice Luria and Bob and Leah Temkin
2016-17 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation.
“With charm and grace, [Syncopation] dances into the audience's hearts.” Detroit Free Press
Syncopation premiered in 1999 and received an American Theater Critics Award for Best New Play. The play has been performed at numerous regional theatres throughout the country, and was originally slated for a Broadway debut in 2004.
SARA BROPHY(Anna) is delighted to make her Ensemble Theatre Company debut! She's been on Broadway in Amazing Grace, off-Broadway in Iron Curtain, and traveled across the great United States, both on tour with Damn Yankees! (Lola), and at several regional theatres. Some favorites include Singin' in the Rain (Kathy), Sister Act, and Chicago (Velma). Ms Brophy loves bringing new works and characters to life, both on stage and film (In the Night (Laura)).
ZANDER MEISNER (Henry) is thrilled to be doing such great theatre in this awesome town. West coast audiences may recognize him from Once at the Pantages in Hollywood while on its First National Tour, and in Annie at the Kodak (Dolby) Theatre in Hollywood while on its twenty-third National tour. Favorite theatres: Northlight and Apple Tree Theatre (Chicago), Kitchen Theatre, Drilling Company, New Ohio Theatre, Engeman Theatre (NY), several NYC fringe productions, and three national tours. Recipient of the Denver Post Ovation Award for Best Actor in a Musical. An accomplished actor, musician, songwriter, and educator, he has been honored to perform onstage with Glen Hansard, and was recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal. Indiana Grad. AEA. zandermeisner.com.
- Book Club, Jun 14, 2017, 5:30 - 6:30pm: 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, Jun 14 & 21, 2017 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, Jun 16, 2017 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, Jun 22, 2017: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
"Syncopation, which runs June 8-25 at Ensemble Theatre Company’s (ETC) New Vic, takes the already considerable challenge of a two-person show and raises the stakes by adding dance to the acting." Read more of the Santa Barbara Independent preview.
"Ensemble Theatre Company has focused the 2016/17 season on stories of interesting couples, from Shakespeare's power-hungry MacBeths to Tennessee Williams' Baby Doll and Archie Lee, a forced marriage with a faucet-fixing interloper. The final piece this season, Allan Knee's Syncopation, features two distinct couples: Anna and Henry, the main characters who are learning to ballroom dance together; and a narrative told through the interlacing of theatre and dance." Read more of the Broadway World preview.
"A tuneful nod to dance and lifestyles of America’s early 1900s is making toes tap and audiences clap at the Ensemble Theatre Company’s “Syncopation,” on stage at The New Vic through June 25." Read the Ventura County Star review
"In this breezy and sparkling production of Allan Knee’s original play, the actors perform all manner of entertaining routines, from difficult period dances to equally challenging physical portrayals of awkwardness, humility, and even high-spirited fun." Read the Santa Barbara Independent review
"The production is directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill with effortless poise, skill, and pace; and Choreographed by William Soleau with ever increasing dexterity and fluidity..." Read the CASA Magazine review
Screenplay by Tennessee Williams
Adapted for the stage by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann
Directed by Jenny Sullivan
April 13-30, 2017
ETC presents Tennessee Williams’ steamy and sensual Baby Doll, based on the 1956 Golden Globe-winning film of the same name. Set in the Mississippi Delta, 19 year-old “Baby Doll” is stuck in the middle of a vicious competition between two rival cotton gin owners; Archie, her husband through arranged marriage, and Silva, a foreigner unwelcome in her community. After Silva suspects Archie of burning down his cotton gin, he sets his eyes on Baby Doll, hatching a plot to seduce the vulnerable young bride.
Crackling with Tennessee Williams’ trademark humor and sensitivity, Baby Doll is a “must-see spring production” says the Santa Barbara Independent. Sponsored by Ceil and Michael Pulitzer.
2016-17 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation.Top Photo:Lily Nicksay and Asher Grodman. Photography: David Bazemore
“Stunning... rife with suppressed burning desires and dangerous manipulation” NJ.com
"Baby Doll shows you what steamy really means." Philly.com
"The play, adapted for the stage by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann... wove together the themes of deception and innocence with a great deal of artistry... Baby Doll will entertain you See it!" Broadway World
Asher Grodman (Silva) is thrilled to make his Ensemble Theatre Company debut. He has worked extensively in regional theater, most recently playing the title role in Amadeus at South Coast Rep. Other regional credits include world premiere productions of Pride and Prejudice (Center Stage) and The Dodgers, A Christmas Carol, and Napoli at The American Conservatory Theater, and Stones in His Pockets, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Shrek the Musical. His Off-Broadway credits include Art****ers (DR2/Theater for a New City) and The Disappearance of Jonah. Film/TV credits include "Law and Order" (NBC), "As the World Turns" (CBS), and "Handsome Harry," starring Steve Buscemi and Campbell Scott. Asher Grodman is also the writer/director/producer of the award-winning short film, The Train, starring Academy Award winner Eli Wallach. Playing Silva in this production of Baby Doll is particularly special because Eli Wallach was a hero of mine, and originated the role in the 1956 film directed by Elia Kazan. For more information on the film, visit www.trainshortfilm.com Twitter/IG: @trainshortfilm. Asher holds a BA in Film and English from Columbia University in New York and an MFA in Acting from The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. www.ashergrodman.com, Twitter/IG: @ashergrodman. Special thanks to my Mom and Dad, Susie, Joannie, Dana, Tyee, Jonathan, Camille, Victoria and grandma Phil. And Bo and Tag.
Shawn Law (Archie) is more than delighted to make his Ensemble Theatre Company debut, and happy as heck to be working with some of Mr. Williams' words again! Most recently seen as Don In Rapture, Blister, Burn at San Diego Repertory Theatre, he has supported and starred in dozens of productions on such stages as Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman, ACT, Seattle Shakespeare Company, and Book-It Repertory. Shawn has toured Alaska and the U.K. He's played Hamlet, Stanley Kowalski, Marc Antony, Bottom, and Albert Einstein, to name a few. Shawn is a recipient of a Seattle Times Footlight Award for Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Everett Millais in The Countess. Television: "Criminal Minds," "Grimm," "Game Shakers." Please visit shawnlaw.me for more.
Lily Nicksay (Baby Doll) is delighted to be making her Ensemble Theatre debut. Most recently, Lily has starred in The Nibroc Trilogy by Arlene Hutton at the Rubicon Theatre; Last Train to Nibroc (Ovation Nomination – Best Production [large theatre], LA Times Critics Choice), See Rock City (Ovation Award – Best Lead Actress in a Play, Santa Barbara Independent Indy Award – Best Performance, LA Times Critics Choice), Gulf View Drive (Ovation Recommended, LA Times Critics Choice). Other theater credits include The Wild Duck at A Noise Within (Ovation Nomination - Best Featured Actress), and A Singular They at The Blank Theatre (StageSceneLA Award – Best Performance, LADCC Special Award – Outstanding World Premiere). Lily originated the role of Morgan Matthews in the long-running ABC television show "Boy Meets World," and reprised the role for the Disney Channel show "Girl Meets World." Other film and television roles include the upcoming feature Killing Animals (executive produced by James Franco), The Negotiator, Up Close & Personal, and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, with guest appearances on "The Mentalist," "The Guardian," "8 Simple Rules," and "Judging Amy." She received her MA degree in Latin and Ancient Greek from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. www.LilyNicksay.com
Wendy Phillips (Aunt Rose) was born in Brooklyn, New York, the only daughter of actors Wendell Phillips and Jean Shelton. Since arriving in Los Angeles in 1974 and starring in the ABC movie Death Be Not Proud, she has worked in television drama, sitcom and feature films ever since. In a career spanning more than forty years Wendy has starred in seven television series including the Emmy award-winning "A Year in the Life," "Homefront," "The Robert Guillaume Show" (the first primetime series built around an interracial couple), the final, zany year of "Falcon Crest," and three delirious years in Utah filming "Promised Land." She has guest starred in nearly a hundred episodes of television. In feature films, she played Robert DeNiro's ex-wife In Midnight Run and Warren Beatty's wife in Bugsy. A much younger, comedic Wendy tossed quips in Airplane 2. For HBO, Wendy played a recurring sister-wife on the long-running polygamist drama "Big Love" (with the late Bill Paxton) and a PR flack on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." In L.A. theater, she has done Horton Foote's The Roads to Home and Harrison, Texas, Laura Richardson's Come Back Little Horny and Lisa James' production of The Visible Horse. She starred in Moon Over Buffalo at The Open Fist Theater. Wendy was proud to perform as Linda Loman opposite Stuart Margolin in Death of a Salesman, directed by Jenny Sullivan.
- Book Club, Apr 19, 2017, 5:30 - 6:30pm: 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, Apr 19 & 26, 2017 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, Apr 21, 2017 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, Apr 27, 2017: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
“...A must-see spring production. Commanding performances and transportive design... a beautifully constructed example of theater magic!" SB Independent
“A rare gem not to be missed!" Montecito Journal
Composed by George Gershwin
Libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin
Musical Score Adapted by Diedre L. Murray
Music Direction, Additional Arrangements and Orchestrations
by Kevin Toney
Directed by Jonathan Fox
February 9-26, 2017
The season continues with a bold jazz interpretation of the great American musical Porgy and Bess, composed by George Gershwin, with a libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin. Adapted for the Broadway stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, Father Comes Home from the Wars), Porgy and Bess tells the tragic story of the love between a crippled beggar and a beautiful yet broken former cocaine addict and prostitute. Working with a live jazz ensemble, the musical features beloved songs, including “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” Sponsored by Sara Miller McCune and Lee Luria. With Support from Elaine and Mike Gray • Elaine and Herbert Kendall • Debby and Peter Stalker • Dana White
Additional Support provided by Eve Bernstein • The Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival
2016-17 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation.
A bold jazz reorchestration, set in 1960s South Carolina.
"Be prepared for a powerful theatrical experience with the George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward opera Porgy and Bess on stage at the New Vic. The 1935 pageant of the life and times of impoverished black people on Charleston’s Catfish Row has been praised, criticized, and reworked over the years. But, I feel sure, never sung more movingly." Santa Barbara Independent
Peggy Blow* (Mariah) began her theatrical career in musical theatre and has weaved through the years with dramatic and comedic offerings as well. Ms. Blow returns to the ETC stage for a second time, having performed the role of Mrs. Dickson in the 2015 production of Intimate Apparel. She continues an illustrious theatrical career here in Santa Barbara and will join the Open Fist Theatre Company in Los Angeles for a six week run of The Gary Cycle Plays, immediately following this run of Porgy and Bess. No stranger to television audiences, you’ve seen her guest star in many prime time favorites, and you can see Peggy in several that are upcomig, including Showtime’s "I'm Dying up Here" as Agnes, the FX production of "Snowfall" as Granny Coca, and the Net ix production of "The Real Bob," where she plays Amelia, just to name a few. She is proudly represented by SMITH & HERVEY/GRIMES TALENT AGENCY.
Philip Brandon* (Mingo) is ecstatic to be returning to the beautiful New Vic Theatre! He was last seen in ETC's production of Woyzeck as the "Carnival Announcer." Broadway National Tours: The Color Purple (Preacher/Ol' Mister). Regional: frozen - Live at the hyperion (Grand Pabbie/Guard),Tarzan (Kerchak), Ain't Misbehavin' (Ken), Ragtime (Coalhouse). Opera: Iceland (The Bull), Porgy And Bess (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). In addition to being a member of multi platinum rock group Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Phillip is currently recording a new album on the heels of success of his Billboard Smooth Jazz acclaimed debut. www.phillipbrandon.com. Follow me on social media: @PhillipBrandon2.
Aaron Braxton (Robbins)has a career that spans the genres of theatre, television, and film. As a writer and performer, his critically acclaimed solo play, Did You Do Your homework? garnered several national and international awards including a NAACP Image Award and an International Romanian Gala Star. Hailing from Roxbury, MA, he currently makes his residence in Los Angeles. A graduate of San Diego State University, and a Masters graduate of USC, he has authored several books and plays. Most recently having written and directed the solo show Belafonte Unauthorized, about artist and activist Harry Belafonte. In addition, he has starred, guest starred, or co-starred in several lm, TV and theatrical release productions including "Scorpion," "Bad Judge", "CSI Miami," "Hoover Park," "The District," "Beverly Hills 90210," The Secret Life of Jeffrey Dahmer, Killer Cop, "Video Game High School," recurring roles on "General Hospital," and "Days of Our Lives," hair, Dreamgirls, and A Raisin in the Sun, as well as a supporting role the upcoming feature lm, Slamma Jamma, in theatres March 24th. Current writing projects in preproduction include the play, Broken, the TV pilot, "The Sub of Anywhere U.S.D., the lm, A Condition of faith, and the novel, "Jesse and the Caterpillar That Got His Wings."
Ashley Lynette Brown* (Clara) - a proud NYU Tisch grad, is blown away that she gets to be part of this incredible production and cast! Favorite credits: Recorded in Hollywood (Ovation Award nominee), Female Swing in We Are the Tigers (Ovation Award Winner), Gena/Reagan Understudy in Bachelorette, Denise in Summer School: the Stage Parody, Toshi in Jacqueline Woodson's Show Way (Alliance Award nominee), Chiffon in Little Shop of horrors, Ti Moune in Once On This Island, and Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar. Ashley got her start in a commercial directed by iconic director Spike Lee and has gone on to appear in over 15 national commercials and several TV shows. Love to my fam, Nancy, Aaron and ETC! IG: @AshleyisBrown www.AshleyLBrown.com
Karole Foreman* (Bess) recently appeared in haunted house Party at the Getty Villa and Stupid f’ing Bird at Cygnet Theatre in San Diego. Other productions include Sweeney Todd and Intimate Apparel with Ensemble Theatre Company, fences (International City Theater), Wedding Band (Antaeus Theatre Company), Next to Normal (Cal Rep), Difficulty of Crossing A field and Queenie Pie (Long Beach Opera), Caroline or Change (PCPA), Parade and Jelly’s Last Jam (The Mark Taper and The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta), and Mama Mia! (Mandalay Bay, Vegas). Karole worked with the L.A. Women’s Shakespeare Co., did two seasons with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and performed in numerous regional theaters across the country. Awards: NAACP Nomination for fences, Stage Raw Nomination for Wedding Band, 2014 OC Weekly Award for Next to Normal, Suzi Bass Award for Jelly’s Last Jam (Atlanta), Garland for As Bees in honey Drown, Drama Logue / Awards for Minamata and The Illusion. TV: "Rebel," "Glow," "Kingdom," "Training Day," "The Young and the Restless," "Heartbeat," "Stitchers," "Jane the Virgin," Adam Ruins Everything," "Gortimer Gibbons," "Switched at Birth," "Rizzoli and Isles," "Murder in the First," "Pretty Little Liars," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Bones," "Medium," Law and Order," "Third Watch," "The Bold and the Beautiful." Film: 42, Rebirth, and Buddy Solitaire.
Brian Harwell (Detective) is a Santa Barbara resident last seen on the ETC stage playing Steve in Looped and Carl the cellist in Opus. He has performed in or directed over fifty productions on the Central Coast during the past fteen years, earning Independent Awards for his performance as Richard York in Death of Kings, Jack in The Designated Mourner, Warwick in henry VI, part iii, the three clones in A Number, Mr. Webb in Our Town, James in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, John Barrymore in I hate hamlet, and for his direction of Return Engagements. Other notable local productions include Sherlock Holmes in The hound of the Baskervilles, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Clov in Endgame, Bill W. in Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men, Leslie in Seascape, Austin in True West (Four Star Theatre Award), Greg in Sylvia, Ed Carmichael in You Can’t Take it With You, and Pastor Manders in Ghosts. He received a B.A. from Williams College and is the Undergraduate Advisor for the Department of Theater and Dance at U.C. Santa Barbara.
Frank Lawson* (Sporting Life) has performed all over the US, Caribbean, Asia and Italy in musical productions. Some of his favorite credits include When Jazz had The Blues (Billy Strayhorn) at The Matrix, Edgar Arceneaux’s Until, Until...Until (Ben Vereen) at 3LD (winner of the Performa 15 Malcolm McLaren Award), freeze frame (Bishop) starring and directed by Debbie Allen at Wallis Annenberg, hair (Berger) at Zach Scott and (Hud) at 5th Avenue Theatre, Summer of Love (Rufus) with Michelle Lee at MTW, The Who's Tommy (Hawker) at Casa Manana and Recorded In hollywood (Leon Washington) at Kirk Douglas Theatre. He crooned in the one-man musical Songs from An Unmade Bed at Celebration Theatre and toured Asia playing several roles in the hit rock opera, RENT. Frank is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with BFAs in Theatre and Advertising and is honored to have shared stages with legends Ossie Davis, Bernadette Peters, Ben Vereen, and Stephen Sondheim. He is the voice of 8 year old wrestler "R Truth" in Seth Green's new animated TV series "CAMP WWE." www.thefranklawson.com
Dawnn Lewis* (Serena) is an NAACP Image Award, Trumpet Award, Grammy Award-winning singer, multiple ASCAP & BMI Award-winning songwriter, film, television & stage actor, and a Series TV creator/producer, now on the TNT series "Major Crimes." A few voice over credits include: "Futurama," "The Simpsons," "Doc McStuf ns," "Home," "Sophia the First," "The X-Men," "Spiderman," and Disney/Pixar’s Academy Award winning animated feature hits Inside Out! and Monsters University. Upcoming feature lm: The Revival, written and produced by Harry Lennix, starring Grammy sensation Mali Music. TV credits include: "A Different World" (composer of shows theme song), "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper," "Any Day Now," "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," and "One Tree Hill." Theatre: NYC City Center “Encore’s” Broadway presentation of The Wiz as Addapearle, Smitty in how To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, with Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullaly; Best Actress: Fred Award, and nominated for the 2007 Best Actress; Suzi Award for her performance in the World Premiere of the Broadway hit Sister Act: The Musical as Deloris Van Cartier. Dawnn’s record label, Morning Jewel Music, released her solo CD "Worth Waiting For" - its title song featured in the Disney movie The Proof Point, in which she starred, and her holiday CD “Donny McCullough & Friends: Candles in the Window” are both available on Amazon & ITunes. She’s recorded with or composed for Everett Harp, Patrice Rushen, Vanessa Williams, Nancy Wilson, Take 6, Wayman Tisdale, Grover Washington Jr., Quincy Jones, and Tom Scott to name a few. Dawnn also nds time to teach Master Classes, mentor youth across the country, give motivational lectures and lend her support to The Los Angeles Urban League, The United Negro College Fund, American Cancer Society, The March of Dimes, EMPOWHER, the Hall of Fame Foundation, Habitat For Humanity, The United States Conference on AIDS, The K.I.S. Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease, Artists For A New South Africa, Camp re Boys and Girls, The NBA/WNBA and other important causes.
LeSean Lewis (Crab Man) is enjoying his debut with Ensemble Theatre Company as Peter the Honeyman in Porgy and Bess. Lewis is also known for his role as Curtis Taylor, Jr. in the Las Vegas production of Dreamgirls, and featured soloist in the European Tour opera of Porgy and Bess under the direction of Walter Huff. Lewis received his classical training at Morehouse College. He also traveled with the well renowned Moses Hogan Singers. Lewis debuted his rst solo recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City accompanied by Joseph Joubert on piano. He recently bared it all as the Musical Director for the touring production of The Wiz, which opened at The Smith Center in Las Vegas. LeSean wishes to thank his Broadway In The HOOD (Helping Others Open Doors) family and GOD who is "The Reason Why He Sings".
Constance Jewell Lopez (Strawberry Woman) is overjoyed to make her Ensemble Theatre Company debut! Constance Jewell Lopez was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. She most recently starred as Deloris Van Cartier in Musical Theatre West's production of Sister Act. Her performances as Sofia in The Color Purple with Celebration Theatre and as Effie White in Dreamgirls with DOMA Theatre Company garnered both popular and critical acclaim. Constance has also toured with Underground artist, Lyrics Born, as well as Huey Lewis and the News. Other theatre credits include: The Acid Queen in The Who's Tommy (East West Players), Motormouth Maybelle in hairspray (Fiesta Theatre), BJ in Smokey Joe's Cafe (Center Rep), Maggie in Working (Actors' Ensemble of Berkeley), and The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella (Storybook Theatre) . Television credits include: "The Office," and "Melissa & Joey." Constancegivesthankstohersupportive and loving husband, Jaime Lopez. Member of Actors' Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. Website: www.constancejewelllopez.com, Twitter, Instagram: @Divalopeezie
Sean O'Shea (Policeman) began his foray into acting at San Diego State University back in 1982 after deciding to leave Aerospace Engineering, for which he didn’t have the personality. Since then he has produced and directed a score of shows, and has acted in roughly 80 productions. Sean is founder and former artistic director of the Santa Barbara Shakespeare Festival. He’s been seen in their productions of The Miser, hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Twelfth Night, Pvt. Wars, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has performed at San Diego State, The Old Globe, and with the companies Actors for Actors, Black Friars, The Bowery (San Diego), and with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival (Boise). Some of Sean’s local productions include, The fox in the fairway, Return Engagements, Wally’s Café, It Runs in the family, Sherlock’s Last Case, The Odd Couple, It had to be You, Leading Ladies, Who’s in Bed with the Butler (Circle Bar B), August Osage County, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Enchanted April, Smash, Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander, and As You Like It (SBCC).
Elijah Rock* (Porgy) was nominated for a 2016 Los Angeles, Ovation Award for Best Featured performer as legendary Harlem show man Cab Calloway in I Only have Eyes for You: The Life and Lyrics of Al Dubin and is the Winner of the 2014 NAACP Theater Award for Best Male Equity performer in Breath and Imagination: The Story of Roland hayes. Rock is a triple threat who has appeared as a recurring guest star on the acclaimed Showtime Television series “Masters of Sex,” as well as starring in lm, theatrical stage plays and musicals nationwide. Following Porgy and Bess, Rock will be touring the release (February 24th, 2017) of his contemporary and decidedly African American twist to the music of George & Ira Gershwin (and a couple of Ira’s other collaborators) with the innovative recording "Gershwin For My Soul," produced by Kevin Toney (musical director of Porgy and Bess). Albums are available for purchase in the lobby during intermission. Elijah is thrilled to be making his debut appearance at the esteemed Ensemble Theatre Company. AEA, SAG, AFTRA. www.elijahrock.com
KB Solomon (Crown)possesses a true bass voice that is a hybrid of rare ability. He is one of the most prominent basso profundo singers, having performed principal roles with major opera companies worldwide for over twenty years. His repertoire includes operas by Prokoev, Verdi, Rossini, Bizet, Mozart, Strauss, Puccini, Wagner, Saint Saen, and Handel. He received his training as a voice major at ve American Universities: USC Artist in residence, Portland State, Jacksonville State, Warner Pacific College, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and University of California Los Angeles, as well as at the Opera Musical Theater Institute under the direction of the legendary Jerome Hines and Franco Corelli. His awards include the Richard Tucker Career Grant, Sullivan Musical Foundation Award, first place winner in the Metropolitan Western Regional Auditions, national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions and winner of the 1990 Liederkranz Competition. KB Solomon is currently performing a one-man show about the music and life of Paul Robeson. KB’s most recent projects include Therapeutic Concerts, where by he utilizes musical sounds for healing. He sings in English, Italian, German, French and Spanish. He artfully and effortlessly transcends music style boundaries, from Opera to R&B, Pop, Jazz, blues, Broadway, Classical and Gospel music.
Davon Williams* (Jake) is ecstatic to be making his ETC debut in Porgy and Bess. He is a 2016 Ovation award nominee, former Theatre Director for the Philadelphia School District's Regional Talent Centers, and 2015 International Sports Champion in Dragonboat (Team Mushu). Notable 2016 productions: Grey Gardens (CTG) and Dreamgirls (McCoy/Rigby). His full bio can be found at DavonWilliams.com. "Iniaalay ko ang aking pagtatanghal sa mga kaibigan kong Pinoy na nagturo sa akin para mabuhay sa kasalukuyan! At Jesimiel, salamat." @Daywilling
*Member, Actors' Equity
- Book Club, Feb 15, 2017, 5:30 - 6:30pm: 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!
- Federation Night: Feb 16, 7:00pm: Join the Jewish Federation for Porgy and Bess, and enjoy a special night at a special price. Use promo code JFED for a discounted ticket - only $45. Plus enjoy a private reception from 7:00-8:00 pm to nosh and schmooze with fellow JFED friends and supporters.
- Pre-Show Talk, Feb 15 & 22, 2017 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, Feb 17, 2017 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, Feb 23, 2017: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
- Student Matinee, Feb 24, 2017 at 11:00 am. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information. Reservations required.
"Ensemble Artistic Director Jonathan Fox has assembled a formidable cast for this production...Karole Foreman, who will play Bess, previously appeared in two Ensemble productions, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel and last season’s Sweeney Todd. Elijah Rock, who will play Porgy, is a newcomer to Ensemble but a veteran performer of songs by Gershwin and others. His album, Gershwin for My Soul, produced by the show’s musical director Kevin Toney, will be released later this month." Read the full Santa Barbara Independent Review.
"A good-natured, lively comedy peppered with... Neil Simon’s trademark wit. The play is a surefire hit!" Society 805
By Neil Simon
Directed by Andrew Barnicle
December 1–18, 2016
“Tender and funny... one of Simon’s best works.” Chicago Tribune
For the holiday season, ETC presents Neil Simon’s heartfelt comedy, Chapter Two. Set in 1970s Manhattan, this charming and poignant romantic comedy follows the coping and coupling of New York writer and recent widower George Schneider. At the advice of his brother, George begins a relationship with actress Jennie Malone, whose six-year marriage to a professional football player has recently fallen apart. Despite the obvious chemistry, the road to “happily ever after” is a bumpy one for these seasoned lovers. With support from Montecito Bank & Trust, Sybil Rosen and Barbara & Sam Toumayan.
2016-17 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation.
Chapter Two is a Heartfelt Romantic Comedy, Perfect for the Holiday Season!
"This was in some ways the turning point for Simon, the moment when he started to use his own life as something more than an excuse for a gag-fest. It was written as a tribute to his second wife, and her tolerance with his long-lasting grief over the death of his first wife...There is something very painful here, in among the gags, about a man trying to come to terms with death rather than a new life." The New York Times
Heather Ayers (Faye Medwick) is thrilled to be back at ETC where she has appeared as Mary in Women In Jeopardy, Mrs. Van Buren in Intimate Apparel, Charlotte in A Little Night Music and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (2016 Santa Barbara Indie Award). On Broadway, she has been seen in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr. and Trevor Nunn’s A Little Night Music. Heather has performed Off-Broadway in Five Course Love, Forbidden Broadway, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and several Encores! productions. She has enjoyed playing many regional theatres, including The Old Globe, Yale Rep, Kansas City Rep, St. Louis MUNY, Cincinnati Playhouse, and George Street Playhouse. Heather's TV credits include "Scandal," "The Exes," "Lights Out," "Z Rock," and IFC's forthcoming "Brockmire" starring Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet. Next year, you can see her on Broadway as Mrs. Lancaster in the new musical version of Groundhog Day. www.heatherayers.com
Thomas Vincent Kelly (Leo Schneider) is pleased to return to the Ensemble Theatre Company where he played Shep in Bell, Book and Candle, and Alan in Opus. Regional credits include: Joey Doyle in A Steady Rain (Guthrie Theater and Alliance Theatre); Mike Dillon in Good People (Alliance Theatre); Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, Jimmy Porter in Look Back In Anger (Writers Theatre); The Wind Cries Mary (San Jose Rep. and East/West Players); A Touch of the Poet, Zoot Suit (Goodman Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Steppenwolf Theatre); Eastville (Connecticut Rep.); Henry IV parts 1 & 2, Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare); As You Like It, Hamlet (American Players); and Shakespearean festivals in Utah, Florida, Illinois, and Idaho. He is a founding member of Irish Theatre of Chicago where he appeared in Scenes From the Big Picture, Chekhov In Yalta, and Neither Have I Wings To Fly. Television credits include: "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior," "Law & Order: LA," "Saving Grace," "The Closer," "24," "Without a Trace," and numerous other guest appearances. Tom is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA.
Caroline Kinsolving (Jennie Malone) CA theatre credits include Olivia in Twelfth Night (The Old Globe); Amanda in Private Lives (ICT); Jo in Little Women (North Coast Rep); Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, Viola in Twelfth Night, Rosalind in As You Like It (Kingsmen); Almost, Maine (The Colony Theatre), and in NY: Love/Sick (Arc Stages), and Last Gas (Shadowland Stages); Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All In the Timing (Harold Clurman Rep); Coriolanus (Shaw Theatre); The Ice Pick Killer (Guild Hall); her father’s Word Play (Playwrights Horizons), and Love, Loss and What I Wore with Christine Baranski, earned a Best Actress nomination for her work as Vanda in Venus in Fur (San Diego Rep). She recently started a theatre company in New York, and played Beatrice next to John Cariani in Much Ado About Nothing, in a barn on a farm. Television: “Medium,” “Criminal Minds” (with Tim Curry),“Cold Case,” “Satisfaction,” “My Crazy Ex,” “Sam Has 7 Friends,” “Headhunters” (Pilot), “Whistleblowers” (Pilot). Film: The Watcher, Krankenhaus, The Pink Conspiracy, Break, The Adventures of Umbweki, Noobz, Puppy Love, and The Collaboration. Her project, "FOEMS" brings poetry to the next generation through a strong international following on YouTube. She graduated from Vassar and studied at RADA in London, Stella Adler, Yale, and Steppenwolf with Jeff Perry, Kristin Linklater, Gerald Shoenfeld, and Mike Nichols. Thank you as always, Andy B. For Tina, for so many reasons.
Todd Weeks (George Schneider) recently starred in HBO's "All The Way" opposite Bryan Cranston as Chief of Staff Walter Jenkins, and stars in the upcoming ABC mini-series "When We Rise." Broadway: The Full Monty (original cast); The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Summer and Smoke, Our Town. National Tours: Angels in America, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Off-Broadway: Member of the Atlantic Theater Company since 1986, performing in premieres of The Voysey Inheritance, The Cider House Rules, Distant Fires, Boys’ Life (also at Lincoln Center Theater), The Lights (LCT), among many others. Regional: The Full Monty, Lucky Duck (Old Globe); November, Romance (Mark Taper Forum), appearances at Dallas Theater Center, Playmakers Rep, Williamstown, Hartford Stage, Alliance, among others. Director: I Loved Lucy (Laguna Playhouse). Television: "Falling Skies," "Modern Family," "Detroit 187," "Men of a Certain Age," "The Defenders," "Rubicon, Numb3rs," "Medium," "The Unit," "Law & Order(s)." Film: Cafe Society, Brightest Star, The Maiden Heist, The Deal, Amos & Andrew. Todd is very grateful to be making his debut with Ensemble Theatre Company.
- Book Club, Dec 6, 2016, 5:30 - 6:30pm: 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, Dec 7 & 14, 2016 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, Dec 9, 2016 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, Dec 15, 2016: Meet the cast after the show and discuss the production.
"Before Sex and the City, before Seinfeld, and before Friends, New York had Neil Simon, the original bard of single life in the big city. " Read the SB Independent Preview article.
"Simon writes comedy with heart, or heartfelt plays that are funny. You have to start with the heart. You don't just learn the punchline and slam down the jokes. What we figure our what the feelings are, then we try to make it funny." Read more of Director Andrew Barnicle's interview with the Montecito Journal.
by William Shakespeare, Directed by Jonathan Fox
September 29 – October 16, 2016
The 2016-17 Season launches with Shakespeare’s Macbeth. ETC’s first foray in decades into the works of Shakespeare arrives just in time for election season with one of literature’s great tales of blind and bloody political ambition. Fresh from victory against invading forces, the triumphant Macbeth is presented with a chilling prophecy from three witches: he will ascend to the throne despite possessing no royal blood. Spurred by his wife’s unquenchable thirst for power, Macbeth commits a supreme act of murder, throwing the world into a bloody upheaval.
Sponsored by Dana White
Projected Dynamic Imagery Sponsored by
2016-17 Season sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation
Read the interview with Scenic and Projection Designer Hana Kim and ETC Dramaturg Anna Jensen.
Joseph Fuqua* (Banquo, Ross) is honored to be returning to the New Vic! He has appeared with Ensemble before in Fallen Angels, directed by Andrew Barnicle, The Mystery of Irma Vep, directed by Jenny Sullivan, and Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, directed by the late Robert Grande Wise. Broadway and Off- Broadway credits include Brighton Beach Memoirs, 110 In the Shade, Raft of the Medusa, and Yours, Anne. Regionally, Joseph has worked at Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Portland Stage, The Arena Stage in our nation's capital, Yale Rep, and many others. The Rubicon Theatre Company is his 'Stage' home, having been a Company Member since 2000 where he has appeared in twenty-seven plays including the title role in Hamlet, directed by Jenny Sullivan (Independent Award), All My Sons, directed by James O'Neill (Ovation Award) and Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Joseph is a graduate of The Yale School of Drama and a proud member of Actor's Equity Association.
Leslie Gangl Howe (Second Witch, Lady Macduff, Gentlewoman) is pleased to be working with Ensemble Theatre Company at the New Vic. No stranger to the Santa Barbara stage, Leslie has built a repertoire of strong if not dysfunctional characters. The most recent was that of meddling Aunt Lavinia in The Heiress, and the confused house wife Becky in Becky’s New Car. From the independently minded feminist Heidi in The Heidi Chronicles and the hapless professor Constance Ledbelly in Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet, to Joy Gresham the tragic love of C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands, and the forgiving wife Stevie in The Goat or Who is Sylvia, whether she was the lonely drugged out Agnes in the crazed Bug, the old Russian director in Anton in Show Business, Queen Elizabeth I in The Beard of Avon, or the supportive mom of a down syndrome boy in the Garth Brooks music video Standin' Outside The Fire, bringing these people to life has been a joy. Thank you HRH for your continued support.
Jamison Jones* (Macbeth) is pleased to return to ETC! He was last seen at ETC in Théresè Raquin. Theater credits: Angels in America, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Othello and the West Coast premiere of Maple and Vine (The American Conservatory Theater), the West Coast premiere of Elemeno Pea and the world premiere of Doctor Cerberus (Tony Award winning South Coast Rep.), The Three Musketeers (Tony Award winning Denver Center), How the Other Half Loves (Pasadena Playhouse); God of Carnage, The Foreigner, The Lion in Winter, All My Sons, Dancing at Lughnasa and The Rainmaker (Tony-nominated McCoy/Rigby Ent., at La MiradaTheater); Fool for Love, Dracula, Bent and Timon of Athens; Cyrano de Bergerac (A Noise Within); the European premieres of Tennessee in the Summer and Purple Hearts (Edinburgh Festival, Scotland.) Jones earned his MFA from the American Conservatory Theater. Last seen in Spielberg’s The Whispers and HBO’s "True Detective," other film/TV credits: Collusions with Tom Everett-Scott, The Lodger with Alfred Molina, Born to Ride with William Foresyth, He Was a Quiet Man with Christian Slater and William H. Macy, Dark Blue with Kurt Russell and Hollywood Homicide with Harrison Ford, "Burn Notice," "24," "General Hospital," "Brothers & Sisters," "Terminator," "CSI: NY," "N.C.I.S.," "Crossing Jordan," "Alias," "JAG," "That 70’s Show," "Beverly Hills 90210," and "Will and Grace." Jones is the co-creator of a new series not yet aired, titled "Agoura Hills," the story of an Agoraphobic weatherman who's afraid to go outside.
Kathryn Meisle* (Lady Macbeth, First Witch) is happily making her debut with Ensemble Theatre Company here in Santa Barbara. Broadway: The Elephant Man (also London’s West End), Outside Mullingar, A Touch of the Poet, The Constant Wife, Tartuffe (Tony Award nomination/Calloway Award), London Assurance, The Rehearsal, Racing Demon (LCT). Off-Broadway includes Romeo & Juliet (CSC), Women Beware Women (Calloway Award), Top Secret, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (NYTW), Living Out (Second Stage), Old Money (LTC), Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, As You Like It (Drama Desk nom.), Othello (NYSF/Delacorte). Recent Regional credits include The May Queen at Geva, Cymbeline at Yale Rep, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Theatre, DC), Clybourne Park, The Real Thing, and Three Sisters at the Guthrie, A Flea in Her Ear (Williamstown), Leaving by Václav Havel (Wilma), Creditors (La Jolla), Arkadina in Seagull and Jaques in As You Like It (OSF). TV and Film credits include: "Private Practice," "Body Of Proof," "The Closer,"
"Bones," "The Unusuals," "Law & Order: SVU," 'Lie To Me," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Damages," "New Amsterdam," "Brothers & Sisters," "Without a Trace," Four, Bereavement, You’ve Got Mail, The Shaft, and Rosewood.
AK Murtadha* (Macduff, Captain) has enjoyed various classical and contemporary roles in regional and repertory theatres. His Shakespearean appearances include Othello, Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, Jacques in As You Like It, Escalus in Measure for Measure, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona. He is pleased to be returning in his second role at ETC; last season he played George in Intimate Apparel. His most recent roles include playing Martin Luther King in All the Way and Dr. Prentice in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at Asolo Rep. Some of his TV and Film credits include: "NCIS-LA," "All My Children," "Raising the Bar," "The Unit," "Medium," "Numb3rs," and the upcoming feature – 8989 Redstone. Awards include Best Actor - New Orleans Short film festival - In the Wind; NAACP Award: Best Ensemble - All My Sons (playing Chris Keller). He was also the Featured Guest Artist for Auburn University’s - The America Play. www.akmurtadha.com twitter:@ak_sage. Member: AEA, SAGAFTRA.
James Joseph O'Neil* (Seyton, First Murderer) is happy to be playing The New Vic! Broadway - Present Laughter, Roundabout. Off-Broadway - A Month in the Country and Look Back in Anger, Classic Stage Company - Richard III, Epic Theatre Ensemble - The Hired Man, 47th St. Theatre. Regional - Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Center Stage, American Repertory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Ojai Playwright’s Conference, Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Long Wharf Theatre, American Stage Festival. Film/TV: Aardvark, Dovid Meyer, Deep Powder, The Bourne Legacy, Fair Game, Zodiac, Acts of Worship, "The Knight," "Person of Interest," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order: SVU," "24," "Veronica Mars," "Numb3rs," "Third Watch," "Sex & the City." MFA/USD, BFA/Adelphi University.
Christine Sage (Third Witch, Fleance, Macduff's Son, Messenger, Young Siward) is properly enthused to perform with this theatrical community. Previously seen in Los Angeles with The Porters of Hellsgate as King Henry VI in King Henry VI, in Othello and Henry V, in A Woman of No Importance at Sacred Fools, and Macbeth at Edgemar Center for the Arts. Bay Area credits include Splitting Infinity at San Jose Rep, Peace at Magic Theatre, Christmas Carol at Sierra Repertory, and Romeo and Juliet, Tempest, and Sleeping Beauty at Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Television and film appearances include Bravo’s "Million Dollar Listing," "Supreme Justice," "Jiji," and Glass Animal’s "Pools" music video. Christine is also a professional faerie whose secret identity, Miss Sage, brings joy to children and guffaws to adults all across California.
Paul David Story* (Malcolm, Second Murderer) is pleased to be back at Ensemble! He is the founder and Artistic Director of the USC NAI Theatre Workshop. The Theater Workshop supports student literary scholarship through the performing arts, bringing literature to life in South Central LA. Theatre credits: Broadway - Standby for Alan Strang in Equus, Junius Urban in The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Off-Broadway - Ferguson/Wilkes Booth in Our Leading Lady at the Manhattan Theatre Club, David in The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel at The Public, Regional theater- Ken in RED at SouthCoast Rep, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at Arizona Theater Company, Ferdinand in The Tempest at A Noise Within-Arviragus in Cymbeline at A Noise Within, Philip, King of France in The Lion in Winter at the Ensemble Theatre Company, Hamlet in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead at the Baltimore Center Stage, Mr. Bingley in Pride & Prejudice at the Dallas Theatre Center. Film/TV: In Time, American Violet, The Undying, St. Nick, Vartan LLP, "The Mentalist," "Body of Proof," "Nip/Tuck," "Law & Order: SVU." Recent Publications- Mountain Lion in Gambling the Aisle Magazine. Education/Training: North Carolina School of the Arts
Rudolph Willrich* (Duncan, Old Man, Doctor) has performed in several ETC productions at the Alhecama Theatre, the most recent being The Clean House. Other appearances with ETC include Sylvia, The Cripple Of Inishmaan, Moon Over Buffalo, Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Picasso At The Lapin Agile, and The Weir. His most recent appearances were in Noises Off and My Fair Lady at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura where he also appeared in Hamlet, The Boys Next Door (Robbie Award), Night Of The Iguana and Happy Days. On Broadway he played in Pirandello's Emperor Henry lV, Tom Stoppard's Dirty Linen and Newfoundland, and Noises Off. Off Broadway he was in Anna K, The Contractor, Taking Steps and Saved. His work in Television and Film includes "The Practice," The Number 23, Because I Said So, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Enterprise," Steal Big, Steal Little, What's Love Got To Do With It, Nine 1/2 Weeks, "All My Children," The Shadow, "Family Law," Legal Eagles, Alice Sweet Alice, and The Battle of The Bulge. He has received 4 "Indies" for his work at ETC in A Doll's House, Sight Unseen, Art, and A Life In The Theatre. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
‘Macbeth’ Comes to ETC- First Shakespeare Play in New Vic SB Independent
"[Macbeth] Has all the right ingredients of supernatural forces, blind ambition and, of course, murder...This is a cracking show that only goes from bard to better!" The Montecito Journal
"Jamison Jones offers crisp articulation and undeniable sex appeal... [a] powerful new production." Santa Barbara Independent