Tag Archives: Center Stage Theater

Your opinion here: Dance evening of brand new works wants audience feedback

 "We Are Made of Stars," a new dance piece by Weslie Ching, will be shown at "CRIT 001." Arna Bajraktarevic photos

“We Are Made of Stars,” a new dance piece by Weslie Ching, will be shown at “CRIT 001.”
Arna Bajraktarevic photos

Somebody back in the mists of time – maybe it was a teacher – said, “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” It’s in this spirit of feedback and inquisitiveness that Weslie Ching has started up the Crit series at Center Stage Theater. This free event is a chance for performance arts fans and the curious to see five new works in their zygotic form, and after each work they will be invited to give their opinions. The first installment is called “Crit 001.” (She hopes there’ll be a series that at least goes to double digits.)

“After a show everybody congratulates you and that’s great,” Ms. Ching says. “But I really wanted to create a place where somebody could give feedback that would’t necessarily be positive.”

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Coming home again: Actors and directors reunite for Vietnam vet play ‘Pvt. Wars’

Sean O'Shea plays Gately and Sean Jackson is Silvio in the Center Stage Theater production "Pvt. Wars." Courtesy photo
Sean O’Shea plays Gately and Sean Jackson is Silvio in the Center Stage Theater production “Pvt. Wars.”
Courtesy photo

Not everybody in theater gets a second chance, either with a role or a production. But for the three actors and one director behind “Pvt. Wars,” which comes to Center Stage Theater tonight, they get an opportunity to return to a show from years ago.

These three actors, Sean O’Shea, George Coe, and Sean Jackson, along with Bill Egan, their director, mounted James McLure’s play two years ago at Plaza Playhouse in Carpinteria. Mr. McLure’s play, which started as a one-act in 1979 then got rewritten as a two-act years later, features three Vietnam vets in a VA hospital, all dealing with PTSD. But it’s also funny, a character study of the ways humans cope with trauma, try to make connections, and concoct strategies to get through the day. It’s an anti-war play that doesn’t mention the war, but just honestly looks at the people left in its aftermath.

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A quarter century in the arts: Center Stage Theater celebrates its local legacy

Motion Theater Dance will perform at the Center Stage Theater 25th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday. Lerina Winter photo
Motion Theater Dance will perform at the Center Stage Theater 25th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday.
Lerina Winter photo

This Saturday, Center Stage Theater celebrates its 25th anniversary with an evening of hors d’oervres, cocktails and special performances from Alma de Mexico, Santa Barbara Silver Follies, Proboscis Theater Company, and more, with the intent to raise $25,000 for capital improvements to improve the theater for another quarter century.

The evening celebrates Santa Barbara’s premiere black box theater, which was wrangled into existence by the Santa Barbara City Council and County Arts Commission in 1990 as part of a deal with the original builders of the Paseo Nuevo mall. Yes, they could have those two prime blocks of Santa Barbara retail real estate, but they had to give back to the arts with an art museum (now the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara) and a theater. Through the mall’s many owners – and despite each owner’s attempts to skirt funding according to one of Center Stage’s founders Tom Hinshaw – the Center Stage Theater has remained, providing a needed space for local arts.

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UCSB Dance Company, José Limón and the lessons of history come to Center Stage

From left, Kristina Skrenek, Dante Corpuz and Mason Teichert are among the UCSB Dance Company members performing at Center Stage Theater. Steve Sherrill
From left, Kristina Skrenek, Dante Corpuz and Mason Teichert are among the UCSB Dance Company members performing at Center Stage Theater.
Steve Sherrill

To dance departments have homecoming? For the UCSB Dance Company, two upcoming performances at Center Stage Theater could be seen that way. The company just returned from a two-week, six-city tour of Europe where it performed works both classic — José Limón’s “There Is a Time” — and contemporary works, including Nancy Colahan’s new work for the company, and a Jerry Pearson multimedia work written for Santa Barbara Dance Theatre. Now, they’re returning home to share with dance lovers, feeling triumphant and not the least jet-lagged — they’re in top form.

Director Delila Moseley took stock of her dancers at the beginning of the school year, and — according to her friend, department associate and mentor Alice Condodina — recognized that she had a particularly strong group, adept at solos, all of them. And the dance that came to mind was Limón’s “There Is a Time” from 1956.

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Ellen K. Anderson’s new play returns to her beloved Detroit setting

Docents from the Detroit Institute of Arts claim ownership of a Nkisi. "In the Forest of Detroit" stars Leslie Gangl Howe, left, and Lisa Gates. Courtesy photo
Docents from the Detroit Institute of Arts claim ownership of a Nkisi. “In the Forest of Detroit” stars Leslie Gangl Howe, left, and Lisa Gates.
Courtesy photo

Playwright Ellen K. Anderson has been such a part of Santa Barbara’s arts scene for decades, not just writing award-winning plays, but helping found Access Theatre, leading the arts collaborative I.V. Arts and heading Dramatic Women, that one forgets her roots are in Detroit. It’s where she grew up, it’s where she earned her B.S. and M.A. (at Wayne State University). It was the subject of her most recent play, “Bedtime for Detroit,” and now she returns tonight with a second Motor City play, “In the Forest of Detroit.”

“Detroit gave me everything,” she says. “Including the uprisings (aka Detroit race riots in 1967) when I was in junior high. It gave me a damn good college education. I was the first to go to college in my family.”

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Out of the Box invites audiences to ‘The Wild Party’

 The production of "The Wild Party," adapted from a once-banned poem, will be turned into an actual party for the audience. Kim Reierson

The production of “The Wild Party,” adapted from a once-banned poem, will be turned into an actual party for the audience.
Kim Reierson

When Out of the Box’s Samantha Eve put out the call for actors for “The Wild Party,” Andrew Lippa’s musical based on Joseph Moncure March’s Prohibition Era poem of the same title, she got a surprise.

“We had responses from people all over the place. I had someone write me from Florida (who wanted to audition).” Turns out that “The Wild Party” is on many musical actors’ to-do lists, with its wealth of meaty roles and its smart lyrics. Everybody wants to get invited; it’s that kind of party. It’s also an Out of the Box production in which a majority of the cast members are new to the company.”

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A roaring good time: Out of the Box invites audiences to ‘The Wild Party’

The production of "The Wild Party," adapted from a once-banned poem, will be turned into an actual party for the audience.
The production of “The Wild Party,” adapted from a once-banned poem, will be turned into an actual party for the audience.

When Out of the Box’s Samantha Eve put out the call for actors for “The Wild Party,” Andrew Lippa’s musical based on Joseph Moncure March’s Prohibition Era poem of the same title, she got a surprise.

“We had responses from people all over the place. I had someone write me from Florida (who wanted to audition).” Turns out that “The Wild Party” is on many musical actors’ to-do lists, with its wealth of meaty roles and its smart lyrics. Everybody wants to get invited; it’s that kind of party. It’s also an Out of the Box production in which a majority of the cast members are new to the company.”

Continue reading A roaring good time: Out of the Box invites audiences to ‘The Wild Party’

Galaxy of Dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

"Sand Into Glass" is performed by Nebula Dance Lab. Daniel Wade photo
“Sand Into Glass” is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.
Daniel Wade photo

It’s spring, the season of dance, and the fields of March are blooming with the human form in beautiful motion. We’ve had aerial dance at the Lobero, shows from Santa Barbara Dance Arts, visits from Hart Pulse and the world famous Joffrey Ballet. It’s time to finish the month with the first installment of our own homegrown dance festival, HHII.

Devyn Duex is the woman behind this three-day festival taking over the Center Stage Theater this whole weekend, and the name HHII is a sly nod to Ms. Duex’s Nebula Dance Lab company: HHII is a star-forming region in the galaxy. “And star-forming – we thought that was perfect.”

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Galaxy of dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

"Sand Into Glass" is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.
“Sand Into Glass” is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.

It’s spring, the season of dance, and the fields of March are blooming with the human form in beautiful motion. We’ve had aerial dance at the Lobero, shows from Santa Barbara Dance Arts, visits from Hart Pulse and the world famous Joffrey Ballet. It’s time to finish the month with the first installment of our own homegrown dance festival, HHII.

Devyn Duex is the woman behind this three-day festival taking over the Center Stage Theater this whole weekend, and the name HHII is a sly nod to Ms. Duex’s Nebula Dance Lab company: HHII is a star-forming region in the galaxy. “And star-forming – we thought that was perfect.”

Continue reading Galaxy of dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

Amanda Hart’s Hart Pulse Dance Company presents an afternoon of exciting contemporary dance

The dancers performing in "Spoons" are, from left, Phil Turay, Morgan Ashley, Ryan Ruiz and Lindsay Marquino. victorvicphoto.com
The dancers performing in “Spoons” are, from left, Phil Turay, Morgan Ashley, Ryan Ruiz and Lindsay Marquino.
victorvicphoto.com

Amanda Hart, director and choreographer of Hart Pulse Dance Company, comes from the small San Joaquin Valley town of Visalia. And she did not want to be a dancer. At least, not at first.

“The reason I went into dance was because I sucked at basketball,” she says, having never grown beyond 5’5″. Discouraged, her mom suggested dance at age 9. “I cried my whole first class,” she admits.

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