Opening November 2nd

We kick off the 2018-19 season with the musical that propelled Lin-Manuel Miranda into the spotlight, long before HAMILTON; first conceived when he was a sophomore in college, IN THE HEIGHTS is an explosion of sound and color and emotion, chronicling the joys, sorrows, hardships and triumphs of the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York.  Filled with great characters, sassy, brassy, music and lyrics, IN THE HEIGHTS is the perfect show to begin our season, and remind SB audiences what we are about as performers: bold, emotional, and authentic.

 IN THE HEIGHTS will be designed by Otto Layman and Tech Director extraordinaire Jonathan Mitchell, a collaboration that has created the sets for Urinetown; Crybaby, The Musical; The national high school premiere of Bullets Over Broadway; Young Frankenstein; Hair; and Pippin, while the Lighting Design is once more in the capable hands of Mike Madden.  We are once again honored to work with Musical Director Dr. Jon Nathan and the amazing UCSB Jazz Ensemble; with the talent and passion of Vocal Director Sio Tepper, and we are ecstatic to be able to welcome back Choreographer Gianna Burris, who made her debut here with last season’s hit Urinetown, The Musical.  The Costume Designer is Sophia Hurtado, SBHS alum, who has been the assistant designer on a number of shows and makes her debut with this production.

Our production of IN THE HEIGHTS features Elvis Pagano starring as Usnavi De La Vega, the owner of the De La Vega Bodega in Washington Heights, which he runs with his cousin Sonny (Brandon Holland). Miranda Ortega is Nina Rosario, the ‘good girl’ of Washington Heights who attends Stanford University. Her parents, Kevin and Camila Rosario (Irving Soto, class of 2016 and Angela Zevallos), run a taxi service called Rosario’s Car Service, and they employ Benny (Daniel Sabraw), a non-Spanish-speaking member of the Barrio. The neighborhood salon is run by Daniela (Bella Holland) and her employees Vanessa (Gianna Gonzalez) and Carla (Logan Fleming). Isa Saldivar portrays Abuela Claudia, the woman who raised Usnavi, while Graffiti Pete (Drewes McFarling) and the Piragua Guy (Q Le) roam the Barrio. These characters, along with a dynamic ensemble of big voices, drive the world that is IN THE HEIGHTS.



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Welcome to the 2018-2019 Season at Santa Barbara High School, where we continue our quest to be THE Musical Theatre destination for students, designers, and audiences alike…starting in 2012 when we produced Into the Woods, beginning a string of 15 consecutive musical productions, and an evolution in our program that led to a partnership with Dr. Jon Nathan and the UCSB Jazz Ensemble program.  Most schools have a traditional approach to theatre education and performance, producing a play in the Fall and a musical in the Spring.  Here at SBHS, we do things a little differently, and this year I think we have upped our game—for the first time we will be doing three full-scale musicals (slotting one in the usually empty December slot), as well as the 19th iteration of the wildly popular student-produced, directed, and performed Broadway revue, MUSIC OF THE NIGHT.  In addition, we are making a radical change to our ticket pricing structure and ticket purchasing, offering a season subscription to all three mainstage productions at a bargain price, and throwing in MOTN to boot!  You can go to the Ticket Sales tab on the website to see details, but I think this change will generate more audience able to see incredible work at an extremely affordable price, especially for students, and parents who return night after night to support the actors and technicians in their families.  Our goal, after all, is not to profit, but to be seen and heard.

For those looking ahead, after our current production of IN THE HEIGHTS we continue in December, when we are proud to offer up THE LAST FIVE YEARS, Jason Robert Brown’s intimate window into a couple’s doomed marriage. Cathy, a struggling actress, and Jamie, a budding novelist on the brink of wild success, are 20-somethings in New York who meet, fall in love, marry, and divorce over the span of five years. Cathy tells the story from the end of their marriage; Jamie begins from when they first meet. As the musical unfolds, Cathy moves backward in time to the beginning of the relationship as Jamie moves toward the end; they meet only once, in the middle, at their wedding. Since its Off-Broadway premiere in 2002, Brown’s funny, poignant, and devastatingly honest two-person production has enraptured audiences around the world with its spellbinding and emotional score and libretto.  For our production, we will be casting two separate couples, who will each perform during the run, and then switch partners on the closing Saturday.  Directed by Otto Layman, and musical and vocal direction by our outstanding staff.  

In late January we kick off 2019 with the 19th spectacular year of Music of the Night, which began as a “little” show to fill the void between Fall and Spring, and has since blossomed into a full-scale, wildly popular revue produced entirely by students.  Each year, directors are selected, and they are tasked with producing a musical revue entirely on their own (outside of the logistical support the technical staff provides).  They must select the material, cast the show, hire the band, choreograph, design set and lighting, and advertise the show; it is a proud venture for us, demonstrating a mastery of craft and deep knowledge of the mechanics of theatre—literally owning their work as students.  This year’s directors are seniors Bella Holland, Gianna Gonzalez, Elvis Pagano and Drewes McFarling.

Finally, we round out the year with the Nation High School Premiere of the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder an uproarious, hilarious musical comedy, with the book and lyrics by Robert L. Freeman, and the music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. It is based on the 1907 novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman. The show opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre November 17, 2013, running until January 17, 2016. The Broadway production won four Tonys at the 68th Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Costume Design.

Set in London in 1907, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder centers on Monty Navarro, a penniless clerk who is informed after the death of his mother that he is ninth in line to inherit the earldom of Highhurst, controlled by the wealthy D’Ysquith banking family. After the imperious ruling Lord dismisses Monty’s claim of being a relative, the eight D’Ysquiths ahead of young Mr. Navarro begin dying in natural and unnatural ways. Meanwhile, Monty is trying to woo money-minded Sibella Hallward —until he finds himself drawn to young Phoebe D’Ysquith. How will all these convoluted storylines come together?

Please join us for another amazing year with the young, gifted and bold actors at SBHS, and take the opportunity to see these performers before they are on Broadway (I’m not kidding or exaggerating—in the spring 2002 grad Dana Costello (nee Musgrove), who has performed in both Jekyll and Hyde and Finding Neverland on Broadway returns to the New York stage in the World Premiere of the musical DAVE, currently in its pre-Broadway production at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C.).  I hope you consider a season subscription, ensuring your seat at all of these amazing shows at a ridiculously low price! 

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Past Santa Barbara High School Productions