Welcome to another year at Santa Barbara High School, my 20th as the head of the Performing Arts Department, and the 91st year in this wonderful space, first unveiled in 1924. Beginning with Into The Woods we will have done eight consecutive musicals (nine, if you count a summer production of Cabaret!) ; most schools will do a straight play in the Fall and a Musical in the Spring, but I have had the good fortune to have a program with such phenomenal musical talent, and with designers of prodigious talent with whom I love to collaborate, that somehow we have gravitated to the form. With Christina McCarthy (who I first worked with on the Wizard of Oz 13 years ago), and Dr. Jon Nathan, whose first show here was a spectacular production of Spamalot, I am able to work at level of professionalism and creativity with great minds and artists.
I do not know yet what we will do in the Spring; I am waiting to see what becomes available—in the meantime there is the 16th iteration of Music of the Night, the student produced and directed Broadway musical revue that has grown into a major part of the program (and indeed has become our third major show).
Twenty years comes and goes in a flash; I have had the great privilege and joy of working on over forty productions over the years, from big musical productions like On the Town, Carnival!, Spamalot, and The Drowsy Chaperone, to intimate living room productions like God of Carnage and The Glass Menagerie. Along the way I have met and worked with great artists who give generously of their time; you will see the work of many of them in this show (both in the design and technical work in the show, and in the orchestra itself. I promise you this will be the best musical theatre orchestra you have ever heard at this, or many, levels).
People ask me all the time, when they find out I have been here twenty years, how much longer I will go…as long as I can match their energy, as long as I can climb a ladder, as long as they will have me, I suppose. I am so privileged to even have a job like this at a place like Santa Barbara High—here’s to at least ten more!