High School Theater Bonanza


By Charles Donelan 

It happens every year, right after the costumes and (what’s left of) the candy from Halloween gets put away and right before the Thanksgiving holiday — that special time when it seems as if every theater in Santa Barbara is busy, from the Granada to the grade schools, from UCSB to CST, SBHS, SMHS, SBCC, and on through most of the rest of the alphabet. If you happen to be one of the few people left who are not in rehearsal or getting your makeup done, don’t worry, because all you have to do is figure out how to get to all the shows you will want to see. By way of assisting you in this challenging task, here’s a guide to four of show-mageddon’s hottest tickets, each of them the product of one of our area high schools’ busy drama departments. 

Pippin at Santa Barbara High School

Many schools coast through the fall season on drama alone, leaving the big musicals — with their outsized casts, props, orchestras, and budgets — for springtime, when young people’s thoughts turn naturally to such things as great first-act finale songs. Not Santa Barbara High, though, where student interest in musical theater has traditionally been through the roof and where director Otto Layman and a remarkably diverse team of creative personalities consistently deliver musicals in both autumn and spring semesters. This year’s fall production is Pippin, with music by Stephen Schwartz and the book by Roger O. Hirson. SBHS stage veteran Bradley DeVine is Pippin, and the divine Camille Umoff will perform the role of the Leading Player. Christina McCarthy’s choreography is sure to be spectacular, and her UCSB colleague Jon Nathan is the show’s music director. In addition to Layman, who is now in his 20th year at the school, the other creative principals are Mike Madden (lighting), Bonnie Thor (costumes), and Rachel Short (vocal director). The show has already been up for a weekend and continues Friday, November 13, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, November 14, at 1 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, November 15, at 2 p.m. at Santa Barbara High School (700 E. Anapamu St.). Tickets are $25 for reserved orchestra seating, $15 for adults, and $10 for students. Call (805) 966-9101 or visit sbhstheatre.com/tickets soon, as this classic show is likely to be very popular.