Surely one of the most ambitious shows to be mounted in the area this season, Big Fish is the Santa Barbara High School Theatre program doing what it does best — big musicals with lots of dancing and professional production values. Theater program director Otto Layman is the auteur responsible for this marvelously complex and layered evening, with Jessica Hambright on board as choreographer to help realize the multidimensional vision of the show’s original Broadway director, the legendary Susan Stroman. Aaron Linker plays Edward Bloom, the tale-spinning, shape-shifting protagonist, and Andrew Gutierrez is his son Will, the relentlessly practical and analytic counterpoint to his father’s slippery grandiosity.Read More
The World-Wide Wicket Company takes center stage in this Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning musical about a young window cleaner, J. Pierrepont Finch, played by Aaron Linker, who, after reading a book titled “How to Succeed in Business,” begins a meteoric rise from the mailroom to the vice presidency of advertising. Directed by Otto Layman, with choreography by Christina McCarthy and musical direction by Jon Nathan, the Santa Barbara High School Theatre production opens May 1 with performances through May 11.Read More
I caught Otto Layman’s Santa Barbara High School musical production of Chicago last Friday night. And, it was terrific. It was better than terrific. It was overwhelmingly good. I didn’t simply “enjoy” the show, I was bowled over by it, riddled with glee, sumptuously entertained, jubilantly absorbed... you get the picture.
Let’s start with the performers: Let’s start with, say, Camille Umoff, who takes on the role of Velma Kelly (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the movie version). Camille was Nancy in Janet Adderley’s Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble Theater production of Oliver! at the age of eleven. She is now thirteen and a freshman... a freshman!... at SBHS.Read More