consider yourself one of us

Far from being the insular, inbred scene one might expect in a posh resort town so close to Hollywood, the Santa Barbara theater world is populated by a lively and remarkably diverse amalgam of takes on what it means to put on a show in 2006. This spring boasts classic comedies and musicals alongside agit‑prop, avant‑garde, and everything in between. Some of our very best talents will be on display, and the doors are wide open from Ventura to Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and beyond. As the urchins sing to delicate little Oliver Twist, “consider yourself well in!”

Far Away Written by Caryl Churchill and directed by Maurice Lord, this abstract fable depicts a world at war from the point of view of Joan (Tiffany Rose Brown), a young woman on the verge of adulthood — a Genesis West production. Thu. Sat., through Apr. 1, 8pm; Center Stage Theater; 963 0408.

Rounding Third Richard Dresser’s comedy finds meaning in baseball — Little League, that is. Rival dads live a little, love a little, and learn a little on the way home. Through Apr. 2; Severson Theatre, Santa Maria; 928 7506.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Written by Dale Wasserman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey, and directed by Jenny Sullivan, this promises to be a terrific revival of one of the most moving American plays. Rally behind Randle as he and the Chief drive mean Nurse Ratched bat ched. Wed. Sun., with matinees Wed., Sat., and Sun., through Apr. 9; Rubicon Theatre, Ventura; 667 2900.

Reflections on a Wedding Cake Speaking of Stories presents Annabeth Gish, Christopher Lloyd, and a distinguished cast in a series of stories commissioned on the premise that they all include a wedding cake. Mon., Mar. 27, 7:30pm; Lobero Theatre; 963 0761.

Will Rogers’ America Revisited Rich Hoag reprises his Indie award winning performance as America’s most beloved storyteller and Malibu Beach namesake, Will Rogers. Fri. Sun., Mar. 31 Apr. 30; Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre; 967 1962.

A View from the Bridge Presented by Santa Barbara Theatre, written by Arthur Miller, and directed by Stephen Sachs, this is sure to be a highlight of the spring theater season. Wed. Sat., 8pm and Sun., 2 and 7pm (no Sun, Apr. 16, 7pm), Apr. 6 23; Center Stage Theater; 963 0408.

Frank Rich Famed New York Times op ed columnist (and former theater critic) Frank Rich will speak On Art, Culture, and Politics. Rich has a reputation for being the harshest theater critic ever, so feel free to be as witty as you like about whatever he does with a captive West Coast audience of his own. Sun., Apr. 9, 4pm; UCSB’s Campbell Hall; 893 3535.

Oliver! Get out there, support Nancy in her struggle with the abusive Bill Sykes, adore Oliver, ponder Fagin, relish the Artful Dodger, and try not to sing along during “Who Will Buy?” This is one of the classics, so consider yourself … part of the family. Apr. 13 May 14; Marian Theatre, Santa Maria; 928 7506.

Dublin Carol A series of Christmas Eve encounters leave a Dublin man with lots to think about. Written by Conor McPherson and directed by Jenny Sullivan. An Ensemble Theatre Co. production. Apr. 14 May 7; Alhecama Theatre; 962 8606.

The Exonerated The Actors’ Gang (Los Angeles) brings its activist theater piece, about people who have been unjustly imprisoned, to UCSB. Proceeds go to support the cause. Thu., Apr. 20, 8pm; UCSB’s Campbell Hall; 893 3535.

All in the Timing Written by David Ives, directed by Robert Grande Weiss, and starring S.B.’s Ben Bottoms and Nancy Nufer, this is a second chance to see this wonderful revival of a series of one acts that first wowed Santa Barbara audiences at the Ensemble’s Alhecama Theatre in 1996. Wed Sun., with matinees Wed., Sat., and Sun., Apr. 27 May 21; Rubicon Theatre, Ventura; 667 2900.

Lola Goes to Roma A new play by Josefina López: a mother and daughter in Europe comedy by the author of Real Women Have Curves. Apr. 28 May 13; SBCC’s Jurkowitz Theatre; 965 5935.

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