Fall brings out the absolute best in our theater companies, and 2007 looks to be a record year for total output by professional theaters in Santa Barbara. We have new and less well-known works coming from big names like Sam Shepard and Edward Albee, debuts by highly touted young playwrights Sarah Ruhl and Evan Smith, and plenty of politics, just in time for the ramping up of the 2008 presidential campaigns.
Michael Smith presents a sequel to his 2000 political satire, Dogs Bark All Night. Laurel Lyle will be back as Janice, the presidential candidate with a radical past, and David Brainard also returns as her husband Bill. With costumes by Mary Gibson, this is sure to be one of the season’s hottest tickets. Preview: Thu., Sept. 13, 8pm. Fri., Sept. 14-Sat., Sept. 22, Thu., Fri., and Sat., 8pm; matinee Sat., Sept. 22, 2pm. Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo. Call 963-0408 or visit centerstagetheater.org.
A Delicate Balance
The Rubicon Theatre Company presents Edward Albee’s drama about creeping anxiety in a ritzy Westchester, New York, suburb with an all-star cast including Bonnie Franklin. Thu., Sept. 20-Sun., Oct. 14, 8pm; Wed., Sat., and Sun. matinees, 2pm. Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Call 667-2900 or visit rubicontheatre.org.
I Hate Hamlet
Playwright Paul Rudnick is one of America’s comic treasures, and I Hate Hamlet is his best, and best-known, play. Fri., Sept. 21-Sun., Nov. 4; Fri.: dinner 7:15pm, show 8:15pm; Sat.: dinner 7pm, show 8pm; Sun.: lunch 1pm, show 2pm. Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre, 1800 Refugio Rd., Goleta. Call 967-1962 or visit circlebarbtheatre.com.
The Private Ear
Presented with The Public Eye-two short one-acts by the author of Equus and Amadeus, Peter Shaffer. Wed., Sept. 26; lunch 12:15pm, show 1pm. Victoria Hall Theater, 33 W. Victoria St. Call (800) 494-8497 or visit victoriahalltheater.com.
The Clean House
Two uptight sisters, a joke-telling Brazilian maid, and a dazzling, innovative way with theatrical space and convention await viewers in this production of a recent play by young critical darling Sarah Ruhl. Thu., Sept. 27-Sun., Oct. 21; Tue.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2 and 7pm. Alhecama Theatre, 914 Santa Barbara St. Call 965-5400 or visit ensembletheatre.com.
Festival of Fools
BOXTALES, Robert Shields, and James Donlon will present four performances of mime in tribute to the legendary Marcel Marceau. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 6, there will be a special American Mime Idol high school performance. Thu.-Sat., Oct. 4-6, 8pm; Sat. performances also at 10am and 2pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 973-0761 or visit lobero.com.
Indy Award-winning director Sara Martinovich and her Loose Affiliation of Artists take on the work of downtown New York wild man Eric Bogosian. Thu.-Sat., Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-14, 8pm. Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo. Call 963-0408 or visit centerstagetheater.org.
Santa Barbara Theatre brings Debra Ehrhardt to the Lobero with her award-winning 90-minute one-woman show about growing up in Jamaica and immigrating to the United States. Thu., Oct. 11 and Sat., Oct. 13, 8pm; Sun., Oct. 14, 2pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 963-7282 or visit lobero.com.
Over the Tavern
The S.B. City College Theatre Group has become a reliable source for the best in grassroots contemporary American theater. With this offering, the group introduces the work of playwright Tom Dudzick, who has been hailed as “an Irish Catholic Neil Simon.” Fri., Oct. 19-Sat., Nov. 3; Wed.-Sat., 8pm; Sat. and Sun. matinees, 2pm. Garvin Theatre, SBCC West Campus, 721 Cliff Dr. Call 965-5935 or visit sbcc.edu/theatrearts.
The God of Hell
Maurice Lord’s Genesis West presents Sam Shepard’s latest, a must-see Orwellian comedy about the way we live now written as an election eve indictment of what Shepard calls “Republican fascism.” Fri.-Sat., Nov. 2-3; Thu.-Sat., Nov. 8-10; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 16-17, 8pm. Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo. Call 963-0408 or visit centerstagetheater.org.
Theater UCSB dives into the deep end of German drama with Georg B¼chner’s Woyzeck, the story of a young soldier driven mad by his conscience, his culture, and the fickleness of his fiance. Fri., Nov. 9-Sat., Nov. 17, 8pm; Sun., Nov. 11 and Sat., Nov. 17 matinee, 2pm. Call 893-7221 or visit theaterdance.ucsb.edu.
You Can’t Take It with You
Jenny Sullivan directs the Kaufman and Hart classic. Thu., Nov. 15-Sun., Dec. 23; Wed., 7pm; Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Wed., Sat., and Sun. matinees, 2pm. Sat., Nov. 17 opening night gala, 7pm. Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Call 667-2900 or visit rubicontheatre.org.
The Uneasy Chair
Evan Smith is a young British playwright with a gift for language and the manner of a 21st-century Dickens or Wilde. This comedy is about an unlikely Victorian couple named Captain Wickett and Miss Pickles, and it should please and surprise theater buffs and anglophiles alike. Thu., Nov. 29-Sun., Dec. 23; Tue.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2 and 7pm. Alhecama Theatre, 914 Santa Barbara St. Call 965-5400 or visit ensembletheatre.com.
Songs from Peter Pan
Santa Barbara Theatre has the rights to a marvelous Leonard Bernstein score for Peter Pan. This concert presentation will be part of the development process for a full-fledged holiday production in 2008. The songs are wonderful. Thu., Dec. 20-Sat., Dec. 22, 8pm. Sun., Dec. 23, 2pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 963-7282 or visit lobero.com.