For Lee Rosenberg and the Vineyard Valley Theatre Company, every event represents a new opportunity to rethink the way shows are produced and presented in Santa Barbara County. Just last year, The Voices of Romance-the mixed operatic and popular love song concert-was one of the summer’s most glamorous evenings, attracting a strictly A-list crowd. Next up for the group is something entirely different-at least on the surface. Rosenberg, who was a successful literary agent in Hollywood before moving to his Santa Ynez ranch, has eclectic tastes and a strong vision for the valley as a cultural center. This year’s Vineyard Valley Theatre production of the Austin-based Latin rock band Del Castillo at the Solvang Festival Theater is intended as both a benefit for the charity group People Helping People and as a gift to the working people of Santa Barbara County, with tickets costing $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
Del Castillo were first seen and heard around these parts as one of the acts featured in the Sings Like Hell series at the Lobero Theatre. Rosenberg was in the audience, and now he and Sings Like Hell are coproducing this show, which extends the reach of Sings Like Hell into the valley and the open air of the 700-seat theater.
As for Del Castillo, they are a Latin rock band unlike any other. Brothers Rick and Mark del Castillo play Spanish (i.e., acoustic, nylon-stringed) guitars with flamenco-like verve and flash, but they also know how to get deep into a blues groove or let silence speak as in small-group jazz. Perhaps the best way to characterize these Austin boys is by some of the company they keep. Willie Nelson guest-sang on their 2006 release, Brotherhood, in a dueling-languages duet with vocalist Alex Ruiz. Their most recent album, the self-titled Del Castillo, is one of the year’s best-recorded releases, with production values matching the brilliant studio work of Carlos Santana and Los Lobos.
Del Castillo play the Solvang Festival Theater on Friday, September 18, at 6:30 p.m., and seating is unreserved. UCSB dancers Raices de Mi Tierra will open the evening. For tickets and information, call 686-4360.