Some early adopters of the Center Stage Theater space in Paseo Nuevo, the creative team from TAG’s Indy Award-winning 1998 production of The Tempest: (from left to right) George Backman, Barbara Lackner, Emma Jane Huerta, James Donlon, Faline England, Jim Connolly, Jay Jagim, and Peter Lackner.

Summer is coming in theatrically, but there’s still time to see three great shows that opened in spring. Loot continues at the Ensemble Theatre Company’s Alhecama Theatre through Sunday, June 27. The PCPA musical mystery Curtains is at the Solvang Festival Theater through Saturday, July 3, and The Girl in the Freudian Slip will be showing at Circle Bar B through July 11. Opening this week on Thursday, June 24, through Saturday, July 3, with two casts, is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Crane School’s Cate Hall Theater.

Opening Thursday, June 24, at PCPA’s Marian Theater in Santa Maria and running there through Saturday, July 3, before transferring to the Festival Theater in Solvang (July 9-25) is A.R. Gurney’s delightful domestic comedy Sylvia. On Wednesday, July 7, audiences will get their first peep at a preview of what is sure to be one of the summer’s hottest tickets — SBCC Theater Group’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Time of My Life. Director Rick Mokler has assembled a stellar cast for this brilliant and sophisticated contemporary drama, and it will remain at the Interim Theater on the SBCC West Campus through Saturday, July 24.

The next night, July 8, Shakespeare fans will want to travel to Ojai for Theater 150’s production of The Winter’s Tale. If last summer’s Hamlet is any indication, director Jessica Kubzansky will give us another outstanding experience, this time in the new outdoor amphitheater of Chaparral High School. Theater 150’s The Winter’s Tale runs through Sunday, August 1. The prodigious little summer powerhouse comes back right away on the next weekend with Theater 150’s production of Love’s Labour’s LOST, a mash-up of William Shakespeare and the popular television program LOST. It will play from July 16 through August 1, also at the Chaparral High amphitheater. Precious Nonsense, a Gilbert and Sullivan-based farce (with pirates!) will be at Circle Bar B Friday, July 23 through September 5.

PCPA brings the immortal West Side Story to the Marian Theater on Friday, July 9. This beloved classic will run in Santa Maria until Sunday, July 25, and then move over to the Solvang Festival Theater on Friday, July 30, through Sunday, August 22. The acclaimed contemporary historical drama Frost/Nixon will be DIJO Productions’ summer offering at Center Stage Theater, Wednesday, July 21 to Sunday, August 8. Songs for a New World, PCPA’s third musical this summer, opens on Friday, August 6, at the Marian Theater and stays there until Saturday, August 21. It will be in Solvang from Friday, August 27, until Sunday, September 12. Hello! My Baby is a new musical based on classic Tin Pan Alley songs with a book by Cheri Steinkellner and new music and arrangements by Georgia Stitt. This one is a can’t miss, and it will be at the Rubicon for two weekends, Friday-Sunday, August 6-8, and Friday-Sunday, August 13-15. On Saturday, August 14, Center Stage Theater will be the place for a staged reading of Steven Kunes’s original play Hopeless Romantic.

Perhaps the most anticipated event of the summer within the Santa Barbara theater community is the Center Stage Theater’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, August 21. Organizers Teri Ball, Rod Lathim, and Peter Lackner promise a roast full of memories and humor for all who have participated in the theater’s first two decades. Look for more on this unusual event in The Independent soon.


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