Honorary Co-Chairs of the event were Sarah and Roger Chrisman and Anne and Michael Towbes. This spring marks the five-year anniversary of the theater’s restoration and spring 2008 reopening. In honor of this milestone, The Granada Theatre held this gala to thank all those who have made The Granada Theatre’s continued growth and success possible.

To showcase the thriving theater’s development and its many resident company partners, and to thank these loyal donors, the Brilliant Stars Gala featured a program that included performances by several of the theater’s resident companies. Opening the evening’s program was Board President and Gala Honorary Co-Chair Sarah Chrisman, who welcomed guests, followed by a performance by the Santa Barbara Choral Society, whose rendition of “Hallelujah Chorus” enchanted guests in the Lower Lobby of the theater. Next, Master of Ceremonies, former Mayor, and founding Board member, Hal Conklin, invited guests up to the theater’s balcony, where they watched the State Street Ballet Young Dancers perform “Not a Destination”. Guests were then wowed by the debut of the theater’s new state-of-the-art Digital Cinema System that screened Bob Glusic’s original 4K film “Celebrating our Brilliant Stars” which was projected onto the theater’s giant screen. This brand new equipment is the first of its kind on the Central Coast, and was made possible by Sarah and Roger Chrisman and, in memory of Mike DeGruy, the Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation.

The next performance was in the McCune Founders Room, where guests listened to the soulful voice of Holly Palmer accompanied by pianist Peter Smith. In the Founders Room, guests also had a chance to see the beautiful new permanent signage, recognizing those visionary individuals who generously donated to the restoration campaign. These illuminated plaques are works of art and a stunning reminder to future generations of the power and impact of giving. The Granada Theatre and its resident companies depend upon the support of the community, and hope that these beautiful testaments to generosity will inspire others to join in supporting The Granada Theatre for generations to come.

For dinner, guests were invited onto the theater’s stage, a very rare opportunity, where they enjoyed an indulgent three-course meal by Duo Catering & Events. The grand finale of the evening was a performance by the Santa Barbara Symphony, which had set up on an extended stage just a few feet from guests at their tables. Also on stage, accompanied by the symphony was Opera Santa Barbara’s soprano Micaela Oeste and tenor Javier Abreu, who serenaded guests with music by Donizetti and Bellini. Honorary Co-Chair Michael Towbes closed the evening by sharing some of his very first memories about the theater renovation project, how it all began, and expressing his gratitude to the Brilliant Stars who made it all possible.

After the multi-year restoration project, the theater reopened in March 2008, under the auspices of the Santa Barbara Center for Performing Arts, as a fully modernized state-of-the-art facility in the historic downtown structure. The Granada Theatre’s restoration was a labor of love that would not have been possible without the dedication of the theater’s “Brilliant Stars,” an incredibly supportive and diverse group of founding and current board members and Legacy Donors. These individuals, along with a growing base of community support, have made it possible for The Granada Theatre to evolve in to a world-class performing arts venue whose vision is to enhance the quality of life in the Santa Barbara region by hosting the very best in the performing arts for the widest possible audience.

At this five-year milestone, The Granada Theatre invites the Santa Barbara community to come visit and enjoy the very best in music, dance, and theatre at this beloved venue. Upcoming highlights this spring season include Don Pasquale presented by Opera Santa Barbara on April 26th at 7:30pm and April 28th at 2:30pm, and The Granada Theatre Concert Series will welcome Tony Award-winning actress Bernadette Peters on May 4 at 8:00pm. Contemporary Jazz saxophonist and singer Jessy J will perform on June 6th at 8:00pm in the intimate setting of The Granada Theatre’s McCune Founders room as part of the “Upstairs at the G” series.

Honorary Committee Co-chairs

Sarah and Roger Chrisman & Anne and Michael Towbes

Honorary Committee Members

Barry~ and Jo Berkus

Peter and Suzanne Tomlinson Brown

Noelle Burkey

Dan and Meg* Burnham

Dr. Richard and Annette Caleel

Bill and Kathryn Calise

Salud and Gina Carbajal

Hal Conklin

Carrie Ohly-Cusack* (Chair) and Thomas Cusack

Mary Tonetti Dorra

Léni Fé Bland

Frank and Patricia Goss

Patricia Gregory

Roberta Griffin* and Michael Annese

Susan Miles Gulbransen and Gary Gulbransen

David and Linda Hughes

L. Robert Johnson and Lisa Reich

Irma and Morrie Jurkowitz

Chris Lancashire

Jon~ and Lillian Lovelace

Phil and Lee Marking

Wendy P. McCaw

Sara Miller McCune

Anna J. McDonald, Ph.D.

Harriet Miller~

John C. Mithun and Mercedes Millington

Nancy* and Kevin O’Connor

Marla McNally Phillips* and Lee Phillips

Nina* and Eric Phillips

Joan and Geoffrey Rutkowski

Hon. Helene Schneider

Sharol* and Wayne Siemens

Patty DeDominic and Gene Sinser

Betty Stephens and Lindsay Fisher

Robert and Prudence* Sternin

H. Wallace and Marilyn Vandever

Carol Wilburn and Charles McClintock

(* Planning committee member)

(~ In Memoriam)


Built in 1924, The Granada Theatre has been an integral part of Santa Barbara’s arts and entertainment landscape for almost 90 years. The Granada Theatre has played host to some of the 20th century’s greatest entertainers, from Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, and Fred Astaire to Henry Fonda, Yo Yo Ma, Steve Martin and the Berlin Philharmonic, to name a few. Re-opened in 2008, under the auspices of the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts, The Granada Theatre re-emerged as a state of the art home for many of Santa Barbara’s greatest artistic treasures and a place whose existence makes it possible for the highest levels of artistic expression to take place in Santa Barbara. It is an historical icon that speaks to the central role live performing arts play in defining the communal life of Santa Barbara and the Central Coast region. Under the direction of Executive Director, Dr. Craig Springer, a skilled arts administrator with more than 30 years experience, The Granada Theatre annually hosts more than 100 performances and community events. For more information on The Granada Theatre, please visit here.


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