Vol. 17, No. 06 – Dec 13 – Dec 26, 2023 – A View from House Seats

Two great events at the Rubicon.

by Shirley Lorraine

Rubicon Strikes Gold in Silver Year

Twenty -Five years ago the Rubicon theater began as a dream. It has grown, evolved, and become a shining light in the arts community, proving that dreams can come true. In this 2023-2024 season of must-see, “real” theater, the Rubicon continues to be a shining beacon.

Opening night of The World Goes ‘Round, a musical revue of the over 40-year collaboration of the highly successful songwriting duo John Kander and Fred Ebb, held a huge surprise.

Former Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, as well as Senator Monique Limon and Assemblyman Steve Bennett were on hand to make a special presentation. Their heartfelt, passionate presentations highlighted many ways the Rubicon has enriched our community over the last 25 years by providing high quality artistic opportunities to the citizens of our beloved community, as well as continuing to thrive and grow during the extraordinary experience of the pandemic.

Karyl Lynn Burns, Rubicon Executive Director, was presented with a $1.5 Million governmental investment to recognize their importance as a professional regional theater of note (see separate article).

Burns and her husband James O’Neill have been on this journey for the last 25 years, becoming champions of the arts in the Ventura area and cultivating community support.

A recent production of In the Heights was taken to schools throughout the area, introducing over 52,000 students to the magic that involvement in the arts can provide. That’s quite an impressive outreach, especially in a time when arts budgets in the schools are cut routinely. The concept of arts as a whole being a necessary component to well-rounded living was soundly applauded.

Following the presentation, the audience was treated to another extraordinary theatrical experience with The World Goes ‘Round, featuring songs of Kander and Ebb who penned such familiar classics as the scores to Chicago, Cabaret, Zorba, 70, Girls, 70 and many more.

The Drama Desk Award-winning musical revue exuded high energy, humor and complexity. Many of the songs will be familiar -some less so. Each one is given treatment apart from the usual contextual rendering of its original use. In every case however, the lyrics beautifully illustrate the timelessness and impact of the sentiments..

The Revue has been around since the early 1990’s. I vividly recall owning a vinyl copy of the original cast album and playing it often. It was, and continues to be, inspiring. This performance simply stunned me with its depth, triggering so many memories, tears and laughter.

Powerhouse vocals by each cast member shook the rafters. Each shone individually and collectively with some impressive pieces weaving several songs sung simultaneously. Once again, the Rubicon has given our community a priceless gift with extraordinary talent. This is a holiday gift not to be missed.

Performances run through December 23. with multiple opportunities to catch this stirring compilation of well known and not-so-well-known (but equally moving) songs by the duo of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Performances are Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (talkback with cast following the 7 p.m. show), Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Go. Enjoy.

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