PCPA presents “Ensemble” – The Santa Barbara Independent

Few organizations have been hit as hard by the pandemic lockdown as the Pacific Conservatory Theater (PCPA), where the suspension of teaching and in-person performances led to the decision to cancel an entire year of school . While the talented faculty of PCPA has created an abundance of online content during this time, digital workshops and Zoom reading readings can only bridge the live performance gap. Fortunately, the long wait is over, and from July 21 to August 7, audiences can return to the company’s summer residence at the Solvang Festival Theater for the first time in nearly two years.

It is normal that the initial show is called Together, and that it will feature faculty members PCPA fans know and love. Written by Erik Stein, directed by Katie Fuchs-Wackowski, and music conducted by Michael Wilkins, Together covers a wide range of styles and moods, from the swing sounds of Cy Coleman’s “The Best Is Yet to Come” to the heartfelt folk rock of Carole King’s Laurel Canyon. The common thread between the different issues will be a series of questions and answers on the history of PCPA drawn from interviews with performers and the audience and shaped into a cohesive unit by Erik Stein.

There will be a band act from the Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen and a tender duo titled “Falling Slowly” from the musical Once. Expect the performers to show off more than their singing and dancing skills, as George Walker plays multiple instruments and Emily Trask brings her cello. Staff at the Solvang Festival Theater have been carefully trained in all relevant safety procedures, and the first two rows will be kept open to provide a buffer between performers on stage and the audience. The outdoor space, always a treat, will be a plus in keeping all participants healthy and comfortable. Add in the next show, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, starring Karole Foreman as Billie Holiday (August 19-September 5) and you have an abbreviated but nonetheless welcome and heroic return to one of our region’s favorite places by an extraordinary organization.

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