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Live theater is back! South Coast's oldest community theater group kicks off new season

The Theater Group At Santa Barbara City College is kicking off its 2022-2023 season with the musical comedy "Something Rotten!"

The Theater Group At Santa Barbara City College stages popular Broadway musical comedy "Something Rotten!"

It has the look of a Shakespearean drama… but you quickly realize it’s a musical farce.

The musical comedy Something Rotten! kicks off the 76th season for the South Coast’s longest running community theater company, The Theater Group At Santa Barbara City College.

Katie Laris is co-chair of the theater group, and director of the new musical production. She said what makes the theater group unique is that it’s not just for Santa Barbara City College students, even though it's based at the college's Garvin Theater, but for people throughout the community.

"We started in about 1946," said Laris. "The entire community is welcome to get involved in our theater... you can come out and be a performer, you can work backstage... we need ushers. Absolutely anyone of any age can be involved."

Laris said it’s amazing to be back doing live theater again, after all the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Longtime Santa Barbara actor, director and producer Rod Lathim talks about what it’s like being back in front of a live audience.

"I'm having the time of my life," said Lathim. "People need human interaction... there's something nurturing to our souls."

Many of the cast members have extensive theater experience, but do it for fun. Lisa Beck has done a number of shows in SBCC’s Garvin Theater.

"This is my passion, and even after I gave up doing it professionally, I'm really excited to live in a place where you have a wealth of theater," said Beck.

Willie Simpson’s day job is in hospitality marketing, but he loves being in concerts and on stage.

"I grew up singing... can't not do it," said Simpson.

And, Maddie Thomas was born and raised in Santa Barbara, and is now at Chapman University studying acting. She said after the pandemic shutdown, it's refreshing to be back, and on stage in front of live audiences.

Perhaps no one is as dedicated as longtime musical director, David Potter. He was too modest to do an interview, but he’s celebrating his 50th anniversary of working with the Theater Group at SBCC.

The theater company thought Something Rotten! was the perfect way to kick off its new season. The period musical comedy is about some playwrights, and performers competing for audiences against a rising theater star named Shakespeare.

"Something Rotten" runs through July 23 at Santa Barbara's Garvin Theater.
"Something Rotten!" runs through July 23 at Santa Barbara's Garvin Theater.

Something Rotten! is the beginning a five show season for the Theater Group. It includes A Play Gone Wrong, The Importance Of Being Earnest, A Comedy Of Tenors, and George and Emily Get Married.

Something Rotten! runs through July 23rd in the Garvin Theater.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.