The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The Solve-It-Yourself Musical. Directed by Otto Layman. Santa Barbara High School Theatre. April 24, 2015. Photo: © Isaac Hernández/





Drood Poster SBHS Art Bonnie Thor-Poster Beau Lettieri

Loosely based on an unfinished mystery by Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a musical by Rupert Holmes, is set in the Music Hall Royale in London, UK. Circa 1892.  Chairman William Cartwright (Quique Hernandez-Black) and his zany company of Victorian players have devised a musical rendition of the story that invites audience participation at every step. Since Dickens was so rude as to die before finishing his story, the company has rehearsed multiple endings for the audience to vote on during the second act.

Our title character disappears mysteriously one stormy Christmas Eve—but has Edwin Drood been murdered? And if so, then whodunnit? There are over one hundred possibilities for the outcome to this mystery in which the audience will select -- all the as this play-within-a-play comes to a hilariously madcap conclusion that is different every night!

“It’s a great acting piece for great improvisers,” says Artistic Director Otto Layman, now in his 19th year at Santa Barbara High School. "With over a 100 possible endings—no two performances are ever the same, and the audience becomes part of the show.”

Performances run April 24, 25 and April 30, May, 1 and 2 at 7pm at the Santa Barbara High School Theatre, 700 E. Anapamu Street with a Sunday matinee on the May 3 at 2pm. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors, available by Clicking Here at or at the door. 

Photographs courtesy of Isaac Hernandez. Poster Artwork by Bonnie Thor

From Santa Barbara to Broadway 

SBHS Theatre Alumnus Opens on Broadway in Finding Neverland


Santa Barbara High School Theatre’s annual Broadway Revue, Music of the Night, has been a part of student culture at Santa Barbara High School for the past fourteen years and is now returning for its fifteen season. Music of the Night was created in 1999 by students Blake Berris, Ashley Rodgers, and Evan Hughes, as a way to celebrate student ownership of their theatre education. What started as a little show to fill the long break between the Fall show and the Spring show, often done only with a piano or canned music, has become a full blown stage production, with costume, set and light designs, sophisticated videos and a live band.  It is cast, directed, choreographed, designed and produced entirely by student directors (Aaron Linker, Sable Layman, Rio Salazar, and Dante Gonzalez) under the supervision of Artistic Director Otto Layman. This year the cast of 26 students will perform musical numbers from Broadway musicals — among them Bullets Over Broadway, Matilda, Jersey Boys, Pippin, The Little Shop of Horrors, and many more.  The show has grown tremendously over the years, and now has the same stature and attendance of our main stage shows--which is an enormous source of pride to the theatre staff.

Photos Courtesy of Emilio MK Visual Media


Closed November 16

Santa Barbara High School Theatre's Production of Big Fish: The Musical. 

Once again Santa Barbara High School and longtime director Otto Layman continues to push the SBHS Theatre program beyond the ordinary with the production of Big Fish, the new Broadway musical which just closed in December of 2013.  Big Fish is directed by Otto Layman, now in his 19th year at SBHS, and the longest tenured high school theatre director in the SB Unified School District.  He is joined by Dr. Jon Nathan as the music director, Bonnie Thor, costumer, Jessica Hambright, choreographer, with Technical Direction by longtime collaborator David Guy, and Production Stage Management by Beau Lettieri. Big Fish  features a talented cast of thirty actors, including Aaron Linker as Edward Bloom, Andrew Gutierrez as his son Will Bloom, Sable Layman as the elder Sandra Bloom and Lizzie Saunders as the young Sandra Templeton.

Big Fish features the music and lyrics by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, The Wild Party) and a new book by esteemed screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). 

Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fishcenters on the charismatic Edward Bloom, who tells his son, Will, impossible stories of his epic adventures. Edward takes Will through his lifetime of witches, circus performers, a mermaid, and even his friendship with a giant. As Will grows older, he begins to doubt the reality of his father’s stories, eventually coming to the conclusion he doesn’t truly know his father. As Edward’s final chapter approaches, a now newlywed Will embarks on his own journey to find out who his father really is, revealing the man behind the myth, the truth from the tall tales.  

Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, Big Fish is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre – for an experience that's richer, funnier and BIGGER than life itself.

Big Fish opens November 13th  at the Santa Barbara High School Performing Arts Center, 700 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA. at 7pm for a special one weekend run. Additional shows are November 14th  and 15th at 7pm, and matinees on November 15th  (1pm) and November 16th (2pm).  Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for students, with $25.00 orchestra seats available at all performances. For more information call (805.563.9409, or visit our website at

Photos courtesy of Isaac Hernandez 


Past Santa Barbara High School Productions