Photos Courtesy of Lerina Winter and Isaac Hernandez

     First produced as a touring version for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008, HAIR played to sold-out houses in its two performances at SBHS, and its four performances at the Charlotte Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, where it was named a Pick of the Festival by the Edinburgh Scotsman.  
     A new Broadway milestone was set in 1968 when HAIR, the first rock musical, opened to mass popularity.  Tackling controversial and explosive issues of the era in theatrically innovative fashion, the brash and exciting musical sustained a five year run at New York’s Biltmore Theatre. Hair tells the story of the "tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the ”Age of Aquarius” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War. Claude, his good friend Berger, their roommate Sheila and their friends struggle to balance their young lives, loves, and the sexual revolution with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Ultimately, Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or to succumb to the pressures of his parents (and conservative America) to serve in Vietnam, compromising his pacifistic principles and risking his life.
    Director Otto Layman, then in his 20th year at the SBHS Theatre helm, had long wanted to explore this musical in a longer version with the accompaniment of a full band. Dr. Jon Nathan (Musical Director), a longtime faculty member at UCSB, brought that vision to life with an all-star orchestra of UCSB students and professional musicians. Working alongside them were Choreographer Jenna Tico, Vocal Director Sio Tepper, Costume Designer Bonnie Thor, Technical Director Jonathan Mitchell, and Stage Manager Beau Lettieri. 
    Hair opened at Santa Barbara High School Theatre, on April 29, 2016 at 7pm and continued with additional performances on April 30, May 6, and May 7 at 7pm, along with matinees on April 30, May 7, and a special closing matinee on Mother’s Day, May 8 at 2pm. 

Closed January 31

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 fifteen years and is recently returned for its sixteenth 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 (Dante Gonzalez, Sable Layman, Rio Salazar and Lizzie Saunders) under the supervision of Artistic Director Otto Layman. This year the cast of 24 students performed musical numbers from Broadway musicals — among them, The Producers, Hamilton, Hairspray, Aladdin, Wicked 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.

Music of the Night 2016 played January 28, 29, 30, at 7pm and January 31 at 2pm in the Santa Barbara High School Theatre.

Photos by Isaac Hernandez


Closed November 15


What does it mean to live an extraordinary life? This is the question that drives Pippin, our story’s hero, through the adventures of war, sex, politics and love – all the while guided by the mysterious hand of the Leading Player. While the Players strive to steer Pippin towards a perfect, theatrical and tragic end of his story, Pippin begins to discover what it truly means to be extraordinary. Filled with dance, passion, and Stephan Schwartz's iconic music (including "Corner of the Sky," "Magic to Do," and "Extraordinary"), Pippin is the ultimate theatrical experience that left audiences debating what boundaries are crossed for love.

In the title role of Pippin — a young man looking for fulfillment in life — was Bradley DeVine, who then returned for his seventh SBHS production. Camille Umoff commanded the stage as the Leading Player, the ringleader of the circus troupe of performers. Others included Quique Hernandez-Black as King Charlemagne, Pippins Father; Meredith LeMert as Charlemagne’s conniving wife, Fastrada; Fastrada’s simple minded warrior-son, Lewis, played by Cooper Umoff; and Sarina Wasserman as Pippin’s saucy grandmother, Berthe. Sable Layman portrayed Catherine, Pippin’s love interest, and finally the part of Catherine’s son, Theo was played by Lex Siegel, a fifth grader at Montecito Union. The diverse ensemble of circus performers, soldiers, farm animals and more included Barron Mainz, Dante Gonzalez, Isaac Cortes, Will Blondell, Tyler Dahneke, Nolan McCarthy, Cameron Meza, Drewes McFarling, Cai Norton, Lizzie Saunders, Hailey Turner, Mia Valdes, Hazel Brady, KiSea Katikka, Leah Martin, Julia McCarter, Grace Perry, Liliana Johnston, and Katarina Vodrazkova.

Photographs courtesy of Isaac Hernandez.


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


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 continue to push the SBHS Theatre program beyond the ordinary with the production of Big Fish, the new Broadway musical which only recently closed in December of 2013.  Big Fish was directed by Otto Layman, now in his 20th year at SBHS, the longest tenured high school theatre director in the SB Unified School District.  He was 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  featured 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