A bright spring day shined down on the Lobero Theatre Foundation for the 40th Annual Hats Off Luncheon on April 19 at the Montecito Country Club with special guest Cheri Steinkellner and attendees donning beautiful hats and big smiles.
This major outreach event of the year for the Lobero Associates, a volunteer organization that supports the Lobero Theatre, began with opening comments from Master of Ceremonies Marti Bell and was followed by a welcome message from Lobero Associates President Annie Williams.
Williams was excited about the festive atmosphere and told Noozhawk about some of the special moments that make Hats Off unique.
“It’s very special that we’ve been doing this for four decades now, and actually we have one of our founding members here who’s still involved in the Associates — Marilene Sherman is here today,” Williams said. “Everyone gets all dressed up and everybody wears their hats, and because the Lobero is such a wonderful gem in our community.”
A delicious luncheon from Montecito Country Club Executive Chef Michael Blackwell was served atop black-and-white table settings that provided a contrast to the variety of hats in different colors, shapes and sizes worn by guests around the room.
Blackwell’s delectable servings included chicken with warm potato salad, sautéed potatoes with saffron cream topped off by vanilla crème brulee.
At the conclusion of lunch, acknowledgements and recognition from Hats Off Luncheon Committee chairwoman Jane Litchfield were shared with the crowd of supporters whose wonderful hats provided a colorful mix against the wood beam ceilings and chandeliers in the dining area.
Next, special guest Steinkellner, winner of four Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, People’s Choice Award, BAFTA, Writers Guild, Parents Choice and TV Land Legend Awards with TV credits that include The Jeffersons, Benson, The Facts of Life, Family Ties, Who’s the Boss?, Bob and Hope and Gloria, greeted the crowd to discuss her career and excitedly spoke of her upcoming musical performance, Hello! My Baby, running this weekend at the Lobero.
“I’m so excited that we’re bringing an indigenous homegrown musical to our theater for our community,” Steinkellner said. “This show was born here and was inspired by my experience directing a show at Goleta Valley Junior High School. It was raised here. It grew up at the Rubicon. The idea that it started here is the most special thing to me.”
A raffle and centerpiece drawing and piano entertainment from Gil Rosas accompanied the festivities at this lovely afternoon joined by performances from the upcoming musical.
Producer/Director Brian MacDonald and the cast of Hello! My Baby provided entertainment from the critically acclaimed musical about a teenage factory girl, Nelly Gold, who works with Mickey McKee, King of the Song-Pluggers, to write a hit song that leads to a rivalry.
MacDonald concurred with Steinkellner on the community impact for this musical farce for the whole family.
“I think the idea of a Rubicon production coming up and being part of the Lobero is something that I always wanted to see,” MacDonald said. “This kind of collaboration between the Rubicon and the Lobero is something that can benefit both counties and both communities and really celebrate the work that we’re both doing.”
Hello! My Baby, starring George Ball, Evie Hutton, Ciran McCarthy and Kristine Zbornik, also features Santa Barbara actors Rich Hoag and Tad Murroughs and returns to the Lobero for three performances, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Click here for tickets and information, or call 805.963.0761.
Conceived and written by Steinkellner, Hello! My Baby is a musical for the whole family with musical arrangements and orchestrations by Craig Safan, musical direction by Lloyd Cooper and choreography by Lee Martino.
“It’s a piece that’s really kind of a Valentine to the MGM musicals and the Broadway musicals and musicals in general, and of American songbook,” MacDonald said. “It really celebrates that music and keeps it alive, but really told in a very fast-paced, very funny, very upbeat kind of way for today’s audiences.”
Founded by Jose Lobero in 1873, the Lobero Theatre is California’s oldest continuously operating theater, and the Lobero Associates, over the past five years, has provided funds that resulted in a new courtyard, Steinway piano, state-of-the-art ticketing software and an event tent for the courtyard.
The Lobero Associates graciously thanks the Hats Off Luncheon sponsors:
» Premier sponsors: Montecito Bank & Trust, and Janet and John McCann
» Table sponsors: Gina and Martin Bell, and Jane and Daniel Litchfield
Hello! My Baby is proudly sponsored by Janet and Mark Goldenson and Sandra and Jordan Laby, with honorary producers Anne and Michael Towbes.