Friday, September 4 , 2015, 2:01 pm | Fair 74.0º




Ensemble Theatre Company’s Pastiche Gala Is a Work of Art

Benefit raises more than $73,000 to support a powerhouse fall lineup of performances

From left, Ensemble Theatre Company executive artistic director Jonathan Fox, board members Ruth Heeger and Gail Beust and board president Dwight Coffin.

From left, Ensemble Theatre Company executive artistic director Jonathan Fox, board members Ruth Heeger and Gail Beust and board president Dwight Coffin.  (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

By Melissa Walker, Noozhawk iSociety Columnist | @NoozhawkSociety |

The Pastiche gala recently brought forth Santa Barbara’s crème de la crème to the enchanting Montecito Country Club in support of the Ensemble Theatre Company.

Guests clad in elegant black and white tuxedos and elaborate flowing gowns mingled and sipped wine while enjoying the afternoon sun that streamed through the arched glass windows and slowly spread over the club’s reception room.

For many who attended Pastiche, the June 26 event was a tribute to the end of a fun-filled 2010-2011 season presented by ETC, and a gathering to ensure the continuation of Santa Barbara’s longest-running theater, which originated in 1978 as the Ensemble Theatre Project.

The VIP reception began with an array of scrumptious hors d’oeuvres prepared by Village Modern Foods. Guests pampered their palettes and enjoyed the spectacular panoramic views of the Santa Barbara coastline and the Channel Islands.

Tables filled with gift baskets, oil paintings, specialty wines and exotic embroidered scarves were some of the items on display for the silent auction.

Later, guests helped themselves at buffet tables overlooking the Santa Barbara Harbor before moving to the adjacent dining room where table settings were chicly decorated to enhance the black-and-white theme.

Diners were treated to a delightful pinch of pastiche during a spirited cabaret performance hosted by critically acclaimed actors and emcees for the evening, Joseph Fuqua and Jamie Torcellini.

Fuqua and Torcellini performed a skit as their characters from The Mystery of Irma Vep, which premiered at ETC last December, and also shared a montage of scenes from four other productions presented by the ETC this past season: The Housewives of Mannheim, Opus, Ghosts and The Fantasticks.

Performer Saundra McClain seduced the audience with a sexy melody titled “Don’t You Feel My Leg,” from the play Black Pearl Sings.

When the room cooled down, a live auction hosted by Fuqua and Torcellini roused the crowd’s enthusiasm anew. A trip to Washington’s San Juan Islands, with lodging in a private apartment, and a VIP elephant tour at the Santa Barbara Zoo were two of the most sought-after items up for bidding. Proceeds from the event raised more than $73,000.

At the conclusion of the evening, cast members of The Fantasticks and other special guests from the ETC performed musical numbers followed by a slideshow glimpse of next season’s lineup, including Underneath the Lintel, Black Pearl Sings, The Lion in the Winter and 39 Steps, in which four actors will play in 140 roles.

The new season begins Oct. 13 and other ETC favorites such as the Storybook Ensemble Theatre and Student Matinees will soon be revealed on the ETC’s Web site.

Some of the biggest news of the evening was the unveiling of a renovation rendering of the 11,000-square-foot Victoria Hall Theater at 33 W. Victoria St. Once completed, the theater will be equipped with 300 seats, spacious restrooms, a box office, concession areas, acoustical upgrades and soundproofing, digital projection, new dressing rooms and an enhanced stage fly system.

The Ensemble Theatre Company gives a special thanks to the following event sponsors:

» Gold Sponsors: Bridlewood Estates Winery, Ruth and Alan Heeger and Montecito Bank & Trust.

» Silver Sponsors: Thomas C. and Paula Yurkanis Bruice, Donna and Daniel Hone, Elinor and James Langer, Ruth and John Matuszeski, PMSM Architects and Kathy and Bill Weber.

» Bronze Sponsors: Gail Beust, Tina and Dwight Coffin, Jane Eagleton and Glenn Jordan, Diane and Ray Hester, George Terry and Susan Northrop, Carolyn Novick, Sybil Rosen and Drs. Linda and Fred Wudl.

A special thanks to Jenny Sullivan and Saundra McLain.

Click here for more information on the Ensemble Theatre Company, or call 805.965.5400. Become a fan of Ensemble Theatre Company on Facebook.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews, and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.




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