Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 10:20 am | Overcast with Haze 57º


Granada Theatre’s Star-Studded Legends Gala Takes Center Stage

Event honors supporters of multi-million-dollar restoration of Granada as a state-of-the-art building

A birds-eye view of the Granada’s stage, which was converted into a dining room for the event. Click to view larger
A birds-eye view of the Granada’s stage, which was converted into a dining room for the event. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Spotlights and glamour converged when one of Santa Barbara’s artistic treasures hosted “Legends,” a new exclusive event honoring supporters of the The Granada Theatre’s multi-million-dollar restoration that reopened in 2008 as a state-of-the-art building, now owned and operated by The Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts.

“Each year the SBCPA will honor as Legends one or more individuals or organizations having a substantive positive influence on the performing arts and culture community locally, nationally and internationally,” said  SBCPA Chrisman Executive Director Craig Springer. “I’m thrilled to shine a spotlight on our inaugural Legends and to ignite an arsenal of many future Legends to come launch a new tradition that will annually recognize outstanding achievement in the performing arts.”

Originally opened in 1924, the Granada celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2014 with more than 100,000 people attending performances in 2012.

The historic theater's mission is to serve as a vibrant venue that promotes the arts and enhances quality of life in the community.

Elegantly dressed guests in black ties and spectacular gowns gathered for one surprise after another, transforming the already beautiful theater into a magical evening co-chaired by Anne Towbes and Gretchen Lieff.

The abundance of cheer and excitement continued to build as the evening’s emcee, Alan Thicke, invited guests to a special dinner on the stage, which was elevated on a tiered platform extending over the orchestra floor seats.

Duo Catering and Events served a delectable three-course meal under a romantic blue hue of chandeliers amid white-lily centerpieces.

Entertainment by local, national and international talent was also performed close at hand, including tenor Joshua Guerrero, 2015 Teen Star Sydney Shalhoob, the Santa Barbara Symphony Brass Choir and Meredith Harrill of the State Street Ballet.

Passionate supporters, donors, founding and current board members along with community leaders were eager to soak in the majesty of years of effort to honor the theater and the talented lineup of stars that have performed onstage.

The evening also honored three special groups of individuals in tribute towards their efforts for the Granada, including Sarah and Roger Chrisman presented by Dan Burnham, the Community Arts Music Association presented by Ed Birch, and Barry De Vorzon presented by Herb Simon.

“Over the last 10 years, Sarah and Roger Chrisman have been among the most generous supporters of the SBCPA and the Granada Theatre,” said Springer.

The Chrisman’s were recognized for providing a cinema system that is the first of its kind between Los Angeles and San Francisco for historical, documentary and independent films, high-definition presentations by great opera companies from around the world and gala premiere screenings of major studio commercial films, and it also serves as a venue for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The rear-projection technology is commonly used in major studio screening rooms for crystalline images on a 36-foot-wide screen.

For 97 seasons, CAMA has presented renowned performers to Santa Barbara, and the CAMA’s International Series presents the world’s finest classical orchestras and recitalists.

De Vorzon is an accomplished songwriter, composer, producer and artist whose songs have been recorded by legends such as Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, The Eagles and James Brown.

“I made the best decision of my life when we moved to Santa Barbara and we decided that this beautiful city by the sea would be our home, and that was over 40 years ago,” De Vorzon said. “As I understand it, this recognition tonight is not just about my music, it’s about what we contributed to this beautiful community. And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the driving force behind everything we’ve ever done with this community is my wife and children."  

Funds raised from the gala assisted the the SBCPA in its effort to provide a state-of-the-art venue within the historic theater district for The Granada Theatre’s eight resident companies, district partners, organizations and special events.

The theater’s eight resident companies, including CAMA, the Music Academy of the West, Opera Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Santa Barbara Choral Society, the State Street Ballet Theater League and UCSB Arts & Lectures.

The theater does not receive ongoing support from local or state government and covers only half of its annual budget through ticket sales and other earned income.

Giving opportunities for this awe-inspiring facility includes the Visionarios, Luminarios and Alhambra society, as well as Patron and Ovation Circles. Click here for more information.

The beauty and quality of the theater not only makes patrons and staff feel special but the companies and performers feel the splendor, too.

Over the past few years, the community has enjoyed internationally famous soloists, orchestras, operas, dance troups, esteemed guest speakers and more.

Upcoming shows at the Granada include Carmina Burana Oct. 17–18, The Momix Oct. 22 and New York City Ballet MOVES Oct. 26–27.

Tickets are available through the box office by calling 805.899.2222 or by clicking here.

— Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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