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Local News

Courthouse Sunken Garden to Come Alive with the Sound of Summer Musicals

Beginning in July, Santa Barbara County Courthouse again hosting free summer film series with seven classics

This year’s Summer Film Series at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden is “Over the Rainbow: Great American Movie Musical.” The silent-movie theme drew big crowds last year. Click to view larger
This year’s Summer Film Series at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden is “Over the Rainbow: Great American Movie Musical.” The silent-movie theme drew big crowds last year. (David Bazemore / UCSB Arts & Lectures file photo)

Locals are invited to sing along to some of their favorite classic musicals during the Summer Film Series at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden. The series kicks off next month.

The theme for the sixth year of the UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures-organized movie series is “Over the Rainbow: Great American Movie Musicals.”

The free films are shown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at UCSB’s Campbell Hall and at 8:30 p.m. Fridays under the stars at the Sunken Garden. Screenings run July 8 through Aug. 21, with no screening Aug. 7 because of Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

“Let’s do one where people can sing along if they want to,” Art & Lectures associate director Roman Baratiak said of the film theme. “It was a way to kind of get people involved.”

Last year’s silent movie theme was a hit, as well as the series’ best theme yet in 2014 — Alfred Hitchcock films — that drew 3,000 attendees toting blankets, picnic dinners and low-backed chairs.

The screening list of seven classics includes West Side Story, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, An American in Paris, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and Cabaret.

Those looking for free outdoor film-viewing will need to stick with the Sunken Garden, since no free movies will be offered this summer at Stearns Wharf or Bohnett Park on Santa Barbara’s Westside.

Merchants discontinued Movies at Stearns Wharf last year because of the high cost and due to disruptions from some in the crowd, mainly area homeless, said Patrick Henry with Wharf property management.

'The Wizard of Oz' is among the classic movies that will be shown as part of this year's Summer Film Series at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden. (UCSB Arts & Lectures photo)
The Wizard of Oz is among the classic movies that will be shown as part of this year's Summer Film Series at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden. (UCSB Arts & Lectures photo)

The Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department has also opted against offering Movies at Bohnett Park, a popular program started last year with donations from community partners.

Because the funding isn’t there, the film series has been put on hold at least another year, said Mark Alvarado, a parks department neighborhood and outreach services staffer.

Music buffs can also catch free shows at Concerts in the Park, however. That city program at Chase Palm Park kicks off July 2 with an Eagles tribute band.

The concerts rock from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings. Click here for a full list of bands.

Sunken Garden films — presented by Arts & Lectures, the county Arts Commission, Santa Barbara County Park Foundation and the county Community Services Department, and sponsored by Curvature — are enjoyed mainly by those in their 20s to 40s, Baratiak said.

Organizers aren’t changing much about the already-popular film series, again allowing filmgoers to begin setting up on the courthouse lawn at 10 a.m. the day of screenings. A costume contest could also be in the works.

“Come early,” Baratiak said. “Relax. See a good movie and have a wonderful fun Friday night.”

Click here for a full list of upcoming screenings at the Courthouse Sunken Garden.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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