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Santa Barbara High School Theatre Presents ‘Pippin’

(Santa Barbara High School photo)

What does it mean to live an extraordinary life? This is the question that drives Pippin, the eponymous 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 Stephen Schwartz's iconic music (including "Corner of the Sky," "Magic to Do" and "Extraordinary"), Pippin is the ultimate theatrical experience that will leave audiences debating what boundaries are crossed for love.

Directed by Otto Layman, now beginning his 20th year at the helm of Santa Barbara High School’s award-winning theater program, Pippin brings together its own extraordinary team of artists in producing this musical. 

With choreography by UCSB Acting Vice Chair of Theatre and Dance and long-time collaborator Christina McCarthy, musical direction by Dr. Jon Nathan (also a longtime faculty member at UCSB) and costumes by Bonnie Thor (How to Succeed, Big Fish, Mystery of Edwin Drood), Pippin is an incredible musical, set in a circus made entirely of enormous books, where the tension between writing one’s own story and having a narrative imposed from without is played against a backdrop of comedy and spectacular effects, including aerialists and acrobats.

Working alongside Nathan is Vocal Director Rachel Short, along with an all-star orchestra consisting of UCSB students and professional musicians. 

Behind the library of enormous books in which Pippin’s journey takes place is Layman who designed the larger-than-life set.

Mike Madden, who returns once again with over 20 SBHS productions under his belt, designed the lights that help to illuminate the musical.

Behind the scenes Technical Director Jonathan Mitchell, along with a dedicated crew of SBHS students, were given the daunting task of constructing the books that make up the library, some of which are 16 feet tall.

While the cast performs their magic on stage, Beau Lettieri, Pippin’s Production Stage Manager, heads the crew backstage who pull off the technical feats.

In the title role of Pippin — a young man looking for fulfillment in life — is Bradley DeVine, who now returns for his seventh SBHS production.

Camille Umoff commands the stage as the Leading Player, the ringleader of the circus troupe of performers.

Quique Hernandez-Black appears as King Charlemagne, Pippin's Father; Meredith LeMert as Charlemagne’s conniving wife, Fastrada; Fastrada’s simple minded warrior-son, Lewis, is played by Cooper Umoff; and Sarina Wasserman as Pippin’s saucy grandmother, Berthe.

Sable Layman portrays Catherine, Pippin’s love interest, and finally the part of Catherine’s son, Theo is played by Lex Siegel, a fifth grader at Montecito Union.

The diverse ensemble of circus performers, soldiers, farm animals and more includes 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, Bridget DeVine and Katarina Vodrazkova.

Pippin opens at Santa Barbara High School Theatre, located at 700 E. Anapmau Street, at 7 p.m. Nov. 6, 2015, at 7 p.m., continuing Nov. 7, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m., along with matinees at 1 p.m. Nov. 14 and 2 p.m. Nov. 15.

Regular ticket prices are $15 for adult general admission, $10 for student general admission and $25 for reserved priority seating. For tickets please visit

— Nancy Black represents Santa Barbara High School

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