The Westmont music and theatre arts departments combine creative talents to produce “Die Fledermaus (The Bat),” an operetta composed by Johann Strauss, on March 2 and 4 at 7 p.m. in downtown Santa Barbara’s New Vic Theatre. Tickets cost $17 for general admission, $12 for students and seniors, and may be purchased at newvictheater.com. For more information, please call (805) 565-7140.
The effervescent story, first produced in Vienna in 1874, features intoxicating waltzes, a masked ball, romance and revenge. “It’s one of Strauss’ most beloved and often performed pieces in the repertoire,” says Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship and musical director of the play. “It has been a smash hit for more than a century. Perhaps surprisingly though, most of it will be brand new to our participants and much of our audience base, whom I hope take away a delightful experience that will open up doors to a wider world of musical and theatrical encounters.”
The cast features Anna Telfer (Rosalinde), Michelle Vera (Adele), Elena White (Orlofsky), Jessica Lingua (Ida), Jon Lindsley (Alfred), Kenny Galindo (Eisenstien), John Butler (Falke), Micah Anthony (Frank), Sean McElrath (Blind) and others.
“We have largely removed the spoken words with wordless acting,” says John Blondell, stage director and Westmont professor of theater. “The result is a great outpourings of Strauss’ delicious music interspersed with silence and movement that progresses the plot.”
In another break from tradition, the orchestra is not in a pit, but performs onstage in different locations for each act.
“The story is playful and great fun, but underneath it all is a tale of infidelity and near infidelity, and the frailties of the human heart,” Blondell says. “The world of the performance is contemporary, quasi-absurdist, sometimes silent and quiet and sometimes robust and wild, a bit grotesque, serious and heartbreaking in moments, and pretty darned silly in others.”