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Cabrillo Theater Launches Summer Fundraising Programs

theaterartCabrillo Music Theatre proudly announces a new series of fundraising and entertainment events to coincide with the summer production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music.” Two new entertainment series will utilize new spaces within the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and feature Southern California and Cabrillo stars Norman Large and Christina Saffran Ashford, as well as a musical reunion of the best and brightest of Cabrillo’s young talent.

All will take place on the grounds of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.


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“Cabrillo Music Theatre has a rich history of bringing the very best talent to the Civic Arts Plaza stage,” says Lewis Wilkenfeld, Cabrillo’s Artistic Director for the past five seasons. “We’re excited to launch two new series of fundraising entertainments, while bringing some Cabrillo favorites back to our audiences.”

CABRILLO MONDAY NIGHT CONCERT SERIES

Cabrillo Music Theatre presents a series of concert fundraisers in the Founders’ Room of the Civic Arts Plaza on Monday evenings.  Four concerts are planned per season, and will tie in with the currently-running mainstage Cabrillo production.

This new concert fundraising series will be launched on August 1 with Southern California theatre veterans Norman Large and Christina Saffran Ashford.  The duo have been paired twice on the Cabrillo stage, in last year’s “Cinderella” and as Maria and the Captain in the 2001 production of “The Sound of Music.” Large and Saffran Ashford will bring an evening of musical gems to this elegant and intimate audience.

“The Founders’ Room is the ideal venue for this sort of concert,” says Wilkenfeld.  “Every seat in the room is close to the performance, and really allows our guests to enjoy the best of Cabrillo talent in a completely different setting. We’re very grateful that Christina and Norman, who perform in concerts around the country, are willing to donate their services to help support Cabrillo and our outreach programs by launching this series.”

The Cabrillo Monday Night Concert Series: Norman Large and Christina Saffran Ashford will be held at 7 p.m. August 1 in the Founders Room of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.  The entertainment will be preceded by a brief cocktail hour, and followed by a reception with the performers, featuring after-theatre refreshments provided by Mastro’s Steakhouse.  Tickets are $75, and can be purchased by phone at the Cabrillo Music Theatre office, 805-497-8613.  Tickets will also be on sale at Cabrillo Music Theatre events throughout the summer, and in the Civic Arts Plaza lobby during “The Sound of Music.” Seating is limited, and the event is sure to sell out quickly.

SUNDAYS IN THE PARK WITH CABRILLO

On Sunday evening, July 24, Cabrillo audiences will be in for a family-friendly treat, as we welcome back the “Kids of Cabrillo,” for a special fundraising event.  Young performers who have appeared in previous Cabrillo shows, dating back to the Civic Arts Plaza’s opening production of “The Music Man” will be invited back to perform at an evening picnic.  This fundraising event, “A Very Good Place to Start: Cabrillo Music Theatre Presents Yesterday’s Children/Tomorrow’s Stars,” launches a new series of outdoor family concerts.  The beautiful Carpenter Park, in front of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, will provide the setting for this reunion of some of the greatest of Cabrillo’s young talents.

“Cabrillo Music Theatre has presented so many talented young artists through the years,” says Wilkenfeld.  “We thought that summertime provided us with the opportunity to let our audiences see what’s become of our kids!  A lot of them are off at college during the year, so our picnic concert is a sort of Cabrillo homecoming.”

The event begins at 6 p.m., giving audience members a chance to enjoy a double-feature of Cabrillo entertainment by attending the matinee performance of “The Sound of Music,” then making their way down to the park for the show.  Guests can bring a picnic dinner and sit on the grass, with a limited number of chairs provided.  Bottles of water will be provided.  The concert begins at 6:30 p.m., and will include kids (and former kids) from Cabrillo shows past and present, plus an appearance by actors portraying the von Trapp children from current production of “The Sound of Music,” plus many surprises.

“A Very Good Place to Start,” will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 24 at the Carpenter Park, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.  Tickets are $50 for a family of four, with additional and individual tickets at $20 each.  Tickets can be purchased by phone at the Cabrillo Music Theatre office, 805-497-8613. Tickets will also be on sale at Cabrillo Music Theatre events throughout the summer, and in the Civic Arts Plaza lobby during “The Sound of Music.”

CABRILLO’S HONORARY PRODUCER PROGRAM

In tandem with the fundraisers, Cabrillo has launched an Honorary Producer Program, in which individuals or families may make a donation to a specific production, or for the entire season.  Local businessman Ted Slavin and his fiancée, Patricia Rubin, will serve as Honorary Producers of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, roles they will repeat as 2011-2012 Season Honorary Producers.

“The Honorary Producer Program gives individuals a chance to ‘play a role’ with Cabrillo Music Theatre.  We’re grateful for the support of our V.I.P. Sponsors and other corporate entities, but we couldn’t stay in business without the individuals and families of the community,” says Wilkenfeld, who produces all of Cabrillo’s shows.  “Ted (Slavin) and Pat (Rubin) came to see ‘The Producers’ and basically said, ‘We want to help.’  We’re honored to have them as our inaugural Honorary Producers, and we hope that others will follow suit.”

“It’s strictly an honorary title,” Wilkenfeld continued, “These folks will not have to drive trucks, unload scenery, build props, or handle any of the other “producer” tasks that I do.”

The “Cabrillo Monday Night Concert Series,” “Sundays in the Park with Cabrillo” and the Honorary Producer Program are part of a vigorous new fundraising campaign for Cabrillo Music Theatre.  As with all arts organizations, Cabrillo Music Theatre faces financial challenges in the current economy.   The Board of Directors and staff have initiated a wide variety of fundraising endeavors, including the new concert series.

Says Wilkenfeld, “In order to keep Cabrillo producing locally-mounted, community-based professional theatre, and to continue our nationally-recognized outreach programs,  we’re asking Cabrillo fans and local audiences to ‘play their role’ to help keep us going. The opportunity to bring our audiences these great musical entertainments, and to help Cabrillo at the same time, is a great example of Cabrillo Music Theatre doing what it does best.”

ABOUT THE ENTERTAINERS

CHRISTINA SAFFRAN ASHFORD previously starred opposite Norman Large as Maria in The Sound of Music, and as The Queen in Cinderella.    Christina’s  Broadway career is extensive, having starred as Kathy Seldon in Singin’ in the Rain, Maggie in A Chorus Line, Shoo Shoo in Sophisticated Ladies, Rosa Bud and Edwin Drood in Drood, and Zaneeta in The Music Man.  A true triple threat, audiences throughout the world have been thrilled by her leading performances in My Fair Lady, Showboat, South Pacific, Phantom, White Christmas, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Sunday in the Park with George, Damn Yankees, Sound of Music, Pajama Game, She Loves Me, Street Scene, Grease, Company, My One and Only, Chess, Aspects of Love, Me and My Girl, I Do I Do...the list goes on.

Her concert work includes a multitude of styles ranging from engagements as the lead chanteuse for Herbie Hancock, to soloist with various national symphony orchestras, then “jazzing it up” with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and on to opening for Don Rickles with her own show in Las Vegas’ Stardust Resort and Casino.

She has provided animated voices for Disney’s Aladdin, Mulan, Magic Flute, 102 Dalmatians , A Bug’s Life, Armageddon, Pocahontas II, Hunchback II, and Lady and the Tramp II, and is heard on Enchanted, Cinderella , Galaxy Quest, Polar Express, Christmas with the Kranks, and The Santa Clause II.  Christina’s original cast recordings include Singin’ in the Rain, Masada, Fashion and Joan of Arc.  Her solo CD entitled Temporary Insanity is available at www.LMLMusic.com.

Christina is a Founding Board member of Retinoblastoma International (www.retinoblastoma.net), an active member of SGI-USA and ICAP.  She resides in Los Angeles with her actor husband, Matthew N. Ashford and her 2 daughters, Grace and Emma.

NORMAN LARGE has delighted Cabrillo Music Theatre audiences as the star of Cinderella and The Sound of Music (both with Christina Saffran Ashford) and as Oliver Warbucks in Annie. Norman Large’s extremely varied career bridges Broadway, film, television, concert, opera, recording, and voiceover. On Broadway Norman played the leading role of Count Fosco in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman In White.  He originated the role of the Bishop of Digne in the original Broadway production of Les Miserables, going on to star as Thenardier and ultimately as Inspector Javert. He also played leading roles on Broadway in A Doll’s Life, and Silverlake. Norman has starred in major productions of The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, My Fair Lady (Arizoni Award), Sweeney Todd (Ovation Award nomination), La Cage Aux Folles (Ovation nomination), Phantom (Ovation nomination), H.M.S. Pinafore (Republic Award), Man of La Mancha, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, The King & I, Brigadoon, The Secret Garden, Sunday in the Park with George, Chess, and many others.

A recognizable face from a myriad of TV and film roles, Norman is probably best known for the character of Neral, the ruler of the Romulan Empire, opposite Leonard Nimoy on Star Trek; the Next Generation. He has, in fact, played more different guest starring roles than anyone in the history of Star Trek. Among his other TV credits are recurring roles on Veronica Mars and NYPD Blue and guest starring roles JAG, Seinfeld, Nash Bridges, LA Law, Caroline in the City, Deep Space Nine, Quantum Leap, and Civil Wars along with numerous soaps and Movies of the Week. On film, Norman was featured in Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and in Repossessed with Leslie Nielson.

He has been a principal artist with the New York City Opera and has sung with symphony orchestras nationwide under the batons of such noted conductors as Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa.  For Disney he has lent his talents to the animated worlds of Enchanted, Polar Express, Sponge Bob Squarepants the Movie, The Little Mermaid II, Lady and the Tramp II, Hunchback II, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Mickey’s Christmas, as well as Lion King 1 ½  and Teacher’s Pet supplementing Nathan Lane’s voice. In addition to original cast albums, Norman can be heard on Legato Classic’s Lakme, recorded live at Carnegie Hall, and Christmas Center Stage. Watch for his soon-to-be released solo CD.  Norman’s favorite productions to date are those of his 14 and 9 year old sons, Nathan and Brandon, produced in conjunction with his dancer/singer/actress wife Irene Cho.

Tickets for both events are on sale now and may be purchased by phone through the Cabrillo Music Theatre office, at (805) 497-8613, and may also be purchased at Cabrillo Music Theatre appearances, and in the Kavli Theatre lobby during “The Sound of Music” (July 22-31, 2011).  Inquiries about the Honorary Producer Program and other Donor Opportunities should also contact the Cabrillo Music Theatre office, at (805) 497-8613.

Cabrillo Music Theatre’s concert series perform at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Bank of America Performing Arts Center, at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

Cabrillo Music Theatre is the Ovation Award-winning Resident Musical Theatre Production Company of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and a non-profit theatre organization.  For over three decades, Cabrillo has been enriching the cultural life of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties and the surrounding areas by providing an extraordinary performing arts experience through live, Broadway-quality productions of musical theatre.  It is Cabrillo’s mission to provide the highest quality musical experience, to foster educational opportunities, and to promote cultural and artistic enrichment to enhance the quality of life in Southern California.  To this end, Cabrillo Music Theatre has established the Adopt-A-School, Adopt-A-Senior, Reachout and PET (Project Entertainment Troops) outreach programs programs.  Since the inceptions of these programs in 2005, over 31,000 underserved children, in-need seniors, and active military have enjoyed Cabrillo Music Theatre’s productions at no charge.  With the Adopt-A-School, Adopt-A-Senior and PET programs, Cabrillo makes live theatre accessible to children, seniors, and active military members who otherwise may never have the opportunity to experience a live musical theatre performance. Cabrillo’s animal rescue program, instituted during our 2009 production of “Cats,” raises funds and awareness for homeless and abused dogs and cats.  For more information about Cabrillo Music Theatre’s outreach programs, contact Janelle Meinert at (805) 497-8613 x4, or at info@cabrillomusictheatre.com.