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New virtual concert series brings top performers to the Marjorie Luke Theatre for online shows

Majorie Luke Virtual
Marjorie Luke Theatre
The Marjorie Luke Theatre launches a high quality music and spoken word series with no audience during the COVID-19 crisis. (Photo: Marjorie Luke Theatre)
Marjorie Luke concerts
Marjorie Luke Theatre
The Marjorie Luke Theatre launches a high quality music and spoken word series with no audience during the COVID-19 crisis. (Photo: Marjorie Luke Theatre)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A new virtual concert series begins September 18 from the stage of the  historic Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara.   

Show Producer Rod Lathim says, "We have such a phenomenal  asset here. This beautiful theatre."

High quality cameras are used for the production, the shows are prerecorded, and COVID-19 protocols are followed. 

There will be no one in the audience. That creates a unique setting for the performers and also the viewers who will be watching from the comfort of their home, some in family settings.

The first show features a start from the TV show The Voice, Madaleyev.

"We are trying to stay active  so people say  'Oh yeah there's the Luke I was there six months ago!' They can see the theater and see the empty seats that is an important part of this concert series, we want to fill those seats again," said Lathim.

The shows will be released to the public for free at: www.luketheatre.org

Lathim says with the current setback, the theatre staff and performers came up with a plan to get the lights back on and shows out to the public, who would normally fill the seats here and in venues across the country.

The industry overall from music on small stages to Broadway performances has had an unprecedented loss of shows and work opportunities

The initial plan at the Marjorie Luke is a six-show series that will go through early next year. Many others are planned.

Lathim said the theatre is being converted, for now, into a recording studio. He says it's busy now and there are plans in discussion for other shows beyond what's scheduled.

"By the time we are done with this series in 2021, I estimated this morning over 50 artists will come through our stage with instrumental music, spoke word or vocal music," he said.

For the audience, wherever they click on, they will see a view, "Which is even a little more fun than being in an audience 20 rows away," said Lathim.

The Marjorie Luke Theatre was built in 1933. It has been an amazing launching point for student performers, and those pursuing a production career.

The remodeled building in 2003, has been a community arts resource in a family of theaters that includes the Arlington, Granada and Lobero.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast News.

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