California Keyboards Music Center has sharpened the ears and tamed the wandering digits of the Southern Valley for more than 35 years. Each weekly 30-minute lesson is taught by instructors whose performance resumés include enlivening Carnegie Hall, marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and treading alongside jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.
A local institution for more than 40 years, Bakersfield Music Theatre pulls in patrons with a schedule of major Broadway musicals and other songful spectacles. Stop by on October 8 for a one-night-only performance of Direct from Vegas: Frank Sinatra, featuring Gary Corsello crooning un-remixed versions of Sinatra classics such as “Luck Be a Lady” and “Come Fly With Me” to the orchestral accompaniment of five full-sized musicians. The hit musical Chicago (November 13, 14, and 20) follows the exploits of a pair of femme fatales driven to murder by the stiff breezes of the Windy City, while "This and That: A Night of Song and Dance" (February 26) combines the mouth-powered melodies of Bakersfield Music Theatre with the legendary leggery of the Civic Dance Center. Hairspray (April 30, May 1, and May 7) caps the season with the tuneful tale of a teenage dance queen whose fancy footwork and well-kempt coiffure help her to defeat her enemies, the Philadelphia Eagles.
A frequent finalist for Best Comedy Club according to Ventura County Reporter's readers, Ventura Improv Company offers the only improv comedy in Ventura and has been eliciting chortles and guffaws with family-friendly farce for the past 21 years. The VIC's veteran comedic combatants perform unscripted comedy through scenes, games, and music created on the spot. The VIC performs shows such as Spontaneous Broadway, a full-length musical whose plot is conceived through audience suggestions, and TheatreSports Team Match, a two-team battle where competitors perform a challenge set by the host.
Writer and performer Tom Dugan—familiar from bit parts on Friends and Curb Your Enthusiasm —corralled three nominations from the L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, including Best Play and Best Leading Actor for his portrayal of the "Jewish James Bond" in his riveting, one-man performance about a Holocaust survivor's relentless quest for justice. Pacing through his box-cluttered Vienna office on the day of his retirement, Simon fills in a group of off-screen American students on the tactical methods he used to hunt Adolf Eichmann, Franz Stangl, and Dr. Mengele, among other Nazi war criminals. He infuses his anecdotes with mordant wit and genuine warmth, laughing over being mistaken for Laurence Olivier (who played him in the film The Boys From Brazil) one moment, and making mournfully poetic observations the next, such as likening a sunflower to a periscope of the dead. As his memories wander from the Warsaw ghetto to Jerusalem, from death camps to the slums of Buenos Aires, he paints a gripping portrait of humanity's unquenchable thirst for justice even in the face of utmost horror.