Celebrities dressed in Western attire walked the red carpet this month as Rubicon Theatre Company of Ventura presented the American Premiere of the stage play THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE by Jethro Compton. Attendees included musician Jim Messina of Loggins & Messina, Poco and Buffalo Springfield and his beautiful wife Michaela; Golden Globe nominated actor Ted Neeley with his wife Leeyan and daughter Tessa; and Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Spano with his daughters Liana and Meili.
Musician, actor & singer Ted Neeley with his daughter Tessa (left) and wife Leeyann (right)
They were joined pre-show by the performers in the show: Gregory Harrison, a Broadway and television veteran best known for his recurring role on “Rizzoli & Isles” and in “Trapper John, M.D.”; and Jeff Kober, often recognized for his roles as Dodger on “China Beach” and Jacob Hale, Jr. on “Sons of Anarchy.” (Harrison and Kober play cowboy Bert Barricune and Liberty Valance in the show.) Other cast members in attendance include New York based actor Jacques Roy (Trinity Rep and Guerrila Shakespeare Project); married couple Sylvie Davidson and Trevor Wheetman of Nashville (who appeared in Rubicon’s Lonesome Traveler which transferred to New York for a successful Off-Broadway run and was nominated for Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards); Rubicon company member Joseph Fuqua, a Yale MFA whose credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, and roles including Henry Higgins and Hamlet at Rubicon; Dorian Logan (roles with The Pasadena Playhouse and Cleveland Playhouse) with his fiancé Lola Johnson; Dillon Francis, whose Rubicon credits include Our Town and Defying Gravity and Dillon G. Artzer, a recent arrival from New York making his Rubicon debut.
(l)Rubicon's Casting Director and Resident Artist Stephanie Coltrin with Rubicon’s Marketing Manager Michele
Hunter (r) Actor Jeff Kober
Ventura Breeze Publisher Sheldon Brown with his children Mark and Staci Brown
Merle DiVita of Ventura in a red-hot cowboy hat
Ventura residents and local philanthropists Sandra and Jordan Laby participated in the festivities, receiving a special award prior to the show for their courageous and valiant support of Rubicon. Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns announced that the company’s next season would be presented in honor of the Laby family and in recognition of their contributions to the company and the community. Burns co-founded Rubicon with Artistic Director Emeritus James O’Neil, who was also on-hand for evening, along with Rubicon Executive Producer Christina Burck with partner and Systems Manager Jessie Vacchiano, Casting Director and Resident Artist Stephanie Coltrin, Outreach Director Brian McDonald, Marketing Manager Michele Hunter, Development Manager Devin Scott, Finance Director Lois Fischman with husband Roy, Customer Sales and Service Manager Elizabeth Wold, and others.
Rick Marino, morning DJ for KHAY 100.7 FM country radio station was present as official host and interviewed artists and guests on-air during a live pre-show remote, along with Kelly-Marie Jones from Cumulus Radio. Guests enjoyed gourmet beer from Anacapa Brewery and Winchester’s Grill and Saloon and hors d’oeuvres from It’s in the Sauce while listening to the KHAY broadcast, mingling, and enjoying giveaways of gift certificates from these local vendors and The Wharf western wear and feed store.
(L) Jeff McCloud of Oklahoma City and his mother, active Rubicon volunteer Donna Burger of Camarillo
(R) Michaela and Jimmy Messina of Santa Ynez
Derron and Ashley Borgstedte, owners of Western clothing and feed store The Wharf
Rubicon patrons Jeanne Adams of Camarillo and Patrice Kilby of Burbank
(L) Local philanthropists and board members Sandra and Jordan Laby were Rubicon’s first sponsors and have supported
the company for 18 years. (R) Longtime Rubicon patrons and supporters Mike and Loretta Merewether of Ventura
Actor actor Joe Spano with his daugthers Liana (left) and Meili (right)
(L) Actor Gregory Harrison of Oxnard (R) Ventura 1590 KVTA radio talk show host Kim Pagano of The Kim Pagano Show
with Ted Neeley
Actors Dillion Francis, Ted Neeley and Dillion Artzer
Rubicon Theatre Artistic Associate and the show director for the American premiere of Liberty Valance Jenny Sullivan, pictured with Rubicon company member Joseph Fuqua, who plays Marshal.
Photographs By: Jeanne Tanner