Historical Highlights


Rubicon partnered with Dead Posh Productions this spring on Plays-in-Progress and developed four new plays and one new musical through a 7-day workshop which included two staged readings. One of these works , 23.5 Hours, will go into full production at the end of the 2013/2014 Season.

Daddy Long Legs saw its Canadian premiere at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg with the original Rubicon cast.

Rubicon receives significant matching gift from The Towbes Fund for the Performing Arts and launches a major fundraising campaign.


Rubicon receives coveted Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Musical Review” for its off-Broadway production of The Best is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman at 59E59 Theatres.

Rubicon produced Daddy Long Legs, the first musical to be presented at the new St. James Theatre in London (the first new theatre construction in 30 years). It was also produced by Toho Company in Tokyo, winning major Japanese theatre awards. An encore run is planned.

The company received Ventura Chamber of Commerce’s Poinsettia Award for Non-Profit of the Year.

As part of our 15th Anniversary celebration, Rubicon inaugurated the “Our Town/Your Theatre” initiative with the goal of reconnecting with local audiences. Shows were selected based on relevance to community and/or chosen to involve an artist from the region. We engaged a Community Relations Manager and “Street Team” of interns to execute a series of grass-roots, direct marketing and social networking experiments. Budget cuts necessitated some changes to the plan, but overall impact was positive.

Rubicon was a part of the Thornton Wilder 75th anniversary of Our Town. Copies of Rubicon’s Our Town program are now in the Thornton Wilder estate archives at Yale.

In conjunction with the presentation of the critically acclaimed Spanish language production La Razón Blindada, Rubicon formed a Hispanic Outreach Committee.

Rubicon partnered with Broadway Across America, Simon Ruddick in London and New York producer Michael Jackowitz on the development of a new musical Little Miss Scrooge.


Artistic Director James O’Neil creates Lonesome Traveler, a new show about the history of folk music with a cast of young multi-instrumentalists and music director Dan Wheetman. Voted “Best of Year” by VC Reporter readers.

Master Harold…and the Boys directed by Brian McDonald regarded as a landmark production and receives critical attention and acclaim.

Rubicon makes Off-Broadway debut with The Best is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman, directed by Tony winner David Zippel with David Burnham, Sally Mayes, Howard McGillin, Billy Stritch, Lillias White and Rachel York.

Youth orchestra added to summer Jack Oakie camp production; record attendance.

Rubicon receives second three-year round of James Irvine Foundation funding for $350,000 earmarked for financial sustainability and cultural participation. Marketing “street team” and Community Relations Manager added to staff.

Playwright Robert Harling, Jr. attends opening night of Steel Magnolias.

Company completes fiscal year in the black, but without significant reduction in remaining debt.


Rubicon wins prestigious Margaret Harford Award from Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for “Sustained Excellence.” Other special award recipients include Kirk Douglas and Jason Robert Brown.

Daddy Long Legs is most lauded musical of 2010 Ovation Awards. The production moves to five additional theatres and is booked at seven others by the end of the year, making it the most produced new musical in the regional theatre.

Father/daughter duo Robin Gammell and Winslow Corbett star onstage together in Trying.

Stephanie Zimbalist returns to stage as Katherine Hepburn in Tea at Five.

Company finishes fiscal year in the black and eliminates 50% of debt.

Staged reading of The Tempest opens new season with computer generated images of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures donated by Paul Babb and Maxon Corporation.


Jenny Sullivan directs the first play her father took her to see on Broadway Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Joe Spano, Jason Chanos, Angela Goethals and Karyl Lynn Burns. The production tours to UCSB for two performances as part of the Arts & Lectures program. Jewel Club members hear Mr. Albee lecture prior to attending the show.

Jim O’Neil and Tom Giamario create an environmental production of Fiddler on the Roof with the blessing of the authors. Violin virtuoso Nuvi Mehta plays the Fiddler. The cast includes Jay Brazeau, Eileen Barnett and George Ball. The production breaks all box office records and plays to 187% of goal.

Rubicon wins 9 Indy Awards.

Rubicon presents two World Premieres: Spit Like a Big Girl by Clarinda Ross and The Best is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman, created and directed by Tony Award-winner David Zippel.

Rubicon partners with TheatreWorks in Palo Alto and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park on the World Premiere of Daddy Long Legs by Tony and Olivier Award-winner John Caird and Tony nominee Paul Gordon.

Rubicon is one of five theatres in Southern California nominated for a new Ovation Award Category: Best Season.

Patricia Baldwin returns to the company after early retirement to guide multi-year effort to eliminate debt accumulated in wake of economic downturn. Overall budget, staff, salaries and marketing reduced substantially to offset lower anticipated donations.


Rubicon celebrates 10th Anniversary with The Festival Season, consisting of eight productions, three of which are World Premieres, and a gala event under a tent at the beach.

The largest production to date is presented with a holiday production of You Can’t Take it With You helmed by Rubicon family members with a cast of many considered core company. Robin Gammell and daughter Winslow Corbett appear onstage together for the first time. Other cast members include Robin Pearson Rose, Paul Ainsley and Joseph Fuqua.

Company is notified of $325,000 three-year grant from the James Irvine Foundation, the largest grant in Rubicon history. Funds designated for new box office software and hardware and to hire Managing Director.

Paul Provenza reprises his Off-Broadway role in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, directed by William Keeler, who also appeared in the New York production.

Angela Christian and Jason Chanos star in a revival of Bus Stop, directed by Brian McDonald with an Ovation award-winning set by Tom Giamario.

With Executive Producer Michael Jackowitz, Rubicon produces the World Premiere of It’s Only Life by John Bucchino (who made his Broadway debut this same year with A Catered Affair). The show is directed by Daisy Prince. Bucchino and Prince win Ovation awards.

Doug Jacobs’ R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (AND MYSTERY) of the Universe with Joe Spano wins two Ovation Awards (Best Production of a Play and Best Actor). Jimmy Smits and Tony Shalhoub present the honors at the L.A. ceremony.

Jim O’Neil helms the Premiere of David Rambo’s comedy about baby boomers and aging parents Spin Cycle with Marsha Rodd, Morgan Russler and Stephanie Zimbalist.

Rubicon and Pacific Resident Theatre of L.A. collaborate for the first time on the regional premiere of My Antonia, adapted and directed by Scott Schwartz with incidental music by Stephen Schwartz.

Summer youth programs expand even further, with off-site productions of Footloose (at Cal State University Channel Islands), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (at Ventura High School) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (at the Elks Lodge in Ventura).

Rubicon International Theatre Festival takes place under the direction of Linda Purl, with Edgar Rosenblum serving as Executive Director. Artists from several countries appear in multiple performances in venues throughout Downtown Ventura and at Ventura College, with an Apprentice program under Moni and Mina Yakim.

Rubicon concludes the season with Kirby Ward directing She Loves Me with a cast including Kevin Symonds and Kim Huber.

Jim O’Neil reunites with long-time friend Rich Hoag on Hoag’s original one-man show Will Rogers America, with Tom Giamario and Russell Pyle reversing their usual design roles.

David Beaudry is named Resident Sound Designer.

Brian McDonald creates an original holiday musical which becomes a Rubicon company tradition. Cast members include Teri Bibb, Anthony Manough, Natalie Nucci, Brian Sutherland and Trey Ellet.


Tony winner Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire premiere their new musical A Time for Love at Rubicon, directed by Joel Silberman. The production moves to Studio Arena in Buffalo.

Rubicon’s Tower Club cabaret series continues with performances honoring Stephen Schwartz and later Maltby & Shire. Singers include Alice Ripley, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Patrick Cassidy, Amanda McBroom, George Ball and others.

The opening night of The Diary of Anne Frank is hosted by the Jewish Federation at Temple Beth Torah. Special guests welcomed by Rubicon Board President Richard Reisman include a Holocaust survivor and a Rubicon volunteer who was a concentration camp liberator.

Rubicon presents the Company’s second Shakespeare: Hamlet, selected for Rubicon company member Joseph Fuqua and directed by Jenny Sullivan with an adaptation by dramaturg William Keeler. Rubicon expands the number of student matinees for both Anne Frank and Hamlet with assistance from the Annenberg Foundation and the Orfalea Foundation.

Access Theatre founder Rod Lathim returns to Rubicon to helm a revival of Children of a Lesser God. The number of signed performances is increased to five.

Record attendance is expected for the Company’s summer youth programs: the Jack Oakie Summer Musical Theatre Camp, the Summer Acting Intensive and the Summer Technical Theatre Camp. Presentations include Babes in Arms and Little Women.

Rubicon announces upcoming 10th Anniversary Season and launches Innovation Fund to present more World Premieres and bold or reinvented revivals of classics.


Rubicon mounts West Coast Premiere of tick...tick...BOOM! which coincides with the opening of the Sony film of Larson’s Rent. The critically-acclaimed production transfers to the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, where it is seen by over 12,000 patrons. The production is helmed by original New York and London director Scott Schwartz and choreographer Christopher Gatelli.

Tony-award winning composer Jason Robert Brown performs in a concert at the Tower Club to benefit Rubicon’s education outreach programs and to launch the Larry Meister Memorial Musical Fund.

Rubicon produces the first-ever three-play Dale Wasserman Festival with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Man of La Mancha, and the World Premiere of Open Secrets. Man of La Mancha marks the Company’s largest production to date in terms of cast size and technical budget. The production breaks all Rubicon box office records.

Rubicon presents in repertory award-winning plays by modern Irish playwrights: Belfast Blues by Geraldine Hughes and The Good Thief by Conor McPherson, performed by Conor Lovett.

The Jack Oakie Foundation makes a generous multiple-year commitment to underwrite and name the Summer Musical Theatre Camp.

Rubicon annual fundraising gala is held at the new Air Force One pavilion at the Reagan Presidential Library.

Rubicon partners with Broadway producer Hal Thau to present the World Premiere of Back Home Again: A John Denver Holiday, conceived by Tony nominees Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman. The production moves to a theatre in Northern California and later is announced for Seattle Rep’s 2007 season.

Rubicon receives a $250,000 gift by an anonymous donor and launches a Milestone Match campaign to raise $500,000.


Rubicon receives three NAACP Theatre Award nominations and James O’Neil receives the Best Director Award for Driving Miss Daisy. The production travels to the Manitoba Theatre Centre for an encore run.

The entire theatre is converted into an eclectic, hip coffeehouse for an environmental production of Songs for a New World, which goes on to receive seven LA Stage Alliance Ovation nominations and three technical awards (Set Design, Lighting Design and Sound Design).

La Cage aux Folles: A Tribute to Jerry Herman is held at Chateau Plaisance, the estate of Lynn and Ed Hogan in Lake Sherwood, to benefit Rubicon’s artistic and education programs.

Rubicon presents an added Spring/Fall series of plays including Tuesdays with Morrie, Shirley Valentine and Defending the Caveman in repertory, plus a two-person adaptation of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw.

A Woman of Will (originally world-premiered at Rubicon as Lady Macbeth Sings the Blues), opens Off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theatre in New York. Rubicon supporters attend the opening night in NYC.



Rubicon hosts a benefit concert with Grammy-award winner Kenny Loggins at the private ranch of Claire and Reid Bowman in Ojai, raising funds for the building campaign and education programs.

Rubicon announces two international collaborations with Manitoba Theatre Centre (the World Premiere of Mating Dance of the Werewolf and The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams). Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and daughter Stephanie appear on stage for the first time together in The Night of the Iguana.

Rubicon completes public Cornerstone Campaign during Driving Miss Daisy and makes down payment on the theatre building with a $500,000 lead gift from Helen Yunker. The performance hall is named in Ms. Yunker’s honor.

World Premiere musical Lady Macbeth Sings the Blues starring Amanda McBroom and directed by Joel Silverman receives critical acclaim. Ventura native son and director Michael Addison returns home to helm Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Renowned German Director Walter Asmus (Samuel Beckett’s Assistant Director) directs fall production of Waiting for Godot, during first West Coast BeckettFest at Rubicon. BeckettFest celebrates the groundbreaking work of playwright Samuel Beckett the year prior to his centennial. The entire Beckett canon is offered on stage or film with over 100 performances, symposia, workshops and events. Producers, actors and directors from six countries participate: Ireland, Canada, France, Germany, England and the U.S. Manitoba Theatre Centre provides support staff and guidance.

Rubicon garners 20 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award nominations (more than any other theatre in Southern California), receiving Awards for Best Play, Musical Direction and Best Featured Actor.


Rubicon presents Harold Gould and Joseph Fuqua in Old Wicked Songs in partnership with Santa Fe Stages in New Mexico – the Company’s first co-production.

An acclaimed production of the Irish drama Dancing at Lughnasa is followed by A Streetcar Named Desire starring Linda Purl.

Rubicon launches Plays-in-Progress, a staged reading series created to support playwrights in the development process.

Sylvia with Joe Spano and Kristi Lynes sets new box office records. The production is later revived.

On Canada Day, Len Cariou, along with other celebrity actors and diplomats, announce Rubicon’s new artistic partnership with Manitoba Theatre Centre of Winnepeg at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Norbert Tan joins Rubicon from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as the organization’s first Managing Director.

Building owners place The Laurel on the market and Rubicon launches Cornerstone Campaign to acquire the property. Cornerstone contributors are honored at an International Holiday Gala at the Reagan Presidential Library. The event, hosted by Ventura Mayor Brian Brennan, is attended by Consul Generals from five countries.

James O’Neil directs the timely Arthur Miller classic All My Sons featuring George Ball and Robin Person Rose. Production later wins the Ovation Award for Best Play of the year, making Rubicon the youngest company ever to receive that honor.

Jenny Sullivan directs Jane Anderson’s Defying Gravity during the Centennial of Flight. The production, inspired by the life of astronaut Christa McAuliffe, incorporates aerial and trapeze performances and large-scale multi-media projections.


A major revival of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is helmed by original Broadway director Moni Yakim. Amanda McBroom and George Ball, who appeared in the New York production, reprise their roles.

James O’Neil directs a workshop of Beggar’s Holiday, a revival of the only musical Duke Ellington ever wrote for Broadway with a new book by Dale Wasserman. The production, starring Carl Anderson, begins Rubicon’s “Lost and Found” musical concert series.

Students ages 9-to-18 create a production of Once on This Island, Jr. under the direction of new Education Outreach Director Brian McDonald. Rubicon Young Professionals intern program is launched, with students participating in Master Classes taught by artists including Eva Marie Saint, Jeffrey Hayden and Daniel Davis.


Emmy Award-winning actress Susan Clark makes her Rubicon debut in the company’s first Tennessee Williams play The Glass Menagerie. James O’Neil directs, earning a reputation as an innovative interpreter of Williams’ work (cemented by subsequent productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Night of the Iguana).

Access Theatre Founder Rod Lathim directs The Boys Next Door. Rubicon begins audio-described performances for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Rubicon produces Bardwalk, a walkathon and celebration of Shakespeare that takes place on Ventura’s pier, boardwalk, and city streets and culminates with a Rockin’ Renaissance Celebration.

Jenny Sullivan stars alongside John Ritter and Jeff Kober in the World Premiere of her semi-autobiographical play J for J. (The play is part of a “Special Additions” series which includes David Birney in his own adaptation of Twain’s The Diaries of Adam & Eve.) J for J transfers to The Court in Los Angeles and is presented in a reading at the John Houseman in New York, hosted by Daryl Roth.



Jack Lemmon gives his final stage appearance in Rubicon’s production of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, playing opposite his wife Felicia Farr. Mr. Lemmon and Ms. Farr dedicate Rubicon’s youth conservatory program following their performance.

Rubicon presents the Company’s first World Premiere, the stage adaptation of Murder in the First. Linda Gray directs a cast including Larry Hagman.

Stephanie Zimbalist plays Lizzie in Rubicon’s production of The Rainmaker. Latino Actor Carlos Sanz performs the role of Starbuck. The soundscape, rooted in Zapotec tradition, imbues the production with a romantic, mythic quality. Local Latino and Hispanic students receive a Spanish synopsis and participate in a bilingual “talkback” following special matinee performances.



Volunteer auxiliary “The Grandes Dames” is formalized with a high-tea at the home of Sandra and Jordan Laby. Membership    quickly grows to over 100 (now nearly 300).

Rubicon inaugurates its home, a historic 1920s converted church, with Shirley Valentine. The Ventura City Council declares Rubicon the “anchor of the new downtown cultural district.”

Student matinee program is launched with Darrow, presented in the former County Courthouse and at Rubicon Theatre. Local attorneys and judges moderate thought-provoking post-show discussions with students on the nature of law and justice. Barbara Meister and Judy Bysshe launch an outreach committee of former educators to support and facilitate student participation at Rubicon.

Rubicon provides first in-school “Shakespeare in the Schools” program with Romeo and Juliet, presented to more than 7,000 students at 10 area high schools.


Rubicon Theatre Company is founded by Karyl Lynn Burns and James O’Neil. The first presentation is a concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar at Ventura Theatre with Carl Anderson and Ted Neeley, stars of the Broadway and film production. Three sold-out performances.

Board recruitment begins with a “First Supper” hosted by Ted Neeley and actors at Jonathan’s Mediterranean Restaurant. A 58-member board of directors is formed.