History

From its earliest days, the Lobero has been Santa Barbara’s grand stage for both community and professional performances.

The Lobero flourished in the 1920s with a glittering golden era of “preview performances” for Hollywood. Stage greats Lionel Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead, and Bela Lugosi, as well as young musicians Vladimir Horowitz and Sergei Rachmaninoff, were among the giants who trod the Lobero Stage.

In the 1940s the talent that came to the Lobero was dazzling in review. A favorite stop for performances between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Lobero hosted such stars as Dame Judith Anderson, Clark Gable, Basil Rathbone, Ingrid Bergman, Igor Stravinsky, Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Martha Graham, Betty Grable and Tyrone Power.

George Washington Smith
Lobero Theatre Interior Photo
Jose Lobero
Dave Brubeck
Judith Anderson Medea
Dizzy Gillespie

The Lobero’s noted jazz history began in 1949 with with Nappy La Marre and the Dixie Land Bobcats, with the Bay City Jazz. From then on the Lobero has consistently presented jazz in a wide variety of formats, hosting the “Who’s Who” of the jazz world including Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Ray Brown, Roy Haynes and many more.

The Lobero is California’s oldest, continuously operating theatre. Originally founded in 1873 and rebuilt in 1924, it is recognized as one of Santa Barbara’s architectural jewels and a State and City landmark.

Other stars that have graced the Lobero stage include Lynn Redgrave, Jerome Lowenthal, Bobby McFerrin, Marilyn Horne, John Cleese, Jeff, Beau, and Lloyd Bridges, Kathy Bates, Tracy Chapman, John Raitt, James Whitmore, McCoy Tyner, Charles Lloyd, Hal Holbrook, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carol Burnett, Dave Brubeck, Michael Feinstein, Debbie Reynolds, and Patrick Stewart.

It is the home stage to most of the major performing arts groups in Santa Barbara including Opera Santa Barbara, State Street Ballet, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Speaking of Stories, Sings Like Hell, CAMA’s Masterseries, Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, Flamenco Arts Festival, Santa Barbara Theatre, Music Academy of the West, and many others.