Myron Shapero, MD – President
Bill Egan – Vice President
Kristine Haugh – Secretary
Howard Hudson, CPA –Treasurer
Heinrich Falk, PhD.
Alice Gleghorn, PhD.
Pamela Dillman Haskell
Paula Lopez Ochoa
Frederick Perner, PhD
Amber Stickerod, PsyD
Nick Strimple, PhD
Anne Smith Towbes
Santa Barbara Revels engages today’s audiences and celebrates seasonal change by creating experiences that involve theater, music, and dance, bringing the world’s customs and traditions to life and to lives. We embrace the art of participation, foster cultural exploration, create connections within the community, and fulfill the need for human celebration.
FOUNDER/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR SUSAN KELLER is a fifth-generation Californian, an honors graduate of Stanford University, and a performer whose career has taken her across North America. A mezzo-soprano, her first job was with the Canadian Opera Company as Venus in their production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, performing in 42 states and all the Canadian provinces and territories during two years of touring. She remained in Canada, starring as a panelist on the popular, long-running CBC-Television network show, This Is the Law. At the same time, she appeared in cabaret and revue, she explored comedy (with the Toronto company of Second City), and starred in stage productions (in Toronto and with the Philadelphia Drama Guild and the Shaw Festival among others) and television dramatic series. She made her feature film debut as the lead in The Clown Murders, opposite John Candy in his first dramatic role.
After returning to California, Susan’s career remained equally varied. She co-hosted Mid-Morning LA for KHJ-TV; she was a regular on Days of Our Lives, a guest on numerous television comedy and drama series (including the “Who Shot JR?” episode of Dallas), and she co-starred in ANTA-West’s premier of Gog and Magog at the Coronet Theatre. She pursued an award-winning song-writing career, created comedy and vocal showcases for LA clubs, and she acted as spokeswoman for an eclectic array of commercial products, work that enabled her to put herself through UCLA Law School. She then practiced entertainment law prior to moving to Santa Barbara.
Local audiences have seen Susan on stage with the Civic Light Opera in The Sound of Music, at the Ensemble Theatre, in regular appearances with Speaking of Stories, and in Bad Dog at Center Stage. In addition to much volunteer work on commissions and other non-profit boards, Susan served on the Lobero Theatre Board of Directors, producing Always…Patsy Cline and Leslie Nielsen’s Clarence Darrow at that theatre. In 2007, after seeing her first Revels production in Oakland, Susan founded Santa Barbara Revels. During the past fifteen years, annual productions of The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice have featured the music, dance, story-telling, and seasonal rituals of: the Renaissance and medieval Europe; Victorian England; Bavaria; Appalachia and the American South; Britain since the 11th century; the Irish emigrant experience of the early 1900s; the crossroad of cultures in Andalusia, Spain; the clash of clans in the Highlands of Scotland; and actual events during the Rancho period of Early California.
In addition to yearly presentations of The Christmas Revels, Santa Barbara Revels also creates a variety of other events and activities to mark seasonal change, including a Pub Sing for Spring equinox, a May Day celebration, Equinox: a Concert in Celebration of the Changing Seasons, in September, as well as a Harbor Sing, and other events that bring tradition to life. Susan’s husband and son (Myron and Matthew Shapero) have joined her in promoting and performing in The Christmas Revels. They all embrace the Santa Barbara Revels slogan: Join us and be joyous!
MUSIC DIRECTOR SUSAN LANSING-WELLER is a performer, conductor, and teacher who has been working in music for many years in the Santa Barbara, New York, and Los Angeles areas. From early years doing dance, piano, and mime shows, this small-town girl ventured first to the Los Angeles area and then to New York. She trained with Mary Hsia, Glory Fischer, and Madame Bodanya. When at Santa Barbara City College she worked as accompanist in the studio of Natalie Bodanya Gorman and also performed (voice & flute) with the group Les Sept Jongleurs. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude from California State University at Northridge in Music. As a student working her way through college, she was involved with the summer opera in costuming as well as in recruiting and coordinating the volunteer team for the performances. She graduated with an emphasis in Piano Performance, and was recognized with the Carmen Aguade Award for outstanding student. When living in New York, she performed with The Goliard Ensemble and worked in Development with the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center.
Recent studies include certification in Orff Schulwerk. She earned her California Teaching Credential, Multiple Subjects, at California State University at Dominguez Hills with additional studies at USC and UCLA. She has directed numerous ensembles, served as soloist and section leader in several music ministries, and taught music in private and public schools. Susan has found that the uses of rhythm, melody and harmony are powerful unifying elements for all people; and hold tremendous promise for the future of civilization. Her professional affiliations include Music Teachers Association of California and the American Choral Directors Association.
STAGE DIRECTOR MATTHEW TAVIANINI has been working in the theater for over 40 years and is pleased to be in his eleventh season with Santa Barbara Revels, continuing as stage director for this coming season’s production. He has been serving as the managing director/producer/actor of Boxtales Theatre Company for 15 years. He is a graduate of UCSB and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory where he received his MFA in acting. Some of Matthew’s favorite stage credits include: Semyonov Pischik in Lit Moon Theatre Company’s The Cherry Orchard, Trinculo/Alonso in that company’s production of The Tempest, Michal in Genesis West’s production of The Pillowman, Karl in The Last Days of the Empire, Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, Telemachus in the Boxtales production of The Odyssey, Joe in The Last Night of Ballyhoo, David in The Rivals, and Thurio in Two Gentlemen of Verona, Matt in Wrench, and Bobby in American Buffalo.
Matthew studied physical theater with James Donlon at UCSB and Sigfrido Aquilar at the Estudio Busquerda de Pantomimo Teatro in Guanajuato, Mexico. Matthew teaches acting, Shakespeare and stage combat, and he directs the GVJH annual spring production in Santa Barbara. He has also enjoyed working at the Westport Playhouse, The Odyssey Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse, The Odyssey Project, The Cape Playhouse, Asolo Theatre, Santa Barbara Theatre Group, The Ensemble Theatre, Speaking of Stories, Santa Barbara Revels, Santa Barbara Shakespeare Co., and City at Peace.