Lonesome Traveler: Generations set for Rubicon Theatre
Rubicon Theatre, Ventura's non-profit professional theatre company, will continue the company's 2022-2023 Season with the World Premiere of LONESOME TRAVELER: GENERATIONS, conceived by George Grove and James O'Neil, with musical direction by Rick Dougherty and George Grove and direction by Rubicon Co-Founder James O'Neil.
Multiple generations of artists come together in this joyous world premiere musical event celebrating the unifying power of song. This concert features the dynamic vocals and awe-inspiring instrumental talents of Lifetime Grammy Award-winners George Grove (formerly of The Kingston Trio for more than 40 years), Rick Dougherty (formerly with The Kingston Trio and The Limeliters), and Jerry Siggins (best known as the lead singer of The Diamonds). These legendary performers are joined onstage by favorite singer/musicians from Lonesome Traveler and I Dig Rock 'n Roll Music (Sylvie Davidson and Trevor Wheetman), and fresh young artists from Detroit and L.A. (Alexcia Thompson and Andrew Huber). The concert includes songs of trial and tribulation, love and heartbreak, inspiration and aspiration, freedom and justice, and harmony and hope.
The original theatrical incarnation of Lonesome Traveler, subtitled A Journey Down the Rivers and Streams of American Folk, premiered at Rubicon Theatre Company in April of 2011. The production was conceived and directed by Rubicon's Artistic Director James O'Neil, whose father instilled in him a passion for folk music. O'Neil's father (also James), was an emigre from the Midwest who journeyed to California during the Dust Bowl after the Great Depression.) Although non-linear, the production took audiences on A Journey Down the Rivers and Streams of American Folk music - from the back porches of Appalachia to churches, meeting halls and rallies, to the television studios of Hollywood, to the nightclubs of New York and San Francisco. The story began with the character of John Lomax recording songs for the Smithsonian and ended in 1965 with Bob Dylan picked up the electric guitar at Newport.
With his Co-Creator Dan Wheetman (Tony nominee for Ain't Nothin' But the Blues), O'Neil went to indie clubs, called music writers and traveled the nation to find a young cast to portray the creators of folk and the folk revival at early moments in their careers, among them Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Odetta, Cisco Houston, The Carter Family, The Almanacs Singers, The Limeliters, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia, The Kingston Trio, and Peter, Paul and Mary.
The show broke box office records at Rubicon, moved to Laguna Playhouse, returned to Rubicon for an encore run and was produced Off-Broadway for a successful run at 59E59 Theatres. Through the course of the runs in California and New York, many of the artists portrayed as characters and their families came to see the show. Friendships formed and new collaborations began to blossom.
LONESOME TRAVELER: GENERATIONS begins previews on Wednesday, June 8 at 7 p.m.; opens on Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m.; and runs through Sunday, June 26 at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street in Ventura's Downtown Cultural District.