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GOINGS ON : SANTA BARBARA : High on Higgins : The actor playing the quirky professor says, 'It's a glorious role. . . . It's a perfect musical.'


Actor Rod Loomis compares the complexity of his role as professor Henry Higgins in the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera's production of Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady" to that of another longtime favorite.

"I did Hamlet a few years ago and the roles are similar in the number of words they have," he said, noting that Higgins' "songs are like soliloquies. They can go on 10 or 11 pages."

The Civic Light Opera will be performing at the Lobero Theatre through June 24.

Loomis has long wanted to play the role of Higgins, but until last summer's Eugene Festival of Musical Theatre in Oregon, had never had the opportunity. It was at the Festival that he and his Civic Light Opera co-star Cornelia Whitcomb (who plays Eliza Doolittle) first teamed up. And Loomis hasn't been disappointed.

"It's a glorious role. I would say it's a perfect musical. Any moment that the audience might start to feel restless, something wonderful happens on stage."

Loomis' career has ranged from stage to film, from Shakespeare to "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." He's also made his share of television appearances in "General Hospital," "Dynasty" and "All in the Family," among others.

"On film the performance is not really yours. It's cut up. It is the director's and the editor's medium. You do a lot less because the camera is so private it actually records thoughts," he said. "On stage you have to project not only vocally but your facial expressions."

And Loomis loves the audience response that he gets when performing in a theater.

"It's an integral part of the theater experience," Loomis said. "It helps carry the actor. The audience has to do their part."

So, if you plan to go, plan to work.

Show times are Wednesday and Saturday nights at 8, Sunday nights at 7 and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $19.50 for the Saturday and Sunday night shows and $18 for all other performances. Children ages 3-12 can get in for $10. Call the Lobero Theatre Box Office at 963-0761. The Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido.

Jackson Browne will be appearing at Santa Barbara's Arlington Theatre June 1, along with the Central American group Sangre Machehual, in a benefit for the Legal Aid Foundation, the Legal Defense Center and the Environmental Defense Center. Proceeds would help the three nonprofit organizations relocate in the Fairtree Mews Law Center.

Tickets are $20.50. Call the box office at 963-4408. The Arlington is located at 1317 State St.

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