Crossings Newsletter – December 2023

Dec 19, 2023 | Newsletter, News, Shows & Events

Senator Monique Limón and Assemblymember Steve Bennett Announce $1.5 million for Building Renovation and Equipment Expenditures to Rubicon on Opening Night of The World Goes ‘Round


Photo Credit Jon Dixon. Pictured L to R: Steve Bennett, Monique Limón, Doug Halter, Rosa Lee Measures, Matt LaVere, Hannah-Beth Jackson and Karyl Lynn Burns


On Saturday, December 9, California State Senator MONIQUE LIMÓN and Assemblymember STEVE BENNETT announced a $1.5 million investment in Rubicon Theatre Company from the State of California. The grant was presented to Ventura County Supervisor MATT LAVERE, Ventura City Councilmember DOUG HALTER (who also serves as the President of Rubicon’s Board of Directors), Rubicon’s Honorary Chair ROSA LEE MEASURES (former Deputy Mayor of Ventura), former State Senator HANNAH-BETH JACKSON, and Rubicon Co-Founder and Producing Director KARYL LYNN BURNS.

The funds were announced to cheers from Rubicon’s opening night audience for The World Goes ‘Round, a revue of the music of Kander & Ebb (ChicagoCabaretKiss of the Spider WomanNew York, New York, etc.). The show features five Broadway veterans, including Ventura native ANDREW SAMONSKY, whose credits include the role of Lt. Cable in the Lincoln Center/Broadway and PBS productions of South PacificThe World Goes ‘Round continues through December 23.

“The arts are an essential part of our lives,” said Senator Limón, “and Rubicon Theatre has been dedicated to providing access to the performing arts and arts education in Ventura County for 25 years. Rubicon has shown continuous commitment to providing opportunities for all to be entertained and engaged by live theatre. I am proud that I was able to secure this critical funding to ensure our community can continue to enjoy what the Rubicon has to offer.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of being a season ticket holder to the Rubicon Theatre for nearly two decades,” said Assemblymember Bennett. “The contributions the theatre makes to our community are enormous, and this investment will allow the Rubicon to expand their impact.”

The budget funding of $1.5 million is the Theatre Company’s largest investment from a government entity in the company’s 25-year history. Rubicon has won numerous regional and national awards including two prestigious Drama Desk Awards, the L.A. Drama Critics’ Circle Margaret Harford Award for “Sustained Excellence”, the NAACP Award, multiple Ovation, Indy and Rep Awards, and the Ventura Chamber of Commerce’s Poinsettia Award for Non-Profit of the Year.

“This gift is the most significant in Rubicon’s history, and we could never fully express our gratitude to Senator Monique Limón, Assemblymember Steve Bennett, Governor Newsom and the State of California,” comments Rubicon Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns. “It comes at the perfect time as we celebrate our Silver Anniversary and begin to plan for ways Rubicon as an institution can serve future generations of Ventura and California residents. The funds provided will help us create an accessibility plan, upgrade our technical equipment and complete a kitchen renovation which will enable us to expand and diversify our programming and encourage new audiences and participants to ‘cross the Rubicon.’

“This is an incredible endorsement from the State of California of Rubicon’s 25-year impact on the cultural, artistic and educational life of our region and bodes well for future,” says Board President Doug Halter. “This announcement could not come at a better time – it will make the building more welcoming and comfortable for existing patrons and new audiences at a time we are working to make Rubicon a true community hub. We hope that the gift will inspire individuals and businesses in our community to contribute to our holiday match campaign, with every dollar up to $120,000 matched by a core group of supporters.” The gift announced by Senator Limón will go towards building and infrastructure, while the match campaign funds will go to artistic and educational programs. Both are important to creating a vital cultural center. To make a contribution to the match campaign, or to purchase tickets to Rubicon productions, go to

Watch the video below to hear more comments from Monique, Steve and
the big announcement:


Q & A with Rubicon’s Board President and Producing Artistic Director Regarding State Funds


Q: What is the intended purpose of the $1.5 million?
Doug Halter (DH): It’s important to note that the state funds are earmarked for building renovations and building-related needs. Our intention is to use the funds to purchase new lighting, sound and projection equipment; to complete our commercial kitchen downstairs and secure a non-profit alcohol license; and to work with architects and planner to design a plan for accessibility.

Q: How will these investments affect my experience as an audience member?
Karyl Lynn Burns (KLB): Our technical equipment was purchased more than 20 years ago. The upgraded lights, sound and projection equipment will mean even higher quality production values for you as an audience member.

DH: And once our kitchen is finished, you’ll be able to go downstairs to the Rose Room after a show and purchase hors d’oeuvres and beverages. We’ll offer lite bites and non-alcoholic drinks as well as libations, including wine and scotch flights. Our goal is to make the Rose Room a community hub, where people can visit with their friends and the actors. We want them to be able to extend their experience at the theatre. We will also offer more off-night or late-night programming – from concerts and cabarets to poetry, magic and comedy.

KLB: All of this will make Rubicon a welcoming and warm place for people to gather.

Q: What about accessibility, specifically accessible restrooms?
KLB: We know from surveys that this is the most important change to make to the building. The former church which houses Rubicon (The Karyn Jackson Theatre) was built in the 1920s for public assembly. It did not originally have accessible restrooms or an elevator, and the ramp to the theatre is not up to current ADA standards. This is our highest priority.

DH: We have some challenges we need to address based on the small footprint of our lot and building and need to engage experts to help us find the path forward. We know that these state funds are not enough to implement a plan, but they are enough to help us develop a plan, with a design, budget and timeline that we can bring to the community and granting organizations. So it’s a valuable step in the right direction.

Q: What are the other benefits of the funding? Does it help Rubicon’s operational budget?
DH: Yes, this investment from the state will help on the expense and the income side. Right now, because our equipment is so old, we have a large budget for equipment rentals. Once we own newer equipment, we will save hundreds of thousands of dollars on rentals. When we are fully outfitted, we will also be able to rent the theatre, the Rose Room or our warehouse on the east side to other organizations, generating revenue for the organization and introducing new people to our venues. This goes back to that idea of Rubicon becoming more a community hub.

Q: Are there other building needs that aren’t addressed by the $1.5 million?
DH: In addition to the accessibility needs, we we are looking for a donor to name an outside terrace and garden, which would be a place where people could enjoy our beautiful Ventura weather and food and drink prior to the show. It would be an enclosed tile area with potted plants and furniture and twinkle lights.

KLB: It would be a very special place for someone to name in honor of their family or in memory of a loved one. We also are looking for major gifts to acquire other properties in the neighborhood and artist housing.

Q: If someone was interested in finding out more about naming opportunities, who should they contact?
KLB: They can call me at (805) 667-2912, ext. 224 or e-mail me at

Q: How does this funding for building needs and capital improvements dovetail with funds for the mission-driven part of the equation – the shows and the education programs?
DH: I think of the state funding as an incredible endorsement of Rubicon’s 25 years of artistry. This gift says to our community that Rubicon is now a permanent institution that will be here for future generations and is worthy of other types of support – sponsorships, grants, corporate gifts, etc. We hope this gift will inspire people who may not have given yet to Rubicon to contribute to programming and general support.

KLB: We have a match campaign for up to $120,000 going through the end of the year and need to raise another $80,000. Those who want to double the impact of their donation can give HERE.

Between now and the end of the month, Rubicon has 3 more events scheduled to celebrate the season. Here’s a quick summary of December happenings and a planning calendar:

The World Goes ‘Round continues to wow critics and audiences with its stellar cast of Broadway’s best. Only 7 performances left – this Wednesday through Sunday the 23rd, with matinees at 2 p.m. and evening shows at 7 p.m.

Tiny Tots Concert and Santa Party – If you missed Rubicon Christmas Memories, you can see a 30-35 minute version of the concert geared for families and especially for those 6-months to 6-years-old. At the end of the concert, Santa, Rudolph and Frosty all make a special appearance and lead kids downstairs for cocoa, cookies and holiday photos. The cost is only $10 per person or free with a canned good for Food Share.

New Year’s Eve with Ventura Improv Company – This annual event is an evening of fast, festive fun and food that starts early so you can still get home to watch the ball drop! This year the troupe pays tribute to actor and Rubicon friend Gary Best.