Archive » July 5, 2012
Restaurant brings back community theatre
By Jeremy Foster, Staff Writer
Manny’s restaurant has adapted into a live entertainment venue, thanks to a newly renovated 104-seat theatre.
The Terrace Theater, located upstairs from the restaurant in Solvang, has played host to 22 events, 15 of which have sold out.
On Friday, June 29, the venue kicked off the first installment of what will become a regular concert and dinner series that spotlights local and traveling singer-songwriters.
Playing at the inaugural show of the series were an eclectic group that comprised folk-songstress Susan Marie Reeves, retro-styled “romantic-crooner” Jody Mulgrew, and two local talents, Dan Cressler, who shared songs from his upcoming album, “Solitary Refinement,” and Stephen Styles, who brought a Nashville-country sound.
Attendance at the recent show was sparse, Cressler said with some disappointment. He and other musicians plan on using the Internet more and more to get the word out. Despite the meager turnout, Cressler enjoyed the intimate vibe of the Terrace Theater and said he plans on bringing different talent as often as possible.
“It’s a hidden little gem,” said Cressler, a long-time Valley resident. “The acoustics are great. We get to interact with the audience. The challenge is getting more people to come out and enjoy the setting and the talent.”
The singer-songwriter shows join an ongoing mixed series that includes jazz, blues, bluegrass, and special events, such as the Jimmie Ray and Cyndi Cantrell Johnny Cash tribute show scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. “We just want people to come enjoy good food and good music and relax,” said restaurant co-owner Fernando Tovalin.
The theatre, which was closed for 17 years before the Tovalin brothers re-opened it, was formally used as a regular dinner theater. Tovalin said he envisions the theater area to gradually adopt a décor similar to the romantic Morocco of Rick’s Café Americain in “Casablanca.” But the renovations have been slow-going, he added, because there is no steady financing and no donation pool set up for the venue. “This is earned income,” he explained. “Every single time we put on an event, we fix something else. Our next target is to get air conditioning, which we hope the Johnny Cash tribute show will help pay for.”
YOU SHOULD KNOWOn Friday, July 13, from 6 to 9 p.m., the venue will host the “Kimberly Ford Quartet – Acoustic Jazz with A Twist.” This multi-instrumental, eclectic, acoustic jazz group combines members and styles from the bands of Jeff Bridges, Kenny Logins and Roger Miller. The music combines jazz, blues and country, all with a decidedly different twist, and spans the compositions of Joni Mitchell to Tom Waits to Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. The lineup includes Kimberly Ford, who does vocals, guitar, mandolin and conga drums; Randy Tico-acoustic, who plays electric bass; pianist George Friedenthal, and Lee Rollag, who plays the guitar, fiddle and the mandolin. The $35 event includes a dinner buffet at 6 p.m. before the show at 7 p.m. Tickets can be reserved at Manny’s restaurant at 1693 Mission Drive in Solvang or by calling (805) 691-9137, or purchased at the door. Tickets also available online at www.kimberlyford.com.