GOINGS ON : 'Love Letters' on the Menu at Revived Savoy : Dinner theater will feature different players each week, but the same head chef.


Trish Van Devere and James Farentino will co-star in "Love Letters," the first dinner-show to be presented by Gaslight Productions at Santa Barbara's revitalized Savoy Theater.

The production opens next Wednesday and will run through July 1, with a different actor and actress each week. So far, actors Martin Sheen, John Beck, Tim Matheson and John Clark have been confirmed. Van Devere will also make a repeat appearance.

Gaslight Executive Producer Will Boroski ran a dinner theater program at the Savoy from 1988 to 1989. Since then, the 106-year-old theater has been quiet. But that is all changing. After "Love Letters" closes, look for other big-name stars in small-scale productions.

Also, one Monday night each month will be dedicated to jazz acts in the "Stompin' at the Savoy"series.

Dinner will be provided by head chef Stephane Rapp, who was a chef at SOhO, Citronelle and the El Encanto Hotel. He was also the private chef and caterer for recent senatorial candidate Michael Huffington.

Show times for "Love Letters" are Wednesday through Sunday at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $50. The Savoy is at 409 State St. Call 564-6737.


Elaine Thornburgh will play music from Spain, Portugal and Italy tonight in her harpsichord concert at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The performance coincides with the kickoff of a series of Latin American art exhibits at the museum.

Tickets, available in advance or at the door, are $6. Call 963-4364, Ext. 336. The museum is at 1130 State St.


Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 classic, "The Last Picture Show," will be shown tonight at Santa Barbara's Riviera Theatre. The presentation is a fund-raiser for the Rebuild Roosevelt Campaign. Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Barbara has been using temporary portables as classrooms since 1967. A bond measure seeking to raise construction funds will be on the June 6 ballot.

Among the Roosevelt alumni are actors Ben, Sam and Timothy Bottoms. Timothy played the lead role of Sonny in "The Last Picture Show."

They will be on hand to meet and greet fans from 7 to 8 p.m. The film will begin at 8:15. Tickets are $25 for the preshow reception and the movie, $7 for the movie alone. The Riviera is at 2020 Alameda Padre Serra.


Poppies, coreopsis and other California flora will be the featured attractions at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's Wildflower Festival '95 Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Guests can take part in guided walks through the garden, view wildflower-related displays, visit the "Ask the Experts" table and listen to the music of the Celtic band Queen Mab and a folk ensemble, the Dusty Chaps. The garden's Oak Grove eating area will be available for those who want to bring a lunch.

General admission is $3 (adults), $2 (teens, seniors and students) and $1 (children 5-12). The garden is at 1212 Mission Canyon Road.

Visitors are asked to park at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 2107 Santa Barbara St. and take the free shuttle to the garden. Call 682-4726.


Looking ahead: Anita Hill, the University of Oklahoma law professor who gained prominence with her charge of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, will discuss "Race and Gender Issues in the '90s," April 11, 8 p.m., at UC Santa Barbara's Campbell Hall. General admission is $12. Call 893-3535.

Leo Smith is a regular contributor to Ventura County Life. Write to him at 5200 Valentine Road, Suite 140, Ventura 93003, or send faxes to 658-5576.

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