There are a variety of options when it comes to choosing how to celebrate during the spooky holiday season. While going to a costume party, watching a horror flick indoors and trick-or-treating are all beloved Halloween activities, the Rio Theatre’s Halloweenworld “Come As You Aren’t” festival offers an array of these activities all under one roof.

On Oct. 26, the New Music Works (NMW) organization will be hosting this “spooktacular” event for the general public. All ages are welcome to attend the celebration, where line-dancing, films, costume contests, chamber music concertos and an art gallery will all be present to entertain guests.

“[It will be] a real hoot,” said artistic director Philip Collins, who wrote the show as well as several of the pieces of music he will be conducting with his 12-piece ensemble.

Various genres of music will be performed for the audience during this event. Not only will classical, chamber-type pieces be performed by string quartets, but contemporary music will be featured as well — the rock band Noise Clinic is set to perform a couple of their own songs.

“We were asked to write two new songs for this Halloween event,” said Noise Clinic member and NMW general manager Sayaka Yabuki.

Yabuki, alongside Collins, helped oversee the production team.

“This will be an all ages kind of concert,” Yabuki said. “Definitely different than any NMW concert I’ve been involved with [because it is] multimedia oriented.”

The excerpt “Dance of the Adolescents” from Igor Stravinsky’s highly acclaimed “Rite of Spring” will also be played, where every guest is invited to “dance to their death” by participating in a line dance locomotive.

“[Line dancing to ‘Rite of Spring’] will be the most controversial thing we’ve ever done,” Collins said. “We made the real effort to give the audience a degree of participation where they can let go, for example the dance … The very concept of involving the audience is the most welcoming part of the show.”

Young art students from Celeste Baross’ Santa Cruz Studio School will display their artwork in a gallery held in the lobby of the theater. Students from ages eight to 16 created four to five marquee-size Halloween paintings for the event. Their art will be displayed either within the gallery itself or in a video montage on a larger screen.

“Phil called a few months ago with the idea for Halloweenworld,” Baross said. “[He] had this vision kids would somehow be involved. I think it’s a fun idea. Halloween is partly a kid’s event, so we wanted a kid’s input.”

Following the classic short film “Frankenstein” and the cartoon “How A Mosquito Operates,” the rest of Halloweenworld follows, including the “Rite of Spring” line dance as well as the costume contest. The contest will be judged by Santa Cruz’s The Great Morgani, who plays accordion on Pacific Avenue in homemade costumes.

Locals can enjoy each other’s costumes at the event, as well as the costumes of people from across the globe. A montage of “global spirit” will be displayed on a screen, presenting Santa Cruz with various costumes from around the world, integrating the local community with others cultures.

“[Halloweenworld] is a very complex and technical show [where] music and theater [intersect] … It’s the perfect setting for people to have a party before Halloween,” Collins said.


Halloweenworld will be held at the Rio Theatre on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased at General admission is $17, seniors and students are $12, and kids 12 and under are free.