VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. – The songs are familiar and summer concerts in the ocean breeze are about as SoCal as you can get. But this venue is anything but typical.

“A concert on an outdoor stage to folks in cars," laughed Christian Hoff as he and Travis Cloer discussed their upcoming opening night.


What You Need To Know

  • Rubicon is first regional theater company in the country to offer socially-distanced drive-in concert series

  • Each concert will play for three nights at the Ventura County Fairgrounds

  • Each show can accommodate 500 cars, with no car more than 350 feet away from the stage

  • Performers play to all sides of the stage plus a live feed is shown on 4 massive LED screens


Cloer and Hoff worked together in Jersey Boys on Broadway. Hoff was with the show even before that, when it started at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, where he grew up. He went on to win a Tony Award for his portrayal of Tommy DeVito. 

Meanwhile Cloer holds a world record for the longest-running portrayal of the character of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys history worldwide -- over 2,500 performances.

"So, lot of high notes," he joked.

These performers have been waiting in the wings since March when the pandemic closed theaters and performance venues. So when Hoff was approached to put together a set for the Rubicon Goes Retro Drive-in Theatre Concert Series, he jumped at the chance.

“Because we get to perform and do what we love to do and we haven’t been able to do that for too long," he said. "And we don’t know what the future will bring so if this is a stop gap and a new normal, we’ll take it.” 

Karyl Lynn Burns will take it too. “Of course nothing beats the live experience of being in a theater," she admitted, "but I think this is the next closest thing.”

Burns co-founded the Rubicon Theatre with her husband James O’Neil and says presenting the five-concert series in the parking lot of the Ventura County Fairgrounds was his idea.

“We were driving by and he said, 'That’s it! That’s what we have to do,'" she recalled.

She says her team worked for eight weeks to put the series together, with safety being their top priority. People are asked to stay in their vehicles and music can be pumped in through the radio. Outside of cars, masks must be worn at all times and no concessions are sold on site but patrons can bring take out to enjoy during the show.”

“Or they can bring popcorn. It will be like a drive-in," Burns said. "They can bring their kids in their feetie pajamas.” 

Cars are spaced apart around the stage, and on stage, the performers are spaced apart too.

“We had to keep six feet apart from each other at all times," Cloer explained, recalling some of the safety measures they agreed to follow. "We had to be temperature checked.”  



Cloer can’t see the audience’s faces, and the honking of horns and flashing of headlights may not be the ovation he’s used to getting, but with all the differences, he says one thing hasn’t changed – the power of live music.

“It’s something that heals the soul, it heals the heart," he said. "Just to give people 75 minutes of a break from reality, I’m happy to be a part of that.”

A high note he thinks we can all use in the midst of a difficult year.

"Drive-in Hits" is the first of five concerts planned through September. Other concerts include "2 AM at the Sands: Samonsky Sings Sinatra," a 30th Anniversary Concert of Forever Plaid, Jimmy Messina and Friends and "Music of the Knights: The Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John and Paul McCartney." 


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Take 2!! Get your tickets now for the second night of Rubicon's very first Safe-Distance Drive-In Concert. . Starts at 8 PM at the Ventura Fairgrounds! LINK IN BIO DRIVE-IN HITS July 6 - 8, 2020 8 PM Ventura County Fairgrounds 10 Harbor Blvd. Parking Lot A Ventura, CA 93001 . Tony® Award-Winner CHRISTIAN HOFF joins forces with TRAVIS CLOER of Broadway's JERSEY BOYS to celebrate an iconic era of Drive-Ins, Muscle Cars and Music with special guests from JERSEY BOYS and MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET! These powerhouse performers have thrilled audiences with their retro sound from Broadway to Vegas, TV to the Big Screen! They kick off a summer series with hits from musical icons like Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, Smokey Robinson, Brian Wilson, Little Richard, Lennon & McCartney and yes, plenty of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons - as friends from “Jersey” jump in to share their signature harmonies and smooth moves with songs like “Sherry,” Opus 17 and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” . Concerts Performed Live on an Elevated Outdoor Stage with Video Feed on 4 Large LED Screens, All Enjoyed from the Comfort and Safety of Your Car! Restrooms available but limited, please wear your mask and stay in your car at all times unless using the restrooms. . Proceeds from Rubicon Goes Retro Benefit Rubicon Theatre Company’s Artistic and Education Programs . Rubicon is honored to partner with CBF Productions for the Rubicon Goes Retro series. CBF is one of California's largest traveling boutique festival production companies. CBF produces Boots & Brews Country Music Festivals, Tequila & Taco Music Festivals and Winter & Spring Wine Walks! . . . . . @cbfproductions @TonyAward @HOFF_CHRISTIAN joins forces with @TRAVISCLOERMUSIC of #Broadway #JERSEYBOYS #DriveIns #MuscleCars #Music #Vegas #VENTURA #VENTURACOUNTY #VENTURACALIFORNIA #VENTURA BEACH @visitventura

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