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Don't be crazy and miss Patsy Cline

I can't remember why I missed "Always...Patsy Cline" the first time that it played Seattle in 2009, but I do remember hearing from friends about the knockout performances of leads Cayman Ilika and Kate Jaeger. But them's the breaks of live theater, miss it and you'll never catch that lighting in the bottle again.

Except, sometimes, the theater gods smile upon us. Seattle audiences have a second chance to see this amazing duo rip through the "somebody done somebody wrong" oeuvre of Patsy Cline. With sass (Jaeger) and class (Ilika), the pair recreate the brief and memorable friendship of a Texas divorcee and the queen of heartbreak music at Taproot Theatre.

The packed house last Saturday erupted into applause for every classic sob song:  "Crazy," "Walkin' After Midnight," and "I Fall to Pieces." The fun of the show comes from some of the lesser known works, like "Stupid Cupid" and the wonderfully titled "G…
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Gorgeous purple ballet bacchanalia

The world premiere of Matthew Neenan’s Bacchus drove the March 15 audience into a near Dionysian frenzy of applause at the end. From gorgeous music by Oliver Davis to intriguingly purple wardrobes by Mark Zappone to the twenty minutes of sublime ensemble dancing by the company, this addition to Pacific Northwest Ballet's repertoire stole the show.




The "Director's Choice" evening at Pacific Northwest Ballet generally offers a strong program. After all, these are artistic director Peter Boal's personal picks. Usually, but not always, this means a certain emphasis on the male dancers (oft relegated to princess arm props in classical ballet) as well as choreographers that intrigue Boal.

This year's selections include the world premiere by Neenan as well as another world premiere, "The Trees The Trees," by Robyn Mineko Williams and a new-to-PNB piece, "In the Countenance of Kings," by Justin Peck.

While a big party mood was set by Neenan's …

Causing chaos in the third act

Ask veteran actor Gretchen Douma about the parts she likes to play and she’ll cite her current role in “Arsenic and Old Lace” at Taproot Theatre. “It’s the classic third act character who comes on and creates more chaos. All is at a fever pitch, everyone is at cross purposes, and a lot of mayhem ensues. It’s a juicy little cameo,” she said. “You add to the chaos and then leave!”

It's also a play full of characters of a certain age. The aunts may be sweet old ladies who wear lace but also like to add a few extra ingredients to their wine. If you don't know what that is, well you're in for a treat. There's also the neighbors, gentlemen visitors, the local cops walking the beat, and a very odd nephew or two.

Douma's role underwent a gender switch so she could be Lieutenant Rooney. But other than sensible accommodations like that, this production remains faithful to the original script. “The director Marianne Savall leans into the style of the 1930s period. Sharp com…