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Showing posts from 2019

Expect unexpected Wooden O casting this summer

Seattle Shakespeare’s outdoor performing company, Wooden O, takes to Northwest parks with two gender-bending productions this summer. For 2019, they will present an all-male Twelfth Night and a Romeo and Juliet comprised of female and non-binary artists.

For five weeks starting July 11, both shows will travel to 16 different park venues to offer 43 free performances in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Last summer the Wooden O shows were seen by nearly 12,000 individuals and families.

Director Mary Machala gave personal reasons for her casting choices in Twelfth Night. “I have many reasons why I wanted to do this show as an all-male cast, but the main reason is that I have a 24-year-old son, and I think men have taken it on the chops for the last couple of years,” said Machala. “I think a lot of young men in their 20s are kind of lost and they kind of don’t know what foot to stand on. And so, quite frankly, I’m doing this show for my son.”

Machala’s production borrows from variou…

Creating a million dollar musical at Village

The return of Million Dollar Quartet marks the homecoming of one of Village Theatre’s most successful musical developments.

Workshopped in 2006 as part of Village Originals Festival of New Musicals, Million Dollar Quartetappeared on Village Theatre’s mainstage in 2007 and topped a million dollars in ticket sales for the company.

Based on a true story of an all-day jam session between Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, the show went on to a Broadway run in 2010, a Tony Award for Levi Kreis (the Jerry Lee Lewis in the original Village Theatre run) and a host of reappearances everywhere from London’s West End to Harrah’s Las Vegas, as well as on Norwegian Cruise Lines.

As Village Theatre’s Executive Producer Robb Hunt recalls, the show was a hit with the staff as well as the audience from the first. “We did some casting in L.A. and some here, put it in Festival in 2006, and it was very exciting. It was unusual but we did [the Festival production] with a ful…

Bringing Kim's Convenience to the west coast

One of Seattle’s most prolific directors and actors, David Hsieh is well known for bring diverse work to the stage as the founding artistic director of ReAct. His many credits also include performances in Book-It’s productions of The Brothers K and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, as well as in The Happy Ones and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Seattle Public. Co-directing Kim’s Convenience with Taproot Theatre’s founding artistic director Scott Nolte, Hsieh is realizing a long-held ambition in bringing Ins Choi’s warm-hearted comedy about a Korean family and their friends to local audiences.

Rosemary Jones: Kimbits, as fans of the series Kim’s Convenience are known, largely come from watching the Canadian television sitcom starting in 2016 or streaming on Netflix since 2018. Did you first encounter Ins Choi’s Kim’s Convenience as the stage play or online?

David Hsieh: When the published version of the script was first printed in 2012, a copy of it landed on my desk. (I …

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…

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…

Raisins 2019 evolved from student project

Live Girls! Theater has joined forces with Cornish College of the Arts alumni Lexi Chipman and Maya Burton to turn their project, Raisins in a Glass of Milk, into an annual series called “Raisins.”

Seattle actors, directors, and teaching artists Lexi Chipman and Maya Burton first developed Raisins, based on interviews with artists of color working in theater, during their final year at Cornish. The work was restaged for Cornish Presents, the college’s visiting and professional artists series, in the summer of 2016 at the Alhadeff Studio. It was quickly followed by a successful production at 18th and Union in February 2017 which The Seattle Weekly praised as “deeply humanizing and poetic.”

The 2019 show, crafted from new stories, tackles the same issues but with an empowered all female cast. As directed by Burton and Chipman, Raisins 2019 puts the fight for inclusion and representation centerstage.

“Live Girls! Theater has been empowering female theater makers for nearly 20 y…