Ragtime. Ring of Fire. Spamalot.
Those are three of the musicals that Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre will produce a year from now, as announced last night by Artistic Director Roger Welch. (Next summer's fourth slot is TBA.)
The musical version of Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctorow's 1975 novel about wealthy WASPs, impoverished Eastern European immigrants, political activists and persecuted African-Americans in the years leading up to (and including) World War I, appeared on Broadway in both 1998 and 2009. The book is by Terrence McNally, with lyrics and music by the songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. (Milos Forman's film premiered 30 years ago this November, starring the likes of Elizabeth McGovern, Howard E. Rollins Jr., Mary Steenburgen, Debbie Allen, Mandy Patinkin and many more.) A glance at the number of historical and fictional characters in Ragtime, the narrative (which is crowded with incident), and the show's three dozen musical numbers indicates that the CdA company is taking on a very ambitious show.
Ring of Fire is a Johnny Cash musical, with three dozen songs arranged by Richard Maltby Jr. into a sketch of three couples' lives — falling in love, growing old. It ran for a month on Broadway in the spring of 2006. Read Playbill's advance article about the show.
Spamalot, of course, is the Arthurian spoof musical. (It also finds its inspiration in 1975 — the year of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The musical is mostly Eric Idle's fault — he wrote the book and lyrics and collaborated on most of the music.) The original production of Spamalot ran for nearly four years (2005-09) and 1,600 performances on Broadway. Best of Broadway Spokane has scheduled a single performance of Spamalot for Nov. 11 at the INB Center. (The show's second, non-Equity national tour ended last month.)
I first selected the Spokies (so called), on my own, in June 2006. In 2005, I was joined by five local actors in a selection committee forthe "Spokane Theater Awards." For three years before that (2002-04),I voted for theater awards along with other local theater critics. So, that's a decade of choosing awards; this is the sixth year of the Spokies.
Nominations may be more meaningful than the awards themselves, because a single selector has a better chance of identifying a range of good performances than settling on just a single "best" performance. (Nevertheless, awards shows need winners, and the Spokies need to forge on.)
Eligible productions (those that I managed to see during June2010-May 2011) include four shows at CdA Summer Theatre, 11 shows at SpokaneCivic Theatre, seven shows at Interplayers, eight shows at Lake City Playhouse,and one show each at Lewis and Clark High, Gonzaga, EWU, Whitworth and SFCC.
Here are one person's list of nominees for the best of local theater in 2010-11.
LEADING ACTRESS, MUSICAL
Emily Cleveland as Hope Cladwell in Urinetown, Lake City
Andrea Dawson as Maria in West Side Story, Civic (concertversion)
Alyssa Day as Eva Peron in Evita, Lake City Playhouse
Jean Hardie as Sister Mary Regina in Nunsense, Spokane CivicTheatre
Lindsey Hedberg as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, Coeur d'AleneSummer Theatre
Jessica Skerritt in the title role of Cinderella, Coeur d'AleneSummer Theatre
LEADING ACTOR, PLAY
Wes Deitrick as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon, Civic Studio
Gene Engene as Tim O'Brien in The Things They Carried, EWU
David Gigler as Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men, Lake CityPlayhouse
George Green as George Milton in Of Mice and Men, Lake CityPlayhouse
Kelly Hauenstein as David Frost in Frost/Nixon, Civic Studio
Todd Kehne as Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter, Lake City
Christopher Lamb as Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man, LakeCity
Damon Mentzer in the title role of Richard III, SFCC
Kevin Partridge as Jack Lawson in Race, Interplayers
Patrick Treadway as Dorian in Opus, Interplayers
LEADING ACTOR, MUSICAL
Doug Dawson as Caldwell B. Cladwell in Urinetown, Lake City
Robby French as Jerry Lukowski in The Full Monty, Civic
Brian Gunn in the title role of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,Civic
Troy Nickerson as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, Lewis and ClarkH.S.
Roger Welch as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, CdA Summer Theatre
LEADING ACTRESS, PLAY
Sarah Denison as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker,Interplayers
Elisha Gunn in multiple roles in The 39 Steps, Interplayers
Katie Haster as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire,Gonzaga
Susan Hardie as Lucille in The Cemetery Club, Civic Studio
Jillian Kramer as Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter, Lake City
Leigh Sandness as Jacqueline in Don't Dress for Dinner, Civic
The 39 Steps, Interplayers
Almost, Maine at Lake City
Together Again for the Next Time, Interplayers
Frost/Nixon, Civic Studio
Metamorphoses, Civic Studio
The Scarlet Letter, Lake City
The Things They Carried, EWU
BEST LOCAL MUSICAL
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Civic
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Civic
The Full Monty, Civic
Hairspray, CdA Summer Theatre
Urinetown, Lake City Playhouse
BEST TOURING MUSICAL
David Baker for Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Civic
George Green and Dan Heggem for The Scarlet Letter, Lake City
Peter Hardie for White Christmas, Civic
Cameron Anderson for Hairspray, CdA Summer Theatre
Scott Nicks for Honky Tonk Angels Holiday Spectacular,Interplayers
Dan Heggem for Of Mice and Men, Lake City Playhouse
Dan Heggem for The Scarlet Letter, Lake City
Joel Williamson for Hairspray, CdA Summer Theatre
Jessica Ray for Hairspray, CdA Summer Theatre
Jan Wanless for White Christmas, Civic
Christopher Moll for Hairspray, CdA Summer Theatre
Troy Nickerson, Jillian Wylie and Kathie Doyle-Lipe for WhiteChristmas, Civic
Ali Waid for Urinetown, Lake City
Jadd Davis for Opus, Interplayers
Patty Duke for The Miracle Worker, Interplayers
Sara Goff for The Things They Carried, EWU
Marina Kalani for The Elephant Man, Lake City
Susan Hardie for Frost/Nixon, Civic Studio
Marilyn Langbehn for Race, Interplayers
Kathie Doyle-Lipe for The 25th Annual Putnam County SpellingBee, Civic Studio
George Green for Urinetown, Lake City Playhouse
Yvonne A.K. Johnson for Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Civic
Kirk Mouser for Hairspray, CdA Summer Theatre
Troy Nickerson for The Full Monty, Civic
SUPPORTING ACTOR, PLAY
David Casteal as Henry Brown in Race, Interplayers
Howard Halcomb as Lt. Jimmy Cross in The Things They Carried,EWU
Thomas Heppler as Sam in The Cemetery Club, Civic Studio
Chris LeBlanc as Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter, LakeCity
J.P. O'Shaughnessy as Mervyn Kant in The Sisters Rosensweig,Civic
Andrew Scott Parish as Roger Wolders in Together Again for theNext Time, Interplayers
Gary Pierce as Swifty Lazar and Mike Wallace in Frost/Nixon,Civic Studio
Dave Rideout as Carl in Opus, Interplayers
Jeffrey Sanders as Ted in Privilege, Interplayers
Terry Sticka as Jack Brennan in Frost/Nixon, Civic Studio
Dalin Tipton as First Man (multiple roles) in Metamorphoses,Civic Studio
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MUSICAL
Lacey Bohnet as Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam CountySpelling Bee, Civic Studio
Patricia Brady as Sister Mary Amnesia in Nunsense, Civic
Kathie Doyle-Lipe as Martha Watson in White Christmas, Civic
Kathie Doyle-Lipe as Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense, Civic
Diedra Grace as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray, CdA SummerTheatre
Siri Hafso as Judy Haynes in White Christmas, Civic
Maureen Kumakura as Rona Lisa Perretti in The 25th Annual PutnamCounty Spelling Bee, Civic Studio
Megan Maddox as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, CdA SummerTheatre
Yvonne Same as Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County SpellingBee, CdA Summer Theatre
Tamara Schupman as the Female Authority Figure in Hairspray, CdASummer Theatre
Mary Starkey as Jeanette Burmeister in The Full Monty, Civic
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, PLAY
Wendy Carroll in Together Again for the Next Time, Interplayers
Sarah Denison as Erla in Privilege, Interplayers
Nike Imoru as Susan in Race, Interplayers
Cory Jasmin in multiple roles in Almost, Maine at Lake CityPlayhouse
Esa Lariviere as Gorgeous Teitlebaum in The Sisters Rosensweig,Civic
Anne Lillian Mitchell as Mrs. Kendal in The Elephant Man, LakeCity
Mary Starkey as Madeline Arnhand in Together Again for the NextTime, Interplayers
SUPPORTING ACTOR, MUSICAL
Lance Babbitt as William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam CountySpelling Bee, Civic Studio
David Gigler as Dave Bukatinsky in The Full Monty, Civic
Jhon Goodwin as the Big Bopper in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,Civic
Thomas Heppler as Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray, Lewis and ClarkH.S.
Gabe Lawson as Seaweed J. Stubbs in Hairspray, CdA Summer Theatre
Cameron Lewis as Phil Davis in White Christmas, Civic
Reed McColm as Mr. Pinky and Male Authority Figure in Hairspray,CdA Summer Theatre
Dan McKeever as Agustin Magaldi in Evita, Lake City Playhouse
Mark Pleasant as Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam CountySpelling Bee, Civic Studio
Paul Villabrille as Ritchie Valens in Buddy: The Buddy HollyStory, Civic
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Civic Studio
The Cemetery Club, Civic Studio
Gonzaga 1, SFCC 1, Lewis and Clark H.S. 2, EWU 4,
CdA Summer Theatre 15
Lake City Playhouse 21
Spokane Civic Theatre 43
NOTE: This post originally misidentified the designers of the sets. lighting and costumes for the production of Hairspray at CdA Summer Theatre. My apologies, and the names have been corrected.
UPDATES APPEAR BELOW
In two hours or so, we'll know how Spokane Civic Theatre's entry in this year's American Association of Community Theatre national festival will have done.
Janice Abramson, producer for director Kathie Doyle-Lipe's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, just called to say that the group is on their way to the AACT's awards banquet in Rochester, N.Y.
The "Bees," as the cast and crew call themselves, had a rough journey just to make it to Rochester: storms, flight delays, entire nights spent on cots in the Chicago airport, everyone arriving in dribs and drabs, the festival's schedule rearranged to suit the needs of the poor contingent all the way from Spokane who nearly didn't make it ... you get the picture.
And ad-lib during last night's not-entirely-glitch-free performance in competition brought the house down: Where was one of the fictional spellers? "He couldn't make it tonight ... he's somewhere in Chicago, sleeping on a cot."
Spelling Bee is up against the following shows:
The Bear, from Newton, MA; Hauptmann, from Mons, Belgium; The Gin Game, from Broken Arrow, OK; Sunday in the Park with George, from Bradenton, FL; Wiley and the Hairy Man, from Cloquet, MN; The Zoo Story, from Newark, DE; Parallel Lives, from Evergreen, CO; Second Samuel, from Wetumpka, AL; Check Please, from Chino, CA; Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, from Grapevine, TX; and Urinetown, from Midland, MI. Visit aact.org.
Fingers crossed for all the cast and crew. The awards banquet starts in 15 minutes! (Our on-scene reporter is Janice Abramson.)
There is no joy in Rochester-Mudville.
While the Civic's production of Spelling Bee received five nominations — winning in two of those categories — it nonetheless did not place among the top three shows at AACTFest11.
Nominated without winning were Mark Pleasant (as Leaf Coneybear) for Best Actor, David Baker for Best Lighting Design, and the entire cast for Best Ensemble.
Lacey Bohnet (as Olive Ostrovsky) won the Best Supporting Actress award, and Nancy Vancil won for Best Musical Direction.
Third place in the Best Production category went to the Sondheim musical from Florida; second to the Urinetown from Michigan; and the overall winning production came from Grapevine, Texas: Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.
Well, Spelling Bee was an outstanding show, anyway. Congrats to all (especially after the horror stories about just getting to Rochester in the first place).
Note correction above: Earlier, the name of the Best Lighting Design nominee was incorrectly listed, as was the category for Nancy Vancil's win. Sorry. They're correct now.
Shakespeare and classical music at the mall! (Are they doing this to drive away the teenage mall rats?! Because Tchaikovsky works at reducing loitering problems, as has been demonstrated in Seattle, Portland, New York, London and at a lot of McDonald’s franchises.)
Anyway, the Regal NorthTown Mall 12 Cinemas (at Wellesley and Division) will soon be screening all kinds of egghead films. Who says culchah doesn’t play in the summer?
First up, DON PASQUALE.The Met re-broadcasts Donizetti’s comic opera about an old man who tries to disinherit his nephew by marrying for himself. (Too bad the bride turns out to be a virago). Wed, June 22, at 6:30 pm, $20
The next night, one of the rock stars of the classical world, Venezuela’s Gustavo Dudamel (oh, yeah, he’s also music director of the L.A. Phil) appears on the large screen in LET THE CHILDREN PLAY, a film about El Sistema, which takes impoverished kids and turns them into classical musicians; Dudamel himself is a product of the program. (Thurs, June 23, at 7 pm, $20)
Next, how about traveling to London to stand (or sit) inside a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre while real, live British actors with British-y accents perform Will’s plays in something like the original performance conditions of 400 years ago? You'd do it if it only cost you $15.
Here’s the lineup of re-broadcast plays from London's Globe; the first three all feature the character of Sir John Falstaff.
Monday, June 27, at 7 pm: The Merry Wives of Windsor
Monday, Aug. 1, at 7 pm: Henry IV, Part One
Thursday, Aug. 18, at 7 pm: Henry IV, Part Two
Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 pm: Henry VIII
Visit the promoter’s website.
Rape at Interplayers, incest at the Civic, adultery and kinky mind games at Lake City — who says our local theaters don't take on topics that make prudes frown?
So why should you go see Race at Interplayers? It's about what really goes on in the minds of black men and women as they deal with privileged white men (and vice versa). It's not a whodunit, but a did-he-do-it? (We know who he is all along.) It's a David Mamet play. It's directed by Marilyn Langbehn, formerly of Spokane Civic Theater, who came up here from her job at the Bay Area's California Shakespeare Theater just for the opportunity to hear actors cuss like drunken sailors.
It features a quartet of talented actors with lots of experience in this area: David Casteal and Kevin Partridge as the legal partners, Nike Imoru as their new associate, and Patrick Treadway as the rich man who stands accused of raping a black woman. Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, with weekend matinees. Tickets: $10-$22. The show closes April 16.
Here's Marilyn Langbehn with a sneak preview:
---Sure, Metamorphoses is the play with the swimming pool, but do they really need the water for all the ancient Greek tales of love and revenge and generosity and incest and pride? After you see the strobe-light storm and burial at sea, and the parent reunited with child cavorting around, and the sacrilegious guy being dunked and nearly drowned and coming up for air, and Apollo's bratty sun lounging on an inflatable raft, you'll say yes. Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm at the Civic's downstairs Studio Theater. Tickets: $21. Read a preview. Watch a slide show.
The modernized/sexy/creepy/feminist stage adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, directed by George Green, closes this weekend at Coeur d'Alene's Lake City Playhouse: Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm. Read a review. (Photo: Jillian Kramer as Hester Prynne and Loretta Underwood as Pearl)
Two kids, bread crumbs and a witch: It's closing weekend for Spokane Children's Theatre presentation of Hansel and Gretel — Sat 1 pm and 4 pm, closes Sun 1 pm at SFCC's Spartan Theater, Bldg. 5, 3410 W. Fort George Wright Dr.
Check out the Blue Door Theatre Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 9 pm in the Garland District: Comedy served hot 'n' spicy, right out of the improv oven. Friday nights in April bring Poets Up, in which hacks will compose rhyming stuff, right on the spot. All for the price of a movie.
A play about nurses who served during the Vietnam War, A Piece of My Heart, will be performed readers theater-style as part of Spokane's Big Read 2011 on Thurs, April 7, at 7 pm at Whitworth's Weyerhaeuser Hall.
[ photo: Andrew Garcia as Stanley Kowalski and Katie Haster as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Brian C. Russo at Gonzaga University, March 2011 ]
Director Yvonne Johnson provides a voiceover description of a dozen production photos from "the play with the swimming pool," Metamorphoses, opening tonight at the Civic's downstairs Studio Theater and running through April 17.
Ten actors portraying mythological figures like Midas, Orpheus and Hades use the water in a variety of ways: ocean, baptismal font, playpen, venue for waterboarding-like torture, river of forgetfulness, spa.
Lake City Playhouse in Coeur d'Alene opens The Scarlet Letter this weekend: Fri-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm. (It closes April 3.) In Phyllis Nagy's 1994 adaptation — edgy, feminist, sensual — Pearl is all grown up and acts as the narrator, Hester Prynne is less ashamed than self-assertive, and Hester's husband Roger Chillingworth uses sex to control others. There's devil worship and boot-licking and all kinds of Freudian overtones. Director George Green's production will condense and modernize Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, just not the way Grandma remembers it. Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City, Warm Springs, won a Tony for Rabbit Hole in '05) appeared in a Greenwich Village production in '94, reviewed by Ben Brantley.
9 to 5 sets every woman's revenge fantasy — showing up your arrogant, sexist boss — to music. And every song was written by Dolly Parton herself! Thurs 7:30, Fri 8 pm, Sat 2 pm and 8 pm, Sun 1 pm and 6:30 pm at the INB Center. Tickets: $32-$61. Read a preview and another.
This weekend, you can (theatrically) meet Vietnam grunts, lost children, angry Jews, and gangsters disguised as pastry chefs.
OK, all you Big Readers and Get Lit-ers and Spokane theatergoers who didn't want to make the trip out to Cheney to see the new stage adaptation of the Vietnam War novel by Tim O'Brien (pictured) ... you've got no excuses left. The Things They Carried. Tonight. Free. At the Bing. Last chance. 7:30 pm. Be there.
Jeff Sanders, lecturer in theater at EWU, has adapted O'Brien's novel into an effective show. His wife Sara Goff is directing it. EWU theater prof emeritus Gene Engene is playing O'Brien. And several folks have written in or commented that this is a show worth seeing. Again, it's tonight at 7:30 pm at the Bing, and money isn't a problem.
The Handsome Little Devils, a vaudeville show, will be performed tonight at 7:30 pm at the Panida in Sandpoint, Idaho. $20. Visit panida.org.
Hansel and Gretel gets the Spokane Children's Theater treatment on Sat-Sun at 1 pm at SFCC's Spartan Theatre. $12; $10 for kids. Call 328-4886. Closes April 3.
No one in our area has done that delightful, old-fashioned musical within a musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, but it closes Sunday up in Kettle Falls (admittedly, an 80-mile drive north of Spokane). Performances at the Woodland Theater (at the only stoplight in town) on Fri-Sat at 7:30 and Sun 3 pm. Tickets: $15; $12, seniors and kids. This show was on Broadway less than five years ago — such is the distance from NYC to KF.
Portia and Antonio and all the nice, loving Christians gang up on an ostracized but bloodthirsty Jew in The Merchant of Venice. See it in Ignite's readers theater version tonight at 7 pm at GU's Foley Center; or on Sat. at 7 pm at St. Mark's Lutheran, 24th Ave. and Grand Blvd.; or on Sunday at 2 pm at the Blue Door Theater, 815 W. Garland Ave. Donations requested. 330-1066
Wallace, Idaho, is just an 80-mile drive east from Spokane. The Sixth Street Theater there (located in a former bordello) is offering Southern Hospitality — a comedy about three sisters in a dying small-town Texas trying to lure a manufacturer by staging a big, impressive festival with about 15 people — on Fri-Sat at 7 pm and Sun 2 pm. Closes March 27. Tickets: $15; $13, students. It's at 212 Sixth St. Call (208) 752-8871.
A Streetcar Named Desire at GU's Magnuson Theater (east end of College Hall), 502 E. Boone Ave., on Wed-Sat, March 23-26, at 7:30 pm and on Sunday, March 27, at 2 pm. 313-6398; $15; $10, students.
An edgy feminist stage adaptation of The Scarlet Letter will run at Lake City Playhouse in Coeur d'Alene from March 25-April 3.