Stand Up and Cheer -- WestCoast Entertainment's 2001-02 season came to a rousing close last week to the tune of "Seventy-Six Trombones." The Music Man closed out the schedule, and even though we all knew what was going to happen to Professor Harold Hill and his schemes, it's always fun to watch a cold heart thaw. Leading man Gerritt Vandermeer had just the right hint of smarmy charisma to pull off the transformation. And Carolann Sanita's Marian "The Librarian" Paroo brought us one of the most impressive sets of vocal chords we've heard in the series. Before the show, one cast member told us that the show's string of 211 standing ovations was broken just recently by a stingy audience in Detroit, but there was no hesitation here in our own River City: The show's closer, with its blaring brass, brought Spokane's opening night crowd to its feet in no time.
And it looks like we're due for a lot more standing Os, as next season looks to be one of the best ever. Announced just before opening night for The Music Man, WestCoast has landed a great mix of familiar shows and shows you'll want to get familiar with. Rodgers and Hammersteins's Cinderella (Oct. 3-6) offers fun for the whole family, and South Pacific is always a hoot (Nov. 7-10). Swing, which starred Spokane's own Casey Magill when it ran on Broadway, is sure to become a classic (March 6-9, 2003), and the one-night-only Capitol Steps (Nov. 11) should provide some much-needed laughs just after the fall election. But two shows in particular caught our eyes: Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk (Feb. 6-9, 2003), featuring the show's originator, Savion Glover; and Rent (Dec. 19-22), which will make for a nice little Christmas present to Inland Northwest audiences. We can't wait!
Just in Time for Bloomsday -- Seven and a half miles is a long way to go if your garments are in any way pinching, bunching, chafing, itching or riding up. It's also an unhappy distance if you've got any garments that aren't doing their assigned job. For instance, the sports bra. Spokane's Penny Jo Wagner, a sports enthusiast and avid snowmobiler, was underwhelmed by just about every sports bra on the market and set about designing her own. Her prototypes were so successful, she now runs her own company, which sells the patented Bounce-Free Action Bra. The bra uses a zipper, velcro and inner and outer cups to ensure that everything stays where it's supposed to, and they come in three different colors. You can buy them online at www.esportsbra.com, this weekend at the Bloomsday Trade Show, at the Runner's Soul and Kimmel Athletic booths.
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