Friday, July 22, 2011

Posted on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 9:01 AM

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.)

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

The best of local theater in 2010-11!  Winners to be revealed in our July 21 issue!

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.


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


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


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


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

Opus, Interplayers

Race, Interplayers

The Scarlet Letter, Lake City

The Things They Carried, EWU


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


South Pacific

Spring Awakening



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


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


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


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


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

Nunsense, Civic

Race, Interplayers


Gonzaga 1, SFCC 1, Lewis and Clark H.S. 2, EWU 4,

CdA Summer Theatre 15

Interplayers 21

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. 

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Posted on Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 4:17 PM


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

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.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Posted on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 9:54 AM

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.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Bickering lawyers, bickering gods and mortals, bickering Jewish women — everyone's kvetching on Spokane stages lately. Two good productions continue at Interplayers and the Civic — and the Civic also has a mainstage opening.

At the Civic, the three Sisters Rosensweig — one distinguished, one flamboyant, one still finding herself — deal with their significant others and their sibling rivalries. Wendy Wasserstein wrote the play when she was in her early 40s — sadly, just a dozen years before her death. But Rosensweig, which reflects Wasserstein's own life, is at its best when it relays the worries and anxieties and joie de vivre of women of a certain age, ya know? April 8-23, Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm (and see the photo, right)  

David Mamet's Race has profane language for a reason: It's about adults dealing with power struggles and deception and manipulation and rape. The Interplayers board apparently mostly opposed mounting such a controversial play. But maybe — given the fact that Race is selling tickets well — we ought to rethink the whole staying-away-from-controversy instinct. Foul-mouthed plays on hot-button topics may well offend elderly conservatives, but maybe NOT doing such plays — maybe sticking to a diet of nice, pleasant, inoffensive honky-tonk plays — has the effect of alienating younger, more liberal audiences. Be wary of large generalizations, but . . .  is offending people actually the WORST thing a theater can do? Maybe it's time to jettison the Spokane-audiences-aren't-ready-for-that-argument. Wed-Sat 7:30 pm, with some weekend matinees at 2 pm; Interplayers, 174 S. Howard St. Closes April 16. Read a review and watch a slide show preview.

In its second space downstairs, the Civic is presenting Metamorphoses, the play with Greek gods splashing around in a swimming pool. The real payoff comes when the pool becomes a stormy sea, a torture device, a rejuvenating fountain. Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm; closes April 16. Read a preview and watch a slideshow.

Tonight at Whitworth:  Spokane's 2011 version of the NEA's Big Read presents, as part of month-long focus on Vietnam War-themed works, a readers-theater version of a play, A Piece of My Heart, about women who served as nurses in Southeast Asia; 7 pm in Weyerhaeuser Hall.

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Posted on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 3:08 PM

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.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Posted on Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 4:39 PM

at Gonzaga's Magnuson Theater, Sat 7:30 pm, closes Sun 2 pm

Today marks exactly a century since Tennessee Williams was born. Streetcar, arguably his greatest play, is one of those works that you think you know fully — until reacquaintance reveals new facets. In the central and monumental role of Blanche DuBois, Katie Haster delivers a nuanced performance that repays close attention.  

At nearly three hours, director Brian Russo's production is a long but worthwhile and engaging sit. Haster fills it with Blanche's insecurity, desperation and determination. With fluttering fingers, head tilts of disdain, her hands pressed together at odd angles, Haster makes Blanche's self-dramatizing self-conscious -- that is, she's aware of how desperate her circumstances are and how she has to play-act to create certain effects and get her way. Flirtatious, dreamy, angry, haughty, disoriented, hysterical, sad — Haster rings nearly all the changes in Blanche's character. It's a performance that's muddled in its opening moments -- too exaggerated, poorly enunciated, accent wavering -- but it recovers so well that, hours later, you realize that Haster hasn't just been repeating herself. After all, it'd be easy to recycle those fluttery hands over and over. But Haster uses the downward-tilting chin with big beagle eyes, the hands flying to the throat and then tossing her hair, judiciously. She even finds a way to play the coquette with her perfume spritzer, putting it down when Stanley calls her on being too flirtatious. But she's not just a fading rose -- she duels with Stanley face-to-face over the legal papers, and later,with her suitor Mitch, she even finds romance in a cigarette case.

In the direct-address reminiscence speeches, Haster's sad, upturned eyes evoke the romance she once enjoyed before the harsh light of reality -- her own impracticality and flightiness --defeated her; Russo inserts snippets of faraway music, as in Williams' script, to evoke the kind of memories that make life worth living in retrospect but do nothing to get us through the problems we face today. Haster's Blanche gets a little annoying and tiresome at times, which is good -- it's in this belle's character. Denied another drink, she sucks on the the tip of her thumb, self-consoling like a baby with a pacifier. She's creepy and seductive in the coming-on-to-the-newsboy scene (well acted by Gregory Talbott), but then turns right around and plays the prude with the overawed Mitch: First you want to strangle her, then you realize just how pathetically insecure she really is. Haster's Blanche is a muddled nymphomaniac, looking for love with all the wrong men and getting so little of it that it finally side-swipes her mind.

Some of the scene-ending lines are rushed over -- in particular, Blanche's gratitude for Mitch's gallantry and love, "sometimes it's God so quickly," doesn't get enough weight -- but Haster turns in a performance that any 20-something playing a 30-something could be proud of.

As Stella, Mary Davies provides enough push-back against Stanley to make her own impression. For the early revelation that Belle Reve has been lost, Russo positions the two sisters on opposite sides of the kitchen table, enphasizing their cross-purposes.

Andrew Garcia is too tall and skinny to appear subhuman and brutish, as the role of Stanley demands, but he has surprising physical power (tossing poker players to the ground) and vocal force (as in the famous "Stella!" bellow, which here leads to a lovely moment with Mary Davies posed at the top of the stairs,bathed in light just before she falls into his arms and we see that, for all his brutishness, Stanley has won over at least one woman with animal magnetism). And Garcia, more than many Stanleys, displays the man's insecurity at being Polish, working-class, unrefined.

As Mitch, Connor Brenes stands with hands folded over his crotch, ever the proper suitor, self-conscious about his beefiness and perspiration; he creates the proper contrast to the other drunken, crotch-scratching poker players, including Stanley.

Deanna L. Zibello's set, with its faded wallpaper and exposed wooden slats, suggests post-war penury while adding a semi-abstract and colorful suggestion of all the jazzy nightlife that lies just outside the walls of the Kowalskis' French Quarter apartment. Inside those two rooms, it's cramped and stifling hot.

With Haster's performance, though, it's a place you're willing to stay.

[ 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 ]

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Posted on Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM

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.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Posted on Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Taking over our Spokane stages: Greek gods, Southern hunks and angry secretaries.

It's a drama (with funny bits) about ancient Greek myths. What's that got to do with you?
Well, if you've conquered the problems of vanity, greed, selfishness and desire for revenge, then Metamorphoses won't have much to say to you. The rest of us mere mortals, meanwhile, will not only profit from the show — we'll get to see handsome young men in short-shorts lounging around poolside. There's something about a play set in a swimming pool that's primal — like baptism. Like near-drowning. Like splashing around as if you were 5 years old again. You've got until April 17 to pay your $21 and go see it. This weekend: Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm. Read a preview. At the Civic's downstairs Studio Theater. And our slideshow is coming soon....  

At Gonzaga, Prof. Brian Russo directs Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, which was merely named the greatest American play of all time in a recent poll. When Blanche Dubois puts on airs and threatens to get between sweaty Stanley Kowalski and his wife (her sister) Stella … well, it all ends with a call to the loony bin. Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm. Tickets: $15; $10, students. GU's Magnuson Theater (east end of College Hall), 502 E. Boone Ave. Call 313-6398. (At right, that's Andrew Garcia as Stanley and Katie Haster as Blanche.)

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.

In "Food, Glorious Food," cabaret performer Abbey Crawford will sing songs about, you know, sustenance. Please, ma'am, some more? Sunday, March 27, at 7 pm at the UU Church, 4340 W. Fort George Wright Dr. Call 315-8301. Tickets: $12; $15, at the door. $10, students.

Spokane Children's Theater presents Hansel and Gretel at SFCC's Spartan Theater, Bldg. 5, 3410 W. Fort George Wright Dr. Call 328-4886. Tickets: $12; $10, kids.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Posted on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 10:15 AM

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 CarriedTonight. 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

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.

Coming up:

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. 

9 to 5: The Musical will play the INB Center on March 24-27. Tickets: $32-$61. Read a preview and an alternate version.

An edgy feminist stage adaptation of The Scarlet Letter will run at Lake City Playhouse in Coeur d'Alene from March 25-April 3. 

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Valleyfest @ Spokane Valley

Sat., Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 24, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
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