by Michael Bowen

Watch the Brothers Jumping Axes -- This season is a landmark of sorts for Roger Welch and Michael Ericson. Ten years ago -- the last time CdA produced Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (June 12-26) -- Welch had just started as artistic director, and Ericson was a teenager dancing in the chorus. In this year's production -- marking the 50th anniversary of the movie musical -- Welch is the director, and that Ericson kid has grown into a choreographer. "This show seems very different from the one 10 years ago," says Welch. "It's more in the Agnes de Mille style -- she was the original choreographer -- and with the challenge sequence and jumping over axes, it just feels like there's a lot more dancing going on." Taryn Darr -- the blonde Roxie in last year's Chicago (pictured) -- stars as Millie.

42nd Street, with its All About Eve-style, the-understudy-must-go-on plot, features songs like "We're in the Money" and "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," will be performed July 2-17.

Little Shop of Horrors, the 1982 musical with the Roger Corman B-movie feel, will run July 22-Aug. 1. Three local favorites play the leads: Frank Jewett as Seymour, the guy who makes a pet out of a huge carnivorous plant; Meghan Maddox as his girlfriend Audrey; and, as Mr. Mushnik, the florist shop owner, Jack Bannon.

Cats will be prowling from Aug. 7-21. Ericson will direct; the choreographer, Ross Cornell, worked on the national tour of the feline Andrew Lloyd Webber show; and, as Grizabella, Thara Cooper will be sure to recall a "Memory" or two. Since the rights were just released, this will be one of the very first productions of Cats anywhere to be done by a regional theater.

Welch notes that the budget for the CdA summer season has increased so much during his tenure that he is now able to afford better production values and better talent. Season ticket sales have steadily climbed, and for the three-quarters of the audience that drives over from Spokane, says Welch, "It's like a mini-vacation: You can see the lake, have dinner, see a show -- but you get to sleep in your own bed. It's a chance to get away and feel like you've visited someplace else."

Visit or call (800) 4-CdA-TIX.

Cough, Grunt, Wheeze -- Variety is the spice of athletic life, at least when it comes to the fanatics who, bored with the monotony of swimming laps, biking long routes or running high-mileage, decide to combine all three activities in one event. Triathlon may have started in Hawaii, but, like every other part of the country, the Inland Northwest has embraced it.

The swim-bike-run routine is known by another name in the YMCA's Plunge-Pedal-Plod Triathlon on June 19 at 8 am. They'll make you swim 500 meters in Mission Pool, then bike 11 miles and run 3.5 miles along Upriver Drive -- and for the right to endure such torture, you actually have to pay them $30. At least you get a T-shirt. Call 838-3577.

The Big Daddy of local triathlons, of course, is Ironman Coeur d'Alene on Sunday, June 27, at 7 am. It's the full Ironman distance (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles) and, yes, registration for competitors is closed for this year, and no, if you have to ask, you're not in shape for it anyway. Still, it's a fun one to watch. Visit

July 11 brings the Tiger Triathlon, starting at 8 am with a 1,000-meter swim in Gilette Lake, followed by a 28-mile bike ride west into Colville, Wash., and then a 6.55-mile run (it's that 0.55 mile that'll kill you) along the Rotary Trail at Dominion Meadows golf course. Entry fee: $50. Call (509) 684-6037.

Up in Sandpoint on July 25, try the Lake to Forest Tri (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) at 8 am or the Mountain Bike Tri (1/4-mile swim, 11 mi. bike, 3.1-mile run) at 9 am. Cost: $44. Visit or call (208) 263-6633.

On July 31 at 10 am, swim 400 yards in Medical Lake, then bike 10 miles and run 3.4 miles around it. Cost: $30. Call 299-5478.

The Half Ironman hereabouts is the Troika Triathlon (1.2-mile swim, 58-mile bike, 13.1-mile run) on Sunday, Aug. 1, at 7 am, beginning in Medical Lake, pedaling along country roads and into Riverfront Park and finishing with an out-and-back half-marathon run along the Centennial Trail, all for only $99. Visit or call 624-3174.

"The Scenic Challenge" of the CdA Olympic-distance triathlon (1.5K, 40K, 10K) is on Sunday, Aug. 8, with starting times from 7:15-7:45 am. There's also a run-bike-run duathlon that day. Cost: $60. Visit

Partake of Plays on the Palouse -- This summer at the University of Idaho's Hartung Theater, Idaho Repertory Theater once again offers a mix of contemporary and classic comedies along with a musical. My Way (a revue of nearly 50 Frank Sinatra songs) will be crooned on June 24-July 20. The 1930s comedy of You Can't Take It With You pits the stuck-up Kirby clan against the screwball Sycamore family from July 8-25. As for the 1775 Irish comedy The Rivals (July 16-25) -- you've heard of malapropisms? This is the play that presented Mrs. Malaprop, who "illiterates" people from her mind when she doesn't like them and refers to them as "the very pineapple of politeness" when she does. The summer winds up with Same Time, Next Year (July 27-Aug. 2) Bernard Slade's dramedy about two married people who carry on an affair one weekend a year -- for 25 years.

The Hartung Theater is located a block north of the Kibbie Dome on the UI campus in Moscow, Idaho. Single-play ticket prices: $15; $13, seniors; $9, students. Visit or call (208) 885-2979.

Eat Some Downhill Dirt -- "Velo Tout-Terrain," the prissy French call it, but they're all a bunch of techno-weenies with bikes made of unobtanium, anyway. Here's hoping they all hit death-cookies, taco their wheels and augur some major face-plants. Lousy organ donors, anyway. Here in the Northwest, when we mountain bike, we do technical rides, not little country excursions. Take, for example, the Chelan Mountain Bike Festival, June 19-20, with cross-country on Saturday and downhill competition on Sunday, at the Echo Valley Ski Area, 50 miles north of Wenatchee and 7 miles northwest of Chelan, Wash. On Saturday, the pro/open/expert class begins doing 10-mile laps on the new course at 10 am, with other categories starting at various times until beginners start their mountain trek at 12:30 pm.

Squilchuck State Park -- it's the Chinook word for "muddy water" -- will host the Squilchucker mountain bike event on July 10-11, with a schedule very similar to that of the Chelan festival.

The big event around here -- with nearly 2,000 riders in attendance -- is the fifth stop of the National Off-Road Biking Association (NORBA) Nationals tour at Schweitzer Ski Resort on July 29-Aug. 1. In the cross-country event, racers will make 9-to-12-mile loops up and down terrain starting at 4,000 feet in elevation. The specially built 2.5-mile single-track downhill course descends nearly 2,000 feet from the top of the quad chair lift. Short-track racing features handlebar-to-handlebar action for 20 minutes; mountain cross pits four riders, side by side for brief spurts down an insanely bumpy course. A 100K marathon, super downhill and women's category complete the classifications.

For all these events, visit or call 455-7657.

Publication date: 06/10/04

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About The Author

Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen is a former senior writer for The Inlander and a respected local theater critic. He also covers literature, jazz and classical music, and art, among other things.