by Michael Bowen

Oh, it's so beautiful outside. Everybody's going to some never-quite-specified "lake." People don't want to sit inside theaters in the summer. That's what we're told, anyway. Then why are there more shows around here between now and Labor Day than there are weekends to enjoy them? If you went to the theater every week, you still couldn't see all the shows listed here (though you would definitely earn our merit badges for Theatrics, Melodramatics and Histrionics).

The summer theater season kicks off tonight, in fact, with the first of four Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater shows this season, Some Enchanted Evening (through June 19 in Shuler Auditorium inside NIC's Boswell Hall). This Evening will keep you Enchanted with a revue of Rodgers and Hammerstein favorites, including songs from Oklahoma!, The King and I, State Fair, South Pacific, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music.

The second CdA summer musical is Guys and Dolls (June 24-July 9), appearing on the 50th anniversary of the Sinatra-Brando film. Will Miss Sarah Brown of the Salvation Army and Miss Adelaide of the Hot Box Club find a way to wangle commitment from those puerile gamblers Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit? There's a long list of classic songs from this show: "Fugue for Tinhorns," "The Oldest Established," "A Bushel and a Peck," the title tune, "If I Were a Bell," "Luck Be a Lady," "Sue Me," "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," "Marry the Man Today" and more.

Of course you remember Kevin Bacon facing off against John Lithgow in Footloose. If there's an '80s movie with a soundtrack, somebody's is required by federal law to make a musical out of it. (Did you know that the 1998 stage version includes some music by Sammy Hagar and Kenny Loggins, among others?) Anyway, Footloose: The Musical (at CdA July 16-30) concerns a city guy stuck in a puritanical town that forbids both rock 'n' roll and dancing (especially in combination). Let's hear it for the boy.

Animated films with soundtracks must be made into musicals, too. Consider the lineage of Belle and her Boyfriend: Disney movie, 1991; Broadway show, 1994; played in Spokane, 1996 and 2001. Now Beauty and the Beast is coming to CdA (Aug. 6-20) to close the season with its talking clocks and candlesticks. B & amp;B concerns a strong-willed young woman who tries to break the spell that has turned a handsome prince into something resembling your average warthog. Alan Menken's music, along with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, resulted in such favorites as the title song and "Be Our Guest."

CdA Summer Theater single-play ticket prices: $29; $27, seniors; $19, children 12 and younger; season subscriptions almost work out to four shows for the cost of three. Visit, write or call (800) 4-CDA-TIX or (208) 769-7780.

Sample seven short new short scripts at the Spokane Civic Theatre's 22nd annual Playwrights Forum Festival (June 10-25 in the Studio Theatre; see story, page 24). Catch three or four plays (each of 15-30 minutes in duration) in the two "rotations," each of which will be presented four times.

Tim Behrens will be back performing one-man versions of an Idaho humorist's comedic sketches in Tim's Favorite Pat McManus Stories at CenterStage, 1017 W. First Ave., on June 16-18 at 7:30 pm (with dinner at 6 pm) and a special Father's Day performance on Sunday, June 19, with lunch at 12:30 pm and curtain at 2 pm. Behrens, who says he requires no makeup to play the centenarian known as "Old Ed," will also perform such beloved McManus tales as "The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw," "First Date," "Deer on a Bicycle," "The Airplane Story" and more. Call 747-8243.

CenterStage is also betting on a long-running summer romp, Suds: The Musical. If Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon met during the rinse cycle instead of on a beach blanket, this would be their musical. When Cindy is deserted -- in the space of one day -- by her parents, boyfriend and cat, she tries to drown herself at the local Laundromat, only to be saved by three guardian angels. What better excuse for trying to wash away your sorrow with some bubbly tunes of the 1950s and '60s? You'll be goin' to the Chapel of Love, feeling lonesome tonight, pleading with Mr. Postman, doing the Locomotion with complete strangers and demonstrating that you know how exactly how to spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Suds will overflow the stage with fun on most Thursday and Friday nights from June 30 all the way through Aug. 20, with dinner at 6 pm and show at 7:30 pm. Call 747-8243.

As for Ain't Misbehavin' at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho, on Thursday, June 23, at 7:30 pm, 'taint nobody's bizness if you do the jitterbug waltz or break out into a rendition of "Honeysuckle Rose," 'cause the joint will be jumpin', baby. The 1978 musical features finger-snappin' music of the '30s, with the satiric, suggestive songs of Fats Waller. Tickets: $17.50-$25. Visit or call (800) 523-2464 (ext. 7328 to purchase tickets).

Idaho Repertory Theater, featuring performances at UI's Hartung Theater in Moscow, opens with All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, a musical based on Robert Fulghum's books, running June 23-July 31. Remember, you don't need to go to grad school to learn that you should "Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess."

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is a farce that "compresses all 37 of Shakespeare's plays into a single evening of tragical-comical-historical-pastoral hilarity," including Romeo and Juliet done at hyper-speed and a rap version of Othello. CWWS(a) will be performed both indoors and out from June 30-July 28. Along with all the iambic pentameter, you'll get plenty of vomit jokes.

In Steve Martin's The Underpants (July 7-30), a young hausfrau causes quite a stir when her dainty underthings fall to the ground in public. If you missed Interplayers' April 2004 rendition of repressed husbands and puppy-dog poets, this is your chance to drive to Moscow and pick up a merit badge for slicing your wiener lengthwise.

Idaho Rep closes its season with Hush: An Interview With America (July 14-31), in which a girl in small-town Kansas starts seeing "visions."

IRT is adding children's theater this summer: three Saturday performances each of Pow! (trying to escape his father's Gulf War death, a boy encounters cartoon characters in his imagination; June 25-July 9) and A Thousand Cranes (after surviving Hiroshima, a boy folds origami birds as a prayer for peace; July 16-30). Staged readings of new plays will be featured on a couple Monday nights (July 18, July 25).

Every evening performance will be preceded by samplings of very, very short plays ("Curtain Raisers") from UI's DNA Festival of one-page scripts.

Visit the Idaho Repertory Theater at, or call (208) 885-6465 for information or (208) 885-7212 for tickets.

The summer show at Spokane Civic Theater will be an original children's-theater composition by Jean Hardie, Shippin' Out! (Aug. 11-20). When three couples share a final evening together at a USO club, it's a good excuse for dancing and singing tunes like "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" and "I'll Be Seeing You Always." A cast of 28 from the Civic's performing arts summer day camp program (for students from all over the region, ages 13-18, who qualified through auditions) will jitterbug, swing and foxtrot. Hardie is writing the book and will direct; the music and lyrics, of course, will be provided by the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and George Gershwin. Call 325-2507.

The Golden Age will open ARt's second season at SFCC's Spartan Theatre from Aug. 26-Sept. 10. Call 838-4013. In a re-envisioning of Henry James' The Aspern Papers, A.R. Gurney (Love Letters, Sylvia) pits a writer in search of 1920s gossip about F. Scott Fitzgerald against a crotchety old woman who once knew the Great Scottsby himself. Will the wizened grande dame give up a valuable literary manuscript? Will the writer allow himself to get involved with Mrs. Hoyt's depressed and twice-divorced granddaughter? Director Michael Weaver says that Gurney's play "is about the importance of art in our lives, about what we cover up, about the secrets we keep and when we choose to let those secrets out."

Of course, Weaver is opening his young theater's second season with The Golden Age "because it's Gurney," one of local playgoers' most-requested playwrights, and "because it's a romantic comedy. The old woman has a granddaughter, I keep telling people -- she doesn't get together with the young writer."

We wouldn't want anything too heavy for summer theater, after all. Gotta make time in between plays to head out to the lake, wherever that is. At least we'll be able to show off all our shiny new merit badges.

Publication date: 06/09/05

Americans and the Holocaust @ Gonzaga University

Mondays-Fridays, 3-8 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays, 1-5 p.m. Continues through Oct. 6
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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.