Friday, June 29, 2007

*Full Monty* pix

CdA Summer Theater, June 30-July 14

Two photos of Ellen and the "cops" at

Thursday, June 28, 2007

*South Pacific* auditions

Monday-Tuesday, July 30-31, at 6:30 pm (with callbacks on Wed. 1 Aug.)
at the Civic, 1020 N. Howard St.
performances: Sept. 29-Oct. 28

10-12 W, 12-16 M, 1 boy, 1 girl

by Joshua Logan and Oscar Hammerstein II, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Hammerstein
Directed by Yvonne A.K. Johnson
Musical Director: Carolyn Jess
Choreographer: Troy Nickerson

Prepare a verse and chorus from an R&H song (other than from *South Pacific*). Cold readings; be ready to move.
Call 325-2507

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

*Honky-Tonk Laundry* review

When the dialogue in a country music show like *Honky-Tonk Laundry* is mostly just a setup for the next song — I’m so lonesome, my husband done me wrong, that sort of thing — the audience’s focus is naturally going to be on the performances. So when Janean Jorgensen (as Lana Mae, proprietor of the Wishy Washy Washateria) and Beth Black (as Katie, who’s just lost her boyfriend and her job) stroll out to perform the first, split scene in *Honky-Tonk* (through Aug. 24 at CenterStage), it doesn’t bode well when their diction is unclear and they fail to project with enough volume. Singing “Nine to Five,” they introduce their tale of lonesome women who set up, well, a honky-tonk in a laundromat. But the details, literal and emotional both, aren’t always clear. It’s a nervous start to the evening.
Roger Bean’s musical has so many country songs, it’s packed fuller than Dolly Parton’s brassiere. And while Dolly’s tunes are well represented here — “Shattered Image,” “Potential New Boyfriend,” “PMS Blues” and more — the other usual suspects also make appearances: Tammy, Patsy, Loretta. Jorgensen shows wonderful range in emoting through their songs. Pleading that “I need a vacation from my life,” she was affecting in that song’s quieter passages; she was haunting in the desperate, tear-jerker soprano moments of “Jolene.”
Black motor-mouths and leg-splits her way through a lot of good physical comedy; she has a girlish, lisping quality that serves her well in the dazed-and-confused-on-Valium sequences. She can bring out the humor in songs, too: comic self-pity in “I’ve Got a Right To Cry” and comic vocal stretches in “Yodeling at the Grand Old Opry.”
The humor usually doesn’t stray too far. Aware that the entire enterprise is a bit silly, Bean inserts self-mockery by including self-referential jokes (questions like “Has your mind ever been anywhere other than 1962?” and announcements of yet “another tragic country song”). Those songs, of course, appear in more-or-less random order, almost interchangeably; there’s a kind of whipsaw effect as we lurch from no-good-boyfriend to liberated-woman to undying-love tunes. In addition, a couple of the foot-stompin’ dance sequences seem like forced spontaneity, as do all the iterations of Lana Mae’s cutesy country sayings (“I’ll get you that in two shakes of a rattler’s butt,” she says, and it’s downhill from there).

The second act — with the Washateria transformed into a nightclub and our two ladies now delivering the songs as big-haired temptresses in matching scarlet gowns — jettisons any pretense of being anything other than a country music concert. Jorgensen, who excels at selling dramatic moments, excels again in the quiet defiance of Dolly Parton’s “shatter my image with the stones they throw.” Black harmonizes well on that tune, and we’re off into a second-half romp that features audience members (men, naturally) being picked on as Katie’s boyfriend and Lana Mae’s husband (varmints, both of them).
For a nice contrast to all the comedy, Jorgensen and Black sit and deliver a simple, affecting version of “I Will Always Love You” that bypassed most of the sentiment (and, in the context of this show, reminding us that Parton wrote and released that song 18 years before Whitney Houston’s cover).
Having rehearsed both of the roles in this musical, Olivia Brownlee will step in either as Lana Mae or as Katie during selected performances during the 10-week run. Meanwhile, the dinner theater’s buffet selections include catfish (lightly breaded and very good), pork slices (tender, with a strong horseradish sauce), fruit (fresh), mashed potatoes (bland), collard greens with ham hocks (chewy but too salty) and cornbread (crumbly and sweet, almost like cake). With cast and menu changes, this *Honky-Tonk* will present an evolving experience that might be worth revisiting the next time your undies need cleaning and your heartstrings feel all strung out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

*Visiting Mr. Green* in Twisp

June 29-July 15
with Jack Bannon and Damon Abdallah

Merc Playhouse (just 99 seats!)
Twisp, Wash. (north of Wenatchee)

This is the play that Ed Cornachio had to pull out of at Interplayers (this was in April 2002) after suffering a heart attack — and for which Jack Phillips (formerly of the Civic) filled in on five days' notice and was off-book for opening night. It's about an overly busy young executive who's sentenced by traffic court (his driving was a little reckless) to perform community service by [insert title here] once a week.

another kind of Assassin

Gruesome, but ... if you ask Bobo ... Chris Benoit, the pro wrestler who just killed his wife and son and then himself? Looks just like George Green on steroids.
And 'roids are indeed implicated in the case.
Benoit was 5-foot-10, 220 lbs.
Take George Green, add a couple of inches, 70 lbs. and one of those belts with the gigantic buckles ... and you've got a stone-cold killer.
Sick, I know, but ya gotta admit ... there's a resemblance.

Monday, June 25, 2007

*Man of La Mancha* auditions in CdA

Monday-Tuesday, June 25-26, at 6:30 pm
Harding Family Center, 411 N. 15th St., Coeur d'Alene
Be prepared to sing, dance and read from the script
Callbacks on Wednesday, June 27

Performances: Sept. 14-Oct. 6 at Lake City Playhouse

Call: (208) 667-1323

Sunday, June 24, 2007

*Assassins* places second in nation, wins six awards

At the AACTfest national competition among community theaters, Spokane Civic Theatre's production of Stephen Sondheim's *Assassins* took second, edged out by a production of Regina Taylor's *Crowns* from Denton, Texas.

The Spokane production also won for Best Hair and Makeup; Marianne McLaughlin as Best Supporting Actress; George Green as Best Supporting Actor; Patrick McHenry-Kroetch as Best Actor; and "most professional theater recognized by Back Stage Crew."

Spokane's Jan Wanless didn't win but earned a nomination for Best Costumes, as did Gary Pierce in the category of Best Minor Role (cameo appearance).

For overall production, Crowns was first, Assassins was second, and *Honk!* (Aberdeen, So. Dak.) placed third.

*Sweeney Todd* (Bradenton, Fla.) won for Best Set. *Crowns* took the Best Ensemble award and Best Costumes.

Friday, June 22, 2007

stiff competition

Bobo's mole in Charlotte suggests that *Crowns* (Denton, Texas) and *Honk* (Aberdeen, S.D.) will also prove to be worthy competition for the Civic's *Assassins* in the AACT national competition. Instead of being obviously outclassed, every show at this year's AACTfest pretty clearly belongs in the final round.

the competition for *Assassins* at AACT

Reports from Bobo's mole in Charlotte suggest that the Civic's *Assassins* did very well, though it was tough in terms of blocking and projection to open up a show designed for a small black box theater to accommodate the needs of a huge space with about three balconies.

The final rankings will be revealed approximately tomorrow (Sat 23 June) at 4 pm or 5 pm (Spokane time). Productions to watch out for:
Who Will Sing for Lena? (Tulsa)
A one-woman show. Black woman shoots her white boss after he raped and imprisoned her; a jury of white men — this is in Georgia in 1944 — sent her to the electric chair.
Sweeney Todd
Blood and guts, Sondheim-style, from Bradenton, Fla.
The Women of Lockerbie (La Crosse, Wis.)
An American woman and Scottish women search through the wreckage of Pan Am 103. Overtones of Greek tragedy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

2006-07 Spokies

published today in The Inlander
(the third paragraph in the story below [ "In the actor categories ..." ] does not appear in the printed version)

awards by theater:
Best of Broadway (1): touring musical
Interplayers (3): lighting, supporting actor, actor-play
CdA Summer Theatre (4): choreography, costumes-musical, actress-musical, director-musical
Civic (5): set-musical, supporting actress, actor-musical, ensemble, musical
Actors Rep (6): set-play, costumes-play, actress-play, director-play, comedy, drama

Imagine examining one particular Academy member's ballot for the Oscars. Some votes would coincide with the consensus; some would not. Bobo reread all his reviews, made lots of lists, was himself surprised by some of the choices he eventually made. (Explanation: In a few categories, and off the top of my bald head -- sure, I was thinking in a preliminary way that Actor Y or Production Z would win. BUT ... when I started considering front-runners carefully and trying to articulate to myself just why it is that I think this was a better performance or that was a better show ... well, surprising things happen. In other words: Keep asking yourself WHY. Why exactly do I think that this performance was superior? "How do I know that?" is always a good question in such circumstances.)
So the Spokies are really just intended to get conversations started, to keep us all focused on doing the best work possible. I'm thankful to all the performers and backstage personnel who continue to keep Spokane theater functioning at a high level.

Oh, We’re So Dramatic

The 2007 Spokies honor the year’s best in local theater

“I won a Spokie in 2007.” OK, so maybe there are lines on your resumé that will do a better job of helping you get hired. But theaters put last year’s Spokies on their Websites, and more than one local actor wrote in to kvetch, so at least they’re conversation-starters.
This time around, we’re considering productions that opened in the past year (June 2006-May 2007) at the following theaters: Actors Repertory Theatre of the Inland Northwest, Best of Broadway Spokane, CenterStage, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, Spokane Civic Theatre (both Main Stage and Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre) and Spokane Interplayers Ensemble. (I regret to say that I didn’t see any productions this season at either Lake City Playhouse or Ignite! Community Theatre.)
In the actor categories and for Best Set Design, I had lists of several “nominees” each. And there were two-way battles at least for nearly all these awards. But the feeling at Inlander HQ was: Don’t dilute the winners’ impact by listing lots of also-rans. So this year, I’m naming only the winners. (My hope is that if you’re outraged — “What does he mean, ‘C won’? D did a much better job!” — you’ll eventually realize that I was considering D all along … along with A and B and probably E.)
So here they are, the 2007 Spokie Awards for the best in Spokane-area theater (with the major awards withheld until the end — just like they do at the Oscars and the Tonys!).

Best Choreography: Michael Wasileski for A Chorus Line, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre
As spectacular as Chorus Line’s final, glorious, self-assertive chorus line is, that’s not what earned this award. That distinction goes to how Wasileski guided Megan Bayha’s shoulder rolls and kicks and glides in “The Music and the Mirror.”

Best Lighting Design: Dan Heggem for Woman in Black, Spokane Interplayers Ensemble
Lights angled slant-wise, making everyday objects appear creepy, sudden blackouts, gauzy half-light obscuring figures creeping in the darkness — Heggem intensified this Halloween ghost story.

Best Set Design, Musical: David Baker, Singin’ in the Rain, Spokane Civic Theatre
For a stage production based on the many locales of a beloved movie musical, the effort involved in creating Baker’s multiple sets — from sound stages to the rain-drenched streets — sometimes overwhelmed the action. But the technical effort has to be applauded.

Best Set Design, Play: John Hofland, The Shape of Things, Actors Rep
For Neil LaBute’s power-trip drama about a woman domineering over a timid male college student, Hofland’s set merged the Greek columns of campus architecture with a circular pit for the exchange of sometimes-vicious ideas.

Best Costumes, Musical: Hilary Winkworth, Pippin, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre
From the decadent look of the Fosse “amoeba” to the psychedelic colors of ‘70s optimism to the anachronistic Vikings and doughboys of the battle sequences, Winkworth’s numerous designs exemplified how costumes can support a show’s themes.

Best Costumes, Play: Jan Wanless and Dee Finan, “The Tuna Project,” Actors Rep
Going beyond beefy guys in drag, Wanless and Finan provided boots and earflaps for the clueless animal lover and a torn T-shirt and red mohawk for the smart-mouthed delinquent.

Best Supporting Actress: Kathie Doyle-Lipe as Vera Charles in Mame, Civic
Popping up from behind beds like a prairie dog, Doyle-Lipe played the martini-swilling actress with large dollops of physical shtick.

Best Supporting Actor: Jack Bannon as Dr. Gerald Lyman in Bus Stop, Interplayers
The dirty old man grew drunker and drunker, and more and more disgusted with himself — yet still able to laugh at himself throughout his dark night of the soul.

Best Actor, Musical: Patrick McHenry-Kroetch as John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, Civic
Dashing yet defeated, a tempter of others who knew how badly he’d dealt with his own temptations, McHenry-Kroetch’s assassin strutted in full voice, embodying the primal America sin: taking the shortcut to “fame” by killing somebody famous.

Best Actor, Play: Reed McColm as Gregory Solomon in The Price, Interplayers
With palsied hands shaking, McColm played a master manipulator who turned out to feel manipulated (unfairly) by life itself.

Best Actress, Musical: Haley New Ostrander in the title role of Peter Pan, CdA Summer Theatre
Scampering, roistering and flying over our heads, Ostrander brought swagger to the Lost Boys’ king while still showing us his loneliness and vulnerability.

Best Actress, Play: Patty Duke as Flora Humble in Humble Boy, Actors Rep
With girlish smiles and butt-wiggles, Duke flirted with her fiancé; around her son, however, she bit off heads.

Best Director, Play: Patrick Treadway, “The Tuna Project,” Actors Rep
Steering the Marlowe-Weaver tornado through dozens of characters in alternating plays, Treadway not only directed traffic — he enlivened the offstage action while slowing the pace so that even the quiet moments could register.

Best Director, Musical: Roger Welch, Pippin, CdA Summer Theater
For creating a sense of reckless cynicism in a small space, Troy Nickerson’s achievement in Assassins was remarkable. But Welch took a larger cast and by deploying roles (three Leading Players), was able to sharpen the contemporary parallels (anti-war satire aimed at Iraq instead of Vietnam) and add a sense of ongoing evil (in that haunting finale).

Best Ensemble: Assassins, Civic
Despite strong competition from the cast of Humble Boy, this group — Crawford, Dawson, Gigler, Green, Harget, Heppler, McHenry-Kroetch, McLaughlin, Pierce, Smith, Ware-Lewis — gets the nod because they sang together, hung out onstage together, and even engaged in target practice together.

Best Touring Musical: Hairspray, Best of Broadway Spokane, INB Center
Doo-wop exuberance and finger-snappin’ fun with a political (anti-segregation) and personal (don’t let the popular bastards get you down) message.

Best Comedy: “The Tuna Project”: Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas, Actors Rep
By cramming 41 characters into two actors’ bodies, William Marlowe and Michael Weaver exemplified universality: Those Tuna people, they’re not that different from us.

Best Drama: Humble Boy, Actors Rep
As the misfit astrophysicist, Carter J. Davis tried to find himself amid a garden party tinged with mortality and self-disgust.

Best Local Musical: Assassins, Civic Studio
In their antics and songs, their faces lit from below like ghouls, these presidential killers harped on a single theme: Americans are taught to desire fame so much, they’ll commit just about any crime to get it.

judges love *Assassins* in Charlotte for article in Charlotte Observer for a slideshow for a photo of the enormous theater in which they get to (have to?) perform

But we have to wait until Saturday to find out how the Spokane Civic Theatre entry will do among the 12 finalists at the American Assoc. of Community Theater 2007 Festival. The three judges reportedly loved the show, but it also has the disadvantage of being the very first of the performed one-hour shows -- will the judges remember it on Saturday? Tony Caprile, who's on the scene with his wife Maria, reports that some of the other entrants are presenting some edgy material that will present strong competition.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Playwrights Festival Forum winners

This was the 24th year for the Civic's annual celebration of new scripts. Next year's PFF will mark a notable anniversary.

There were four one-act plays competing this last weekend. Judges awarded the "Best of the Fest" (based on merit as a script alone, irrespective of the quality of production that the script may have received here) to Reed McColm for "The Mediation" (about a copyright dispute in which the opponents are better at working out their problems than the obtuse mediator is). The Audience Choice Award went to "Wet Clay" by Jake Farley of Seattle.

In the full-length category, out of 45 scripts submitted, *Lost Children* by Seattle’s Thomas Pierce (first place); and *Skin Deep* by New York’s Rich Orloff (runner-up) had already been honored. Congrats to all!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

tentative list of productions eligible for the Spokies

List of eligible productions for the 2006-07 Spokies (honoring the best of Spokane-area and North Idaho theater since June 2006):
Apologies beforehand to all; please write in with names of plays I may have missed. I'm doing this in a short time frame before leaving town.
Please write in by Sunday with your suggestions in any or all categories. Yes, CdA productions are being considered, too.

CdA Summer:
Chorus Line, Peter Pan, Pippin, The King and I

Lake City (I realize that some shows are missing here):
Charlie and the Choc. Factory
Hound of the Baskervilles
Babes in Toyland
Lion in Winter
Alice in Wonderland

Civic Mainstage:
Goal Crazy!
Singin' in the Rain
barefoot in the park
all my sons
sound of music

Civic Studio:
isn't it romantic
cover of life


The Road to Diddlysquat
The Plumb-Nutts Family Reunion

at the INB Center:
Joseph, hairspray, annie, aida, cats, rent

Greater Tuna & Tuna Christmas
shape of things
moonlight and magnolias
agnes of god
humble boy

bus stop
woman in black
moon over buffalo
driving miss daisy
6 dance lessons in 6 weeks
the price
sparky and the fitz

The last time I formally solicited suggestions, a number of people who go to quite a bit of theater mentioned children's shows and college and high school shows. Go ahead and suggest, but other than the occasional college show — like the very good Big Love at EWU — Bobo didn't see any such productions this year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

*Thoroughly Modern Millie* review

The Pacific Northwest Inlander, June 14, 2007, pp. 19-20

Flapper Frenzy

Loads of gals, loads of yucks, plenty of plot holes — CdA’s current musical is almost thoroughly ploddin’-silly MICHAEL BOWEN

New York, and the Twenties are Roaring. We’re inside a crowded speakeasy, with tendrils of smoke curling upwards and men in suits casing the dance floor for the next available flapper. A flash of thigh; knees soar above beltlines; lovers embrace, dip, twirl. Proper young ladies, their hair fashionably bobbed, get their first taste of bathtub gin and doff their inhibitions. Their newfound partners mince their steps backward, oscillate their arms in S-curves, then prance back into routines of synchronized seduction. It’s a dark, sensual scene — with snippets of Tchaikovsky melodies erupting amid all the Gershwin-era jazz from music director Steven Dahlke’s 18-piece orchestra — and it’s the introduction of Millie Dillmount to the seamy side of life in the big city.
The preening of Ross Cornell's jitterbug choreography and the complex traffic-management of director Tralen Doler generate so many intricate dance moves that “The Nutty Cracker Suite” becomes one of several episodic highlights in Thoroughly Modern Millie (at Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater through June 23). With a half-dozen standout performers in the leads and even more sizzling dance sequences, Millie’s a fun fling. But the whole of this musical amounts to a lot less than its parts.
You know how phony the break-into-song moment can seem? In Millie, you keep cringing when they break out the plot. Small-town girl quests for hubbie in big city, bumps into eligible guy, mistakenly pursues other guy; love-quadrangle ensues, complicated in this case by the schemes of crooks, society ladies and a whole passel of flappers. It’s a shaggy dog of a story, overstuffed with too many characters, too many words and too much silliness. It’s so eye-rollingly poor that it actively detracts from enjoyment.
At this point, some will say, "Oh, lighten up. The story's just a framework for the singing and the dance routines. Just enjoy it for what it is and ignore the stupid plot."
But imagine if the circumstances were reversed: Imagine a play with an involving, intricate, surprising plot — punctuated by several botched attempts at singing and dancing. Wouldn't you want the actors to stop trying to sing and dance? Wouldn’t you want them to get back to telling the story?
But you can’t just cut out parts of a plot. Or you can, but what you end up with is a very different kind of animal: a revue. The result? Millie's the kind of show that makes people who say they hate musicals hate musicals.

By the time Muzzy von Hossmere shows up (Julie Powell, a whole lot more hubba-hubba than Carol Channing ever was), Millie has devolved into a pleasant variety show. Powell bosses her boy-toys around and belts out tunes about grand old New York, but her character’s only in this show to set up the final mistaken-identity ruse.
Meanwhile, in the title role, Krystle Armstrong delivers chutzpah and spunk, and her singing is, well, crystal-clear. She’s defiant and determined in the opening gonna-make-it-in-New-York number, “Not for the Life of Me.” Armstrong dances so well that you can see right there in her physical movements early on how the small-town Kansas girl is giving way to the sophisticated woman of the 1920s. Along with her demanding boss (Mark Cotter), she shares a rapid-fire patter song (“The Speed Test”) that actually comes to Millie by way of Gilbert and Sullivan. Toward the end, Armstrong builds the intensity of "Gimme Gimme" beautifully, showing us how much she really does crave a little romance. A vision of desire in a layered scarlet taffeta dress, she's on the prowl for love.
Armstrong’s character, of course, is torn between being modern and independent or being traditional and boy-crazy; at least this show has gender roles on its mind. At the top of Act Two, for example, Kathie Doyle-Lipe steals a sisterhood number (“Forget About the Boy”) with bulldog ferocity. Playing the bossy headmistress of a typing pool, she’s a grandmother-pixie who can still do gymnastics. When her 4-foot-10 frame strutted offstage, there were cheers.
After an eight-year absence, Bobbi Kotula returns to CdA Summer Theatre as the scheming manager of a hotel that checks in unsuspecting girls and makes sure they don’t check out — except as unwilling call girls. The stage comes alive when Kotula flips in and out of accents and tosses off perfectly timed sarcastic asides. Too bad she’s stuck with the character of a walking, talking Oriental stereotype. But there was a delightful moment when her Mrs. Meers, bragging about her acting ability, said, “I almost starred as Peter Pan” – and the CdA audience, some clearly recalling Kotula’s successes here, roared their approval.
As Millie’s love interest, Christian Duhamel has a winsome, light-on-his-feet quality that serves him well during the scene when he woos Millie by tap-dancing on the ledge of a skyscraper.
Cotter plays a punctilious exec whose heart is punctured when first he lays eyes on Miss Dorothy Brown, portrayed by Charissa Bertels with bouncy curls and fluttering eyelashes. In the send-up of cheesy romance in “Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life,” Bertels swoons and flounces her way across the stage while the barrel-chested Cotter is actually en pointe. It’s hilarious — but then the plot comes rumbling through, once again deflating an entertaining musical number with its convoluted nonsense.
“Gimme, gimme that thing called love,” sings Millie, and her show does, in fits and starts. There are many moments to admire in this show, but playgoers will only find them here and there, scattered in bits and pieces.

the 2006-07 Spokies

... appearing in the June 21 *Inlander*.
Consider the Suggestions Line officially open as of now.
Bobo, as aforementioned, is out of town Thursday-Saturday, but he shall rise again (like the South) on Sunday, June 17, Father's Day.
His goal is to honor the best of theater work in Spokane since June '06. We'll accompany the article with outtake photos (i.e., not before published in our paper) from several (?) productions of the last year.
Bobo wants YOU to make suggestions, by Sunday.
Please understand that he'll be responsible for making the choices, which will represent his opinions alone.
But given how difficult it's been in past years a) to find people who have been to nearly all -- or at least a representative majority of shows around here -- and who are not tied too closely to one particular theater AND willing to go on record with their choices, it seems better just to solicit input and

SO ... please, please write to me privately or, better yet, post a comment to this posting
concerning which actors and shows you thought were best around here in 2006-07.

Categories in which awards were given last year (and may again this year):
Wild Card
Supporting Actor, Play or Musical
Supporting Actress, Play or Musical
Actor, Comedy
Actor, Drama
Actor, Musical
Actress, Musical
Actress, Drama
Actress, Comedy
Director, Musical
Director, Play
Touring Musical
Local Musical

coming soon, a list of eligible shows -- but it starts with A Chorus Line, the first of the four CdA Summer TheatRE shows in summer '06 (the others being Peter Pan, Pippin and The King and I) ...

If you're going to write in, please do so by Sunday, June 17, at 4 pm.

theater vs. theatre

Please weigh in, theater fans. Which should it be?
Bobo's own opinion? In American usage, "-re" looks pretentious. It's a reminder of the silly and unfounded assumption that American culture is always and forever inferior to British culture, as if only Brits can do Shakespeare and we're mere rubes. (Don't get Bobo wrong — we Yanks have much to learn from British (and many other cultures), as in how not to start senseless wars. But that way madness lies ...)
Anyway, I do my share of copyediting here at The Inlander, and it irks me every time I have to adjust to -re. AP style says that it's -er in America, unless it's already -re in the official name of the organization, as it is (to take just one example) in the name of Spokane Civic Theatre.
Often, when I see -re (on any theater's name), I think of "Ye Olde English Ice Cream Shoppe" or some other such false and puffed-up etymology.
And don't even get me started on ARt's official name -- this is a shout-out to you, Grant Smith -- as if a Repertory could consist of a single actor, who then possesses that Rep in the name Artist's Repertory Theatre of the Inland Northwest which is just so wrong in so many ways, and not just in that it is a mouthful. #:-) a Repertory cannot belong to just one Actor ... especially in a Theatre, -re.

*Orson's Shadow*

Bobo's seeing Austin Pendleton's play at Artists Rep in Portland on Friday night. (It has a theater critic in it! Speculation about what may have happened in 1960 when Kenneth Tynan invited Mr. Welles to direct Mr. Olivier and his new flame Joan Plowright in a production at the Royal Court of Ionescu's *Rhinoceros.* Oh, and a certain Miss Leigh is on long distance, and she sounds rather upset ...)
But sheesh, big-city theater prices: $42.50 plus five bucks tacked on just for the hell of it. That's an often-overlooked advantage to being a Ho in an area like this one.
(Bobo plans on spending most of the Assoc. of Alternative Newsweeklies annual convention in a drunken stupor.)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Tony predictions

Sunday, June 10, 8 pm (tape-delayed) on CBS;

Bobo has virtually no basis whatever for the following guesses:

Featured actor, play: Ethan Hawke, Coast of Utopia (though it could be, probably will be, Billy Crudup)
Featured actor, musical: John Gallagher Jr. in Spring Awakening
Featured actress, play: Dana Ivey, Butley (Ehle and Plimpton of Utopia will split votes)
Featured actress, musical: Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens

Actor, play: Frank Langella as Nixon (in a strong field: Plummer, Schrieber, O'Byrne)
Actor, musical: Raul Esparza, Company
Actress, play: Vanessa in Magical Thinking
Actress, musical: Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens) over Audra McDonald (110 in the Shade)

Book of a musical: Grey Gardens
Score: Spring Awakening (over Curtains)

Director, play: Jack O'Brien (Bobo had dinner with him once in La Jolla, and look where it got him)
Director, musical: Michael Mayer, Spring Awakening

Play revival: Talk Radio
Musical revival: 110 in the Shade

Musical: Spring Awakening
Play: The Coast of Utopia

Ignite! postpones 2007-08 season

Because their rent at Riverwalk's Cajun Room rose from approx. $1,800 a month to $3,000 a month, Ignite! Community Theater will reduce its season from five plays to two (probably) and won't produce any full productions until Jan. 2008 (certainly).
In the meantime, they'll re-evaluate their finances, which includes searching for a new venue.
This means, of course, that The Streets of New York (scheduled for July), Steel Magnolias (Sept.) and The Dining Room (Dec.) will all be either cancelled or at least postponed.
Their Booklight series of readers theater events will continue, however, beginning in Sept., and they'll have their Oct. haunted house again.
Contact Rebecca Cook:

Thursday, June 07, 2007

*Hedwig* this weekend

*Hedwig and the Angry Inch* (June 8-10)
Friday-Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 4 pm
Tickets: $15
Riverwalk, Cajun Room, 1003 E. Trent Ave.
Dylan Simons as Hedwig; members of Coretta Scott and Lines Collide in the band
lots of makeup and crotch-grabbing

*The Rainmaker* at Interplayers and Lake City

Details of an unprecedented collaboration between Spokane's oldest professional theater and Coeur d'Alene's community theater this fall in producing (51 years after the movie version) N. Thomas Nash's *The Rainmaker*:

First, Lake City Playhouse will open its 2007-08 season with *Man of La Mancha* (Sept. 14-Oct. 6). In almost exactly the same time slot (Sept. 20-Oct. 6), *The Rainmaker* will be performed at Spokane Interplayers Ensemble, directed by Lake City's artistic director, Todd Jasmin.
*The Rainmaker* focuses on the File-Lizzie-Starbuck love triangle in a parched Western town in the 1930s.

Lizzie: Kelly Quinnett (Guinevere and Anna, CdA Summer Theater; Cherie in Bus Stop, Interplayers)
Starbuck: Jonathan Rau (Bo in Bus Stop, Interplayers)
H.C.: Maynard Villers
Jimmy: Adam Pittman
Sheriff: William Rhodes
Noah: Jon Lewis
File: Todd Jasmin

The production will then transfer with the same cast and design team to CdA's Lake City Playhouse for an Oct. 18-28 run.

Lake City, according to executive director Brian Doig, will make further adjustments to its schedule (see
While confirmation is pending, it appears likely that in early November, for two nights only, Jack Bannon and Roger Welch will appear in a staged reading of Mitch Albom's *Tuesdays With Morrie.*
Another staged reading will be held over two weekends in late November: *Eleemosynary,* Lee Blessing's 1985 one-act about Echo, Artie and Dorothea — three generations of women in the same family. Charles Gift will direct, and those being considered for the three roles include Erin Andrews, Rebecca McNeill and Valerie McIlroy (Eleanor in Lake City's recent *Lion in Winter*).

In addition, Lake City's concert staging of the Who's *Tommy* will now be held at LCP instead of at NIC.

Monday, June 04, 2007

more on CSz's local demise

Bobo spoke with Kasey Christie, who initiated the Spokane branch of ComedySportz five years ago, who's closely involved with the national offices of CSz, and who is a patent attorney here in town.
Christie decided last summer that he wanted out because of other time commitments; so did general manager Lisa Griffin. Basically, it was a case of the organization's two spearhead figures running out of time for commitment. They sold the business last September to their former sales manager, who "had some tumultuous things happen in his life," and the business went under.
Christie continued his involvement, playing improv-comedy shows both here and at the Portland branch in the months since he decided to sell the CSz license in Spokane.
Christie emphasizes that Griffin deserves "great praise -- she's the one who kept it going the last several years, not me."
"But it never really took off in Spokane," says Christie -- "never really had enough money. It really requires a dedicated full-time person."
Improv comedians tend to catch the bug, and there are still CSz veterans around town, and some talk of trying to revive the Spokane chapter.
The space on Riverside Avenue sits empty; it's owned by Rob Brewster's Conover Bond company.
But the process for obtaining a license from the national CSz organization is now "more formalized," Christie says. Anyone who wants to revive CSz here, he says, "needs good business sense, money, and knowledge of how to train people to pull off improv comedy."
"ComedySportz captured a lot of souls in Spokane," says Christie. 'It was a blessing in the lives of many people to have positive comedy in the community."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

averting a disturbing trend

With the closing of ComedySportz Spokane in late March and the difficulties imposed on Ignite! Community Theater by much-increased rental fees at the Riverwalk complex on Trent Avenue, Bobo's reminded of how we all (himself included) need to support local theater by actually getting out and volunteering and paying to see shows.