Saturday, January 31, 2009

opening-night review of *The Women of Lockerbie*

(at the Civic's Studio Theatre through Feb. 22)

Grief Tolled and Retold

A group of people gathered in a circle, bearing witness to a ritual. Lips pursed, shoulders hunched, eyes averted from the racking sobs of a mother overwhelmed by grief. Her son has been dead these seven years. The sadness is almost more than the people watching her can bear.
*The Women of Lockerbie* (through Feb. 22) concentrates the enormity of terrorists' mass murder into a shared, communal event. Playwright Deborah Brevoort's dramatic lament is capable of great power when shared in a small room with dozens of others.
But it squanders emotional impact with obvious and unnatural exposition and with a Greek chorus device that too often intrudes to explain everything we just witnessed. And one of the central performances in the Civic's production stands outside grief, as if observing sadness, not enacting it.
Bill and Madeline Livingston led a comfortable middle-class life until a nightmare scenario exploded into their lives: Seven years ago, a terrorist's bomb on Pan Am 103 had incinerated their adult son, leaving no trace at all. The residents of the Scottish town which was the crash site offer comfort and consolation, but Bill remains stoic, and Madeline is still tearing her hair out.
Or should be, which is the problem: Kate Vita needs to let go more in the role, let her grief and anger overflow. It's an overwhelming task, like being asked to do Lady Macbeth's mad scene without a warm-up. But the actress playing Madeline has to hit an emotional peak at the outset. Vita instead offers a kind of ironic detachment, as if still in denial. (She's surprised to hear that she always used to get angry over what she'd like to recall instead as endearing moments that she shared with her son.) Perhaps Vita is playing the perfectionistic side of Madeline's character: She was a perfect housewife, a perfect mother, and now she needs to be show-off perfect in her grief.
But the chorus underlines her every mood change (telling us unnecessarily that Madeline, in hyper-grief mode, resembles a tree split down the middle by lightning). Again and again, they explain mood changes just as things start to get emotionally interesting, undermining the scenes' intensity.
In contrast, as the grieving father, Kevin Connell earns his grief by keeping it under control at first. After he informs the Lockerbie women (and us) that his wife has been on a seven-year crying jag and is now wandering the Scottish moors, wildly searching for clothes (of her son's) that will never be found, watch for Connell's look of resignation and averted eyes as he delegates to strangers the painful task of dealing with his own wife. A speech about returning Adam's clothes to unaware department store clerks constrains the anger and sadness, even though you can see it boiling behind his eyes. A speech about religious doubt -- about how God must be absent, about how there is no "lesson" in Adam's death, because that would mean he had died just to enlighten his father -- gains power from being delivered by a real-life Jesuit. And later, Connell scuttles across the stage, frantic, getting in his wife's face, imploring her to let go of Adam and hold on to the man in her family who's still alive. You could hear his labored breathing; you sensed the emotional price it had all exacted.
Connell has the less demanding job -- constrain, restrain, then explode -- as opposed to Vita's need to be frantic/angry/desperate, then cling to that intensity until nearly the play's end. Yet Vita's performance still has several good moments. When she heard about the explosion, she says, Madeline had been rolling pie dough, just "the way my mother taught me" -- and Vita's tenderness in the moment encapsulates just how much a parent's love means, how awful it is when that bond is broken.
As the leader of the Lockerbie chorus, Marianne McLaughlin has an intensity that pierces the unnaturalism of the trio's sometimes clichéd chanting. There's anguish on her face, though it's kept in check until a late-play revelation creates one of her most riveting moments.
Director Sara Edlin-Marlowe keeps the energy circulating in the Studio's theater-in-the-round intimacy, even if the three-woman chorus often walks, sits, stands too much in unison, like an over-choreographed trio of woe. She varies her use of the four exit-entrances in Peter Hardie's set, providing a sense of offstage action and using elevations well to emphasize when characters are dominant or downtrodden. She inserts some playful dances and some startling confrontations that relieve the gloom. (Sitting in an audience of Americans while hearing that Americans can be such damn know-it-alls has a humbling effect. We don't know everything there is to know about grieving -- or anything else.)
Jan Wanless and Susan Berger provide scarves and tweeds that make you feel the chill of the North Sea wind. Hardie's lighting scheme, however, sometimes brightens and darkens obtrusively, straining too hard to affect mood.
Brevoort's drama is still effective as a communal, ritualistic experience, and *Lockerbie* offers two piercing images near its end: bleeding flesh becomes a symbol of the self-hatred that turns to masochism when hatred for others is harbored for a long time. And in a final gesture of generosity and healing, grief is mitigated when finally the focus falls away from me, me, me, my grief to the concerns of others. In this world, no one's sadness is unique.
It was deeply affecting to watch the Livingstons, each in their own way, try to fend off a pain that would not go away -- and eventually to get the best of it. (Or at least much of it.) The Civic's production offers a couple of outstanding performances and several good ones, and it's undeniably affecting to see a married couple (along with an entire town) ripping out their hearts as they try to stifle hatred and replace it with a love of life, a willingness to continue the daily struggle. But uneven acting and a script that explains too much keep the Civic's *Lockerbie* from being a completely enthralling experience.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

*Much Ado About Nothing* auditions: changed date and location

Ignite! Community Theatre

auditions for a readers theater production of Shakespeare's comedy ...
auditions will NOT be held at the Blue Door Theater on Feb. 5, as previously announced.
they will be held at Auntie's Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave. (third floor) on
Monday, Feb. 9, at 7 pm
Performances: March 13-15
Director Nina Kelly seeks an ensemble of men and women. Cold readings.

Beatrice and Benedick get tricked into revealing their mutual love, but not until after Claudio has shamed Hero terribly and Dogberry has made some hilarious mist ... arrests.

[ photo: Keanu Reaves as Don John in Kenneth Branagh's 1993 film of *Much Ado* -- ]

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*Shakespeare in Hollywood* auditions

Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 9-10, at 6:30 pm
Callbacks on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 pm (if needed)
at the Civic's Studio Theatre

Director Wes Dietrick seeks four women and eight men for Ken Ludwig's
2003 comedy, to be performed April 2-19. Cold readings.

What happens when Shakespeare's most beloved fairies materialize on the set of the film A Midsummer Night's Dream? Will their mischief-making inspire romance? One thing's for certain; Hollywood will never be the same. Ludwig's screwball farce imitates the 1930s-style of comedy that predominated when the Mickey Rooney movie version of Shakespeare's 1594 comedy was filmed.

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20 questions with Patrick Treadway

Bobo: Let's do the bio. Leave out the boring parts, and don't slur your words the way you usually do. Sit up and be articulate for once.
P.T.: No guarantees!

Bobo: Where did you go to elementary, middle and high school, and who was your meanest teacher?
P.T.: The following is from a Name-Dropping bio I posted a few years ago, under the pretense that I might be Notable, Not For What I've Done, but for the Whoms I've Done It With.
Here is a way-watered-down excerpt for you:

I skipped kindergarten and went to Montclair Elementary in Oakland, Calif., from 1965-71. In my first- and second-grade classes were future L.A. Times staff writer Mark Barabak; Michael Meese, the late son of Edwin Meese, later U.S. Attorney General to Ronald Reagan (Reagan was governor of California at the time, and Mike's sharing day was usually stories about going to Sacramento and eating Ronnie's jelly beans); also my first-grade "girlfriend", Martha Moxley, whose tragic fame initially occurred when she was murdered in 1975, and then more fame in the late '90s, when conservative talk-show host and infamous perjurer Mark Fuhrman took on the case against Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel.

In 1969, my grandmother ("Gram") signed up my sister and me for San Francisco Children's Opera (which was huge in S.F. 25-30 years prior). We rode the bus over [from Oakland] to San Francisco after school (at 9, 10 years old), and got a ride back at night. I did a number of shows with SFCO (8? 10?) at the high school at Arguello and Geary.

In 1972, I was living at Gram's, and attending El Dorado Intermediate in Concord, where Gram taught Spanish. [BTW, Gram was my toughest, possibly meanest teacher, intentionally avoiding any nepotism accusations]. I was 12 years old, in Oh, Kay! at Oakland Civic Theatre, and I played young Cohan in George M! at the Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Walnut Creek, Calif.

In 1974, Gram enrolled me in American Conservatory Theater's Young Conservatory, which was directed by Vivian Vance's sister, Lou Ann Graham. There I made friends with Annette Holloway, who was dubbed the Corn Nut Princess, because her grandfather Albert invented Corn Nuts.
Also attending A.C.T. was Mary Frances Crosby, and sometimes her Mom Kathryn would come collect her. (Alas, no papa Bing.)

I was cast in the role of young Prince Edward in Richard III at the Geary Theatre, directed by
A.C.T.'s artistic director William Ball. [As a college freshperson, Bobo saw this production from the nosebleed seats; he remembers thinking that the cast was outstanding except for this skinny kid who played one of the princes.] Bill became a friend of sorts for a few years before he moved to L.A. and I moved here. He wrote a nice letter of recommendation for me. He also wrote a well-known book on directing, A Sense of Direction. I am unexpectedly listed on the dedication page among some great names - actors with whom he worked, alphabetically. So that lands me right before Cicely Tyson, (Denzel's a little further down). This was clearly a gift to a hasn't-been.

Randall Duk Kim played R3, and 30 years later, I found Randy's makeup techniques in Richard Corson's Stage Makeup textbook (the makeup bible) while I was adjunct teaching at North Idaho College. Randy Kim was also "The Keymaker" in Matrix Reloaded (pleh! on both sequels!). Harry Hamlin was in that R3 and a student at the conservatory as well — a very nice guy.

On my 15th birthday, backstage, I got a cake with two plastic War of the Roses knights on it, painted to look like the costumes designed by Bob Blackman, who later designed the costumes for Star Trek TNG (and the other STs). Klingon warriors do dress suspiciously like Richard's army.
Later that season, I played young Horatio in Horatio, about H. Alger Jr., with the grown Horatio played by Daniel Davis (The Nanny, Star Trek TNG, and Clarence in R3). Sydney Walker (the old man in the film Prelude to a Kiss) was Horatio Sr., and later my acting teacher in the 1977 Summer Conservatory. Sydney was also the doctor who gave Ryan and Ali the "bad news" in Love Story.
Peter Donat (Robert's boy) was in Pillars of the Community in 1975, and I also met Tom Stoppard at A.C.T. when he came to see (/advise?) the production of his play Jumpers that season.

Bobo:  What's your first theatrical memory?

P.T.:  1963 — (I was 3) Peter and the Wolf. My older brother was involved in it at Laney Park, I think, in Oakland, Calif. Also the marionette theater at Children's Fairyland in Oakland, same year. So grateful my grandmother took us all to live theater when we were all very young.

What role are you best known for?

Locally, I don't think I am anymore. Nobody ever mentions a role; they'll say, "I've seen you in stuff,"if anything. Ten years ago, I would have said Captain Hook, Will Rogers or Huck Finn or something I guess, but — statute of limitations and all — I haven't really been cast in anything for the past few years to be of much notice, let alone known, I think. (Not the best thing to say in an interview, I know.)

Of course you know I've loved the jobs I've had the last few years over at ARt, but no real stand-out roles there. I personally liked what I did In Humble Boy, and Ed the drunk lawyer in Born Yesterday, for instance, but of course I don't know what the experience of watching them was like. Also, the numbers weren't always great at ARt, so I don't think recent audiences really know any shows I've been in lately, out there anyway. Even among my Spokane/CdA fellow actors/directors, only a very few made it to some of the ARt shows ... I'm guessing (hoping) maybe the drive was too far.
Among the theatre/art community, I think I'm more known for being a prop-building, voice-over band-aid, which is cool. I get the call if there's a need for a severed head, a puppet, a recorded radio announcement or sound effect in a show.
There is also the annual Cathedral and the Arts Christmas show I do with the Spokane Youth Symphony and the Spokane Area Children's Chorus — a lot of people go to that event at St. John's. I've been doing that since '97 (?), so maybe that's known.

On the Internet, however, the role I'm known for is probably the "David Bowie zombie" (a.k.a." Jimmy D" in the credits) in The Video Dead (VHS, 1987).

Right now, here on the Outernet in Spokane, I'm glad I have additional ways of staying creative and making a living — i.e., voice-overs, sculpting, carving, teaching, etc. It's part of why I really love living here.

Best bit of acting advice you ever received?

I don't know if this counts as advice, but studying Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) without a doubt has offered me the most as far as using what I've learned, even re-visiting it and re-learning; and getting inside a characterís head, thinking as if someone else. NLP can be described as the study of subjective experience, and presupposes that every experience, internal and external, has a structure or strategy (ìprogrammingî) that can be mapped and or modeled. So, even rapport between an actor and director can be described as a strategy and modeled in NLP. I first picked it up about 20 years ago, and it has had a huge effect in every area. I make use of it when I teach as well — acting, improv, stage makeup, etc. It is, in my opinion, the
shortest way for anyone to acquire new info or skills. Fascinating stuff.     

Worst job you ever took just to support (directly or indirectly)
your acting addiction?

As a Dancing Pop Bottle in a mall in the Tri-Cities when I first moved here. I was really, really broke, and had to take the bus to Pasco for one looooong afternoon of "costumiliation" — a term I'm sure someone must have coined by now. (Thank you for helping me to re-live that horror.) This was really to support my food-and-water addiction, and by extension, the acting addiction.

When did you first, in a blaze of glory, burst onto the Spokane
theatrical scene?

I moved here in the late '80s, and in 1987, I auditioned at Civic Theatre. I was cast in Bryan Harnetiaux's play Vital Statistics, followed by the Civic's first production of Angry Housewives, both in the Studio Theatre. For the audition for Angry Housewives, I sang "Unforgettable," and peeled off four or five costume layers and changed characters, as I used to do in the band I sang for in the Bay Area shortly before moving here (P.T. & the Pleasers). The first character was a transient old man in gray wig, large overcoat and fake teeth and the last was a skin-tight rocker outfit, with three or four others in between. I got a lot of mileage out of that one audition. I didn't have to audition again until Big River in 1992. 

Mary Starkey told me about recording work at Books in Motion, where she occasionally narrated, and Civic artistic director Betty Tomlinson gave me the audition announcement for the voice and operation of R3U2, the recycling robot who would appear in school assembly programs from 1988-1992, promoting the new recycling collection program and making the new incinerator more palatable to Spokane citizens.

The Betty Tomlinson/Jack Phillips administrations at Civic Theatre were hugely instrumental in starting any Spokane career I may have ever had. When I was looking for work while acting in Civic shows, neither artistic director could pay me as an actor, but both hired
me as a teacher, puppeteer, etc. and helped me land other creative jobs in other venues. And when my house burnt down in 1992, Jack anonymously left bags of groceries for me at the theater. I'm greatly indebted to them both. [The house was in Peaceful Valley, where Treadway still lives. A house-sitter left a candle lit upstairs. Treadway was in California at the time — and came home to a gutted house.]

Why is it that you never send me flowers anymore?

I am so sorry — I didn't realize that the court order had been lifted and that it was OK again!
On an unrelated topic, why didn't you mention me in Humble Boy?
Wait, I played a gardener. It is related.

photo: P.T. with Patty Duke and Carter J. Davis in Humble Boy, Actors Rep, April 2007

What book are you most embarrassed about having never read?

I cannot finish An Actor Prepares to save my life. I have tried, out of acting-teaching guilt, more times than I can count. It just can't be done, the content is so obvious now, other writers have since explained his method so much more clearly ... and that's true of his other books too. But what's more, I don't think anyone has ever read any Stanislavski. They all just probably lie about it.

It's like A Brief History of Time: a fly-off-the-shelf, record-breaking best-seller that no one has ever actually read. (OK, I did "read" Hawkingís book, but I understood maybe 2 percent.)

What play are you most embarrassed about having never read?
There are probably so many I should have read and haven't. But I guess I'm more embarrassed that I'm not embarrassed about not having read them. J  These modern times we live in, any play is available pretty much at a moment's notice should it be needed for something. Not like that flammable Alexandrian Library. What a bummer that was, remember? The only
possible upside to that fire was the resulting amnesty on overdue fines.

What cast (that you were part of) was most fun during rehearsals and
the run of the show?

No doubt there are any number from my childhood/teen years that I could mention here, but those are almost as if they happened to an entirely different person now. 
So if I may pick from the recent ones, it was great fun to go with Children's Theatre to competition in Harrisburg, Pa., in Kathie Doyle Lipe's Pinocchio; and of course during the Tuna
shows, Michael Weaver and Bill Marlowe and I laughed til we almost puked at least once every day; but I think Moonlight and Magnolias might be a pretty good candidate. We, the cast and crew, were all already good friends, with the exception of newcomer Wonder Russell, who
immediately won everyone over anyway, of course — but for instance, the slapping scene and the peanut fight rehearsals were a really effective playground-type bonding experience. Immediate emotional access to that during the performances. That was a really great combination of really good friends — Weaver, John Oswald, Wonder, Tralen Doler and I.

Why aren't you acting in a bigger city?

I suppose the brutally honest answer is that it's so affordable to live here, and even when the acting roles are few (like now), I'm still able to work as an artist in other mediums here.
Also, I have two dogs and two cats and I'm buying my house here. That's totally advancing up a level, maybe two, in the Arts Video Game.

You're such a gentle spirit, kind and funny. Now describe the last time you flew into a blind rage.

Aw, that's sweet. You know, since I got these two dogs, my behavior has changed. I used to freely shout the F word at vanishing TV remotes and sitch, but these dogs have been previously conditioned (not by me) to respond with great anxiety to that word, so those rages are kept to a
However ... ONCE, some guy wrote that it was embarrassing to see Troy and me wasting our talents in drivel like The Fantasticks! If I ever find out who that f'in' &%$* was....

I once wrote that it was embarrassing to see you and Troy Nickerson
wasting your talents in drivel like The Fantasticks

photo:  P.T. and Troy Nickerson in The Fantasticks, Interplayers, December 2005

Well ...  The important thing is you think we have talent to waste. Thanks! J.
You know of course that cardinal rule — that we can't blame any audience for their response, whether it was the response we intended or not. Naturally, an embarrassment response wasn't intended, but there ya go — I was just glad for the work that month. Oldest profession and all that.
Audience relationships with The Fantasticks are not unlike those with the Grateful Deadin a sense: Any article on the topic and review of any particular performances are only useful and
understandable when they are by and for Deadheads. Non-Deadheads won't even read the piece. 

Don't you just hate critics?

Heck, no. Such an extreme emotion as hate should be reserved for monsters like Hitler and drivel like The Fantasticks!

What's your worst personality trait?

I would say I'm too strict with myself, but ... I can't allow myself to answer this question.

What virtue do you consider overrated?

Of the seven? I think Chastity ought to be consolidated with Temperance and called simply "Self-control," thus freeing up a spot for something more modern, like "Netiquette." 

Directors can range from dictatorial to laissez-faire, from detail-obsesssed to big-picture-visualizing, from demeaning to encouraging, from well-prepared but rigid to casually prepared but flexible. Which do you prefer?

I prefer the director who has learned how to effectively communicate her/his creative idea(s) to the other teammates and artists who will bring it into abject existence. Having a Grand Vision is nice, but if it can't be communicated to the others who will physically realize it, it becomes some other product entirely separate from that original Vision, for good or bad. (Sometimes for really good.)
Assuming that ability to effectively communicate is in place, then of those choices provided in your question, I think flexibility combined with any number of the other traits could be
potentially brilliant.
BTW, I've never experienced nor can I imagine a case where demeaning me, or any actor, would be a healthy directing technique — for the show or for the director or for the director's
unattended car in the parking lot. J

What's the production you most regret never having seen?

Ian McKellen was doing Richard III at the Curran as I was relocating to the S.F. Bay Area briefly in '92. So sorry I missed that.

Now, don't just laugh off the following:  If you could change one thing about the way Michael Bowen writes his reviews,  it would be ...

I wouldn't ever laugh that off. But it does presuppose that I'm familiar with your work. I'll have to start reading them. Who are you with again?

Really — even if I did want to change something about the way you write reviews, it would still necessarily be from the viewpoint of an actor, a demo which, let's face it, is not ultimately
for whom these reviews are written; they are intended for the theater-going demo, right? And I am not as much in that category as I'd like to be. Plus, I would feel terribly under-qualified to dare to give advice to a professional writer anyway.

Are your inmost secrets kept in boxes, on computer disks, or in your mind?

Inmost, that's gotta be in mind, right? Since "sealed behind drywall" and "buried in the
back yard" weren't on the list.

Name a woman's role that you'd love to play.

I've never really thought about that!
Predictably, Cruella DeVil, or some other pointy villainess.

What do you notice about plays in performance that you wouldn't if you weren't an actor?

It's impossible to know that of course, but I think if I hadnít both acted and directed, I wouldn't notice or be able to discern the differences between a directorial decision and an acting choice. Sometimes it's difficult to turn off that internal observer commentary track.

Acting, even if it's great and pleasurable, ultimately is sad because it's evanescent, transient — the people go away, the show will never be done in just that way ever again.

Yep ... almost like a microcosm of (a) life itself ... people do go away, this life will never be done just this way again....
I think a lot of the fun of playing the life microcosm in theatre is that it seems to especially model that reality of life's transience, only this time with some little bit of control. Every
stage-life is really like playing at Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey.
Man, if someone in literature could just hook up "the stage" to "all the world" as a metaphor.... 

Don't you find yourself dwelling on the sad aspects inordinately? How do you get yourself to remember the happy parts?

If and when a group of us gather to create a really fun and temporary theatrical experience, then the carrot is to do it again, to reach that level of joy, or even more, only this
time, let's do it with THIS story ... and that's that famous "theatre bug" what makes ya come back.  Maybe that metaphor spreads out into incarnations, who knows?

I know that same theatre bug phenomenon makes a few performers terribly sad, but nonetheless, the bug wins and gets the same outcome ... those sad performers often immediately take on another show as a way of dealing with (or not dealing with) that pain. Me, I don't get sad about shows ending. Reminiscent sometimes later, perhaps. But I'm almost always working on some next project backstage once a show opens. Useful A.D.D., I call it.

It's not theater unless ...

... there is a perceiving audience. If an actor falls in the forest, and there is no one else to see and/or hear and react to it (internally or externally — even if the reaction is, meh), then there ain't no theater going on.
I believe that archetypal theater is ever the broadcaster, and of course a broadcast is meaningless and useless without a receiver.
Or, more efficiently:
Without an audience, it's just rehearsal.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

The oracle reveals Hermione's innocence

Russo has worked to make Shakespeare's late play about jealousy, false accusations, the damage that older generations can do to younger ones — and forgiveness -- more accessible.
He has trimmed the text and eliminated the character of Autolycus altogether. He is rotating six actresses into the three female leads -- Queen Hermione (unjustly accused of adultery), Paulina (her advisor, seemingly unforgiving but actually full of compassion) and Perdita ("the lost girl," spurned by her father as a bastard [bastardette?] and, later, growing up incognito as a happy shepherdess whom everyone keeps suspecting is a sho' nuff princess). And Russo has added a "ravisihing scene" -- a dream sequence, prior to the action, that will have the effect of making King Leontes's suspicions that his wife has slept with his best buddy, King Polixenes, just a tad more credible.

Russo has set the production in a "post-Greek, pre-Christian" era. Leontes turns into a hunting fanatic, which explains the motif of horns on the set and helps guide the audience into an awareness of how "horns on the brow" connoted cuckoldry for Shakespeare's audience. (Leontes, in his compact, late-period Shakespeare ramblings, often seems more worried that he has been exposed in public as a fool who can't control his "property," his wife, than as aggrieved husband who has "lost" his wife's affection.) Russo was delighted about one discovery during rehearsal: Leontes bewailing how his reputation as a cuckold would demean him -- just as he was standing under a pair of longhorns that are part of the set. (Lobby displays explain cuckoldry and other topics.)

Four choreographed dancers will appear often in the action -- horned and undulating -- surrounding Leontes as he awakens feverishly during a dream in which he imagines that Hermione has betrayed him and gone over to Polixenes' bed.

Even by Shakespeare's standards, *WT* presents convoluted, intricate language. Russo started rehearsals back in September to overcome just this obstacle, and he has been working constantly to "theatricalize" the language -- getting his student actors to accompany their lines with actions that help illustrate meaning to audiences who, let's face it, probably haven't been studying *WT* extensively before arriving at the theater.
For example, the two royal friends do some playful wrestling in the opening scene, just to reinforce the sense that they're longtime pals but also somewhat competitive with each other.

Lobby displays also include student collages and rehearsal photos. Shakespeare aficionados will recall that in the famous final statue scene, Shakespeare mentions a near-contemporary visual artist for the only time in his works: Giulio Romano (1492-1546; this play dates from about 1611), known for his verisimilitude.
Check out Romano's "Seduction of Olympia by Jupiter," which has some of the same freaky, animalistic sexual desire that Russo's trying to hint at in the opening dream sequence.

Russo is alternating two sets of three actresses, and he notes, for example, one Paulina is more sensitive while the other is more angry. That's borne out by the collages in the lobby: One Paulina regards her character as a wise counselor, a pillar of fortitude, a swift avenger while the other seems to concentrate on how angry Paulina is at the macho tyrant, Leontes.

The cast had master classes with Richard Digby Day of the London Dramatic Academy, who at one point said, "Oh, Brian, it's all just spoken opera, isn't it?"
So why see such high-falutin' stuff? Because it's about forgiveness. We've all made mistakes with long-lasting consequences. It's no use thinking that we get off scot-free -- the consequences don't simply vanish -- but it is possible, through genuine contrition, to make amends. (For a Catholic school, production, this is starting to sound like the sacrament of Reconciliation.)

*The Winter's Tale* at Gonzaga

*The Winter's Tale* at Gonzaga, closes Sunday

Shakespeare's late romance at the Magnuson Theater (east end of College Hall), 502 E. Boone Ave.
directed by Brian Russo
Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 29-31, at 7:30 pm, plus a final matinee on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 2 pm (you can still catch the second half of the Super Bowl)

Critics and proctologists

Originally uploaded by uberculture
Three artistic directors in L.A. want their critics back.
It's nice to feel the love.
They're decrying print's layoffs of theater critics.
If you don't read Lisa Fung's piece in the L.A. Times for anything else, read it for the proctologist joke.

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audition for *James and the Giant Peach*

auditions: Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 2-3, at 7 pm at the Harding Family Center, 411 N. 15th St., CdA

a stage version of Roald Dahl's fantasy: James escapes from the clutches of his two nasty aunts and floats around inside a large globular fruit along with a friendly spider, an egocentric centipede, a fashionista ladybird, a wise old grasshopper and a cantankerous earthworm.

Director Danielle Holcomb is seeking five adults and 10 children. Resume, photo and a list of conflicts.
Call (208) 667-1323
Performances at Lake City Playhouse: March 26-April 5

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

*Cowgirls* at Interplayers

by Betsy Howie
music and lyrics by Mary Murfitt
Spokane Interplayers Ensemble
Jan. 29-Feb. 14, 2009
directed by Reed McColm
musical direction by Pamela Brownlee

(in foreground, from left) Janean Jorgensen, Allison Morgan, Jennifer Jacobs; (at piano) Janet Robel; (in background, from left) Liberty Harris, Micah Hanson

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Betsy Howie and Mary Murfitt's *Cowgirls*

by Betsy Howie
music and lyrics by Mary Murfitt
Spokane Interplayers Ensemble
Jan. 29-Feb. 14, 2009
directed by Reed McColm
musical direction by Scott and Pamela Brownlee

with Janean Jorgensen, Allison Morgan, Janet Robel, Jennifer Jacobs, Liberty Harris, Micah Hanson

*The Women of Lockerbie*

The Women of Lockerbie
by Deborah Brevoort
directed by Sara Edlin-Marlowe
with (from left) Kevin Connell as Bill, Sara Blythe Smith as Woman No. 2, Nina Kelly as Woman No. 1, and Marianne McLaughlin as Olive
also featuring Kate Vita as Madeleine, Brandon Montang as George, and Susan Creed as Hattie
Jan. 30-Feb. 22, 2009, in the Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre

Saturday, January 24, 2009

McDonagh & Spokane; Oscar & playwrights

Martin McDonagh's new play, "set in small-town America," is entitled "A Behanding in Spokane."
We're on the theatrical map! And all of America will think that what we have to offer is serial killers, mutilators, sadists and freaks! Isn't that great?!

McDonagh ("The Beauty Queen of Leenane" and "The Cripple of Inishmaan," both of which have been performed in Spokane, and "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" and [especially] "The Pillowman," which haven't and should be, but then they might be so upsetting to the poor dears who were expecting another nice little production of "Cats") also wrote and directed "In Bruges" and is nominated for an Oscar for the (original) screenplay.
Which brings up what a year this is for playwrights and Oscar: John Patrick Shanley for Doubt, Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon, McDonagh, and David Hare for his adapted screenplay of "The Reader," all are nominated this year. That's four out of 10 slots to playwrights.

Going back to 1980 (Bobo did a quick check), there hasn't been a year like this, for Original Screenplay, since playwright John Logan (Never the Sinner, about Leopold and Loeb, soon to be produced at EWU) got a nomination for The Aviator in 2004; in 2000, Logan and William Nicholson together were nominated for Gladiator AND Kenneth Lonergan got a nom for "You Can Count on Me."
Woody Allen has lots of nominations, of course, and he has written some plays. John Guare got nominated in '81 for Atlantic City.

Playwrights, of course, get more nominations for adapting their own plays for the screen. A run-down of plays adapted into movies and Oscar-nominated since 1980:
Breaker Morant, 1980
On Golden Pond, 1981
1983 had three: Harold Pinter for Betrayal, Ronald Harwood for The Dresser, and Willy Russell for Educating Rita
in 1984: Peter Shaffer for Amadeus; and A Soldier's Story was adapted from A Soldier's Play by Charles Fuller
1985, Horton Foote, A Trip to Bountiful
in 1986: Mark Medoff for Children of a Lesser God, and Beth Henley for Crimes of the Heart
'88: Christopher Hampton, for his own stage version of Dangerous Liaisons (which was orignally an 18th-century French novel)
'89: Alfred Uhry, Driving Miss Daisy
William Nicholson, Shadowlands, 1993
Alan Bennett, The Madness of King George, 1994
1996 had three: Billy Bob Thornton for Sling Blade, Arthur Miller for the film version of The Crucible, Kenneth Branagh for Hamlet
in 2002, Bill Condon adapted Chicago, officially, not from the Kander & Ebb musical but from the play (?!) by Maurine Dallas Watkins
'04: Finding Neverland - David Magee from the play by Allan Knee

So ... '83 and '96 were good years for playwrights getting Oscar-nominated, but this year's crop of four nominees is unusual.

As for McDonagh besmirching the reputation of our fair burg, Dannie (long-suffering wife of Bobo), just responded, "We don't need any more besmirching. The people who live here have already besmirched us enough."

Added on Jan. 28:
And now this from McDonagh's Website:

*The New York Times* reports a new play is coming up.

[...] He's written a new play, "A Behanding in Spokane," a copy of which the paper has obtained. Unlike his other plays, it's not set in Ireland; it takes place in "small-town America." The four-member cast includes a "man in mid- to late -40’s who is missing his left hand," and "a black man and a white chick." The man missing his left hand, needless to say, wants it back, and the couple, who try to scam him, end up getting tied to a radiator, a bomb threatening to go off if they move. There is lots of blood and gore and hilarity ensues. It's very Martin McDonagh.

"It's brand-new," Mr. McDonagh said when asked about the play. "It's still under wraps but it should be for the next season." Where it would be performed, he said, was off the record.

Thrilled over his Oscar nomination, he laughed about the fact that he's been nominated four times for a Tony but has never won. "I have more luck with the Oscars than the Tonys," he said.

Added Jan. 28, again:
McDonagh is represented by the Rod Hall Agency in London.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why I am an ignoramus and Loretta Young can f*** off

Notes from a recent version of those traveling Stephen Sondheim/Frank Rich conversations — comments from those of you who caught it in Seattle (?) last year? -- reveal some hilarious Ethel Merman anecdotes; Hermione Gingold's bravado; and why critics who don't know music perhaps shouldn't be reviewing musicals. (See points 1 and 20.) ((Bobo obviously has some homework to do. Note how Rich's response is off-topic -- the question isn't about knowing too much about a given show beforehand so you can still experience some surprise; it's about knowing the basic tools of the trade. And Bobo, as in so many ways, is deficient here.
[photo: Hermione Gingold in 1978, age 80 (she lived 1897-1987)]

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Mama don't like her picture taken

Patti LuPone blew up at an audience member who was snapping photos of her last week, right during Mama Rose's nervous breakdown scene. (audio only, on YouTube)
As well she should have.

{photo: AEI Speakers Bureau]

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No, REALLY check your props

You may recall the Austrian actor last month who stabbed himself onstage with a prop knife (that the prop master hadn't properly checked -- see the Dec. 11 post on this blog).

Well, now some poor actor has gotten himself shot during a dress rehearsal -- by his own director. And lived to tell about it.

Three words for the prop master at the Manatee Players in Bradenton, Florida: Remove. All. Bullets.


Monday, January 19, 2009

They're not coming unhinged

Blue Door Theater isn't moving after all. The improv comedy troupe is staying on Garland Avenue. Yay!
They continue on Friday-Saturday nights, with the "It's a Date" show (a kind of spoof of *The Dating Game*) opening on Friday, Feb. 6.
Fulfillment of the Sept. 17 and Dec. 24 posts right here on Spokane's favorite thespian-tastic (and only!) theater blog!



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Serious repertory = theatrical health

If a stellar cast of British and American actors can present *The Cherry Orchard* and *The Winter's Tale* in repertory, and if Mary-Louise Parker can star in *Hedda Gabler* all at the same time, then there's reason to be optimistic about the state of serious, non-musical theater in New York.
The public is indeed smarter than it's given credit for.
Now, how about here in the provinces? Do carefully observed, intelligent work in the theater, and somehow it will find an audience. Even in what we self-defeatingly seem to assume is a backwater.

photo from The Observer: Cate Blanchett as Hedda Gabler at B.A.M. in 2006

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Friday, January 16, 2009


Change (in arts policy) that we can believe in (as reported in the C.S. Monitor):
For one thing, Obama actually HAS an arts policy.
On the model of the Peace Corps or Teach for America, he wants to create an Artists Corps.
He can take Sasha and Malia to the museum, or show them getting music lessons right there in the White House. That's called using the bully (and mannerist? rococo?) pulpit.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

*Godspell* auditions, Feb. 2-4

at Spokane Civic Theater's Studio Theater
on Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 2-3, at 6:30 pm, with callbacks on Wednesday, Feb. 4
director: Troy Nickerson
musical direction by Becky Moonitz
5 men and 5 women; sing a verse and chorus from a contemporary musical and do cold readings
music and lyrics in*Godspell* by Stephen Schwartz

Performances: March 20-April 11

Can God be found on a New York City subway? Prepare ye the way of the Lord, day by day by day ... even if it takes you through the turnstiles at 59th and Columbus.

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SCT's *Alexander,* Jan. 31-Feb. 15

Alexander, Who's Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, NOT Going to Move!
book and lyrics by Judith Viorst; music by Shelly Markham

Spokane Children's Theatre presents
Alexander, Who's Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, NOT Going to Move!

Alexander is having another Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. His parents just told him that their family is moving a thousand miles away from everyone he knows, including his best friend Paul and his favorite neighbor dog, Swoozie (both played by Jeff Bryan).
directed by Dawn Taylor-Reinhardt
starring Jimmy Pendleton
and with Amy Schoedel, Dan Griffith, Jerry Uppinghouse, Tiffany Middleton and Danielle Read

Tickets: $10; $8, children. Performances on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, Feb. 7-8 and Feb. 14-15, at various times,at the SCC Lair, Bldg. 6, Mission Ave. and Greene St.
Visit or call 325-SEAT.

Zapping Andy

The Really Useful Group is developing videogames based on musicals like Joseph, Evita, Cats and Phantom.
If it's a massive multiplayer shooter — and if all the aliens look like smirking little Lloyd Webbers — count us in. It'll be a bloodbath.

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NT broadcasts

The Times of London reports that, starting in June, the National Theatre will begin broadcasts of its plays, starting with Dame Helen Mirren herself in Racine:

"On June 25, her performance in Phèdre, a 17th-century French tragedy, will be beamed live from the National Theatre in London to 50 cinemas around the country and, within 24 hours, a further 100 all over the globe."

Something tells Bobo that Spokane is not going to be among those 100 international locations. (But we really, really ought to start a letter-writing campaign. Write
and tell them that Met Opera broadcasts have done well at the Regal NorthTown 12 Cinemas and that we'd pay to watch Helen Mirren read the phonebook. Even the East Grinstead phonebook. (This, of course, is an Alan Ayckbourn allusion.)

Given the recent pix of Dame Helen, who's 63, in a cherry-red bikini, it seems altogether fitting and proper that she should play Racine's lusty older woman who yearns for her own stepson and goes into jealous rages when Hippolytus turns out to have his own, much younger girlfriend. We'd pay to see that.

Ben Hoyle's article continues thusly:
"Operas, concerts and sports events have already proved that there is an audience for live event broadcasts but theatres had held back, wary of previous lifeless attempts to film stage plays. The National, however, sees this as an opportunity to grow support.
"Nicholas Hytner, the director of the National, said yesterday that the sector needed to find out whether there was an audience."
Write the National. Show them there's an audience.

ADDED on 2/18/09:
Mirren will bring her production of Phaedre to Washington, D.C., Sept. '09; and the following month, Cate Blanchett will appear as Blanche Dubois in Streetcar -- both productions at WDC's Shakespeare Theatre Company. Read more here.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

*One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest* review

Stick It to the Witch

a review of *Cuckoo’s Nest* (at Spokane Civic Theatre through Jan. 25)

Laughing at a freak show: That’s the response that the opening night audience gave to the Civic’s production of *One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.* One by one, the cuckoos filed onto the play’s insane asylum set with their hallucinations and facial tics and various manias, their sexual hang-ups, their hopeless catatonia.
And the opening-night audience — perhaps expecting a sit com, perhaps just nervously egging on their friends up there onstage — kept laughing at every little defect. Mental illness: Such a laugh riot!
Because it’s technically proficient, well-directed and (mostly) well-acted — and because it revives an American classic in a thoughtful and relevant way — Yvonne A.K. Johnson’s production (on the Civic’s Main Stage through Jan. 25) deserves a better response from its listeners.

For one thing, they’re witnessing a performance from the central character that’s powerful, energetic and wide-ranging. As R.P. McMurphy, the rootin’-tootin’ catalyst who invades this morgue-like nuthouse with a wallop of energy, George Green keeps the frenzy firing at high levels.
Johnson has directed Green’s first face-off with Nurse Ratched (Chasity Kohlman) so that it flips from a struggle of wills into something sexual. When showing off his rock climber’s physique, his come-on is half sexual, half playful — boyish and dangerous, all at the same time. And McMurphy is nothin’ but a handful of trouble, of course. But when Green confronts a momentary failure and makes the transition from laughter to weeping — entirely non-verbally — it can take your breath away.
Too often, Green relies on a tongue-waggling, look-at-me-being-frisky attitude. But the range of his performance — and the sadness over McMurphy’s defeat — outweigh such carping. If Jack Nicholson was growly mutt with an insane glint in his eye, Green is a Jack Russell terrier who longs for freedom on the other side of the fence — and just might chomp on your leg to get there. He’s like a force of nature. Green’s performance is a rounded and accomplished star turn.

His nemesis is a lot less showy. Kohlman captures Nurse Ratched’s ice-queen demeanor, her starched propriety. She’s a dominatrix wrapped inside a prude: She wants to be physically sadistic but contents herself — restrains herself — to merely psychological control. Kohlman could afford to make Nurse Rat-shit’s sadistic glee more evident, especially in the way she domineers over poor little intimidated-and-stuttering Billy Bibbit (Paul Villabrille, a sad sack but trying to change). But she’s masterful at letting Ratched’s vulnerability show, in stages, somewhere behind the eyes or in the way her starched uniform sags just a bit. (In the basketball scene, putting the ball behind her back was an inspired choice: “I can play this game even better than you, boys,” she seems to suggest.)
As Harding, the leader of the wacked-out inmates, Thomas Heppler shines, showing off with his hands and his vocabulary (but ineffectually). In one sequence, Heppler makes the transition from trying to laugh off his sexual neurosis to angrily denouncing the woman who worsened it. (The audience simply laughed. But the pain was real.)

In his most recent stage adaptation, Dale Wasserman substitutes monologues for Chief Bromden’s narration of Ken Kesey’s novel. In the monologues, the Chief’s connection to nature and his dislike of machines are emphasized both by David Baker’s lighting design and by Charles Mix’s sound effects. As the Chief, however, William R. Lund begins his initial monologues too melodramatically, leaving himself nowhere to go. Physically — lumbering across the stage with his head down and crazy-hair obscuring his face — Lund is just right. The contrast between mute Chief and angry Chief is stark and effective. But when you’re screaming defiance at the Combine and pleading with Papa at high decibels from the start, there’s not much room for ratcheting up the emotions later on.
In a somewhat similar way, in the opening scene, Johnson’s asylum patients are trying too hard to establish their quirkiness, their oddball mannerisms. Everything’s played too much for comedy, as if issuing an invitation to laugh at the freaks; everyone’s too intent on “acting.” But after this initial stumble, the ensemble melds and glows.

*Cuckoo’s Nest,* a serious play that blends tragedy and hopefulness, nevertheless has its humorous moments. But they’re subtle and earned. Smiling because a rabble-rouser like McMurphy has partly succeeded in inspiring some feeble sheep to stand up and fight for their own rights is one thing; laughing at the oddities of the mentally ill is quite another.
*Cuckoo’s Nest,* seen aright, can be transformative — not just in getting us not to laugh at neurotics, but in getting us to change our own wills. If McMurphy — who’s out only for a good time and No. 1 — can sacrifice himself for the sake of a few downtrodden others, then maybe the rest of us can stand up to bullies and incompetent politicians, too. The Civic’s production goes a long way toward making us feel that kind of transformation right in the gut. It’s a visceral and effective show.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Springtime on Broadway

from Gordon Cox's article today in Variety :

Susan Sarandon and Geoffrey Rush (in his Broadway debut, playing a king who's in denial about his own impending death) will star in Eugene Ionesco's 1962 absurdist play, *Exit the King,* opening in March.

Other Broadway legit plays this spring include "Blithe Spirit," starring Angela Lansbury and Rupert Everett; "Mary Stuart," with Janet McTeer; "The Philanthropist," with Matthew Broderick; "Accent on Youth," with David Hyde Pierce; and "Waiting for Godot," with Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin.

Bloomberg on Jan. 29 has more: Impressionism, 33 Variations and God of Carnage....

photo from Sydney Morning Herald: Geoffrey Rush as King Berenger in Exit the King, July 2007

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Ian McKellen in *King Lear*

Wednesday, March 25, on PBS

Read more here .

Video highlights at

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Cowgirls" cast list

by Betsy Howie, with music and lyrics by Mary Murfitt
Jan. 29-Feb. 14 at Interplayers
directed by Reed McColm, with musical direction by Scott Brownlee and Pamela Brownlee
A saloon in Kansas faces foreclosure unless it can pack 'em in for one concert. So they hire what they think is the "Cowgirl Trio" for some boot-slappin' country-western good times. Problem is, they actually hired the Coghill Trio. And they play classical.
Cast: Janean Jorgensen, Allison Morgan, Janet Robel, Jennifer Jacobs, Liberty Harris, Micah Hanson

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

*One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest* at the Civic

by Dale Wasserman (three-act version, Nov. 1963; two-act version, March 1971), based on the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey
directed by Yvonne A.K. Johnson

McMurphy gets Candy

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Spokane Civic Theater, Jan. 9-25, 2009
with (from left): Todd Kehne as Anthony Martini, Paul Villabrille as Billy Bibbit, Thomas Heppler as Dale Harding, George Green as Randle Patrick McMurphy, Nancy Gasper as Candy, J.P. O'Shaughnessy as Frank Scanlon. Phillip Maier as Ruckly, and Gary Pierce as Charles Atkins Cheswick III

(photos by Young Kwak)

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Nurse Ratched vs. McMurphy

The Oppressor (Chasity Kohlman) vs. The Oppressed (George Green) in Yvonne A.K. Johnson's production of Dale Wasserman's adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel, at Spokane Civic Theater, Jan. 9-25, 2009 (That's Will Lund in the background as Chief Bromden, also being led away by one of the Aides)

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*Bridge to Terabithia* auditions, Jan. 18-19

A Spokane Children's Theater production, directed by Reed McColm
Auditions will be on Sunday, Jan. 18, at 3 pm and on Monday, Jan. 19, at 7 pm at the SCC Lair, Bldg. 6, Mission Ave. and Greene St.

McColm "seeks competent and enthusiastic actors, ages 7 to adult. Most roles are non-singing roles but the four leads must be strong singers. The director also seeks one dog of 'less than pure lineage.'"

Performances: March 7-22
Visit for call 328-4886.

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*No, No, Nanette* cast list

directed by Jean Hardie, with musical direction by Trudy Harris
runs at the Civic Feb. 20-March 15

It'll be tap-dancin' craziness in Atlantic City, with

Susan Hardie as Pauline
Ashley Cooper as Lucille Early
Kathie Doyle-Lipe as Sue Smith
Robert Wamsley as Jimmy Smith
Cameron Lewis as Billy Early
Cody Garner as Tom Trainor
Jessi Little as Nanette
Carrie Arington as Flora Latham
Ryan Patterson as Betty Brown
Maureen Kumakara as Winnie Winslow
and a chorus of 13

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Theatrical meltdown

What do you get when 18 bazillion inches of snow thaw inside of five minutes? (As he writes, Bobo's thermometer reads 45 degrees.)
Flooding at the Civic.
The Studio Theatre and some offices were wet enough today to require bailing out with buckets.
A press release will soon follow, but ... even after the biblical plagues of fire, boiler repair and remodeling, there must've been at least one calamity left. What's left, locusts?
Anyway, keep the Civic in your charitable thoughts.

Paraphrased from the press release:
The Studio's under an inch of water.
Ice dams above the main lobby and admin. offices have caused damage.
Pumping out the main plumbing well, sandbagging, purchasing a sump pump, dry vacs and additiional snow removal all adds up to something in the neighborhood of $20,000. The Civic's Emergency Winter Repairs Fund needs your help (and contribution).

Meanwhile, the shows will go on: *Cuckoo's Nest" this Friday at 8 pm and "The Women of Lockerbie* in the Studio on Jan. 30 at 8 pm. (Their joke is that life jackets will not be required.)


*Sunshine Boys* auditions, Jan. 12-13

Lake City Playhouse will hold auditions for *The Sunshine Boys* by Neil Simon on Monday-Tuesday, Jan. 12-13, at 6:30 pm at the Harding Family Center, 411 N. 15th St,, Coeur d'Alene.
Director Maria Caprile is looking for 2M 60+, 2W 20+ and 2M 20-40.
Production opens Feb. 20.

"Lewis and Clark" (Al and Willie) were top-billed vaudevillians for over forty years. Now they aren't even speaking. But when CBS requests them for a "History of Comedy" retrospective, the result is grudging reunion.

Lake City Playhouse, 1320 E. Garden Ave., CdA
(208) 667-1323

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

$10K for Kaleidoscope

The Civic would like 100 people to donate $100 each to defray the cost of sending the cast and crew of *One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest* to Edmonds, Wash., on March 6-9 for the state community theater festival.
You'll get listed in the lobby; a commemorative button; and a chance to see the final dress rehearsal of the one-hour, slimmed-down competition version of *Cuckoo's Nest* before it journeys to the west side.
Send contributions to Spokane Civic Theatre Festival Fund, 1020 N Howard, Spokane WA 99201

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Time Top Ten

10 best plays or musicals of 2008, according to Time magazine:

10. Farragut North, by Beau Willimon (about a presidential candidate's too-clever press secretary; soon to be a movie?)
9. South Pacific (dir. Bartlett Sher; with Kelli O'Hara and Paolo Szot)
8. Blasted, by Sarah Kane
7. The Little Mermaid (yes, the Disney musical)
6. Reasons To Be Pretty, by Neil LaBute
5. Black Watch (Scottish troops in Iraq, performed with video and choreography)
4. The Visit (Kander and Ebb's neglected masterpiece, based on the Friedrich Durenmatt play about the world's richest woman, out for revenge -- played by Chita Rivera!)
[ photo: Chita Rivera and George Hearn in the musical version of *The Visit* at Virginia's Signature Theater, from ]

3. All My Sons
2. Hair
1. Billy Elliott

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