Thursday, July 30, 2009

Troy Nickerson named Resident Director

Unfortunately, Bobo was out of town for the Civic's second annual Endowment Dinner, but glad to see that Dee Finan was honored for 25 years of costume design at the Civic and that Troy Nickerson has formalized his commitment to direct two shows every season by being named the Civic's Resident Director.
If I may say so (without offending any hyper-sensitive sensibilities around here), he's a real pro.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bobo discovers himself

I've been podcasting and didn't even know it.
If, for some unfathomable reason, you haven't been listening attentively to KPBX at 7:35 a.m. on Thursdays, then here's your chance to hear Bobo on the airwaves: archived theater reviews on the radio.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

*What Is the Cause of Thunder?*

Noah Haidle's two-hander about soap operas, now playing at Williamstown Theater Festival, gets a glowing review at Theater Mania. A mother and daughter are WAY too immersed in the roles they play on a *Days of Our Lives*-style daytime show. Two good parts for women, the soap opera theme -- we could see this being produced all over a few years from now.

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partial review of *Dames at Sea*

at CdA Summer Theater through Sunday, Aug. 2
(This is about one-third of the review to appear in the July 30 Inlander.)

... the show’s plot isn’t worth a plugged nickel. The ingénue wants to be a star. She and the leading man (a sailor-songwriter) meet cute. The jealousy of the leading lady is aroused. Somebody's dismantling the theater (literally). So hey, kids, let's put on a show — on the deck of the sailor's battleship!
Dames at Sea amounts to a variety show: There will be a cutesy love duet, and a plaintive-love solo, and a parody of youthful desire played out by the old wrinkled couple, and some flash-bang tap-dance displays, and that number where the guy in the sailor suit twirls around the floor hugging a mop or his girl's plaid coat because she's tied up at the moment, you see, and the mop or the coat is all he's got to show us just how gosh-darn much in love he is.
Now either the romance and energy of such music-and-dance numbers is something that satisfies you and makes up for the hokeyness of a confection like Dames at Sea, or else it doesn't.
Well, it should. When Darcy Wright sings, when Cameron Lewis dances, and — maybe especially — when Travolta and (as her elder love interest) Jerry Christakos mock themselves, the goofy ways we arrived at such moments seem to fade in significance.

[ photo by Young Kwak: Cameron Lewis as Dick, Ellen Travolta as Mona, and Darcy Wright as Ruby in Roger Welch's production of Dames at Sea, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater, July-August 2009]

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Monday, July 27, 2009

CYT fall classes begin Sept. 14

Christian Youth Theater -- Spokane
Theater classes for kids (ages 6-18)
one day per week for 10 weeks, starting Sept. 14
Classes are offered in north Spokane at 13521 N. Mill Road and in Spokane Valley at 6205 E. Mansfield Ave.
Choose from musical theater, stunts and combat, technical theater, acting, singing and more
Audition for Schoolhouse Rock on Sept. 18 (performances from Nov. 6-15)
Visit or call 487-6540.

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Globe's *LLL* coming to Calif. in Nov.

London's Globe Theater will be touring a production of *Love's Labour's Lost* around America. But it's not coming close to us. Out of eight stops on the tour, four are in California. Nov. 4-29, it makes stops in Berkeley, Davis, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica.
{first quarto, 1598]


Friday, July 24, 2009

Cheyenne's Rainbow

Cheyenne Jackson (Cusick to the Civic to "All Shook Up" to "Xanadu" to commercials with Nathan Lane) will star as Woody in "Finian's Rainbow," opening on Broadway for previews on Oct. 8.
The 1947 Burton Lane-Yip [not "Skip"] Harburg musical (about an Irishman who steals a leprechaun's gold, travels to the U.S. with his girlfriend and plants the gold in the soil near Fort Knox in order to increase the amount of gold) was made into a 1968 movie with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark.
[ photo: N.Y. Times ]

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

*Postcards,* July 31-Aug. 8 in Sandpoint

a play inspired by the artwork of Viggo Mortensen
by Teresa Pesce
dir. Charles Strasser
at the Panida Little Theatre, behind Stage Right Cellars at 302 N. First Ave., Sandpoint, Idaho
Fridays-Saturdays, July 31-Aug. 1 and Aug. 7-8 at 8 pm; also matinee on Aug. 8 at 3:30 pm
Tickets: $12
"Postcards" is about "family secrets -- what we hide, what we reveal"
"Postcards" is also the premiere production of Art as Theatre -- plays inspired by original art

[ photo: from; in The Oregonian 4/22/08; Viggo was shooting *The Road* on the northern Oregon coast, and appeared at a political rally ]

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dick, Mona and Ruby

from left: DIck (Cameron Lewis), Mona (Ellen Travolta) and Ruby (Darcy Wright) in the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre production of "Dames at Sea" at North Idaho College
(Photo by Young Kwak for the Pacific Northwest Inlander)

*Dames at Sea,* CdA Summer Theatre, July 23-Aug. 2

Dames at Sea
Cameron Lewis, Ellen Travolta and Darcy Wright
dir. Roger Welch

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Bryan Jackson 1963-2009


Bryan Jackson died Monday night at Sacred Heart Hospital after a long struggle with kidney disease.
He had taught English and drama at LCHS for 14 years and served as president of both Onyx Theater Troupe and the Washington Alliance for Theater Education.

Bryan is pictured in a June 1 post on this blog, front and center, in his final role as Bobby, the dying man, in Bryan Harnetiaux's "Holding On, Letting Go" at the Civic.
He was only 45, was a wonderful man, and will be missed.

memorial service:
Saturday, July 25, at 12:30 pm at Riplinger Funeral Home, 4305 N. Division in Spokane
celebration of the life:
Saturday at 2 pm at Spokane Civic Theater


"Cowboy Supper Show" review at the Rockin' B Ranch

City Sicker

Had a friend over the other night. A New York friend. Wanted to see some theater, and how could I seriously consider attending something called a "Cowboy Supper Show," performed in a place that's practically in Idaho and in a barn?!
"It's like Frontierland — you know, at Disneyland," I said. The Rockin' B barn itself, I pointed out, was part of the fun — big and drafty, even on a hot night, and with a waterfall at one end. Lemonade comes down wooden chutes out of the rafters. Ice scoops dangle from little teeter-totters weighed down by horseshoes. In the washroom, water both cold and hot runs down chain-pull spouts into a washbucket. Over in the cantina (which serves beer and wine on weekend nights), a sign kindly asks patrons not to spit in the tip jar.
My Effete Friend from New York smirked. "Well, in New York, the way we always ..."
I made EFNY put another dollar in the kitty. I wasn't going to let him go on all night about city-slicker ways.
"These people are dressed like tourists," EFNY sniffed, gazing at the crowd.
"It's 90 degrees outside," I said. True, there were Bermuda shorts in evidence. Kids ran through the aisles with lemonade glasses. A lot of dads were wearing cowboy hats. "They're here to have a good time."
And there's something about sitting mess-hall style on benches that encourages conversation. EFNY and I were even sitting across from a couple celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

After the preliminaries, with pre-show fiddlin' provided by the Panhandle Polecats out of Rathdrum, we scooted over to outdoor bleachers for "an authentic, true-to-life, fake Western shootout."
Cow-town caricatures and clowns traded lame jokes: "I'm a fallen woman." "How far did you fall?" "Don't ask that — that's impermanent."
EFNY heckled the actors. But the pre-show, with its Bernie Madoff allusions aimed at the black-hat villain who's trying to take over the town, its self-mocking, super slo-mo gun battle and "bullets" splashing horse-trough water all over the front row of little kids, at least was making an attempt to rise above the hokey.
Then it was time to wait our turn in the chow line, which made a final scurry right through the waterfall's mist. We held out our tin plates for enormous helpings of beef, chicken and barbecue ribs along with a baked potato, pinto beans, apple sauce, spice cake and more.
EFNY denounced the chicken as processed-dry and the beef overcooked — but I noticed that he cleaned his plate, just like everyone around us.

Then it was time for the Riders of the Rockin' B to take the stage alongside the tumbleweeds, cow skulls and covered wagon. The quartet opened with a lonesome-cowboy song ("My Rifle, My Pony and Me"), then clapped through a square dance, yodel-ay-hee-hoo'ed for the Old West and made clear that they were "here to celebrate the cowboy way of life." JayDean Ludiker gathered a gaggle of kids around her and made her fiddle sound like various birds — a "bobwhite, whippoorwill, robin" — and, on the screechy notes, "a robin with epilepsy."
By the time Tim Behrens previewed a bit of his comic Pat McManus monologues, with Old Ed starting to snore at the campfire and ... and ... finally finishing his snore, even EFNY was laughing aloud and joining in the fun.

After the show, I asked our host, Scott Brownlee, to distinguish two kinds of music. "Country music," he said, "is when you have one guy singing about his girlfriend." (He lost the pickup and his dog, too.) But Western music, he said — the kind that he and the other Riders had just performed — "is when a group of people sing in four-part harmony about how they feel about home."
Snobs will scoff. But sitting in a big ol' barn with 300 other folks, licking barbecue sauce off your fingers and listening to the lonesome wail of four overlapping voices — that feels like part of home. Even my Upper East Side friend, I noticed, had been tappin’ his toes. 

Cowboy Supper Shows on Thursdays-Saturdays through Sept. 26 at the Rockin' B Ranch, just south of Exit 299 at Stateline, Wash., with musical pre-show at 5:30 pm, "shoot-out" at 6:30 pm, dinner at 7 pm and concert at 8 pm. Tickets: $29; $10, children (ages 3-10). Jazz nights every other Wednesday (July 29-Sept. 23) at 7 pm. Tickets: $8. Visit or call 891-9016 or (888) ROCKIN-B.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spokies experiment: a dud

Of the dozen people Bobo contacted to ask for their participation on a Spokies panel for 2010, nearly all declined. (This would have been a panel to see local productions, make nominations and then vote.)
Some, I never heard back from. Some politely declined, pleading lack of time, going to see shows in other cities this year, but think of me next time. Some object on principle to the idea of comparing local theaters and setting them in competition against one another.
So, back to Square One.
Which has only one guy in it.
I'd like to honor local theater types more -- but I could use your suggestions. The sentiment at Inlander HQ is for an awards ceremony with trophies and yours truly as emcee.
But I'm not much of a party host, ain't no Billy Crystal, and would sort of feel like judge, jury and executioner up there (given that the Spokies are, at least at present, a one-man cottage industry).
Your thoughts?


Monday, July 20, 2009

Mondays 7-9 pm on KPBX: L.A. Theater Works

Bobo has just discovered what's been under his nose ...

Visit, which has podcasts, available for listening anytime
Weekly radio theater They have more than 200 titles.

July 27, Orson's Shadow, by Austin Pendleton
a play about Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Joan Plowright, Ken Tynan, Vivien Leigh and rehearsals for Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros

Aug. 3, La Bete by David Hirson
Moliere, modernized, and in couplets; with one of the longest, funniest monologues ever

Aug. 10, Six Degrees of Separation, by John Guare
Aug. 17, Lucy, by Damien Atkins (13-year-old autistic girl and her misanthropic mother)
Aug. 24, Dinah Was, by Oliver Goldstick (Dinah Washington fights racism in '59 Las Vegas)
Aug. 31, Anna Christie, by Eugene O'Neill

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Crazy artists; Tonys snub critics; British imports

A grab-bag of three topics in the theatrical news lately:

You think artists are nuts? Now there's proof. According to an article in the Scientific American, there may be a genetic link between creativity on the one hand and psychosis and/or schizophrenia on the other.

Variety notes that critics won't get to vote on the Tonys anymore -- causing those awards to become even more producer-driven and therefore commercial and shallow. It's true that critics don't get to vote on Grammys, Emmys or Oscars, either -- but at a time when arts journalists are getting laid off right and left, this will just further embolden bloggers full of hot air. (Wait, I'm a blogger full of hot air.)
ADDED July 19:
Jeremy Girard weighs in at Bloomberg.

The WSJ reports that more British plays will be arriving on Broadway. Included: the Jude Law Hamlet; Trevor Nunn's A Little Night Music; The Pitmen Painters, by Lee Hall (Billy Elliott), about coal miners who discover their own artistic ability, coming in April; War Horse (World War I with puppets); The Mountaintop (about MLK Jr.); and David Hare's The Power of Yes, which demonstrates that theater is quicker to respond than movies when it comes to fictional treatments of current news like the worldwide financial crisis.

But note the 500 percent difference in mounting a production in the U.S., because of British theatrical subsidies. Loving jocks (who make you feel) over thespians (who insist that you think) is not simply a Spokane phenomenon; it's nationwide. We don't love the arts much. The up-by-your-own-bootstraps ideal pretty much precludes intellectualism. Who needs book-larnin'?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On being an evangelical theater lover (with a bit about Tom Stoppard)

OK, so some snooty Brit crit (Charles Spencer in The Telegraph), back in early June, was going on and on about how wonderful London theater is, and how many good productions, and isn't it marvelous that people are coming to the theater in droves, even in a recession?
Well, lah-dee-dah, thought Bobo, wish I could be there and you're still stuck with your lousy food and bad teeth.
But then I arrived at Spencer's last four paragraphs, which suggest that theater retains its power a) because it is communal, when people feel isolated and alone, and b) because it deals with issues that matter, not superficial tabloid crap.

People crave what's real, as opposed to bullshit. (Look at the success of supposedly unscripted "reality" TV.) Spokane in particular loves big crowds, communal events. What if we combined the two? What if everyone in this theater community committed to proselytizing for the arts? (Look at how much attention the sports-vs.-theater comment strand has gotten on this blog.) What if each of us grabbed a neighbor or acquaintance at an Indians game and challenged him or her: I'll buy you an Indians ticket if you'll go to the theater with me sometime before the end of the year?

Spencer's drift is that predictable, comforting claptrap is not necessarily (or, at least, not exclusively) what playgoers (even the newbies) seek. Give your neighbor, your cousin, your dentist the pleasure of deeply felt emotion, communally felt.

It's just not the same as watching a sitcom at home with a couple of family members. It's like Tom Stoppard in *Arcadia* fusing thought and emotion, providing solace even though we all know that we're going to die -- and that, in an earthly sense, everything and everyone we know will vanish, forgotten, into oblivion. (Incidentally, Johann Hari's article from May in The Indepdendent that's linked here is about the best [relatively] brief synopsis of Stoppard's play that I've ever read.)

And Spencer's last four grafs are about the best pro-theater argument I've ever come across. Their applicability to our local theater scene? Among other things, that it's simply false that all folks want when times are tough is escapism. (They want some of it, sure. They don't want it exclusively.)

And is that Stoppard bit just Bobo being morbid? Not at all.
What if you knew you were going to die tomorrow? What would you do? You'd jettison the trivial stuff and tell the people who really matter how much you love them.
Then why is it any different only because you "know" that you're going to die in 40 years?

[ photo: from Sixth Street Melodrama, advertising their production of "Here We Sit, a comedy about theater," by L. Don Swartz, to be performed in Wallace, Idaho, from Nov. 6-22 ]

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Kids' theater camps in CdA

Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater, in association with Jazz Hands Theatre Company and the Kroc Center,
announces two week-long theater camps for kids:

Aug. 8-15, from 10 am-2 pm daily, culminating in two performances of "A Cow, Some Beans, and a Boy Named Jack"
Aug. 15-22, same times, with performances on Aug. 22 of "Cindy and Her Fella"

$150 per child per camp. Call (800) 4-CDA-TIX or (208) 769-7780.

Directed by Roger Welch, Christopher Moll and Steven Dahlke of CdA Summer Theater

[photo: Roger Welch, from the NIC Sentinel]


Monday, July 13, 2009

Kaiser's national tour

See the July 1 post on this blog about Michael Kaiser of the JFK Center.

Bobo heard on NPR this morning that Kaiser is starting a 50-state tour to advise arts organizations on how to survive the recession.
His message: Don't cut your number of performances. (That's just cutting your revenue stream.) Don't dumb-down your programming or make it more "accessible." (That just has the effect of making your offerings less distinctive, which makes obtaining arts funding less likely.) Market aggressively on the Internet (relatively cheap) and not in print advertising (relatively expensive). [So I guess Bobo's not being so self-serving about his employer, after all.]

Nationally, arts philanthropy was down 6 percent last year -- a big cut, but not the end of the world. 

Visit Arts in Crisis for an online application and other info.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

*The Taming of the Shrew,* outdoors Aug. 8-16

The Way-Off-Broadway Theater Group invites you to bring picnics and blankets and lounge on the grass (in an enclosed courtyard on the west side of the Gonzaga Prep campus) for a free, abridged, 90-minute outdoor performance of Shakespeare's comedy, directed by Kevin Connell, principal at G-Prep.

Four matinees over two weekends: Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm on Aug. 8-9 and Aug. 15-16.

Connell himself will play Baptista Minola, father of Bianca and of Katherine the Shrew. The production, in modern dress, will be performed by Gonzaga University students but on the campus of Gonzaga Prep, 1224 E. Euclid Ave., just east of Nevada St. Seating will be on the grass. Park in G-Prep's west parking lot. Call Connell at 994-2788.
[photo: Millie Duchow as Katherine and Michael Heye as Petruchio, left, struggle as Lucentio, Baptista, Hortensio and Gremio look on, in the Way-Off-Broadway Theater Group production of *Shrew* at G-Prep, August '09]

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Big changes at Interplayers ...

... including the name, the leadership, and the new season.

From its 29th season henceforward, what's been known as Spokane Interplayers Ensemble will be known as Interplayers Professional Theatre, or IPT.

Reed McColm is the new artistic director.

The 2009-10 season will feature small-cast dramas and just one musical:

Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, Sept. 17-Oct. 3
Karen Kalensky (now "artistic associate") and her husband, John Henry Whitaker, in Terence McNally's play about working-class lovers

Doubt, Oct 22-Nov 7, by John Patrick Shanley
dir. Roger Welch, with Aaron Murphy, Bethany Hart, Rebecca Davis, and Ann Russell Whiteman

Underneath the Lintel, by Glen Berger, Nov. 25-Dec. 12
Reed McColm in a one-man show

Honky-Tonk Highway, Jan. 28-Feb. 13, 2010
country-western band reunites after death of their leader

Yasmina Reza, Art,
March 11-27, 2010

Eleemosynary, by Lee Blessing, April 15-30, 2010

Psychopathia Sexualis, by John Patrick Shanley, May 13-29, 2010

[photo: John Patrick Shanley, from]

... and yes, Patty Duke will make an appearance too. No date yet, but the actress (now appearing as Madame Morrible in Wicked in S.F.) will sit for an "Inside the Actors Studio"-style interview, right here in Spokane.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Theater at the cineplex

From Phedre to Forever Plaid, Fugobi Broadway 3-D plans to bring theater events to the big screen (for about $20), on the model of the Met Opera broadcasts, as Gloria Goodale reports in the CSM.
See also the 1/15/09 post on this blog, "NT broadcasts."

[ album cover from ]


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

review of *The Producers*

Hotsy-Totsy Nazis

Accountants in green eyeshades lean over ledgers, chanting wearily that they're "unhappy, unhappy ... very very very unhappy." Soon they're joined by one of their own, a man with a briefcase named Leopold Bloom, bullied by his boss and resigned to a dull bookkeeping life. His dream is to be a Broadway producer — the glitz! the showgirls! — but he lacks nerve.
In one of the highlights of the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater production of The Producers, Matt Wade makes Leo the kind of guy who stumbles into a room, then yelps at the sight of the door he just closed behind himself. But soon, security blanket and all, Leo gets himself ensnared in enough fraud to make himself fabulously rich: He gets to act bossy, he gets to produce a play, he gets the girl.
And that’s why The Producers resonates with audiences. Despite the Borscht Belt one-liners, the hackneyed situations, the stereotypes, Mel Brooks’ gay fantasia on anti-Nazi themes is still about a couple of guys who just want to realize their dreams. (Well, more than a couple of guys, some of whom have their Fuhrer-worshipping quirks.)
The fun is in the outrageousness: Who wouldn’t like to dupe some oddballs, make a killing and toddle off to Rio?
In the CdA version (through July 18), director and choreographer Tralen Doler knows how to “Keep It Gay” and “Flaunt It” while convincing everyone concerned that “We Can Do It.” For example, Doler supervises a busy "King of Broadway" number, lead producer Max Bialystock's lament for the clout he once had. By the end, a swirling crowd of winos, nuns and hookers are all bowing down to a little guy preening on a pretzel cart. Doler makes clever use of side-stage projections, keeps the crowd scenes bustling, and even designs dance duets that go up, across and over a casting couch — keeping the energy flowing with dances and jokes that cover scene changes. (Directors enamored of momentum-killing blackouts, take note.)
Jennifer Davis's odd Swedish ululations as Ulla only worsened the lack of clarity in the Shuler sound system — a lot of her one-liners were garbled. Davis fills Ulla’s dance requirements, though: She’s one flexible bombshell.
As Franz Liebkind, the Nazi nutcase who has written a musical tribute to Adolf Elizabeth Hitler — a sure-fire flop on Broadway — Patrick Treadway sports some hot-pants lederhosen, his knobby knees protruding above Nazi knee socks. Treadway could afford to go even more over the top while “In Old Bavaria,” but his rapid-fire hand-claps in “Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop” were hilarious.
Jerry Christakos steals scenes as the self-aggrandizing and very swish director chosen by Max and Leo to shepherd their flop. Whether he’s in silver-lamé drag or military khakis, watch Christakos’ mannerisms: fluttering hands of indecision, facial tics gauging how much the audience adores him, arms draped in L-shapes of self-hugging. He tap-dances with Stalin, goose-steps in the chorus line, and generally follows Charlie Chaplin’s technique (in The Great Dictator) of making fascists look foolish.
As the director’s gofer, Steven Dahlke executes an effete hip-swiveling sashay that’s exaggerated and therefore funny. (Subtlety’s not valued in this show. What’s valued is finding new ways to make caricatures even more outlandish.)
Max Mendez’s 17-piece orchestra was especially impressive in show-off passages like the first-act finale and, of course, that Las Vegas-style tribute to the world’s greatest entertainer, “Springtime for Hitler.”
That number provides one way to hack Hitler down to size. But then The Producers makes fun of everybody, not excluding Jews and little old ladies. And the satire is scattershot for a reason: In Mel Brooks Land, you might as well chase your dreams, because everybody else is too crazy to chase after theirs.

[ photo by Young Kwak for The Inlander: Eric Hadley as Max Bialystock, Jennifer Davis as Ulla, and Matt Wade as Leo Bloom in Tralen Doler's production of Mel Brooks' The Producers at Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater, July 2009 ]

** Deleted passages (like the extras on a DVD, only less entertaining):

Wade and Davis waltz right up and over the casting couch, leading to suggestions of nookie punctuated by a delightful pop-up-head routine.

Wade displays here the best physical comedy that he has offered in two seasons at CdA: tongue out, chin lowered, security blanket nestled up against his cheek, his arm, his forehead. He doesn’t speak, he neighs — and when he gets over-excited, he’s a regular hoppy-floppy Energizer Bunny.
He invents unexpected and cutesy ways of cuddling up wif his little blankie (so he’s got “childlike” covered) and he’s got out-of-control happy feet when Ulla says says she’ll shack up with him (so he’s got “horny” covered too). When the two of them return from Rio, Wade parties in an ice cream suit, cavorting with Mardi Gras gyrations that are matched only by Davis’s hyper-speed shoulder-and-bosom shimmies.

A couple of numbers early in Act Two seem old-fashioned and tame in the context of Brooks’ frenzy. “That Face,” the boys’ tribute to Ulla’s hotsy-totsy-ness, seems like a simple love song, and the “’Break a leg,’ not ‘Good luck’” bit feels like a segment Brooks had to add in between the auditions and the big-number extravaganza of “Springtime for Hitler.”

As Max, Eric Hadley projects bulldog humor. Sometimes the huffing and puffing — or the Nathan Lane mannerisms — show through, but Hadley’s a likeable weasel. His Bialystock whines a lot, but from motives of desperation, not swindling. A jaw-dropping highlight of this show arrives late in Act Two, when Hadley, isolated in a jail cell, performs the rapid-fire plot summarizing in “Betrayed” so well and so precisely that it’s funny/awesome at all once.

The old-ladies-with-walkers drill team was less extensive and precise than in other productions, but compensation arrived in the first-act finale, which had everyone expressing their desires with sonic flair.

This time around, I admired Brooks’ ingenuity with the ol’ rule about how a show’s second song needs to be an “I Want” song. “King of Broadway” establishes that Max was up, now down, and wants to be back up again in the pecking order of Broadway producers. But then we get the light bulb/temptation scene (Leo makes a random observation, Max gets his Big Idea, then recruits a reluctant Leo into his scheme) — followed by Leo’s second thoughts, necessitating a second “I Want” song, with Leo realizing that he’s willing to risk living in jail because he’s already living in the jail of the accounting firm.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

2009-10 in Pac NW theater

Spokane Civic Theater
Endowment Dinner at Northern Quest, July 17
The Pirates of Penzance, Sept 25-Oct 25, dir. Yvonne A.K. Johnson
String of Pearls, Oct 23-Nov. 15, dir. Susan Hardie
Chess (in concert), Oct. 30-31, dir. Yvonne A.K. Johnson
A Tuna Christmas, Nov. 20-Dec 19, dir. William Marlowe
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Nov 28-Dec 20, dir. Andrew Ware Lewis
Jan 15-Feb 6, 2010 Curtains, dir. Troy Nickerson
Jan 29-Feb 21, 2010 Sylvia, dir. Brooke Kiener
Feb 26-March 21, 2010 Steel Magnolias, dir. George Green
March 19-April 11, 2010 The Spitfire Grill, dir. Marianne McLaughlin
April 9-25, 2010 Escanaba in da Moonlight, dir. Troy Nickerson
April 30-May 23, 2010 Lips Together, Teeth Apart, dir. Wes Deitrick
May 21-June 20, 2010 Annie, Get Your Gun, dir. Yvonne A.K. Johnson

Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater
July 3-18 The Producers
July 23-Aug 2 Dames at Sea
Aug 8-22 Miss Saigon
Nuncrackers Dec 18-20

Idaho Repertory Theater, Moscow
through Aug. 8:
Unnecessary Farce, Some Enchanted Evening, CHAPS, High School Musical, Romeo and Juliet

Interplayers Professional Theatre
Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, Sept. 17-Oct. 3
Doubt, Oct 22-Nov 7
Underneath the Lintel, Nov. 25-Dec. 12
Honky-Tonk Highway, Jan. 28-Feb. 13, 2010
Art, March 11-27, 2010
Eleemosynary, April 15-30, 2010
Psychopathia Sexualis, May 13-29, 2010

Lake City Playhouse
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (musical version, dir. Maria Caprile), Sept. 25-Oct. 11
Dracula (dir. Rebecca McNeil), Oct. 29-Nov. 8
The Little Princess (dir. Laura Little), Dec. 3-20
and in 2010: Leader of the Pack (dir. Marina Kalani), Jan. 14-31
High School Musical 2 (dir. Emily Bayne), Feb. 18-March 7
Amadeus (dir. Jhon Goodwin), March 25-April 3
Jekyll and Hyde (dir. Jered Helm), April 29-May 23

Sixth Street Melodrama, Wallace, Idaho
D.K. Molar, the Devious Dentist, through July 26
Mesmerizing Merry, Aug. 5-30
Here We Sit, a comedy about theater, Nov. 6-22
I Do! I Do!. Jan. 8-24, 2010
Dearly Beloved, March 5-24, 2010

Merc Playhouse, Twisp, Wash.
Steel Magnolias, through July 19
Nobody Don't Like Yogi, Aug 21-Sept 5

Regional Theater of the Palouse, Pullman, Wash.
Annie Get Your Gun  Aug. 28-30 at Beasley Coliseum
also: Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Enchanted April
Guys and Dolls

Seattle Shakespeare Company
Richard III July 9-Aug 2
The Taming of the Shrew July 10-Aug 2
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Dec 3-27
Jan 7-31, 2010 Henry V
March 18-April 11, 2010 Hamlet
April 18-May 9, 2010 Twelfth Night

Book-It Repertory Theater, Seattle
A Confederacy of Dunces, Sept. 16-Oct. 11
Emma, Oct. 20-Nov 22
Feb 9-March 7, 2010 The River Why, by David James Duncan
June 9-July 11, 2010 The Cider House Rules: Part One, adapted by Peter Parnell from John Irving

Wing-It Productions, Seattle
Objection, by Jon Axell, through July 24
Jet City Improv, through Dec 26
Twisted Flicks, July 30-Dec 26
Couples Therapy, Aug 6-Sept 18

Taproot Theatre Company, Seattle
Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, through Aug 15
Enchanted April, Sept 23-Oct 24
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol, by John Longenbaugh, Nov 20-Dec 26

A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), Seattle
the break/s, by Mark Bamuthi Joseph, through July 12
Das Barbecu (with Carter J. Davis), July 31-Sept 6
The Runt of the Litter, by Bo Eason
Rock 'n' Roll, by Tom Stoppard

Harlequin Theater, Olympia
Bat Boy: The Musical, through July 18
Mating Dance of the Werewolf, Aug 20-Sept 12
Stardust Homecoming, Nov-Dec (a Puget Sound Christmas in 1942)
Jan-Feb 2010 Six Hotels (premiere by Israel Horovitz; 4 actors play 24 parts in ...)
March-April 2010 End Days, by Deborah Zoe Laufer
April-May, 2010 Rabbit Hole
a summer musical
Aug-Sept 2010, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher
Sept-Oct 2010, The Taming of the Shrew

Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise
The Comedy of Errors, through July 24
The Seagull (closed July 3)
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, July 10-Aug 28
Twelfth Night, July 31-Aug 30
A Tuna Christmas, Sept 4-Oct 3

Boise Contemporary Theater
The Pavilion, by Craig Wright, Oct. 14-Nov 7 (pair reunite at a 20-year h.s. reunion)
Animals Out of Paper, by Rajiv Joseph, Nov 24-Dec 19 (three very different people do origami)
At Home at the Zoo, by Edward Albee, Jan 27-Feb 20, 2010 (adds a first act to The Zoo Story)
Namaste Man, written and perf. by Andrew Weems, April 7-May 1 (autobiography set in Zambia, Nepal, Virginia)

Missoula Children's Theater

Christian Youth Theater, Spokane
Schoolhouse Rock, Nov. 6-15
The Wizard of Oz, Feb. 26-March 7, 2010
Pocahontas, May 21-30, 2010

Dearly Departed, by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, Nov. 12-22
The Comedy of Errors, March 5-15, 2010
The Insanity of Mary Girard, by Jamie Robertson, May 28-June 7, 2010
... and in collaboration with Spokane Children's Theater:
Nightingale in March 2010
Box Car Children in April 2010

Gonzaga University
Pride and Prejudice Oct 23-Nov 1
Jan 29-Feb 7, 2010 Weaving Our Sisters’ Voices (women from Scripture dance, sing, recite poetry)
March 25-29, 2010 Lysistrata (trans. Nicholas Rudall)
April 22-24, 2010 Spring Dance Concert

Pullman Civic Theater
July 17-26 Charlotte’s Web
September: Greater Tuna
December: A Christmas Story

EWU, Cheney
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (adapted by Jay Allen) Nov 13-21
Romeo and Juliet March 3-15, 2010
Almost, Maine, by John Cariani May 7-15, 2010

The Illusion, by Pierre Corneille (trans. Tony Kushner), dir. Diana Trotter, Oct. 16-24
March 5-13, 2010 Is He Dead? by Mark Twain (adapt. David Ives), dir. Rick Hornor

Spokane Children's Theater
High School Musical 2, dir. Kim Roberts, Oct 9-25, at SCC Lair
Babes in Toyland, Nov 27-Dec 13, at SCC
Charlotte's Web, Feb. 14-28, 2010, at SCC
The Nightingale, March 20-28, 2010, at SFCC's Spartan Theater, dir. Sara Edlin-Marlowe
May 22-June, 6, 2010: The Boxcar Children, at SFCC

Portland Center Stage
Ragtime Sept 22-Nov 1
Ben Franklin: Unplugged Sept 29-Nov 22
A Christmas Carol Nov 24-Dec 27
The Santaland Diaries Dec 3-27
Snow Falling on Cedars Jan 12-Feb 7, 2010
The Receptionist Jan 26-March 21
The 39 Steps Feb 23-March 21

The Chosen April 6-May 2
Mike’s Incredible Indian Adventure April 20-May 30
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee May 25-June 27

Artists Repertory Theater, Portland
All My Sons Sept 8-Oct 11
Becky’s New Car Sept 22-Oct 25 (a pretend-widow escapes midlife doldrums)
Holidazed Nov 17-Dec 20 (super mom takes in pagan teen)
Design for Living Jan 5-Feb 7, 2010 (Noel Coward’s ménage-a-trois)
Othello April 13-May 16 (‘40s noir look)
Gracie and the Atom April 27-May 30 (musical: physics vs. faith at Catholic school)

Intiman Theater, Seattle
July 2-Aug 2 Othello
Aug 21-Sept 20 The Year of Magical Thinking
Oct 2-Nov 15 Abe Lincoln in Illinois, by Robert Sherwood
Dec 1-27 Black Nativity

Seattle Rep
The 39 Steps Sept 25-Oct 18 (comic spy mystery with four actors playing 130 roles)
August: Osage County Oct 27-Nov 1 (with Estelle Parsons)
Opus Oct 30-Dec 6 (contentious string quartet reunites; dir. Braden Abraham)

Equivocation Nov 18-Dec 3 (dir. Bill Rauch, from OSF; Shakespeare writes Macbeth)
Speech and Debate Jan 15-Feb 21, 2010 (three teens stir up controversy in high school)
Glengarry Glen Ross Feb 5-28
Fences March 26-April 18 (25th anniversary of August Wilson’s ‘50s play)
An Iliad (April 9-May 16) in a one-man show, Denis O’Hare updates Homer

Company of Fools, Hailey, Idaho
110 in the Shade July 4-Aug 1 (musical version of The Rainmaker)
Welcome Home Jenny Sutter July 4-Aug 2 (Iraq vet returns, gets lost in Calif. desert)
Steel Magnolias July 4-Aug 2
The Syringa Tree Oct 21-Nov 8 (white family and black family in 1960s South Africa)
Dec 17, 2009-Jan 3, 2010 A Year With Frog and Toad
Feb 24-March 14, 2010 The Glass Menagerie

Montana Rep, Missoula

Lord Leebrick Theater Company, Eugene
(2009-10 season; no dates yet)
American Buffalo, by David Mamet
The Four of Us, by Itamar Moses
Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventure of Louis de Rougemont (as told by himself), by Donald Margulies
Customary Monsters, by Kyle T. Wilson
Eurydice, by Sarah Ruhl

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland
in the Bowmer through Oct. 31-Nov. 1:
Macbeth, The Music Man, Equivocation, Paradise Lost
in the New Theater through Nov. 1:
The Servant of Two Masters, All's Well That Ends Well
in the Elizabethan Theater through Oct. 9-11:
Henry VIII, Don Quixote, Much Ado About Nothing

OSF in Feb-Oct. 2010:
in the Bowmer:
Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, She Loves Me, Throne of Blood
in the New Theater:
Well, Ruined, American Night
in the Elizabethan Theater:
The Merchant of Venice; Twelfth Night; Henry IV, Part One

The Paramount Theater, Seattle
Wicked, Sept 3-Oct 4
August: Osage County, Oct 27-Nov 1
Fiddler on the Roof, May 25-30, 2010

Keller Auditorium, Portland
Fiddler on the Roof, Aug 25-30
Forbidden Broadway, Sept. 17-20
August: Osage County, Oct 20-25
Xanadu, Jan 12-17, 2010
Legally Blonde, Feb 16-21, 2010
Cats, March 23-28, 2010
Dreamgirls, April 13-18, 2010; Cirque Dreams Illumination: May 25-30, 2010; and The Lion King: June 16-July 11, 2010

Capitol Theater, Yakima
The Wedding Singer, Jan 1-2, 2010
Annie, Feb 9-11, 2010
Avenue Q, Feb 17-18, 2010
Camelot, March 5-6, 2010
Dixie's Tupperware Party, March 9-14, 2010
Cabaret, April 13-14, 2010

Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Bigfork, MT
(15 miles SE of Kalispell; on the NE shore of Flathead Lake)
through Aug. 22: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Singin' in the Rain; The Wiz; and Seussical: The Musical

Opera House Theater Company, Phillipsburg, MT
(60 miles SE of Missoula)
through Sept. 6: Butterscotch; Having a Wonderful Time, Wish You Were Her; and Vaudeville Variety Extravaganza

Slamming Doors

Unnecessary Farce is set in two adjoining motel rooms, and there’s a reason that the set for the Idaho Rep production has eight doors: They’re all going to slam. Possibly all at the same time.
After the opening exposition scene, says artistic director Dean Panttaja, Paul Slade Smith’s comedy is “a nonstop ruckus.” Two cops are staking out the mayor’s secret meeting with an accountant: Is embezzlement in the works? Problem is, one of the cops is sleeping with the accountant, and the other has no clue how to work the videotape machine. The plot thickens — and the door-slamming accelerates — with the addition of the mayor’s wife, a gumshoe detective who’s nowhere near as hardboiled as he’d like to think, and a mysterious hitman wearing kilts and playing bagpipes. “Just when you think you know what will happen, or how a character will act or react,” says Panttaja, “it all gets turned topsy-turvy.”

Idaho Repertory Theater presents Unnecessary Farce • July 1-2, 10, 16, 19, 28 and Aug. 6, at 7:30 pm • Tickets: $18; $16, seniors; $13, youth • UI, Hartung Theater, Sixth St. and Stadium Dr., Moscow, Idaho (quarter-mile west of the Kibbie Dome) • Visit: • Call: (208) 885-7212 • Four other plays continue in Moscow through Aug. 3: CHAPS, Some Enchanted Evening, Romeo and Juliet and High School Musical


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Create good productions and tell people about them

Michael Kaiser at HuffPo has a point: Arts orgs don't have an expenditure problem so much as they have a revenue problem.
Theaters aren't overspending; they're just failing to attract as much of an audience as they deserve.
Kaiser suggests the following: Don't cut back on programs. Don't make them "more accessible." Market them aggressively.

(photo: Michael Kaiser is president of the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Wash., D.C.)

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