Theater marks 30th season with new musical

September 15, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Tanesha Ross (left) stars as Nicolette and Matthew Kacergis is Aucassin in the Village Theatre production of ‘Chasing Nicolette.’ By John Pai / Property of Village Theatre

Tanesha Ross (left) stars as Nicolette and Matthew Kacergis is Aucassin in the Village Theatre production of ‘Chasing Nicolette.’ By John Pai / Property of Village Theatre

Village Theatre’s new musical, “Chasing Nicolette,” debuts Sept. 16 and promises to light up the stage as summer comes to a close.

“It is particularly exciting for me to open our 30th anniversary season with a wonderful new musical,” said Robb Hunt, executive director of Village Theatre. “Since I’ve been here all 30 years, I can say that it feels like quite an accomplishment to be established nationally as one of the few organizations which develops and nurtures new musicals that achieve national exposure. It is a key part of our mission and after 30 years, we are really doing it with two new musicals in the season.”

The year is 1224. War, hatred and prejudice fill the lands between Europe and the Middle East, but despite these obstacles, two young lovers — Christian nobleman Aucassin, played by Matthew John Kacergis, and a Muslim princess, played by Tanesha Ross — find a place for love.Based on the French romance, “Aucassin and Nicolette,” the new musical was conceived by composer David Friedman (who has worked with Disney, Diana Ross and Barry Manilow) and two-time Tony award nominee and the show’s librettist, Peter Kellogg.

Originally, it debuted at the 2008 Village Originals Festival of New Musicals, where it was a hit with local audiences.

Written completely in iambic pentameter, the musical focuses rhymed couplets and quirky lyrics to pair with action-packed scenes, which give it that “classic, almost fairy-tale romance” quality and make it quite unique compared to other new musicals, Kellogg said in a press release.

The two young lovers struggle through obstacles — angry parents, a love-seeking covenant school graduate, war, mistaken identity and dank dungeons — that threaten their love. But they prove those are all nothing a little swashbuckling action can’t put asunder.

Bouncing back and forth from the city of Carthage to the French countryside, audiences will watch a tale of romance that bridges cultures and brings two cities together.

“‘Chasing Nicolette’ is a funny musical and audiences will probably laugh a lot. But, it also happens to be timely and relevant,” Kellogg wrote. “In fact, since we started working on it over a decade ago, the subject matter — rich versus poor, Muslim versus Christian — has become more relevant with each passing year.”

“Chasing Nicolette” is directed by Village Theatre’s Steve Tomkins, with assistance from Eric Polani Jensen, who played The Beast in “Beauty and the Beast.” The set design is by Scott Fyfe, who worked on the theater’s production of “Stunt Girl” and “Million Dollar Quartet.” Lighting design is by Tom Sturge (“The Importance of Being Earnest”) and costumes are by Melanie Burgess (“Stunt Girl” and “The King and I”).

If you go

‘Chasing Nicolette’

2, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m.

Sept. 17 – Oct. 25

$34 – $59 for adults

Francis J. Gaudette Theatre

303 Front St. N.

Call 392-2202 or go to

www.villagetheatre.org.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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