‘Cabaret’ performances will draw you in, universal message will bring you back

May 20, 2015

Simply put, “Cabaret” is one of the best productions I’ve ever seen at Village Theatre.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre The cast of ‘Cabaret,’ led by the Emcee (Jason Collins, center), welcomes the audience to the Kit Kat Klub in the opening number ‘Wilkommen.’

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
The cast of ‘Cabaret,’ led by the Emcee (Jason Collins, center), welcomes the audience to the Kit Kat Klub in the opening number ‘Wilkommen.’

However, your enjoyment of the musical will directly correlate with your ability to handle an uncomfortable truth.

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Lady killers — How two men handle the women in their lives delivers the laughs in ‘No Way to Treat a Lady’

March 25, 2015

Audiences will be excited that Village Theatre veteran director Steve Tomkins was able to cross off another production from his bucket list — this time, one of the first productions in the Village Originals program in 1999, “No Way to Treat a Lady.”

Adapted from a William Goldman novel, Douglas J. Cohen penned a tale of Christopher “Kit” Gill and Morris Brummel, who are both having mommy issues. How they approach their problems is at the core of the musical.

By Tracy Martin/Property of Village Theatre Christopher ‘Kit’ Gill (Nick DeSantis) tries to seduce the frustratingly flamboyant Carmella (Bobbi Kotula) in an attempt to make her one of his strangled victims in Village Theatre’s newest musical ‘No Way to Treat a Lady.’

By Tracy Martin/Property of Village Theatre
Christopher ‘Kit’ Gill (Nick DeSantis) tries to seduce the frustratingly flamboyant Carmella (Bobbi Kotula) in an attempt to make her one of his strangled victims in Village Theatre’s newest musical ‘No Way to Treat a Lady.’

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Take an enjoyable romp ‘Around the World in 80 Days’

January 27, 2015

By Tracy Martin / Village Theatre Riding a trail across the Old West while being chased by Indians are (from left) Aneesh Sheth (Aouda), Jared Michael Brown (Phileas Fogg), Chris Ensweiler (Passepartout), Jason Collins (Proctor), and Eric Polani Jensen (Detective Fix) in Village Theatre's production of 'Around the World in 80 Days.'

By Tracy Martin / Village Theatre
Riding a trail across the Old West while being chased by Indians are (from left) Aneesh Sheth (Aouda), Jared Michael Brown (Phileas Fogg), Chris Ensweiler (Passepartout), Jason Collins (Proctor), and Eric Polani Jensen (Detective Fix) in Village Theatre’s production of ‘Around the World in 80 Days.’

In 1873, back before anyone had successfully accomplished the feat, Jules Verne envisioned what it would take to circumvent the globe in a limited time frame. Read more

Practically Perfect — Village Theatre’s ‘Mary Poppins’ is a visual, technical tour de force

November 18, 2014

Village Theatre knows spectacle.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre The cast of ‘Mary Poppins’ use letters to help spell out the mouthful that is the song ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
The cast of ‘Mary Poppins’ use letters to help spell out the mouthful that is the song ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’

Once again, the Issaquah company has unveiled a visually stunning production in its latest musical, “Mary Poppins.” Every aspect proved to be a feast for the eyes and ears, as Village Theatre spared no expense to bring the magic of the Disney production to the stage.

Installation of a flight system to help a nanny fly? Check. Countless, colorful costume changes? Check. Magical props that prove to have a life of their own? Check. Impressive choreography helping bring memorable Disney classic songs to life? Check.

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‘In the Heights’ elevates Village Theatre’s new season

September 23, 2014

Village Theatre begins its season at the top.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre Perry Young as Usnavi, leads the ensemble cast through the opening number in Village Theatre’s season opener ‘In the Heights.’ Many of the production’s varied musical stylings and dance routines are previewed during the impressive song.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
Perry Young as Usnavi, leads the ensemble cast through the opening number in Village Theatre’s season opener ‘In the Heights.’ Many of the production’s varied musical stylings and dance routines are previewed during the impressive song.

“In the Heights,” a rousing, energetic feature about a largely Dominican-American neighborhood in New York City, opened the 2014-2015 season with a raucous performance Sept. 18.

Though the story itself relies heavily on old “gotta-get-outta-here” tropes and steers well clear of anything approaching the gritty reality of living in an urban environment, the spirit of the music, the talent of the cast and exuberance of the dance brightly shines.

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Village Theatre digs deep into its bag of tricks for its latest musical

May 20, 2014

The cast enacts the showstopper from a musical number in the Village Theatre production of ‘Funny Girl’ showing at the Fraancis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah.

The cast enacts the showstopper from a musical number in the Village Theatre production of ‘Funny Girl’ showing at the Fraancis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah. By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre

 

No cloud rains on Village Theatre’s latest parade.

In its last production of the 2014-2015 season, the regional theater brings “Funny Girl” to the stage in all its roaring glory. Recounting the life of vaudeville and Broadway star Fanny Brice, the 1964 musical (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart) takes the audience on a whirlwind, rags-to-riches journey of Brice’s life.

The classic story, with Brice famously portrayed by Barbra Streisand on stage and screen, is well-known and I should note immediately that I find it lackluster. Struggling, gutsy girl meets boy. Gutsy girl struggles less, and then weds boy. Boy turns rotten. Girl stays gutsy.

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‘Funny Girl’ returns to Village Theatre 20 years later

May 13, 2014

The May 15 return of “Funny Girl” to Village Theatre brings milestones behind the scenes.

Issaquah’s regional professional theater has kept much of the same talent since 1993, the last time it put on the musical featuring the life and career of a Broadway star set in the early 20th century.

But those people at the helm of the lavishly involved show bring decades more experience to this year’s production. Both the costume designer and the master scenic artist worked on the show 20 years ago, and for everything that has stayed the same, they have seen many things change.

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‘The Tutor’ seems to have lost its lesson plan

March 25, 2014

Somewhere between the song about erectile dysfunction and the giant painted backdrop of the Matterhorn, I wondered where “The Tutor” lost its way.

The new show at Village Theatre, which opened March 20, begins interestingly enough. It tells the story of Edmund, the titular tutor, who teaches dumb rich kids to allow constant work on his never-finished novel. Things take their inevitable turn when he lands a gig tutoring Sweetie, a rebellious teenager who provides just the right spark to loosen Edmund’s creativity.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre Eric Ankrim, as Edmund, and Katie Griffith, as Sweetie, star in Village Theatre’s ‘The Tutor.’

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
Eric Ankrim, as Edmund, and Katie Griffith, as Sweetie, star in Village Theatre’s ‘The Tutor.’

Developed as part of the Village Originals Series of New Musicals, “The Tutor” fell flat after a promising start.

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Village Theatre’s ‘Foreigner’ feels like an old friend

January 28, 2014

Much of the success of Village Theatre’s latest production, “The Foreigner,” rides on the shoulders of actor Erik Gratton. Or, dare I say, his face?

When he first shuffles on set, Gratton must be channeling Droopy from the 1940s MGM cartoons. That he can maintain that hang-dog look while co-star Patrick Phillips prattles on, laying the background for the plot, lets the audience know they’re in for something special.

By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre Erik Gratton (left, as Charlie) listens in on a conversation between Jonathan Crimeni (Reverend David) and Angela DiMarco (Catherine) in a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Foreigner.’

By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre
Erik Gratton (left, as Charlie) listens in on a conversation between Jonathan Crimeni (Reverend David) and Angela DiMarco (Catherine) in a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Foreigner.’

In a play, written by Larry Shue, filled with over-the-top characters from the early ’80s South, Gratton’s interaction with them hinges upon his successful take of a man of a thousand faces.

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It looks a lot like a ‘White Christmas’ at Issaquah High

December 3, 2013

For the cast and crew putting the final touches on this month’s “White Christmas” musical at Issaquah High School, one of the most enjoyable parts is creating a performance that can be enjoyed by all age groups.

“The thing that makes it so engaging for so many people is everybody knows these songs,” said Holly Whiting, who’s directing her ninth musical at IHS. “These songs are old enough that every generation that’s going to be attending this program is going to be familiar with the music.

By Neil Pierson Issaquah High School drama students (from left) Caroline Hamblin, Kylie Fletcher and Ashley Young, rehearse a scene from ‘White Christmas.’

By Neil Pierson
Issaquah High School drama students (from left) Caroline Hamblin, Kylie Fletcher and Ashley Young, rehearse a scene from ‘White Christmas.’

“And I think we all have pretty good, happy memories attached to a lot of these songs.”

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