‘Little Shop of Horrors’ scares up drama nominations

May 29, 2012

The scene-stealing, man-eating plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” scared up 13 nominations for the Liberty High School drama program in a statewide competition.

The bevy of nominations is for The 5th Avenue Theatre’s annual awards to recognize musical theater at high schools across the Evergreen State. The honor is akin to a Tony Award for student performers and productions.

The drama program at Liberty, the Patriot Players, presented “Little Shop of Horrors” in late April and early May. The campy musical revolved around a carnivorous plant, Audrey II, a collection of limbs and vines crafted especially for the Liberty performance.

The program received nods for Outstanding Overall Musical Production, Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Musical Direction and Outstanding Choreography.

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A plant steals the show in Liberty High School’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

April 24, 2012

Pam Edmonds (left) is Audrey and Tucker Goodman is Seymour in Liberty High School’s production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ By Tom Corrigan

This is likely to be the only play put on by any high school where the actors have a good chance of being upstaged by a plant.

A very lively, talking, singing plant, but still a plant.

Liberty High School is presenting the musical spoof “Little Shop of Horrors” at the school starting April 27. There are five more shows through May 5.

For those who don’t know, “Little Shop” is based on the exceptionally cheesy, cult horror movie of the same name. At its center is a plant that feeds on human blood. In the musical, it’s all tongue in cheek, of course.

“It’s definitely been an experience,” said senior Sheady Manning-Bruce, 17, who actually plays the plant, Audrey II.

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‘First Date’ musical features Liberty High School alumna Vicki Noon

February 28, 2012

Local actress Vicki Noon, a Liberty High School alumna, returns to a Seattle stage after starring as sharpshooter Annie Oakley in Village Theatre’s “Annie Get Your Gun” and Elphaba on a “Wicked” national tour.

The cast of original musical “First Date” — a co-production between ACT – A Contemporary Theatre and The 5th Avenue Theatre — includes Noon. The sexy comedy follows a couple on a blind date as old boyfriends, ex-fiancées, friends and relatives intrude.

“First Date” runs from March 10 to May 20 at ACT – A Contemporary Theatre in the Falls Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle. Purchase tickets at The 5th Avenue Box Office, 206-625-1900 and www.5thavenue.org, or the ACT Ticket Office, 206-292-7676 or www.acttheatre.org.

Noon started her career at age 13 in the title role of “Violet” at ACT – A Contemporary Theatre. She also played Sophie in the North American tour of “Mamma Mia!” Noon’s Village Theatre credits include a 2006 production of “Cats” and a 2005 staging of original musical “Play It By Heart.”

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High school students win 5th Avenue Theatre best acting awards

June 14, 2011

Tucker Goodman, a Liberty High School junior, accepts his award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a leading Role at the 5th Avenue Theatre’s annual awards June 6 honoring high school musical theater. By Sam Freeman/nwtnews

Two students from Liberty and Eastside Catholic high schools — junior Tucker Goodman and senior John Winslow — have landed the most prestigious acting awards of their young careers.

Liberty High School’s Goodman won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at The 5th Avenue Theatre’s annual awards honoring high school musical theater on June 6.

For the winning role, he played the Chairman of the Board for the Patriot Players’ performance of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” a musical based on an unfinished novel written by Charles Dickens.

This isn’t Goodman’s first nomination, although it is his first award from The 5th Avenue. In 2010, Goodman received a nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as Cinderella’s prince in “Into the Woods”

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Students win acting awards from The 5th Avenue Theatre

June 7, 2011

NEW — 12:40 p.m. June 7, 2011

Two students from Liberty and Eastside Catholic high schools — junior Tucker Goodman and senior John Winslow — have landed the most prestigious acting awards of their young careers.

Liberty High School’s Goodman won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at The 5th Avenue Theatre’s annual awards honoring high school musical theater Monday.

For the winning role, he played the Chairman of the Board for the Patriot Players’ performance of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” a musical based on an unfinished novel written by Charles Dickens.

This isn’t Goodman’s first nomination, although it is his first award from The 5th. In 2010, Goodman received a nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as a prince in “Into the Woods.”

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Patriot Players earn nominations for musical murder mystery

May 24, 2011

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” — a stage production based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished murder mystery — garnered Liberty High School performers a bevy of nominations in The 5th Avenue Theatre’s annual awards to honor high school musical theater.

The ladies of the opium den circle gather ’round the Princess Puffer, played by Senior Kelsey Canaga, during the Patriot Players’ musical ‘Drood’ at Liberty High School. By Mary Eck

The lush depiction of Victorian London garnered nods for Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Program Design and Outstanding Performance by a Chorus. Performers Tucker Goodman, a junior, and Paige Fabre, a senior, also received acting nominations in the statewide competition.

The high school’s company, the Patriot Players, earned nominations in most major categories.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” also earned the Patriot Players honorable mentions in the Outstanding Overall Musical Production and Outstanding Direction categories.

Liberty drama program director Katherine Klekas said the challenging musical required strong performers.

“We knew we had people to play some of these really pivotal roles,” she said. “There were plenty of people for several of the roles, but you also don’t pick a show like that if you don’t know that you’ve got people who can handle it.”

The performers rose to the challenge and, before each performance, slipped into period costumes and English accents to charm audience members.

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Liberty High School drama program earns award nominations

May 18, 2011

Liberty High School performers prepare for a scene from 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood.' By Mary Eck

NEW — 8 a.m. May 18, 2011

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” — a stage production based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished murder mystery — garnered Liberty High School performers a half dozen nominations in the annual 5th Avenue Awards Honoring High School Musical Theater.

The high school’s company, called the Patriot Players, earned nods for Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Program Design and Outstanding Performance by a Chorus. Tucker Goodman and Paige Fabre also received acting nominations in the statewide competition.

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‘Next to Normal’ offers unfiltered portrayal of mental anguish

March 1, 2011

Something is not quite right about the Goodman family.

The bright and chipper matriarch, Diana, bounds to the breakfast table after a sleepless night to assemble enough sandwiches to supply a church picnic. Only, rather than the table, Diana uses the floor.

Alice Ripley (left) and Jeremy Kushnier perform in the celebrated musical ‘Next to Normal,’ a wrenching account of a woman’s struggle against mental illness. By Craig Schwartz

“Next to Normal” drops the pretense in the opening moments, as the Goodmans’ song about another ordinary day morphs into a call for help. Indeed, as patriarch Dan (Asa Somers) notes in the opening number, the family is “living on a latte and a prayer” amid the domestic tumult.

“Next to Normal” plumbs the mental illness afflicting Diana and unflinchingly details the corrosive effects the disease has on a suburban family. The subject matter sounds bleak and, no, the musical does not sugarcoat or recoil from the more unpleasant moments in the unending struggle against mental illness.

“Next to Normal” earned Tony Awards by the sackful and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Beneath the hardware is a musical unlike others in recent memory.

“Next to Normal” precursor “Feeling Electric” received tune-ups at Village Theatre in Issaquah. Village Theatre alumnus and Issaquah High School grad Brian Yorkey is responsible for the searing book and lyrics.

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Broadway beckons Village Theatre musicals

February 15, 2011

Musicals nurtured at Issaquah theater charm audiences and rack up awards in the Big Apple

Tony Award-winning actress Alice Ripley (center, seated) leads the ‘Next to Normal’ cast in a performance at the Arena Stage, the musical’s last stop before debuting on Broadway. By Joan Marcus

The brick-and-glass theater along a fashionable street in Oslo, Norway, seems like a strange place to re-create Yankee suburbia.

Onstage, “Next to Normal” — a rock musical fostered in Issaquah — is about to be performed. The story about a suburban — and quite American — family straining against mental illness has been translated into Norwegian for the international premiere.

The debut last September marked a milestone for the musical. “Next to Normal” had already stormed Broadway — earning Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the process.

Before the accolades and Oslo, “Next to Normal” emerged in a Village Theatre program designed to foster original musicals.

The long-running program has cemented the reputation of the downtown Issaquah playhouse as a cradle for Broadway.

Village Theatre cultivated “Next to Normal” and the jukebox musical “Million Dollar Quartet” from unpolished ideas to splashy Broadway musicals in recent years.

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What is ‘Normal’?

February 15, 2011

‘Next to Normal’ tour is homecoming for Issaquah native Brian Yorkey

Actors Jeremy Kushnier (left), Alice Ripley and Asa Somers perform a scene in the national 'Next to Normal' tour. By Craig Schwartz

Long before the Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, and longer still before director Rob Reiner indicated interest in a possible film adaptation, the blockbuster musical “Next to Normal” originated as a barebones reading at Village Theatre.

Now, almost a decade and a cartful of statuettes later, the national “Next to Normal” tour is about to reach The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. The musical opens Feb. 22.

The opening represents a homecoming for the author and lyricist, Issaquah native and Issaquah High School graduate Brian Yorkey. “Next to Normal” precursor “Feeling Electric” received a reading at the 2002 Festival of New Musicals and a 2005 workshop at the downtown Issaquah playhouse.

“So much of my theatrical life is in Seattle, and people know my work more as a director and from other shows, and for them to have a chance to see ‘Next to Normal’ — which is maybe the thing that I’m proudest of that I’ve done — is really exciting for me,” Yorkey said.

The rock musical about a family on the edge and tackling mental illness opened on Broadway in early 2009. Then, came a cavalcade of honors for show: Tonys for the lead actress, score and orchestrations; a Pulitzer Prize for Drama; and a national tour.

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