Young actor readies for encore in ‘The Music Man’

February 5, 2013

Josh Feinsilber rehearses at The 5th Avenue Theatre as Winthrop Paroo in 'The Music Man.' By Jeff Carpenter/The 5th Avenue Theatre

Josh Feinsilber rehearses at The 5th Avenue Theatre as Winthrop Paroo in ‘The Music Man.’ By Jeff Carpenter/The 5th Avenue Theatre

River City, Iowa — a Main Street, U.S.A., hamlet created as the setting for Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” — is almost home for performer Josh Feinsilber.

The fledgling actor and Pacific Cascade Middle School sixth-grader portrayed shy Winthrop Paroo in a July 2012 youth production at Village Theatre and is poised to return to stage in the role as The 5th Avenue Theatre rolls out “The Music Man” on Feb. 7.

Josh, 12, is eager to slip into the role again after a turn in Village Theatre’s “Fiddler on the Roof” — a record-setting smash for the Issaquah playhouse.

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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.”

Cast prepares to play mismatched roommates in ‘The Odd Couple’

January 10, 2012

Chris Ensweiler (left, as Felix Unger) and Charles Leggett (as Oscar Madison) act a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Odd Couple.’ By John Pai/Village Theatre

The journey to portray fastidious Felix Unger and untidy Oscar Madison in Village Theatre’s “The Odd Couple” suited the actors in the lead roles.

Charles Leggett, as Oscar in the classic Neil Simon play, is the more rumpled half. Chris Ensweiler is more comfortable as the neatnik Felix.

“I’m no neat freak — I can tell you that,” Leggett said in the Village Theatre lobby about a month before “The Odd Couple” opened.

Ensweiler, meanwhile, readied to portray Oscar’s mismatched roommate.

“I’m very fastidious and organized,” Ensweiler said. “CDs are alphabetized. Clothes are arranged according to color. I certainly respond very well to that.”

“The Odd Couple” opens to audiences at the downtown Issaquah playhouse Jan. 18.

Village Theatre presents a single play each season. “The Odd Couple” falls into the 2011-12 season lineup after the Wild West spectacle “Annie Get Your Gun” and before the original musical “It Shoulda Been You.”

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‘Annie Get Your Gun’ actor hitches show to composer Irving Berlin

November 22, 2011

Josh Feinsilber (left), as Little Jake, Analiese Emerson Guettinger, Maggie Barry and Vicki Noon star in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ at Village Theatre. By Jay Koh/Village Theatre

“Annie Get Your Gun” at Village Theatre is connected to Irving Berlin by more than just the score.

The connection between the local staging and the storied composer is Josh Feinsilber, 10, the actor and Issaquah Highlands resident playing Little Jake, a pint-sized assistant to the show’s sharpshooter and heroine, Annie Oakley.

Josh’s great-grandfather, Joe Feldman, penned a song for touring musicians at the tail end of the Great Depression.

“Irving Berlin’s film featured one of my numbers by a big band coast-to-coast, and stated that ‘the local lad writes at least four hits a year or considers the year wasted,’” Feldman told The Washington Post in 1938.

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Village Theatre’s ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ nails the target

November 15, 2011

The company in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ dances during a number set at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show on stage at Village Theatre. By Jay Koh/Village Theatre

“Annie Get Your Gun” is often all hat and no cattle.

Too many theaters trade on the musical’s good name, a storied pedigree and recognizable songs to produce shows set in a West more mild than wild. Not Village Theatre.

The rendition on stage in Issaquah through Dec. 31 is as gutsy and snappy as the title character, sharpshooter Annie Oakley.

“Annie Get Your Gun” abounds in a coltish energy from the dance numbers and a hard-to-resist magnetism from the lead actors, Dane Stokinger as marksman Frank Butler and Vicki Noon, a former Elphaba in a national tour of “Wicked” and a Liberty High School alumna, in the title role.

Noon is incandescent as Oakley, a bumpkin pulled from backwoods obscurity for a spot in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

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Liberty High School alumna targets title role in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’

November 1, 2011

Liberty High School alumna Vicki Noon stars in the title role of 'Annie Get Your Gun' at Village Theatre. By Jay Koh/Village Theatre

The title star in “Annie Get Your Gun” — sharpshooter Annie Oakley, a folk heroine — is a coveted role for actresses. So, too, is Elphaba, the green-tinted protagonist in “Wicked” and a witch infamous for menacing Oz.

Vicki Noon claims both roles — Elphaba in “Wicked” as the mega-musical embarked on a national tour and Oakley in a soon-to-open production at Village Theatre.

The actress, a Liberty High School graduate, said the ties between the characters, outcast Elphaba and country bumpkin Oakley, extend beyond the person in the role.

“Both of them have kind of been on their own,” she said. “Both of them have kind of had to fend for themselves and pull up their bootstraps and get their life. They’re both very independent people.”

“Annie Get Your Gun” opens at Village Theatre on Nov. 9 and runs through the holiday season.

“For me, it’s one of those ultimate female empowerment stories,” said Kristin Culp, a co-choreographer on the show. “The song at the end, ‘Anything You Can Do,’ it’s a story about if you put your mind to doing anything, you can really become a star or the best, no matter who you are or what your upbringing is.”

The proto-feminist Oakley is a challenge for actresses in the role.

“You have to do the things that scare you, especially when you’re an actress,” Noon said before donning a red-and-turquoise getup for a photo shoot. “You have to put yourself in a situation that might scare you or make you feel a little uncomfortable. That’s the only way that you grow.”

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Get your ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ tickets

September 27, 2011

Ticket sales for Village Theatre’s “Annie Get Your Gun” start Sept. 28.

The classic musical is scheduled to run at the downtown Issaquah theater from Nov. 9 to Dec. 31. Tickets cost $22 to $62. Call 392-2202 or go to www.villagetheatre.org.

Village Theatre offers half-priced student and military rush tickets 30 minutes prior to shows. The theater also offers group discounts for parties of 10 or more.

Composer Irving Berlin conceived “Annie Get Your Gun” — a fictionalized account of sharpshooter Annie Oakley — for the Broadway stage in 1946.

“Annie Get Your Gun” is a romp about the romance between Annie and Frank Butler, the heartthrob in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

The original production played for more than 1,100 performances, and codified the songs “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” in the Great American Songbook. The local staging spins off of the successful 1999 Broadway revival.

‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and ‘The Producers’ round out upcoming Village Theatre season

March 2, 2011

Village Theatre dips into the Great American Songbook, re-imagines Broadway blockbusters and polishes original musicals for the Mainstage during the 2011-12 season.

Performers present a reading of the musical ‘It Shoulda Been You’ at the 2010 Festival of New Musicals. By Sam Freeman

For the fourth consecutive season, the downtown Issaquah playhouse plans to feature a pair of original musicals on the Mainstage — rarity for regional theaters.

The lineup includes the classic musicals “Annie Get Your Gun” and “The Producers” — plus the original musicals “Take Me America” and “It Shoulda Been You.” The lone play in the upcoming season is a Neil Simon chestnut, “The Odd Couple.”

The season kicks off in Issaquah just after Labor Day. The productions then head to the Everett Performing Arts Center after the local engagements conclude.

‘Take Me America’

Sept. 14 to Oct. 23

“Take Me America” last appeared on the Village Theatre stage as a reading at the 2009 Festival of New Musicals.

The rock musical presents tales from refugees struggling to gain political asylum in the United States — and of the immigration agents responsible for deciding the refugees’ fates. The immigration agents labor to find a balance between the refugees’ humanity and a difficult professional position.

Though the subject matter has significant heft, “Take Me America” intersperses comedy throughout the musical.

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