‘Chicago’ guilty of first-degree theater

May 14, 2013

It is a shame so many have experienced “Chicago” the musical in the form of the award-winning 2002 movie. If there is one thing  Village Theatre’s new show proves, it is  the real heart of the piece demands to be set on a stage with many flashing lights and an enthralled audience. Through that awareness, the cast and crew of “Chicago” bring a wickedly lively spectacle to Front Street.

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‘Chicago’

May 7, 2013

Village Theatre hopes to slay with killer musical,

Taryn Darr stars as Roxie Hart in Village Theatre’s musical production of ‘Chicago.’ By Mike Hipple

Taryn Darr stars as Roxie Hart in Village Theatre’s musical production of ‘Chicago.’
By Mike Hipple

How do you turn a story about murder in the 1920s into something sexy, modern and entertaining? That’s the question Village Theatre does not  have any trouble answering as the musical “Chicago” opens May 9.

After six weeks of production design and only four or five weeks of rehearsal time, the John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse musical will play through June 29 and then move out for an Everett run from July 5 through July 28. The traditionally dazzling show follows a murderer-turned-celebrity in prohibition-era Chicago with a satirical, darkly comedic eye.

When asked why Village Theatre decided to put on “Chicago,” Director Steve Tomkins had an easy answer.

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‘Fiddler on the Roof’ sets Village Theatre sales record

January 29, 2013

By Jay Koh/Village Theatre Eric Polani Jensen stars as Tevye in Village Theatre’s record-setting production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’

Eric Polani Jensen stars as Tevye in Village Theatre’s record-setting production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ By Jay Koh/Village Theatre

Theatergoers embraced “Fiddler on the Roof” and propelled the classic musical to a Village Theatre sales record.

The spectacle centered on the godfearing milkman Tevye played at the downtown Issaquah theater through November and December, and then shifted to the Everett Performing Arts Center.

In Issaquah, a record 32,726 audience members attended the show, including more than 14,000 single-ticket buyers — a significant number for a playhouse reliant on seasonal subscribers.

In Everett, “Fiddler on the Roof” set more milestones. The show reached the revenue goals before opening night — a first for Village Theatre’s Snohomish County stage — and broke the sales record for single-ticket revenue two weeks before “Fiddler on the Roof” closed Jan. 27.

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Village Theatre blazes ‘Trails’ for next season

March 13, 2012

The musical “Trails” — a tale about childhood friends embarking on a journey along the Appalachian Trail — is poised for a premiere in the trailhead city, Issaquah.

“Trails” is the original offering in a lineup of classics Village Theatre plans to present during the 2012-13 season. The downtown Issaquah theater announced the lineup March 7.

The musicals “Big River” — “Huckleberry Finn” retold in musical form — and “Chicago” bracket the season. “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Mousetrap” complete the upcoming season.

“For years, we have listened to the feedback of our audience and our artists when selecting shows — this coming year is no exception and we think our patrons will be very pleased with this diverse lineup,” Executive Producer Robb Hunt said.

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‘Chicago’ offers smart social satire — and lessons for director

July 12, 2011

“Chicago” the stage musical is not so far off from Chicago the Midwestern metropolis.

Chicago is a synonym for corruption and scandal. “Chicago” revels in corruption and scandal.

Rianna Hidalgo, as Roxie Hart, and Taylor Niemeyer, as Velma Kelly, star in Village Theatre KIDSTAGE’s ‘Chicago.’ By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

So, Chicago functions as a seamless setting as murderesses Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly pursue a disposable sort of fame afforded to celebrity criminals. Prohibition serves as the backdrop for the smart satire about celebrity and media manipulation.

The razzle-dazzle musical is the latest offering from KIDSTAGE, the long-running youth education program at Village Theatre. “Chicago” is managed from opening number to curtain call by student-actors in the program.

Director Jacob Moe-Lange, a Skyline High School graduate and University of California, Berkeley, student, debuts as director on the production.

“‘Chicago’ is not a subtle show. It is a very in-your-face show about a lot of things,” he said. “What I want the audience to walk away with is, I want them to have seen the show and recognize that what happens onstage is not isolated from what happens in their own lives.”

The musical named for the Windy City peddles camp and vamp in equal measures. Theatergoers can catch “Chicago” starting July 15.

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