Titanic connection leads North Carolina family to Issaquah

June 12, 2012

Ruth Becker

The tang of saltwater drifted on the cold, midnight air. So, too, did frantic calls for help from hundreds of people.

Titanic — a superlative achievement in engineering, grand and unsinkable — struck a history-altering iceberg minutes earlier.

Ruth Becker, roused to the deck after the collision, headed below for blankets to protect against the chill. By the time the 12-year-old girl returned moments later, blankets in hand, she needed to act fast to board a lifeboat as the ocean liner sank into the North Atlantic.

Becker’s cousin, Jill Carrizales, remembers hearing the account as a child. The tale sparked a lifelong interest in the tragedy. Now, Carrizales and her daughter Jennifer Ramsey plan to travel from Gastonia, N.C., to Issaquah to attend a June 16 event dedicated to the Titanic disaster.

In order to commemorate 100 years since the tragedy, the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah plans to host pre-eminent Titanic historian Don Lynch at a June 16 discussion.

The trip to Issaquah represents a milestone in Carrizales’ yearslong quest to meet Lynch. The historian interviewed Becker, then Ruth Becker Blanchard, before she died in 1990 at age 90.

Carrizales praised Lynch for coaxing Ruth Becker to open up about the disaster.

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Kiwanis Club of Issaquah hosts Titanic expert

May 15, 2012

Don Lynch, a historian considered among the foremost Titanic experts on the planet, descended to the wreck in August and September 2001. The noted author is due in Issaquah next month to discuss the Titanic for a Kiwanis Club of Issaquah fundraiser.

The event is June 16 at the First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N. Call 392-3598 or 392-4016, or go to www.issaquah.kiwanis.org.

The ticket pricing is arranged similar to the passenger classes on the Titanic — $55 for first class, $40 for second class and $25 for steerage. The first-class “passengers” can attend a meet-and-greet session with Lynch, receive a complimentary glass of wine or beer, and take home a souvenir from the event.

Lynch also served as a consultant on director James Cameron’s 1997 film about the doomed ocean liner.

April 15 marked 100 years since the Titanic tragedy unfolded about 400 miles from Newfoundland.

Even a century after the Titanic departed the surface, the disaster — 1,514 passengers and crewmembers perished in the sinking — continues to capture imaginations. Only about 700 people survived the catastrophe.

Horton hears a cue in Village Theatre’s ‘Seussical Jr.’

April 17, 2012

Rachel Donka (left), as JoJo, and Sarah Dennis, as The Cat in the Hat, enact ‘Oh the Thinks You Can Think’ from the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of ‘Seussical Jr.’ By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

In the can-do universe of Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!” is the mantra.

The latest “think” from the KIDSTAGE program at Village Theatre is “Seussical Jr.” — a musical based on the poetic pulses and colorful characters of Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Seuss Geisel.

The musical debuts at First Stage Theatre a little more than a month after students in Issaquah and around the globe celebrated 100 years since Geisel’s birth March 2. The film adaptation of the seminal Dr. Seuss tale “The Lorax” opened the same day.

So, as Dr. Seuss re-enters pop culture in grand fashion, young performers at Village Theatre started rehearsals on Geisel’s birthday.

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Kiwanis Club of Issaquah hosts Titanic expert to commemorate tragedy’s 100th anniversary

April 10, 2012

Don Lynch, author of ‘Titanic: An Illustrated History,’ stands on the Grand Staircase set for the 1997 film ‘Titanic.’ Contributed

In the icy deep, more than 12,500 feet beneath the surface, a steel wall emerges, alien and foreboding, from the North Atlantic seabed.

Don Lynch peers through a porthole in a small submersible, as bulbous as a whale and built to endure the extreme cold and intense pressure at such depths. The other occupants in the craft include filmmaker James Cameron.

“We pulled up to the side of it and Jim was like, ‘There’s the Titanic for you,’” Lynch recalled in a recent interview. “In the movies, you always come up to the bow and the prow’s sticking up and rising above you, but it was just this flat wall out in front of us.”

Lynch, a historian considered among the foremost Titanic experts on the planet, descended to the wreck in August and September 2001. The noted author also served as a consultant on Cameron’s 1997 film about the doomed ocean liner.

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‘Seussical Jr.’ to riddle Village Theatre audiences

April 10, 2012

The young performers in the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE program look to Dr. Seuss for inspiration in “Seussical Jr.”

The musical runs April 13-29 at the First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N. Tickets cost $14 to $16. Call 392-2202 or go to www.villagetheatre.org.

The writers behind the landmark musical “Ragtime” created “Seussical Jr.” — a shorter version of “Seussical,” a onetime Broadway show based on the characters created by Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

“Seussical Jr.” features cherished characters, such as the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie LaBird and Whos aplenty. The musical styles in the show include a cornucopia — funk, gospel, Latin, pop, R&B and swing.

Teenage performers skewer beauty pageants in KIDSTAGE musical ‘Hot Mess’

March 13, 2012

Teenage performers skewer beauty pageants in KIDSTAGE musical ‘Hot Mess’

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“Hot Mess” — a fledgling musical about beauty pageants — is not afraid to address some ugly truths.

The creators poke a high heel behind the scenes at a beauty pageant in the comedy, the latest offering from Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE Company Originals program — a collaboration among young performers and theater professionals. The creators then perform the piece.

“Hot Mess” is due to receive a barebones reading — no costumes, no sets — at First Stage Theatre from March 23-25.

The team behind “Hot Mess” is a group of seven teenage girls, ages 14-17. Director Kiki Abba, a mentor and, more importantly, a grown-up, encouraged the girls to rely on personal experiences in the theater realm and the pressure cooker of high school to fashion the plot.

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First Friday Wine Walks offer a new taste of downtown

January 17, 2012

The artEAST Art Center and UP Front Gallery, which always participates in ArtWalk in the summer, will be one of six locations on Front Street to take part Feb. 3 in the inaugural First Friday Wine Walk. File

Adding to its list of events to draw more visitors to downtown, the DownTown Issaquah Association announces First Friday Wine Walk from 5-8 p.m. Feb. 3.

Wine Walk, following other popular events such as ArtWalk and a zombie invasion, will feature boutique wine tasting at six locations up and down Front Street.

“It should be fun,” said Karen Donovan, the association’s executive director. “I’m excited.”

Wineries will include Lodmell Winery in Walla Walla; Woodinville’s Smasne Cellars; and, Castillo de Feliciana. Several Wine Walk locations will feature live entertainment to include acoustic guitarist “Uncle Phil” Hansen; guitarist and composer Angelo Pizarro; vocal group Bodacious Ladyhood; and, pianist Meg Mann.

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Teen actors examine faith in Village Theatre’s ‘Godspell’

January 3, 2012

Regan Morris (front row, third from the left), featured in ‘Turn Back O Man,’ sings during rehearsal with the ensemble in the Kidstage production of ‘Godspell.’ By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

Months after professional actors re-imagined “Jesus Christ Superstar” on the Village Theatre Mainstage, teenage performers plan to raise the curtain soon on “Godspell” — a similar musical from the same era.

Both shows opened in 1971 and offered a contemporary — critics said blasphemous — perspective on the Gospels. In the years since, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Godspell” became rooted in pop culture.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” depicts the last days in Christ’s life. “Godspell” is structured as a series of parables.

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Milestones from the year 2011 reflect changes

December 27, 2011

Renewal defined the year, as the community paused after a population boom and economic bust — and positioned Issaquah for the decades ahead.

Milestones from the last 12 months offer contrasts.

Leaders opened showcases for “green” design and concluded a milestone effort to preserve Tiger Mountain forestland. Tragedy left indelible impressions, too, as a gunman menaced downtown pedestrians on a September morning and turned a school campus into a crime scene.

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Tickets for Village Theatre’s ‘Godspell’ go on sale

December 27, 2011

Village Theatre’s teenage performers plan to stage the musical “Godspell” at First Stage Theatre soon — and theatergoers can purchase tickets now.

“Godspell” — a stage adaptation of the Gospel of Matthew — runs Jan. 7-22 at the theater, 120 Front St. N. Tickets cost $14 to $16. Call 392-2202 or go to www.villagetheatre.org.

Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak created” Godspell” in 1971. (Schwartz later wrote “Wicked” — a mega-musical about the Wicked Witch of the West.)

In “Godspell” — cast members range in age from 13 to 18 — performers examine parables of a community in a time of uncertainty. The characters test the values of brotherhood and friendship.

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