August 7, 2012
Long before Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony turned legal proceedings into media circuses, a comely ax murderess morphed into a cause célèbre.
Lizzie Borden captivated the Gilded Age nation after a hatchet felled parents Andrew and Abby Borden. The ensuing trial and media firestorm guaranteed the ultimately acquitted Lizzie Borden a place in history.
The original musical “Lizzie Borden” lifts facts from the court transcripts and adds a rock ‘n’ roll score. “Lizzie Borden” debuts to the public at First Stage Theatre during Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals. (The show opens almost 120 years to the day after the murders occurred.)
The coarse language and thumping score represent a mash-up between the 1890s and present day.
July 24, 2012
Downtown Issaquah is poised to host a film festival in September, as the municipal Arts Commission shows a series of musicals on the silver screen.
The inaugural Issaquah Film Festival is scheduled for Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N., from Sept. 14-16.
The lineup includes Busby Berkeley’s “Footlight Parade” and the disco farce “Can’t Stop the Music” — a pseudo-biography of the Village People. The Beatles’ groundbreaking “A Hard Day’s Night” concludes the festival.
Tickets cost $10 per night or $25 for the entire festival. Find tickets and information at www.issaquahfilmfestival.com.
The event also includes a VIP reception featuring wine from local winery Twin Cedars, guest speaker Howard A. DeWitt and Beatles music by Undercover.
DeWitt, a professor emeritus at Ohlone College in Fremont, Calif., has written 21 books, including “The Beatles: Untold Tales,” “Paul McCartney: From Liverpool to Let It Be” and “Beatle Poems.”
July 3, 2012
Others ended up relegated in history textbooks. Charles Guiteau and Leon Czolgosz faded into the footnotes.
Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore turned into comedians’ punch lines after botched assassination attempts.
The assassins — and wannabe assassins — of presidents occupy a strange place in U.S. history. The cadre is reviled and, in some cases, forgotten.
Not in “Assassins” — a Stephen Sondheim musical about the strange group. The show opens at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre on July 13.
The dark musical is the latest offering from KIDSTAGE, the long-running youth education program at Village Theatre.
The show is designed, directed and performed by high school and college-age students. Though professional mentors offer guidance, “Assassins” is managed from opening number to curtain call by student-actors in the program.
June 12, 2012
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.
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.
April 17, 2012
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.
April 10, 2012
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.
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.
March 13, 2012
Teenage performers skewer beauty pageants in KIDSTAGE musical ‘Hot Mess’
“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.
January 17, 2012
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.