August 9, 2011
Original musical is a psychological thriller about online interaction
The rough-and-tumble environs of the Internet prompt too many comparisons to count.
In the electronic wilderness, the setting is similar to the Wild West, uncontrolled and uncontrollable, or a forest, dim and foreboding.
The original musical “Cloaked” re-imagines “Little Red Riding Hood” in such a boundless electronic wilderness. The result is a psychological thriller, a genre not often explored in a theater scene dominated by feel-good musicals.
“We wanted to write something that we felt we would like to see on a Broadway stage, but that wasn’t a story that you already knew the ending to — and that also made you think, that made you really ponder the world and the way that you see things and question our preconceived notions of things,” composer and co-lyricist Danny Larsen said. “We also wanted to put characters on stage who were not the usual leading roles that you would normally see.”
The bold piece is part of the Festival of New Musicals at Village Theatre. Organizers plan to open “Cloaked” to the public at First Stage Theatre — a departure from the festival format in the past.
Issaquah audiences last experienced “Cloaked” as a reading at the 2010 festival. The strong reaction the show received prompted organizers to invite the creators to stage the show for a developmental production.
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.
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.
May 3, 2011
The DownTown Issaquah Association’s 10th annual ArtWalk season kicks off May 6. The popular event, the first Friday of every month through September, invites visitors to meet local business owners, enjoy free music, watch artists in action, and shop and dine in downtown Issaquah after normal business hours.
ArtWalk draws hundreds of visitors to traditional art destinations such as artEAST’s Art Center and the newly expanded Museo Art and Design School on Front Street. In addition, nontraditional locations open their doors to the event throughout downtown Issaquah and Gilman Village.
Typically, the event ran from 5-9 p.m. in the past. But by popular request, that has changed.
“The event now runs from 5-8 p.m. with a soft close at 8,” said Annique Bennett, cultural events coordinator for the DownTown Issaquah Association. “Those with signs out front of their businesses can now pull them in and go home at 8, or they can choose to stay open as long as they want to.”
For May, artEAST opens a new exhibit, “150 Feet of Art,” at Up Front Art. More than 100 pieces of art on one-square-foot canvases will be displayed and available for purchase during the monthlong auction.
April 5, 2011
Village Theatre plans additional offerings at downtown venue
The curtain rises soon on the rebuilt First Stage Theatre in downtown Issaquah.
April 5, 2011
Some milestones trigger stomach-churning dread.
Turning 40 comes to mind, but turning, say, 18 or 21 does not.
The latest musical from the KIDSTAGE program at Village Theatre stares down another fraught numeral: 13, the year acne and angst transform cherubic children into temperamental teenagers.
The musical “13” offers a little more edge and sass than “High School Musical” and other shows geared for teenage performers. The show premieres at the rebuilt First Stage Theatre on April 7.
“Kids love the show” and the material, director and KIDSTAGE Programs Manager Suzie Bixler said.
Divorce upends life for Evan, a 12-year-old Manhattanite.
January 19, 2011
January 18, 2011
The color palette on the sign slicing the First Stage Theatre façade suggests a candy store.
Consider the rich chocolate and cream blended to form the soft-edged letters. Or the neon — as brash as Liberace — done up in bubblegum pink and spearmint green.
The restoration team at a Kirkland sign manufacturer spent weeks to restore the decades-old sign. Crews installed the refurbished sign on the façade Jan. 14, as the theater reconstruction project nears completion. Read more
January 4, 2011
The 1980s are back with Village Theatre KIDSTAGE’s production of “Footloose,” drawing audiences into a small California town that has a ban on dancing and many young, eager dancers trying to repeal the stifling law.
KIDSTAGE last performed “Footloose” in 2002, shortly after the musical made popular by the 1984 movie with Kevin Bacon, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest was turned into a stage show. Director Faith Russell and her colleagues chose it again for its high-energy music and dancing, and good take-home messages, Production Coordinator Helen Voelker said.
“The musical is about having an obstacle and overcoming that obstacle — and having a dance,” she said.
The play follows Ren McCormack (Jordon Bolden) and his mother Ethel (Joell Weil) when they move from Chicago, where Ren is the king of teenage dancers at Windy City nightclubs, to Bomont, Calif. Read more
December 28, 2010
The economy lurched from the recession, population growth all but stalled and Issaquah — after cutbacks and setbacks in 2009 — defied the odds to reach major milestones throughout 2010.
Momentum returned in 2010 after a year spent in a holding pattern. Set against the backdrop of a fragile recovery, leaders cut the ribbon on businesses and roads, laid the foundation for preservation and construction, and marked tragedies and successes. Read more
July 13, 2010
The curtain has fallen for a downtown Issaquah landmark.
Crews brought down the outdated, frontier-era First Stage Theatre last week, as Village Theatre readies to build a modern facility on the same site.
Foushée & Associates, a Bellevue contractor, started to disassemble the building in late June, and completed the task July 8. Before the teardown, workers salvaged material from the old theater to be used in the planned building.
Plans for the soon-to-be-constructed theater call for better seating, more space onstage and backstage, and a similar façade to the former structure.
Theater executives launched a capital campaign to fund the First Stage reconstruction, after they realized the extent of decay to the 1913 theater and shelved renovation plans.
Crews detoured pedestrians through wooden scaffolding built adjacent to the street for the duration of the project. The sidewalk closure runs through March 2011.
The first Village Theatre show — “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” — opened there in 1979. Until the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre — referred to as the Mainstage — opened, First Stage Theatre housed the Issaquah theater. KIDSTAGE and the Village Originals programs occupied the space after Village Theatre built the Mainstage in the early 1990s.