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Crews brought down the outdated, frontier-era First Stage Theatre last week, as Village Theatre readies to build a modern facility on the same site.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.
July 8, 2010
NEW — 4:15 p.m. July 8, 2010
Crews brought down the outdated, frontier-era First Stage Theatre on Thursday afternoon, as Village Theatre readies to build a modern facility on the same downtown Issaquah site.
Foushée & Associates, a Bellevue builder, started to disassemble the building in late June, and completed the task Thursday. Before the teardown, workers salvaged material from the old theater to be used in the planned building.
June 29, 2010
The effort to replace the original Village Theatre — the frontier-era relic known as First Stage Theatre — inched ahead last week.
Crews closed the sidewalk in front of the historic building, and detoured pedestrians through wooden scaffolding built adjacent to the street. The sidewalk closure runs through March 2011.
Plans call for the existing structure to be razed in coming weeks, and for a modern theater to replace the almost century-old building at 120 Front St. N.
Crews from contractor Foushée & Associates, a Bellevue builder, started to disassemble the building last week. Construction should start on the new theater in July, theater spokeswoman Michelle Sanders said.
The builder intends to incorporate wood and other components, such as the iconic sign, from the historic theater into the planned building. Executives intend for the First Stage building to be LEED certified.
May 4, 2010
The local economy has improved since last year, but increased retail offerings and high-profile construction projects could help the city rebound in the months ahead.
Economic Development Manager Dan Trimble said the city had progressed beyond the economic doldrums of last year. Joe’s — the longtime sporting goods retailer — closed as the city grappled with dual real estate and building construction slowdowns brought on by the recession.
“In 2010, we started to see the economic recovery start to take hold,” Trimble told City Council members April 27. “We’ve had some new retail moving in, both big and small. Construction activity has been returning.”
Swedish Medical Center started construction on a campus in the Issaquah Highlands late last year, and Best Buy and Sports Authority will open Issaquah stores in the months ahead. Sports Authority will occupy the old Joe’s space, and Best Buy will fill vacant space in the bustling East Lake Center shopping complex anchored by Fred Meyer and The Home Depot.
Sports Authority should generate $85,000 to $100,000 annually in sales tax revenue for the city; Best Buy should pull in $100,000 to $200,000, city Finance Director Jim Blake said in a May 1 conference call with council members.
December 11, 2009
NEW — 11:21 a.m. Dec. 11, 2009
A near-disaster brought on by old pipes and below-freezing temperatures brought the house down at Village Theatre First Stage Theatre building earlier in the week.
Crews started clean-up efforts Thursday to remove insulation frozen by leaking water, which then fell from the ceiling.
The damage claimed KIDSTAGE costumes, a soundboard and other equipment. Michelle Sanders, the theater spokeswoman, said theater managers did not yet have cost estimates for the damage.
The facilities manager discovered the damage earlier in the week after temperatures in the teens caused pipes to burst and prompted alerts from local emergency management agencies.
April 3, 2009
NEW — 10 a.m. April 3, 2009
Come one, come all. Satisfy your sweet tooth with “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, Jr. at the First Stage Theatre.
This musical features fourth- through eighth-grade students who were selected through a competitive audition process. The show is directed, choreographed and musically directed by skilled professionals and features professionally-designed costumes, sets, lights and sound.
November 24, 2008
To look at Village Theatre’s First Stage building, you wouldn’t immediately think it needs replacing. The facade at 120 Front St. N. is painted and in good shape, and the structure behind is hard to see.
When you do see the rest of the building, you understand why the arts institution plans to tear down everything but the facade and rebuild it from the ground up. Built in 1913 as a movie theater, the wood-frame structure is not supported by any kind of foundation, the siding and roof are shot, and the whole building sags.
A replacement will cost about $2.5 million, said Village Theatre Executive Producer Robb Hunt. Corporate and government fundraising is under way, with construction permits being the next objective. A public fundraising campaign has not begun.
Already, Pacific Rim Architecture has designed a new building, which will resemble the old one while incorporating modern systems, materials and flexible spaces. It will be environmentally ‘green’ enough for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.