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.
April 13, 2010
The musical “Next to Normal” — a daring look into bipolar disorder penned by Issaquah native Brian Yorkey and nurtured at Village Theatre — has won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Read more
April 10, 2010
NEW — 6 a.m. April 10, 2010
Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE Company Originals has written and produced its seventh musical in Issaquah.
This new work, “The Last Shot,” will have only one reading at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N.
Set in present-day Western Washington, “The Last Shot” explores how the healing power of art can help people overcome fears and find strength and peace, while telling the story of a high school senior/aspiring filmmaker who takes a cast of fellow students to shoot a movie over Memorial Day weekend.
January 19, 2010
Brian Yorkey returns to direct ‘Lost in Yonkers’
Everybody knew the odds — the cast, the producers, the director, the composer and, especially, the writer and lyricist.
Bookies and bloggers predicted a sweep. The feel-good “Billy Eliot” seemed poised for glory, not “Next to Normal” — a musical built around electro-shock therapy, raw emotions and even rawer nerves.
Everybody knew the odds at the Tony Awards last June — but nobody envisioned the upset to come, especially not the writer and lyricist, Issaquah native Brian Yorkey.
Nobody expected the odds to be so miscalculated, yet Yorkey and composer Tom Kitt toppled “Billy Eliot” to win the Tony for Best Original Score. The other nominees included songwriting titans Sir Elton John and Dolly Parton.
Yorkey, a Village Theatre alumnus stunned about the unexpected win, accepted the award from the presenter, comedian Will Ferrell, and mentioned the Issaquah playhouse during the national broadcast.
“We kind of went into it sort of expecting that ‘Billy Eliot’ would sweep, and that’s a great show, they deserve it, and just to be here is amazing,” Yorkey recalled in early January. “Then, to add on the win was kind of unbelievable. It was a little bit out of body. It didn’t sink in for a few days, I don’t think — if it has at all.”
Next came the dizzying sequence of congratulations, interviews and countless thank-yous from the humble Yorkey, who recalled, “all the clichés apply.” “Next to Normal” won another pair of Tony statuettes, for best orchestrations and best actress in a musical. Read more
January 19, 2010
The skeletons hidden in the closet rattle loose in “Lost in Yonkers,” as the Neil Simon dramedy plumbs deep into the emotional trauma buried by the Kurnitz clan, a family led by a ruthless grandmother.
Enter Jay and Arty, teenage boys, the youngest family members and the latest to be thrust into the emotional maelstrom at Grandma Kurnitz’s apartment. “Lost in Yonkers” unfolds above a candy store where the stern grandmother is the proprietor, but the setting is saccharine only in the literal sense.
Village Theatre alumnus Brian Yorkey will direct the ensemble cast when the theater revives the period piece Jan. 20. The tale recounts the tense times after serious Jay and wisecracking Arty move in with Grandma Kurnitz. The boys arrive at the apartment after their mother dies and their father takes work out of town to pay back a bad debt.
Jay and Arty also share the apartment with dim-witted Aunt Bella. The scarred Kurnitz brood also includes Uncle Louie, a small-time thug.
“Lost in Yonkers” shares DNA with “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Biloxi Blues” and “Broadway Bound” — other semi-autobiographical works in the Simon canon.
“He really, I think, dug deep for this one,” Yorkey said. “It’s one of his best, and the chance to work with a cast of some of Seattle’s best actors on a play this meaty, you can’t pass that up.” Read more
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.
August 1, 2009
NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 1, 2009
Ease on down to “The Wiz.” The production, part of Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE SummerStock program, opens today at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre.
“The Wiz” features young actors from across the Puget Sound region, including Issaquah, Newcastle, Sammamish and Snoqualmie.
“The Wiz” is a modern, urban adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” It takes Dorothy’s story and spices it up with a 1970’s sound, blending rock, soul, gospel and funk.
July 28, 2009
Much of America grew up on the MGM movie version of “The Wizard of Oz” starring Judy Garland. Joel Waage wants people to forget what they think they know and rediscover the tale through Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE SummerStock production of “The Wiz.”
“The challenge is retelling such an iconic story,” said Waage, director of the summer production. “There was so much of the book not in the movie that this is a nice opportunity to invent some things and do-over others.”
“The Wiz” is a modern, urban adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” It takes Dorothy’s story and spices it up with a 1970’s sound, blending rock, soul, gospel and Read more
April 6, 2009
While growing up, Brian Yorkey dreamed of going to Broadway to appear on one of the world’s largest stages in front of more than 1,000 people.
At Village Theatre in Issaquah, he was a long way away.
But his dreams will be realized this spring, as his musical, “Next to Normal,” heads to Broadway April 15 at the Longacre Theatre.
“I hate to admit it’s a dream I had when I was 12, but it’s true,” he said. “Words can’t describe it, ironically, even though words are my job.”
The achievement comes after 10 years of work on the musical for Yorkey and co-writer Tom Kitt. Yorkey wrote the script and lyrics; Kitt composed the music.
Though they took breaks over the long period of time to work on other shows, the two always came back together to collaborate on their shared brainchild.
“The crux of the show is really about Brian and I and our friendship,” Kitt said.
The two met while attending Columbia University in New York City. They began work on “Next to Normal” as an assignment for a Broadcast Music Inc. workshop. Read more
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.