January 29, 2013
Innovation in Issaquah is exemplified by a leading apparel manufacturer, a revolutionary process to transform garbage into fertilizer and a theater renowned for fostering Broadway-bound musicals.
Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and city leaders announced the Innovation in Issaquah honorees — apparel manufacturer SanMar, WISErg, a manufacturer of garbage-to-fertilizer harvesters, and the nonprofit Village Theatre — at a Jan. 24 ceremony and luncheon.
Leaders from the chamber and City Hall recognized the entrepreneurs’ accomplishments through the Innovation in Issaquah contest, a showcase for local businesses offering unique services. Honorees demonstrate innovation in product development, services, systems or strategies.
January 29, 2013
Theatergoers embraced “Fiddler on the Roof” and propelled the classic musical to a Village Theatre sales record.
The spectacle centered on the godfearing milkman Tevye played at the downtown Issaquah theater through November and December, and then shifted to the Everett Performing Arts Center.
In Issaquah, a record 32,726 audience members attended the show, including more than 14,000 single-ticket buyers — a significant number for a playhouse reliant on seasonal subscribers.
In Everett, “Fiddler on the Roof” set more milestones. The show reached the revenue goals before opening night — a first for Village Theatre’s Snohomish County stage — and broke the sales record for single-ticket revenue two weeks before “Fiddler on the Roof” closed Jan. 27.
December 25, 2012
Entertainment came to Issaquah in some surprising forms throughout 2012.
Besides the usual retinue on the page, stage and screen, a documentary peeled back the layers at Costco and big-name authors signed books for local readers.
The city hosted celebrities, spotlighted residents on the national stage and celebrated big debuts in recent months. The boldface names earned cred through stints on reality TV, titles on bestseller lists and hardware aplenty — a Tony Award, a National Book Award.
Reality TV plugs in local contestants
Lindzi Cox pursued “The Bachelor” and Lizzie Parker competed for the title “Fashion Star” as local women added grace to reality TV contests.
Cox, a 2003 Liberty High School grad, competed against 24 other bachelorettes to win a rose from the titular bachelor, Ben Flajnik, and reached the final round on the ABC dating game.
August 7, 2012
The summertime festival at Village Theatre is a laboratory to test original musicals before audiences.
Often, selections from the festival re-emerge later at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, or Mainstage, and sometimes on Broadway.
The festival introduced audiences to “Next to Normal” precursor “Feeling Electric” and “Million Dollar Quartet” before the musicals carted off Tony Awards on Broadway. “Next to Normal” also garnered the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a rarity for musicals.
The recent Mainstage productions “Take Me America” and “It Shoulda Been You” debuted to Issaquah audiences at the festival.
May 8, 2012
Jukebox musical revives classic rock ‘n’ roll
“Million Dollar Quartet” is a multimillion-dollar phenomenon.
The rock ‘n’ roll musical about the “million dollar quartet” — Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis — collaborating for one night at the storefront Sun Records studio led to successful runs at Village Theatre in Issaquah and Everett, and then in Chicago, New York City and London.
The inaugural national tour of “Million Dollar Quartet” reaches the Paramount Theatre in Seattle on May 15 — a homecoming of sorts for a musical shaped a half-dozen years ago at Village Theatre.
The musical is based on a seminal jam session at the Sun Records studio in December 1956.
In the touring production, Christopher Ryan Grant plays rock ‘n’ roll impresario Sam Phillips, the Memphis mogul and Sun Records founder responsible for the “million dollar quartet.”
“You listen to these songs today and they seem simple, but maybe that’s part of the appeal,” Grant said in a phone interview from a stop in Costa Mesa, Calif. “There’s not a whole lot of messy production behind them that you get these days with synthesizers and canned beats.”
March 20, 2012
Village Theatre received a $25,000 grant from the city and Puget Sound Energy to maintain and upgrade Issaquah facilities, officials announced Feb. 23.
Bellevue-based PSE awarded the grant to the city and requested the funds benefit a local nonprofit organization. In the process to craft a 2012 budget, City Council members selected Village Theatre as the grant recipient.
February 23, 2012
NEW — 1:50 p.m. Feb. 23, 2012
Village Theatre received a $25,000 grant from the city and Puget Sound Energy to maintain and upgrade Issaquah facilities, officials announced Thursday.
Bellevue-based PSE awarded the grant to the city and requested for the funds to benefit a local nonprofit organization. In the process to craft a 2012 budget, City Council members selected Village Theatre as the grant recipient.
“By supporting the arts in Issaquah, this grant will benefit our local customers, their families and the greater community,” Andy Wappler, vice president of PSE Corporate Affairs, said in a statement. “We are very pleased to help Village Theatre continue its artistic excellence.”
The downtown Issaquah theater attracts more than 150,000 visits to the city each year. The theater’s classes, camps and productions for children and teenagers include more than 2,000 students.
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.
October 25, 2011
Issaquah leaders often describe local qualities as treasures — a quaint downtown, mountain panoramas, historic buildings and more.
Local businesspeople describe such attractions as “tourism assets” all set for out-of-town guests to enjoy and, in the process, spend dollars in hotels and restaurants.
Issaquah Chamber of Commerce officials gathered representatives from local “tourism assets” Oct. 18 to discuss successes and opportunities to lure more tourists to the area.
Leaders from artEAST, Cougar Mountain Zoo, Village Theatre, and other Issaquah attractions and events, said attendance is strong, but sometimes people overlook local offerings.
“Tastin’ N Racin’ — unfortunately — is Issaquah’s best-kept secret,” event organizer Craig Cooke said. “Nationally, it’s not. There are events in 13 other states that have all called and patterned their event on what goes on on land and what goes on in water.”
Tastin’ N Racin’ attracts 20,000 people — and sometimes up to 50,000 — to Lake Sammamish State Park each June for hydroplane races and onshore offerings.
Other long-established attractions face a similar challenge in luring potential tourists.
September 9, 2011
NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 9, 2011
The city Arts Commission seeks cultural organizations and programs for the latest round of arts grants.
The city offers grants each year for organizations to present performances and programs in public spaces and local schools.
Only projects inside Issaquah city limits or at Issaquah School District campuses qualify for funding. The deadline to apply for the grants is Nov. 4.
Commissioners awarded about $120,000 to 21 projects. The lineup included ArtWalk, Issaquah Farmers Market entertainment, Concerts on the Green, Shakespeare on the Green, performances at local schools and programs to help troubled youths.