Village Theatre Originals is working on ‘Watt?!?’

August 13, 2013

‘Daily Show’ scribe pens new musical of political satire

Matt Shimkus (in cowboy hat), as Joseph Coors, and ensemble members, as his company employees, perform the song ‘Envision’ from the Village Theatre original musical, ‘Watt?!?’ at First Stage. By Sam Freeman/Village Theatre

Matt Shimkus (in cowboy hat), as Joseph Coors, and ensemble members, as his company employees, perform the song ‘Envision’ from the Village Theatre original musical, ‘Watt?!?’ at First Stage. By Sam Freeman/Village Theatre

Irreverence is bliss.

That is apparent in “Watt?!?”, Village Theatre’s newest original musical from the brain of an established comedy mastermind. Based on the life of James Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s infamous Secretary of the Interior who took an extreme line against conservation and environmentalism, the referential production flies through his life like a rock n’ roll whirlwind. Satire and absurdity are on the agenda as Village Theatre’s talented actors display Watt’s most notable quotes and actions in song.

David Javerbaum, the Emmy award-winning former head writer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and co-author of “America (The Book),” said using Watt as a protagonist just came to him out of the blue one day.

“I can’t say for any reason why,” Javerbaum said in a private, in-person interview. “I just started thinking very quickly that he would make a very good hero for a show.”

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Deaths serve as reminder not to feed grazing goats

June 26, 2012

Issaquah Highlands neighborhood leaders asked residents not to feed the landscaping goats due to arrive in the community soon.

Highlands residents received the information in a communitywide email June 21 because seven goats died last summer after ingesting yard waste. Organizers said the afflicted goats ate yard waste dumped on open spaces in the hillside neighborhood.

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Landscaping goats return to munch across highlands

July 5, 2011

The ruminants returned on June 24.

In a summertime tradition for Issaquah Highlands residents, a goat herd started chomping across open space in the Wisteria Park neighborhood. Onlookers can also catch a glimpse of the goats from Davis Loop.

Then, a few days later, the action is due to shift west, to open space tracts near South Pond, just east of Central Park. Plans call for another herd of landscaping goats to arrive July 6.

The goats, a cheaper and more eco-conscious option than traditional clearing, eat tall grasses and invasive plant species.

Issaquah Highlands Community Association leaders reminded residents and onlookers not to feed the goats.

The practice started in July 2009, as goats from Edwall and Vashon Island arrived to nibble Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom. In June 2010, more than 100 goats chomped across the highlands landscape.

The goats also attracted the national spotlight. Comedian Stephen Colbert lampooned the goats as undocumented workers stealing jobs in a segment on “The Colbert Report” in October 2010.

Comedy Central features Issaquah Highlands’ unemployment ‘scapegoats’

October 19, 2010

Funnyman Stephen Colbert shined a spotlight on the Issaquah Highlands last week for a serious message about unemployment.

Colbert sounded the alarm about illegal helpers — scapegoats — “gobbling up our jobs” and causing unemployment to rise.

Scapegoats? No, actual goats.

Stephen Colbert, host of the cable news spoof ‘The Colbert Report,’ gestures at the end of a segment about landscaping goats in the Issaquah Highlands. Contributed

So, the goats hired to landscape the highlands trotted into the national spotlight. The piece — a “People Who Are Destroying America” segment for the Oct. 14 episode of “The Colbert Report” — highlighted the Issaquah neighborhood and Rent-A-Ruminant.

In September, a Comedy Central crew filmed a segment on the living lawnmowers. The crew also interviewed Russ Ayers, Issaquah Highlands Community Association landscape manager, for the piece.

“I had no idea what they were going to do with it,” he said.

The crew asked the highlands landscaping team to appear in the segment, but Ayers said the group decided to pass. Instead, Comedy Central turned to a Tukwila business, New Beginning Garden & Lawn Care, to portray landscapers edged out of business by hungry goats.

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‘The Colbert Report’ highlights Issaquah Highlands / Oct. 14, 2010

October 18, 2010

Issaquah Highlands goats appeared on “The Colbert Report” Oct. 14. Watch the clip here.