Get your tickets now for fun, fresh ‘In The Heights’ at Village Theatre

August 19, 2014

The rhythm takes over in “In The Heights,” a Broadway dance spectacular that brings the passion and power of Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood to Village Theatre.

Set in a community where everyone knows your business, things are about to shake up as romances bloom, dreams are challenged and one winning lottery ticket threatens to change everything.

Nominated for 13 Tony awards, winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical and nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “In The Heights” is a fun and fresh hip-hop musical with an infectious salsa beat.

Two members of the national “In the Heights” touring cast will be a part of this regional production: Perry Young as Usnavi and Kyle Robert Carter as Benny.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre The Broadway hit ‘In the Heights’ comes to Village Theatre Sept. 18, staring two members of the national touring cast, Perry Young as Usnavi and Kyle Robert Carter as Benny.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
The Broadway hit ‘In the Heights’ comes to Village Theatre Sept. 18, staring two members of the national touring cast, Perry Young as Usnavi and Kyle Robert Carter as Benny.

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Village Theatre announces Festival of New Musicals

July 15, 2014

Village Theatre presents its 14th annual Festival of New Musicals Aug. 8-17.

The festival invites Village Originals members to help critique the theater’s upcoming original musical productions. For example, the musicals “Next to Normal” and “Million Dollar Quartet” got their start through the Village Originals program and went on to win multiple Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize between them.

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ArtWalk returns June 6 to downtown

June 3, 2014

Who says 13 is unlucky?

The Downtown Issaquah Association’s annual ArtWalk returns June 6 for its 13th season, after having successfully transformed the city’s main corridor into the Eastside’s premier arts destination.

Karen Donovan, Downtown Issaquah Association executive director, said ArtWalk remains as popular as ever after 13 years.

By Greg Farrar A sign points the way to the next venue hosting an ArtWalk event in downtown Issaquah.

By Greg Farrar
A sign points the way to the next venue hosting an ArtWalk event in downtown Issaquah.

“It’s just a great place for families to come down to check out the art and the live music, and kids activities with painting,” she said.

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Village Theatre digs deep into its bag of tricks for its latest musical

May 20, 2014

The cast enacts the showstopper from a musical number in the Village Theatre production of ‘Funny Girl’ showing at the Fraancis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah.

The cast enacts the showstopper from a musical number in the Village Theatre production of ‘Funny Girl’ showing at the Fraancis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah. By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre

 

No cloud rains on Village Theatre’s latest parade.

In its last production of the 2014-2015 season, the regional theater brings “Funny Girl” to the stage in all its roaring glory. Recounting the life of vaudeville and Broadway star Fanny Brice, the 1964 musical (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart) takes the audience on a whirlwind, rags-to-riches journey of Brice’s life.

The classic story, with Brice famously portrayed by Barbra Streisand on stage and screen, is well-known and I should note immediately that I find it lackluster. Struggling, gutsy girl meets boy. Gutsy girl struggles less, and then weds boy. Boy turns rotten. Girl stays gutsy.

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‘Funny Girl’ returns to Village Theatre 20 years later

May 13, 2014

The May 15 return of “Funny Girl” to Village Theatre brings milestones behind the scenes.

Issaquah’s regional professional theater has kept much of the same talent since 1993, the last time it put on the musical featuring the life and career of a Broadway star set in the early 20th century.

But those people at the helm of the lavishly involved show bring decades more experience to this year’s production. Both the costume designer and the master scenic artist worked on the show 20 years ago, and for everything that has stayed the same, they have seen many things change.

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‘The Tutor’ seems to have lost its lesson plan

March 25, 2014

Somewhere between the song about erectile dysfunction and the giant painted backdrop of the Matterhorn, I wondered where “The Tutor” lost its way.

The new show at Village Theatre, which opened March 20, begins interestingly enough. It tells the story of Edmund, the titular tutor, who teaches dumb rich kids to allow constant work on his never-finished novel. Things take their inevitable turn when he lands a gig tutoring Sweetie, a rebellious teenager who provides just the right spark to loosen Edmund’s creativity.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre Eric Ankrim, as Edmund, and Katie Griffith, as Sweetie, star in Village Theatre’s ‘The Tutor.’

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
Eric Ankrim, as Edmund, and Katie Griffith, as Sweetie, star in Village Theatre’s ‘The Tutor.’

Developed as part of the Village Originals Series of New Musicals, “The Tutor” fell flat after a promising start.

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KIDSTAGE vet takes center stage in Village Theatre’s ‘The Tutor’

March 18, 2014

Village Theatre’s latest fare educates its lead as well as the character she plays.

In the new musical “The Tutor,” opening March 20, 16-year-old Katie Griffith plays a sullen teenage rich kid who gets taken under the wing of an aspiring novelist looking to make a quick buck by educating wealthy high schoolers on the side. The tutor, played by Eric Ankrim, may have bitten off more than he can chew with his newest charge.

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre Katie Griffith (left), as Sweetie, and Eric Ankrim, as Edmond, enact a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Tutor.’

By Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre
Katie Griffith (left), as Sweetie, and Eric Ankrim, as Edmond, enact a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Tutor.’

“He tutors stupid rich kids and he gets me — a punk rocker who couldn’t care about less,” Griffith said. “Chaos ensues.”

While she has had a great amount of experience within the Village Theatre community, this will mark the first time the Issaquah High School student will play the lead on the main stage.

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‘Mary Poppins,’ ‘Cabaret’ headline Village Theatre’s 2014-15 season

March 4, 2014

Village Theatre continues its passion for creating art with a 2014-2015 season that includes the Bob Fosse classic “Cabaret,” the Disney family favorite “Mary Poppins,” the contemporary Broadway hit “In the Heights,” brand new musical comedy thriller “No Way to Treat a Lady” and a straight play based on the Jules Verne book “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Village Theatre’s own Steve Tomkins will direct “Mary Poppins” and “No Way to Treat a Lady.” The theater will welcome Eric Ankrim (director) and Daniel Cruz (choreographer) for “In the Heights.”

Earlier start times (7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday evenings) launched last season will continue, and four- and three-show subscription packages will be available for purchase just before and just after the holiday season.

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Wine walk returns March 7

March 4, 2014

The Downtown Issaquah Association’s Wine Walk series continues from 6-9 p.m. March 7.

Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk is a first Friday evening event that is fun and supports the community. Enjoy live music, art displays and demonstrations, snacks and local boutique wines poured in various tasting locations up and down Front Street. The shops and restaurants there are open to the general public during Wine Walk and all ages are welcome.

Tickets for the wine walk, for adults only, are $25 in advance or $30 at the event and includes 10 one-ounce drink tokens. Be sure to bring your own glass. Check-in is at 6 p.m. at Hailstone Feed Store, 323 Front St. N.

The wineries featured March 7 are: Amelia Bleu, Convergence Zone, Dubindil, Liquid Xpressions, NHV, Open Road, Queen Anne Winery, Robert Ramsay, Upland, William Church and Cedar River Cellars.

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Perambulation of the oenophiles

February 4, 2014

Downtown wine walk returns for third season

One of the Downtown Issaquah Association’s main goals is getting more people to enjoy activities in the downtown corridor.

The association hit upon an idea that has grown in popularity and returns for its third season Feb. 7 — the Wine Walk Series.

By Greg Farrar Wine steward Troy Etley (left) pours a Columbia Valley merlot from Lodmell Cellars for local Issaquah resident Dan Menser in 2012, as visitors on Front Street enjoyed wine tastings, snacks and live music during the Downtown Issaquah Association’s inaugural Wine Walk. The annual event is now in its third year.

By Greg Farrar
Wine steward Troy Etley (left) pours a Columbia Valley merlot from Lodmell Cellars for local Issaquah resident Dan Menser in 2012, as visitors on Front Street enjoyed wine tastings, snacks and live music during the Downtown Issaquah Association’s inaugural Wine Walk. The annual event is now in its third year.

The formula takes equal parts wine tastings, arts and crafts demonstrations and live music and blends them together for an adults-only crowd. DIA Executive Director Karen Donovan said the combination has proven to be a success, filling a need in a section of the calendar left neglected in the past.

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