‘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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Village Theatre’s ‘Foreigner’ feels like an old friend

January 28, 2014

Much of the success of Village Theatre’s latest production, “The Foreigner,” rides on the shoulders of actor Erik Gratton. Or, dare I say, his face?

When he first shuffles on set, Gratton must be channeling Droopy from the 1940s MGM cartoons. That he can maintain that hang-dog look while co-star Patrick Phillips prattles on, laying the background for the plot, lets the audience know they’re in for something special.

By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre Erik Gratton (left, as Charlie) listens in on a conversation between Jonathan Crimeni (Reverend David) and Angela DiMarco (Catherine) in a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Foreigner.’

By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre
Erik Gratton (left, as Charlie) listens in on a conversation between Jonathan Crimeni (Reverend David) and Angela DiMarco (Catherine) in a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Foreigner.’

In a play, written by Larry Shue, filled with over-the-top characters from the early ’80s South, Gratton’s interaction with them hinges upon his successful take of a man of a thousand faces.

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Village Theatre receives 4Culture grant

January 24, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 24, 2014

Village Theatre was one of 42 projects to receive a 4Culture 2013 Cultural Facilities funds.

4Culture’s Cultural Facilities program funds the purchase, design, construction, and remodeling of arts and heritage facilities throughout King County.

The funding assists in creating sustainable organizations and places for cultural activities to take place.

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To the Editor

January 7, 2014

Library

Change to the online system isn’t such a welcome one

Well, folks, the King County Library System program writers could not leave well enough alone and had to do a drastic change to the online operation.

I do not find the new online process very acceptable. Hope others have better success with it than I have so far.

They also dropped the feature that showed which titles had been checked out previously by a KCLS user. I have checked out more than 8,000 titles and cannot remember all the titles — now the KCLS will not help me in this regard.

I have read all the Western stories and have started through them again, some I recall and some I don’t recall, as just had my 85th birthday, ha ha.

Ken Sessler

Issaquah

Klahanie

Vote for annexation into Issaquah

I would like to remind my neighbors on the plateau that there will be an important election Feb. 11.

This election is about the annexation of the area known as the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area into the city of Issaquah.

A vote of “yes” on the measure promises to bring lower property taxes to the area and will provide the plateau with many badly needed services not provided by King County.

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KIDSTAGE revisits popular musical ‘Trust Me’

January 7, 2014

Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE TeenSelect program’s latest production, “Trust Me,” brings the musical full circle for several of those involved.

Regan Morris, a 16-year-old student at Issaquah High School, has been involved in KIDSTAGE since she was 9. Her brother Collin played the original lead role in the musical’s debut in 2006. She is excited to play the primary love interest in the tale.

By Greg Farrar Bryan Sevener (left), in the role of commanding officer Markus Brennan, gets punched by Trent Moury, in the role of Turner, as they learn the choreography of a fight scene during a street-clothes rehearsal for the KIDSTAGE production of ‘Trust Me’ at Village Theatre’s First Stage.

By Greg Farrar
Bryan Sevener (left), in the role of commanding officer Markus Brennan, gets punched by Trent Moury, in the role of Turner, as they learn the choreography of a fight scene during a street-clothes rehearsal for the KIDSTAGE production of ‘Trust Me’ at Village Theatre’s First Stage.

“This was my favorite production my brother was in,” Morris said. “He was such an inspiration to me and was the reason I got into theater.”

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