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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.”

Read more

Nothing ‘Misérable’ about Village Theatre’s latest spectacle

November 12, 2013

“Les Misérables” shines in Village Theatre, though the production’s eager whimsy whisks away some wonder.

The opening baritone notes of the French chain gang song “Look Down” sets an unshakable tone of dejection and resilience, the two largest themes of the prestigious production. Following protagonist Jean Valjean’s release from an unjust imprisonment, “Les Misérables” tells a story of love, sin, passion and redemption through decades of French industrialization and revolution.

By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre Kate Jaeger, as Madame Thénardier, and Nick DeSantis, as Monsieur, perform with the ensemble cast in the song ‘Master of the House’ in Village Theatre’s production of ‘Les Misérables.’

By Tracy Martin/Village Theatre
Kate Jaeger, as Madame Thénardier, and Nick DeSantis, as Monsieur, perform with the ensemble cast in the song ‘Master of the House’ in Village Theatre’s production of ‘Les Misérables.’

With such a large male cast, the show’s strength rests on the sheer skill of the singers. What makes it great is the level of emotion that the players, particularly Greg Stone, as Jean Valjean, and Eric Polani Jensen, as the pursuing policeman Javert, are able to give to the audience. They deliver the age’s restlessness and confusion in the face of social and personal change.

Read more

‘Xanadu’ will hurt your funnybone

September 17, 2013

Musical pokes fun at Olivia Newton-John, the 1980s and itself

I’ve chuckled at some funny moments in Village Theatre productions. Even some of their dramas have brought a tear to my eye.

But never have I laughed so hard that I cried as I did when watching the latest musical, “Xanadu.”

By Mark Kitaoka/Property Village Theatre The cast of Village Theatre’s musical ‘Xanadu’ sings the title song.

By Mark Kitaoka/Property Village Theatre
The cast of Village Theatre’s musical ‘Xanadu’ sings the title song.

Never having seen the movie of the same name staring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, I think made for a more enjoyable experience. I never knew what to expect next while knowing only the basics — the musical is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to a cheesy ‘80’s movie about a Greek muse who intends to inspire, only to fall in love with a down-on-his-luck artist who wants to create a roller disco.

Read more

‘Xanadu’ rolls in to Village Theatre

September 10, 2013

Village Theatre will roll “Xanadu” into town beginning Sept. 12 in the first co-production with the Arizona Theatre Co.

Based loosely on the 1980’s, Olivia Newton John-led flop, “Xanadu” was rewritten for the stage as a musical in 2007. It follows the story of the muse Clio descending from Mount Olympus to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, only to fall into a forbidden love.

By mike Hipple Jessica Skerritt stars as Kira and Dane Stokinger is Sonny Malone in Village Theatre’s production of ‘Xanadu.’

By mike Hipple
Jessica Skerritt stars as Kira and Dane Stokinger is Sonny Malone in Village Theatre’s production of ‘Xanadu.’

The plan to stage a co-production between the Village Theatre and the Arizona Theatre Co. has been ongoing. Director David Ira Goldstein came up from Arizona to begin what will be a six-month run of the musical that will travel through four cities.

Read more

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.”

Read more

KIDSTAGE presents ‘Legally Blonde’

July 23, 2013

From July 27 to Aug. 4, Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE SummerStock program will perform “Legally Blonde: The Musical” at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays. There will be an additional 2 p.m. show Aug. 3. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $18 for youths and seniors.

Photos by Jean Johnson/Village Theatre Above, Enacting the song ‘Chip on My Shoulder’ from the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ are (from left) Kaija Stern (Margot), Emma Watanabe (Serena), Olivia Marcus (Pilar), Tatum Ludlam (Elle) and Nat Zang (Emmett). At right, Elle shares a moment with her Chihuahua, Bruiser (Marley).

Photo by Jean Johnson/Village Theatre
Enacting the song ‘Chip on My Shoulder’ from the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ are (from left) Kaija Stern (Margot), Emma Watanabe (Serena), Olivia Marcus (Pilar), Tatum Ludlam (Elle) and Nat Zang (Emmett).

The theatre’s KIDSTAGE SummerStock program allows kids ages 8 to 18 the opportunity to work onstage and backstage in productions under the guidance of industry professionals. Each musical is professionally directed and designed, and features a live orchestra, beautiful sets, costumes, lighting and sound.

Read more

Cool off indoors with hot KIDSTAGE ‘Kiss Me Kate’

July 9, 2013

Now that Independence Day has rolled past and summer has officially kicked off, outdoor activities abound as the weather becomes more accommodating.

However, Village Theatre has something for those who enjoy a nicely air-conditioned event, indoors, free from the sun’s hot glare. The KIDSTAGE summer independent production series presents “Kiss Me Kate,” a fresh take on the Cole Porter classic musical.

By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre Shannon McEldowney (Lois/Bianca), Chandler Gerdes (Hortensio), Jake Nicholson (Bill/Lucentio), and Nick McCarthy (Gremio) perform the song ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ in the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of ‘Kiss Me Kate.’

By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre
Shannon McEldowney (Lois/Bianca), Chandler Gerdes (Hortensio), Jake Nicholson (Bill/Lucentio), and Nick McCarthy (Gremio) perform the song ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ in the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of ‘Kiss Me Kate.’

Director Tucker Goodman said the production should appeal to a wide audience.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »