Village Theatre sets intriguing drama in ‘The Mousetrap’

January 22, 2013

Mysterious guest Christopher Wren, played by Quinn Armstrong, passes his dark coat, light scarf and felt hat to Monkswell Manor’s proprietor Mollie Ralston, played by Hana Lass. By John Pai/Village Theatre

Mysterious guest Christopher Wren, played by Quinn Armstrong, passes his dark coat, light scarf and felt hat to Monkswell Manor’s proprietor Mollie Ralston, played by Hana Lass. By John Pai/Village Theatre

To enjoy some of the finer things in life, there are rules. For example:

  • The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club.
  • What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
  • And, do not reveal the plot of “The Mousetrap.”

Each has its own reason to remain spoiler free. Village Theatre hopes its patrons adhere to the latter so subsequent audiences can enjoy its latest production, Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”

What started as an 80th birthday tribute written for Queen Elizabeth in 1947, Agatha Christie thought her radio broadcast, “Three Blind Mice,” adapted for stage would have an uneventful eight-month run, tops.

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Village Theatre is set to spring ‘The Mousetrap’

January 8, 2013

Expect more than a month of snow — on the Village Theatre stage, at least — as the scene-setting snowstorm in “The Mousetrap” is re-created night after night.

The classic whodunit is considered mystery maven Agatha Christie’s masterpiece. “The Mousetrap” opens Jan. 16 as the lone play — the only nonmusical offering in the 2012-13 lineup — in the Village Theatre season.

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Musical about surviving high school is as easy as ‘Rocket Science’

January 1, 2013

Nick McCarthy (left) as Heston, Frankie Curry-Edwards as Honoria, David Ibarra as Hal and Katie Griffith as Jenny perform a scene from the KIDSTAGE production of ‘Rocket Science’ at Village Theatre. By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

Hal Hefner is accustomed to high school’s indignities and perils.

Besides a tumultuous home life, high school presents a treacherous gauntlet for Hal, a stutterer. The clumsy attempts at romance, friendship and, importantly, earning a spot on the debate team form the plot for “Rocket Science” — a musical created for youth performers and set to open at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre on Jan. 5.

The decision to present “Rocket Science” — a musical fostered on the Village Theatre stage in the Festival of New Musicals — is not rocket science, cast members and the director said.

The piece is written specifically for teenagers. “Rocket Science” marks the first time KIDSTAGE performers presented a musical from the festival. The show also marks the debut for the “Rocket Science” musical.

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Issaquah memorable moments from 2012 entertain, educate

December 25, 2012

The cast of the national tour of the jukebox musical ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ performs a song in the Tony Award-winning show. File

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.

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Skyline High School alumna tackles role in ‘Celebrity Ghost Stories’

December 4, 2012

Heather Refvem

For years, actress Dot Jones — feared Coach Shannon Beiste on the musical sitcom “Glee” — felt a supernatural presence, not a menacing ghost, but a spirit that watched over her.

Jones’ tale comes to the screen Dec. 8 in the BIO Channel series “Celebrity Ghost Stories” — a chronicle of celebrities’ paranormal experiences. Heather Refvem, a Skyline High School and Village Theatre alumna, portrays a young Jones in flashback sequences during the episode.

The episode marks the television debut for Refvem, a stage veteran since starring in local theater productions as a child.

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Sammamish Symphony joins choir to create sounds of season

December 4, 2012

One of Sammamish’s holiday traditions, the Holiday Pops concert by the Sammamish Symphony, will have a new twist this year.

John Patrick Lowrie, known for work at the Village Theatre and voice-acting in a host of popular video games, will read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” to the accompaniment of the symphony.

“We try to make it interesting,” said R. Joseph Scott, conductor of the symphony.

The show will feature a host of popular holiday songs, Scott said, including Christmas and Hanukkah songs.

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‘Fiddler on the Roof’ delivers perfect match of familiar, fresh

November 13, 2012

Jennifer Weingarten and Eric Polani Jensen star as daughter and father in Village Theatre’s ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ By Jay Koh/Village Theatre

“Fiddler on the Roof” is rooted in a bleak era and setting — circa 1905 czarist Russia, a bastion of anti-Semitic sentiment — and the plot only turns grimmer as the acts progress.

The musical bears a reputation as a downer and, on the surface, “Fiddler on the Roof” seems like a strange choice for Village Theatre’s holiday offering.

But “Fiddler on the Roof” also shares essential truths about family and, as lead character Tevye is fond to point out, tradition — important tenets in a season often focused on everything but.

Scribes Joseph Stein and Jeffrey Bock ladled on Borscht Belt humor to introduce audiences to the population of Anatevka, a shtetl, or village. The numbers “Matchmaker” and “If I Were a Rich Man” deserve entries in the Great American Songbook.

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Village Theatre’s ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ stars dynamic duo

October 30, 2012

Eric Polani Jensen (left) and Bobbi Kotula star as Tevye and Golde in Village Theatre’s upcoming production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ By Mike Hipple/Village Theatre

The lead actors in Village Theatre’s soon-to-open “Fiddler on Roof” share the same easy rhythms as a long-married couple — a comfortable arrangement, because Eric Polani Jensen and Bobbi Kotula play a long-married couple in the classic musical.

The professional relationship between Jensen and Kotula extends back to the early 1990s, and the duo is poised to share the stage again Nov. 7 as “Fiddler on the Roof” opens. In the musical, Jensen is Tevye, a Jewish milkman struggling to stick to tradition in czarist Russia, and Kotula is Tevye’s sharp-tongued but soft-hearted wife.

The duo often shares a stage at Village Theatre and other local playhouses. The familiarity comes across as Jensen and Kotula discussed the theme at the show’s core. In the opening number and throughout the musical, “Fiddler on the Roof” focuses on the tug-of-war between tradition and change.

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Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE hosts Sing It Forward fundraiser

October 16, 2012

Performers in Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE program plan to sing to raise money for the youth education effort.

Sing It Forward includes a benefit concert from young performers in the KIDSTAGE and Village Theatre Institute programs. The program includes a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 and a pizza party at 6 p.m. Oct. 21.

The benefit concert is meant for patrons 21 and older; the pizza party is more casual and open to all ages. Both events take place at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N.

Tickets for the benefit concert cost $100. Tickets for the pizza party cost $40 for general admission and $20 for youth admission. Learn more at www.villagetheatre.org/SIF-Issaquah.php.

‘Que Será!’ musical honors Doris Day’s iconic career

October 9, 2012

Vocalist Kristi King embodies legendary performer Doris Day in the musical ‘Que Será! Celebrating Doris Day.’ By Jim Dorothy

Iconic American songstress Doris Day may have left showbiz for good in the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean enthusiasm has soured for the performer who starred in classic films such as “Teacher’s Pet” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”

“Que Será! Celebrating Doris Day,” a musical coming to Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre on Oct. 14, pays tribute to the legendary singer.

Vocalist Kristi King dons a familiar platinum-blonde wig and sings more than 20 of Day’s greatest hits in the show. King also tells stories of Day’s life, in the actual persona of the beloved entertainer.

“It’s really a walk down memory lane of one of the most amazing performers ever,” King said.

Accompanied by the Hans Brehmer Quartet, King will sing some of Day’s most popular songs, including, of course, “Que Será, Será.” She will also re-enact a scene from “Pillow Talk,” the award-winning romantic comedy starring Day and Rock Hudson.

King has always been a fan of Day, ever since her mother, also a singer, played Day’s records in their Portland home.

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