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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‘Big River’ confronts big ideas on small stage

September 18, 2012

Huck, played by Randy Scholz (left), and Jim, played by Rodney Hicks, float down the Mississippi River on a raft in a scene from the Village Theatre musical ‘Big River.’ By Jay Koh/Village Theatre

In Mark Twain’s novel, Huckleberry Finn resisted attempts to “sivilize” him, but nonetheless, the character cleans up nicely for the stage.

Huck’s adventure on the Mississippi River is re-engineered in “Big River” — a stage adaptation at Village Theatre. The musical opens the 2012-13 season at the downtown Issaquah playhouse.

Overall, despite occasional shortcomings, “Big River” is a spirited romp propelled downriver by a dynamic cast and a score rooted in radio-ready country and pop.

The towheaded Randy Scholz, 26, seems at least a decade younger onstage, and creates a credible Huck, a prankster coming of age at the same time as a burgeoning nation.

Jim is a titan of literature and the moral core of “Big River” — and Rodney Hicks is majestic in the role. Jim, determined to escape from slavery in Missouri, is embodied with dignity and grace by Hicks.

Both actors deserve ample credit for adding flesh to the characters, to compensate for the elements lost in translation from “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to “Big River.”

The supporting cast adds color and texture to the characters Twain sprinkled along the Mississippi.

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Inaugural Issaquah Film Festival features classic movie musicals

September 11, 2012

The stars on screen during the inaugural Issaquah Film Festival need no introduction.

Moviegoers can see The Beatles slog through “A Hard Day’s Night” and the fleet-footed Gene Kelly dance across the screen in “An American in Paris” as the festival runs from Sept. 14-16 at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre.

The festival lineup focuses on the evolution of musicals on film, from 1933 and “Footlight Parade” to 1980 and the last days of disco in the Village People farce “Can’t Stop the Music.”

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Skyline High School student takes stage in ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’

September 11, 2012

Brendan Rosell rehearses a dance number from ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical.’ By C. Rupley

Skyline High School junior Brendan Rosell grew up on the theater stage.

From dance classes through Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE program to starring roles in school plays, Rosell seized any local opportunity to perform for an audience.

“I’ve grown up in the performing arts community,” he said. “My mother was a dancer and performing has always been such an enriching thing for me.”

Now, Rosell, 16, will participate in his biggest performance yet when he joins Seattle Musical Theatre’s production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical” beginning Sept. 14 at Magnuson Park in Seattle.

Based on the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon, “Legally Blonde: The Musical” incorporates singing and dancing to the story about a sorority girl who attends Harvard Law School to try and impress her ex-boyfriend.

The show’s original run on Broadway in 2007 received seven Tony Award nominations.

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Teenagers’ sustainability films garner spotlight

September 11, 2012

In June, city leaders put out a call for students to create films to answer the question, what does sustainability mean to you?

Now, audiences can see the results as organizers screen a pair of films in the inaugural Sustainability Film Shorts contest. Moviegoers can see the films from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 15 at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N.

Organizers encourage attendees to arrive at noon to talk to local environmental and nonprofit partners in the theater lobby, and enjoy a snack before the event. Everybody attending the event receives a gift, and organizers also plan to award door prizes.

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Huckleberry Finn comes to life on stage in Village Theatre’s ‘Big River’

September 4, 2012

Randy Scholz (left, as Huck) and Rodney Hicks (Jim) star in ‘Big River.’ By Mike Hippie/Village Theatre

The re-imagining of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” — “Big River” — sets the seminal novel to music and transports the landmark trip down the Mississippi River to the Village Theatre stage.

“Big River” debuted on Broadway in 1985, ran for more than 1,000 performances and earned Tony Awards aplenty. The show opens the 2012-13 Village Theatre season Sept. 12.

“We’re always looking for something to kick off the season that is exciting, to get people out of the beautiful September Seattle weather and get them into the theater,” Resident Music Director Tim Symons said. “‘Big River’ is a piece that’s so beautiful and all the music is in it is so gorgeous.”

The cast pairs a veteran, Rodney Hicks, and a newcomer, Randy Scholz, in the lead roles.

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Eastside Baby Corner seeks 2,000 pairs of children’s pants

September 4, 2012

Eastside Baby Corner’s third annual Pants Party collection event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at its wareouse, 1510 N.W. Maple St.

Last year, the organization, which distributes almost everything needy children need from birth to age 12, collected 1,000 pairs of pants. This year, the goal is 2,000.

The community is encouraged to donate new or gently used pants for children, sizes 5 to14.

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‘Big River’ ticket sales start at Village Theatre

August 14, 2012

“Big River” — “Huckleberry Finn” retold in musical form — sails to Village Theatre and opens the 2012-13 season soon.

The production re-imagines the classic tale as a musical told from the protagonist’s perspective.

The musical is scheduled to run at the downtown Francis J. Gaudette Theatre from Sept. 12 to Oct. 21. Tickets cost $22 to $63. Call 392-2202 or go to www.villagetheatre.org

Village Theatre offers half-priced student and military rush tickets 30 minutes before shows. Village Theater also offers group discounts for parties of 10 or more.

Roger Miller — a songwriter known for “King of the Road” — penned bluegrass, blues and country songs to accompany the journey. The musical earned Miller a Tony Award for Best Score, plus other Tonys, for the original Broadway run.

Village Theatre’s ‘Lizzie Borden’ musical promises more than 40 whacks

August 7, 2012

Long before Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony turned legal proceedings into media circuses, a comely ax murderess morphed into a cause célèbre.

Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden captivated the Gilded Age nation after a hatchet felled parents Andrew and Abby Borden. The ensuing trial and media firestorm guaranteed the ultimately acquitted Lizzie Borden a place in history.

The original musical “Lizzie Borden” lifts facts from the court transcripts and adds a rock ‘n’ roll score. “Lizzie Borden” debuts to the public at First Stage Theatre during Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals. (The show opens almost 120 years to the day after the murders occurred.)

The coarse language and thumping score represent a mash-up between the 1890s and present day.

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