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Archive for January 2011

A “Wicked” ticket scramble on March 5

Start lining up, Broadway musical fans: Tickets for “Wicked” will go on sale to the general public on March 5, 7 a.m. at the INB Performing Arts center box office.

That's the only place you'll be able to grab tickets for those first three hours. Then, at 10 a.m. the same day, any remaining “Wicked” tickets will go on sale through TicketsWest outlets, and (509) 325-SEAT.

The key words there are “any remaining.” This is a wildly popular musical making its first appearance in Spokane. The people at WestCoast Entertainment's Best of Broadway series are anticpating that it will “sell out in record time.” Who knows? But if you don't want to be left out you should probably mark March 5 on your calendar.

“Wicked” will run for almost two weeks, May 18-29 at the INB Performing Arts Center. That's a total of about 40,000 seats, but a huge number of those have already been sold to season subscribers and to groups. That's why the tickets that go on sale March 5 are a “limited inventory.”

Dubious mystery genres

One thing about being the books editor – I have the privilege of sorting through a lot of review copies.

And before I started doing this I was oblivious to a pervasive publishing trend – the mystery series tied to hobbies, pets, professions and other niche interests. I had no idea that there were, for instance, knitting mysteries.

Here are a few other genres in my basket right now:

The embroidery mystery.

The “magical cats” mystery.

The Victorian craftsperson mystery.

The “crime of fashion” mystery.

The Southern beauty shop mystery.

The cupcake bakery mystery.

The Algonquin Roundtable mystery.

The ghost hunter mystery.

The talk radio mystery.

I was beginning to wonder what would be the ultimate unlikely mystery genre – and then this crossed my desk: “Drip Dead,” by Christy Evans, a plumber’s apprentice mystery. It features “plumbing tricks and tips” and is actually pretty entertaining.

Yet I’ll bet, if we put our heads together, we can think of some even more unlikely mystery genres.

Let me throw an idea out here to get you started: A co-ed badminton league mystery. Share your ideas.

Paul Allen gives MAC show of support

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has given Spokane’s Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) what amounts to a $30,000 vote of confidence.

The foundation announced on Tuesday that it is giving the MAC $30,000 in funding for an upcoming series at the MAC titled “Visions and Voices.” This grant is for the exhibit, “Ric Gendron: A Good Journey,” which will pair Gendron, one of the region’s top local artists, with Oregon writer Elizabeth Woody. Both are known for their creative use of Native American themes.

The timing of this grant was interesting, coming weeks after the governor’s budget proposal calls for closing the MAC.

“I’ve been working with the museum for months on this grant,” said Jim McDonald , the Allen Foundation’s senior program officer for arts and culture. “Just when the decision was made, the governor’s budget came out. But we believe in their work and saw no reason to hold that grant back.”

McDonald called it “a show of support.” He said he hoped that this kind of commitment from an outside funder will “trigger other partnerships and support for the MAC.”

Maybe, he added, it will send a message to policy makers as well.

Was ‘Spring Awakening’ ‘disgraceful’?

I attended the creative and imaginative touring  production of “Spring Awakening” at the INB Performing Arts Center on Jan. 19 and, no, I was not shocked.

In my 30-plus years as a theater reviewer, I've seen plenty of nudity on stage, from “Hair' and “Oh Calcutta” all the way to “Wit.” Here's the advance story I wrote about “Spring Awakening.”.

However, I will say that I was surprised by “Spring Awakening's” audacity. It's one thing to end the first act with a partially nude, simulated sex scene. It's another to open the second act by reprising that same scene, in case anybody had forgotten what these two characters were  up to.

It certainly didn't offend me. I know that part of the show's appeal is its frank appraisal of teen sexuality. But I also knew that not everybody in the audience would feel the same way. A number of people disappeared at intermission and never returned.

So I was not surprised to see a  letter to the editor by Jack Abel calling it “disgraceful.” (It was printed Thursday). His letter is quite funny and provocative in its own way. Click “continue reading” below and you'll see the entire letter.

I'd love to hear from anybody else who attended “Spring Awakening.” Do you agree or disagree with Abel?

“A River Sorrow” trailer

The people at Spokane’s film production company, North by Northwest, are particularly high on their new thriller “The River Sorrow.” It was filmed this fall in Spokane with Ray Liotta, Christian Slater, Ving Rhames and Gisele Fraga.

NXNW’s own Rich Cowan was the director.  It has already been picked up by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions — which already catapults it beyond the average Spokane-filmd movie — and Cowan plans on taking it to the Cannes Film Festival this spring.

Now, the trailer for “The River Sorrow” is out and, yes, it certainly does make the movie look stylish, moody, chilling and decidely R-rated. It’s about a string of sexual murders with one common thread – all of the victims are former girlfriends of the detective played by Liotta.

You'll also catch glimpses of several Spokane locations, including Riverfront Park and the Agave Latin Bistro downtown.

See the trailer for yourself here and let us know what you think of “The River Sorrow.”

A David Mamet coup in Spokane

Spokane’s Interplayers Professional Theatre has scored a significant coup: It will stage one of the first productions anywhere of David Mamet’s “Race” since it closed on Broadway in August.

This controversial play, about a white businessman accused of raping a black woman, will run March 31 through April 16, replacing the musical “Cotton Patch Gospel” on the Interplayers calendar. “Cotton Patch Gospel” will return on next season’s list.

The only other production opened Jan. 21 at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. The last time a Spokane theater landed such a new Broadway play would be – well, never, as far as I can recall.

How did Interplayers pull this off? Read on …

‘Opus’ review

As you may have noticed from the review in Sunday's print edition (Jan. 23) , I loved “Opus” at Interplayers. I thought it was a fascinating and well-acted look at the art of creating music.

Actually, I liked it even more than the print review indicated. A large section of the review was lopped off for space, including a discussion of the acting ensemble. They all deserve attention, so I am posting the full uncut review below, with apologies to the actors who were nowhere to be seen in the print review. Click on “continue reading” below to see the full review.

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