Posts tagged: play
“The Miracle Worker,” directed by Patty Duke – a springtime hit for Interplayers Professional Theatre – is coming back next month for a 12-performance encore.
The story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan will return from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4.
Tickets are $24 and should become available soon through TicketsWest outlets. Keep an eye out for further details.
Sarah Denison will return in her award-winning role as Annie Sullivan. However, audiences will be seeing a new Helen Keller: Caroline Slater, 9.
Duke was quoted in a press release as saying, “Thank you, Spokane, for keeping ‘The Miracle’ going.”
Rebecca Cook will be “associate director” of this revival.
The opening show at the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, “The Wizard of Oz,” which runs June 9-19, has had a robust pre-sale – just 300 tickets behind the theater’s all-time biggest seller, last year’s “Cinderella,” at a comparable date.
That’s a good harbinger going into the season. Executive director Laura Little said “The Sound of Music” (Aug. 11-21) is also selling well, because – well, because it’s “The Sound of Music.”
The other two shows – Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” (June 30-July 10) and “Once Upon This Island” (July 21-31) – may not be quite as well-known but are just as promising – at least, from a theater critic’s viewpoint.
Be warned: The CDA Summer Theatre has reduced the run of each show this year from nine performances to eight, which increases the risk that procrastinators will have trouble finding good tickets.
Call (208) 769-7780 for tickets.
Here's my unedited review of “Wicked.” It will appear in Saturday morning's print edition, after more editing and refinement:
“Wicked,” Thursday night, INB Performing Arts Center, continues through May 29, tickets available through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com)
The first thing a newcomer to the “Wicked” phenomenon will notice is that this production has a great “eye” — a rich visual style, all gears, cogs, clock-faces and Emerald City glow.
And then, as the story unfolds, you’ll find that “Wicked” also possesses — unlike certain Oz denizens — a heart and brains.
Brains, because this “Wizard of Oz” spin-off has a funny, first-rate script by Winnie Holzman (“My So-Called Life”) that brilliantly distills Gregory Maguire’s novel into its essence. It’s the story of the fraught love-hate relationship between Elphaba and Glinda (the Wicked One and the Good One, respectively). They’re more than just Oz witches; they’re universal archetypes, familiar to everyone over age 8.
Heart, because Holzman and composer Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Pippin”) make us sympathize deeply with Elphaba – yeah, the Wicked One. The last thing I expected from “Wicked” was to be moved emotionally by the plight of a green-skinned witch on a broom. But I was.
This is all delivered nearly flawlessly by a tremendously talented cast, led by Anne Brummel as Elphaba and Natalie Daradich as Glinda (or Galinda — the two spellings are actually a plot point).
“Wicked” has a rich cast of characters ranging from talking goats to flying monkeys to surprisingly tall Munchkins. There’s a side-plot, lifted from the novel, about animal liberation. There are many, many nods to the great 1939 film, some of them sly, others earnest and some of which will take you by surprise.
Yet the “Wicked” creative team never lost sight of the key arc of the story, which goes like this: Elphaba, the green-skinned outcast, and Glinda, the blonde popular girl, are thrown together at school. They loathe each other. I mean, really loooathe each other. Then, slowly, they learn to understand each other. A deep friendship forms. That friendship is stretched and broken by events. But even in the darkest times, that bond never completely dies.
It’s no coincidence that the most entertaining musical number is “Popular,” in which Glinda tries to do a makeover of Elphaba. Daradich, an expert comic actress, flounces around the stage, tossing her blonde locks, flinging herself petulantly on the bed and cooing adoringly at her own face in the mirror.
Brummel is equally funny and charming as she tries gamely to learn the art of feminine lock-tossing. This is an impressive acting feat, since her character is not naturally funny and charming. Elphaba is brilliant and talented – yet also glum and resentful over the fact that in Oz, as in our own world, happiness is easier to achieve by the shallow and superficial.
Ultimately, Brummel delivers the show’s most emotional moments, the most amazing of which is the first-act closer, “Defying Gravity.” It’s a stirring anthem of empowerment, conveyed through Brummel’s strong, controlled voice and through some astonishing lighting and technical legerdemain. I won’t give it away except to say you’ll be left with a bright and uplifting image at intermission.
The design team deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the success of this show. Even before the show starts, your eyes can feast on the curtain-sized map of Oz and the giant dragon looming over the proscenium. Once the show starts, we get a dizzying array of sets, most of which share a common circular theme. There are many toothed gears, a number of gigantic clock-faces, enormous round windows and immense green-lit arches Emerald City arches.
The costumes owe a debt to the movie, yet they are endlessly imaginative. Think “Harry Potter” crossed with “Alice in Wonderland.”
And finally, this show delivers some true surprises at the end, the kind that will make you ponder what really happened at the end of that 1939 movie. It’s a complete package of comedy, song, creativity and emotion.
No wonder this show will draw somewhere around 40,000 people over its two-week Spokane run. My guess is that the majority of those 40,000 people will file out of the INB Performing Arts Center feeling the way I did – satisfied, happy and yes, even a little bit uplifted.
Just got in from 'Wicked' and I will write a full review for Saturday's print edition. But here's my quick initial reaction:
“Wicked” is a feast or the eyes, with exceptionally creative sets, costumes and lighting. And it works for the heart and the brain, as well. I was affected, sometimes deeply, by the story, about the stormy relationship between Elphaba (“The Wicked”) and Glinda (“The Good”). The acting talent is first-rate.
I approached this musical with some trepidation, since I was not a big fan of the book. Yet “Wicked” does an outstanding job of distilling the novel to it's essence. The musical is clearer, more focused, and altogether more fun.
I'll post a fuller review on Friday morning.
The people at WestCoast Entertainment have a few important reminders for people who have tickets to “Wicked,” which opens a two-week run Wednesday.
“Saturday, May 21 is an exciting day in downtown Spokane with two sold-out performances of WICKED and the annual Spokane Lilac Festival Parade. Please allow extra time to find parking downtown as some congestion is expected.
Spokane Falls Blvd. will be closed at Browne Street. Guests who need to drop off theatre attendees will be allowed access to drive to the front of the INB Performing Arts Center, drop off guests, and will be rerouted to Bernard. If you need this access, please advise the police officer at Spokane Falls Blvd. and Browne that you need brief access for WICKED theatre attendees.”
The post-show talkback sessions at Interplayers Professional Theatre are always worthwhile — but this is the talkback not to miss.
Director Patty Duke will attend the May 29 matinee of “The Miracle Worker” at 2 p.m. and will be there for the after-performance discussion. This means you will be able to hear stories about Helen Keller, Anne Bancroft and Arthur Penn from the woman who was at the center of both the Broadway and Hollywood versions.
As someone who has had the privilege of interviewing her on this subject, I can tell you that she is an exceptionally fine storyteller. She'll give you insight into “The Miracle Worker” that no one else on earth can give.
“The Miracle Worker” had been extended through May 29 due to popular demand. Tickets are $24 available through the Interplayers box office at (509) 455-PLAY or Ticketswest.
“The Miracle Worker” has just been extended a week, through May 29.
I thought I'd post my unedited review of last night's performance, which should appear in Sunday's print edition:
“The Miracle Worker,” Interplayers Professional Theatre, Friday night, continues through May 29, call (509) 455-PLAY for tickets
The capacity crowd at Interplayers on opening night may have been drawn because of Patty Duke, but their thundering applause was for Sarah Denison and Sophia Caruso.
Those are the two talented young actresses who make the characters of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller come to vivid life in this moving production of “The Miracle Worker.”
Duke, of course, had plenty to do with it too. She directed this production, marking one more milestone in her 55-year history with this play. Her direction is not showy, and it never calls attention to itself, but Duke’s lifelong immersion in Keller’s story and William Gibson’s script is evident in many of the performances in this 14-person cast.
It is most evident in Denison’s rock-solid performance as Annie Sullivan. The set of Denison’s jaw and her rigid posture are particularly suited to communicating obstinance, stubbornness and determination, the three absolutely vital characteristics needed to portray the woman known as “Teacher.” However, Denison’s performance reaches deeper and discovers something even more touching: Sullivan’s fear.
Occasionally, and powerfully, Denison lets Sullivan’s mask slip, and with a slight quiver of the lips and a momentary dart of the eyes, shows us that Sullivan is a 20-year-old girl who is, essentially, winging it. She’s been sent to a do a job that she has no idea how to do and she has to improvise. She’s almost sure she’s doing the right thing — but not entirely. I wonder if this is an approach Duke helped Denison develop. In any case, it makes the story even more compelling.
It’s already one of the more compelling stories in American theater. Gibson has done a masterful job of distilling young Helen Keller’s story into its essential elements. Helen, blind and mute, is a wild child, striking out in her rage and frustration (and her own canny sense of entitlement) at everyone who loves her. Annie Sullivan is brought in to tutor and tame her. But to do so, she must not allow herself or the Keller family to indulge in the easiest and least helpful of emotions, pity. She hardens herself and hardens the family and eventually, she gives Helen the key to unlock the world: language.
Caruso is a riveting Helen. She’s 9, but she’s tiny and plays even younger. Yet her Helen is no wispy little creature. She’s a flailing dynamo of anger, thwarted will, calculated outrage and manipulation. The lasting image I’ll have of her is that of a tiny bundle of calico, with fists and feet flashing out in a blur.
Caruso’s face is exceptionally expressive. She glowers into the middle distance with lowered malevolent brows. Her mouth turns up in malicious glee over some outrage she plans to commit. Yet in several crucial scenes, we also see the pain, the frustration and the utter, childlike despair over the fact that she can’t even communicate her despair.
Many of the most powerful scenes arrive in the second act of this three-act play, when Annie moves out to the garden house with the girl. Alone with each other, they fight, they make life hell for each other, and they bond. It helps that these scenes are played far downstage, with the audience surrounding them.
Several key scenes in the first act lost some power because they were played so far upstage, on the floor of Annie’s room, with pieces of scenery intruding on the view.
The rest of Duke’s ensemble cast is polished and professional. Patrick Treadway, as the beleaguered father and Elisha Gunn, as the heartbroken mother, are especially sympathetic even as their love for Helen causes them to do exactly the wrong things.
And the audience response? Well, I’ve attended every Interplayers production for 22 years, and I have never, ever, seen the audience continue applauding long after the actors had left the stage.
Even the actors didn’t quite know what to do. They finally came back out for one more bow when it became clear that otherwise, the audience was never going to leave.
“The Miracle Worker” hasn't even opened yet — it previews tonight (Thursday) and opens Friday — yet it is already setting ticket records for the Interplayers Professional Theatre.
It has sold more first-week tickets than any show in Interplayers history and some performances are sold out. It will likely be extended at least another week, to May 29.
The reason? Patty Duke, of course. She won an Oscar and a Tony for “The Miracle Worker” and now, for the first time, she is directing it. It's making national theater news.
You, too, can take a gander at that Oscar and Emmy. They'll be on display in the theater's Gellhorn Gallery.
For tickets, call (509) 455-PLAY or go to TicketsWest.
The Spokane Children’s Theatre has announced its 2011-2012 season:
These shows will be held at SFCC, in either the Spartan Playhouse or the new Music and Performing Arts building.
And don’t forget about this season’s finale, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” a reprise of the SCT’s inaugural production in 1946.
“Snow White” runs May 14 through May 29, at the Spokane Masonic Temple’s Commandery Room, 1108 W. Riverside. Tickets are available through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).
While you’re at “Snow White,” you can purchase discounted tickets to the new season. Check www.spokanechildrenstheatre.org for more details.
If you can’t afford to pay full price for tickets to “Wicked,” May 18-29 at the INB Performing Arts Center, here’s a way to get your witch fix.
On every performance day, a $25 “Wicked” ticket lottery will he held.
Here’s how it will work. Show up two-and-a-half hours prior to each performance at the INB Performing Arts Center box office. Your name will be placed in a lottery drum. A half-hour later, a limited number of names will be drawn from the drum.
If your name is chosen, you can purchase up to two tickets at $25 apiece. You must be there in person and you must pay cash.
These tickets will be a bargain, since tickets normally sell for $42.50 to $142.50. And these tickets are in the orchestra section, i.e., the main floor.
WestCoast Entertainment will announce its 2011-2012 season at an event on April 21, 4 p.m. at the INB Performing Arts Center.
No, I have no inside information about the season. However, the WestCoast people say that they are “flying in a lead actress to perform a selection from one of the productions.”
The last time they flew in a performer for a season announcement was in 2008 — and that was to announce the return of “Phantom of the Opera.”
So I suspect the season might include a show of that magnitude..
Anybody have any guesses about what's coming?
I was out of town last week, and got back in time to catch David Mamet's “Race” at Interplayers on Saturday. Here's an advance look at the review, which will run Tuesday or Wednesday in print:
This riveting Interplayers production of David Mamet’s “Race” jams both index fingers down hard on two of the hottest of hot-button issues – racial relations and sex — and doesn’t let up for 90 minutes.
Make that both middle fingers. This being a Mamet play, “Race’s” tone is one of incessant, startling, foul-mouthed cynicism. Ideals of justice, fairness and equality will be brusquely shot down, scorned and dismissed as naïve.
“The whites will screw you,” says the white lawyer Jack to the black lawyer Susan. “Any chance we get. We cannot help ourselves.”
That’s just one of several signature Mamet lines, others of which we can’t print, which all amount to the characteristic Mamet messages: People are out solely for themselves. Money and power always win. The truth belongs to whoever crafts the most cynical lie.
Clicke on “continue reading” to see the rest of the review:
Diana DeGarmo, former “American Idol” finalist, and the rest of the “9 to 5” cast and crew will soon be pulling in to the INB Performing Arts Center for a Thursday-through-Sunday run.
This is the Broadway musical version of the fine 1980 comedy of the same name. This is an Actor's Equity (union) tour, which generally translates into high production values and an experienced cast. That's certainly true of this cast, which also includes Dee Hoty and Joseph Mahowald.
Watch for a full preview story in Thursday's edition of The Spokesman-Review. Tickets are available through TicketsWest.
Once again, the Spokane Civic Theatre has advanced to the national community theater competition finals.
The Civic’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” won first place in the state festival, held here last weekend. Idaho, Oregon and Alaska did not have state festivals due to lack of participants – times are tough for community theater – which means that Washington’s state festival was, de facto, the regional competition.
So the next event will be the American Association of Community Theater Festival in Rochester, N.Y., June 20-26.
Going to nationals is nothing new for the Civic. In fact, the Spokane Civic Theatre has won the national competition twice and finished second once.
The Civic also won a slew of other awards last weekend. Here’s the list:
WSCTA Magic Moment Award: Lacey Bohnet singing “The I Love You Song.”
Oustanding Performance: Mark Pleasant.
Outstanding Costume Design: Jan Wanless.
Outstanding Ensemble Performance.
Oustanding Choreography: Kathie Doyle-Lipe.
Outstanding Design and Production Team.
About 80 percent of the tickets for the 16-performance run of “Wicked” at the INB Performing Arts Center have already been sold, as of Monday.
There's no way to predict how long the 40,000-plus tickets will last — some performances are nearly gone. But indications are that it will sell out early. The national touring production plays Spokane May 18-29.
Individual ticket sales began on Saturday. Jack Lucas of WestCoast Entertainment and TicketsWest said that about 650 people bought tickets in person at the INB box office on Saturday morning and many more bought tickets by phone and online over the weekend. He called the turnout “just amazing.”
He also said that group sales have been about three times stronger than expected..
Buy tickets through TicketsWest here.
About 300 people were in line early today (Saturday) for “Wicked” tickets, including some people who had been huddled since the wee hours. Then at 10 a.m., phone and online sales began.
Yet as of noon, a quick survey of 'Wicked” dates on Ticketswest showed that there were still plenty of good tickets left for many (but not all) performances. With 16 performances (May 18-29) and over 40,000 seats available, this show has a much larger inventory than, say, your average Elton John concert.
Make sure you go directly to the actual TicketsWest site, www.ticketswest.com. That's because if you do a simple search for “ticketswest” you'll actually dredge up some third-party ticket brokers that might charge you over the regular price.
For instance, I just typed in “ticketswest” to google and the top entry was something called Got The Tix, which wanted to sell me one ticket for $418.
The true price range on Ticketswest is $37.50 to $142.50.
If you're one of those people who will be standing in line (or camping) for “Wicked” tickets on Saturday at 7 a.m. at the INB Performing Arts Center, the people at WestCoast Entertainment say they will try to make it worth your while. Here's how:
I should point out that this “fun” may be the only true reason for standing in line on Saturday. Tickets have already been available for months for subscribers and for groups. Also, an online pre-sale has been going on for almost a week for those who received the pre-sale code from TicketsWest. And finally, there should still be plenty of good tickets left even when “official” on-line and phone sales start on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Just to remind you about how this works: Tickets will be sold in person only at the INB box office from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. Saturday. Then, at 10 a.m., all remaining tickets will go on sale through TicketsWest outlets (www.ticketswest.com, 800-325-SEAT). There's no way of predicting how fast tickets will get snapped up, but with a 16-show run, “Wicked” will probably not be an instant sellout, a la Elton John.
By the way, tickets will run you between $37.50 and $142.50, with the mid-level seats running about $77.50 or $82.50.
The news came out even before the first wimple-wearing nun hit the stage: The entire run of “Nunsense” at the Spokane Civic was sold out.
Theater head Yvonne A.K. Johnson delivered the announcement before the opening curtain of the opening performance. This continues a remarkable run for the Civic, which also sold out “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at its Studio Theatre this month. The Civic has already sold out many other runs this season, including “Buddy” and “White Christmas.”
But what about the show itself? Did “Nunsense” live up to expectations?
Is the Reverend Mother Catholic?
Look for my full review in Sunday's Spokesman-Review.
The cast of the touring show “9 to 5: The Musical,” which hits Spokane on March 24-27, won’t feature the same household names as the 1980 movie – but it will have a few significant Broadway names and an “American Idol”:
Diana DeGarmo – A runner-up on the third season of “American Idol” and a veteran of Broadway’s “Hair” and “Hairspray.” She’ll play Doralee (the Dolly Parton movie role).
DeeHoty – A three-time Tony nominee and star of Broadway shows “Mamma Mia!” and “Footloose,” among others. She plays Violet (the Lily Tomlin role).
Mamie Parris – A veteran of Broadway’s “Ragtime” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.” She plays Judy (the Jane Fonda role).
Joseph Mahowald – He played the title role in Broadway’s “Jekyll & Hyde” and Javert in “Les Miserables.” Mahowald has appeared frequently on many TV soap operas including “Another World,” “Guiding Light” and “All My Children.” He plays Franklin, the Dabney Coleman role.
Tickets for the INB Performing Arts Center performances are available through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).
The tickets to the Spokane engagement of “Wicked” goes on sale March 5, and the people at WestCoast Entertainment want to warn people about the perils of third-party tickets.
Ticket agencies and brokers will probably snap up a number of tickets right away. So then, when people search for tickets online, they will often be shunted to those third-party sites. The problem: These brokers often sell the tickets way above face value.
A number of people were burned by this problem during the run of the Spokane Symphony's “Nutcracker” in December. Some people bought tickets that were twice as expensive as they should have been — for not very good seats. Other people bought tickets that were completely bogus.The Symphony was able to get those people into the ballet anyway, but only because the show wasn't sold out.
So the WestCoast Entertainment people want to remind people that the only legitimate source for tickets are: TicketsWest outlets, and the WestCoast Entertainment Best of Broadway website.
Also, tickets go on sale first, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on March 5, in person at the INB Performing Arts Center box office. At 10 a.m., on the same day tickets go onsale online and by phone through TicketsWest.
At that point, beware of any other site, even one that has made itself to look like a site for the INB or the show itself. Stick with TicketsWest.