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Broadway series includes legendary Topol in ‘Fiddler’

Sun., April 26, 2009

The recently announced 2009-’10 Best of Broadway series has four shows, all with uncommonly strong “hooks.”

Here are the details:

“Fiddler on the Roof,” Sept. 1-6 – Topol is legendary in the lead role of Tevye, mainly for the 1971 film version, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination. He also starred in the 1991 Broadway revival and was nominated for a Tony. He’ll reprise the role in what is billed as the “farewell” tour for the 73-year-old star.

“Disney’s The Lion King,” Nov. 11-Dec. 6 – This show already holds the record as the most popular show in Spokane’s history. When it came through in 2005, it ran 46 performances over six weeks, at 98 percent capacity. It proved to be an irresistible draw for families all over the Inland Northwest – not to mention Montana, British Columbia and Alberta. No reason it shouldn’t pack ’em in again in this four-week run.

“Avenue Q,” Feb. 11-14 – This satirical musical may be the least-familiar title to casual theatergoers, but it’s the most-anticipated among theater aficionados. It’s an adult-themed parody/homage to “Sesame Street,” featuring both puppet and human characters. Advertising itself as “80 percent Tony-winning hilarity, 10 percent adult situations and 10 percent foam rubber,” it’s still running on Broadway after more than 2,300 performances.

“Little House on the Prairie,” April 8-11 – This is a rare event in the Best of Broadway series – a new musical that has yet to hit Broadway. This musical, based on the beloved books, premiered at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis last summer. It generated record ticket sales and will soon embark on a national tour. Melissa Gilbert, familiar as Laura from the TV series, takes on the role of Ma.

By the way, WestCoast Entertainment has introduced a new low-end subscription price: $87.50 for the whole four-show series.

Those tickets are for the most-distant seats at the INB Performing Arts Center, naturally, but it’s still a great way to get the whole series at a bargain price. The best seats are $226.50.

Subscriptions are now on sale through TicketsWest outlets (509-325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT, or www.bestofbroadway

Maryhill summer lineup

The Maryhill Winery Amphitheater is a bit far afield – it’s in the Columbia Gorge near Goldendale, Wash. – but with this lineup, I’m sure some people will be willing to make the road trip:

Counting Crows, July 17, 8 p.m.

Jackson Browne, Aug. 22, 7 p.m.

John Legend with India.Arie, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.

Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster, (509) 735-0500 or

Theodore Waddell lecture

Theodore Waddell, one of Montana’s best-known painters and sculptors, will deliver a public slide lecture at Gonzaga University’s Jundt Auditorium on Monday at 7 p.m.

This is the university’s 2009 Kreielsheimer Visiting Artist lecture. A reception will follow.

‘Music in the Lincoln White House’

Don’t forget about the next installment in Allegro’s Historic Homes Series: Music in the Lincoln White House,” Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and evening, four sittings each day, at the historic Dr. Jean and Kathleen Kindschi House, 733 E. Plateau Road.

It will feature soprano Darnelle Preston, pianist Yi-chun Chen and artistic director David Dutton performing music from actual White House performances during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.

For tickets call (509) 455-6865 or see

You can also catch the program free, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Jacklin Arts Center in Post Falls.

Humanities Washington Award winners

Word is out: The 2009 Humanities Washington Award winners are Donivan Johnson from Metaline Falls in the individual category and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in the organization category, for contributions to the humanities in the state.

Johnson is a musician, composer, scholar and educator in the Selkirk School District who, among other things, initiated the Moldenhauer Lecture Series at Whitworth University.

The MAC is the Inland Northwest’s premier museum and a longtime cultural treasure. They will be honored in a June 4 award ceremony and reception.


The Wiggles, the Australian band aimed at preschoolers, brings their “Go Bananas Live!” show to the INB Performing Arts Center on July 18 for two shows, 1:30 and 5 p.m.

They’ll be joined by Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, Wags the Dog and the Wiggly Dancers. Ask your preschooler to explain.

Tickets are on sale through TicketsWest outlets.

Electro-acoustic bass clarinet?

Michael Lowenstern, billed as a composer, bass clarinet virtuoso and “leading producer of creative electro-acoustic music,” will perform Friday at 8 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theater in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University.

He’ll perform a concerto, but no run-of-the-mill concerto. It will use “interactive music technology.”

What does that mean? The concert is free, so go and find out.

Four-handed piano

Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Roe, a young and wildly talented piano duo, will be the stars of the Steinway Musicfest Concert, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

Anderson and Roe met at Juilliard and have traveled all over the world doing their energized piano duets, ranging from the “Blue Danube” to “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead.

To sum up their versatility: They have appeared on both NPR’s “From the Top” and MTV’s “Total Request Live.”

This concert is presented by Fox Presents and the Steinway Music Gallery. Tickets range from $15 to $35, available by calling (509) 624-1200 or through TicketsWest.

Gonzaga Wind and Clarion Brass

Spokane’s Clarion Brass Ensemble will perform with the Gonzaga University Wind Symphony, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Aloysius Church on the Gonzaga campus.

You’ll hear original works for brass ensemble. Admission will be $5 for the general public, free to GU faculty, staff and students.

A MusicFest Northwest reminder

Just a reminder: The region’s biggest and most venerable classical music festival/competition, MusicFest Northwest, will run May 10-15 at various Spokane venues.

The festival features several showcase concerts, including the free Young Artist Concert with the Spokane Symphony on May 13, 7:30 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, and the free Festival Highlights Concert, May 15, 7:30 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater.

For details on dozens of events, go to

Operatic Cinco de Mayo

Here’s a Cinco de Mayo dance party unlike any other in town: The Spokane Opera’s Cinco de Mayo Happy Hour Party, May 5, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St.

It will feature Latin music by Seattle’s Alma Villegas Quintet and an authentic taco bar. Tickets are $20 in advance, available by calling (509) 533-1150, or $22 at the door.

Jim Kershner can be reached at (509) 459-5493 or by e-mail at

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