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Local product Jackson set to join NBC’s ‘30 Rock’

Sun., Nov. 8, 2009

Cheyenne Jackson – a Newport, Wash., and Spokane product – will join the cast of NBC’s hit comedy “30 Rock” beginning Thursday.

Jackson will play the new actor on the fictional “TGS” show whose arrival causes consternation and jealousy among the other cast members. He might even become the long-hinted-at love interest for star Tina Fey.

His character is named Danny/Jack Baker (and, no, I have no idea why he has two names).

There are conflicting reports on whether Jackson’s role will be permanent or not, but it looks like his character will survive for more than just this one episode.

As the Los Angeles Times commented last week, Jackson’s career is “really on a roll.”

‘Finian’ reviews

For more evidence that Jackson’s career is on a roll, we have the reviews of “Finian’s Rainbow,” which opened on Broadway on Thursday. He plays one of the lead characters, Woody.

The show has been getting positive reviews, and so has Jackson’s performance. Here are some of the comments:

• Variety: “Jackson’s supple voice and relaxed leading-man confidence are a smooth fit for Woody.”

• The New York Times: “(An) easygoing charmer.”

• New York Daily News: “Jackson has just the right hunky looks, handsome voice and easygoing manner.”

• Newsday: “(Jackson’s) seething eyes and snarling lips contrast adorably with the soul of a gifted doofus.”

• TheaterMania: “Jackson, a cartwheeling fool-in-love, is a picture of smiling virility.”

He has come a long way since his days performing with the Spokane Children’s Theatre, the Spokane Civic Theatre, the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre and the Spokane Theatrical Group.

Jeff Dunham at the Arena

And speaking of “30 Rock,” comedian-ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, who guest-starred on the show two weeks ago, has been booked into the Spokane Arena on Feb. 17.

Tickets are on sale through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

Steve Martin smasheroo

We’ve been buzzing all week about that ridiculously entertaining Steve Martin banjo show at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox on Monday.

It was a deft combination of bluegrass and comedy – with more comedy than we had been led to expect.

For instance, there was the tongue-in-cheek “Atheist” hymn, about how difficult it is to write an atheist spiritual. Sample lyric: “And ‘he’ is always lower-case.”

Even his song introductions were knockouts. He said his wife named one song: “Is That the Only Song You Know?”

Yet the music was serious – and often excellent. His backup band, the Steep Canyon Rangers, was first-class, especially fiddler Nicky Sanders. And Martin is a fine banjo player and a seriously good songwriter.

The show was sold out weeks in advance, by the way.

A short play showcase

Here’s an afternoon of entertainment that will show off a wide variety of local creative energy: “Hit & Run II,” a staged reading of short plays by Sandra Hosking of Newman Lake (the Spokane Civic Theatre’s co-playwright-in- residence) and Nick Stokes of Tacoma.

A group of local actors will read nine new works, with subjects ranging from bugs terrorizing a mall to Vikings getting laid off.

It’s all free, Saturday, 2 p.m. at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave.

A Vachel Lindsay evening

Tonight, you can take in a celebration of the life and poetry of Vachel Lindsay – who lived at the Davenport Hotel from 1924 to 1929 – at the Davenport Hotel’s Marie Antoinette Ballroom.

It’s titled “Vachel Lindsay – the Davenport Hotel’s Jazz-Age Mystic.” Dennis Held, a local poet, will portray Lindsay and Tom McArthur will portray Louis Davenport during a dialogue about Lindsay’s days in Spokane. Shaun O’L. Higgins will read three of Lindsay’s poems.

The event celebrates the 130th anniversary of Lindsay’s birth. It’s free and open to the public, tonight at 7.

More classic movies

The “Classic Movies of 1939” film festival at the Bing Crosby Theater was such a success last month, they’ve decided to add one more date this month: “Gone With the Wind,” Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m., free with a $5 donation suggested.

Meanwhile, the fourth annual Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festival is planned at the theater for Dec. 4. You can catch several Bing movies (“Holiday Inn,” “Road to Zanzibar” and “White Christmas”) and listen to talks by his niece Carolyn Schneider and nephew Howard Crosby.

This, too, will be free, with a donation suggested.

Clint Black rescheduled

The Clint Black show scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Northern Quest Casino has been moved back to Jan. 10.

You can use your tickets for the new date or return them to the point of purchase for a refund.

Music at St. Augustine

The 10th anniversary season of Music at St. Augustine continues Nov. 15, 7 p.m., with “English Autumn,” a program of choral music featuring the Eastern Washington University Chamber Choir.

The program consists of music from the late Victorian era of English cathedral music, and contemporary pieces influenced by that style. The choir is directed by Randel Wagner.

St. Augustine’s Church is at Bernard Street and 19th Avenue. The event is free, but donations are welcome.

Ireland’s Nyle Wolfe

Nyle Wolfe, a popular singer from County Limerick in Ireland, will perform “An Intimate Evening with Nyle Wolfe” on Friday, 7:30 p.m. at St. John’s Cathedral, 127 E. 12th Ave.

Wolfe will sing Irish favorites such as “Danny Boy” and “Molly Malone” along with operatic highlights and show tunes.

This show is presented by the Spokane-Limerick Sister City Society. Tickets are $10, available by calling (509) 624-6564.


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