January 30, 2011 in Features

Spotlight: Interplayers nabs Mamet’s ‘Race’

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Spotlight online

• Spotlight is now available in blog form. Check it out at www.spokesman.com/blogs/ spotlight to see items about regional arts, entertainment and culture long before they hit print – plus some items which will never appear in print at all.

Spokane’s Interplayers Professional Theatre has scored a significant coup: It will stage the first production 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 last time a Spokane theater landed a show so recently after its Broadway run would be … well, never, as far as I can recall.

How did Interplayers pull this off?

“We swung for the bleachers,” said artistic director Reed McColm.

He said he read the play when it first came out and loved it. When he inquired about the rights, he was told that the rights were restricted, as they usually are for a play so new.

But McColm persisted and contacted Mamet’s agent, who called the author. At first, everyone was reluctant to let a relatively small theater have the rights.

“But then they looked at a map and saw where we were,” said McColm. “They said, ‘Oh, yeah, well, go ahead.’ ”

They realized that a Spokane showing would not interfere with more lucrative markets in Seattle or Portland.

Mamet is the playwright and screenwriter known for “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Oleanna,” “Speed the Plow” and “American Buffalo.”

McColm said “Race” is “typical Mamet – blunt and deliberately incendiary.”

The Broadway production ran for 297 performances and starred James Spader, David Alan Grier, Richard Thomas and Kerry Washington. No word yet on Interplayers’ casting.

Allen money to MAC …

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 museum $30,000 for an upcoming series titled “Visions and Voices.”

This grant is for the first exhibit, “ Ric Gendron: A Good Journey,” which will pair Gendron, one of the region’s top 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 just weeks after the governor’s budget proposal called 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 policymakers as well.

… and also to WSU

The Allen Foundation also gave a $20,000 grant to the Washington State University Foundation for the current exhibit at the WSU Museum of Art, titled “ Claudia Fitch: Works 1987-2010.”

McDonald said that Fitch, from Seattle, “is one of the best sculptors in the region and long overdue for this kind of show.”

‘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.

Director Rich 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 decidedly R-rated.

Check it out at www.nxnwmoviesales.com/titles/ riversorrow.html.

Youth Symphony concert

If you hanker after some classical music, check out the Spokane Youth Symphony’s “All Together Now,” today at 4 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, 1001 W. Sprague Ave.

This concert will feature all four of the Youth Symphony’s orchestras, along with several special guests.

John Marshall and Lynn Feller-Marshall of the Spokane Symphony will play the North American premiere of Jan Koetsier’s Double Concerto for Bassoon and Cello.

Veteran professionals Jonathan Keeble and Ann Yeung will perform the last movement of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp. And 18 of the Youth Orchestra’s violinists will trade off solos in the first movements of Bach’s Double Concerto.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $11 for juniors, at the door.

‘Willy Wonka’

Speaking of youth-oriented arts, the Spokane Children’s Theatre is gearing up for its next show, “Willy Wonka,” based on the classic Roald Dahl story. The theater is calling it a “candy-colored extravaganza.”

It opens Saturday at 1 p.m. and continues through Feb. 20 at Spokane Community College’s Lair Auditorium, 1810 N. Greene St.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for children, through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).

For more info, go to www.spokanechildrenstheatre.org or call (509) 328-4886.


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