Dean Regan’s “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” offers an intimate, nostalgic stroll through much of Cline’s music but keeps the audience at an arm’s length in revealing the inspiration behind her signature songs. Directed by Jhon Goodwin at Spokane Civic Theatre’s Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre, the show is the second of two jukebox musicals about the country legend to grace Spokane’s local theater scene this season. Similar to “Always … Patsy Cline,” presented last month by Interplayers Professional Theatre, “A Closer Walk” provides well-sung and skillfully orchestrated interpretations of Cline’s spellbinding compositions.
We’re all familiar with the oldies “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Sherry” and “Oh, What a Night,” but few know much about the four men behind these hits – until now, thanks to the Tony Award-winning, international Broadway phenomenon “Jersey Boys.” Subtitled “The Story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons,” “Jersey Boys” is an irresistible musical biography of a hugely successful pop group – and one of the best jukebox musicals to date.
Leave it to comedy legend Mel Brooks to conceive a musical with material so offensive it becomes downright hysterical. Thus, the major ingredient in Brooks’ multi-Tony Award-winning musical, “The Producers.” Opening Spokane Civic Theatre’s 66th season, director Marianne McLaughlin, choreographer Ali Wade and music director Benjamin Bentler – the same creative team behind last season’s “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” – present a scaled-down version of the Broadway smash that manages to preserve much of the show’s original, ridiculous flavor.
Nearly a decade later, Interplayers Theatre brings back its tried-and-true production of Ted Swindley’s musical revue “Always … Patsy Cline.” It’s hard to imagine the theater’s wildly popular 2003 show – whose run was extended twice – could’ve been any more heartwarming and worthwhile than the current production, starring Cheyenne Nelson playing one of the 20th century’s most celebrated female vocalists. The show triumphs mostly because of Nelson’s ability to convey Patsy Cline’s distinct, full-bodied contralto vocals and emotional honesty. Its success also depends on the overall easy delivery of Swindley’s interesting storyline, centering on the real-life friendship and pen-pal relationship Cline developed with fan Louise Seger in 1961, until her tragic death in a plane crash at the age of 30, in 1963.
Conveyed with raw intensity, Lake City Playhouse presents its preseason production, “Spring Awakening.” The mature-themed rock musical by Duncan Sheik (music) and Steven Sater (book and lyrics), adapted from Frank Wedekind’s 1891 controversial play of the same name, offers an emotionally stirring depiction of teenagers grappling with sexuality in a society where such a matter is not discussed. The play also sheds light on other taboo topics, including abortion, homosexuality, child abuse, incest and suicide – how education and religious values intersect with these issues as well as the consequences when they aren’t addressed.
Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre really hams it up, or rather “Spams” it up, in its latest production, “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” directed by Roger Welch. The jaunty score of this Tony Award-winning musical by John Du Prez and Eric Idle only makes the trademark gags it incorporates from the 1975 British comedy film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” all the more saucy.
“Hello, I'm Johnny Cash.” With Southern hospitality, this is how we meet the cast of “Ring of Fire,” the latest production from Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre. Each of the six actors – three men and three women – steps to the microphone to deliver Cash’s signature greeting. From there, it’s a high-energy musical extravaganza and endearing tribute to the country and rock ’n’ roll legend whose music spans genres and generations.
As expected, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s 45th anniversary season is off to a promising start with its perky and spirited production of “Hello Dolly.” Hollywood veterans and husband-and-wife duo Ellen Travolta and Jack Bannon return to the summer stage reprising their lead roles from the professional musical theater’s 2000 production. They reunite with director Roger Welch, musical director Steven Dahlke and choreographer Mike Ericson Wasileski, as well as actors Krista Kubicek and Callie McKinney Cabe.
That old Disney magic will once again have you under its spell in the latest stage production to hit Spokane, “Mary Poppins.” Like Disney’s previous Broadway successes, “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast,” this production is high-quality and delightfully stunning in sight and sound.