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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Green Bluff theater funds scholarships

Green Bluff is known for its apple festival, fresh pressed cider and beautiful views.

To members of the Green Bluff community, it’s also known for the Old Orchard Theatre.

The theater is now celebrating its seventh year with the production of “Way Out West in a Dress,” a musical comedy that features 20 cast members ranging in age from 7 to over 70. Proceeds from the musical provide college scholarships, awarded by the Grange.

Over the past six years the theater has raised $12,000 for scholarships.

Suzanne Ostersmith, director/actor, is a professor of dance and theater at Whitworth College and Gonzaga University. This is the sixth year she has directed the annual production.

“This is true community theater. It’s a chance for people to come up to Green Bluff, pick some apples and have some fun,” Ostersmight said. “It’s always silly. Many community members join in.”

The Green Bluff Grange has provided electricity and added a room on the back of Grange hall for the theater.

The actors are Grange members, their children, neighbors and friends. This year Ostersmith’s sons Nik, 9, and Daniel, 7, are cast members.

Helen Law, known for some of the best pies on “the bluff,” is a Grange member, former apple farmer and the theater’s founder. She has lived in the community for 45 years.

“I’ve always enjoyed writing plays and putting them on. I just thought we should go ahead and try it,” said Law.

The hero of the play is played by Wayne Schettle, the master of the Grange. Schettle is a garlic farmer and a computer programmer for air traffic controls.

Former Spokane Police Chief Bob Panther is the set designer/builder.

The theater group has met twice a week since July. A core group of about 12 keeps the productions rolling.

“We’re very family oriented,” Ostersmith said. “We celebrate birthdays while rehearsing, and we take turns bringing snacks.”

The musical tells the tale of Clarence Rawlins, who discovers he has misread the handwriting in his aunt’s will. He learns that instead of inheriting a profitable saloon, he has inherited the Lucky Lady Salon, a beauty parlor.

Flat broke, he has no choice but to raid his acting company’s costume trunk and transform himself into a down-on-her-luck British aristocrat, head hairstylist of the small town’s only salon.