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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spotlight: Menzel will perform at The Fox in May

Idina Menzel – well known to “Glee,” “Rent” and “Wicked” fans – will join the Spokane Symphony for a concert at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox on May 15, 7:30 p.m.

Menzel made her name in 1996 as the originator of the role of Maureen in “Rent.” Then she originated the role of Elphaba in “Wicked” on Broadway in 2003 and in London in 2006.

Her career has been on a roll in the last year because of her recurring appearances in the first season of the hit TV series “Glee,” as rival glee club coach Shelby Corcoran.

The Associated Press reported that when Menzel played a sold-out date with the New York Philharmonic, she performed Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” (one of her “Glee” songs).

Tickets will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

Civic to nationals

Once again, the Spokane Civic Theatre has advanced to the national community theater competition finals.

The Civic’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” won first place in the Washington state festival, held here last weekend.

Because Idaho, Oregon and Alaska did not have state festivals due to lack of participants – times are tough for nonprofit theater – there will be no regional competition.

So the next event will be the American Association of Community Theater Festival in Rochester, N.Y., June 20-26.

Going to nationals is nothing new for the Civic. The theater finished first in the nation twice and second once.

The Civic also won a slew of other awards last weekend. Here’s the list:

• WSCTA Magic Moment Award: Lacey Bohnet singing “The I Love You Song.”

• Outstanding Performance: Mark Pleasant.

• Outstanding Costume Design: Jan Wanless.

• Outstanding Ensemble Performance.

• Outstanding Choreography: Kathie Doyle-Lipe.

• Outstanding Design and Production Team.

A wedding-related switch

Horn player Gail Williams was originally scheduled to perform with the Spokane String Quartet in May, but she had an excellent reason for canceling that date.

Her daughter will be getting married.

So now this former Chicago Symphony performer will appear with the quartet on March 27, 3 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater.

They’ll do Mozart’s Quintet for Horn and Strings in E-flat major, along with works by Amon, Butterworth and Cooke.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, through www.spokanestring or TicketsWest.

‘Carmina Burana’

Speaking of classical music next weekend, don’t forget about the performance of what many regard as the most dramatic choral/orchestral work of all time.

That would be Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” You’ve heard it on commercials and movie soundtracks ranging from “Excalibur” to “Jackass,” and now you can hear it live.

The Spokane Symphony, the Spokane Symphony Chorale and the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus will perform it on Saturday, 8 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.

Tickets are $22, $32 and $42, through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

Bell gets YouTubed

Sharp-eyed Spokane Symphony-goers might have noticed the absence of assistant concertmaster Jason Bell at Saturday night’s concert.

That’s because Bell was one of 101 musicians worldwide chosen to perform in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 in Sydney today. He was chosen through online YouTube auditions.

Bell has been in Australia for a week of rehearsals, master classes and various preliminary performances.

Michael Tilson Thomas will be the conductor. The concert will be live-streamed on the YouTube Symphony channel, today at 8 p.m. Sydney time.

Oh, wait. That means it already happened in the wee hours here. I assume, however, you can still watch the video whenever you want.

An accordion master

Speaking of instrumental virtuosos, you might want to check out the Spokane appearance by New Zealand’s Grayson Masefield on Saturday.

Masefield is one of the best accordion players in the world and winner of numerous championships. To borrow a guitar term, the guy can really shred, accordion-style.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 24th Avenue and Grand Boulevard. Tickets will be $10 at the door.

‘Wicked’ tickets update

If you want good tickets to “Wicked,” May 18-29 at the INB Performing Arts Center, you may have to try weeknights and Sunday evenings. A number of the prime weekend performances are sold out.

Here’s a hint: Try the matinee on May 19. It has some excellent seats left.

Tickets are available through TicketsWest.

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