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Spotlight: CdA Summer Theatre will feature Franz

There’s big news for the Spotlight column, and then there is Big News. I think this falls into the latter category.

Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre has announced a special show, for one night only, that will mark the return to the stage of Dennis Franz.

Oh, and he’ll share that stage with Patty Duke, Ellen Travolta and Jack Bannon.

This load of talent will come together for a staged reading of “Over the River and Through the Woods” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1.

The play centers on a young New Jersey man who, when given an opportunity to take a job in Seattle, faces stiff opposition from his two sets of doting grandparents. They scheme to keep him in town, even going so far to introduce a lovely single girl to dinner.

The younger characters will be played by Jessica Skerritt and Dane Stokinger, two names familiar to Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre fans.

Franz won four Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Detective Andy Sipowicz on the long-running NBC police drama “NYPD Blue.” Since “Blue” ended its run in 2005, Franz has stayed out of the limelight, although just last month he did a dramatic reading for the Memorial Day Concert broadcast on PBS. He and his wife, Joanne, have a home in Coeur d’Alene.

Duke, of course, is the Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress who has made Coeur d’Alene her home for years. Travolta and Bannon, also Coeur d’Alene residents, are veteran television, film and stage actors who first performed with the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre in 1990.

Staged readings of a play typically involve minimal costumes and set, if any. The event will be in the Schuler Performing Arts Center on the campus of North Idaho College, and is being underwritten by Pita Pit. Tickets are on sale through the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre website, Prices are $25 to $75.

Hello, Travoltas!

Speaking of Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, preparations are well under way for this Thursday’s opening of “Hello, Dolly!” with Travolta as Dolly Levi and Bannon as Horace Vandergelder.

This revival of the classic musical opens the summer theater’s 45th season. It’s also a bit of a Travolta family affair, with Travolta and Bannon, Travolta’s sister Margaret Travolta in a couple small roles, and Travolta’s daughter Molly Allen.

You know what happens when all these Travoltas get together on the Schuler Performing Arts Center stage: Little brother John plans a visit.

Yep. Sources say John Travolta will be heading to the Lake City sometime this weekend to check out the show. Don’t know what night it will be, but if he follows past practice, he and his family will slip in after the lights go down.

Isaak in the park

Looks like Chris Isaak is coming back to the Inland Northwest.

The San Francisco-based rocker is set to play a show in Riverfront Park on July 25. Isaak, who was part of last year’s Festival at Sandpoint lineup, had his big break in 1990 with the hit single “Wicked Game,” which David Lynch tapped for his film “Wild at Heart.” His ’50s retro style and modern sensibility also lent itself to a self-titled comedy series for Showtime in 2001-’04.

His most recent record was 2011’s “Beyond the Sun,” on which he pays tribute to the classic rock label Sun Records with covers of “Ring of Fire,” “Great Balls of Fire” and “My Happiness,” among others.

Tickets are on sale now through; prices are $35 and $55.

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