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Sunday, May 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Putnam County,’ ‘Chicago’ among stops for Modern Theater in ’16-17

The Modern Theater on Saturday night announced its lineup of plays for the 2016-17 season.

Shows will be staged at either the Spokane theater, 174 S. Howard St., or in Coeur d’Alene, 1320 E. Garden Ave., unless otherwise noted. For ticket information, including season ticket packages, visit

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Sept. 9-Oct.2, Coeur d’Alene. Tony-winning musical comedy is about six awkward spelling champions who learn that winning (and losing) isn’t everything. And there’s audience participation. Music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin.

“Chicago” Sept. 23-Oct. 23, Spokane. The Modern announced this one months ago, and as executive director George Green recently noted on social media, he’s been working to get the rights for six years. This smash hit musical has won Tony and Grammys and Oscars, and is now in its 20th year on Broadway. This classic is a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz. Music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Ebb and Bob Fosse.

‘night Mother” Oct. 21-Nov. 6, Coeur d’Alene. This Pulitzer Prize winner centers on Jessie and her mother, Thelma, and how they are unable to really communicate until it’s too late. By Marsha Norman.

“All is Calm” Nov. 25-Dec. 24, Spokane. Now an Inland Northwest tradition, this one-act musical poignantly tells the story of the 1914 Christmas Eve truce during World War I, all told in the words and music of the men who were there. By Peter Rothstein, with musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach.

“ ’Twas The Night Before Christmas” Dec. 2-18, Coeur d’Alene. You may know the famous poem, but this joyful tribute to the holiday season takes a different track. That mouse is stirring, alright, because Santa skipped his house the previous year. This comedy/farce is described as a playful romp that children will love.

“The Santaland Diaries” Dec 15, 16, 17, 18, Spokane David Sedaris’ hilarious essay about his time spent working as an elf in Macy’s Santaland has been adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. Can Santa’s helper ever find goodwill, peace, and joy? This special production is currently scheduled to be performed at the former Ella’s Supper Club in downtown.

“A New Brain” Jan. 6-22, 2017, Coeur d’Alene. This musical uses humor and cynicism to tell the story about a composer experiencing a medical emergency. William Finn, who wrote the music and co-wrote the book with James Lapine, was inspired by his own experience dealing with a frightening illness.

“Freud’s Last Session” Jan. 13-29, Spokane. In this comedy by Mark St. Germain, Dr. Sigmund Freud invites the young C.S. Lewis to his home in London on the day England enters World War II. The two argue about love, sex, the existence of God and the meaning of life.

“The Flick” Feb. 10-26, Coeur d’Alene. A Pulitzer Prize winner, this dramatic comedy centers on three employees of a run-down Massachusetts movie theater who keep one of the state’s last 35 mm projectors running. By Annie Baker.

“Fool for Love” Feb. 17-March 5, Spokane. Sam Shepard’s acclaimed drama puts two ex-lovers in a seedy hotel room and has them tear into each other.

“The Clean House” March 17-April 2, Coeur d’Alene This comedy by Sarah Ruhl centers on a Brazilian maid, Matilde, who wants to be a comedian. Described as “whimsical and poignant,” this Pulitzer finalist mixes fantasy and reality as it tells the story of five disparate characters.

“Who is Theo?” March 24-April 9, Spokane Donna comes home one St. Patrick’s Day to find a drunken man dressed like a leprechaun in her apartment. Theo, charming and possibly magical, proves to be hard to get rid of in the David Kimple comedy/farce.

“The Fourposter” April 28-May 14, Coeur d’Alene. A Tony winner for best play, Jan de Hartog’s comedy follows one couple over 35 years of their marriage.

“American Idiot” May 5-June 4, Spokane. Green Day’s Grammy-winning album of youthful alienation inspired this rock opera. Written by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, with Michael Mayer, it tells its story mainly through the band’s songs, including “Jesus of Suburbia,” “Holiday,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”

“Titanic” June 9-July 2, Coeur d’Alene. This musical opened on Broadway eight months before James Cameron’s film of the same name hit movie theaters. The Tony-nominated show tells an account of the HMS Titanic’s officers, the crew, and the passengers. Music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, book by Peter Stone.

“Heathers” July 7-23, Spokane. Back in 1988, Winona Ryder and Christian Slater starred in this black, black movie comedy about an outsider who helps his girlfriend take down their school’s ruling clique. Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy have adapted this Gen X gem into a musical comedy about the joys and anguish of high school.

“Souvenir” June 16-17, Bing Crosby Theater, Spokane. In Stephen Temperley’s musical, flashbacks tell the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy society eccentric who suffered under the delusion that she was a great coloratura soprano when she was in fact incapable of producing two consecutive notes in tune. Nevertheless, her annual recitals in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton Hotel brought her extraordinary fame.

“It’ll Come To You” Aug. 18-19, the Bing, Spokane. This locally created musical, a collaboration among Doug Dawson, George Green and Zack Baker, centers on a successful businessman and recovering alcoholic who relapses, leading to tragic consequences.

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