September marks the beginning of school, yes, but it also marks the beginning of theater season.
Case in point: Four area theaters – Ignite Community Theatre, Spokane Civic Theatre, Lake City Playhouse and Red Bird Theater – are kicking off their 2019-20 seasons this week.
The theaters are bringing “See How They Run,” “Matilda: The Musical,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Into the Woods” to the stage, respectively.
Here’s the rundown of each production.
‘See How They Run’
To kick off its 15th season, Ignite Community Theatre has decided to bring a favorite play back to its stage.
Philip King’s “See How They Run” is a farcical play full of mistaken identities, lots of opening and closing doors and vicars (yes, plural.)
Ignite’s production, which is directed by Karen Brathovde, opens today and runs through Sept. 29.
“See How They Run” is set just after the end of World War II in the living room of the vicarage in the imagined village of Merton-cum-Middlewick.
Former actress Penelope Toop (Abby Constable) is now married to the local vicar, the Rev. Lionel Toop (Olivier Moratin). Together, the pair employ a maid named Ida (Michelle Bakken).
One day, Miss Skillon, a churchgoer and a bit of a gossip (Tristen Canfield), stops by to talk with the vicar about the “outrages” Penelope has caused. Soon after, the vicar leaves for the night, and a former acting friend of Penelope’s, Lance-Corporal Clive Winton (Scott Doughty), stops by for a visit.
Winton, to avoid Army regulations, decides to see a play he and Penelope once performed in while wearing a suit of the vicar’s and pretending to be vicar Arthur Humphrey, who is scheduled to preach the following day.
From there, Miss Skillon is accidentally knocked out, gets drunk and is hidden in a closest; Lionel is knocked around by an intruder (Joe Smeader); and Penelope’s uncle, the Bishop of Lax (George Morrison) and the real vicar Humphrey (Dan Griffith) show up.
What follows is a revolving door of mistaken identities and a police sergeant (Kris Kittelson), who is tasked with sorting everything out.
If you go: Today through Sept. 29; 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; Ignite Community Theatre, 10814 E. Broadway Ave., Spokane Valley. Tickets are $13 students, seniors and military; $15 adults. Tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets.
Note: This show is recommended for adults and teens.
‘Matilda: The Musical’
The world was first introduced to the intelligent, precocious Matilda Wormwood, the rotten Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, the cruel Agatha Trunchbull and the sweet Jennifer Honey in Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel “Matilda.”
Just under a decade later, the book was adapted into a film starring Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Pam Ferris and Embeth Davidtz.
Wilson won the YoungStar Award for best performance by a young actress in a comedy film, and DeVito won two awards for his directing.
In more recent years, Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin teamed up to bring the classic story to the stage. The musical premiered in London in 2010, on the West End in 2011 and on Broadway in 2013.
The London, Broadway and Australian productions all won and were nominated for a number of awards.
To kick off the season, Spokane Civic Theatre will bring young Matilda and her telekinetic powers to its main stage.
The musical stars Eleanor Weitz as Matilda, Doug Dawson as Miss Trunchbull, Shelby Fressmeyer as Miss Honey, Michael Hynes as Mr. Wormwood, Colleen Kirsten as Mrs. Wormwood, Matthew Brauhn as Michael Wormwood, Juana Cabbage as Mrs. Phelps, Brody Else as Bruce and Teagan Reese as Lavender.
Civic’s production is directed by Kathie Doyle-Lipe, with music directed by Henry McNulty.
If you go: Today through Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; Spokane Civic Theatre, Margot and Robbie Ogden Main Stage, 1020 N. Howard St. Tickets are $35 adults; $30 seniors and military; $25 ages 13-25; $15 ages 5-12 and all ages rush 30 minutes before curtain, available through spokanecivictheatre.com.
Note: This musical is rated PG.
‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
In 1965, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber was just 17 and writer Tim Rice only 20 when they created “The Likes of Us,” their first musical.
The musical failed to gain a backer and wasn’t performed publicly until 2005, but that roadblock didn’t slow down the pair for too long.
Just two years later, in 1967, the pair were asked to write a pop cantata for the Colet Court school choir, something in the same vein as Herbert Chappell’s “The Daniel Jazz” and Michael Hurd’s “Jonah-Man Jazz.”
The resulting piece, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” was well-received, though only 15 minutes long. It was eventually expanded to 20, then 32 minutes, then to a full-length stage show performed in the U.K. and U.S.
Several revivals, national tours and a film adaptation starring Donny Osmond later, Lake City Playhouse will open a production of its own today.
“Joseph” retells the Biblical story of Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob.
Broadway veteran Woody Hurst, who was in the original cast of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” stars as Jacob, the father of Joseph (Samuel Richardson) and his 11 other sons, played by Timothy Gant (who also plays the baker), Daniel Renz (who also plays Potiphar), Hunter Price (who also plays the Pharaoh), Jacob McGaughey, Liam Hurst, Simon Daly (who also plays the butler), Caid Wood, Dawson Price, Jesse Davis, Alexander Hamilton and Luke Sharon.
Hannah Melton plays the Narrator.
Lake City’s production is directed by Lorna Hamilton.
If you go: Today through Sept. 29; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; Lake City Playhouse, 1320 E. Garden Ave., Coeur d’Alene. Tickets are $23-$25, available through lakecityplayhouse.org.
‘Into the Woods’
While watching “Into the Woods,” it’s understandable that audiences might think they know exactly how things are going to go.
By the end of Act I, the fairy-tale characters from stories by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault have all gotten their “happily ever afters.”
Cinderella has gotten to attend the king’s festival, where she meets her prince; Jack (of beanstalk fame) has a cow, Milky White, that is once again producing milk; and a baker and his wife are expecting a baby after struggling with infertility.
Little Red Ridinghood, Rapunzel and Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters, too, receive their storybook endings.
But that’s when the stories we know and love head in a different direction. Act 2 of “Into the Woods” picks up where the fairy tales left off, and things aren’t as picture perfect as they might’ve seemed.
“Into the Woods” features a book by James Lapine and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1987 and was made into a 2014 film starring Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp.
On Thursday, Red Bird Theater will open its season with its own production of the musical.
“Into the Woods” stars Kylee Lavier as the witch, Andy Irwin as the narrator, Jen Kleinkauf as the baker’s wife, Dan Bell as the baker, Kenzi Nash as Little Red, John Reddy as Jack, Marie Hunt as Cinderella, Daniel Hunt as Cinderella’s prince and the wolf, Cameron Kleinkauf as Rapunzel, David Eldridge as Rapunzel’s prince, Halle Schmidt as Lucinda, Mackenzie Hickerson as Florinda, Callie Cabe as Jack’s mom, Kay Poland as the stepmother, A.J. Schaefer as the steward, Nicole Delbridge as Cinderella’s mother, Karl Kleinkauf as Cinderella’s father, Shirley Leer as granny and the giant, Jessica Helling as Snow White and Karen Bell as Sleeping Beauty.
If you go: Thursday through Sept. 29, 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sept. 28-29; Salvation Army Kroc Center, 1765 W. Golf Course Road, Coeur d’Alene. Tickets are $25 general admission, $40 red carpet experience, available through redbirdcda.com.
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