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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Interplayers merges with Lake City Playhouse

Spokane’s Interplayers Theatre has merged with Coeur d’Alene’s Lake City Playhouse, a Monday news release announced. LCP’s executive artistic director George Green confirmed the merger, which will see him supervising both theaters simultaneously.

Sentimental journey

Last year, Interplayers Theatre began its 33rd season with a production of the Neil Simon classic “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” Directed by Michael Weaver, the wistful period comedy centered on the eccentricities of the Jeromes, a tight-knit Jewish family scraping by in Depression-era Brooklyn. This weekend, Weaver returns, along with two members of his original cast (Nich Witham as Eugene and Samantha Camp as Kate), to the Jerome household with “Broadway Bound,” the third entry in Simon’s well-regarded trilogy. (They’ve skipped over the middle installment, “Biloxi Blues.”)

Play shows poet’s darker side

Although Shel Silverstein is best known today for his whimsical picture books and best-selling anthologies of children’s poetry (“Where the Sidewalk Ends,” “A Light in the Attic”), he was just as prolific a satirist, cartoonist and songwriter. Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris and Peter, Paul and Mary all recorded Silverstein originals. Much of Silverstein’s non-kid lit work is gleefully dark and surprisingly bawdy. I still remember getting my hands on a copy of his “Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book” as a child and ignoring the warning that it was for “adults only.” Most of the jokes sailed over my head, but I recall being taken aback by how inappropriate it all seemed, thinking, “Shel ‘The Giving Tree’ Silverstein wrote this?”

Review: Light takes center stage in Interplayers’ ‘Wait Until Dark’

Our scene opens on a typical New York City basement apartment in 1944. It’s dark, illuminated only by an outside streetlight. We see a man walk past the window over the kitchen sink. He enters the apartment and lights a cigarette. He wanders to the refrigerator, its light spilling out. He samples some of the leftovers inside, and in short order is joined by another man. Together, they craft a plot that sets “Wait Until Dark” into motion.

Interplayers stages ‘Barrymore’ - a glimpse of a Hollywood legend

At the height of his career, John Barrymore was one of the most popular figures of the stage and screen. He was one of the few actors who made a seamless transition from silent films to talkies, he could play light comedy as effortlessly as tragedy, and his interpretations of Richard III and Hamlet would forever change the way those characters were portrayed. By the early 1940s, though, Barrymore was a has-been: He was no longer a box office draw, he began to have trouble memorizing lines and his crippling alcoholism was devastating to his health and his personal life (he was married and divorced four times). He died at 60, suffering from pneumonia that was exacerbated by cirrhosis.

Interplayers’ production of ‘Good People’ displays raw human nature, humor

In “Good People,” the line between being a good person and a bad one is blurred. No one is ever fully one or the other, and no situation is black and white. The strength of the Tony Award-nominated drama, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, is its honest depiction of people, with all their flaws. Interplayers Theatre’s production, directed by the Rev. Jack Bentz (a Jesuit who works at Gonzaga University), features wit and some fine performances. The South Boston – Southie – characters and the way they are portrayed are easily relatable.

Interplayers continues holiday laughs with ‘Away in the Basement’

Because the “Church Basement Ladies” musicals are so firmly rooted in the spirits and traditions of mid-20th century Minnesota, Spokane in 2013 seems like an odd place for them to really click with audiences. And yet they’ve found a sort of second home at Interplayers Theatre, which today is hosting the Northwest premiere of another entry in the “Church Basement” series, “Away in the Basement,” a Christmas-based prequel to the first “Basement” story.

Spotlight: Want to see ‘Christmas Cabaret’ in CdA? Act fast

If you’re interested in seeing “A Christmas Cabaret” at the Coeur d’Alene resort this holiday season, move quickly. The run is nearly sold out, said producer Ellen Travolta. The show stars cabaret singer Mark Cotter and features special guest Jack Bannon and is scheduled Thursdays to Sundays through Dec. 21. Call the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s business office at (208) 765-4000, ext. 21, for ticket information.

Review: Interplayers’ ‘Our Town’ harkens to simpler times

Interplayers Theatre’s new imagining of Thornton Wilder’s classic play “Our Town” offers the same slice-of-life portrait of American life and heart that fans of the play appreciate. Artistic Director Reed McColm’s adaptation, approved by Wilder’s estate, features just eight actors who play all 36 roles. This version also invites a little audience participation. The ensemble is evenly matched and blends well, with each performer carrying his or her weight in the story. The movement between scenes and character transformations were well-crafted by director Michael Weaver.

Review: Interplayers Theatre’s ‘Never the Sinner’ smart, well-acted

Interplayers Theatre’s production of “Never the Sinner,” a penetrating historical drama by John Logan, delivers strong performances and is well-choreographed by director Ken Urso. The story centers on the relationship between notorious killers Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb, who were wealthy 19-year-old University of Chicago law students when they murdered a young teen in 1924.

‘Never the Sinner’ at Interplayers a riveting look at murder

The Leopold and Loeb murder case is one of the most famous and frequently studied of the 1920s, and it has inspired a number of literary works: Patrick Hamilton’s 1929 play “Rope” (later adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock), Meyer Levins’ novel “Compulsion” and its screen adaptation, and John Logan’s 1988 play “Never the Sinner.” Logan’s interpretation, which was written while he was a student at Northwestern University, is being performed at Interplayers Theatre beginning tonight, and director Ken Urso says that it sticks more closely to the details of the actual case than either “Rope” or “Compulsion.”

Spotlight: Bluegrass standouts stop in Spokane

The North Carolina bluegrass quintet Town Mountain will swing through Spokane during a nationwide tour, landing at Bob Rice’s Studio, 1514 S. Cedar St. Town Mountain, based in Asheville, is touring in support of its fourth record, “Leave the Bottle.” As the bluegrass website The Bluegrass Situation (co-founded by actor-comedian-musician Ed Helms) noted recently: “In the spirit of blending traditional bluegrass instrumentation with modern musicality, Town Mountain has continued to develop with their cover of the Bruce Springsteen tune ‘I’m On Fire.’ And they make it sound like the Boss’ words came straight out of Appalachia. Needless to say, Town Mountain is the real deal. See y’all down the road.”

Spotlight: With pledge drive completed, Interplayers keeps swinging

Even though May’s monthlong pledge drive to save Interplayers Theatres was a success, Interplayers isn’t done fundraising. The Spokane combo 6 Foot Swing will perform at a fundraising dance party on Friday at Chateau Rive at the Flour Mill, 621 W. Mallon Ave. The evening will feature dancing, hors d’oeuvres, dessert and raffles.

Spotlight: Chang to perform hometown recital

New York City pianist Hsia-Jung Chang will perform a hometown recital on June 1 at the Holy Names Music Center. In her “Piano in Nature” recital, Chang will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” Claude Debussy’s piano suite “Estampes,” and music by Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Christian Sinding, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. 

Without financial help, the curtain will fall on Interplayers

When I first walked into Interplayers 24 years ago, I did so with trepidation. I had just moved from Seattle, and I retained the typical Seattle attitude about Spokane’s cultural life, namely that it was nonexistent. As the lights dimmed at what was billed – somewhat grandly – as Spokane’s “resident professional theater,” I fidgeted and worried.

Interplayers faces financial crunch

Interplayers Theatre announced its 2013-14 season Tuesday night, with a significant hitch: The nonprofit professional theater company must raise $150,000 by May 31 or else it will shut its doors. Artistic director Reed McColm told supporters the company has been on an upswing in recent years. As of a year ago, Interplayers is debt-free, he said. There is a new roof and a new lobby, and new programs such as the Interludes concerts are bringing in audiences who otherwise wouldn’t come to the theater.

Review: ‘Speech & Debate’ has a funny heart

Three teenage misfits are the vulnerable and funny heart of Interplayers’ production of Stephan Karam’s “Speech & Debate.” The play, directed by Marilyn Langbehn, offers a glimpse into the world of these adolescents who are simply trying to make friends and figure out who they are. The program warns of “adult situations,” but while the play touches on sexuality and abortion, nothing is gratuitous, and older teens and college students especially would identify with these characters.

Interplayers’ latest play loosely tied to Jim West scandal

The fictional script of Interplayers’ production “Speech & Debate” starts with an epigraph drawn from Spokane’s recent real-life history: an excerpt from a 2004 online chat between a student who called himself “dannyboy” and a mayor who called himself “RightBi-Guy.” Jim West’s sexual conversations with teenage boys and young men – and a computer forensics expert hired by The Spokesman-Review posing as a high school senior – formed the basis of the recall behind his ouster in 2005.