By C. R. Roberts
The News Tribune
They earned a rousing standing ovation at a recent anniversary bash hosted by City Club, and now they’re back for a one-night stand at Tacoma Musical Playhouse.
The “Grit City Fab Follies” will hit the West Tacoma stage at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 6.
The satirical revue reprises the songs sung at the City Club event – with the addition of another handful of tunes likewise written by Tacoma native Doug Mackey and sung by a sextet comprising high school students from throughout Pierce County.
The songs (with melodies that will be familiar to fans of a famous British rock group) include “Empty Esplanade” (think “Eleanor Rigby” where “We all live in the empty Esplanade”); “Helter Smelter” (think ”Helter Skelter”); “Taxwoman” (think “Taxman”) and “Cool on the Hill” (which alludes to long-time member of Congress Norm Dicks, of whom “all in the Beltway knew him, he was there before World War II”).
Other songs parody Tacoma’s Goddess of Commerce, life on Pacific Avenue, construction above Nalley Valley, and, among other likeable targets, The News Tribune.
“It’s a roast of Tacoma. It’s a folly,” said Mackey at a rehearsal this week.
“It’s a great chance to laugh at ourselves,” said assistant director and vocal coach Jill Goodman. “It’s a wonderful window onto the silliness that is Tacoma. It’s a chance to learn about the old times and laugh at the past.”
Before the evening at City Club, the six performers – who call themselves “Totes Harms,” as in “totally harmonious” – had not performed as a group. Each or them, however, counts long experience in local amateur productions.
Grace Oberhofer, 16, and Rachel Lind, 18, attend Tacoma School of the Arts; Claire Idstrom, 15, attends Stadium High School; Bryan Gula, 16, attends Charles Wright Academy; Grant Troyer, 17, attends Gig Harbor High School; and Henry Nettleton, 17, attends Bellarmine Prep.
Along with the musical numbers, the show features dancing, comedic patter and a PowerPoint visual tour of Tacoma’s historic underbelly.
Tickets go for $20 each, with discounts for military personnel, seniors and students. All seats are reserved and advance purchase is advised. To secure a seat, call Tacoma Musical Playhouse at 253-565-6867. The theater is located at 7116 Sixth Ave.