Yes, you can have theater in summer, and Centerstage Theatre in Federal Way is going to show us how it’s done. Thanks to a new collaboration with Central Washington University theater department and an economic grant from the city, the company will produce two weeks of two shows, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “All in the Timing.” The Summer Stock Festival begins this week.
“We’re dipping our toe in the water,” says Centerstage director Alan Bryce. Bryce acknowledges that theater in summer isn’t the norm (inside, anyway) but explains that the Summer Stock Festival is part of a $35,000 economic grant from the City of Federal Way and has teamed up with local hotels and the annual Northwest Sand Festival, the biggest of its kind in the country which draws hundreds to see sand sculptures inside the cool of the Commons Mall. Anyone buying a ticket to the theater festival will receive a free Sand Festival ticket as well as a discount at the Clarion Hotel.
“We’re trying to get people from out of town,” explains Bryce.
The two shows of the festival will run on successive nights from now through Aug. 26. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” a musical comedy about overachieving adolescents, will be directed by Chris Nardine; “All in the Timing” features six one-act comedies by David Ives and will be directed by Cynthia White. Casts are taken from both CWU students and local actors.
Bryce hopes that the festival will become an annual event; whether there’s enough patronage, though, remains to be seen.
“A lot of it depends on sales,” he said.
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” runs 2 p.m. Aug. 16, 18 and 19, 8 p.m. Aug. 22, 24 and 25. “All in the Timing” runs 8 p.m. Aug. 17, 18 and 23; 2 p.m. Aug. 25 and 26. Tickets $27.50 adults/$22.50 seniors/$12.50 under-25. Discounts apply when booking both shows. Centerstage Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road, Federal Way. 253-661-1444, centerstagetheatre.com, cwu.edu/theatre