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Archives: Feb. 2013


Laugh hard at the Bard in Tacoma Little Theatre’s gag-a-minute “Complete Shakespeare Abridged (Revised)”

From left: Yorick, Coleman Hagerman, Alex Smith, Luke Amundsen and Macbeth in Tacoma Little Theatre's "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised)." PHoto: Jason Ganwich
From left: Yorick, Coleman Hagerman, Alex Smith, Luke Amundsen and Macbeth in Tacoma Little Theatre’s “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised).” PHoto: Jason Ganwich

It’s every comedy actor’s dream – a show where you can do as many girly screams, fake vomiting, cheesy Scottish accents and penis jokes as you like, plus declaim Shakespeare’s most famous speeches all in one night. But “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised)” also lets the audience do what they’ve always wanted – poke fun at the Bard’s silly or boring bits – and the version currently running at Tacoma Little Theatre doesn’t disappoint.

Created by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield in the 1980s, this hysterically funny parody aims to retell all of Shakespeare’s works in one two-hour show, and have a good laugh at everything from bad rhymes to melodramatic actors along the way. It has its flaws – the balance never works, with a longish condensed “Romeo and Juliet” followed by ever-shorter medleys of everything else and no less than four versions of “Hamlet” to finish – but it’s still hugely successful, and the TLT cast directed ably by Suzy Wilhoft have updated it to take in such 16th-century phenomena as cell phones, Google and “Downton Abbey” with very clever results.

This play lives or dies on its cast, and TLT has chosen a good one. Luke Amundsen (recently seen in Found Space’s “Zoo Story”) is the straight guy, the solid deadpan rock who anchors the manic craziness of TLT and Lakewood Playhouse regular Alex Smith, who takes on all the girl roles with hysterical glee. Playing the would-be scholar, a self-indulgent Hamlet and more is Coleman Hagerman (the Dodger in Lakewood’s “Oliver”) whose perfectly-timed delivery and wide-eyed goofiness belie his age (he’s a high school junior).

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In “See Change I,” Tacoma Symphony’s first conductor finalist Sarah Ioannides takes the orchestra to new heights of skill and nuance

If its first finalist is anything to go by, the Tacoma Symphony won’t have a problem choosing a new artistic director that’ll take them to higher musical places. A nearly-full crowd showed up at the Pantages yesterday to watch Sarah Ioannides, the first of four finalists in the orchestra’s search for a new artistic director, blaze her way through an audition concert (“See Change I”) that combined sterling precision with deep, nuanced expression – and an excellent solo performance by the orchestra’s double bass principal Chris Burns.

Conducting mostly from memory – including Shostakovich’s epic Fifth Symphony – the British native showed obvious rapport with the orchestra, who were following as one her encouraging but uncompromising direction. But while her precision and thought-out structure was impressive – not for a while have the violins sounded so tight – the first half was a little lacking in drama. Glinka’s “Russlan and Ludmilla” overture opened the show, and this Cossack dance with its bouncy theme and gleeful fast runs needed more wild abandon than Ioannides was going to indulge, going instead for lightness and spot-on unity. Facing the violins almost the entire time she also missed a few lower-string moments that could have made this a less refined, Mozartean experience.

Next in the spotlight, though, was an instrument that rarely gets the chance to shine but deserves it all the more: the double bass. TSO principal Chris Burns sailed through the Divertimento Concertante by Nino Rota – a mid-20th-century composer best known for his scores for Fellini, Coppola and Zeffirelli – with a calm virtuosity and thoughtful expression. Read more »


Critic’s Picks: “The Woman in Black” at Lakewood Playhouse, reduced Shakespeare at Tacoma Little Theatre, Tacoma’s Oscars party and “Quartet” at The Grand cinema

Lakewood Playhouse does “The Woman in Black”

The second-longest running play in London, this ghost mystery will have you on the edge of your seat. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 22-Mar. 17. Pay-What-You-Can 8 p.m. Thursdays. $24/$21/$18. Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood. 253-588-0042, lakewoodplayhouse.org

TLT does abridged Shakespeare

If you’ve never seen “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” then you’re in for a lot of side-splitting laughs at Tacoma Little Theatre. Opening this weekend, the three-person show romps through all 37 of the Bard’s works (plus some sonnets) in a two-hour comedy rollercoaster. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 22-Mar.3. Age 13+. $9.50. Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 N. I St., Tacoma. 253-272-2481, tacomalittletheatre.com

The Grand’s Oscar party Read more »


Ballet, art, music, film and fun all meet at Tacoma City Ballet’s 10th Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball Soirée, Saturday night at the Merlino Building

Masks by Tacoma City Ballet director Erin Ceragioli for the TCB Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball this Saturday. Courtesy photo.
Masks by Tacoma City Ballet director Erin Ceragioli for the TCB Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball this Saturday. Courtesy photo.

The Jan Collum Ballroom in the historic Merlino Building is perfect for a party: a sweeping balcony, gold Art Deco molding, the exotic whiff of ballet resin in the air. So that’s exactly what Tacoma City Ballet does every six months or so – transform its main rehearsal space into an elegant party scene filled with dance, music, fine art, film and food. On this Saturday, the next soirée has an added bit of fun: a masquerade ball.

Along with work by local photographers like Bill Hinsee, Jessie Felix, Denise Knudson and Scott Nelson, films by Ellington Tynes, poetry by Sandra King and original choreography by TCB’s Erin Ceragioli, Travis Goldman and Joel Myers, there’ll be live music by Touché: Eclectic Quintet, and guests are encouraged to dress up with masks.

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Art and science meet in new salon discussion series at Tacoma Art Museum

Lelavision. Photo: Peter Haley for The News Tribune.
Lelavision. Photo: Peter Haley for The News Tribune.

What happens when artists and scientists get together? You’ll find out at a new series of discussion salons organized by the University of Puget Sound and hosted at Tacoma Art Museum. The first is this Thursday; the next April 18; each will feature local artists and scientists presenting work and ideas in a fast-paced five-minute slideshow format similar to the broader-themed Pecha Kucha nights that have happened in Tacoma and around the world over the last few years. The Art+Science Salons will always occur on third Thursdays, the museum’s free admission night.

“It’s all about getting some connections happening between artists and scientists,” said Siddharth Ramakrishnan, the new chair of neuroscience at UPS, whose idea the series was. “We’re hopeful that people will be inspired by others’ work and decide to go out for a coffee and talk abut working together.”

That science and art have many collaborative possibilities has been shown already in Tacoma by the Vashon-based Lelavision, a husband-and-wife duo who combine physical theater, musical sculpture and dance to illustrate scientific ideas and theories such as epigenetics or flower reproduction. Read more »


MoG closed; TAM free to military today for Presidents Day

Have Presidents Day off? Looking for a museum? In the military? Read this:

Tacoma Art Museum is offering free admission from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today to all active military and families in honor of Presidents Day. Up now: Michael Kenna photography, Dale Chihuly and Northwest painters. 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-4258, tacomaartmuseum.org

Also open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and also free to military, is the Washington State History Museum, where you can check out motorcycle exhibit “Let’s Ride!” and classic photographs from Washington history, as well as the permanent displays. 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-3500, washingtonhistory.org

BUT – the

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Critic’s picks: Vocal recital at Christ Episcopal Tacoma, Museum of Glass and the Sister Cities film fest

Vocal recital at Christ Church

The Third Fridays at Noon recital series at Christ Episcopal Church presents soprano Melissa Fontaine in a lunchtime recital today, accompanied by pianist Una Hwang and organist Mark Brombaugh. On the program are four early songs by Alban Berg, “Letters from Saint Paul” by Daniel Pinkham, and “Cantata of Spirituals” by John Carter. 12:10 p.m. today. Donation at the door. Christ Episcopal Church, 310 N. K St., Tacoma. 253-383-1569, ccptacoma.org

Moore at MoG

Opening at the Museum of Glass this weekend is a new show by Northwest glass artist Benjamin Moore. “Translucent” evokes

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Just up – Beautiful Angle strikes again, this time to celebrate saving Tacoma’s Murray Morgan Bridge

Seen these yet? Beautiful Angle (aka Tom Llewellyn and Lance Kagey, guerrilla letterpress art duo) just posted their justifiably triumphant poster of the month – a celebration of the newly reopened Murray Morgan Bridge in Tacoma. The historic bridge was saved from demolition partly because of the poster (and community) efforts of these guys.