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Category: stage – theater

Dec.
17th

The Christmas Revels in medieval Haddon Hall (aka Tacoma’s Rialto) is full of joy, marvelous music and spirits of the best kind.

The Christmas Revels. From left: Harold Smelt, Tony Curry, Keith Dahlgren, Sophie Clements and Kate Witt. Courtesy photo.

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Puget Sound Revels, and so you’d expect a bigger production than most years. What you get, though, in this year’s Christmas Revels – set in 12th century England, and performed in Tacoma’s Rialto Theater – is a professional production that has the best music, most interesting plot and highest production values of any Revels in the last eight years.

Creating a professional-looking Revels isn’t easy. All but a few of the cast are amateurs who rehearse their folk-songs and dances after their day-job is over, and there’s a children’s chorus (16-strong this year), many of whom have never been on stage before. Sets are built by family members, costumes are sewn by friends. Even the paid musicians are sometimes a grab-bag.

But this year it all comes together with a resounding hurrah. Most successful of all is the plot, something the folk-tradition-based Revels doesn’t often come with, and this is spun out with engaging skill by five talented actors. Read more »

Sep.
20th

Free for All kicks off a varied and exciting Broadway Center season, with guest appearance by Vicci Martinez

Singer Vicci Martinez, playing the Pantages this Saturday for Tacoma's Fall Free for All festival. Courtesy photo.

Who doesn’t like free dance, theater and music? The Broadway Center knows it’s pretty hard to resist a free show, let alone a free weekend of shows, and for the second year around is kicking off its season with the Fall Free for All weekend of free arts events this Saturday and Sunday to entice newbies into the downtown theaters and give us all a taste of what’s coming up. Headlining the weekend is Tacoma indie singer Vicci Martinez, playing the Pantages Saturday night.

You can download the program pdf on the Broadway Center’s website, but here are some highlights:

-       New this year is Vicci Martinez, the Tacoma native singer/songwriter who went big on NBC’s “The Voice” and has found it hard to schedule her adoring hometown into her gig schedule ever since. She didn’t make it to Art on the Ave – but she’s booked in at the Pantages, so get in line early. 9 p.m. Sat.

-       Also new this year is a scheduled dinner break. No, they’re not giving you a free meal, but at least there’s a two hour break in the performance schedule to allow everyone to refuel at some of downtown T-Town’s great eating places (Two Koi, Matador, Maxwell’s, The Old Spaghetti Factory, El Gaucho, Corina and The Office), where your FFFA wristband will get you discounts. 5-7 p.m. Sat., 4-6 p.m. Sun. Read more »

Aug.
29th

Vicci Martinez, Fab-5, Recess Monkey, Squeak Squawk and Double Shot Theatre among many offerings at Broadway Center’s Fall Free for All later this month

Put it on your calendar now – the 2012 Fall Free for All festival, organized by Tacoma’s Broadway Center for Perfoming Arts September 21-22, is bigger and better than ever, with headline acts like singer-songwriter Vicci Martinez and kindie rockers Recess Monkey. Best of all, it’s still all free.

A teaser for the Broadway Center’s new season and an enticement to get new theater-goers downtown, the Fall Free for All was a success last year, though Sunday saw far fewer crowds and a less festive atmosphere. This year, though, the headline act Vicci Martinez is sure to draw crowds, and

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Aug.
15th

Summer Stock Festival at Centerstage Theatre, Federal Way

Bob DeDea and Caitlin Frances in Centerstage Theatre's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." Photo: Laura Campbell

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. Read more »

June
6th

Live Paint continues through summer on the Tacoma Hilltop with fun kids’ art and drama classes

Spark a child’s imagination and you’ve given them a gift that’ll last long beyond summer. Live Paint, a one-woman art and drama company for kids led by Cindy Arnold, is holding a summer’s worth of workshops on everything from wizards to fairies at its temporary studio on the Hilltop, courtesy of Spaceworks Tacoma.

On through June are “Parent and Me and My World,” an exploration for little ones of world musical instruments and art (10-11 a.m. Wednesdays, age 6 months-3 years, $35); “Multicultural Wonders,” a similar exploration for older children (4-5 p.m. Thursdays, ages 5-8, $30); and “Summer in

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May
5th

“Anchor Baby” offers a fun but simplistic theater take on culture clash at First Congregational Church, Tacoma

Chevi Chung (left) as Alita and James Gilletti as Bobby Anchor in "Anchor Baby." Courtesy image.

Tacoma has quite a history of small, independent theater in odd venues, and “Anchor Baby” is one of them. Mounted by Dukesbay Productions, who’ve been responsible for the “Java Tacoma” live local sit-com and other creative shows, Richard Tucker’s “Anchor Baby” opened Friday night at First Congregational Church and tells a culture-clash tale of what happens when brash, clueless Americans plonk themselves into the peaceful society of the fictional island of Mehlot. It’s a mostly fun piece of theater but the acting has some holes and the script is about as about as subtle as a lead hammer.

Dukesbay is a group of community theater folks with an emphasis on cast diversity. For this show they also have a star-studded production line-up which sets a professional tone from the moment you walk into the church’s musty alleyway door: Set designer Scott Campbell (formerly Lakewood Playhouse and Tacoma Little Theatre) has made a gorgeous tropical-apartment set out of an uninspiring church basement room, along with painter Maggie Knott (also formerly Lakewood). Composer Allan Loucks adds a quasi-steel-band touch to the scene change music.

The acting is less professional. Read more »

April
12th

Gritty City Sirens are back at Tacoma’s Jazzbones with raunchy burlesque and dancer Joel Myers

Tacoma’s burlesque troupe the Gritty City Sirens took their tasseled, booty-shaking show to the next level a month ago when they ramped up for a Valentine’s show in the Pantages Theater, complete with local dancer and Tacoma City Ballet associate director Joel Myers in a star role. This weekend they’re back in the intimate (ahem) surrounds of Jazzbones for a show that includes Myers plus returning Siren Miss Pistolita.

The show, emceed by the smooth-faced Pretty Ricky and graced by the curves and feathers of performers like Rosie Cheex, Ava D’Jor, Polly Puckerup, Heather Hostility, Funny Face Fanny

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Feb.
17th

John Munn named new managing artistic director at Lakewood Playhouse

John Munn. Courtesy photo.

John Munn, a local actor, director and entrepreneur, has just been named Lakewood Playhouse’s new permanent artistic director. The 73-year-old community theater, located in the Lakewood Towne Center mall, lost its director of nearly 10 years, Marcus Walker, when Walker died of cancer early last year. Munn had been temporary managing artistic director since last February.

“I feel like I’m home,” said Munn. “I was blessed to get to know the family at the Playhouse over the last year; it’s been a rare chance that you don’t often get.” Read more »