January 19, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 03
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Tuesday, May 26, 2020



Bits & Bytes
Showtunes! offers Dear World in Kirkland, Tchaikovsky/PNB's Swan Lake selling fast, Arnaldo heads to New York-via Renton
Showtunes! offers Dear World in Kirkland, Tchaikovsky/PNB's Swan Lake selling fast, Arnaldo heads to New York-via Renton by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

Seattle's diverse entertainment groups have suffered as much as anyone from the ice and snow of recent weeks. Performances have been cancelled, performances have been given with 90 per cent of the audience missing.

As the Emerald City gets back on its feet, continuing productions, new plays, new films (and Golden Globe Award winners) and long running hits continue to lure snow bound arts fans back into the theaters. This week, Bits&Bytes suggests travel to exotic lands-Renton, Edmonds, Kirkland. It's another great week for Seattle-area entertainment fans-and Bits&Bytes. Read on:

Showtunes! Theatre Company-like many small companies in major theater centers throughout the country-is devoted to mounting staged concert versions of "lost or forgotten" musicals. Working with scripts-in-hand, these hard working troupes celebrate the past-and the often over-looked titles of our musical theater heritage.

Dear World-Showtunes! musical of the weekend-arrived on Broadway in 1969 as a sure winner. Angela Lansbury, fresh from her Tony Award-winning performance in Mame, headlined this musical adaptation of Jean Giradoux's fabled 1946 international success, The Madwoman Of Chaillot. Jerry Herman, with Tony Awards for Hello, Dolly! and Mame on his mantel, obviously couldn't fail. But the show was a famous Broadway bomb-running just 132 performances (but winning Lansbury her second Tony as Best Actress In A Musical).

The show--a critical and audience disaster--quickly disappeared but resurfaces now and then with hopes of a revision and a second attempt at Broadway success. Herman's later Mack & Mabel had a similar fate and the hugely successful composer continues to rework and revise that show for personal reasons.

Showtunes! offers Dear World-truly a "once in a lifetime" chance for Emerald City musical theater fans-for two performances this weekend at the Kirkland Performance Center. It is scheduled for an 8 p.m. performance tomorrow, Saturday, night and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $24 for general admission with a $15 rate for students and seniors. Reservations and information is available at (425) 893-9900. Check it out.

Seattle's favorite "drag chanteuse," Arnaldo! heads to New York in early February to make his Big Apple cabaret debut at the trendy Duplex, a busy, busy cabaret spot right around the corner from the world famous Stonewall Tavern.

Arnaldo, better described as "a gender illusionist," sings beautifully in his own voice-"in boy drag" as a continuing member of the Seattle Men's Chorus or in glamour drag as the stunning Arnaldo! As Arnaldo!, the popular entertainer has performed numerous shows at the now-shuttered Thumper's Cabaret On The Hill series in Seattle and in Portland, Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He was a participant in the Yale University 2005 Cabaret Summer Conference Workshop-the only "drag queen" (for want of a better term) to be accepted in the prestigious program.

Before heading to New York for his cabaret debut there, Arnaldo! appears tomorrow night at Jubilante Restaurant & Music Club in downtown Renton. The appearance is part kick off for the New York visit and part fundraiser for the Big Apple trip. The popular song stylist appeared at Jubilante in a GLBT benefit last year-it was Bits&Bytes' first visit to the club (which I recommend highly). The club is sure to be packed with Arnaldo! fans and well-wishers-and, as always, a few "Arnaldo virgins" who have never seen him on stage or have never seen him on stage in a dress.

Reservations-a must-and complete information is available at (425) 226-1544 (a local call from most of Seattle). Plan ahead-expect a sell out.

The Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the area's strongest classical music groups, offers a "135th Birthday Tribute" to British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee concert at Meany Hall on the University of Washington campus.

The concert celebrates "the passion, eloquence, honesty and wit" of the popular composer. His "wickedly satirical" Overture and Incidental Music for The Wasps is one of several highlights of the program. His "deeply moving" Magnificat, and The Running Set, "a lively folk dance fantasy," are also featured. Symphony No. 9-"a visionary masterpiece"-completes the ambitious program.

The Seattle Philharmonic offers tickets at just $18 with $10 tickets for seniors and students. Parking is free on Sundays at Meany Hall. Many Emerald City classical music lovers enjoy the combination of the UW location, the low ticket prices, the Sunday afternoon scheduling and the free garage parking-it is a winning combination. Ticket details and other information at 525-0443.

The ballet's very name-Swan Lake-conjures up every aspect of classical ballet. Graceful swans, a dashing price, an evil magician, a moonlit lake-these are the elements of Swan Lake. Pacific Northwest Ballet's Swan Lake revival runs Feb. 1-11 and is already selling ahead of expectations. Tchaikovsky's immortal score, the classic pairings of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried, and the corps de ballet of swans, swans and more swans always make Swan Lake an audience pleaser.

In 1981, Kent Stowell, then PNB's co-artistic director, restaged the work for Seattle audiences. His version remains faithful to the ballet's 1895 revival with choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov (the 1877 world premiere with different choreography had been a failure). Stowell honored the classic swan-and-prince sequences but added new work for most of the rest of the ballet-Act I, the nationalistic dances in Act III and all of Act IV. PNB has revived Stowell's version repeatedly, most recently as the 2003 PNB opening for Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, the zillion dollar revamping of the old Seattle Opera House.

Swan Lake plays multiple performances Feb. 1-11 with multiple principal dancers in major roles. One friend attends as many as four performances to catch all the major dancers in major roles. Tickets start at $18 and soar to $145. Complete details are available at 441-2424. Plan ahead-key performances, like the popular matinees-will sell out ahead of time.

Word-of-mouth is good on the new comedy at the Edge Of The World Theatre just across the Shoreline/Edmonds boundary line in North Seattle. (OK, OK-no pun intended-Bits&Bytes knows that the Firdale Village location is the end of the world for many Capitol Hill readers of SGN.)

The Queen Of Bingo arrives in Seattle with rave reviews from community theater across the nation. Designed for a "I just wanna laugh" audience, the snappy comedy "explores the world of bingo, family ties, diet crazes, widowhood, hot flashes and priests who want to be stand-up comedians." There is also a real bingo game at every performance where the winner will take home a 10 pound frozen turkey.

The Queen of Bingo continues with weekend performances through Feb. 10-call for exact playing schedule. Bits&Bytes has never been disappointed with productions as the hard working community theater. Check it out. Details at 542-PLAY.

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