April 13, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 15
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Friday, Jul 03, 2020



Bits & Bytes
PNB readies Celebrate Seattle Festival, Taproot continues hit Mary's Wedding, Showtunes! opens Broadway's Barnum
by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

To no one's surprise, it's another great week for Emerald City entertainment fans---especially Bits&Bytes. This week, Bits&Bytes reverts to its original format---a "bit" of backstage news, an informational "byte" about some unusual out-of-town event of special interest to SGN's GLBT readers. Read on:

Pacific Northwest Ballet has one of its busiest weeks ahead. It's ending the two-week run of its double bill of the encoring Carmina Burana and the premiering Pacific, the first PNB work by Seattle born (and openly Gay) choreographer Mark Morris. Both are outstanding works-Kent Stowell's Carmina a stunning revival and Morris' Pacific a first rate work by a modern master. Both were danced with excellence by PNB's outstanding company. Standing ovations were the norm. In a word, "Go!"

The double bill plays through tomorrow with performances tonight and tomorrow night plus the very, very popular Saturday matinee.

Looking ahead, next week's dance orgy-technically, the Celebrate Seattle Festival-features three mixed repertory programs with direct or indirect ties to Seattle and/or the Pacific Northwest. This scribe suggests just seeing all three-or at least sampling Program A, B or C based on your own calendar. It seems that you can't go wrong.

Bits&Bytes plans to see Program A because it features Robert Joffrey's Remembrances and this scribe is a huge fan of the late Joffrey, the Seattle (and openly Gay) native who changed the face of dance in America. Program C is another personal "must" because Christopher Stowell, artistic director of Oregon Ballet Theatre, is showing his "Adin" danced to Rachmaninoff by members of OBT. Bits&Bytes got to see OBT's elegant and traditional staging of The Nutcracker last December and was tremendously impressed with the work of the young company-and its new, obviously very talented director (and, yes, dear reader, he is the son of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, PNB's recently retired co-directors). Program B features Schubert, danced to music by&.well, you guessed it. John Alleyne, artistic director of Ballet British Columbia, brings members of his award-winning company to PNB to dance the Seattle premiere. Seattle based-Donald Byrd, who keeps his Broadway ties open with works for theater even after moving to Seattle, brings his Spectrum Dance Theatre artists to McCaw Hall for his Bhangra Fever (or I'm In The Mood For A Kind Of Diasphoric Public Sphere). What a title-who can you resist that title? So-with these very personal choices---Bits&Bytes gets to visit New York, Portland and Vancouver, B.C. with only a seven drive from his North Seattle home. Can't resist. Ticket information for the remaining double bill performances and all of next week's Festival at 441-2424. Be kind-the box office staff will undoubtedly be overwhelmed with last minute ticket buyers.

Vancouver, B.C., always welcomes SGN readers and GLBT visitors. The Playhouse Company at the Vancouver Playhouse sends a special invitation and Seattle GLBT theater fans for its upcoming The Anderson Project: A Modern Fairy Tale. The show, written, directed and starring Robert LePage, is a visiting production with strong Gay elements.

"It's so new," the Playhouse publicist told Bits&Bytes, "that even I don't have a copy of the script." LePage is one of Canada's most famous openly Gay playwrights.

The production opens May 3 and runs through May 27. Watch this space for details. GLBT visitors to Vancouver in May might want to make this Modern Fairy Tale a "must" of their vacation or business trip. Check it out.

Have heard nothing but raves for Mary's Wedding at Taproot Theatre in North Seattle's Greenwood district. The theater-with a loyal, loyal following-specializes in plays with a positive note and "a good clear story," as one friend enthused. The play is set in World War I in a Canadian town and on the front lines in Europe. Times and places blur in the creative work. Karen Lund, a Taproot associate director with an impressive track record, stages the show.

The production continues through April 21, just next weekend. It's on Bits&Bytes' "must see" list this week. Check it out. Reservations and information at 781-9707.

Broadway's musical retelling of the story of P. T. Barnum, sometimes called the man who put the "show" into "showbusiness," receives a concert-staging by Showtunes! Theatre Company this weekend at the Kirkland Performance Center. Show times are Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The 1980 musical is best remembered by trivia buffs as the first Broadway appearance of Glenn Close, then a showbiz newcomer who sang the role of Barnum's long-suffering wife. Jim Dale won a Tony Award as Best Actor In A Musical and the popular show ran for a solid 854 performances.

A rare touring edition appeared for one weekend at the Pantages Theatre in Tacoma which often books "bus-and-truck" tours of second string works.-Bits&Bytes remembers it as a fun musical outing. A local school troupe of acrobatics and "New Circus Acts" will join with Showtunes! for the book-in-hand concert staging. Ticket details at 425-893-9900. Check it out.

With the IRS deadline right around the corner, budget-minded arts and entertainment fans will be on the lookout for free or inexpensive opportunities this weekend. Saving for Uncle Sam always makes penny pinching a good idea.

Julie Cascioppo, one of Seattle's and Bits&Bytes' favorite entertainers, appears every Saturday night in April at the Sorrento Hotel's wood-paneled Fireside Room, the historic, octagonal lobby bar at the elegant First Hill landmark.

Her 9 p.m. to midnight appearances have no cover charge-a little-known-fact the Sorrento does not stress (but an important element for budget-minded entertainment fans).

Joanne Klein is one of Seattle's busiest singers who appears all over town. Klein-full disclosure time-is one of this columnist's best entertainment pals. Which means she can do no wrong-even when she does wrong.

Klein "welcomed" spring, Easter and Passover last Friday night with a swell set of tunes for the season-and beyond. Her gig at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Seattle drew an intimate crowd of loyal fans and a wonderful assortment of hotel patrons-one daring young woman who seemed to be falling out of her low-cut dress. ("Look at those Easter eggs," one of the rowdier--and politically incorrect--young men noted.)

Klein, with the talented, hard working Mark Smason on the keyboard, opened her show with a melancholy "Blue Skies," the Irving Berlin classic. Things picked up with an unusual vocal version of "A Night In Tunisia," followed by a saucy "Ain't Misbehavin'." Kander and Ebb's rarely heard "I Don't Care Much" came next. "Born To Be Blue" and an upbeat "Bye, Bye Blackbird" were other highlights of the first set.

A jazzy outing with "Rebop" delighted the crowd. "Caravan" and "But Not For Me" and a plaintive outing with Horace Silver's "Come On Home" ended the first half.

Klein loves to sprinkle jokes-good jokes, bad jokes, saucy jokes-between her song stylings. Best Of The Evening: "A mental patient arrives at his psychiatrist's office for his first appointment totally nude, wrapped only in SaranWrap. 'I can clearly see your nuts,' the doctor said, looking up." The audience took a minute to review seventh grade grammar and "your" and "you're" and then howled with laughter. Klein plays tomorrow, April 14, at 9 p.m. at Jai Thai at Broadway and Thomas. The popular Asian restaurant on Broadway is in the heart of the Capitol Hill district and features live music most weekend nights. Bits&Bytes caught Klein in an earlier visit to Jai Thai a couple months ago and had a great evening (and a great meal). Craig Hoyer, on keys, and Andy Zadrozny, bass, join the popular vocalist. As with any free entertainment outing, be sure to remember the tip jar on your way out-Julie and Joanne send kisses to all SGN readers.

Quick Reminder: Souvenirs d' Amour continues its one month extension in the popular cabaret series at the Crepe de Paris restaurant in downtown Seattle in Rainier Square. The Paris-based cabaret revue features a wealth of songs from the American jazz album and classic French favorites that have an international following.

Souvenirs d' Amour is offered as part of a dinner/theater package or on a "show only" basis. Complete details and ticket reservations are available at 623-4111. The show continues weekends through April 28.

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