search SGN
Monday, Mar 30, 2020

click to go to click to visit advertiser's website

Cost of the
War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
click to go to advertisers website
Bits & Bytes
Boys Do Girls delights, Music of Remembrance scores, and 5th Ave. previews
by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

With every stage in town turning out hit after hit, it's a theatrical feast of epic proportions in the Emerald City as Thanksgiving draws near. And then-and then!-the holiday season officially begins. As usual, it's another great week for Seattle entertainment fans-and for Bits&Bytes. Read on:

The cabaret series at Crepe de Paris in downtown Seattle has another hit on its fall schedule with the current The Boys Do The Girls, a charming show that salutes the songs associated with the careers of Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and Barbra Streisand. While the production has a lot of backstage drama (read on, read on, dear readers), the cabaret evening has "winner" written all over it.

Bits&Bytes' guest, a frequent Crepe de Paris cabaret visitor, pronounced it "the best show I've ever seen here," and one does not argue with her. "I loved the songs, and I knew the songs," she enthused. And what songs they are.

The evening is divided into three parts-one saluting each diva. Garland comes first, and tenor David Skover is not afraid to sing "The Trolley Song" with "pronouns in place," as in "He tipped his hand and took his seat." The Garland classics are all here-individually sung or grouped into a welcome medley. While Skover has a very big, very Las Vegas-styled delivery, the audience clearly welcomed the "big" sell.

(And the audience-Seattle diversity showcased in one room. My guest summarized the crowd, sometimes in politically incorrect observations: 12 men, all "SGN readers" grouped at one table, clearly friends of the performers. "Two Mormon missionaries drinking red wine." Two married couples (who both turned out to be middle aged straight couples who were "dating"). Two tables of two young Asian women-"they seem to be having a good time.")

Ella's salute came next. "Take The 'A' Train," "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off," "Black Coffee" stimulated and clearly pleased the crowd. The Streisand sequence ended the show-"People," "Don't Rain On My Parade," "A Sleepin' Bee," Sondheim's "Children Will Listen," "Second Hand Rose," "Cry Me A River" and (masculine pronouns firmly in place) "My Man."

Pianist Martin Buff took over for some welcome solo work, but it was Skover's show the whole night. Both teamed in last year's Sophisticated Broadway at the Crepe, which Bits&Bytes raved about then (and the pair quotes in the press materials for this ?tribute package).

And now The Backstage Drama: A minor vocal infection sidelined Skover last weekend, and the Crepe had to cancel both shows, both nearing sell-out status. At SGN's deadline this week, this weekend's final two shows were still in question. Best advice-call the Crepe before heading down: 623-4111.

There is "a possibility" that the show might be extended next weekend to make up for the lost shows last weekend. The show might also encore in the winter or spring. Watch this space for details.

Crepe de Paris hosts a benefit for Diverse Harmony the weekend after Thanksgiving-that's the Seattle Gay and Straight Alliance youth choir. Then comes a full month of Hanky Panky Holidaze with two of Bits&Bytes' favorite performances in the cast. Details to follow.

Pacific Northwest Ballet celebrated modern classics and stark new works in its early November mixed repertoire program. While the program was a sensation with younger audiences, long time PNB patrons (like this scribe) longed for a brief look at classic ballet.

"A whole evening and not one tutu in sight, not one hint of Tchaikovsky," one caustic noted in the press room.

The 50th anniversary of Balanchine's classic study in black-and-white, Agon, opened the evening. Beautifully danced, with many new dancers in leading roles, the work has always been a favorite of PNB fans, especially those leaning toward the modern dance side of ballet. A revival of last season's sensational Kiss followed after intermission. "Danced" on long ropes and "flying" harnesses, the close-to-the-ground work allowed the pair of talented dancers to meet, embrace, kiss and kiss and kiss again. "Is it dance?" was the question last year and it was echoed again at this performance. "Incredible"-Yes. "Remarkable"-Yes. Worth seeing again-a resounding yes.

Another new work, David Parsons' Caught, followed. Here a single dancer, with a remote switch, jumps in the air and jumps again. The dancer-a role performed by two PNB men and one woman during the two weekend run-controls the strobe lights that "catches" the performer in mid-jump, in mid-air. Like Kiss, no two performances can every be the same, a concept that intrigued many in the audience. (One friend attended three performances just to see the three individual dancers "caught" midair in Caught.)

Twyla Tharp's 1986 In The Upper Room (AKA The Red Socks Ballet-not a baseball term) made its belated PNB premiere. Like much of Tharp, half the audience stood and cheered for what seemed like hours. Others fled quickly at the end of a very modern evening. The work obviously needs a second viewing to override the gimmick qualities of most Tharp works. Look for it to encore, like Caught, next season.

Next at PNB is the holiday classic of all classics. Nutcracker opens Nov. 23 and continues through Dec. 29. Make plans early-many performances are totally sold out in select seating areas. Details at 441-2416.

The Old Time Radio Hour, Sunday, Nov. 18th, 1:30 p.m. at the beautifully restored Paramount Theatre, will team Ken Double at the theater's original 1928 Mighty Wurlitzer and reenactment of famous "old time radio programs" in a special benefit that will aid in the restoration of the theater's famous organ.

Members of the Radio Enthusiasts Puget Sound will perform vintage radio program reenactments from the Golden Age of Radio, including vintage commercials, the "crooners" of that wonderful era and authentic radio scripts-including The Shadow and other radio favorites. Sounds like great fun.

Admission is a "suggested donation" of $20, and tickets will be readily available at the box office Sunday afternoon. Information on the program is available at the Puget Sounds Theatre Organ Society at 784-9203. Check it out.

Mirror Stage Company's Feed Your Mind new play series sponsors three performances of Melanie Marnich's award-winning Cradle Of Man this weekend. The company moves all over town for the three performances Saturday, Sunday and Monday-and each time features a different admission, varying between $8 and $10 (with half-priced tickets for seniors and anyone under 25). Complete performance details-locations, admissions, times "and parking tips"-at 686-2792.

Bits&Bytes has never been disappointed by the Feed Your Mind series. Check it out.

The fall concert by Music Of Remembrance, the Seattle group which honors the legacy of all victims of the Holocaust, featured three moving works-all three were highlights of the fall music season. A near-capacity audience cheered the musicians and composers featured in the early November Sunday afternoon program.

MOR, which actively commissions new works which are well balanced with forgotten or rediscovered works by artists who suffered (or perished) during the Nazi era, added another star to its creative achievements with a new work commissioned from Gerard Schwarz, music director of the Seattle Symphony. Rudolf And Jeanette, a tone poem commemorating the lives of his maternal grandparents who were executed during the Holocaust, was haunting in its first hearing-and cries out for a second performance as soon as possible. One sequence found off-stage musicians playing a lyrical Viennese waltz which was then counterbalanced by the on-stage musicians launching a strident Nazi-era military march.

One especially touching note on the program was the appearance of Julian Schwarz, a talented young cellist who is the son of Schwarz and his musician wife, Jody. The world premiere found Julian playing in the ensemble of a new work honoring his great-grandparents, a work written and conducted by his father. (If Bits&Bytes had time, he could write a screenplay for a movie-of-the-week based on the above&.)

The spring MOR concert, Ray Of Sunshine, is Monday, May 12. MOR is celebrating its 10th anniversary season with the two major concerts.

MOR's free Sparks Of Glory, the group's Musical Witness Series, continues with January, March and April programs at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The March 15 concert is of special interest to Seattle's diverse GLBT community-it's the second performance of Jake Heggie's For A Look Or A Touch, a mini-opera about two Gay lovers in the Nazi era. It was a 2007 commission from MOR. The openly Gay composer was in town for the MOR premiere and told Bits&Bytes that it was his favorite work in his (admittedly short) career.

Complete details on all MOR events is available at 365-7770.

The 5th Avenue Theatre's Spotlight Night remains one of the best theatrical bargains in town. The free events (can't get any better for budget minded theater fans!) preview all productions in the 5th Avenue's ambitious season of local productions and national touring company bookings.

The November Spotlight Night gave insights into the 5th Avenue's latest touring show, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down The Wind, which officially opened last night and continues through Dec. 2, and the upcoming box office smash, Jersey Boys, running Dec. 5-Jan. 12.

Act One of the evening found David Armstrong, the theater's producing artistic director, sharing great news about the 5th's new rehearsal space, "Downstairs At The 5th.

Act Two featured an extensive video clip of Whistle Down The Wind, the problematic Lloyd Webber musical that is virtually unknown to most American music theater fans. The video highlights whetted the appetite for the new edition of the much revised show that is touring the United States before considering a Broadway stay. Watch SGN next week for full details.

Act Three-a live musical sequence that is more typical of the Spotlight format- showcased talented Seattle performers in a lengthy musical tribute to the works of a world famous composer. The Music of the Night: The Life and Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber could easily be restaged as a long running cabaret act-with a hefty cover charge. Five outstanding Seattle-based singer/actors-most with strong connections to the 5th-joined Armstrong in an illustrated history of the composer's theater and classical music career. Some of the slides-Lloyd Webber at age three, "reading" sheet music-were incredible. All of the songs were terrific.

Act Four focused on Jersey Boys, which is selling tickets at a record rate (procrastinators be warned!). Newcomer Christopher Kale Jones, who plays the leading role of the real Frankie Valli in the national touring company, flew up from San Diego on his one day off. Jones and the company currently playing a record breaking run in San Diego will come directly to Seattle for the Dec. 5-Jan. 12 booking. Jones delighted the crowd with his tales of auditioning for the part as a complete unknown. A video clip showed the power of his performance. (Bits&Bytes saw the touring edition in San Francisco-and reported on it for SGN last winter-but Jones was out of the show that matinee. His understudy's understudy took over the role-and was terrific. Can't wait to see the young sensation who is racking up rave reviews&.)

The free (as in free!) Spotlight Nights are a real treasure for Seattle's many musical theater buffs. Mark your calendars now for the remaining Nights: Jan. 18, 2008, for the 5th's own production of Mame, and March 11 for the Seattle production of Cabaret. Both nights are already on Bits&Bytes' winter calendar.
Film Festival Pictures
Halloween on Capitol Hill
Slide Show

photos by Joey - SGN photographer

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog
post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog

click to visit advertiser's website

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2007