Story and photos by Janette Turner
Dozens of Edmonds-area theater fans learned Sunday about the Wade James Theatre’s history, how to retire theatrically, and where to find a 6-foot invisible rabbit this April.
Led by guides including Roger Huston and Kevin Starkey, visitors to the Driftwood Players’ home got a peek Sunday behind the stage and heard how founding member Wade James fulfilled his dream to build a showcase for local performers. Since the theatre’s opening in 1969, it has run on the enthusiasm and talent of a volunteer workforce. Sunday’s event included volunteers manning tickets, snack booth, and tables raising money through face-painting, dress-up, jewelry and marshmallow-shooters.
One volunteering couple even chose to make the theater their next-door-neighbor and the focus of retirement. Shunning shuffleboard, Roger and Kathleen Huston moved from Alexandria, Virginia, in 2010 to retire in Edmonds adjacent to the theater. Soon after, Kathleen took on the role of theater fundraiser and grants manager, while Roger picked up a board position and also helps out with set construction and producing. He is producer of the upcoming show “Harvey.”
Showing off the “Harvey” setting of a mental hospital during the open house, Roger said, “People have been trying to get me in a sanatorium for years, and now they made me producer and told me to build my own – which I have with the help of a talented set crew.”
After its nearly sold-out run of M*A*S*H, the Driftwood Players hope to see packed houses again with the imaginary rabbit, Harvey, and his buddy Elwood P. Dowd. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, April 6-22, at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. You may want to get tickets before they disappear.