Artfully Edmonds: Upcoming fun centers on pumpkins, pubs and playhouses. Join in!

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Opening with a striptease while the theatre space resounds from the audience’s gales of laughter, Vanya and Sonia and Masha & Spike, (2013 Tony winner by Steven Durang) revealed precisely what The Phoenix Theatre (TPT) has in mind for audiences as it celebrates its 10th Season.

How many times has Artfully Edmonds told readers how well this troupe works together, how expertly its resident directors, Eric Lewis and Debra Rich, collaborate with the cast and crew on their respective productions? Even their set designs are community-inclusive (TPT included artwork selections chosen by Edmonds Arts Festival for the set designer of one of last season’s productions).

This delightfully campy theatre has made the most of its motto: “Comedy without all the drama.”

We use the description “campy” with the most endearing intentions. Located on Edmonds’ “Southside” along the boundary that separates Snohomish and King County –- on the west side of Aurora/Highway 99 – the theatre’s marquee beckons from its perch in Firdale Village Shopping Plaza.

We were introduced to the antics of TPT four years ago, during a run of playwright/director Eric Lewis’ parody on Gilligan’s Island. People say of Eric, “When he is not directing, he can be found puttering around the house and playing video games with his daughter. He has never gotten a high score and often dies quickly.” If those lines made you laugh, you now have a keen sense of TPT humor.

A loyal following was treated to a rehearsal party in September at Eric’s invitation, during which attendees were encouraged to ask questions about the theatre, its “process” and productions.

Edmonds resident Maggie Fimia asked Eric what he was looking for, in general terms, from his casts. “Timing,” he said. “That, and ensuring all of the actors are fully engaged in the scene [even if down stage].”

Actor Debra Rich responded to the question from Nan Butler, “What makes Eric such a good director?”

Debra replied, “He knows actors.” Artfully Edmonds has come to the realization that Eric is able to read people intuitively, and brings to each of his productions in-depth research of the playwright’s intentions.

The Phoenix Theatre’s preparation for each production begins a year in advance, with auditions beginning four months before opening night. The troupe’s rehearsal schedule is usually set for six weeks.

But the theatre has more than great comedy going for it. From its placement as Edmonds’ edge-theatre it specializes in raising the curtain on theatre management concepts that ensures its success. Through the past several years, the theatre has filled its 96-seat space routinely, introducing features such as “Dessert with the Director”; being the first playhouse in the area to introduce select seating; and with its splashy galas — most recently held in the elegant surroundings of the ECA lobby — it’s no wonder that the Phoenix is enjoying resounding popularity as it celebrates its milestone anniversary.

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The Phoenix Theatre in Edmonds’ Firdale Village opens its 11th season with the 2013 Tony winner, “Vanya ad Sonia and Masha and Spike”.

 

Vanya and Sonia and Masha & Spike

2013 Tony Winner by Christopher Durang

Directed by Eric Lewis

Runs through 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29

The Phoenix Theatre ~ Upper Level

Firdale Shopping Plaza
9673 Firdale Ave.

The audacious striptease that opens its 2017-18 Season is a perfect hallmark for The Phoenix Theatre.

The cast of Vanya and Sonia and Masha & Spike (Cade Morrison, Debra Rich, Michael Gene McFadden, Melanie Calderwood, Susan Connors, and Sarah McGrath) expertly turn undress – and redress – of the production into waves of audience guffaws, which pay tribute to the comedic timing of the cast, and precision of the play’s director, Eric Lewis.

The first single red rose to land on the boards during the show’s opening weekend was for Cade Morrison, an 18-year old senior at Bothell High School. Playing the overly-ambitious young actor, plying his “casting couch” talents, Morrison is center stage in each of his scenes – whether it’s an eager striptease or the burlesque dance-action that comes with it. Plus! What bravery! 

To burst into laughter at the brazenness of Cade’s character while surrounded by so many Edmonds neighbors was almost embarrassing – almost!

Highly-celebrated actor Susan Connors is simply captivating in her role as the (literal) Greek Chorus, “Cassandra.” She dances into her entrance. She portends! She wails! She shimmies in a take-notice way that causes the baubles of her Greece-inspired costume to dance!

As “Masha” (well played by the gorgeous Debra Rich) snags Cougar claws into her young lover, “Cassandra” the housekeeper sings her a chorus of impending doom.

Michael Gene McFadden, playing “Vanya” – the brother of at-odds sisters, Sonia and Masha –  is a veteran expert at his craft. If you want the most sane interpretations of a hilariously insane situation in this play, keep your eyes on McFadden, whose function in the production is, to a great extent, to play the cool opposite of Connors.

Intentionally frumpy “Sonia” aka comedienne Melanie Calderwood is so funny when she fake cries, bemoans her fate, and sighs her dejection. Does that congratulatory note sound mean-spirited? Interesting, because everyone in the audience laughed heartily at her discomfort!

Sweet ingénue “Nina” is played by Sarah McGrath, an Indiana University graduate with experience at the Slate Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, and Ivy Tech. Nicely played, Sarah.

The production stays line-by-line true to Durang’s work –  its authenticity goes to TPT’s credit.

Big “thumbs up!” Grab a set of tickets to see Vanya and Sonia and Masha & Spike at this ticket link. We guarantee — you won’t be disappointed.

Runs through Sunday, Oct. 29.

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Edmonds Driftwood Players add drama to the season with a TIPs production of “Dracula”.

Thursday, Oct. 12
8 p.m.

Opening Night!

Dracula by Steven Dietz

Edmonds Driftwood Players

Wade James Theatre
950 Main St.

Runs through Sunday, Oct. 22

Edmonds Driftwood Players will intrigue audiences this season with Steven Dietz’ 1996 play, Dracula. Act 1 opens on an aged and ailing Count, reflecting on his dark pursuits.

Seductive, suspenseful and above all – sinister — Dracula metes out his desires in the craven stalking of two 19th century London innocents.

From his mysterious appearances on the streets of old town to the chilling pounce – Artfully Edmonds is confident that director Paul Fleming has steered this well-established theatre company to the height of success on this production.

Tickets for this most chilling play, perfect for All Hallows Eve, are available by calling 425-774-9600 or through this box office link.

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Engel’s Pub
113 5th Ave. S.

Friday, Oct. 13
9 p.m.

Mary McPage and Bad Cat Daddy’s: In a dancing mood? Then you want to hit Engel’s in celebration of Friday the 13th. Mary McPage, a regular at Capps has been invited by Engels’ new owner to jam the dance floor for Friday night.

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Saturday, Oct. 14
9 p.m.

Eric Rice Band has been selected for Engel’s Saturday night stompin’ crowd. Here they are wailing the blues at Taste of Music in Snohomish.

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Red Kite Brown Box coming to Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Kids!

Saturday, Oct. 14

Performance Times: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Once again ECA’s education program brings to the stage Red Kit, Brown Box: a unique multi-sensory experience that brings participants into the world of “Papa Nick” and his kids

The matinee is designed specifically for children (ages 5+) on the autism spectrum.

Specially-trained ‘teaching-artists’ from Chicago Children’s Theatre  gently guide children into an on-stage home filled with empty cardboard moving boxes, ideal for climbing and hiding inside, that also morph into magical forts, vehicles, and even robots.

One parent, family member or care partner must accompany each child. Please contact ECA Director of Programming, Gillian Jones, at 425-275-9483 or gillian@ec4arts.org to inquire about the program.

Tickets are available at this link.

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Shoreline Community College presents “The Addams Family” at the college’s theatre this month

Friday/ Saturday
Oct. 13/ 14 at 7:30

and Sunday
Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. 

The Addams Family

A New Musical Comedy

Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise

Shoreline Community College Theatre
Bldg. 1600 ~ 16101 Greenwood Ave. N.

The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy is being presented by Shoreline Community College’s drama department in celebration of the Halloween season. Music direction for the musical is under the prevue of Dr. Charles Enlow, producer; with conductor, David Close.

Remember back to the daily grind at the Addams Family mansion? It’s a dismal day and the abnormally ghoulish and gloomy atmosphere of the family mansion, where the life of the Transylvania transplants, is suddenly disrupted when outsiders come to dinner, hurling Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Grandmama and Lurch headlong into a night that will change the family forever.

Dr. Enlow says of the production, “Based on Charles Addams’ beloved characters, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (Wild Party, Big Fish), book by Marshall Brickmann (Annie Hall, Jersey Boys) and Rick Elice (Peter and the Starcatcher, Jersey Boys), The Addams Family will supply all the ghoulish laughs and tortured entertainment you’ll need to jump-start your Halloween season!”

Tickets are available at this Brown Paper Tickets link, and also at the door.

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Brace yourselves for screams!

Sell Out Alert!

Nile Nightmares

Hosted by Nile Shriners

6601 244th St. S.W.

Prepare to experience your worst nightmare as the Nile Shriners present their 7th annual haunted attraction, Nile Nightmares.

Ballinger Lake neighbors! Brace yourself for the sound of screams to float across Lake Ballinger during each of the 12 terror-filled shows, including Oct. 13, 14; 19, 20, 21; 26, 27, 28, 29, and 31.

Shows run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 19, 26 and Sunday night, Oct. 29 – this final date features “Family Funfest” which begins at 2 p.m. On this final night of haunting, the Nile’s haunted grounds go pitch-black, leaving you with only your cunning and a special finger flashlight (available at the box office) to guide the way.

Friday, Oct. 13

Attraction features include the highly anticipated Friday, the 13th show that includes “Fright Light Night”; plus the “Food and Fear Garden” where, yes, beer is served, along with other beverages; a “Trunk or Treat” array of apocalypse vehicles

For your admission to a world of creatures, crypts, coffins, caves and candy, proceed to the Haunted Nile ticket booth.

Regular admission passes and also VIP fast-track “line bumps” are available. Purchase your family’s tickets here!

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Friday, Oct. 20
7:30 p.m.

PIAF! The Show

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

The life story of the rags to riches journey of Parisian singer, Edith Piaf is performed against the rich tapestry of previously released photographs and images of the luminous personality that graced the cabarets of Paris through the 1930s and ’40s.

Piaf lived a tabloid life, marred by choices in the wrong men, soaring stage successes and tragedies of fate.

For admirers of vibrant personalities, Paris’ history, and its cabaret scene – this promises to be an extravagant and memorable production.

Pull out that little black dress and treat yourself and your man to tickets to see Piaf!

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Fiddler On the Roof stars Tony nominee, Chaim Topol. (Image credit for Topol, IMDB.com

Saturday, Oct. 21
10 a.m.

Fiddler On the Roof

ECA Matinee Movie Series

Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA)
410 4th Ave. N.

This triple Oscar-winning 1971 film musical is set in pre-revolutionary Russia and tells the story of Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions. Starring Chaim Topol (also For Your Eyes Only, Flash Gordon) was nominated for the 1991 Tony “Best Actor” award.

Tickets to see Fiddler On the Roof are available at ECA’s online box office.

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Natalie Marie takes advantage of one of Edmonds’ many Halloween treats — a ready-to-carve pumpkin garnered from last year’s Coldwell Banker Bain Edmonds’ Halloween Extravaganza. (Photo credit Emily Hill)

Sunday, Oct. 22
10 a.m.

12 p.m. 

Free for kids!

Annual Halloween Extravaganza

Coldwell Banker Bain
At the corner of Dayton St. and 4th Ave.

Edmonds’ Coldwell Banker Bain puts the family fun into Halloween every pre-Halloween Sunday with pumpkin carving, face painting, a free movie at the Edmonds Theatre and a visit from The Frog Lady.

The wonderful folks from Coldwell Banker Bain will prepare your child’s selected pumpkin, so that it is “scooped” and ready for carving – then it’s on to a visit to The Frog Lady’s colorfully painted show truck, followed by a free Sunday matinee.

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Monday, Oct. 23
6:30 p.m. ~ Pre-concert lecture by Dave Beck
7:30 p.m. ~ Performance

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

Cascade Symphony Orchestra opens its 2017-18 season with a selection of classical music under the title, Russian Ark.

Violinist Marley Erickson is the orchestra’s featured soloist performing Bruch – Violin Concerto No.1, op. 26, G minor.

Other selections filling out the evening include:

De Falla – Spanish Dance No.1 from La Vida Breve;
Tchaikovsky – Elegie and Finale from Serenade for Strings
Alfred Reed – El Camino Real;  and Prokofieff – Symphony No.7, op. 131, in C sharp minor

For tickets to an evening at the symphony, proceed to this ticket link.

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Friday, Oct. 27
6:30 p.m. ~ Cabaret and music
8 p.m. ~ Screening

The Birds (1963)

ECA Film Cabaret Series presents Alfred Hitchcock’s aviary horror in a screening of this classic cult films.

A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn toward terror when birds of all species suddenly begin an ominous attack on the terrified town folk.

Tickets to see The Birds are available at this link.

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Sunday, Oct. 29
1 – 5 p.m.

Free for Kids!

Boo Bash!

Rosehill Community Center
304 Lincoln Ave., Mukilteo

You are invited by our City of Mukilteo neighbors, to bring your Halloween celebration to a family-friendly fete being held at the Rosehill Community Center.

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Edmonds’ many Halloween activities includes “INKtober” and artist Beth Seacord chose a Halloween theme for one of her many 2016 INKtober entries. (Courtesy ARTspot)

Tuesday, Oct. 31
5 p.m.

Edmonds Halloween Extravaganza

Downtown Edmonds at 5th Avenue and Main Street

This is crazy fun! Imagine over 5,000 scampering, screaming, sugar-high kids delighting in a 1950s-style Halloween.

It is the most fun that Artfully Edmonds has ever experienced on Halloween. If you are new in town, believe us, you do not want to miss this aptly described “extravaganza”.

Downtown businesses stay open through the festivities, lights glowing into the night, rain or shine, streets dry or glistening.

The Edmonds Historical Museum will sponsor its annual haunted house, stores will pass out candy – pounds and pounds of candy. Even the Edmonds Theatre has sent an invitation to the community at large.

See you in Downtown Edmonds on Halloween night.

— By Emily Hill

Emily Hill is the author of two novels and a short story collection. Emily is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or featured, in Artfully Edmonds, Emily invites you to contact her at myedmondsnews@gmail.com.

 

 

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