Artfully Edmonds: We take you backstage at Edmonds Center for Arts, part 1

Cast dressing room space at ECA.
Cast dressing room space at ECA.

The next three installments of Artfully Edmonds will feature quick peeks of what it’s like to walk out onto stage amidst the uproar of applause at the Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA). Whether it’s the Indigo Girls, or Lily Tomlin (doesn’t the ECA book the best?) or any number of headliner acts – ECA rolls out the red carpet.

Backstage Pass! Have you ever had one? The VIP credentials that allows one access to a view of the world of performers, stage lights, dressing rooms and curtain calls? I certainly never had, until I spent the morning touring Edmonds’ largest entertainment venue and showcase theater recently with Jeff Vaughan, operations manager for Edmonds Center for the Arts for the past seven-and-a-half years.

As whitecaps whipped the Sound in the near distance, and with a chill in the air, Vaughan greeted me warmly. Jeff’s credentials include technical and maintenance positions at Bremerton’s Admiral Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

It was a “Wizard of Oz” production in 5th grade that grabbed my host’s attention and from that experience he has chased “the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of thecrowd” ever since — not as an actor though. What caught Vaughan’s attention — even from such a young age — was the magic of stage lighting, sound engineering, and atmospheric effects that could create fog, mist, even tornadoes – in the theater! It didn’t take long for him to realize that the behind-the-scenes magic is created by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics –the subjects in school to which he was drawn.

My tour began outside the ECA administrative office, and included the dressing rooms, the green room, the gymnasium, the pass-through to the stage; and then continued upstairs to a grand room for post-production receptions.

Some acts that perform at the ECA arrive at Sea-Tac International Airport and are greeted by the ECA production team. But many arrive by tour bus. If you ever drive by the Center when there is a mega-huge bus parked outside (usually parked along 6th Ave. N. at Daley Street) you can be sure a big name has just rolled into town and is enjoying the hospitality of the ECA staff.

Let’s say that you’re The Star! You’ve been on tour and you’ve just arrived in Edmonds for a one-night stand at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. You probably want comfortable surroundings and a place to stretch out; plus space for your cast to hang their costumes – and grab a snack.

While the roadies unpack the props, musical instruments, and other equipment that supports your performance, (and after proper orientation) you’ll be shown to your dressing rooms. If you’re the star of a large ensemble, with cast, dancers, or singers backing you; rest assured that the Center will be able to accommodate your show.

You’ll be shown to this dressing room, of course!

Door to Principal DressingNow you can relax, shower, and dress in the luxury of the Principal Dressing Room, which features stylish décor, a hot shower, make-up and dressing area, and – if you wish – and it’s in your contract – Skittles or Evian!

Principal dressing room
Principal dressing room

(Next Week in Artfully Edmonds ~ Part II: Waiting for the curtain call.)
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Large Stage Events This Week:

Saturday, March 29 ~ 2 p.m.
Ballet ~ Coppelia

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

Olympic Ballet Theatre (OBT) directors Mara Vinson and Oleg Gorboulev bring back to the ECA stage, the much-adored comedic ballet, “Coppelia.” Originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Leon with libretto by Charles Nuitter, the ballet premiered in 1870 at Théâtre Impérial de l’Opera in Paris.

Oleg Gorboulev and Mara Vinson in "Coppelia."
Oleg Gorboulev and Mara Vinson in “Coppelia.”

Vinson and Gorboulev completed a fresh choreography of the ballet in 2011.

The ballet’s story “is set in an Eastern European village where an eccentric dollmaker, Dr. Coppelius, is busily scurrying about in his efforts to bring his beloved doll to life. Meanwhile Swanhilda, a village maiden, catches her boyfriend flirting with a beautiful girl on Dr. Coppelius’ balcony and sets out to find out more about this mysterious maiden. Comedy ensues as Swanhilda finds out the girl’s true identity and decides to teach everyone a lesson or two by impersonating this “mysterious maiden.”

Former Principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Vinson starred in Olympic Ballet Theatre’s premiere of “Coppelia,” and reprises the role of Swanhilda for OBT’s spring performances. Starring in an other title role will be Co-Artistic Director Oleg Gorboulev, as Dr. Coppelius. Though both have danced leading roles together numerous times, this will be the
first time that they will appear on stage together since becoming directors of OBT in 2011.

“‘Coppelia’ is such a light-hearted, fun ballet that involves a lot of comedic acting and I’m really looking forward to telling the story with Oleg and our wonderful dancers;” says Vinson, adding that, “we have such a great time in rehearsal…I just hope we can keep straight faces come performance time!”

For tickets and more information, visit OBT’s website, or call 425-774-7570.
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Standards We Look Forward To

churchkeyChurchkey Pub
109 4th Ave. N., Edmonds
Mondays ~ A Darts Tournament begins ~ 7 p.m. sharp!
Tuesdays ~ Pub Trivia begins at 7 p.m.
Sharp Wit ~ Sharp Darts!
Raucus fun, lively crowd, and a few rounds of darts! Trivia hosted by such notables as “Geeks Who Drink”
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taki tikiA Very Taki Tiki Bar & Grill
518 Main, Edmonds
Saturdays ~ 9 p.m.
“DeeJay Manny” continues his tattles and tunes, rockin’ and rioting at “A Very Taki Tiki Bar” this Saturday, and every Saturday, according to bar and grill owner Bryan Benn.

The Taki Tiki?? It’s the type of place the phrase “Be There or Be Square” as indicated by this raucous YouTube video.

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EngelsKafé Neo ~ Traditional Greek Music
21108 Highway 99, Edmonds
Sundays ~ 6 p.m.
“John Novakis and The Grecian Sounds” play traditional Greek music and take requests every Sunday. To follow what is happening at Kafé Neo, visit their website.
~ ~ ~
Engel’s Pub ~ “Classic Rock, Rockin’ Blues”
113 5th Ave. S., Edmonds
Tuesdays ~ 8-11 p.m.
“Lou and Friends” ~ Lou Echeverri leads a four-piece Classic Rock, Rockin’ Blues band with Dano Mac on drums, Curtis Moore on keys, and Al Smith on bass.

Emily ~ Square jPeg– By Emily Hill

Emily is an author and long-time resident of Edmonds. She is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or venue featured, in Artfully Edmonds, Emily invites you to contact her at Sheis on vacation but will return with her expanded events column on Thursday, April 17.


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