Artfully Edmonds: Driftwood sets stage for 58th season as one of their own is honored

Cindy Giese French
Cindy Giese French, winner of a BroadwayWorld Seattle award for  “Boeing Boeing.”

BroadwayWorld Seattle announced its ‘best of’ winners for 2015 just days ago and Driftwood Players’ Cindy Giese French brought the limelight to Edmonds for her brilliant performance in Driftwood’s Boeing Boeing.

This past June Artfully Edmonds posted an Opening Night review of Boeing Boeing pegging the performance of Giese French as deserving of a “roaring standing ovation”. Obviously the BroadwayWorld Seattle judges agreed.

The exciting news was first announced on the organization’s website,, which is touted as the largest theatre site on the Internet, devoted to all things Broadway as well as the first source for theater news around the country and the world.

Managing director of Driftwood Players, Amy Gentry, soon heralded the news on the theatre company’s Facebook page with, “Congratulations to Cindy Giese French for winning the BroadwayWorld Seattle award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her incredibly wonderful role in Boeing Boeing. We are so happy for her and beyond proud that she graces our stage! Woohoo!”

Seventy judges took part in production reviews at 15 Seattle-area theatres that included among many others, Seattle Repertory Theatre and 5th Avenue Theatre.

Giese French won the honors for her portrayal of the long-suffering housekeeper Berthe who puts up with the philandering antics of Bernard (played by Driftwood’s Jordan Fermstad) in Mark Camoletti’s production. On Broadway, Berthe has been played by such notables as Christine Baranski and Michelle Azar.

Artfully Edmonds (AE) had an opportunity to catch up with Giese French (not easy considering her hectic schedule) for an exclusive interview regarding her whirlwind career and to congratulate her on a brilliant performance. Please join us as we sit down with Cindy Giese French (CGF):

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AE: Cindy, what do you have to say about your BroadwayWorld Seattle win?

CGF: I’m thrilled because, in addition to making my mom happy, it puts some well-deserved attention on the productions of the Driftwood Players. This win lets people know that good work is being done by Driftwood Players. If your desire is to perform, work behind the scenes, or spend an evening in the audience, it’s worth visiting the Wade James Theatre.

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AE: What was your favorite thing/personality element about Berthe?

CGF: My favorite thing is that Berthe manages to walk a fine line in aiding her compatriots in their antics and, at the same time, deriding them – with love. Well, a little love. Plus I’m a sucker for physical comedy.

Cindy gets physical
Cindy Giese French (as Bernard’s housekeeper) gets physical during her performance in Boeing Boeing. Photo courtesy of Giese French.

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AE: How active are you in taking new parts?

CGF: Due to the scheduling demands of managing a combined household of five children, maintaining a healthy marriage, making a living as a real estate broker, and a deep-deep-deep-seated fear of auditioning, I don’t get onstage as much as I’d like.

Of course, if Ted Jaquith calls from his directorial chair, I’ll answer the call.

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AE: What can Edmonds-area theatregoers expect to see you in these upcoming months?

CGF: For the third year in a row I’m doing something (don’t know what yet, better get deciding!) for The Seattle Fringe Festival in February and I’m starting a serious workout regimen (right after this cookie!) so that this fall I can revive one of my favorite roles in The Thirty Nine Steps.

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AE: What theatre-ish things do you do “in your spare time”?

CGF: In addition to acting I also produce, direct and write (musicals, plays, one-acts, short films and a novel).

Interesting fun fact – years before I ever acted with Driftwood Players, the set and costumes from the second musical I’d written were designed by Dale Ward, the son of Driftwood’s then-costumer and board member, Agnes Ward. It’s as if Driftwood and I were destined for each other.

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AE: What would you like to reveal to our readers that no one has ever heard about you before?

CGF: One of my first jobs was performing singing telegrams – here in the Seattle area. So if you were ever at a birthday in the ’80s at which a singing cockroach was the featured talent . . . odds are that was me!

– – – –

My Edmonds News joins Driftwood Players and the Edmonds’ theatre community in congratulating Ms. Giese French.

View the BroadwayWorld Seattle winner’s roster at this link .

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5 Driftwood jPeg

Driftwood Theatre has posted its production line-up for the company’s 58th Season, which will run September 2016 to June 2017. Managing director Amy Gentry will announce actual calendar dates for My Edmonds News readers shortly.

In announcing the 2016-17 season, Gentry says, “The Driftwood Players play-selection committee worked tirelessly for months reading and choosing plays that we are sure will entertain and intrigue the community. Next season’s line-up includes a mix of popular and lesser-known plays that will thrill, stir and delight” theatre enthusiasts in Edmonds and beyond.

Driftwood Players’ 2016-17 line up with short synopsis includes:

Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott – Twists and turns abound in this suspenseful thriller when three con men, searching for a mysterious doll, target an unsuspecting blind woman.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – In this well-known dystopian drama, a book-burner begins to question his empty existence when a free-thinking teenager moves in next door and ignites a dangerous situation. A TIPs Production.

Mr. Scrooge by Richard Morris, Dolores Claman and Ted Wood – A lilting Christmas show based on the well-known Charles Dickens’ classic. Lighthearted music makes this a wonderful way for the entire family to see the grand story of hardhearted Ebenezer Scrooge.

Seasons Change by Joe Starczyk – The season’s Spotlight on New Playwrights, this play chronicles the relationships of four couples as they face life’s challenges. The tone is funny, bittersweet, and sad as they deal with aging, loss, forgiveness, love, and death. A TIPs Production.

Enchanted April by Matthew Barber – Don’t miss the Tony-nominated play that the LA Times calls “as good as they come: a lush, thoroughly refreshing theatrical holiday. Escape has seldom seemed so sweet. A magical triumph.”

Leaving Iowa by Tim Clue and Spike Manton – When a middle-aged writer finds the intended burial place for his father’s ashes has turned into a grocery store, he embarks on one last father and son road trip in search of the perfect resting place in this simultaneously hilarious and touching comedy.

The Drowsy Chaperone, based on a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison is the winner of five Tony Awards (including Best Book and Best Original Score). This delightfully madcap send-up of the Jazz Age features show-stopping songs and one dance number after another.

Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig – In this Broadway sensation an unassuming opera house assistant must save the day when a series of screwball mishaps befall the Cleveland Grand Opera’s biggest night. Musical mayhem!

Tickets for Driftwood Players’ current season are available at their online box office.

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3 Wayne Albee dancer Caird Leslie in costume

Edmonds Art and Performance Scene This Week
Cascadia Art Museum
190 Sunset Ave. #E

Exhibition Opening: “Looking Back, Moving Forward”

Nellie Cornish and the Cornish College of the Arts is the focal point of the CAM’s newest exhibition, “Looking Back, Moving Forward” curated by David F. Martin.

Additionally, the museum will present historic artwork from private collections that feature dance films, costumes and artifacts by key Cornish figures such as Merce Cunningham, Robert Joffrey and Mark Toby.

Ticket information can be obtained at this website.

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4 Proof _Driftwood Production

Show Opens!
Thursday, Jan 14
8 p.m.
“Proof” by David Auburn
Directed by Rick Wright

Playwright David Auburn’s taut play “Proof” premieres at the Wade James Theatre tonight with eight performances which run through Sunday, Jan. 24.

This sophisticated plot line weighs loyalty, fear and emotional unknowns; skillfully guided by theatre veteran and director Rick Wright.

“Proof” concerns Catherine, the daughter of a renowned mathematician whose paradigm-shifting proof about prime numbers is discovered in his office shortly after his death. Catherine had cared for her father through a lifetime of mental illness while at times struggling with fears about her own mental stability.

Catherine must authenticate the authorship of the mathematical proof while all the while staying in control of her doubts and her sanity. “Taut suspense.”

Get your tickets at the Driftwood Players online box office.

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Bob Z. vets, books and emcees acts for Friday Night in Edmonds! which is sponsored by Cafe Louvre.
Bob Z. vets, books and emcees acts for Friday Night in Edmonds! which is sponsored by Cafe Louvre.

Friday, Jan. 15
6-7 p.m.
Edmond Tunes
On stage at Café Louvre
210 5th Ave. S.

Edmonds Tunes presents Friday Night in Edmonds! This week’s featured musicians include the amazing guitar artistry of Wayne Lovegrove, the song styling of Robert Brown (of the band EverAfter) and newcomer Ryan Higgins, making his Edmonds Tunes debut!

Edmonds Tunes is a free, weekly musical showcase that features local, original songwriters and musicians. Act line-ups include all styles and genres from folk, rock, jazz, country and the occasional sea shanty,” explains Bob Z. booking agent and owner of Edmonds Tunes.

Talent vetting? Oh yes!! Bob explains to Artfully Edmonds, “All musicians are required to pass an audition so you know they’ll be good!”

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6 Duane Hulbert CSO
Duane Hulbert, pianist. Photo courtesy of Cascade Symphony Orchestra.

Monday, Jan. 18
7:30 p.m.
Cascade Symphony Orchestra
Performing at ECA
410 4th Ave. N.

Solo pianist Duane Hulbert will perform Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No.1, op. 23, in B flat minor as the final piece on the CSO program for its upcoming January 18 concert.

The January concert will begin with the pieces Dvorak – Carnival Overture, op.92; Avni – Largo for Strings; Strauss – Death and Transfiguration, op. 24 at Cascade Symphony Orchestras January concert.

Solo piano performance and teaching are the focus of musical life for Duane Hulbert. He maintains an active schedule of performances across the U.S. and in the Puget Sound area.

Hulbert earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from the Juilliard School and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

He has appeared as a recitalist at the Merkin Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.

His solo concerto performances have been with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Tacoma Symphony, Northwest Sinfonietta, and the Seattle Symphony.

Due to the popularity of this stellar orchestra tickets tend to sell-out quite early for each concert. However, CSO advises, “Even when a concert is “sold out,” there usually are some tickets available on concert night. At 6:15 p.m. the evening of each concert, CSO begins a wait list and as tickets become available, they are distributed according to wait list priority.

Therefore, if you cannot use your tickets, please return them promptly to the ECA box office for resale.

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7 Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

Sell out alert!
Thursday, Jan. 21
7:30 p.m.
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra
Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA)
410 4th Ave. N.

They’re Kiwis – of course they are going to be funny! Just add ukuleles and the fun begins this upcoming Thursday night at ECA.

Described as sublime (definition: “awe-inspiring”) musicality, this highly acclaimed music-comedy ensemble is very close to being a sell out at press time.

Here in this clip the orchestra performs this clever parody of Randy Newman’s “Short People”.  Click! Click!

Check for ticket availability at this ECA ticket link.

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Upcoming Hot Highlights!


7 Edmonds Comedy Night 2016

Jan. 29/30

To Laugh! The best resolution one can have.

Edmonds Comedy Night returns this month for its 9th year – imagine! You just can’t miss this! Organizers are bringing nationally touring comedians together to raise funds to help our school district and Edmonds’ kids. (Do the Click! Click! to see previews of these comedians in action.)

This laugh-a-thon features Oh! So! popular-around-town Kermet Apio, who has been seen on Comedy Central (Yes! Comedy Central) and NBC. Appearing with Apio is Jackie Kashian, who has appeared on Conan and @Midnight; the line up Andrew Rivers, who has been seen on Fox’s Laughs and The [206].

And, do you remember David Crowe, who had his own one-hour special on Showtime and is a past winner of the Seattle and San Francisco Comedy Competitions? He’s coming!

This edition of Artfully Edmonds we’re recommending the Friday night ticket link  for Edmonds Comedy Night.

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2. SRJO jPeg
Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra is making its mark on the Edmonds’ jazz scene with sizzling hot talent. Don’t be left out in the cold. Sell Out Alert! in effect if the last SRJO concert sold tickets-at-the-door is any example of SRJO’s growing popularity.

Door Buster Coming to town!
Thursday, Feb. 18
7:30 p.m.
Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra
Performing at ECA
410 N. 4th Ave. N.

This February, SRJO brings celebrated trumpeter Terrell Stafford to the stage to lead the SRJO in some of his favorite music.

Concert selections will include jazz standards, Blame It on My Youth, Candy, and I’ll Close My Eyes, in addition to Stan Kenton’s famous I’m Glad There is You, and original works written by Stafford.

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10 Terrell Stafford
Trumpeter Terrell Stafford, here in Beast Mode comes to Edmonds in February.

Stafford has been hailed by piano legend McCoy Tyner as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player.”

A trumpeter in the tradition of Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard, and Dizzy Gillespie, Stafford became nationally known during his many years touring and recording with Bobby Watson’s quintet “Horizon.” He has also performed and recorded with the Benny Golson Sextet, the McCoy Tyner Sextet, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band.

Tickets for the Edmonds Center for the Arts performance are available at the SRJO link

— By Emily Hill

12 Emily

Emily Hill is the author of two novels and a short story collection. She also writes the “Lynnwood Lifestyle” column for Lynnwood Today. 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


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