Artfully Edmonds: Phoenix director says theatre ‘feeds my soul’ — plus more arts news

Simone Barron directs The Phoenix Theatre production "Dixie Swim Club" which opens Friday, June 3.
Simone Barron directs The Phoenix Theatre production “Dixie Swim Club,” which opens Friday, June 3.


Imagine sitting in the director’s chair of a community theatre production; especially a high-energy, multi-weave comical farce! Actors have to enter from stage left at the appropriate laugh line; or saunter onto the set when called for and topple, flop and scramble as the playwright envisioned. (Call Melanie Calderwood onto the stage!)

My Edmonds News has been delighted to interview many local directors, and this week we add the name “Simone Barron” to the marquee of those who have agreed to contribute interview responses.

Barron has a strong portfolio of work and has been chosen by The Phoenix Theatre to direct the upcoming play by Michael McKeever, “Dixie Swim Club.”

Please join us as Artfully Edmonds (AE) interviews Simone Barron (SB) and learns some of the secrets that she has held close to her vest during the span of her theatre career.

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AE: Simone, I understand that you are the director for the upcoming Phoenix Theatre production, “Dixie Swim Club” by Michael McKeever. Have you ever directed an all-woman (or primarily woman) cast before?

SB: I have directed and acted in several women-centered plays.

The joy is being able to bring a true voice to female characters. As a director, it is imperative to me that female characters do not become stereotypes. This begins with the script, but follows through with the director’s vision.

For Dixie Swim Club, one big joy was that we could take over the men’s dressing room! Ha ha!

There are really no pitfalls. Our entire cast and crew are women (except Jim our set builder, of course). We have had an amazing time.

– – –

AE: In the world of theatre, who is your director’s chair idol? And why?

SB: My director’s chair idol has always been Elia Kazan. I am a huge fan of the Group Theatre; its roots in Stanislvsky, and all things that grew from that group of people: Tennessee Williams, Lee Strasberg, Arthur Miller, Stella Adler, Clifford Odets, and others that have paved the way to American Theatre. (Columnist note: Kazan was a founding member of the New York City theatre collective, formed in 1931).

There are a million ways to explain why Kazan is my idol. He makes sense to me as an actor and a director. His idea that one must study the “psyche of the character and turn that into behavior” is a real step into how I approach both directing and acting.

– – –

AE: Tell our readers something about yourself as a theatre diva that has never come up in an interview before.

SB: While studying theatre in college, I was always cast as older women. When I graduated, in the professional world, I worked at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum Lily Theatre, and would play the role of princesses and little girls. It is only now that I am getting roles that are close to my actual age.

I once had a show photographer think I was 14…on my 28th birthday. I was flattered!

– – –

AE: Simone, you’re from Indiana — you knew that, of course — but what cocktail party story do you tell when people ask you what brought you to the Northwest?

SB: I had been cast in a Shakespeare play many years ago, and the director was from Seattle. At the time, I was auditioning for graduate programs. This director suggested I audition for the graduate theatre program at the University of Washington. (Seattle was not even on my radar.)

I remember asking him, “Do they even have a theatre community way up there?” It might as well have been Alaska! He told me to do some research. I did. I was amazed to learn how great the program at the UW was, and how vast the Seattle theatre community was. So I booked a plane ticket and came out here for a week to check it out.

You could barely get me back on the plane to fly home. I ditched the cornfields and moved here three months later. I never could afford graduate school and never made it to the UW, but I adore Seattle. One day while in the waiting room of a Seattle physician I realized that the director from the years-earlier Shakespeare play was also in the same waiting room!

He was very ill, so I didn’t say, “Hi,” but I wanted to tell him how he had changed my life.

– – –

AE: What a poignant moment that must have been. To switch gears and return to The Phoenix, let’s play “To Tell the Truth.”  Is directing this cast of women (Susan Connors, Jeannie Early, Bonnie Roman, Ana Marie Lake, and Melanie Calderwood) more like being on the set of:

  1. Grace and Frankie
  2. Dallas
  3. Golden Girls
  4. Survivor
  5. Game of Thrones

SB: Of course I have to say Golden Girls! The Dixie Swim Club playwrights are the exact same writers who wrote for the hit television show, the Golden Girls.

You will see some hints of the Golden Girls characters in this play. With the strong and talented actresses we have for this show, I think the audience will fall for the Dixie women as much as they loved Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia. Even more so, because Dixie has five women instead of four!

Susan Connors, Jeannie Early, Bonnie Roman, Ana Marie Lake, and Melanie Calderwood

– – –

AE: What interview question have you always hoped for, but never been asked?

SB: “What would you do if you did not have theatre in your life?”

My answer: I would have probably been a veterinarian. At one point in my life, I was accepted in an after-school Vet Tech program. The very same day I was cast in my first professional play. I chose theatre.

I’ve never had any regrets. It truly feeds my soul.

– – –

AE: Simone, thank you for the pleasure of your company. My Edmonds News wishes you all the best, and The Phoenix Theatre a great run for Dixie Swim Club.

Tickets for Dixie Swim Club are available at the online ticket outlet or by calling the theatre at 206-533-2000.

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Before we get to the news of the week — Flash! —

Cascadia Art Museum (CAM) is celebrating a new website launch!

Under press-time deadline, this is what they are telling the community: The new space features images from current, upcoming and past exhibitions, features on items in our museum store, information on visiting and scheduling a tour, and so much more!  To view our new website, follow this link:

How exciting, Cascadia!

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Edmonds Waterfront Festival 2016

The Edmonds Waterfront Festival is great entertainment!

This weekend!
June 3, 4 and 5
$3 at the gate
Port of Edmonds
336 Admiral Way

Hot bands, cool performers, thrilling rides, great food and waterfront fun will draw families from miles around to Edmonds this weekend, thanks to the Edmonds Rotary Club and the 29th year of the Edmonds Waterfront Festival.

The music stage drops the glitter ball with a 3 p.m. downbeat for SeaJazz, featuring Edmonds area high school jazz musicians.

Then at 4:30 p.m. it’s Zydeco with Richard Allen.

Zydeco! That spicy Cajun and Creole beat that rose from the Louisiana swamps and bayous and fanned out across southwest Louisiana as early as the 1600s.

On Saturday, the Dana Osborn Band closes out a six-segment set.

Nite Wave

On Sunday at 5:30 p.m. the showcase band takes the stage!

Nite Wave, made famous after receiving an appreciative nod from Billy Idol and the fact that the band has raised over $17,000 for local benefits, will show off its ’80s-hit style.

The full lineup of music is at the official Edmonds Waterfront Festival website.

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Scriber Lake School

Authors and Poets Podium

Tuesday, June 7
6 p.m.
Cafe Louvre
210 5th Ave. S. 

A book launch event for I’m Finally Awake will be held Tuesday, June 7, from 6-8 p.m. at Café Louvre, located at 210 5th Ave. S.

I’m Finally Awake: Young Authors Untangling Old Nightmares is a revealing collection of true personal stories about homelessness, mental health issues, abuse and addiction. But it’s also about how these students have confronted their pasts so they can move beyond them. By sharing their stories, they hope to let others know they aren’t alone.

The event will include a reading and book signing from the student authors. Books can be purchased for $10 at the launch or online. All proceeds will go back into the student writing and publishing program.

You can watch a KCTS video of the Scriber Lake program here.

See more here about Scriber Lake High School teacher Marjie Bowker and the writing program that produced “I’m Finally Awake.”

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News from the ECA

The Edmonds Center for the Arts ticket office opens this week to full-season, 8-show and 5-show ticket packets.

In addition to the ECA Presented Performances, Edmonds main stage is introducing ECA Saturday Matinees and its NEW ECA Film Cabaret Series.

The Wizard of Oz starts off the ECA's 2016-2017 Saturday Matinee Series in October.
The Wizard of Oz starts off the ECA’s 2016-2017 Saturday Matinee Series in October.

Here is your click here button to preview the 2016-2017 season.

Click here to buy an 8+ Show Pack

Click here to buy a 5+ Show Pack

Click here to buy a Full Season Subscription

ECA Box Office 425-275-9595


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Lynn Hanson EdCC
“Winds of Change II” by Lynn Hanson (L) and “Sky and Beach” by Kathleen Moore represent a segment of the Edmonds Community College “Taking a Leap: EDGE” exhibition showing in downtown Seattle.

EdCC Art Exhibition at the  
Lynn Hanson Gallery

312 S. Washington St
., Seattle
Exhibition Opens: June 2

Edmonds Community College (EdCC) art students enrolled in the EDGE Program will have their work featured at the Lynn Hanson Gallery in downtown Seattle at an exhibition that opens June 2. The showing will run through June 25.

The exhibition titled, “Taking a Leap: EDGE Graduates 2016” will show at the Lynn Hanson Gallery, located in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

According to gallery owner Lynn Hanson, “This show is the work of an extremely diverse group of artists whose commonality is a passion to create thoughtful, meaningful art. The exhibition encompasses works in oil, acrylic, mixed media, encaustics, watercolor, hand built ceramics, collage, digital collage, art welding, and photography inspired by deep connections with the natural world and the inner workings of the mind and heart.”

Exhibiting artists include Sandra AyalaAnne Cameron, Tracy Carson, Jan Clem, Deborah Drllevich, Sharon Grader, Lynn HansonSonya LangWendy Lee Lynds, Kathleen MooreLiz RuestChristina Scott, and Kimberly Wayne and will be present at the Lynn Hanson Gallery for the First Thursday Art Walk, June 2 from 5-8 p.m.

Additional information about the EdCC exhibition is at

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Gallery North

Artist Registration Open

Gallery North
2016 Beauty of the Northwest Show

Gallery North (401 Main St.) announces the opening of registration for its 7th annual invitational Beauty of the Northwest Show.

Gallery North seeks artists whose paintings or drawings depict scenes or subjects representing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

This eagerly anticipated summer art exhibit will be on display from Aug. 1-31.

Each entrant-artist may submit up to two pieces. Artwork will be juried for acceptance and the selected work will be on display and available for sale at Gallery North during the month of August.

Theresa Goesling, a well-respected artist, art instructor and co-owner of “Make Every Day a Painting” Workshops, will select the 2016 Beauty of the Northwest award winners.

June 17

To be considered for the 2016 Beauty of the Northwest poster, artists must submit their work on or before June 17. However, artists may register June 1 through July 12.

For the prospectus, details about online registration, or other information about the show, please visit the Gallery North website at or contact the gallery at 425-774-0946.

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Sno-King Community Chorale

Saturday, June 11
3 p.m. and 7 p.m. 
Sno-King Community Chorale
410 4th Ave. N.

Sno-King Community Chorale closes out its 2015-2016 season with Carousel: A Concert Version, inspired by the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and featuring many Cole Porter compositions.

Under the baton of music director Frank DeMiero, the chorale will perform a Cole Porter medley plus tunes that include, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “From This Moment On,” Anything Goes,” “”Don’t Fence Me In,’ “Night and Day,” and many more familiar tunes adding a dose of nostalgia to this always-popular annual event.

Tickets for “Broadway” are available by calling 425-275-9595, or through the ECA box office

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 Wednesday, June 15
7 p.m.
The pARTy!
Plaza Room
Frances Anderson Center
700 Main St.

The work of artist Dan Lachachaussee, among hundreds of other's will be included in Edmonds Arts Festival to be held Father's Day weekend.
The work of artist Dan Lachachaussee will be among hundreds included in Edmonds Arts Festival to be held Father’s Day weekend.

“The pARTy”, an Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation (EAFF) event, presents its annual benefit to support the arts in Edmonds.

The benefit takes place Wednesday evening, June 15, in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Plaza Room above the Edmonds Library (elevator to the Plaza level is located in the library lobby).

Edmonds Arts Festival June 17-19 

The actual festival, which thousands attend every year, is held Father’s Day weekend.

Join the arts community in a pre-celebration kicking off this year’s Festival by coming to “The pARTy”!

This benefit is an outstanding opportunity to both support the arts in Edmonds and have a wonderful community experience.

Attendees to “The pARTY” will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine, cocktails and dessert; participate in a fine arts raffle; and listen (and dance!) to live music — all while being the first to view and/or purchase this year’s juried Festival exhibitions.

Sell Out Alert!

Make sure to arrange for your set of tickets early to this popular community event. Ticket prices are $60 per person and includes two drink tickets, and one ticket for the drawing, plus much more.

June 8 Deadline

Deadline for ticket purchases is June 8.

Get event updates and buy tickets at .

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Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, an organization comprised of educators and mentors, will participate in this weekend's "Jazz Connection".
For many years the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra has included downtown Seattle and Kirkland.

Highlights on the near horizon 

June 18-19
Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra
Seattle and Kirkland

– – –  

Big Band Bossa Nova

Missing the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO) already?

The orchestra’s final show of the SRJO season is just a short drive away – two options: Seattle and Kirkland.

From the playbill: Samba into your summer as the infectious grooves of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal and, of course, Stan Getz fill the air with the sounds of Brazil and Latin America.

This SRJO concert sizzles as the orchestra plays Samba, Bossa, and Merengue favorites including “Chega da Saudade,” “One Note Samba,” “A Day in the Life of a Fool,” and “Corcovado”.

Always leaving it on the high note, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra won’t quit until they have played a little Quincy – Quincy Jones’ 1962 hit album, “Big Band Bossa Nova,” will be included on the program.

Tickets for the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra are available at!big-band-bossa-nova/c125c

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Mandy Patinkin! Don't live in regret . . . there are a few tickets left for you and your friends.
The brilliance of ECA program planning brings Patinkin to the Edmonds MainStage!

Sell Out Alert!

Wednesday, June 22
7:30 p.m.

 – – – 

Mandy Patinkin at
Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

Want to see the Mandy Patinkin special ECA engagement? You have one last chance. There is balcony seating for you and a few friends; or several main floor single-seats.

Mandy Patinkin In Concert: Dress Casual with Adam Ben-David on piano will enthrall the ECA audience with an electrifying performance. Yes, your Edmonds arts’ friends will be there – guaranteed, the performance hall will be abuzz and totally filled to capacity!

Because . . . . “Mandy Patinkin is in the business of show stopping,” raves The New York. From Irving Berlin to Stephen Sondheim, from Cole Porter to Harry Chapin, Mandy Patinkin takes you on a dazzling musical journey you’ll never forget.

Tickets at this ECA link.

— 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


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