Artfully Edmonds: ‘What a season!’ as Edmonds’ stages wrap up for the summer

Local scholar Ember Johnston was selected early in the audition process to portray “Percy Talbot,” the main character in Ballyhoo Theatre’s production of “The Spitfire Grill.”

The element that makes this time of year exciting for the Edmonds area art scene is the “looking glass” effect of productions that have been staged this past season, the celebratory mood as our arts providers close their season and prepare for the summer months; all the while displaying what we have to look forward to when the curtains rise on the 2017-18 season.

Of course, Artfully Edmonds and My Edmonds News will bring you information and background notes on all of the parks and plaza performances as the weather warms up – but this is down to the wire, readers, if you want one last look at what our distinguished troupes have accomplished this season.

Cutting-edge theatre for creative young adults; that’s Ballyhoo Theatre.

Thursday – Sunday
May 4 – 7

The Spitfire Grill performed by
Ballyhoo Theatre at
The Phoenix Theatre
9673 Firdale Ave.

“It’s hard to count the days when you’re buried alive,” is the lament that character “Percy Talbot“ — played by Ember Johnson — recounts as she seeks a fresh start, having just been released from prison. Not knowing it might just be her salvation, she makes her way to a small town whose page she tore out of a travel book – Gilead, Wisc.

Gilead’s sheriff, Joe Sutter, finds Percy a job at The Spitfire Grill, and through healing she helps to transform the town from one of despair to one of hope and new beginnings.

With a harmonious backdrop based on rural folk music of the Great Lakes and Southern Appalachia, a lyrical veil of musical notes sets the stage for a simplicity that is haunting and memorable; Michael Corey conducts.

The Spitfire Grill is directed by Shileah Corey, who founded Ballyhoo Theatre in 1999.

Performances are scheduled for May 4 and 5 at 7 p.m.; May 6 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and May 7 at 6 p.m.. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the door.

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Monday, May 8
7:30 p.m.

Cascade Symphony Orchestra (CSO)

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

Cascade Symphony will conclude its 55th season on Monday, May 8 with Pictures at an Exhibition under the direction of Michael Miropolsky.

The concert will be preceded by a lecture by KING-FM’s Dave Beck at 6:30 p.m.

The featured soloist for this concert is cellist Meeka Quan DiLorenzo. Ms. DiLorenzo began her cello studies at age six and joined the Seattle Symphony in 2009. She is an avid chamber musician, performing with members of the Juilliard and Cleveland quartets. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and has been a prizewinner in several national and international competitions.

The program will open with the popular “Marche Slave” by Tchaikovsky.

Cellist Meeka Quan DiLorenzo will be featured in the Cascade Symphony Orchestra’s last concert of the season.

Ms. Dilorenzo’s performance of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major will follow in the program. This concerto was composed around 1761, but was presumed lost until a copy of the score was discovered in 1961.

The second half of the program will feature “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky. Although originally composed for piano, various composers and musicians have produced a number of orchestrations. The version most often performed is the orchestration by Maurice Ravel, which will be played at this concert.

Due to the demand for tickets, Cascade Symphony urges patrons to return any tickets they will not use to the ECA box office. Even though a concert is “sold out,” returned tickets do become available – even at the door.

Please call the ECA at 425-275-9595, or come early (beginning at 6:15 p.m.) on concert night and sign the wait list at the CSO table in the lobby.

For additional information, please visit or call 425.776.4938.

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Tiia Freeman performing at Jazz Alley. (Photos courtesy Tim Freeman)

Thursday – Tuesday
May 11 – 16

Tiia Freeman
Kobo, Japan

Fresh on the heels of her recognition at the Columbia Basin Jazz Festival in Pasco Edmonds jazz vocalist and violinist Tiia Freeman is just a week away from her appearance at the Kobo Japan for Jazz Vocalist Competition.

We can all keep up on Tiia’s accomplishments in Japan through updates on her website.

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“Golden Hour” by Michele Usibelli. Courtesy of the artist.

Friday, May 12
5-8 p.m.

Michele Usibelli

Mandville Gallery
120 Park Lane ~ Kirkland

Edmonds Arts Festival poster artist (2016) Michele Usibelli will be among the top U.S. artists participating in the landscape invitational show at Howard Mandville Gallery in Kirkland which opens next week. The exhibition “Wanderlust” will celebrate the artist’s achievement with an evening reception.

Michele will be in attendance at the reception. The gallery says of Usibelli’s work, it is “consistent, brilliantly composed and thoughtful in execution.”

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Monday, May 14
7:30 p.m.

Women of the World

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

Celebrate Mother’s Day at ECA with global folk traditions of Women of the World.

Enjoy the rich tapestry of culture and sounds as these 2014 Harmony Sweepstakes National A Cappella Champions, perform in 29 of the world’s languages, including Japanese, Creole, Hindi, Hebrew, Italian, English, Spanish and French.

Listen here to Women of the World.

Tickets to see Women of the World perform are at this ECA ticket link.

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May 19
7:30 p.m.

Soiree Fatale

Edmonds Community College (EdCC)
20310 68th Ave. W.

A cabaret of music celebrating women – and with two of my totally Fave words: “Soiree” and “Fatale”.

Additional information about this intriguing event can be found at the event’s FB page.

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Friday, May 19
8 p.m.

Noises Off!

The Red Curtain Theatre
9315 State Ave. #J

Hop in the car and head for The Red Curtain!

Called the funniest play ever written, Noises Off! by Michael Frayn is a challenge for actors, set builders, director and crew which results in amazing results – pure and simple – for the audience.

With seven doors to slam, a set that does a 180-degree turn at intermission, errant sardines and missing burglars, and backstage drama that doesn’t stay backstage we will just go with The Red Curtain box office on this one, “there’s plenty here to keep the audience entertained.”

Director Scott Randall has assembled a talented, experienced cast of actors for the play, most of whom play two roles — the actor and his/her character in the play-within-a-play called “Nothing On.” (Don’t worry, you’ll catch on we are assured!)

Regional favorites returning to The Red Curtain stage are Nick Poling, Rebecca Erickson, Erin Carter, Dale Arends and Richard Morris. Other local actors making their debut at The Red Curtain (or returning after a hiatus) are Sherry Penoyer, John Klise, Lydia O’Day and Chris Bartness.

Noises Off! runs while Edmonds theatres are dark: May 19-June 4, with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 for adults, $14 for seniors, students and military personnel, and $5 for kids 12 and under. Buy tickets online at, or by calling the office at 360-322-7402.

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Each representing a musical dynasty, John Pizzarelli appears this month on the ECA stage with Ann Hampton Callaway.

Saturday, May 20
7:30 p.m.

John Pizzarelli, popular jazz guitarist and singer, joins Ann Hampton Callaway on the ECA stage in May to rave reviews and the excitement of the crowd awaiting them.

These two beloved performers — one referred to as “Hip with a wink” (Town and Country review) and the other described as dazzling — are sure to ramp up the electricity when they walk onto stage.

Expect a Sell Out Alert! by next week’s Artfully Edmonds column. Get your tickets now for the best seat selection.

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Wednesday, May 31
5:30 p.m.

Season Preview!

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

How much fun is this going to be?

Artfully Edmonds hopes that you have this date marked on your calendar. Beginning with a Meet & Mingle in the elegant ECA lobby, patrons of the ECA are invited to a 2017/18 Season Reveal by the ECA team.

It’s going to be fantastic!

How many times did you read about the world-class “making Edmonds an arts destination” engagements that ECA Executive Director Joe McIalwain had secured for ECA audiences and wished that you had planned early to be among the lucky ones strolling up the welcoming entrance of the ECA to have a fantastic time?

No-host bar, but the tickets, the preview, the inside jokes, the liner notes are all complimentary at Edmonds Season Reveal for what’s showing next season on Edmonds’ main stage.

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Elise Koncsek poses at Edmonds Civic Field beside her art installation “Solve This Fence!” Courtesy Edmonds Arts Commission.

Civic Field On the Fence Temporary Art Installation

  by Elise Koncsek

The new On the Fence installation at the Edmonds Civic Field along 6th Avenue North is titled Solve This Fence! The interactive puzzle was designed by Seattle artist Elise Koncsek.

The installation is comprised of 10 weathered wooden fence boards with intriguing shutters, trap doors and peek flaps. The small shutters and flaps are etched with mysterious symbols. Underneath each shutter or flap is a word, or another symbol. The installation challenges people to put their minds together to solve the puzzle. The solution is one 10-letter word.

Elise Koncsek is a professional photographer and an installation artist. Over the past three years her works have appeared all around the Seattle area and for the Burning Man festival in California. Her previous On the Fence project for Edmonds was another interactive piece called “Edit,” in which people were invited to create stories from twenty-three individually mounted wood panels containing a word or a phrase on both sides of each panel.

On the Fence is a temporary art project of the City of Edmonds Arts Commission.  Artists interested in creating installations for one of three locations are encouraged to contact the Arts Commission, or call 425.771.0228. For more information about Ms. Koncsek’s career go to

On the Fence is a program of Edmonds Arts Commission

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Mabel Lisle Ducasse is the subject of discussion by popular CAM curator, David F. Martin in the Cascadia Art Museum newsletter this month.

Cascadia Art Museum (CAM)
190 Sunset Avenue

Popular curator David F. Martin offers the arts community a tutorial on the work of artist Mabel Lisle Ducasse (1895-1976) this month in the CAM newsletter.

Mabel Lisle Ducasse was born in Laporte, Colorado and moved with her parents to Prosser, WA in 1908. She attended Central Washington State College and began producing commercial and fashion illustrations after graduating in 1912.
In 1915-1916 she attended the Art Students League in New York where she studied with Frank Vincent Dumond, F. Luis Mora and George Bridgeman. She also attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1916. Beginning in 1917 she attended the University of Washington and received her BFA in 1923.

During this period, she became a part of Seattle’s nascent modern art scene, working with photographer Imogen Cunningham and painter Yasushi Tanaka, Seattle’s first abstract artist. She won several awards with the Seattle Fine Arts Society, precursor to the Seattle Art Museum. During this time, she also developed a close friendship and probable romance with writer/activist Anna Louise Strong, who became the subject of several pastel portraits by Ducasse.

In 1921 she married Curt Ducasse, a Philosophy professor at the University of Washington. When Mr. Ducasse accepted a position at Brown University in 1926, the couple relocated to Providence, Rhode Island. She became active in the Providence art community as a painter and as a noted arts writer and critic.

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Botanical Exuberance: Trees and Flowers in Northwest Art is the museum’s current exhibition, which is enjoying its place in the sun representing the promise of spring and the excitement of vibrant color and fresh subjects.

— 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



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