Artfully Edmonds: Debra Rich Gettleman launches ‘Page to Stage’ for aspiring playwrights, plus events galore

Debra Rich Gettleman
Debra Rich Gettleman (Photo by John Ulman)

We all have a story to tell. You may not be ready to sit down and write the great American novel, but have you ever wondered what it might be like to have your story told on stage? Imagine sitting in the audience having your words brought to life, your play performed for all the world to see. Award-winning journalist and playwright Debra Rich Gettleman can make that happen for you. “There’s something magical about hearing your words spoken aloud,“ Gettleman said.

Invest in “Page To Stage” — six, two-hour sessions on Saturday mornings this fall, and by the time you’re done, your one-act, 10-minute play will be read in The Black Box Theater at Edmonds Community College. It’s a fun, fast-paced way to experience the craft of playwriting first hand.

“I’ve always loved to teach certain kinds of writing classes. This is an exciting format, allowing students to find their own story – their nuggets of truth. There’s no writing experience necessary. It’s a time for personal growth, and it’s fascinating to watch the student’s progress,” Gettleman said.

At $149 for the entire course, it’s affordable for most folks. “I love the idea of being able to give people a chance to learn something new, without it costing an arm and a leg,” Gettleman said.

This class and many others are set to begin right now. Edmonds Community College’s Community Education program offers a variety of opportunities for life long learning. For registration information and a full list of classes, including classes in the performing arts, photography, fine arts and writing, go to

You may remember Gettleman from the terrific work that she’s done as an actor, playwright and managing director for the last two years at the Phoenix Theatre in Edmonds. Although she’s moved on, her play Twist of the Magi is returning by popular demand this holiday season.

As for her departure, “We just had fundamental differences about how to move forward. I didn’t think my vision was their vision. I still love them, and wish them well,” said Gettleman.

Direction for Magi will be provided by Ballyhoo Theatre’s Sheila Corey, whom Gettleman describes as “enormously talented, funny, and smart.” Corey has just completed casting for this year’s Twist of the Magi, and Gettleman couldn’t be happier with the results.

Also in the works for Gettleman, several auditions that she is excited about, several contract writing gigs, and a book. The book sounds like it might be similar to her hilarious blog, which can be found at

“Once you start registering the unusual quirky events in your life, you’d be surprised how much material that provides. I seem to be a magnet for the absurdities in life,” Gettleman quipped.

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ArtWalkFeaturedArtist de Mello e SouzaThursday, Sept. 20

5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Art Walk Edmonds

At 25 locations

Join the throng this Thursday to check out amazing art and artists throughout town.

This month’s featured artist is Jennie de Mello e Souza. She’ll be showing work at Seattle Sugar Spa, 128 4th Ave. S. #102.

De Mello e Souza’s work is influenced by a deep appreciation of, and fascination with nature. De Mello e Souza also teaches art and art history, working with many students, styles of art, and art making methods.

If you missed my column on de Mello e Souza, it’s here.

To plan your route this month, visit the AWE website.

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Friday, Sept. 21 – Sunday, Oct. 14,
Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.

The Phoenix Theatre Presents:

The Underpants – by Carl Sternheim – adaptation by Steve Martin

Directed by Eric Lewis

9673 Firdale Ave.
(Firdale Village)

Imagine getting caught in public when your bloomers suddenly fall down around your ankles for all to see. That’s the premise of Steve Martin’s brilliant adaptation of The Underpants, the Carl Sternheim’s classic German play set in 1910. Martin’s sheer comic genius takes the story and delivers a fall-on-the-floor satirical send-up of Bourgeois conservatism that’ll keep the audience giggling for days. The Underpants is the kick-off production of the Phoenix Theatre’s 11th season.

Steve Martin’s adaptation is a play in which the upper middle-class snobbery and conformity of the early 20th century are turned upside down.

“Martin’s skill at creating witty dialogue updates the play, giving the audience plenty of laugh-out-loud moments,” says director Eric Lewis. “Martin even manages to bring contemporary relevancy to the play as it comments on modern gender politics and fame. It’s a fantastic comedic kick off to the season.”

For tickets:

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Musicians from Philharmonia Northwest
Musicians from Philharmonia Northwest: Jamie Kowalski, Emiko Hori, Rachel Lee and Jacob Warwick

Saturday, Sept. 22,
6 p.m.

Cascadia Art Museum Presents:
Music In The Museum

Cascadia Art Museum
190 Sunset Ave S.
Salish Crossing

Enjoy a special performance of chamber music of Bach, Debussy and Chopin, with guest musicians from Philharmonia Northwest. Featured performers are Emiko Hori, piano; Jamie Kowalski and Rachel Lee, violins; and Jacob Warwick, viola. Your ticket includes admission to the museum, so you can come early, tour the galleries, enjoy an hour of fine music in an intimate setting surrounded by art, and be done in time to dine out after.

For information:
or call 425-336-4809

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Dorothy Rosenthal Pierce, Laura McFarlane, Emily Swanby and Teri Lee Thomas.

Friday, Sept. 14 – Sunday, Sept. 30
8 p.m. (Matinees – 2 p.m.)

The Driftwood Players Present:

Somethings Afoot

Directed by Scot Charles Anderson
Musical Direction – Mark Press

Wade James Theatre
950 Main St.

This musical spoof takes a satirical jab at the Agatha Christie murder mystery. Ten people are stranded at an isolated English country estate during a raging thunderstorm. One by one, they are killed in mysterious (and hilarious) ways as they tried to discover the murderer’s identity. The situation is complicated by rising floodwaters, power failures and suspicious behavior!

Tickets and more information at

Read my review here.

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Mikhail Shufutinsky

Mikhail Shufutinsky

Thursday, Sept. 20
8 – 10 p.m.

Mikhail Shufutinsky – North American Anniversary Tour

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

Dubbed the Russian King of Chanson, Mikhail Shufutinsky will be performing here on his North American 70th anniversary tour.

Russian Chanson has been defined as a musical genre covering a range of Russian songs, including city romance songs, author song performed by singer-songwriters, and Blatnaya Pesnya or “criminals’ songs” that are based on the themes of the urban underclass and the criminal underworld. Shufutinsky is touring with his orchestra and dance group.

More at this link.

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Storm Chaser. Leah Rene Welch

Through Sept. 29

Gallery North’s September Exhibit, “Eclectic Approach”

Featuring paintings by Edmonds Artist Leah Rene Welch

Gallery North
401 Main St.

Leah Rene Welch is known for her vibrant, heavily textured paintings. She paints a wide range of subjects in a variety of styles from meticulous realism to expressive abstracts and impressionism, always with an eye toward keeping things interesting.

“I like to paint with non-traditional implements — with my fingers being my go-to tool,” said Welch.

Salish Sea. Leah Rene Welch

During the month of September there will be a silent auction for one of Welch’s paintings with the proceeds going to Orca Network. Orca Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about whales in the Pacific Northwest and the importance of providing them healthy and safe habitats.

The artist reception for Eclectic Approach will be on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 1- 4 p.m. at Gallery North. The public is invited to come see the art, meet the artist  and enjoy refreshments.

Learn more at or call 425-774-0946

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The work of Yvonne Twining Humber (1907-2004). Work untitled, circa. 1936. Courtesy of Francesca Zambito.

This exhibit closes Sept. 30 — don’t miss it!

Drama & Design: Yvonne Twining Humber & Blanche Morgan Losey

Wednesday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Art Walk Edmonds: Third Thursdays, 5 – 8 p.m. – Free

Cascadia Art Museum
190 Sunset

Keeping with their commitment to revive the reputations of our region’s women artists, Cascadia Art Museum presents this important exhibition that brings together the work of two prominent regional artists active in Seattle during the period 1930-1950.

Yvonne Twining Humber (1907-2004) was a Northwest transplant, arriving in Seattle in 1943 after her marriage to local businessman Irving Humber. Originally from New York and Boston, Humber had developed an impressive national reputation for her unique paintings created for the WPA Federal Art Projects during the Depression. Her hard-edged Precisionist style was highly unusual in the Northwest, gaining her additional local and national attention including a solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum in 1946.

Blanche Morgan Losey 1912–1981 was born in Los Angeles, California but raised in Olympia and Tacoma. She moved to Seattle in 1937. She studied at the University of Washington where she received a BFA in architecture and interior design.

“Of special interest will be a selection of her original watercolor designs for the stage sets and costumes created for Seattle’s Federal Theater Project as well as the Negro Repertory Company during the Depression”, said museum curator David Martin. “We are very excited that these works will be shown publicly for the first time at Cascadia Art Museum.”

Losey held the position of senior interior designer at Seattle’s Frederick & Nelson department store from 1939 to 1977. Her noted design projects included the Seattle Opera House and the “Higashi Nishi” (East-West) Japanese Garden and Room for the Uniroyal display at Century 21 Exposition, Seattle World’s Fair in 1962.

More information at

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Cascade Symphony Orchestra

Rising Star Competition

The Cascade Symphony Orchestra is encouraging talented young musicians to enter its “Rising Star” competition for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

The winning musician, to be selected by Cascade Symphony Music Director Michael Miropolsky, will perform as the soloist at the orchestra’s concert Feb. 9, 2019, at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

The competition is open to young performers of piano, violin, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, french horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, euphonium, percussion, and harp.

A complete entry information, including an application form, rules, and the music repertoire for each instrument, is available on the orchestra’s website. The deadline for submission is Nov. 1.

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— By James Spangler

When not actively scheming about ways to promote the arts in Edmonds, James Spangler can be found (highly caffeinated) behind the counter of his bookstore on 4th Avenue.

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