What a great offering of live theatre productions we’ve had over this last year. For the most part we shook off the damage COVID had done to our local actors and theaters and achieved some excellent presentations that will stay in our minds for years to come. We saw the last production of this last live play season on July 30th.
Last August started the season off with Tacoma Musical Playhouse and their Festival of 10 Minute Musicals. I was skeptical about the spectacle, but Peg and I roared with laughter and praise. We hope TMP does this again. It’s a collection of directors and actors using available short scripts and making something worthwhile out of the selections. Furniture and props were limited. The outcome was fantastic.
Tacoma Musical Playhouse scored big not only with the 10 Minute Musicals, but also with All Shook Up, a throwback from COVID-cancelled past season. I had promised my sister to take her to the play which is based on some of the hit songs of Elvis Presley. She got her birthday present this season and loved it. The Elvis character was played by Jordan Melin, who also was the lead in Kinky Boots, the final live production for this season.
Lakewood Playhouse came through with Broadway Bound, which ended their Neil Simon’s Eugene Trilogy featuring Chap Wolff and Charlie Stevens. The acting and staging were excellent in this look back at the early 1950s. We took granddaughters to the production of Head Over Heels at Lakewood Playhouse later in the season. The Head Over Heels musical was based on the music of the Go Go Girls. The Tacoma Little Theatre showed off their new seating and the use of their turn-table with Clue On Stage and then really put on a marvelous show with the Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz, was incredible with people coming back for second and third viewings.
Harlequin Productions in Olympia touched our hearts with the best version of A Christmas Carol we have ever seen. The actors were also stage hands by moving what looked like maybe 24 wooden tool boxes to create the scenery for the next scene. The sets were minimal but the actors were great.
Tacoma Arts Live gave us two excellent productions . . . one heart felt and one hilarious. Grounded, about an excited and exhilarated female pilot. who when pregnant, was transferred to a remote rocket bombing unit. Her resulting crisis of conscience was riveting. Kim’s Convenience was just a joyful family hoot.
Dukesbay Theatre presented God Says This – a small cast and small theatre production that gave us both humor and tears. Photography by Jason Ganwich.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at CenterStage in Federal Way was our first attempt at resurrecting our Culture Vulture group from the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8. We used to travel to Seattle and as far south as Portland to see theatre and enjoy a good time. We had a group of a dozen people go to dinner and then attend the hilarious production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. To end the season, we went as a group again to TMP to see Kinky Boots followed with dinner. (We had already seen the production with ten other family members.)
We hadn’t visited Seattle theaters since just before COVID, so we took a wonderful weekend tour and had a great time watching Cabaret presented in a much more stark, serious and touching production than we had ever seen before from the Reboot Theatre. We also saw Seattle Shakespeare’s production of Much Ado about Nothing with glorious clowning and unusual clothing and staging. We had a wonderful weekend with great food, shopping, and excellent productions.
We had to turn down reviewing Pirates of Penzance last month at the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society, unfortunately. The timing just didn’t work out. Peg was heartbroken. When she was in fifth grade, she became obsessed with G&S when her older sister came home singing patter songs from H.M.S. Pinafore.
Our biggest disappointment was Tacoma Little Theatre’s presentation of Silent Sky directed by pug Bujeaud. We weren’t disappointed in the production at all; we were disappointed because we couldn’t find the time to see it twice. It was a great story and provided the opportunity to see a 19th century, educated woman, held back by a patriarchal university system, be relegated to estimating the size of stars from photographs taken by male astronomers. By noting the stars’ patterns of pulses, she estimated their distance from Earth and left men astronomers behind. We still feel sorry about not getting back to see it one more time. We can hardly wait for the new season to begin . . . later this month.