Recommendation: It’s worth seeing. Old timey musicals are not really my preference but this one is a classic. I haven’t seen the movie but the stranger sitting next to me in the theater said she liked the live Village Theater version better than the movie.
Negatives: The story may not be as accessible to millennial like myself (but I’m an old soul) since this is based on the 1951 movie, which is based on the “roaring 1920s.”
Story, Script, and Lyrics: The story was about traditional silent movie Hollywood stars struggling with actually having to act/speak in “talkies” (talking motion pictures). A lot of the comedy was corny, old timey, slapstick, and/or campy but I guess it was a different time back then.
Cast and Theater Company: Village Theater consistently provides quality theatrical productions and this is no exception.
- John David Scott: Really, no noteworthy comments. I did detect a lisp on a couple of lines but all around, he did well as the male lead.
- Kathy Selden: Like John, I don’t have any noteworthy comments. All around, she played a great female lead.
- Gabriel Corey: Provided much of the comic relief. Initially, I found his humor annoying but as the show progressed I warmed up to him. He was not Equity so I was pretty impressed at the quality of his performance. He was probably my favorite performer in this production.
- Jessica Skerritt: She was very difficult to assess since her character was supposed to be annoying with a shrill voice. I’m so curious how she really sings/acts/speaks for more traditional roles.
Venue and Set: The audience ended up having to watch pre-recorded video instead of live-action drama during several scenes. It was a little annoying because I paid to watch live-action drama but this was probably a necessity because of the subject matter (silent films vs “talkies”). However, I was impressed with the real water raining on the stage while the main character danced soaking wet! Kudos for that Village Theater!
Music and Audio: Like every Village Theater production, the live music and audio engineering was high quality. I’m still trying to figure out how they were able to preserve the microphones during the rain scene! Despite all this, I was a bit disappointed the actors only pretended to play the piano and violin. This was after I saw “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” But hey, you can’t be everything!
Price: $$ – Moderately Priced at $50-78 from the Village Theater Website
- November 10 — December 31, 2016 in Issaquah, WA
- January 6 — 29, 2017 in Everett, WA
Seating: Assigned Seating
Type: Rock Musical
Recommendation: Yes but only if you’re into local theater productions that are mostly high talented (with some rough edges) but are also low budget. I will say that I bought the soundtrack shortly after the performance so that’s usually a good sign.
Negatives: As mentioned above, it was very low budget. Also, one of the character roles was not cast well according to vocal range.
Story, Script, and Lyrics: It’s a story of 2 opposite mid-western country bumpkin sisters moving to New York City and forming a love triangle with a guy. The characters in this main vein and other side storylines all try to find meaning during different phases of life. It’s a very moving combination of journeys. I’ll admit, I did shed a tear (or two).
Cast and Theater Company: Reboot Theater Company provided a superb group of non-equity actors. They took liberties to do gender-neutral casting for 3 characters who were supposed to be male. I’ve noticed Seattle seems to like doing gender-neutral and color-blind casting. For the most part, it worked out well except for one because the role was outside of her vocal range.
- Mandy Rose Nichols: Adequately filled the narrator role. The narrator in this piece actually plays several minor characters as well. Mandy was able to transition between these characters and the narrator seamlessly.
- Garrett Dill: Played the dorky but cute male lead. I was impressed with his ability to play guitar through the musical (even though he had to constantly look down at the strings during each chord change). It didn’t hurt that he was kinda hot too! ;-P
- Tara Nix and Janet McWilliams: Such a great beautiful sister character duo! Despite playing opposite personalities, they were equal in both providing powerful voices and strong acting.
- Kylee Gano: This was another gender bender that confused me a bit. Her character’s name was Joey so I wasn’t sure if she played a guy, a straight girl, or a lesbian. After listening to the soundtrack, I finally learned that she was supposed to play a guy. Other than the gender/orientation confusion, she fit well playing an eccentric anxious playwright.
- Stacie Hart: I was not a fan of her character’s casting, which was supposed to be a grumpy old man. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine any woman adequately filing that role. Also, his solo song was definitely not within her vocal range.
- Jeff Church: Initially, I wondered why they even had his character since he had so few lines. Later on in the second act, his role really blossomed and he actually presented the most moving part of the musical.
Venue and Set: This was performed at the Pocket Theater’s smaller venue called “The Slate.” It’s a tiny room in an old building that used to either be an elementary school or a federal immigration office. There was no ventilation so it got pretty stuffy inside the “theater.” Again, this was very low budget so the set/props were extremely austere (phones were imaginary). The room was so tiny, actors were sometimes a foot away from you and might have even touched you. Bathrooms were old. Drinks were allowed inside the set/audience.
Music and Audio: Live music with adequate volume. There were no microphones but the room was so small that it wasn’t necessary.
Price: $ – Cheap!
Dates: 11-4-2016 to 11-19-2016
Seating: Open seating
Type: Musical Revue
Recommendation: Not really. If you’re expecting a musical, you’ll be sorely disappointed. It was more of a “musical revue” … so essentially a concert of songs you don’t know performed by people you also don’t know. Don’t get me wrong. It was very well done but just not what I was looking for.
Negatives: As mentioned above, there was no developed plot or storyline so it was basically a concert.
Story, Script, and Lyrics: There was no developed plot/story. Basically, it was about mechanics and waitresses singing country, folksy, honky-tonk songs about random things in their lives. I feel like good musical revues should have a decent storyline to follow.
Cast and Theater Company: Anything from Village Theater is top-notch quality with Equity Actors. All the talented actors played a wide variety of instruments.
- Joshua Carter: Nothing too noteworthy with acting and singing except he had a lot of corny lines. But he had sick guitar skills. I was surprised to see him play the piano as well randomly in the show for about 10 seconds.
- Sylvie Davidson: “Pretty little thang” had some great pep but was overshadowed by her sister dinette.
- Sara Porkalob: Powerful voice took over the sister duo. They did color-blind casting on her character (she’s an Asian in a Caucasian role).
Michael Feldman: Played an Elvis-like role like a pro lady’s man. Pretty entertaining.
- Levi Kreis: Dashingly handsome pianist with great hair and crazy keyboard skills. Like Joshua he played guitar for about 10 seconds.
- Olivia D. Hamilton: Bassist who didn’t really sing/talk or have a huge role. She was just worth mentioning because I’m pretty sure they did gender-neutral casting on her character, whose name is “Eddie” and is supposed to be one of the Pump Boys. Seattle seems to do this a lot.
Venue and Set: Everett Performing Arts Center is your standard high quality community theater. The set was pretty decadent but I expect no less from the Village Theater.
Music and Audio: Village Theater always has high quality audio engineering but they do love to turn the volume up. I’ll admit, it was so high that sometimes I was cringing. Many times the music also overpowered the actors. Score for non-synthesized piano and drums though!
Price: $$ – Moderately Priced at $45-65 from the Village Theater Website
- September 15 — October 23, 2016 in Issaquah, WA
- October 28 — November 20, 2016 in Everett, WA
Seating: Assigned Seating
Type: Rock Musical
Recommendation: A thousand times “yes!” I loved it so much that I bought the soundtrack and brought a crowd of my coworkers to see it a second time.
Negatives: Low budget production (but HIGH talent)
Story, Script, and Lyrics: Rock musical with the simple classic tale of lovers, secrets, lies … and MURDER! No complex bullshit. Just one act. All lines were lyrics except for the spoken dramatic climax.
Cast and Theater Company: Sidecountry Theater provided a class act. I could have easily seen this quality in a touring Broadway production. I was surprised to learn that none the actors were Equity Actors!
- Sara Henley Hicks: What a powerful voice! A commanding presence on the stage is important as the narrator and she provided this strong leadership while weaving the audience through the simple storyline.
- Naomi Morgan: Like a car, she sometimes had to get warmed up first before belting her lyrics. Don’t let that fool you though. When she gets going, you’ll feel goosebumps!
- Jordan Iosua Taylor: Nice eye candy 😉 That pretty face (and body!) comes with a soothing steady voice. Despite his “bad boy” persona, I could hear a hints of classical training. Still it worked well with this rock musical.
- Nick Watson: Not sure if his stiff performance was intentional as the stereotypical “nice guy” who lives next door and finishes last. His voice also wasn’t as strong as his other counterparts and I could tell that it was harder for him to reach some notes. These slight technicalities were barely noticeable and didn’t detract too much from his performance.
Venue and Set: West of Lenin is a tiny little theater. This particular production had an immersive-style set within the audience. Basically, the actors were sometimes literally one foot in front of you and might have even touched you. Nice single bathrooms. Drinks were allowed inside the set/audience.
Music and Audio: Live music didn’t overpower the actors. I wasn’t a huge fan of the synthesized piano and drums but that’s what you usually get from a non-touring group. The cast used a great wireless microphone system. I was actually surprised they used one given the small venue’s size.
Price: $ – Cheap!
Dates: 11-19-2016 to 11-13-2016
Seating: Open seating