Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): The Hello Girls musical by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel at Taproot Theatre. Starring Cassi Q Kohl & Rico Lastrapes. Direction by Karen Lund and musical direction by Michael Nutting. Story about the unsung American female switchboard operators in WWI. #helloGirls #girlPower #war #theatre
Synopsis from the Theatre: “Imagine a time when the world was divided. … A world where freedom is under assault … A world where nationalism is on the rise… We’re talking about the year 1918, of course.” Helmet, check. Gas Mask, check… Lipstick, check. In this new musical, Grace Banker and her fellow switchboard operators are answering the call when the Bell Battalion Telephonic Ladies’ Switchboard Unit #1 makes history as America’s first female soldiers.
Reviewed Performance: 7/14/23 – Opening Night
World Premiere: No
Several or Few Scenes: Several
Several or Few Settings/Locations: Several
Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: No, but you might appreciate this more if you’re a little familiar with World War I.
Defined Plot/Storyline: Yes
Live Band/Orchestra: Yes
Recommendation: See it if you enjoy the specific genre of shows Taproot Theatre tends to produce like A Civil War Christmas, Bright Star, and The Spitfire Grill. You might also enjoy this show if you like women’s choral music like Seattle Women’s Chorus since there was a lot of female harmonies.
Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show: Yes
Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now: I’d consider another professional production
Rating Compared to Other Shows with the Same Production Value:
4 stars (Out of 5 Stars)
Equity Actors: 2
Total Number of Actors: 10
Perceived Pace of the Show: Medium speed
Length (Including Any Intermission): 2.75 hours
Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned in Elevator Thoughts
- Cassi Q Kohl: I didn’t even recognize Cassi compared to her recent roles in Cinderella and Miss Step! It goes to show her versatility as an actress.
Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)
- Actor Musicians: Some actors in the show also were part of the band. I saw Jeremy Steckler on the bass and Rebecca Cort on the guitar. But I didn’t see the other actor musicians listed in the program like Rico Lastrapes on the clarinet, Jeremy Steckler on the guitar, Lauren Engstrom on the keyboard, and Casey Raiha on the keyboard. I wish I could also see these additional actors play their instruments. They were probably hidden in the back due to Taproot Theatre’s stage space constraints.
- Uniform Purchase Requirement: Did (does) the army really not pay for uniforms? If you’re putting yourself in harm’s way and contributing a specialized skill to the war effort, the least the government can do is pay for your uniform.
- Switchboard: This production would have greatly benefitted from a switchboard prop.
- Costume Legs: I’ve never seen such weird leggings on American military uniforms that resembled culottes or knee breeches. But I guess they’re historically accurate since they resembled the pictures Google showed for “World War I American Uniform.”
Theatre Company: Taproot Theatre
Venue: Jewell Mainstage at Taproot Theatre
Venue Physical Address: 204 N 85th St, Seattle, WA 98103
Dates: July 12 – August 12, 2023
Seating: Assigned Seating
Parking: Paid lot or usually-free street parking. I always find free street parking on Greenwood Ave just South of the theatre.
Buy a Ticket or Learn More:
Other Video +/- Pictures: See pictures in video and under video by John Ulman.
Cast and Production Team: See after pictures and video below
@showsiveseen "The Hello Girls" #musical by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel at @TaprootTheatre. Starring @Cassi Q Kohl & Rico Lastrapes. Direction by Karen Lund & musical direction by Michael Nutting. Story about the unsung American #female #switchboard operators in #WWI. Photos by John Ulman. Review: showsiveseen.com/6133 #helloGirls #girlPower #war #theatre ♬ original sound – Shows I've Seen
|Suzanne Prevot||Rebecca Cort|
|Helen Hill||Lauren Engstrom|
|Bertha Hunt||Jessica Ziegelbauer|
|Louise Lebreton||Miranda Antoinette|
|Grace Banker||Cassi Q Kohl *|
|Man 2/PVT Eugen Matterson||Jeremy Steckler|
|Man 3/Dempsey/Morris/German Soldier||Casey Raiha|
|Man 1/Wessen/Ackerman/Beaumont||Fune Tautala|
|Gen. John Pershing||Jeff Church|
|Cpt. Joseph Riser||Rico Lastrapes *|
|Bertha Hunt / Suzanne Prevot (u/s)||Jacqueline Tardanico|
|Grace Banker / Louise Lebreton (u/s)||Keola Kapulani Holt|
|Helen Hill (u/s)||Abigail Brittle|
|Riser / Pershing (u/s)||Brandon Riel|
|Plano Conductor||Michael Nutting, David Taylor Gomes|
|Clarinet||Rico Lastrapes *|
|Additional Guitar||Rebecca Cort, Jeremy Steckler|
|Additional Keyboard||Lauren Engstrom, Casey Raiha|
|Director||Karen Lund **|
|Composer and Lyricist||Peter Mills|
|Playwright||Peter Mills, Cara Reichel|
|Music Director||Michael Nutting|
|Associate Director||Bretteney Beverly|
|Assistant Director||Nik Nolan|
|Scenic/Sound Designer||Mark Lund|
|Costume Designer||Nanette Acosta|
|Lighting Designer||Ahren Buhmann|
|Choreographer||Katy Tabb **|
|Stage Manager||Rachel Victoria Miller *|
|Dialect Coach||Marianna de Fazio|
**Members of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society