The homecoming of “Million Dollar Quartet” at Village Theatre delights, rocks, and exhilarates audiences of all ages.

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller

Anytime audience members collectively share their exuberance with strangers while exiting a theatre, you know a pinnacle of perfection has been achieved. This was exactly the scenario after Friday night’s “Million Dollar Quartet” at Village Theatre in Issaquah where everyone was on their feet dancing for the last 15-20 minutes of peerless rock and roll and electrifying antics.

Who, at the time, would have dreamed the reenactment of a recording company’s 1956 jam session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins would spark audiences around the globe for over six decades?  Village Theatre’s captivating history with “Million Dollar Quartet” stretches back to its premiere during the 2006 Village Originals Festival of New Musicals. With praise to the current production team’s brilliance in collaboration, “Million Dollar Quartet” promises another unparalleled hit for Village Theatre in Issaquah and Everett.

Accolades to Jerry Lee Lewis!  Oh, wait! That wasn’t the real Jerry Lee Lewis? Meet John Countryman, who blew the audience away with his impersonation of Lewis, once described as “rock and rolls first great wild man.” Wild and crazy, John Countryman as Lewis oozed fun, and grit, and natural talent with his every move.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to revel in the reunion of the dynamic “Million Dollar Quartet” this time around. Join in the exquisite fun and laughter of the show that ends with a crowd-dancing ovation “Million Dollar Quartet” Plays Village Theatre in Issaquah now through June 23, 2019 and in Everett June 28-July 29, 2019. Tickets here

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Photo by Mark Kitaoka

Calling all Hamilton fans! Get to The Triple Door May 30 & 31 for “Rise Up” – a Hamilton tribute band.

It’s likely if you’re reading this that you’re a fan of the hit musical “Hamilton.”

It’s time to get your tickets now to “Rise Up” the Hamilton Tribute band, playing The Triple Door May 30 & 31, 2019. I was excited to see this show is all ages and will be taking my teenage niece, who is the biggest Hamilton fan I know. The Triple Door is one of the most unique and beautiful venues to see live music in Seattle and a perfect place to experience this Hamilton tribute band.

More about the show, in their own words:

Don’t throw away your shot to see Rise Up – Hamilton Tribute! Rise Up is an ensemble of top Seattle vocalists and musicians that performs the amazing music of “Hamilton”. Rise Up has performed extensively in the Northwest, delighting theater, festival and club audiences to frequently sold out shows.

Tickets here.
Reserved seating. Get your tickets early for the best seats! Rise Up is a non-dramatic performance of selected individual songs from “Hamilton” and other material.

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This school is rockin’!  Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash hit “School of Rock” fires up audiences. Now through May 19 at The Paramount

Review by Tony Bohn:

Based on the 2003 bestselling movie by the same name, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock” opened last night as a part of the KeyBank Broadway season at The Paramount in downtown Seattle.  Nominated for four 2016 Tony awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, and Best Leading Actor, “School of Rock” follows the story of a wannabe rock star named Dewey Finn.  In desperate need of money to pay rent to his best friend who he lives with, he conspires to earn the money by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school.  Woefully unprepared and unqualified to teach normal school subjects, he proceeds to transform his class of high achievers into a mind-blowing full-on rock band while turning on the charms and falling for the school’s headmistress.

Filled with catchy original rock musical tunes by Webber, and a hilarious script, this show will keep you entertained and rocking in your seat for the duration.  Merritt David Janes as Dewey Finn does a spot-on imitation of Jack Black from the original movie, while also bringing his own sense of flair and updates to the role.  The best part of the show has got to be the remarkably talented and adorable kids that make up the rock band.  They will blow your mind as they sing, dance, and jam on stage with guitars, keyboards, drums, and bass, and I couldn’t get enough of them!

In a time when so many arts programs get cut in education, School of Rock is a family-friendly affair that shows us why music can still be a crucial tool in driving a child’s creativity and why letting kids be kids and have fun playing, can result in more well-rounded and happy children.  School of Rock plays at the Paramount now through Sunday May 19, 2019.  More information and tickets can be found here.

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Photo by Evan Zimmerman

“Nina Simone: Four Women” is a must-see. A riveting glimpse into the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. At Seattle Repertory Theatre now through June 2

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller

Through determination and stamina, following the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama bombings in which four young African American girls were murdered, a resilient and determined Nina Simone channels her musical gifts in a manner that bewilders those around her. “Nina Simone: Four Women” plays The Seattle Repertory Theatre in Seattle Center now through June 2, 2019. 

Nina and three very diverse women find themselves in the shell of the 16th Street Church,  grappling with the devastation in divisive and conflicting manners that cast doubts on each other. Each woman’s self-identity fluctuates according to the disparities in her background and the shade of her skin.

While Jennifer Zeyl’s stark staging transports the audience into the midst of the bombed-out church, it’s as though the four young girls whose lives were lost are ever present in spirit. Shontina Vernon is high-spirited in her role as Nina Simone, while Shaunyce Omar anchors the show in her brilliant portrayal of Sarah.

The Seattle Rep invites audiences to join in “a series of enlightening, empowering, and engaging events” with ties to current injustices. Striking similarities of the 1960s and today’s conflicted societies are unfathomable. This point was driven home in the post-play discussion of current atrocities in our local and national surrounds.

For more information on “Nina Simone: Four Women,” including tickets, special events, and post-show discussions, visit seattlerep.org. You have through June 2nd to secure seats for this heart-wrenching, thought-provoking performance at Seattle Repertory Theatre.

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Photo by Nate Watters

Giveaway: Advance Screening tickets to “Booksmart” movie

Movie Giveaway!  Enter to win one of two pairs of tickets to see an advance screening of the movie “Booksmart.” Winners can choose to see the movie at Regal Thornton at 7pm on May 15, 2019 or at AMC Pacific Place at 7pm on May 21, 2019.

About the movie: “Told from a wildly original, fresh and modern perspective, Booksmart is an unfiltered comedy about high school best friends and the bonds we create that last a lifetime. Capturing the spirit of our times, the film is a coming of age story for a new generation.”

I’ll be picking two winners (each winner will win two tickets). Here’s how to enter:

Enter on Facebook: Like fb.com/seattlepockets & like the giveaway post – then tag a friend in the comments of the giveaway Facebook post. You can tag up to 5 friends (one name per comment) for up to 5 Facebook entries.

Enter on Instagram: Follow instagram.com/keridwyn & like the giveaway post – tag a friend in the comments of the giveaway post. You can tag up to 5 friends (one name per comment) for up to 5 Instagram entries. BONUS 5 points if you share the giveaway post on your stories or feed.

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If you’re not on Facebook or Instagram, let me know in your blog comment below and you’ll still be entered.

 

Trailer:

All local, state, and federal giveaways apply. Winner will be picked using random.org. Giveaway ends 5/12/19 at 11:59pm. Winners must arrive no later than 30 minutes before the movie.  #BooksmartMovie

ArtsWest award-winning “Office Hour” addresses gun violence, immigration and more. Now through May 26.

“Office Hour” is on stage now through May 26, 2019 in West Seattle’s ArtsWest. This show is 90 minutes with no intermission.

About the show (in their own words):

Alarmed by his grisly writings, a professor invites a troubled student to her office to shed light on – and build a bridge across – the dark clouds that surround him. As the clock ticks down and tensions rise, she learns that notions of “good” and “bad” are dangerous illusions. A stirring call for empathy and a bold experiment in form, this searing play tackles thorny issues of gun violence, immigration, and “the other” to reveal our essential, human need for connection.

Content note: Office Hour features realistic, non-firing prop guns, loud recorded gun shots, and depictions of violence.

Read Brendan Kiley’s Seattle Times article “Chekhov’s gun control: Seattle directors wrestle with staging violence in the age of mass shootings”  here.

ArtsWest presents Office Hour

Credits: L-R – Christian Quinto (Dennis) and Naho Shioya (Gina). Photo by John McLellan.

Giveaway: Win tickets to MoPOP’s “A Queen Within” Exhibition Opening Party

The Museum of Pop Culture (aka MoPOP – formerly known as EMP or Experience Music Project) is hosting a party this Friday, May 10 to celebrate the opening of the new exhibition “A Queen Within.”

Tickets are on sale here.

Here’s your chance to enter to win 2 tickets to the party:

First:  Comment on this blog post & tell me something you’re excited to see or do at the event.

Then: RSVP “Interested” or “Going” on the Facebook event page here (if you’re not on Facebook, let me know in your blog comment below and you’ll still be entered).

For bonus entries, you can enter on Instagram, here.

More about the event, in their own words:

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Celebrate the queen inside us all at an evening of fashion, music, and female empowerment at the opening party for A QUEEN WITHIN: ADORNED ARCHETYPES.

This immersive fashion exhibition examines notions of feminine identity through more than 100 pieces of avant-garde fashion, photography, and video.

SONIC CELEBRATION
Grace Love and The Dirty Church will treat guests to a live set filled with epic vocals, groovy bass, and perfect brass. Witness fashion in action with curated music video blocks. Take your turn on the dance floor with DJ sets throughout the night.

MEMORIES OF MONARCHS
In the intimate JBL Theater, hear storytelling group She Is FIERCE tell tales of finding the queen within themselves.

BEYOND THE RUNWAY
Express your imagination with an artist-led participatory activity focused on the creative process of fashion design, and cap the night with a snapshot in our immersive photo op.

Organized by Barrett Barrera Projects. Curated by MUSEEA.

(Also, I hear that Filthy Fem Corps will also be performing and they are awesome!)

 

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About the exhibition:

Explore how contemporary fashion designers engage with feminine archetypes through more than 100 pieces of fashion, contemporary photography, and video.

Using the six personality types of a queen — Sage, Enchantress, Explorer, Mother Earth, Heroine, and Thespian — designers like Alexander McQueen, Selam Fessahaye , Ashish, Chromat, Gypsy Sport, Gucci, Prada, Chanel, and Iris van Herpen use their work to create a space for contemplating the relationship between dress, society, and our shared history.

A Queen Within highlights a broad range of designers—from the internationally famous to the currently emerging—resulting in a deep inquiry into the diverse nature of the feminine. Gowns, wigs, shoes, and photographs are presented in immersive environments rich in symbolism, inviting visitors to peer into the private worlds of deeply powerful figures.

Giveaway ends 5/7/19 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. All local and state rules apply. Giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram.

 

Image 1: Installation view Ashish, Keta Gutmane and Vivienne Westwood, Courtesy of Barrett Barrera Projects & RKL Consulting and Vivienne Westwood, Photo: Josh Brasted.

Image 2: A Queen Within Installation view David Lachapelle, Alexander McQueen,
& Omar Victor Diop. Photo Roman Alokhin