Review: “Shout Sister Shout!” is must-see theater that will leave you filled with joy and inspiration

Review by Tony Bohn

Seattle Rep’s new production titled Shout Sister Shout! is a stunning portrayal and portrait of the life of “Original Soul Sister” and “Godmother of Rock and Roll,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe.  A pioneer in the music industry, she is known as the first gospel recording star and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.  Her blending of gospel, jazz, blues, R&B, and soul combined with her masterful guitar skills helped her set the foundation for rock and roll, and countless future rock stars including Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

The show takes you through her life from her years as a teenager all the way to her final days.  It touches on her complex but loving relationship with her mother, her tumultuous relationships with her husbands, and her great love affair with fellow musician, Marie Knight.  You get to see her courageous rise to stardom as she navigates her way through the exploitative music industry while also battling the stigma and shunning she received from her church and her gospel roots which considered her new mainstream sound to be “the devil’s music.”  She performs at the legendary Cotton Club in NYC, and the production features guest appearances from other big names such as Little Richard, Mahalia Jackson, Cab Calloway, and Dizzy Gillespie.

The set, costuming, and lighting are all bright and colorful exuding the celebratory quality of the show.  Carrie Compere as Sister Rosetta Tharpe is just phenomenal, and the almost entirely African American cast shines with powerful pitch-perfect vocals, energetic dancing, and endearing performances.  Perhaps the best part is the music itself.  Getting a chance to discover Sister Tharpe’s fabulous catalog of work moved me spiritually and had me swaying and bopping in my seat.

The historical and cultural importance of Sister Rosetta Tharpe as the first black female queer gospel star and her impact on the music industry is not to be understated.  Shout Sister Shout! touches on all these themes of her life and the struggles she faced.  This powerful production lands in my top ten (maybe even top five) favorite local theater productions I’ve seen in Seattle.  You must go check this out!  Shout Sister Shout! runs at Seattle Rep now until December 22, 2019.  For more information and tickets, please check out their website here.

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Photo by Bronwen Houck

2 Giveaways! Enter to win tickets to a movie AND live burlesque/drag show in Seattle!

File this under: I can’t enter to win but YOU can!

First:

Swink Style Bar is giving away movie passes to see the new “Charlie’s Angels” movie at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle. You can enter via their Instagram @swinkstylebar here and via their Facebook post here.

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Second:

“Kitten N’ Lou Present CREAM! A Spanksgiving feast of decadently sickening burlesque, drag, and cabaret” at The Triple Door for two nights (four shows) in November. This show stars Love Connie of RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Atomic Bombshells. You can enter to win tickets on their Instagram post here and their Facebook post here.

Let me know in the comments which you entered: the movie, the show, or both!

 

Giveaway: Live Stand-Up Comedy in Seattle this November

by Keridwyn Deller

Wow! This week I posted on my Facebook page asking what friends wanted to join me for live stand-up shows this fall and the response was astounding! So, let’s do a giveaway!

I love live comedy and have started making it a yearly tradition to add more live comedy into my social life as the days grow shorter and colder. (Even the Mayo Clinic agrees laughter is truly good for us – not only does it act as a quick mood lifter but it also can help us improve our immune system, relieve pain, and make it easier to cope with difficult situations, among other benefits.)

So let’s add a bit more self-care into our November!

My friends at Unexpected Productions have given me a pair of tickets to give away for one of their upcoming nights of stand-up comedy! The Seattle International Comedy Competition returns to Seattle this November and Unexpected Productions (the fab little Seattle theatre in Pike Place Market next to the gum wall) is hosting two nights of the competition on November 7 and 14. The winner of this giveaway gets their choice of what night they want to attend.

Each night at Unexpected Productions will feature different comedians, so if you attend both nights, you’ll see ALL the comedians competing in this year’s competition. If I could attend both nights, I would (the very funny Bo Johnson will be hosting the event on the 7th – he was a hit at a recent Don’t Tell Comedy event).  I’ll be attending with a friend on November 14, 2019. All are welcome!

SO, ready to enter to win 2 tickets to Seattle International Comedy Competition at Unexpected Productions in Seattle? Here’s how

1:  Sign up to receive SeattlePockets.com emails. See the “Sign Up for Blog Emails” box – on the right at seattlepockets.com on a computer or after scrolling down past this post on your mobile device. (If it says “Thanks for Following” you’ve already signed up to get emails. Just make sure the emails aren’t going to your spam folder.)

2Comment on my Facebook post here and tag a friend.

3:  RSVP interested or going on the Facebook event page.   That’s it!

Ready to get tickets now? Buy your tickets here.  

(you can gift your extra tickets if you win)

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More about Seattle International Comedy Competition in their own words:

“Laugh your night away at the real Last Comic Standing, the 40th Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition! UP Improv hosts America’s biggest touring comedy festival, the Seattle International Comedy Competition.

33 comedians from the U.S., Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, and Africa compete for top honors and a shot at over $15,000 in cash prizes.” 26 days with 22 Shows at 18 venues across Washington from Tacoma to Bellingham.

Learn more about Unexpected Productions here.

Giveaway ends 11/1/19 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. Winner will be messaged directly. All local, federal, and state rules apply.

Review: The world premiere of “The Great Moment” at Seattle Rep is touching, clever, relatable, and enchanting (now through Nov 17)

Review by Keridwyn Deller

Get yourself to the Seattle Rep again for the world premiere of the play “The Great Moment.” Successfully breaking the fourth wall with sincerity and clever writing, this was the kind of play that made me want to pick up the script to read through the passages again and let them sink in even more.

A reflection on family, love, life, expected loss, and the peculiarity of our relationship with time, “The Great Moment” blends moments of sweetness, sadness, nostalgia, delight, and humor to create a delightful evening of theatre. Just seeing actor Eugene Lee play a small child is worth the ticket price.

I love a play that is two hours or less and this play is perfectly timed at one hour and fifteen minutes with no intermission. You’ll leave feeling satisfied, awakened to the desire to enjoy the present moment with loved ones in the weeks to come – perfect as we head into the busy holiday season. Seattle Rep is kind enough to offer a variety of pay-what-you-will nights for those on a tight budget, making art more accessible to our community.

About the show in their own words: “As Sarah’s grandfather is nearing the end of his life, her precocious young son Evan is at the beginning of his. Written by Anna Ziegler (Photograph 51), this world premiere play is a funny and poetic meditation on beginnings and endings, birth and age, and the moments of transition that mark our passage from life to death.”

“The Great Moment” plays Seattle Rep at Seattle Center now through November 17, 2019 in the Leo K. Theatre. Tickets here.

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Photo via Seattle Rep’s Facebook page

Concert ECHOES on October 14 benefits Seattle’s forthcoming AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway

ECHOES is a multi-media, multi-disciplinary concert (featuring music, dance, and storytelling) on October 14 at the Moore Theatre.  Join performers including members of the Whim W’Him dance company, the incomparable Billie Wildrick and Justin Huertasthe Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses and more for this night benefitting Seattle’s forthcoming  AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway.

Tickets here.

More about the benefit concert:

The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway will present ECHOES, a benefit concert on October 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Avenue in Seattle. Hosted by Micki Flowers, a former health reporter for KIRO-TV and longtime HIV/AIDS advocate, ECHOES will feature music, dance, and storytelling from a diverse lineup of local activists and performers. Throughout the night, the audience will have opportunities to make donations toward this historic memorial.

The AMP, scheduled for completion in 2020, will be located in the plaza over Seattle’s Capitol Hill light rail station and the north edge of Cal Anderson Park. Utilizing various forms of public art and technology, the memorial will offer visitors opportunities for remembrance of, reflection on and participation in the ongoing fight to end HIV/AIDS.

“ECHOES is a celebration of life, a sharing of memories and a recognition of all those affected by HIV and AIDS,” said Jason Plourde, project manager for The AMP. “ECHOES will offer an opportunity to experience our shared history, move toward healing and directly contribute to the creation of the AIDS Memorial Pathway.”

The concept for ECHOES was created by Michael Byron-Ingersoll, who will also serve as director of the concert. Byron-Ingersoll is a long-time activist and fundraiser in the greater Seattle community. He has worked with many AIDS organizations, including AIDS Housing of Washington, Bailey-Boushay House, Rosehedge, Multifaith Works and the Lion Building, among others. His professional acting and directing career includes work with SHOWTUNES Theatre Company, Village Theatre, ACT, Seattle Musical Theatre, Twelfth Night Productions, and Driftwood Players.

“I still feel the loss of dozens of my friends who battled HIV/AIDS,” said Byron-Ingersoll. “They will never be gone from my heart or mind, and they come alive when I speak of them and share stories about them. What I recall is an echo of the energy and spirit of who they were. That echo has been my inspiration for the creation of our concert. The stories we share and the performances we see are meant to help us experience the many echoes that we all carry in our hearts.”

Four Seattle area activists will share personal stories and recount how their lives have been impacted by HIV and AIDS:

  • DeAunte’ Damper recently made history when he was appointed the LGBTQ chair of the Seattle King County chapter of the NAACP, a first in the organization’s 110-year history. He also serves as a peer navigator for POCAAN, a multicultural social service agency serving marginalized communities in Seattle and greater King County.
  • Bill Hall is a Tlingit native from southeast Alaska and a longtime HIV/AIDS activist. He is currently working with the Seattle Indian Health Board and Urban Health Institute as an advocate for the city’s Native community. Hall is a standing Community Advisory Board member of both the Fred Hutch defeatHIV research program and Seattle Children’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity.
  • Pat Migliore has been a volunteer at Seattle AIDS Support Group (SASG) for the last 35 years and helped found the BABES Network, a program offering peer support for women living with HIV that is now a run by the YWCA. Pat has taught in Seattle schools for many years and currently teaches HIV and AIDS education to grades 5-12 and at local colleges.
  • Steve Parsons was the first co-facilitator of SASG. He also served on its board of directors and coordinated the organization’s volunteers for many years. He is the founder and executive director of OutKitsap (which continues as the Kitsap Pride Network).

Interspersed between the stories told by the speakers will be performances:

  • Alexandria Henderson is a frequent performer in local and regional professional theater. She has been seen most recently as Elle Woods in Showtunes Theatre Company’s Legally Blonde and Ali in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia!
  • Justin Huertas is an award-winning playwright, composer, lyricist and actor. He’s best known in Seattle for his original musical Lizard Boy and for his most recent musical, The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion. His next musical, Lydia and the Troll, premieres at Seattle Rep in the spring of 2020. His acting credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Village Theatre and Tiny Beautiful Things at Seattle Rep.
  • The Seattle Men’s Chorus (founded 1979) and Seattle Women’s Chorus (founded 2002) comprise the largest community choral organization in North America. Both choruses stand out among the largest LGBTQ-identified choruses in the world. The choruses comprise one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest, most vibrant and successful music organizations, performing a range of classical and popular music. They are a leading voice for the LGBTQ community and provide a bold and powerful force for LGBTQ and social justice.
  • Nathan Young and Showtunes Theatre Company present unique theatrical experiences celebrating material from Broadway’s past, present and future with concert versions of rarely staged musicals, and are dedicated to the appreciation, preservation and advancement of musical theater.
  • Whim W’Him is an award-winning Seattle-based contemporary dance company founded in 2009 by former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer and choreographer Olivier Wevers. It showcases innovative dance in collaboration with global artists. The company aims to provide a platform, centered on choreography and dance, for artists to explore their craft through innovation and collaboration and is committed to producing work that engages and challenges audiences.
  • Billie Wildrick is an award-winning actor and director based in Seattle. Her acting credits include the 5th Avenue Theatre’s productions of Pajama GameCarousel and Guys and Dolls; ACT Theatre’s VanitiesFirst Date and Das Barbecü; and Seattle Children’s Theatre’s Seussical. Her most recent directing credits include Annie at the 5th Avenue Theatre and The Champagne Widow at Café Nordo.

About The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway

The AMP, community driven and collaboratively funded, will use public art to create a physical place for remembrance and reflection, utilize technology to share stories about the epidemic and the diverse community responses to the crisis, and provide a call to action to end HIV/AIDS, stigma and discrimination. For more information about The AMP, visit theamp.org

 

Tickets to October 14th benefit concert here.

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“Indecent” at Seattle Rep is powerful, charming, and incredibly moving. (Now through October 26)

By Keridwyn Deller

Seattle Rep brings important, engaging, and relevant work to their audience. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the incredible production of “Indecent” here in Seattle now through October 26th.
“Indecent” takes us on the journey of the production of “Gods of Vengence,” starting with its first appearance in Yiddish in 1906 Poland to Broadway in 1920s and beyond. While the show calls upon the play-within-a-play device, and echos some moments of the familiar musical “Cabaret,” “Indecent” is like no other production I have seen. Extremely well cast and directed, Seattle Rep’s “Indecent” is rich, creative, bold, endearing, and relevant. How can a show be so powerful, and charming, and moving all at once? You’ll have to experience it for yourself.
In the Seattle Rep’s own words:
“A luminous representation of Jewish artists and music; and a reminder that love in all its forms provides solace in times of dark oppression, Indecent is the play we all need to see in 2019. Featuring a talented cast of actors and musicians, this production set in the 1920s tells the story of a troupe of actors performing Sholem Asch’s controversial God of Vengeance – with deep and unexpected consequences. Don’t miss out on the chance to see this riveting production, fresh from a wildly successful Broadway run.”
While the run continues through October 26th, I imagine word will get out quickly about how excellent this show is, so get your tickets now. Celebrate jewish culture, love, and rising above hate. The Washington Post nailed it when they described the play as “A eloquent account of art happening against all odds.” The Seattle Rep offers a selection of pay what you choose tickets on select dates (including this weekend) for those on a budget. The show runs 1 hour 45 minutes with no intermission.
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Photos by Bronwen Houck 

Giveaway: Bubble Ball: Disco Dance & Champagne Tasting at Century Ballroom

By Keridwyn Deller

Century Ballroom is bringing back the Bubble Ball (Champagne Tasting and Disco Dance) on September 27! Facebook event page here.

Read on to learn more about this event, then keep reading to learn how to enter to win.

“One night only! Join us Friday, September 27 for a special champagne tasting and disco dance.

– 7:30-9:30pm Champagne Tasting
– 9:30pm Hustle Lesson
– 10:30pm-1am Disco Dance w/DJ Dana Dub

Tickets on sale now: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4325592.
21+”

Note: tickets in advance are for the whole night (Champagne tasting, hustle lesson, and disco dance). Tickets available at the door for just the dance or the lesson and dance.

 

Want to enter to win tickets to the dance?

Simple!

First: 

Make sure you’re signed up to receive SeattlePockets.com emails. See the “Sign Up for Blog Emails” box  – on the right at seattlepockets.com on a computer or after scrolling down past this post on your mobile device. (If it says “Thanks for Following” you’ve already signed up to get emails. Just make sure they aren’t going to your spam folder.)

Then:

you can enter via Facebook (or on this blog post if you don’t have Facebook):

To enter via Facebook, RSVP “Interested” or “Going” to the Facebook event page here. Then tag a friend in the comments on the event wall. Tag multiple friends (up to 8) on the event wall for up to 8 entries (Same comment for all friends is fine).

You’ll also want to comment on this blog post and let me know your name on Facebook, to finalize your entry.

Good luck! If you win, or not, I hope to see you on the dance floor for this fun evening!

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Enter by 9/20/19 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. Winner will be contacted the next day. All local, state, and federal rules apply.