Awesome & eye-popping: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” oozes charm & hilarity at The Paramount (now through August 11)

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller

Willy Wonka lives! The current tour of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is one awesome production – how can live theatre be this crazy, funny, dazzling, and thoroughly astounding? The brilliant special effects are far more sophisticated than seem possible on any stage – might it be pure magic? The most riveting dynamics are elevated to mind-blowing heights in the second act. Wait for it!

Accolades to Noah Weisberg who exceeds every lofty expectation in his depiction of Willy Wonka. Equal laurels go to Rueby Wood for an endearing portrayal of the precocious Charlie Bucket. We were enamored with Rueby (who shares the coveted role with two other young actors in this tour) on opening night. 

In hot pursuit of the Golden Ticket, convoluted family ties result in utter pandemonium as the superlative cast sings and dances its way into the heart of the audience. One need not fear the beguiling Oompa Loompas, Willy Wonka, nor the perils of a chocolate factory that casts off naughty children. The night is filled with all things remarkable, including jaw-dropping escapades galore. 

Throngs of theatre-goers, while exiting the theatre and waiting in line to validate parking tickets, were left wondering how “THAT” (you’ll know it when you see it! worked. You know the old adage – when patrons exit the theatre discussing the show you know it’s a winner! You, too, can be enveloped in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” charms. Your golden tickets are on sale now through August 11, 2019, at The Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle.

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Students & Educators, check out Broadway at the Paramount’s Facebook page for info on rush tickets.
Photo by Joan Marcus

 

 

August Seattle Event Roundup: New musicals, tattoos, free music & more

by Keridwyn Deller

August is here and life is good! Here are a few events in the Seattle area I wanted to be sure were on your radar:

AUGUST 9 – 11, 2019: Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals (Issaquah)Tickets are available now to check out these brand-new musicals (five musicals in one weekend):

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XY: An intersex man navigates his first romantic relationship while being haunted by his past. The Time: 1985/2001. The Place: Pittsburgh, PA. Musical Style: Musical Theatre/Impressionist/Pop. In A Word: Intimate. How You’ll Feel: Uplifted and connected to our shared humanity.

COLD TURKEY: A small town in America attempts to quit smoking for 30 days in order to win $25 million. The Time: 1969. The Place: Eagle Rock, IA. Musical Style: Late 60s and early 70s pop/cross-over country. In A Word: Satirical. How You’ll Feel: Rollercoastered.

MODERN: A group of Amish teenagers embarks on their Rumspringa, a brief period of freedom where they struggle with balancing love, tradition, progress, faith, and who they’ll become. The Time: Present Day. The Place: Lancaster County, PA. Musical Style: Elements of new-grass and post-rock. In A Word: Faith. How You’ll Feel: Inspired.

EASTBOUND: Two brother, separated at birth, travel across the world in search of a home they’ve never known. The Time: Present day. The Place: Massachusetts and Shanghai. Musical Style: Mandarin pop/American pop musical theatre. In A Word: Poignant. How You’ll Feel: Empowered.

COWBOY BOB: A young woman disguised as a man in a fake beard and ten-gallon hat, takes on the identity of “Cowboy Bob” and evades detection for more than a decade. The Time: 1990s and Present day. The Place: Dallas, TX. Musical Style: Riot Grrrl rage meets Texas two-step. In A Word: Adventurous. How You’ll Feel: Emboldened.

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August 16 – 18: Seattle Tattoo Expo (Seattle Center)

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“Get inked, see the beautiful artwork of over 200 artists, and take in all that is Seattle tattoo culture and history at the 18th annual Seattle Tattoo Expo. Hosted by Seattle’s internationally recognized shop Hidden Hand Tattoo, the Expo offers access to the leading artists in tattooing both locally and from around the world. Whether your searching for an artist or looking to get tattooed, the Seattle Tattoo Expo offers enthusiasts a gathering place to share their love for this enduring art form.” SeattleTattooExpo.com

On now: The Legend of El Dorado at Can Can Culinary Cabaret (Pike Place Market)

It’s a sexy mix of burlesque/stripping, dance, comedy, music, a bit of camp, and the art of the tease. NSFW adult performance. The Can Can dance company always knows how to delight their audiences – their current show makes for a great date night for those who aren’t easily shocked.

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“When three women made the pact of solidarity on their summer road trip, no one ever expected that they would soon become the most legendary outlaws in the country. The gang of motorcycle riding, man-eating women known as El Dorado were a fearsome trio of renegades redefining what it meant to be a woman on their own terms with no compromise. How El Dorado found themselves out running the law, robbing corner stores at gunpoint, and seducing their unsuspecting victims while in high heels, fishnets, and nail polish are things legends are made of. With an original Can Can soundtrack featuring the vocal stylings of Seattle’s own Brent Amaker, The Legend of El Dorado showcases performances of original choreography performed by the Can Can Dance Company and a delicious Market-fresh menu.”

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Check out Greater Seattle on the Cheap’s blog post for Free Seattle (and surrounding area) music events here.

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The Seattle Times shares some free outdoor theatre listings here.

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What August events are you looking forward to? Share them in the comments below or in the comments on the Facebook post at fb.com/seattlepockets.

Photo credit: 1) Village Theatre website 2) @SeattleTattooExpo Instagram (artist @chrisrogerstattoo) 3) via Can Can press release

 

Join in the music, merriment, and mayhem of “Bright Star,” on stage now through August 17 at Seattle’s Taproot Theatre

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller

Steve Martin (yes, that gifted comedian turned bluegrass musician!) and Edie Brickell have joined forces to tell an age-old tale, this one actually based on a true story, of love lost and found. “Bright Star” segues between the early-1920s and mid-1940s with a jaunty cast of talented actors transporting us back to small-town North Carolina.

The “Bright Star” up-stage bluegrass band compliments both the time period and each of the accomplished performers as they wend their way through spirited musical numbers. MJ Jurgensen lights up the theatre with her infectious smile and every move, as Florence, in band and ensemble numbers. The rousing bar-scene “Another Round” scores big time with the audience – a shining combo of song and dance in tune with Steve Martin’s humor and musical prowess.

If you’re a fan of bluegrass, toe-tapping, and old-timey hootenanny gatherings, this is a show you don’t want to pass up. Great fun and a reminder that social mores, in ever so many ways, have advanced tremendously over the last few decades. Check it out & enjoy! Tickets on sale now through August 17, 2019, at Taproot Theatre. 

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MJ Jurgensen and Miranda Antoinette Trout in Bright Star at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.

Exhilarating and heart-warming, “The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion,” is playing at ArtsWest in West Seattle, now through July 28th

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller

Justin Huertas’ hot-off-the-press World Premier musical, “The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion,” is a delight at ArtsWest in West Seattle. It’s sure to win you over with its unconventional take on family, love, and the most surprising, metamorphosing eruption right here in our very own Puget Sound.

The defining word that comes most to mind in reflecting on “The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion” is fantastical. Fun, frenzied, and, yes, absolutely fantastical, with highly talented actors and musical numbers that wend their way into the hearts and minds of the audience.

Interestingly, Justin’s composition for this eclectic show, “Sleep Well Love,” was his first clue that he “was writing an entire musical about love.” As a reprise for the entire cast, with its beautifully elevating lyrics, this song proves to be an absolute winner. Rachel Guyer-Mafune (Lee) and Porscha Shaw ( Nia), seriously mesmerized in their wild duet, “Tentacles,” are digitally hilarious.

Congratulations to Justin Huertas (Gregory Award-winning playwright of “Lizard Boy”), and ArtsWest’s Artistic Director Mathew Wright, for bringing this fantastical show to ArtsWest’s stage  – there’s no doubt you and your cephalopods are on the forefront of another hit in the ocean of musical theatre. Thank you!

“The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion” is currently on stage at ArtsWest in West Seattle now through July 28, 2019. Tickets available here.

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Book, music, and lyrics by Justin Huertas. Musical arrangements & orchestrations by Steven Tran. Directed by Mathew Wright.

 

For the Love of Bubbles! “The Champagne Widow” plays now through July 7 at Café Nordo

Review by Paul Levy

Pop some bubbly, sit back and enjoy Café Nordo’s “The Champagne Widow,” a historical journey through Champagne’s bottled up history, and the strong women who made this beloved beverage so delicious.

Café Nordo doesn’t disappoint with this sparkly, romp of a cabaret experience. The music, food, and story are overflowing with creativity and delight. Walking into Cafe Nordo’s Pioneer Square theatre/restaurant, you’re whisked away into an abandoned wine cellar, which makes sense since in this show you’re a young bottle of champagne eating your way into a fully finished bottle of Champagne’s golden bubbles. The servers, who are also the performers, serve up food inspired by the ingredients and process of becoming a bottle of bubbly.

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Between each of the multiple courses, “The Champagne Widow” tells thoughtful stories on some of Champagne’s unsung heroines. As you sip on your Brut Royal the echoes of its history surround you in the form of ghosts from Champagne’s past. The lovely ensemble of performers, led by the charming and talented Opal Peachey, dance, sing and portray the fascinating female characters who helped to create champagne. 

If you enjoy Champagne, this experience is a must see. Treat yourself to one of the flights and celebrate your love of bubbles. The show runs until Sunday, July 7th, 2019 (extended dates!) and tickets are only available for some of the remaining shows (some performances are sold out). Tickets include dinner – but not the champagne. Be sure to budget for some glasses of bubbly. In my opinion, this show requires a class of sparkling in your hand. Tickets and more information, here.

Photo by Bruce Clayton Tom

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More about our guest blogger, Paul Levy:

Paul Levy is always on the hunt for stories brought to life in immersive formats. He is the Creative Director at TPN, an agency that creates small and large live-events and experiences for fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing.

 

Giveaway: Kitten N’ Lou Present: CAMPTACULAR (July 11 – 14 at The Triple Door)

Summer means the return of Kitten N’ Lou’s CAMPTACULAR at The Triple Door.

Enter to win two tickets on their giveaway posts.

You can enter on Facebook

and enter on Instagram.

About the show in their own words:

From the producers of Jingle All The Gay and The Atomic Bombshells:

Kitten N’ Lou Present: CAMPTACULAR!

“A summer camp-y spectacle that’ll melt your face off”

Get ready for the return of the wettest hottest American-est summer show ever, now in it’s 4th year!

Kitten N’ Lou, the “World’s Show-busiest Couple” and internationally celebrated drag and burlesque duo, bring you a “brilliantly deranged” spectacle (TimeOut NY) that takes you to the campiest of summer camps, featuring an all-star cast of Seattle dance, drag, and burlesque icons including Stranger genius Cherdonna, international gender-blending icon Waxie Moon, Seattle contemporary dance stars Randy Ford and Markeith Wiley, Minneapolis drag sensation Victoria DeVille and very special guest star from Chicago, “The Honey Badger of Burlesque”….JEEZ LOUEEZ! ?

Kicking off this summer: In the grand tradition of classic and awesomely awful American summer camp movies like Meatballs, Troop Beverly Hills, and Dirty Dancing, CAMPTACULAR takes you on a surreal, hilarious, and nostalgic trip to the great outdoors, where campers roast their weenies by the fire, tell bizarre ghost stories, frolic in sleeping bags, fall in love in the moonlight, and sneak into the woods….all culminating in the most epic camp “talent show” Seattle has ever seen…these shows sold out and had audiences raving last summer, don’t miss your chance to head back to Camp!

Starring a bombastic and diverse cast of internationally celebrated theater, drag, cabaret, burlesque, and contemporary dance tastemakers, CAMPTACULAR is the ultimate stand-up-and-salute extravaganza to escape  reality and usher in the summer with a bang!

* Kitten N’ Lou * Cherdonna Shinatra * Waxie Moon * Jeez Loueez * J Von Stratton * Markeith Wiley * Woody Schticks * Victoria DeVille(MPLS) * Randy Ford ilvs Strauss * Stephen Hando *

Tickets here. 

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Don’t miss these delightful makers at Urban Craft Uprising this weekend June 22 – 23

By Keridwyn Deller

The Urban Craft Uprising summer sale is this weekend June 22 and 23 from 11am – 5pm at Seattle Center. Admission is free (suggested donation $1) and this is one of the most wonderful shopping experiences you’ll have in Seattle.

Check out their vendor map as well as their full vendor list where you can sort by category.

Here’s a few makers I think you will want to check out:

The Little Grimlings: A collection of curious monsters, mushrooms, and other creepy whatnots. These creatures are SO delightful! I love her affordable art stickers (art stickers are fun to include in birthday and thank you notes!)

Not sure which is cuter:

this pride monster

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or this “Hmph Doodle” monster

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She’s even got a monster sticker made especially for wookie fans. 😉

Be sure to welcome the grimlings’ creator, Elizabeth, to town! She recently moved to Washington after driving across the country from North Carolina “with her entire zoo of creatures in the back seat.”  I really love what she shares on her instagram at @for_the_birds – some fun behind the scenes of the making of the grimlings! The Little Grimlings also offers charming figures, such as this “Fur Nubloom.” See them in person at booth 132.

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Another vendor you’ll want to visit is Collectanea. Sarah has been doing macrame a little over a year and her work stopped me in my tracks during the last Urban Craft Uprising event I attended. I got a chance to hear a bit more about her work and plans for the future. She shared, “I love to mix the architectural/geometric wood shapes with the soft cotton cord. I started out doing boho style macrame but realized that’s not what I would hang in my house so I redesigned with a mid-century inspired aesthetic instead! Soon, I hope to incorporate some cards and posters, macrame jewelry, and wood burned pieces as well!” Not only does Collectanea have one of my favorite logos ever, the work is beautiful and is the type of art that I can picture in so many of my friends’ homes. I love how many shapes offers, from triangular wall hangings

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a great gift for the mountain-lover in your life

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to plant holders

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and much more. You can follow @Collectanea on Instagram. Be sure to stop by 29 to see the work in person!

In UCU’s own words: “You’ll find cosmetics, watches, candles, books, games and puzzles, clothing, beautiful artwork, cross-stitch kits, ceramics, jewelry, garden decor, skin care and more – we have it all!  There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re shopping for gifts, some stylish new additions to your home, or treating yourself to some handmade goodness, this show is so well rounded and will be exciting for the WHOLE family! ”

Other makers you may want to visit during the craft show include foransuon, ryan berkley illustration, oddfaunaitscathywu, mcreativej, and jonboy caramels.

Invite your friends to the Urban Craft Uprising Facebook event page here.