Review: 5th Avenue Theatre’s “Holiday Inn” is pure joy!

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller:

‘Tis the Season for Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” at The 5th Avenue Theatre! Chock full of classic much-loved song and dance, this timely performance takes many of us back to the fondest of childhood memories.

The story line, for those unfamiliar, transports the audience to a Connecticut farm where Jim (Eric Ankrim) has moved to escape the demands of show business and love gone wrong. Exquisite detail in farmhouse, barn, church, and country set-designs (by Anna Louizos) are deliciously inviting – the perfect setting for the spirit of Christmas as snow flurries descend.

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The high-spirited song and dance Ensemble, choreographed by James A. Rocco, is pure joy throughout the show.  Jim, Linda (Sarah Rose Davis), Ted (Matt Owen), and Ensemble, deliver difficult, outstanding tap routines with extraordinary ease.

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While the audience refrained (mostly) from singing along with well-known tunes, I was intrigued by the preteen girl next to me who softly joined in a time or two. Wouldn’t an audience sing-along be a delightful addition to this show’s ending!

Holiday Inn” plays The 5th Avenue Theatre now through December 31. Tickets here.

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Photos by Mark Kitaoka

 

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GIVEAWAY: Homo for the Holidays brings delightful drag and burlesque to your Seattle December!

A favorite Seattle tradition returns December 7 – 30. That’s right, the drag and burlesque masterpiece “Homo for the Holidays” returns to Century Ballroom on Capitol Hill in Seattle!

Tickets are already starting to sell out, so get yours now. Plus you can enter to win a pair on DeLouRue Presents Facebook Page (giveaway ends Sunday night). Be sure to make reservations at The Tin Table (Century Ballroom’s restaurant) for before or after the show.

I have never looked at a gingerbread man or a candy cane in the same way since this show . . . and that’s a good thing! *SPOILER FREE ZONE*

About the show:

After a wildly successful run of sold out, critically acclaimed shows each holiday season, DeLouRue Presents, (the power trio of BenDeLaCreme and Kitten N’ Lou) is thrilled to be offering up thirty chances to see “the premiere event of the true gay yuletided season” (The Stranger), now in it’s tenth anniversary season!

December 7th – 30th
West Hall, OddFellows Building 2nd Floor
915 E Pine Street, Capitol Hill

** The Wednesday December 21, 7pm show will be ASL interpreted

 

Featuring an all-star cast of burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag, and musical local luminaries:
* BenDeLaCreme
* Kitten LaRue
* Lou Henry Hoover
* Cherdonna
* Waxie Moon
* The One The Only Inga
* Faggedy Randy
* The Luminous Pariah
* ilvs strauss
* Rebecca M. Davis
* Danny Kam

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Seattle, December 7th-30th: Homo For The Holidays is a seasonal spectacle guaranteed to make even the most stubborn yuletides gay! An unforgettable all-star cast of burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag, and musical local luminaries come together in a display of glittering grandeur that’s been praised by Dan Savage of The Stranger. With such acclaimed talent as Stranger Genius Award winner Cherdonna, Burlesque Hall of Fame winners and #1 Burlesque Duo in the World (Burlesque Top Fifty) Kitten N’ Lou, RuPaul’s Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme, and the recent addition of cult hit series “Capitol Hill” star Waxie Moon, this show is the most star-studded feast of queer talent you can find on one Seattle stage!

 

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Homo For The Holidays is a hearty holiday fruitcake packed with rollicksome reindeer, enticing elves, ghostly guests, sexy snowstorms, agile angels, musical Maccabees, and new ways to define coming home. It’s not Christmas in July, it’s Pride in December! Light your menorah, stuff your stockings, and join our chosen family for the 10 year celebration of our favorite wintry holiday of all, Homo For The Holidays!

Praise for Homo For The Holidays:

  • “If you see just one holiday show this season, Homo For The Holidays should be it!” (Seattle Gay News)
  • “Passion and camp that’s otherwise missing in Seattle’s theater scene…” (The Stranger)
  • “2014 Artists of the Year” (City Arts Magazine)

About DeLouRue Presents: 
What happens when three of Seattle’s theatrical and literal BIG-WIGS put their hairsprayed heads together in a magical moment of scintillating synergy? “DeLouRue Presents” is birthed! Take one part BenDeLaCreme (RuPaul’s Drag Race), two shakes Kitten LaRue (The Atomic Bombshells, TRAINWRECK!, Kitten N’ Lou), and a dollop of Lou Henry Hoover (Reigning King of Boylesque and Mr. Exotic World 2017, Kitten N’ Lou). Add a dash of blah blah blah and VOILA!…the most MUEY ELEGANZA showbiz parfait you’ve ever tasted!

Images via DeLouRue Presents Facebook page. Photo of 2014 cast (some cast members have changed).

Teatro Zinzanni makes its triumphant return!

Photos by Michael Doucett

Review by guest blogger Amanda Mitchell:
 “Teatro Zinzanni: Love, Chaos & Dinner!” This production lives up to its succinct name – and so much more!
From the moment we step out of the car into Marymoor Park we are greeted with the warm welcoming ambiance of magical revelry and love – from the parking lot attendant who points out the precarious puddles, to the beautifully costumed hostess who professes we are seated at one of her favorite tables. Personalized salutations of welcoming inclusion and gratitude for attending are extended by every ZinZanni performer/staffer we pass in the lavishly-appointed antique spiegeltent. The love and top-level attention only increase as the evening progresses; we felt like cherished guests from start to finish!
Appetizers await at your table and each subsequent course is served with a flourish by the dancing waitstaff after an energy-fueled introductory song. Chef Jason Wilson’s multi-course menu does not disappoint and is punched full of fall flavor-roasted pumpkin, crispy sage, herbed winter squash, Gremolata mushrooms, wild herb-encrusted salmon and Tagine-style root vegetables: yum-city! There are a few different options, including  appetizer and entrée upgrades, to satisfy everyone’s pallet. Save room for the richly divine chocolate cake with dark cherry Ganache and Dulce de Leche.
The real standout treats, however, are the performers: the eclectic cast of over-the-top characters delight and enthrall as their highly-skilled talents are gradually revealed throughout the evening – whether it be surprising magic/illusion, belly-laughing physical comedy, seductive cabaret-singing or enthralling feats of physical prowess. The characters mill about the dining tent pre-show and during the pauses for meal service, engaging guests with flirtatious, playful and improvisational interaction – leaving no dull moments in the entire evening!  A loose storyline moves the raucous topsy-turvy action forward and weaves each show-casing vignette seamlessly to the next. Accolades to performer/director Joe De Paul and the whole artistic team for flawless design and execution of the expertly-crafted scenes of chaos, which steadily whip up into a turbulent frenzy only to dissipate in an instant.
The World-class band, comprised of a top-notch percussionist, bass player, keyboardist and multi-talented band-leader (who plays no less than 8 different instruments!), presents tight, flawless accompaniment to the performer’s vocals, and also provides spot-on, wildly-imaginative sound effects for all the chaotic circus-like shenanigans of the evening. Our table is on a raised lip next to the band, granting us a prime view of all; but really there’s no bad seat in the house as the dynamic action flows around (and above!) the circular space and makes wonderful use of it.
One word of caution: if your personal physical boundaries are on the conservative side you may want to let the hostess know when she seats you; otherwise, enjoy the spontaneous performer/audience interactions to their fullest – you could quite easily find yourself part of the zany proceedings.
Part variety/dinner theatre, part cirque, and part psychedelic dreamscape the production is wildly creative and inventive, slightly sexualized and edgy, cheeky, irreverent and unexpected at every turn – It’s all you will talk about on the ride home (and days, weeks, months to follow)!
“Teatro Zinzanni: Love, Chaos and Dinner” plays at Marymoor Park now through April 29, 2018. Tickets are going fast. More info and tickets here.

Photos by Michael Doucett.

Holiday Wine, Beer & Spirits Fest – A Global Celebration on 11/11

My friend Amanda and I had a delightful time at this event last year. If you love discovering new-to-you wine, beer, and spirits, the Holiday Wine, Beer & Spirits Fest on Saturday November 11th is the place to be!

Tickets here.

Facebook event page here (invite friends!)

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About the event (in their own words):

While we love LOCAL, it’s fun to try WINE, BEER, SPIRITS, & CIDERS from ALL OVER THE PLANET!

We have WINES from ITALY, FRANCE, SPAIN, PORTUGAL, ARGENTINA, & AUSTRALIA as well as 20 wineries from Washington, Oregon, and California!

Sure, we have WHISKEY from Washington, Oregon, & Kentucky – but we also have it and other exotic SPIRITS from FRANCE, CANADA, ARMANIA, as well as unique items such as Kuma Turmeric Liqueur and Tatratea Tea Liqueur from SLOVAKIA!

This event has something for everyone! Not into wine or spirits? How about 3 CIDER companies from OREGON, 3 from WASHINGTON, and 2 from FRANCE! As well as 4 CRAFT BREWERIES and Stella!

But wait – that’s not all! There are 5 booths with free samples of CHOCOLATE and 2 serving CHEESE! And 3 STREET FOOD booths selling delicious NOSHES! And of course, 20 booths of ARTISAN & BOUTIQUES for unique gift ideas!

The 2017 Holiday Wine Fest diverse line-up celebrating the world of libations unlike any other tasting in the Pacific Northwest!

FAQ’s:

Tickets Include: Wine/Cider/Beer/Spirits Tastings, Culinary Samples and Artisan Shopping
Saturday: Wine Enthusiast Noon – 4pm $45.00
Saturday: VIP Connoisseur 5pm – 9pm $55.00 (Take Home a Souvenir Riedel Wine Glass!

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Review: Don’t miss “The Nance” at ArtsWest now through Nov 19

The Nance plays ArtsWest in West Seattle now through November 19.

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller:

Artistic Director Matthew Wright has produced another undaunted winner in The Nance! As 1930s burlesque and “pansy shows” come to life on stage, the audience is provided a close-up glimpse into historical atrocities of that period. A most hypocritical culture it was – accepting and portraying gay lives as entertaining and comedic, all the while persecuting those who chose a gay lifestyle.

Chauncey Miles (performed poignantly by Richard Gray) is a flamboyant gay burlesque performer, weaving his way through life under the guise of a straight entertainer. The irony of his predicament is not lost on those who strive to support him in his endeavors to perform as a nance while in the midst of a relationship with a young homeless man (solidly portrayed by Drew Highlands).

Accolades to Jeff Steitzer in his straight-man supporting role – his impeccable delivery and timing add fearless comic relief throughout. A thank you to ArtsWest for a timely, dynamic line-up this season – so educational, so heartfelt, so powerful, and ever so welcome to our Seattle theatre community. Tickets here.

ArtsWest 2017-18 The Nance

ArtsWest 2017-18 The Nance

Photos by John McLellan

Review: “Ragtime” shines at The 5th Avenue Theatre

Ragtime plays The 5th Avenue Theatre now through November 5, 2017 in downtown Seattle. Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller:
Hats off to “Ragtime” choreographer, Kelli Foster Warder, for her unique and strikingly remarkable choreography that so vividly orchestrates this production. Foster’s unusual presentation of actors, amid a minimalist backdrop, serves as a perfect setting for characters’ clever introductions—and so much more.

As fictional personalities intertwine with those of real-life historical figures, the audience is transported back to devastating diversity and prejudice at the turn of the 20th Century, not unlike many obstacles encountered in today’s world.

Ragtime’s New York City melting pot is blessed with a host of fascinating characters you won’t want to miss.  Among them: Coalhouse Walker (Douglas Lyons), as a young musician with a most extraordinary piano and zest for life; Tateh (Joshua Carter), a strong-willed, highly creative Jewish immigrant; and, Mother (Kendra Kassebaum), a forcefully determined matriarch and advocate. A grand diversity of personalities entertain the audience throughout the captivating performance. In addition to the cast, the transitioning piano deserves its own accolades.

Ragtime will be at the 5th Avenue Theatre to challenge your senses and inspire you now through November 5. Tickets here

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Photos by Mark Kitaoka.

GIVEAWAY: Kitten N’ Lou present CREAM! Starring Milk from RuPaul’s Drag Race at The Triple Door

One of my favorite contestants of all time from RuPaul’s Drag Race is coming to Seattle to perform with some of the best burlesque performers of all time, Kitten N’ Lou and The Atomic Bombshells! Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win a pair of tickets to see this show at The Triple Door in Seattle.

About the show:

Kitten N’ Lou Present: CREAM!
A Spanksgiving feast of decadently sickening burlesque, drag, and cabaret
Starring RuPaul’s Drag Race megastar MILK!

November 16-19 & 21-22 at The Triple Door in downtown Seattle

Featuring:
MILK (RPDR star, season 6)
The Atomic Bombshells Burlesque
Kitten N’ Lou (Voted #1 Burlesque Act in the World)
Mr. Gorgeous (NYC Boylesque Star of Epic Proportions)
CHERDONNA (certified dance Genius)
…and surprise guests!

“Returning this November: Whet your Thanksgiving appetite with an eye-popping cornucopia of internationally acclaimed drag and burlesque superstars! After last year’s sold out smash run, this year’s show has been extended, giving you 6 nights of decadent magic! Starring RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar/NYC club kid genius MILK, this outrageously glamorous confection of a show has enjoyed sold out runs three years in a row at Southern Decadence festival in New Orleans, and finally returns to Seattle this fall! Featuring a smorgasbord of top-shelf superstars like Cherdonna, Kitten N’ Lou, and The Atomic Bombshells, CREAM promises to leave you satiated and wallowing happily in a glittery sugar high.”

Want to enter to win two tickets? ENTER HERE! 

Tickets here. 

 

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Check out this video from a previous year of “Cream!”