Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Andrew Lloyd Webber's SCHOOL OF ROCK is Coming To Seattle!



New SOR_Landscape2


Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber’s high-octane Broadway and West End hit School of Rock – The Musical is coming to Seattle’s Paramount Theatre from May 14 - 19.

Tickets are available on-line at,, by calling 1-800-982-2787 or in person at The Paramount Theatre Box Office (Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm).

School of Rock – The Musical is based on the smash hit 2003 film of the same name, featuring music from the movie, as well as an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, a book by Julian Fellowes, choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter and direction by Laurence Connor.

The full cast of School of Rock – The Musical national tour stars Merritt David Janes as Dewey, Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Rosalie, Madison Micucci as Patty, Layne Roate as Ned, Gary Trainor as Dewey Alternate, Deidre Lang as Ms. Sheinkopf, Arianna Pereira as Shonelle, Leanne Parks as Katie, Alyssa Emily Marvin as Marcy, Dylan Trueblood as Mason, Camille De La Cruz as Tomika, Cameron Trueblood as Freddy,Mystic Inscho as Zack, Sammy Dell as Billy, Julian Brescia as Lawrence and Sami Bray as Summer. The adult ensemble features John CampioneMatt Caplan, Alison Cusano, Christopher De Angelis, Brian Golub, Lizzie Klemperer, Sinclair Mitchell, Jameson Moss, Jonathon TimpanelliJP Qualters and Khalifa White. The kid’s ensemble features Bella Fraker, Eamonn Hubert, Jacob Moran, Blake Ryan, Isabella Rose Sky and Gabriella Uhl.

School of Rock – The Musical opened on Broadway to rave reviews on Sunday, December 6, 2015. This Ben Brantley New York Times ‘Critics’ Pick’ “is an inspiring jolt of energy and mad skillz,” raves Jesse Oxfeld of Entertainment Weekly. And in his four-star Critics’ Pick review, Time Out’s David Cote proclaimed, “School’s IN – forever!” School of Rock – The Musical was nominated for four 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Lloyd Webber and Slater), Best Book (Fellowes), and Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Alex Brightman). School of Rock – The Musical also won the 2017 Oliver award for Outstanding Achievement in Music.

Based on the hit film, School of Rock – The Musical is a hilarious new musical that follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. While teaching these pintsized prodigies what it means to truly rock, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress, helping her rediscover the wild child within.

School of Rock – The Musical will be at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre for only eight performances. The schedule for the Seattle engagement is:

Tuesday, May 14                                7:30pm
Wednesday, May 15                           7:30pm
Thursday, May 16                               7:30pm
Friday, May 17                                    8:00pm
Saturday, May 18                               2:00pm

Sunday, May 19                                 1:00pm - An ASL / AVIA Interpreted performance*
                                                           6:30pm – An Open Caption performance*
*For tickets to these performances, call the TTY line at 888-331-6774.

Tickets start at $35 and are available on-line at,, by calling
1-800-982-2787 or in person at The Paramount Theatre Box Office (Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm).

School of Rock – The Musical is part of the 2018/2019 KeyBank Broadway at The Paramount series, presented by Seattle Theatre Group, with support for the ninth year from KeyBank as the series title sponsor. Brotherton Cadillac is the official auto sponsor, The Hotel Theodore is the official sponsor hotel and Delta Airlines is the official airline sponsor of KeyBank Broadway at The Paramount.

School of Rock – The Musical features scenic and costume design by Anna Louizos, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Mick Potter and music supervision by John Rigby.

School of Rock — The Musical is produced on Broadway by Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Really Useful GroupWarner Music Group &Access IndustriesThe Shubert Organization and The Nederlander OrganizationNina Lannan and Madeleine Lloyd Webber serve as Executive Producers.

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About STG: Seattle Theatre Group is the 501 (c)(3) non-profit arts organization that owns and operates the historic Paramount Theatre and operates the Moore and Neptune Theatres in Seattle, Washington. Our mission is to make diverse performing arts and education an integral part of our region’s cultural identity while keeping these landmark venues alive and vibrant. STG presents a variety of shows from Broadway, off-Broadway, dance and Jazz to comedy, concerts of all genres, speakers and family shows – at all these historic theatres in Seattle and at venues throughout Puget Sound and Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

THE ADDAMS FAMILY - A New Musical Event Review Edmonds Driftwood Players 4/14/19

The Addams Family
A New Musical

Edmonds Driftwood Players
The Wade James Theater
Edmonds, WA

Doug Knoop as Gomez and Tamara Davis as Morticia dancing with Ancestors.  Photo:  Dale Sutton


As we approach a year of arts expansion coverage at Eclectic Arts, it is satisfying to say that we have learned so much in that time. We are looking forward to delving into even more coverage in the coming months.

"The Addams Family - A New Musical" opened this past weekend at the Edmonds Driftwood Players. Based on the loveable dark characters created by Charles Addams, I was ready to be carried away to the black humor and song of The Addams Family.

The staging was ambitious and set the tone for the show. A two-story set that reminded me of the inside of a dark castle, everything looked great.

Being a musical, there were going to be several songs in the show - make that many songs in the show. Doug Knoop as Gomez, Tamara Davis as Morticia, Megan Acuna as Wednesday, and Catherine Craig as Pugsley rounded out the immediate Addams Family cast members. Add in Jenny Price as Grandma, Jacob Livingston as Lurch, and Richard Wright as Fester, and you had quite a cast of Addams Family characters.

Doug Knoop as Gomez and Jacob Livingston as Lurch.  Photo:  Dale Sutton

There were also "normal" characters, which included David Naber as Lucas, Jeff Strom as Mal, and Hayley Baudrau Gaarde as Alice.

As if that weren't enough, there were also the Addams Family ancestors, which added up to ten different ghostly ancestors.

As always I tend to leave the plot details to the audience member so they can see the show as fresh as possible. In a simplistic way the show is about how Gomez and Morticia's daughter Wednesday is in love with a "normal" boy Lucas. The fall-out of such a relationship then creates comedy, drama, and other assorted storylines and emotions.

I have found that the various theatre companies in the area bring different things to the table. I can only compare it to seeing a minor league baseball game VS a major league one. Depending on what level of minor league game you see (rookie, short A, low or high A, double A, or triple A), the level of talent and sportsmanship will vary greatly. The theatre companies are similar.

I found with this show the talent varied greatly, which is to be expected I've learned. And with a musical it can vary even greater as you may have cast members who's strength is music moreso than acting and vice versa. Of course there are also some that excel in both areas.

I enjoyed Doug Knoop's Gomez. He was cavalier, dashing, and sly. Doting on his bride most of the time, I felt Mr. Knoop captured the spirit of Gomez Addams.

Megan Acuna stood out whenever she had a scene. Her acting showed depth and her voice really made me take notice. I understand she is new to the Seattle area. Here's hoping she is cast in more productions, as she is a talent I would love to see and hear more from.

Megan Acuna as Wednesday.  Photo:  Doug Sutton

I really liked Uncle Fester as portrayed by Richard Wright. His comedic timing was strong and he made Fester loveable and quirky in slight and wonderful ways.

Jacob Livingston was the pleasant surprise as Lurch at the end of the show. I won't ruin it for you dear readers but let's just say he can do more than utter noises.

The normalcy with a slight bent that David Naber brought to Lucas was also well done. His acting and voice work showed the training and experience of an actor that is on his way up.

Jenny Price as grandma Addams (or is she) was priceless. She made everything she did look easy.

Without going through every single actor, let me say that Hayley Baudrau Gaarde's voice was spectacular, Jeff Strom's acting showed veteran leadership, Tamara Davis looked and for the most part acted the part of Morticia. I would have loved a bit more of the sexy vamp side of the character, both in acting and voice, but she worked well with Doug Knoop's Gomez. Catherine Craig pulled off a devilishly good Pugsley - no mean feat considering she was the youngest member on the stage.

Catherine Craig as Pugsley and Jenny Price as Grandma.  Photo:  Dale Sutton.

The ancestors reminded me of something out of "The Frighteners" or even "Thriller". The amount of choreography and song was definitely noticeable throughout the show. Not just for the ancestors but for all the characters. I can only imagine how long rehearsals were to pull this show off. Not to mention the band as well. Whew! A ton of work!

Overall, the show was fun. It was a bit long considering the simple plot device but it was still enjoyable. The show runs through May 5th and is a perfect vehicle for families, "normal" and strange alike!

See you at the theatre!
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on FB
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Katie for the credentials - thank you so much for the opportunity!

"The Addams Family - A New Musical" runs through May 5th. Buy tickets here:  TICKETS!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Pacific Northwest Ballet "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Event Review! 4/12/19 Seattle, WA

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Pacific Northwest Ballet

McCaw Hall
Seattle, WA

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Jerome Tisserand and Lesley Rausch in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, running April 12– 21, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.


There is always something that strikes me that changes the course of my interest in any given art form. This is now my fifth Pacific Northwest Ballet event that I've covered for Eclectic Arts. While I won't divulge in this review what that one "something" was that changed my interest from curious to fanatical (look for that in a future article), I will say that I was so looking forward to the performance on Friday evening.

The more I watch, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I want to watch.

As per usual I won't go into the plot details very much as I would rather the reader attend a performance for themselves, the story was divided into six scenes and two acts.

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Angelica Generosa (front center) as Butterfly, and principal dancer Jonathan Porretta as Puck, with company dancers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, running April 12– 21, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.

Act I set the stage with Titania (Laura Tisserand), Oberon (Kyle Davis), and the mischievous Puck (Jonathan Porretta), the staging (Francia Russell) and scenic and costume design (Martin Pakledinaz) certainly brought the audience back to Athens on a Midsummer's eve. I found there to be small similarities between this production and the perennial powerhouse, "The Nutcracker". Certainly the involvement of the PNB School of young dancers as well as the Professional Division teens helped in that regard. It's such a rarity where you get to see the younger and newer talent work with the highly skilled and trained professional talent in any realm. What a magnificent way for the younger students to learn from their professional counterparts by rehearsing and performing with them. Bugs (that's what I call them) and fairies abound as the story unfolded. The story is light and whimsical for the most part, which also lends itself to that comparison to the holiday favorite.

Jonathan Porretta was his veteran self as Puck. Captivating, humorous, and a joy to watch, Jonathan brought every ounce of character to Puck as he possibly could. Laura Tisserand danced like she had performed this piece a thousand times over. Fluid, graceful, with arm and hand movement that accented her performance, she was in the role for a very good reason. Of course Kyle Davis made his performance look easy, that's what the best professionals do. And Kyle made the role of Oberon look like anyone could do it - which is a testament to his amazing performance.

As Act I continued, the ever-lovable character of Bottom (played expertly Friday night by Ezra Thomson) got his moment in the spotlight as Titania awakes, completely captivated by him, regardless of the donkey he has become. Ezra made the audience laugh, smile, and moved the story along at exactly the right pace. Considering he had a full donkey head on, that was no mean feat. It was all through gestures, movement, timing, and dance. 

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Ezra Thomson as Bottom, and principal dancer Laura Tisserand as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, running April 12– 21, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.

Act II showcased many different dancers from the company. Lesley Rausch and Jerome Tisserand were the focal point with their exquisite partnered performance. There were times when Lesley's dance movement seemed to be not of this earth. Truly. As if she were floating across the stage like an apparition, she is a principal that the core PNB subscribers have loved for years and it was in plain evidence on Friday evening.

Again, the second act reminded me a little of the set up of "The Nutcracker" where the different characters/dancers took a turn to showcase their skills during any given number.

The performance contained numerous dance pieces as the story eventually ended with Puck.

The scenery was captivating and worked so well with the performances throughout the show. The music (both instrumental and choral) was fantastic. The addition of both soprano and mezzo-soprano parts added an extra bit of artistry to the event.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" was extremely satisfying. A production that families could enjoy together, it was incredibly well done. Also, considering the time between the last production and this one was short, it's that much more incredible that the company produced such a show of staggering quality in such a short time.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Benjamin Griffiths (Lysander) and Rachel Foster (Hermia) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, running April 12– 21, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.

I keep saying it but I'll say it again - if you only visit McCaw Hall once a year (during late November through December), you're missing out on some world-class ballet the other months out of the year. This production in particular would be a great follow up show to see if you've never seen anything other than, "The Nutcracker".

The amount of time, training, sacrifice, and dedication the Pacific Northwest Ballet company devote to their craft is unbelievable. What they produce on a consistent basis is astounding. Attend a performance and see for yourself. We are spoiled living here in Seattle with a ballet company of this stature right in our backyard. Don't take it for granted. Trust me, I used to. Not anymore. I am immersing myself deeper and deeper into the world of ballet and, thanks to the Pacific Northwest Ballet, it's been nothing but a sheer pleasure.

See you next month!
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Gary for the credentials - thank you very much for the opportunity!

A Midsummer Night's Dream continues through April 21st, 2019. Buy tickets here:  TICKETS!


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

ALICIA WITT Announces Spring Tour!

Alicia Witt has played her piano-driven rock all over the world for the past 10 years, including opening for Ben Folds Five, John Fullbright and Jimmy Webb. Her most recent release, 15,000 Days, was produced by Grammy winner Jacquire King (Kings of Leon; Norah Jones; James Bay, etc).

Also known for her decades-long career as a prolific TV/film actress (recently TWD; ABC's Nashville, the upcoming final season of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix) , her music has been featured in numerous TV and films including several Hallmark Christmas movies, in which she also stars.

A classically trained former competitive pianist, Alicia's music has been described as 'sharply personal, boldly melodic pop originals in the Carole King/Billy Joel vein' and 'snappy, resilient, emancipated-woman anthems and touching lost-and-found love ballads' (Philadelphia Inquirer).

'A gifted musician' - NPR's Scott Simon

'Her melodic and buoyant sound harkens back to the works of Elton John, Billy Joel and Carole King' - POPMATTERS

'...sounds by turns like Grey Seal era Elton John, an alt-universe Fiona Apple, and a film noir chanteuse notching her nights in cigarette burns on the fallboard' - NASHVILLE SCENE

Alicia Witt brings her tour to Seattle, WA on May 27th at Barboza.  

Tickets are available here:  TICKETS!

ALWAYS ... PATSY CLINE Event Review! Taproot Theatre Seattle, WA 4/6/19

Always … Patsy Cline
Ted Swindley

Taproot Theatre
Seattle, WA


My love of music goes back to my childhood. It is the foundation of Eclectic Arts as well. So, whenever there is a music based theatre production, you can bet I will at least be interested, if not excited, about reviewing said show.

"Always…Patsy Cline" was already intriguing to me solely based on the subject matter. Once I discovered there was a full backing band for the show, I was even more intrigued. So, last Saturday I attended the second to last performance before the show closed at the Isaac Studio at the Taproot Theatre.

Cayman Ilika as Patsy Cline and Kate Jaeger as Louise Seger are the duo that have wowed audiences with this show in earlier incarnations and absolutely mesmerized audiences last weekend.

(Cayman Ilika and Kate Jaeger in Always ... Patsy Cline - Photo:  Robert Wade)

The Bodacious Bobcats Band started off the show featuring Claire Marx (piano/conductor), Olivia D. Hamilton (upright bass), Jesse Whitford (percussion), Justin S. Davis (electric guitar), and Dave Harmonson (pedal steel). Their introductory music was so tight, I knew I was in for a good afternoon. The band members showcased great musicianship all around - there were no weak links.

"Always…Patsy Cline" centers around a fan, Louise Seger, that loved Patsy Cline's music. She befriended Patsy at a local show and the two became like-minded friends.  The show is based on a true story.

All throughout the show, Cayman Ilika sang over twenty-five Patsy Cline tunes while Kate Jaeger told the story through dialogue, backup singing, and comedy. Cayman has a wonderful voice - and it made it a sheer pleasure listening to her renditions of Patsy Cline classic songs. The chemistry between Cayman and Kate was as perfect as could be. The comedic timing of Kate was spot on and the show just seemed to whiz by - making me wish there was another hour left of the show when it was over.

Kate Jaeger, Cayman Ilika and The Bodacious Bobcats in Always ... Patsy Cline.  Photo:  Robert Wade)

We were told that one of the cast members was under the weather. Who that was remains a mystery as I couldn't tell from the performances Saturday afternoon. The show worked on every level. I only wish I could see it again. It was that good!

The world lost Patsy Cline in an airplane accident much too early. She left behind a catalog of music that still stands to this day. When your art still resonates with an audience decades later, you've truly passed the ultimate test - the test of time.

See you at the theatre!
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on FB

Special Thanks: Isaiah for the credentials - thank you so much for the opportunity! Hopefully my schedule and medical issues are behind me now. I'm looking forward to the next show at the Taproot Theatre.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

2019-2020 Broadway at The Paramount Season Announcement!

Broadway at The Paramount and Seattle Theatre Group Announce

The 2019/2020 Season

SEATTLE, WA – The 2019/2020 Broadway at The Paramount season brings another year of extraordinary entertainment to The Paramount Theatre, with a schedule full of classic, familiar titles and brand-new shows including hit musicals direct from Broadway. Subscription renewals go on sale April 2 at 10am and new subscriptions will be available in June.

The season kicks off with a Season Option, Broadway’s razzle-dazzle smash hit CHICAGO. In the Fall, the acclaimed new production of the legendary musical MISS SAIGON comes to Seattle, followed by THE HARD NUT, a Mark Morris retelling of The Nutcracker set in the giddy 1970s.

The season continues with SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL, the inspiring story behind the music and life of the legendary singer. This is followed by a fresh and authentic presentation of the beloved theatrical masterpiece, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.

From the producers of The Lion King and Aladdin, Disney’s FROZEN, the Tony nominated Best Musical arrives in February. Heralded by The New Yorker as “thrilling” and “genuinely moving” FROZEN quickly emerged as the biggest musical hit of last year’s Broadway season. This engagement will also feature a Sensory Friendly Performance on February 22, 2020.

We move in to Spring with an uproarious show that took New York by storm, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, a classic murder mystery chock-full of mishaps and madcap mania that is sure to entertain.

THE BOOK OF MORMON returns to Seattle by popular demand for a limited engagement as a Season Option.

In early Summer, ANASTASIA, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical inspired by two beloved films, makes its way to Seattle. Then the subscription season rounds out with MEAN GIRLS, the hilarious hit new musical coming direct from Broadway, featuring an award-winning creative team including the incomparable Tina Fey.

For more information and to sign up to be notified when new subscription purchases become available, visit,

The lineup for the 2019/2020 Broadway at The Paramount Season is as follows:

CHICAGO (Season Option)*
September 19 – 22, 2019

October 29 – November 3, 2019

The helicopter lands in "The Nightmare" in MISS SAIGON  Photo:  Matthew Murphy and Johan Persson

December 6 – 15, 2019

The Hard Nut_Brooklyn 2015_Julieta Cervantes

December 31, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Photo by Joan Marcus

January 14 – 19, 2020

Photo by Joan Marcus

Disney’s FROZEN
February 7 – March 1, 2020

Caissie Levy in FROZEN. Photo by DeenVanMeer. Copyright Disney

April 21 – 26, 2020

The Play That Goes Wrong National Tour. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

THE BOOK OF MORMON (Season Option)*
May 19 – 31, 2020

The Book of Mormon Company - The Book of Mormon (c) Julieta Cervantes 2017

June 16 – 21, 2020

Lila Coogan (Anya) and the company of the National Tour of ANASTASIA. Photo by Evan Zimmerman, Murphy Made.

August 4 – 9, 2020

Photo:  (c) 2017 Joan Marcus

*A completed subscription purchase must be processed in order to purchase tickets for Season Options. Season Options are not included in an 2019/2020 season package. Additional purchase is required.

For more information and to sign up to be notified when new subscription purchases become available, visit,

Group tickets of 10 or more are available now for all shows. Please call the Group Sales department for more information 1.888.214.6856 or email

Single tickets for each engagement will go on sale at a later date. Watch for single ticket on-sale dates or sign up for the eClub at to stay up to date with all of the latest news and on-sale dates.

The 2019/2020 Broadway at The Paramount series is presented by Seattle Theatre Group, with support from Brotherton Cadillac as the official auto sponsor, The Hotel Theodore as the official sponsor hotel and Delta Airlines as the official airline sponsor.


About STG: Seattle Theatre Group is the 501 (c)(3) non-profit arts organization that owns and operates the historic Paramount Theatre and operates the Moore and Neptune Theatres in Seattle, Washington. Our mission is to make diverse performing arts and education an integral part of our region’s cultural identity while keeping these landmark venues alive and vibrant. STG presents a variety of shows from Broadway, off-Broadway, dance and Jazz to comedy, concerts of all genres, speakers and family shows – at all these historic theatres in Seattle and at venues throughout Puget Sound and Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

"We Will Not Be Silent" - Taproot Theatre Event Review Seattle, WA 3/23/19

We Will Not Be Silent
David Meyers

Taproot Theatre
Seattle, WA

Amy Helms and Jonathan Stutzman in We Will Not Be Silent at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.


The majority of theatre Eclectic Arts has reviewed over the last nine months has either been comedy or has had a dose of comedy mixed within the production. "We Will Not Be Silent" was definitely a serious drama based on the real life story of a very courageous young woman named Sophie Scholl.

Set in a prison cell in Germany, circa 1943, "We Will Not Be Silent", as directed by Scott Nolte, spent the next ninety minutes going through the final hours of Ms. Scholl (Amy Helms), her brother Hans Scholl (Ben Wippel), and the interrogator Kurt Grunwald (Jonathan Stutzman).

A voice for youth activism, 21-year old Sophie Scholl was part of a group called the White Rose in Germany, a movement that did not agree with the current Nazi state of Germany nor its politics and procedures. Writing and distributing literature about their beliefs, the White Rose was viewed as propaganda by the Nazi's and was one of many targets by the Nazi's to uncover and destroy.

The play spends the majority of the time between Sophie Scholl and her interrogator Kurt Grunwald. Using tactics to break Sophie of her will, the interrogation scenes were coy and subtle at first and then direct and life threatening the second.

There were also scenes with Sophie and her brother Hans, also a member of the White Rose. These were told as the interrogation continued.

By the end of the production, the verdict is in and the show ends. You'll have to attend a performance to see what happens.

Amy Helms and Ben Wippel in We Will Not Be Silent at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.

Jonathan Stutzman as Kurt Grunwald stood out during the production. He portrayed his character with believability, ruthlessness, and compassion. Not an easy thing to do considering the circumstances.

Amy Helms as Sophie Scholl was puzzling to me. As the other central character, if not the central character, her portrayal of Sophie left me on the fence about Sophie's convictions. At 21-years old it made sense that Sophie would go back and forth between holding true to herself and giving in to the demands of Kurt so she could be set free. Perhaps I was looking for a more willful character that stood her ground the entire time during the interrogation. Upon further thought, that wouldn't be realistic at all - and the back and forth made more sense after spending some time with the performance.

Ben Wippel played Hans as direct as he could, with a level of empathy and support for his sister Sophie. He also doubled as the guard when Hans wasn't in scenes. I would of liked to have learned more about his characters back-story.

Jonathan Stutzman and Amy Helms in We Will Not Be Silent at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.

I have spent the majority of my professional career working with diverse populations of young people in community-based organizations (non profits). From special needs, at risk youth, and foster care just to name a few, I have worked side by side with co-workers that walked during the civil rights movement. That protested outside on the streets of Seattle Community College, the University of Washington, and other local hotspots during the 1960's and beyond.  Issues of equality for people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and many more have all been front and center in my life's work.

Activism - youth and adult - is something that's not a sideline sport for me. It is something I was immersed in for a number of years based on the type of work I did.

It will always be important for an individual to stand up for what they believe in, to go against the popular opinion, and to question authority.

In Sophie Scholl's case, this young woman risked her life to stand up for what she believed in.

In these times we have seen other figures in the news doing something similar to great controversial effect. Silence is not always golden. Sometimes it takes one person to break that code of silence to reveal a deeper truth about our society, our government, and our way of life.

"We Will Not Be Silent" challenges you to think, examine, and ultimately decide - will you stay silent?

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on FB
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Isaiah for the credentials - thank you so much for the opportunity!

"We Will Not Be Silent" runs through April 27th. Buy tickets here:  TICKETS!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Pacific Northwest Ballet "DIRECTOR'S CHOICE" - Event Review 3/15/19

Director's Choice

Pacific Northwest Ballet

McCaw Hall
Seattle, WA

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloists Ezra Thomson and Dylan Wald, and corps de ballet dancer Christopher D’Ariano, with guest vocalist Alicia Walter in Robyn Mineko Williams’ The Trees The Trees. PNB is performing The Trees The Trees as part of DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, March 15 – 24, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.


With the weather feeling near spring like on Friday evening, a far cry from the inches of snow we had just a month ago, I was looking forward to catching the opening night of "Director's Choice" from the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Two world premiere pieces as well as a PNB premiere piece, my first recent experience with the PNB of today was a similar program in early November called, "All Premiere", which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I know for some of you skeptics our there that have been supporting Eclectic Arts since the beginning (in 2011), you thought this recent "arts thing" was a phase. Surely Mark will go back to covering bands with a dollop of craft beer, television, and film to keep things interesting. I have to honestly tell you I've been not only enjoying my PNB experiences thus far but also the education and appreciation I'm developing for the art form of ballet has increased tenfold.

There is a timeless beauty about the ballet, regardless if it's a perennial favorite or a contemporary premiere. The work, dedication, and yes - art - that goes into the craft has been eye opening to watch and educate myself about. "Director's Choice" continued the tradition of Eclectic Arts digging deeper into the world of ballet.

The program started with the world premiere of, "Bacchus". Music by Oliver Davis, Choreography by Matthew Neenan, Costume Design by Mark Zappone, Lighting Design by Randall G. Chiarelli, and Conducted by Doug Fullington.  This opening piece was very fluid in it's choreography and music as they intertwined throughout the performance. I found myself looking for the story that was being told, the interpretation of the movement and music. I looked for the portions where the dancers worked in unison, studying their movement and seeing just how their bodies told the story.

The choreography meshed so well with the music (and me being a musician) that the performance was over before it even seemed to begin. Such a piece of tranquility and questioning, it left me ready for more.

Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Matthew Neenan’s Bacchus. PNB is performing Bacchus as part of DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, March 15 – 24, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.

"The Trees The Trees" was up next - also a world premiere piece. Music by Kyle Vegter, Choreography by Robyn Mineko Williams, Words by Heather Christie, Scenic and Lighting Design by Randall G. Chiarelli, Costume Design by Branimira Ivanova, with Conducting by Emil de Cou and Vocals by Alicia Walter. This piece intrigued me but also left me knowing I have a lot more to learn about modern ballet and dance.

The distinct vocals of Alicia Walter and the set and lighting design really set the tone for the piece. Again, I found myself mesmerized by the choreography but, unlike "Bacchus", I found it harder to understand the story being presented.

Much like the poetry the piece is based on, there is always room for interpretation. However, I was more puzzled than anything else by the end of "The Trees The Trees". I still enjoyed it but, again, I found myself knowing I have more to learn about interpreting modern ballet.

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Ezra Thomson and principal dancer Noelani Pantastico in Robyn Mineko Williams’ The Trees The Trees. PNB is performingThe Trees The Trees as part of DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, March 15 – 24, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.

After the second intermission, we were treated to the final piece, "In the Countenance of Kings". Music by Sufjan Stevens, orchestrated by Michael P. Atkinson, Choreography by Justin Peck, Staging by Felipe Diaz, Costume Design by Ellen Warren, Lighting Design by Brandon Stirling Baker, and Conducted by Emil du Cou. This PNB premiere was the most intriguing of the three for me (and others I heard after the show was over).

From solo, duo, and multiple ballet dancers, the piece ran the gamut of fun and whimsical to thought provoking and discussion worthy by the end. There were definitely moments where all the pieces worked together so well - music, choreography, lighting, scene, and costumes - I was left in awe. By the end, I felt very satisfied with this piece the most of the evening's performances.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Jerome Tisserand and soloist Elle Macy in Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings. PNB is performing In the Countenance of Kings as part of DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, March 15 – 24, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.

It should be stated that the lighting design for each piece of "Director's Choice" makes a significant impact on the story telling aspect of the performances. The more performances I attend, the more I am noticing the subtle nuances of the lighting and what it does for the presentation.

Overall, all three pieces were uniquely their own and also showed that modern ballet concepts are alive and well. There is always the bridge between the classic and the modern (and beyond) where needs must be met to keep the art form growing, expanding, and yet retaining its roots.

"Director's Choice" showed very creative and interesting concepts of ballet. I hope the choreographers and everyone involved continue to push the envelope and seek to express their ideas in new and fantastic ways.

For those of you still on the fence about attending a Pacific Northwest Ballet performance, the fence is no place to sit. Get off it and go grab a seat at McCaw Hall. Your time will be grandly well spent.

See you at the ballet!
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on FB
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Gary for the credentials - thank you very much for the opportunity (and the press room chocolate)!

Director's Choice continues through March 24th, 2019. Buy tickets here: TICKETS!


Monday, March 11, 2019

ROMEO + JULIET - Event Review! ACT A Contemporary Theatre 3/7/19


ACT - A Contemporary Theatre
Seattle, WA

(Joshua M. Castille and Gabriella O'Fallon  Photo:  Rosemary Dai Ross)


The ACT - A Contemporary Theatre kicked off its newest season with a bang last Thursday evening. William Shakespeare’s beloved classic, “Romeo + Juliet”, as directed by John Langs, had the packed house waiting in anticipation.

Joshua M. Castille as Romeo had already created a huge buzz with his performance in “The Hunchback Of Notre Dame” late last year. The carry over into this new show was definitely evident.

The story has been integrated to incorporate deaf and hearing components. While the challenges were immense, the outcome was sheer brilliance.

(Joshua M. Castille and Gabriella O'Fallon  Photo:  Chris Bennion)

The cast deftly spoke Romeo’s dialogue as Joshua M. Castille signed his lines. Some of the cast signed in return while others acted, through physical interpretation, the storyline of the tragic couple in love.

Gabriella O’Fallon as Juliet had chemistry with Mr. Castille’s Romeo. As the play built up, so did their chemistry as an on stage couple.

Amy Throne as Nurse and Prince showed such seamless professionalism that her parts seemed to just flow out of her. It was nice seeing Reginald Andre’ Jackson as Lord Capulet. I loved him in “Baskerville” this past fall and his presence and command were present throughout this production as well.

(Joshua M. Castille and Gabriella O'Fallon  Photo:  Chris Bennion)

The cast was expertly put together as there were no weak links throughout the production. The stage with its use of chain link fencing to separate and create the environment worked perfectly.

“Romeo + Juliet” hit all the marks. It has set the bar for the ACT - A Contemporary Theatre this season. It will be great fun watching the company attempt to raise the bar with each subsequent production.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on YT

Thank you: Amy and Cati for the opportunity. I sincerely appreciate it.

“Romeo + Juliet” plays through March 31st. Buy tickets here:  TICKETS!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

"I DO! I DO!" Village Theatre Everett Event Review! 3/2/19

I Do! I Do!

A Musical About Marriage

Village Theatre Everett
Everett Performing Arts Center
Everett, WA

Kendra Kassebaum (Agnes) and Peter Saide (Michael). 
I Do! I Do! Production photo.
© 2019 Tracy Martin
Property of Village Theatre.


Eclectic Arts has been forging ahead into the arts world for nearly a year now. The music, film, and television coverage has been a part of Eclectic Arts far longer but it has been a joy to discover the wonderful arts community that exists here in the greater Seattle area. From the Pacific Northwest Ballet to the Seattle Opera, the arts are indeed alive and well in the Northwest.

On Saturday evening I had the pleasure of attending my first Village Theatre performance. Being a Snohomish County resident, I chose to go to the Everett Performing Arts Center for the musical, "I Do! I Do!". Based on "The Fourposter" by Jan De Hartog, the classic musical was directed/choreographed by Michael Arnold with music direction/orchestrations by Bruce Monroe.

Upon entering the performing arts center, I easily picked up my tickets, and was greeted at the entrance to the venue. Once we found our seats inside, we anxiously awaited the performance. The venue it should be noted was a great space for theatre. From what I could see there wasn't a bad seat in the house. 

Peter Saide (Michael) and Kendra Kassebaum (Agnes). 
I Do! I Do! Production photo.
© 2019 Tracy Martin
Property of Village Theatre.

Once the show started, I was swept away to a time gone by. "I Do! I Do!" represents a married couple Agnes and Michael over a fifty-year time span starting in 1898. The ups and downs of married and family life take the audience on a trip through their relatable lives.

Kendra Kassebaum (Agnes) and Peter Saide (Michael) could not have been cast better as the two leads. I felt like I was watching an old black and white classic film at times during the production and that's due to the overwhelming talent on the stage (and behind it of course). Both actors were just, dare I say, flawless in their roles during the entire performance. But, what was most important to me - they had chemistry. For a show that only has two characters in it, if the actors don't display some sort of chemistry, all would be lost. But, that was not the case at all with Kendra and Peter. They were absolutely magnificent as Agnes and Michael. I can't say enough good things about their performances.

The timeline of the show definitely showed how society has changed over the years compared to present day. Some of the dialogue and situations made the crowd gasp as what was considered normal back then is nowhere near normal now. But, this just added to the time in a bottle aspect of the show.

Kendra Kassebaum (Agnes). 
I Do! I Do! Production photo.
© 2019 Tracy Martin
Property of Village Theatre.

The sets, with the wardrobe changes, the pull down bed, and the desk, among other things, were smart and seamless. Everything flowed incredibly well during the course of the show.

By the end of the show, after the well-deserved bows were taken, I felt like I had just been initiated into the Village Theatre experience. If all the productions are of this caliber, I now know what I've been missing all these years.

I have a lot of time to make up for lost years of performances but starting with, "I Do! I Do!", I'm off to a wonderful start!

See you at the theatre!
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Ann for the credentials - thank you so much for the opportunity! I'm looking forward to the next event!

"I Do!  I Do!" runs through March 24th.  Buy tickets here:  Tickets!

Kendra Kassebaum (Agnes) and Peter Saide (Michael). 
I Do! I Do! Production photo.
© 2019 Mark Kitaoka
Property of Village Theatre.