Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sleepy Bear and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Tonight is the preview performance for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (our 10th annual production!), and Sleepy Bear will be there! He's been reading the book to prepare. Check out more in his blog:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are you ready for Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol?

Our new holiday production, Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol by Tom Mula, opens this Friday at 7:30pm! This inventive new twist on a classic tells the other half of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol - the story of Jacob Marley. So, to make sure you're all caught up, here's a quick refresher on the original A Christmas Carol, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The tale begins on Christmas Eve seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley. Scrooge is established within the first stave (chapter) as a greedy and stingy businessman who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity, or benevolence. After being warned by Marley's ghost to change his ways, Scrooge is visited by three additional ghosts – each in its turn – who accompany him to various scenes with the hope of achieving his transformation.

The first of the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to the scenes of his boyhood and youth which stir the old miser's gentle and tender side by reminding him of a time when he was more innocent. The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to several radically differing scenes (a joy-filled market of people buying the makings of Christmas dinner, the family feast of Scrooge's near-impoverished clerk Bob Cratchit, a miner's cottage, and a lighthouse among other sites) in order to evince from the miser a sense of responsibility for his fellow man. The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, harrows Scrooge with dire visions of the future if he does not learn and act upon what he has witnessed. Scrooge's own neglected and untended grave is revealed, prompting the miser to aver that he will change his ways in hopes of changing these "shadows of what may be."

In the fifth and final stave, Scrooge awakens Christmas morning with joy and love in his heart, then spends the day with his nephew's family after anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner. Scrooge has become a different man overnight, and now treats his fellow men with kindness, generosity, and compassion, gaining a reputation as a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas. The story closes with the narrator confirming the validity, completeness, and permanence of Scrooge's transformation.


Now, come on down to the Bathhouse to get Jacob Marley's side of the story!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Frightfully Good Theater!

Enjoy Halloween? How about zombies? We have a treat for you, then: this weekend only, our youth ensemble tackles Shakespeare and the undead with....

by William Shakespeare, adapted & directed by Shana Bestock

Caesar used to be the leader everyone wanted, but now his huge ego threatens to become maniacal. His trusted advisors decide to kill him, inciting the citizens to riot in support of a new regime led by Caesar's one true friend, the noble Brutus. However, Caesar won't stay fully dead - he shows up as a zombie, scaring the citizens, plaguing Brutus, and wreaking havoc. Will Brutus be able to restore peace, or will zombie-driven chaos consume the country?
All performances FREE!
(donations to the youth scholarship fund happily accepted at the door)

October 29 @ 7pm
October 30 @ 2pm & 7pm
October 31 @ 2pm

Plus a special treat: The Roosevelt Thriller Club!
The Roosevelt High School Thriller Club will make a special appearance at the October 30th, 2pm matinee. The club is a group of teenage zombies who arise from the dead every day for school (and return to their graves on the weekend). In September and October, they learn Michael Jackson's famous Thriller dance and perform at community centers and festivals, culminating in their participation in Thrill The World, a worldwide simultaneous Thriller dance. Their favorite activities include devouring brains, groaning intelligibly and texting.

Come in costume to the Halloween performance for a trick or treat!

Also: Remember our Contributing Blogger, Sleepy Bear? He visited Zombie Caesar tech rehearsal, and has a post to show for it:
Go check out his report, and write back with feedback for him!

(Photos by Paul Bestock.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleepy Bear visits Wizard of Oz

Our new Contributing Blogger, Sleepy Bear, has been visiting our Wizard of Oz class. He's been watching rehearsals and talking to the students, and has lots to report. Take a look!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Costume sale!

Just in time for Halloween, Seattle Public Theater is having a costume sale!

This Saturday, October 23rd, from 2 to 4pm

At the Bathhouse Theatre on Green Lake - 7312 West Green Lake Dr N

Cash or check w/ ID only please!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meet Sleepy Bear - our new Contributing Blogger!

Hi friends!

I'm super excited to be a guest writer for Seattle Public Theater. As you may know, I love to read books but now I get to read scripts for live theater productions! I also get to watch kids rehearse and get ready for their performances on stage. Each week I'll post on my blog what the kids are learning during their rehearsals and what it's like to be a part of a live theater production. Oh, and if you have questions for me, you can write to me and I'll write back with an answer. This is the link to my blog:

Bye for now,

Sleepy Bear

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The reviews are in!

Audiences and critics love Mauritius!

"A taut, twisty thriller... solid entertainment value" - The Seattle Times

"A smart, compelling drama... this production makes the drama irresistible" -

"Tightly directed by Russ Banham with five strong performers" - Seattle Gay News

Mauritius runs through October 24th - get your tickets now!

Visit or call 206-524-1300

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From the Managing Director: An interview with Joe Sixpack

Instead of Keith Dahlgren, the Managing Director, writing his usual tedious pontificating and begging for donations, we asked a guy walking around Green Lake to interview Keith and write out his conclusions.

Joe Sixpack: Hey, Mr. Fancy-Schmancy Theater Artist guy. I’ve been walking around Green Lake for years, and I never knew what this building was.

Keith Dahlgren, Managing Director of Seattle Public Theater: Yes, people have a tendency to ignore the building in their single minded search for physical perfection. Or their dogs. And we at SPT haven’t always had the best signage on the building. But it’s a small performing arts center.

JS: How long’s it been a theater?

KD: It was built in 1927 as a bathhouse, and converted into a theater in 1969. Seattle Public Theater has been the resident theater company since October of 2000. in 2009, SPT produced six professional (what we call Mainstage) productions; at least ten student productions, and dozens of youth program camps and classes.

JS: So, do you show movies?

KD: A common misconception. We are a Live Theater, as opposed to a Moving Picture Theater, otherwise known as a Cinema.

JS: Huh.

KD: So in our theater you will see plays performed live by actual actors, not projected films or television shows. You know, the Tee-Vee.

JS: So why should I pay…how much are tickets?

KD: They average $25. Subscription tickets average less.

JS: Okay, twenty-five bucks to see your stuff when I can stay home and watch movies on my Tee-Vee?

KD: Have you ever met anyone on your Tee-Vee?

JS: I saw Kent Phillips on the street once.

KD: Ah. Well, our actors are real. You see them act and react within a few feet of you. You see the story unfold live. You are part of the experience.

JS: Huh.

KD: You feel the people with you, the rest of the audience, react to the performance as well. If you’re lucky (and many people are) you will experience the moment Bill Ball from ACT San Francisco describes as the moment when the whole audience as well as actors are all feeling the same emotions. A heightened union of a whole room full of humans. It’s a transitory experience, something you can’t get at home watching the Tee-Vee.

JS: Cool.

KD: And if you like the show and come back and see it again, you’ll get a different experience. Because it’s a different night, a different audience, and the actors may be in a different space. You may get a more excited audience, or the actors may discover something new. You never know what to expect.

JS: Wow. So it’s not people talking in old English so you can’t understand?

KD: That’s Shakespeare. Another thing you might like to try after you see some modern language theater.

JS: Dude. Thanks. I’ll have to check this out.

KD: Yes. Give it a try. Dive in. You might like it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From the Artistic Director: Mauritius

Each season I choose 4 plays. I read many, many scripts. Sometimes, a play will attack me, leaping off the page, demanding to be brought to life and told immediately. Sometimes I’ll read a play and fall in a slow-burning love, simmering with the play until I feel the zeitgeist and the season planning stars align. Sometimes I am a hunter, tracking plays with certain criteria through research and dogged pursuit.

Mauritius and I first hooked up like people at a loud party, mutually curious but distracted by other stories and events. I’d read a lot of Rebeck’s work, and while I always loved her style, craft, and rhythms, I wasn’t always compelled, and some of those earlier plays didn’t feel like a good match for you, the SPT audience. So Mauritius and I needed someone to throw us together on a real first date.

When Russ Banham started talking about Mauritius I was captivated. Russ spoke with passion and clarity of vision, and his energy launched me back to the play for a close read. I saw in a flash the exciting possibilities of the play - the mean streets, the desperation of the hustle. I saw what a great showcase Rebeck’s script is for our artists, and how well it would play in the intimacy of the Bathhouse. I reveled in the characters, in their pursuit of that one big score that would make them - what, exactly? Happy? Or just rich? I began to ask questions of myself - what would I risk, who would I con, and for how much money? (And were any of those old stamps laying around in my house....worth anything....?!)

Working on Mauritius has been a collaborative process from the beginning, and only grown more so over time. It’s terrific fun and a huge honor to see how this play - a delicious mixture of brilliant wordsmithing, high-stakes tension, smart plotting, and complex relationships - when put in the hands of such fine artists as Seattle Public is proud to boast, can create a suspenseful, entertaining, richly theatrical experience. I’m thrilled to share it all with you next week as we kick off our season.


Shana Bestock

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

From the Managing Director: Supporting local art

I love the Puget Sound theater community. I’ve been part of it in Seattle for over thirty years, since I graduated from a small liberal arts college here in Washington state. I’ve watched the community grow and expand from a few small theaters, each with their own specific identity, to a many-tiered ecology of Fringe, mid-level, corporate giant, and a few in between. Add into that the many and various improvisation companies, puppet companies, single-actor-show festivals, musicians-who-make-theater groups, actors-who-create-music groups, summer park show companies…the list goes on and on. I’ve seen strong artistic companies fail for lack of good administration. I’ve seen big wealthy companies do consistently poor theater and go on doing so because of strong administrative support.

The one thing that runs through the whole magilla is the audience. The Puget Sound theater community couldn’t have grown, changed, evolved in the way it has the last thirty years without the audience support. Seattle loves its theater. Seattle loves its actors, and by extension its directors, lighting technicians, stage managers, costumers, etc, etc. I suspect it even loves its arts administrators. I know I am proud of the community, of all the talented and mostly pretty nice people I know and have worked with over the years.

I do get frustrated, I will confess. I think that Seattle has an inferiority complex of a sort. Seattle seems to think that if something or someone comes from elsewhere, it must be better. If an athlete comes from another city, he must be better than our athletes. If one of our athletes becomes a star, why, she has to move on to another city’s team. I know a lot of that is economics, but whatever happened to team loyalty? (Thank goodness for Ichiro.) I watch some of the larger wealthier corporate theaters bring in actors from another city. They must be better than our city’s actors, they are living elsewhere: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco. The opposite flow is true: if an actor or director or technician is good, he or she moves to New York. Or San Francisco. Or whatever. Again, some of this is economics, but whatever happened to loyalty?

Maybe I’m naïve. But I would rather support a local theater worker than one who comes in for one show, gets a lot of press, and heads back to Chicago. Especially when they are a friend or a relative, since when I see the show I think that there are almost always three local theater community people who could have done the role as well or better.

I look with great hope toward the recent movement towards locally-grown food. Local food is fresher. Local food is a known quality. Buying local means keeping the money in the local economy. Perhaps it will spread to our theaters. Local actors are known. Local actors don’t need to be housed: they live here. Local actors spend their paychecks in the local economy. Loyalty.

And so the Puget Sound theater ecology keeps healthy.

-Keith Dahlgren, Managing Director

Friday, September 10, 2010

Season Sneak Peek

The opening of our 2010-2011 mainstage season is rapidly approaching - October 1st, 2010 to be exact!

Here's a quick glance at the shows in our upcoming season:

Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck - Seattle premiere!
October 1st-24th, 2010

Quick Summary: It's a thriller about stamp collecting. What more do you need?
Quick Quote: "He's a rich rich international businessman type of person. You know, real estate, corporate merger-type, governmental arms deals, that sort of thing. I can never really keep track. Mostly we talk about stamps. He loves stamps, a lot."
Quick Review: "The outcome that Rebeck wrests from this five-way tug of war is ingenious, a send-them-home-smiling 11th-hour coup." - TheaterMania

Jacob Marley's Christmal Carol by Tom Mula
December 3rd-24th, 2010

Quick Summary: Jacob Marley is stuck in limbo, and he can't get out unless he gets old Scrooge to change his ways.
Quick Quote: "Jacob Quimby Marley was a proper, tight, dry, pruny old thing. His face was frozen in sour disapproval, as if he had bitten into a lemon by mistake and hadn't liked it much."
Quick Review: "A welcome antidote to some of the more saccharine stories of the season." -Triangle Theatre Review

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
December 10th-24th, 2010

Quick Summary: The town troublemakers take over the annual Christmas pageant, and hilarity, burnt applesauce cakes, and good cheer ensue!
Quick Quote: "The Herdmans were the worst kids in the whole history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars, even the girls, and talked dirty and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker's old broken down tool house."
Quick Review: The audiences speaks for themselves - this is our 10th annual production of SPT's most popular show!

My Wonderful Day by Alan Ayckbourn - Seattle premiere!
January 28th-February 10th, 2011

Quick Summary:
A family comedy told from the perspective of a 9-year-old girl.
Quick Quote: "I wish I’d been given choices when I was little. All I got was Tiffany Louise. Which left me with Tiffy or Tiff or Lou. Which always makes me sound like a cross between a quarrel and lavatory."
Quick Review: "Mr. Ayckbourn winds things up with a fine flourish and My Wonderful Day is as moving as it is funny." - CurtainUp

The Happy Ones by Julie Marie Myatt - Seattle premiere!
March 18th-April 10th, 2011

Quick Summary: An All-American husband and father struggles to reconcile with the man who took his family away.
Quick Quote: "Hating the man that killed your family won't get you anything. Nothing. You're a better person than that."
Quick Review: "Subtly depicting the overwhelmingly difficult process of mourning and letting go, Myatt leavens the tragedy without blunting its significance." - Backstage

Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw
May 20th-June 12th, 2011

Quick Summary: A classic satire of war, full of love, humor, and a chocolate soldier.
Quick Quote: "I've no ammunition. What use are cartridges in battle? I always carry chocolate instead; and I finished the last cake of that yesterday."
Quick Review: "One joke after another … a firecracker.” - CityBeat

Intrigued? 3- and 4-show subscriptions still on sale! Contact the box office at 206-524-1300 or visit for more information.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer Wrap-up

Fuddy Meers - our 2010 Senior Show

Well, it's that time of the year again. Yes, we're talking about the first day of school. For us, the first day of school means only one thing: summer, or rather our Summer Youth Program, is officially over.
Mary Zimmerman's Secret in the Wings - presented by the High School Ensemble
But it was great while it lasted! Summer 2010 was our biggest ever - our little theater on Green Lake was busy morning 'til night for 10 weeks straight. In total, more than 200 students and 50 tech interns participated in 20 classes and 6 productions!
Those 6 productions were the most we've ever done in a single summer. 3 middle school shows, 2 high school shows, and our annual Senior Show meant that we offered the public 9 straight weekends of free theater at Green Lake! And people took advantage - more than 2,000 audience members came out to see our students perform, and donated more than $9,000 to support the youth program and scholarship fund.

Much Ado About Nothing - Our High School Ensemble closes out the summer
All told, it was a hugely successful summer. And while everyone is exhausted from working to make it all happen, we don't have much time to rest - rehearsals for our mainstage season have already started, and rehearsals for the fall youth ensemble shows start in just a few weeks!
A huge thank you to the staff, teaching artists, volunteers, parents, and most importantly students who make our youth program possible!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Box Office Re-Opens with Mauritius Pre-Sale!

After our summer "hiatus", the Box Office at Seattle Public Theater is re-opening for the 2010-2011 mainstage season. Beginning today, regular hours will resume: Wednesday through Saturday, 12pm-5pm.

To celebrate, we are holding a pre-sale for our first production of the season, Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius. From now until 5:00pm on September 11th, all tickets for Mauritius are on sale! $2 off all Preview, Opening Night, and Youth tickets, and $4 off all Adult and Senior tickets! This special offer is only available over the phone or in person at the box office, not online, and you must mention the pre-sale to get your discounted tickets.

Buy now and save!

The Box Office is located at the historic Bathhouse Theatre on Green Lake, at 7312 West Green Lake Dr. N in Green Lake Park. The Box Office phone number is 206-524-1300. The Box Office is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12pm to 5pm.

3- and 4-show packages to our 2010-2011 season are also available, over the phone, in person, or via our website: Subscribers save 10-20% over regular ticket prices, and receive other perks such as free ticket exchanges, neighborhood discounts, and more!

Friday, August 27, 2010

This weekend at SPT: Much Ado About Nothing + Free Improv + Free Frozen Custard!

Ladies and gentleman, this weekend is our LAST WEEKEND of FREE theatre on Green Lake for summer 2010! To celebrate, we've packed it full of cowboys, comedians, and custard!

This weekend, our High School Ensemble presents Much Ado About Nothing!

Friday (tonight!) 8/27 - 7pm - Followed by Ka-Chick Improv! at 9pm
Saturday 8/28 - 2pm - Followed by a free frozen custard social sponsored by Peaks!
Saturday 8/28 - 7pm - Closing!

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

Friday, August 20, 2010

This weekend at SPT: Much Ado About Nothing + Ka-Chick Improv

7 weekends of free theater down, only 2 more to go! Come on down to our air-conditioned haven on the lake for a wildly Western take on a Shakespeare classic!

This weekend, our High School Ensemble presents Much Ado About Nothing!

Friday (tonight!) 8/20 - 7pm - Opening!
Saturday 8/21 - 7pm - Followed by Ka-Chick Improv! (Remember them?) at 9pm
Sunday 8/22 - 2pm

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spotlight On: Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare at the Saloon: By SPT Marketing Intern Katie Dolan

“It’s a hootenanny! There’s music, dancing, it’s got a little of everything” says Noelle, one of the technical interns for the last show of the summer at the Bathhouse, Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

The show has been reset in the saloon-door-swinging, cowboy-boot-wearing middle of the Wild West!

The actors said that this setting actually fits the play quite well. Ben, who is playing Dogberry in the show, noted that a lot of his lines already use words like “partner” making it easy to move his character over into the new setting. Many of the actors have had experience performing Shakespeare as well. Francesco, who is playing Benedick, remarked, “I started acting with Shakespeare, so I’m fairly comfortable with it.”

Everyone seems to have a different favorite scene in this show. Ben declared his favorite to be the comic judging scene in which Dogberry has caught two criminals and is interrogating them. “I tie them up and shout insults in their face while I compliment myself over and over again.”

Francesco said his favorite scene is the spying scene. In this scene Benedick eavesdrops on Claudio, Leonato, and Don Pedro who have secretly planned to trick Benedick into falling in love with Beatrice.

William who is playing Don John, the villain, said his favorite scene was when he tells Don Pedro and Claudio a lie about Hero, the woman Claudio is interested in. “I get to deceive everyone! It’s funny even when they don’t pay attention at first.” His fellow cast mates were quick to add that Don John is very dark and brooding in the play.

Sofia, the assistant stage manager for the show said her favorite scene was the party scene. “Peter starts swinging Audrey, then it turns into this funny hoedown dance”

Barbara, who is working on costumes for the show said, “Shakespeare works anywhere. You could set it in space—the language is there.” She also explained Amy, the costume designer for the show has an awesome overall vision for the costumes. Actors are outfitted in big cowboy boots, American flag shirts, facial hair, elaborate skirts and more!

Lights for the show were designed by Sarah who will be a senior at Roosevelt High School this year. She has had lots of lighting experience being the lighting designer at Roosevelt and also doing a lighting design for the Bellevue Opera.

All the actors assured me that the show will be ready for opening night this Friday at 7 p.m. So grab yer boots, belt buckle and a partner and skedaddle on down to the Bathhouse for the free final show of the summer Much Ado About Nothing!

Friday, August 13, 2010

This weekend at SPT: Love's Labour's Lost!

The summer is still going strong, as we bring you the 7th of 9 weekends of free theater in a row on the shores of Green Lake!

This weekend, our Middle School Ensemble presents Love's Labour's Lost!

Friday (tonight!) 8/13 - 7pm
Saturday 8/14 - 2pm and 7pm
Sunday 8/15 - 2pm

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Spotlight On: Love's Labour's Lost

For the past four weeks, our middle school ensemble has been tackling one of Shakespeare’s toughest comedies – Love’s Labour’s Lost – under the capable direction of teaching artist Shawn Belyea. This is our third middle school show of the summer, a first for the Seattle Public Theater Youth Program!

Written in the mid-1590’s, and first performed in 1597, Love’s Labour’s Lost is an early Shakespeare comedy. It concerns the King of Navarre and his three friends, who promise to lock themselves away for three years to study, and avoid the company of women. But the Princess of France arrives – with her three ladies – leading to comic mayhem and much falling in love, despite protestations to the contrary. The ending, however, contains an unusual twist, making it fairly unique among Shakespearean comedies.

The Wikipedia entry for Love’s Labour’s Lost calls it “Shakespeare’s most flamboyantly intellectual play,” a well-deserved reputation. To make the show more accessible to young actors, and to audiences, the play has been cut, and director Shawn Belyea has chosen to set it in a 60’s fraternity house. Given the plot – four scholars lock themselves away from women to study – it seems a very appropriate choice!

Our students have been rehearsing for three weeks, three hours a day, five days a week, and are now deep into the heart of “tech week,” where all of the technical elements get added – costumes, lights, sound, props – in preparation for Opening Night this Friday! It’s time to practice those lines, make sure you remember all your entrances, and step out into the spotlight!

Friday, August 6, 2010

This weekend at SPT: Cyrano!

It's the 6th of 9 weekends of free theater in a row on the shores of Green Lake!

This weekend, our Middle School Ensemble presents Cyrano!

Friday (tonight!) 8/6 - 7pm
Saturday 8/7 - 2pm and 7pm
Sunday 8/8 - 2pm

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spotlight On: Cyrano!

This weekend, our Middle School Ensemble - under the intrepid direction of professional actor and teaching artist Kelly Kitchens - tackles the French classic Cyrano de Bergerac. Written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand, the play is very loosely based on the real-life Cyrano de Bergerac, a 17th century dramatist.

The big question with any play originally written in another language is which English translation to use. For a play over a century old, particularly a popular classic like Cyrano, there are dozens of translations of varying lengths and qualities. For this production, Kelly and Artistic Director Shana Bestock chose a translation/adaptation by Belgian director Jo Roet. Centerstage, a Baltimore theater company, produced the play and describes it this way: "Jo Roet’s adaptation distills the language, action, and romance that make Rostand’s play a classic, while shaking things up a bit structurally: this version runs less than an hour, as three actors take on all of the roles."

Our production uses many more than three actors, of course! But the adaptation's playful take on the classic is a natural fit for our exuberant middle school students. And despite the importance of choosing a good translation, the production features a shout-out to the original. Featured prominently on the set is Cyrano's final love letter, in Rostand's original French:

' ; Roxane, adieu ! Je bientôt dois mourir ! Cette nuit même, aimée ; et I Sentez mon âme lourde avec amour incalculable. Je meurs ! Pas plus, comme en jours de, Mon aimer, les yeux désirants ardemment se régalera Sur votre moindre geste-ay, les mineurs ! Je m'occupe de moi la manière que vous touchez votre joue Avec votre doigt, doucement, en tant que vous parlez ! Ah je ! Je sais ce geste bien ! Mon coeur pleure dehors ! - Je pleure " ; Farewell" ; ! ' ; ' ; Ma vie, mon amour, mon bijou, mon bonbon, mon coeur a été à vous dans chaque battement ! ' ; ' ; Ici, mourant, et là, dans la terre sur la haute, je suis lui qui a aimé, qui vous aime, - I.

Friday, July 30, 2010

This weekend at SPT: Secret in the Wings!

It's the 5th of 9 weekends of free theater in a row on the shores of Green Lake! This weekend, as an added bonus, we've got free improv - and free ice cream!

This weekend, our High School Ensemble presents Secret in the Wings!

Friday (tonight!) 7/30 - 7pm (followed by Ka-Chick Improv! at 9pm)
Saturday 7/31 - 2pm and 7pm

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

But wait! There's more! This Saturday afternoon, after the 2pm performance of Secret in the Wings, Peaks Frozen Custard is sponsoring a free ice cream social! Come build community, enjoy delicious frozen custard, and support the Seattle Public Theater youth program! The ice cream is free, but any donations you give will go directly to support the youth program.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spotlight On: Ka-Chick Improv!

This week, we are spotlighting a special event happening this Friday night after the 7pm performance of Secret in the Wings – Ka-Chick Improv! Ka-Chick is a group of high school students (mostly participants in the SPT youth program) who come together every summer to provide free improv entertainment. Their first show of 2010 is this Friday at 9pm at the Bathhouse.

Spearheaded by student Asher Jordan, the group was started in 2009. “I was going to be the captain of my high school improv team, and basically I wanted a chance to practice beforehand,” says Jordan. He organized the group, scheduled rehearsals (90 minutes twice a week), and asked SPT for a handful of late-night performance slots at the Bathhouse. The group had a wildly successful debut in the summer of 2009, and is back again for more.

Improv, for the uninitiated, is improvised theater – the actors make it up on the spot! Using suggestions from the audience, and a variety of games or story frameworks, improv actors create scenes and characters from scratch. Because of that, no two shows are the same – so don’t miss this one, because you’ll never get a chance to see it again!

Catch Ka-Chick impro this Friday, July 30th at 9pm – directly following the 7pm performance of Secret in the Wings. Ka-Chick’s improv shows are completely FREE!

Friday, July 23, 2010

This weekend at SPT: Secret in the Wings!

It's the 4th of 9 weekends of free theater in a row on the shores of Green Lake!

This weekend, our High School Ensemble presents Secret in the Wings!

Friday (tonight!) 7/23 - Opening Night - 7pm
Saturday 7/17 - 7pm
Sunday 7/18 - 2pm

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spotlight On: Secret in the Wings

For the next two weekends, Seattle Public Theater’s High School Ensemble will be presenting Mary Zimmerman’s Secret in the Wings. This is not the first piece by Zimmerman, a member of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company, that SPT’s Youth Program has produced. The high school ensemble has previously tackled her adaptation of Arabian Nights, and her Tony Award-winning version of Metamorphoses. But neither of those proved as complex a challenge as Secret in the Wings has given our students this summer. Erica Hansen, student stage manager for the show, calls it crazy. “There’s too much stuff! But we have an awesome team, and a million props people, so we’re having fun with it.”

Why is the show so complicated? You’ll have to wait and see. The play intertwines a number of different fairy tales, with a definite edge, and both actors and audience get “completely swept up” into the fantasy world. Noelle McCabe, an actor in the show, describes Secret’s ensemble nature: “There are several individual stories, but you see the same actors in every story, and the audience feels a part of it too. There aren’t really any leads, and we’re all playing a bunch of different parts.” The show also incorporates significant amounts of music, some from the original Chicago production, so much so that cast members describe it as “almost half a musical,” a departure from the high school ensemble’s typical shows.

Despite its complexity, Aviva Wynn, who is acting in the show, says that the cast “feels very prepared.” She adds that, “it feels like this rehearsal process has flown by, even though it’s a hard show to do.” Aviva was one of the students that pushed for this show to be done, partially because she was not allowed to see Seattle Repertory Theater’s 2005 production. Her parents brought home a poster, and she has wanted to do the show ever since.

Now she has gotten her chance, and is loving every minute of it. Aviva says that she feels very close to her castmates in this show, in part because “there are a lot of shared lines, so we need to feel connected.” Noelle concurs, saying “I feel closer to the new people in the cast than I ever have, because we all have to rely on each other to make sure we get to where we need to be, in the right costume, with the right props.”

Secret in the Wings plays for two weekends, July 23rd-31st. More information at

Friday, July 16, 2010

This weekend at SPT: The Little Big Broadcast!

We're back again! It's the 3rd of 9 weekends of free theater in a row on the shores of Green Lake!

This weekend, our Middle School Ensemble presents The Little Big Broadcast!

Friday (tonight!) 7/16 - Opening Night - 7pm
Saturday 7/17 - 2pm and 7pm
Sunday 7/18 - Closing - 2pm

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spotlight On: The Little Big Broadcast

Now that our SPT seniors have closed Fuddy Meers and fully graduated from our Youth Drama Program, the theater is completely turned over to the rest of the Youth Program participants, for the third week of free theater on Greenlake.

This week's show is The Little Big Broadcast, a collection of classic radio broadcasts such as the comedy routine Who's on first?, Zorro Rides Again, and The Shadow Knows, among other favorites. Directed by SPT regular Carmel Baird, these broadcasts are brought to life by our ensemble of 9-13 year olds.

For this week's Spotlight feature, SPT Marketing Intern Katie Dolan talked to several of the students involved:

After getting some feedback from the actors involved in the show, it sounds like the creative process for this show has been a challenging and enjoyable one. One actress is playing a total of four roles including Jughead from Archie Andrews, Gerald from The Strange Doctor Weird, Tom (Mr. Moonlight) from Mrs. Moonlight, and Costello from Who's on First? She noted that Costello was her favorite role to play. She added, “This is my first year at the Seattle Public Theater but, I hope to keep being in it.”

Many actors in the play must transform to portray very different kinds of characters. One actress, also playing four roles, remarked that one of the challenges with the show is “changing your voice to make the feelings more apparent and entertaining.”

Several actors expressed that their favorite part of the show is the romance broadcast entitled, “Mrs. Moonlight.” Casey Bouldin, stage manager for the show, explained to me that, “Mrs. Moonlight is about a love that transcends time (literally).” In this broadcast Sarah Moonlight is given a "magic" necklace, which grants her wish to not grow older. She then runs away from her husband and infant child, and the rest of the story is about her returning to her family after 17 years, and then again 30 years after that.

The actors involved relayed to me that rehearsals have been productive and entertaining. One actress declared, “Rehearsals have been very fun and very straightforward, I definitely think the show will come together great and be a big hit!”

To come watch and listen to this upcoming big hit, join us at the Bathhouse Theater this weekend!

Friday, July 9, 2010

This weekend at SPT: Fuddy Meers!

This summer, we've got 9 weekends of free theater in a row on the shores of Green Lake! Here comes week 2!

This weekend, our Senior Ensemble closes David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers. Don't miss their final performances with the SPT youth program!

Friday 7/9 - 7pm
Saturday 7/10 - 2pm and 7pm

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spotlight On: Teaching Artists

The youth program here at Seattle Public Theater is nothing if not extensive. It runs year-round, with camps for young children, school residencies, acting workshops for all ages, and full productions for our middle school and high school students. And it explodes during the summer, when we have 10 straight weeks of youth theatre, morning until night, including three middle school productions, two high school productions, and our annual Senior Show!

None of this would be possible without our legion of talented and committed teaching artists. Led by Artistic and Education Director Shana Bestock, Seattle Public Theater has a team of some of the best teaching artists in the Seattle area. For this week’s Spotlight feature, we interviewed Kaya Wynn, one of our newest teaching artists and an alumni of the youth program. Here are some excerpts from that interview.

Backstage at SPT: How did you get started in acting?
Kaya: When I was really little my sister and I used to put on plays for my parents, but my real reason for wanting to act comes from my grandmother, Peggy Webber. She started acting when she was very young. While she is primarily a voice actress, she has also been in films and on the stage. When I was growing up I would listen to the radio plays she both acted in and produced and my mom would tell my sisters and me stories about the different plays she my grandmother was in. I started doing drama camps when I was very little, and musicals in elementary and middle school. In 8th grade, I did my first show at SPT, All in the Timing, and I’ve been here ever since.

Backstage: How did you get started as a teaching artist?
Kaya: One summer, I was performing in Midsummer Night’s Dream with the youth program. I babysat the 6-year old playing the Changeling Child. Shana suggested that I assist teaching artists with camps,- During my senior year, she asked me to do some short workshops at Seattle Children’s Museum. I loved leading my own classes so much that I asked to teach my own camp. I started out with two, taught three last year, and am now teaching five this summer.

Backstage: Is being a teaching artist your primary career path?
Kaya: I will be attending New York University starting this fall to study Educational Theatre. I have come to appreciate how little theater and the arts are recognized in schools, which is incredibly unfortunate. Children are losing their imaginations because they are being pushed to sit at a desk, and to get ready to for the next step in their education. Many kids don’t realize that learning can be fun and that they don’t need to leave their creativity at the door when they enter a school. My dream is to found my own school where the arts and education go hand-in-hand. I always want to teach.

Backstage: What is one of your favorite memories of teaching at SPT?
Kaya: One aspect of my camps that I am very proud of is the script that I write with my students. We take the stories we’re reading and we come up with a story and characters that they want to play. That evening I write the kids a script using all of their ideas and characters. One little girl loved this experience so much that she has started writing her own plays.

Thanks Kaya! And thank you to all of our brilliant teaching artists. We couldn’t do it without you!

Friday, July 2, 2010

This weekend at SPT: Fuddy Meers!

The youth program has taken over the theater for the summer, and our first performances are already here.

It's the first of 9 weekends of free theater in a row on the shores of Green Lake!

This weekend, our Senior Ensemble presents David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers!

Friday (tonight!) 7/2 - Opening Night - 7pm
Saturday 7/3 - 7pm
Sunday 7/4 - 2pm

All shows are FREE! Donations to the scholarship fund are gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served in person at the theater beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spotlight On: Fuddy Meers

Note: This is the first of our summer-long "Spotlight" series, exploring different aspects of the extensive Seattle Public Theater summer youth program.

Every summer, a group of students from Seattle Public Theater’s youth program reach a significant milestone in their lives: high school graduation. With that, they officially “grow up,” and can no longer participate in the youth program. But before we wave them off to work, college, travel or massage school, they come together for their Senior Show.

Picked by and for the senior ensemble, the Senior Show represents the culmination of years of education and growth at SPT. The seniors involved have generally worked together many times, and the close-knit nature of the ensemble offers them – and Education Director Shana Bestock – the chance to create a truly magical show.

For staff at SPT, the Senior Show is a moment that is both proud and sad. We must let them out from under our wing, and send them off into the wide world. All of our students are incredibly talented, and will go on to do great things, but we will miss their presence at the Bathhouse!

This year’s Senior Show is Fuddy Meers. Written by American playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, Fuddy Meers is both hysterically funny and deeply heartbreaking. The story revolves around Claire, an amnesiac who wakes up every morning with a blank slate ala Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates. One morning Claire is abducted and told her husband is trying to kill her. The mayhem which ensues is seen through Claire’s eyes with an ending proving everything is not always what it seems to be.

Director Shana Bestock said the following about working with the graduating seniors: “Rehearsals are the highlight of my day. It's a joy to work on this rich material with such vibrant, intelligent and powerfully connected young artists. I'm also continually blown away with how much of a shorthand we, as an ensemble, have developed. By the time they are seniors, these actors need very little direction from me.”

SPT Marketing Intern Katie Dolan talked to two of our departing seniors about their experiences:

Xandii Barber (Nova) has been at SPT since last October and says she has never found a place with people so nice and accepting. She estimated that at one point she spent about 25 hours a week at SPT during the school year. Xandii’s experience at SPT has included sound, stage managing, props, and assistant stage managing. She summed up her feelings towards SPT saying, “I get here and everything is okay.” Xandii says her time at SPT has prepared her well for college. She will attend Stephens College in Missouri to complete a 3-year stage management program.

Sasha Kool (University Prep) is another high school student who will leave many memories and friends at SPT. “It’s like a family,” she says. I asked Sasha to recall any standout moments in a performance or rehearsal that she will take with her. She started to laugh and explained how she was once playing an elderly woman in the play Enchanted April. Backstage she was hurrying to put more baby powder in her hair to make it gray. Mid-sprinkle she noticed an awful silence onstage—she had missed her entrance. The group she was supposed to enter with was already on stage. She heard them covering for her, querying about where she could have gone. Out of breath she entered from the wrong side justifying her tardiness by complaining about the hill she had to climb and reminding everyone of her advanced age. The audience was laughing and the improvised revision was a success.


The 2010 Senior Show is Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay Abaire, directed by Shana Bestock.

The 2010 Senior Ensemble is Luke Greenway, Audrey Howell, Sasha Kool, Jessa Lowe, Kaitie Marshall, Rachel Warren, and Stage Manager Xandii Barber. The cast of Fuddy Meers also includes SPT alumni Miranda Sieg, a 2009 graduate.

Fuddy Meers opens Friday, July 2nd at 7pm, and plays July 3rd at 7pm, July 4th at 2pm, July 9th at 7pm, and July 10th at 2pm and 7pm. Admission is free, with donations to the scholarship fund gratefully accepted. Tickets are first-come, first-served, beginning 30 minutes before showtime, with festival seating.

Monday, June 21, 2010

From the Managing Director: Looking back at 2009-2010

Another season of professional theater at the Historic Bathhouse Theater is over, and it ended pretty well. This was actually Seattle Public Theater’s tenth year at the Bathhouse. SPT took over the management and became the resident company of the Bathhouse in October of 2000. This is the end of our tenth season. And we’re still here!

We started our fiscal year in July of 2009 with an amazing summer of youth programming, including productions of Hay Fever, Romeo & Juliet Alive Again and Together at Last!, The Jungle Book, A Vampire Story, and lots of others. Every weekend in July and August, there was a free show at the air conditioned Bathhouse. And it’s the same this coming summer.

Our first show of the Mainstage season was Tryst, which was a thriller with a twist ending that the Seattle Times said was “genuinely unsettling” and “good grist for after-show conversations.” Which is exactly what we’re trying to do, especially the last phrase.

The holidays were joyful this year with our annual productions of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and The Santaland Diaries. That was the last year we’re going to produce The Santaland Diaries, at least for a while. We’re going to give it a rest, and move on to other holiday shows, beginning with this coming year’s Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. But never fear: we’re keeping The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

The fascinating The Violet Hour was a stylish and thought-provoking piece which called “one of the most surprising, intriguing, and ultimately satisfying new plays I’ve seen in some time.” It was a difficult birth, as the piece has some tricky special effects ( an off-stage machine blowing paper onstage, piles and piles of manuscripts) and set design (a 14th floor windowed loft in 1922 NYC) that was a challenge in the rather tight confines of the Bathhouse Theater, yet our terrific design and production team pulled it off.

Shana Bestock, Seattle Public Theater’s Artistic and Education Director, stepped onto the stage for a difficult role in Dying City. Despite the challenge of performing in a two-person play (a difficult task under any situation) as well as continuing to perform her considerable duties at SPT (we laugh at those people who work mere 40-hour weeks!), the Seattle Time said the performances were “exemplary” and that Shana did “not waste a gesture, a sigh.”

The 13th of Paris was the runaway hit of our season. Joyful, romantic, funny, with a cast of talented actors to die for, it got better with each performance. The Seattle Weekly said “SPT understands the difference between schmaltzy and winsome, and goes for the latter.” It was a lovely little piece, and a great capper to our mainstage season.

And all this happened while we continued our youth education program, sending teaching artists to local elementary schools, holding acting camps during school breaks, and producing high school and middle school shows at the Bathhouse like Lebensraum, 12 Angry Jurors, You Never Can Tell, Around the World in 80 Days, Room Service, and Future Files.

Thanks for your support.

-Keith Dahlgren, Managing Director

Monday, June 7, 2010

The reviews are in!

We've only got four more performances of our hottest show of the season. Get your tickets now before they sell out!

"SPT understands the difference between schmaltzy and winsome, and goes squarely for the latter" - Seattle Weekly

"Director Shana Bestock has pulled together a little gem of a play" - Seattle Gay News

"A charming play ... very fast-paced, amusing and inventive" -

"[An] elegant production ... simply honest and sincere" - Seattle Times reader comment

"A look at love's familiar travails ... a petite soufflé of a play" - The Seattle Times

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From the Artistic Director

Our 2009-2010 season is coming to a close. Tonight is the preview performance for Mat Smart's The 13th of Paris, and tomorrow night is Opening Night!

Candace Vance and Frank Lawler in The 13th of Paris - Photo by Paul Bestock

This beautiful and funny story of love and life was directed by our own Artistic Director Shana Bestock. She will be a regular contributor to Backstage at SPT, and here is her first offering, with thoughts on the show that closes out our season:

After a season of psychological complexity and tension, we deserve to celebrate Spring! You, our wonderful Seattle Public audience, journeyed with us this season to the dark recesses of the soul. Now we get dessert – a fresh new play that takes timeless themes and spins an original story filled with humor, beauty, and joy.

This play is about the unlikely ways we find love. When I think of love in Paris, I think of Casablanca, of splendor and sweep and passion. But the 13th arrondissement is a modest neighborhood of immigrant working classes, more functional than fabulous. Is this the place to set a romance?

The 13th of Paris is a playful, visceral, quirky perspective on timeless big questions. The play is about how love can be as simple and beautiful as an inside joke.

Love is possible anywhere. You don’t need Paris. Find your own words, put pen to paper. Love takes guts, and luck, but mostly just practice. Whether you are in love with a person, a place, a community - perhaps the joy of this play will inspire you to write a love letter. I hope so.

Trick Danneker and Emily Chisholm in The 13th of Paris - Photo by Paul Bestock

Friday, May 14, 2010

Write a love letter to Seattle Public Theater!

Love, says Jacques in The 13th of Paris, only needs one thing every day to grow stronger. One new, romantic, delicate, small, big, noisy, quiet, strange thing. What was that thing for you today?

In the spirit of the show, we are inviting you to write love letters to Seattle Public Theater.

For example...
Dear Seattle Public Theater,
Somehow my love for you has grown deeper since I walked from my car to the lake. Your doors open the door to my heart. Please forgive me for missing a show last season; I was distracted and foolishly thought there were more important things in the world than entering into the magic of the Bathhouse and your warm embrace. Yours, a subscriber

But if you want to write a letter to someone or something else - your significant other, your pet, Green Lake - we want those too! The important thing is to put pen to paper, find a moment of stillness in your busy day, and listen to your heart. Remember Jacques' words: "The only eloquence in this letter is because of the love I feel for you".

With your permission, we'll share as many of your letters as we can on our lobby bulletin board and here on our blog. And at the end of the run, our staff will pick a winner, and the author will win a romantic pairing of wine and chocolate! Share your love of SPT and live the spirit of The 13th of Paris!

Details: Love letters, romantic, silly, or otherwise, but definitely please keep them PG-rated. Letters received by Sunday, June 13th, 2010 (the closing performance of the show and our season) will be eligible to win. Although you can request anonymity, please include your full name and contact information to be eligible for our prize package. To protect your privacy, this information will not be made public. Post a comment here on this blog post , e-mail to:, mail to: Seattle Public Theater Attn: Love Letters, 7312 West Green Lake Dr. N, Seattle, WA 98103 -- or write one at our love letter table in the Bathhouse lobby during the run of the show!

We look forward to reading and sharing your love letters!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Play-A-Part 2010 - A Night in Paris!

Last Sunday we held our annual Play-A-Part fundraising auction at downtown Seattle's FareStart Restaurant. It was a great success, raising almost $30,000 to support our mainstage and educational programs! Thank you to everyone who attended - your generosity is vital to our organization. Thanks to you, we are gearing up for our 10th summer youth program, featuring no less than 6 fully youth-produced shows, and this fall, our 10th season at the Bathhouse on Green Lake!

Check out these photos from our wonderful event:

Our rock star volunteers at the registration table

SPT supporters check out the silent auction

The bidding wars begin

Auctioneer extraordinaire David Silverman

More than 100 people came out to wine, dine and support Seattle Public Theater!

More photos can be found on our Facebook page!

All photos by Kyna Shilling

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

From the Managing Director

A note (the first of many!) from Managing Director Keith Dahlgren:

The 13th of Paris is the last show of our 2009-2010 season and it’s been a great year. The 13th of Paris will round it out with a bang, or perhaps a kiss.

We here at Seattle Public Theater are rightfully proud of this Seattle premiere production for many reasons. It’s a charming, funny, satisfying piece of theater. Most of the actors you may have seen on this stage before, some are new to us, and all are top notch. And of course, we get to present it to you, our discerning audience.

I just want to thank you for your support as theatergoers. There is so much theater in the Puget Sound area, from small wild fringe venues to the big regional houses to the national touring shows…and you have chosen to attend our little neighborhood theater. And in this economy we know how hard it is to make the choice to attend live theater. Thank you. We continue to exist and make art and community because you keep showing up for us.

Live performance is the only art form that must create its venue, its marketing, and its audience, before it can really create its art. We do it backwards. We have to sell it first, and then create and present it, and then it is gone. Without an audience at that very moment of performance, we affect no one, and we have no art. We rely on our patrons to assist us with the up-front costs. If you help us with our cause, you help assure more risk-taking, provocative, thoughtful theater in the future.

So, help us out by buying a subscription to our excellent 2010-2011 season. Buy another for a friend and bring them along for an evening of inspiration and ideas. Consider a donation to Seattle Public Theater. Ask your company to match it. Send our website address ( to someone you know.
Most of all, keep attending. Thanks.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Welcome to Backstage at SPT!

Journey behind the scenes at Seattle Public Theater with Backstage at SPT, our new blog! We'll be bringing you special updates, rehearsal photos, interviews with cast and crew, deep thoughts from our Managing and Artistic Directors, and other exciting tidbits that you won't get anywhere else. You'll get an inside look at our 6-show mainstage season, which runs fall through spring, and our incomparable youth education program that runs 365 days a year!

Our staff is currently hard at work planning for our 2010 Play-a-Part Auction, A Night in Paris, this Sunday, May 2nd at FareStart Restaurant in downtown Seattle. Watch this space next week for a round-up with photos and a final tally of how much we raised to support our community programs!

So add Backstage at SPT to your favorite blog/RSS reader and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!