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 SeattleActor.com 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

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