August 18, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 33
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Sunday, May 09, 2021



Bits & Bytes
Marian McPartland returns to Jazz Alley, Rewind 1987 offers great, giddy fun, Silent Movie Mondays delights film fans
by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

As we reach the mid-month mark for August, the Emerald City seems to be brimming over with interesting stage choices. Not all are four star events and many-to tell the truth-have limited appeal. But for serious entertainment fans there is a seemingly non-stop list of choices. Check out the new shows, scan the "last chance" section, pay attention to the "opening soon" items-have a good time with this week's Bits&Bytes.


Pianist Marian McPartland-a "living legend" in the jazz world-returns to Jazz Alley with performances through Sunday night. At 88, she has been performing professionally for 65 years, an incredible record matched by few jazz performers. As host of NPR's popular Piano Jazz series, she has become one of the most famous names in the jazz and music world.

McPartland-an incredible performer and a delightful person on and off stage-plays two shows tonight and Saturday and one show, at 7:30 p.m., on Sunday. Ticket details, reservations and full information at 441-9729.


Seattle has a new interactive theatrical event-think of the long running Tony & Tina's Wedding-and Bits&Bytes got invited. And had a great time.

Rewind 1987 Party and Homecoming Dance continues Saturday nights through the end of September at the Last Supper in Pioneer Square. The show was a long-running hit in Los Angeles and the Seattle producer-one of the driving forces behind the zany Vern Fonk Insurance commercials-expects the show to be "an even bigger hit in Seattle."

An enthusiastic ready-to-party crowd obviously enjoyed the show last Saturday night. The cast of characters-"students" and "faculty" at a 1987 high school homecoming dance-work hard with the show, a "scripted improv" with audience participation.

The high school geek-Dillard, "the very smart 1987 nerd"-is convinced that "flat phones in the palm of your hand" and the "compacted disk" will be the wave of the future. Amanda, "the bitchy head cheerleader" (and Homecoming Queen hopeful) is well known "from showing her panties at every football game." Her election platform-"I put out 100 per cent at every game&I go all the way for the football team!"-produced hoots and hollers from the younger men in the happy-to-be here audience (most of whom looked like they just finished a stop at Hooters).

The cast works hard to get the audience involved. One "faculty member" was very concerned that this scribe "get up and dance with the kids." Another thanked me for attending-"glad you were willing to be an extra chaperone at the last minute, Mr. Feinstein," he smiled. (It should surprise no loyal Bits&Bytes reader that no one confused me with the high school gang of the 1987 graduating class.)

Fans of interactive theater-including this writer-will have a fun time at Rewind 1987. A veteran of many editions of Tony & Tina's Wedding, Aunt Sylvia's Funeral and multiple "murder mystery dinner theaters," this scribe happily adds Rewind 1987 to the list. (Never got to see Bernie's Bar Mitzvah in New York but there's still hope&.)

Rewind 1987 opened as a dinner theater package but quickly dropped the dinner aspect (and lowered the price accordingly). The Last Supper Club does offer a light menu-snacks, a chicken sandwich, a bacon cheeseburger, French Dip and a full chicken dinner-at reasonable prices. Drinks-an important element for many in improv theater-are good. And the crowd has fun. It's perfect for a birthday group outing, the omnipresent "bachelorette party" crowd, or the going-away party to make sure the guest of honor goes away. Check out Cliff McCloe as "The uptight Football Coach"-he's a veteran of more than 10,000 interactive show performances. As the cast program notes, "no kidding."

Ticket details at 1-888-573-9463. Tell 'em Bits&Bytes sent ya.


Me & My Shadow, the new show in Thumper's Cabaret On The Hill series, is a delight from start to finish. Aaron Shanks and Samuel Pettit-two talented tenors-team with pianist Mara Ostrand for "A Swinging Evening Of Jazz Favorites." The show continues Sunday nights through Aug. 27-just two more weeks.

The two openly-Gay performers play to the crowd with a lot of tongue-in-cheek routines (Cole Porter's "You're The Top" becomes "You're A Top") well balanced with (forgive the term) straight delivery. Shanks' "The Sand And The Sea" lets his bright, clear tenor shine. Pettit's solo with "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" was one of the highlights of the evening.

A trio of "flight" songs was another memorable outing-"Come Fly With Me," "Fly Me To The Moon," "Straighten Up And Fly Right." "Nature Boy" and "Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered" gave Shanks two other highlights. "Mack The Knife" spotlighted Pettit late in the short, 45-minute show. A snappy outing with "Me & My Shadow" ended the evening. Kander & Ebb's "New York, New York"-in English, French, Japanese, German and Swedish-proved to be a terrific encore with a new lyric: "If they can sing it there, they'll sing it anywhere&."

The fun-if short-cabaret continues through Aug. 27. Reservations at 328-3800.


The summer show at Crepe de Paris, All In Her Head, continues to build its audience as word-of-mouth gets out. Lori Woodbury, Marina Jang and Natalie Jones all have terrific voices and get a lot of mileage out of standards from the Great American Songbook-with a few newer tunes.

The revue, with pianist Michael Smith, continues Thursday through Saturday performances at 8 p.m. through Aug. 26 in the Crepe's popular Cabaret At The Crepe series. Details and reservations at 623-4111.

Bits&Bytes revisited the show last weekend and had a fine time once again. A group of spirited women (and two husbands) from a chapter of the Red Hat Society set the upbeat tone for the evening. Check it out.


The Paramount Theatre's popular Silent Movie Mondays Adventure Series continues to delight serious film fans in the Seattle area. Monday's The Prisoner Of Zenda, 1922, found a cheering crowd enjoying the classic adventure. (And-a bonus for GLBT fans-the pre-screening lecture discussed Ramon Navarro's closeted homosexual life and his brutal death at the hands of two Hollywood street hustlers in the late 1960s, the event that "outed" the silent star who was once the lover of the legendary Valentino.)

A newly restored print of Mary Pickford's rarely seen Sparrows, 1926, screens next Monday-Seattle gets the second screening of the new restoration. The Iron Mask, with Douglas Fairbanks, ends the summer series on Aug. 28. The January series features German Expressionist silents.

Tickets are readily available at the Paramount box office.


Playwright Norm Foster is one of Canada's most prolific and popular writers. His 2003 comedy, The Love List, makes its Seattle debut in a production by Red Ribbon Productions continuing through Sept., 2 at the Broadway Performance Hall. The lively-if sparse-opening night audience obviously loved the show, and lightweight fluff clearly has its place in the theater world.

Michael Kelley, director, is artistic director at the Edge Of The World Theatre in Edmonds where Bits&Bytes has had some delightful evenings. One of the three cast members-who all seem to work very hard to punch the laughs-is company manager for Edge, and the whole production seemed to be aimed at an easy-to-please suburban audience.

It will be interesting to see if a Capitol Hill crowd responds to the heartwarming farce. "Be careful what you wish for&" is the ad campaign. Take it to heart. Ticket details at 325-6500.


Edge Of The World Theatre (see above) opens a new show this weekend at its intimate home theater in Edmonds. Tom Ziegler's Grace And Glorie was an off-Broadway hit several seasons back. It tells the heartwarming tale of a "cantankerous" illiterate older woman living with cancer in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Her encounter with a well-intentioned New Yorker who is a volunteer social worker provides the "odd couple crowd-pleaser" with its plot.

"It's a little bit about dealing with death and a whole lot about dealing with life," the theater's flyer notes. Tickets and complete information at 542-PLAY.


Northwest Actor's Studio hosts the Broadway-bound Thursday Night In Baghdad which comes from Las Vegas with rave reviews. The one-woman show, written and starring Marilyn Mayblum, recounts Mayblum's adventures appearing in a Las Vegas-styled revue at Baghdad's Moulin Rouge with her company of dancers in 1985 as the Iran-Iraq war "raged on in the desert night&."

The autobiographical show plays three performances next weekend, Aug. 25-27, with evening shows Friday and Saturday and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. The show moves from Seattle "to Broadway" (most likely off-Broadway) this fall, but the Seattle stop gives Emerald City stage fans a rare-and welcome-chance to see a new show before it reaches New York.

Tickets for all Northwest Actors Studio events are available at 324-6328. The show will use the theater's intimate cabaret space which has a full-service bar. Plan ahead-seating will be limited.


Der Rosenkavalier, moving into its final week at Seattle Opera, returns to the Emerald City using the incredibly gorgeous sets and costumes from the opera's 1997 production. It continues with performances through Aug. 26.

The one matinee, this Sunday, Aug. 20, is sure to be a near sellout-"plan ahead" is the rule for the popular 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets are available in all price ranges for most performances-great reviews have to compete with the many distractions of summer. Students should check out the $20 student rush tickets available two hours before curtain time (subject to availability). Ticket information and sales at 389-7676 or (800) 426-1619 for out-of-area music fans.


Seattle Opera takes a break in the middle of its eight performances of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier for an incredible night featuring eight finalists in Seattle Opera's first International Wagner Competition on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. (Gremlins got into Bits&Bytes' column last week and incorrectly listed the event as Sunday night-it is Saturday, as in tomorrow.)


George Bernard Shaw's stylish social comedy, Heartbreak House, continues at Intiman Theatre at the Seattle Center with evening and select matinee performances through Aug. 26. It has been well received and turns out to be one of the major dramatic successes of the summer.

ACT Theatre hosts Emerald City playwright Elizabeth Heffron's world premiere of Mitzi's Abortion, the in-your-face new work running through Aug. 20 (this Sunday) at ACT in downtown Seattle. Reactions have been mixed, but the show is drawing new patrons to ACT with its controversial topic.

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