Monthly Archives: September 2008

‘Abridged,’ Over Troubled Waters

First, Western Washington Center for the Arts condensed all 28 William Shakespeare plays into 2 1/4 hours of loony fun in their current production, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” (which is very funny, by the way).

Now, Changing Scene Theatre Northwest is doing the same thing, only different. Their fall offering will be The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s (writers Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor) attempt to relate 600 years of American history in 6,000 seconds (or thereabout) in “The Complete History of America (Abridged).”

And, since it was such a success for their “Summerplay 2008” festival, CTSN will be back at the Panda Inn, 4180 Kitsap Way in Bremerton, for the show’s run, offering dinner-and-show or lunch-and-show packages.

Directed by Darren Hembd, the show will run Oct. 24 to Nov. 8, with dinner shows Fridays and Saturdays (dinner 6:30 p.m., show 7 p.m.) and lunch-and-laugh performances Saturdays (12:30 p.m. food, 1:30 p.m. funny stuff). There’s also a Thursday evening show Oct. 30. No dinner show Oct. 25, and — to keep your evening open for trick-or-treatin’ — no show Oct. 31.

The show and a full Chinese meal run $25, and reservations are required, because there are only so many seats in the venue and only so many woks in the kitchen. There will be a limited number of “show-only” tickets sold at the door, unless the eaters already have bought them all up.

Information: (360) 792-792-8601,

More later … — MM

Ski Bums, to the Cinema With You

Warren Miller ‘s annual cinematic salute to all things snowy — this one’s titled “Warren Miller’s Children of Winter” — will screen on Nov. 19 and 20 (8 p.m. each night) at the Admiral Theatre , 515 Pacific Ave. in downtown Bremertron.

The film also will show at lesser venues around the Pacific Northwest, including McCaw Hall in Seattle (Nov. 21 and 22) and the Pantages in Tacoma (Nov. 15 and 16). But the Admiral’s closer, and tickets are cheaper, to boot.

More later … — MM

I Miss Paul Newman Already …

I’ll be digging out some of his old movies ASAP. We lost not only a great actor, but a truly good and useful person.

Of all the great Newman movies I need to revisit, the one I need to see first has him in only a supporting role — Mel Brooks ‘ "Silent Movie." His ability to poke fun at has own persona made that whole movie for me.

I wish it was possible to take the amount of class Paul Newman had and distribute it among some of the current "Young Hollywood" crew.

More later … — MM

Maybe Elwood P. Dowd Really Was Just Seeing Things

For the second straight year, licensing problems have forced CSTOCK to take Mary Chase’s classic comedy "Harvey" off the season schedule.

"Harvey" was bumped from the 2007-08 slate sort of at the last minute, forcing director Albert Guerra to come up with a replacement — which turned out to be "Play On!" The search is on for a Plan B play to fill CSTOCK’s spring slot, April 24 to May 17. Whatever it is, Guerra will direct.

You’ve gotta wonder if CSTOCK will take another shot at "Harvey" in 2009-10, or leave it to the rumpots and crackpots …

More later … — MM

Play, Play, Play, Played Out: Parts Three and Four

Man, my butt hurts. But my heart is light …

All right, enough of that. My four-plays-in-three-days regime is over, with stops Sunday in Gig Harbor (for "Arsenic and Old Lace " at Paradise Theatre ) and Silverdale (for "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer " at CSTOCK ). Both continue for several more weekends, as do the earlier shows in this little bit of 4-in-3 foolishness — the Jewel Box ‘s "Play It Again, Sam " and Key City Public Theatre ‘s "Working ."

"Arsenic" is anything but poisonous. It features a lovely set and costumes. Some of the acting is a little thin, but both Mary Lou Mills and Liz Tomski , who play the lovable, murderous old Aunties, are charming, and Howard Knickerbocker has a ball playing Teddy.

But my favorite of the day, easily — and it could’ve been a snoozer, considering it was my fourth show of the weekend — was "Tom Sawyer," a show full of life and fun and great singing … and even a little good ol’ suspense. Tremendous performers by all three of the youngsters in the leads — Justin Williams as Tom, Allison Verhofstadt as Becky and Bryson Breakey as Huck.

You can read full reviews of all four of this weekend’s openings at Then you can get on the horn and get yourself some tickets for next weekend. There’s not a loser in the bunch.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going home to ice my backside.

More later … — MM

Play, Play, Play, Play: Part Two

It’s a lot more fun driving up to Port Townsend when the weather’s nice. But even on a rainy night, it’s fun to stop in and see what the folks at Key City Public Theatre have cookin’. This time it was "Working ," Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso ‘s adaptation of the stories in Studs Terkel’s book of the same name. I liked it, but it wasn’t my favorite thing they’ve done there (a full review will be posted at as soon as I can wring one out ). Methinks a "full" sound is a tough thing to shoot for in that tiny little theatre, and the end result, too often, is just "loud."

An added plus of seeing a play in PT on a Saturday night is that you get to listen to "Little Steven’s Underground Garage " on 103.7 "The Mountain" on the way home. Best show on radio. Good music, the musings of host Steve Van Zandt … and I always learn something I didn’t know about rock ’n’ roll, as well. I should probably write a Rave …

Later today, it’s Parts Three and Four: "Arsenic and Old Lace " at Paradise in Gig Harbor at 3 p.m., then up to Silverdale for CSTOCK ‘s "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer " at 6 p.m. That white streak you see whizzing past you northbound on Highway 16 late this afternoon will be me (just joking, State Patrol).

More later … — MM

Play, Play, Play, Play: Part One

The first of a four-plays-in-three-days regimen is in the books, the lead-off batter got a hit.

The Jewel Box Theatre ‘s production of Woody Allen’s comedy "Play It Again, Sam " is lots of fun, with good performances by all seven in the cast. Special kudos, though, to Ashley Hurd (in the Woody Allen part), who is likeable, sympathetic, totally neurotic and never over the top. He manages to be the character Woody wrote, without ever aping Woody (who played it both on Broadway and in the movie). Overall, director David Siskin ‘s got a great cast to work with, and the result is a pretty brisk (90 minutes) evening of rapid-fire laughs. (A full review is posted at

So, good start. Tonight’s Part Two is "Working " at Key City Public Theatre up in Port Townsend. Then Sunday, we have a doubleheader: "Arsenic and Old Lace " at the Paradise Theatre in Gig Harbor at 3 p.m., then back to Silverdale (please look the other way, State Patrolmen) for a 6 p.m. curtain of CSTOCK ‘s "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ." The review for "Working" should be posted at Sunday before noon, and the Paradise and CSTOCK reviews will be up late Sunday evening.

THERE IS SPACE FOR COMMENTS, PEOPLE !! So if you saw something I didn’t see and want to comment, or agree or disagree, or correct something, or add an observation of your own, you can do so both on the Web site and on this here Blog.

Oh, and if you’re looking for me late Sunday night, I’ll be home receiving treatment for a severe case of Loge Butt. Comes with the territory …

More later … — MM

What a Trade: Give Warmth, Get Music

The Charleston Music Venue , Bremertron’s all-ages music place at 333 N. Callow, has a huge six-band lineup for Sept. 19, including Redemption City , Beneath All Kaos , Arsenal Way , Havoc Laden , Sloppy Joes & Car Bombs and Courage For A Lion .

And, they’ve got a cool … er, make that warm … promotion going on that night, too; admission is $7, but you get in free with the donation of a slightly used coat or sweater. You can help yourself to a whole night of music, and help somebody else to have a warmer winter.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Information:

More later … — MM

Performance to Benefit Stricken Actor

A “readers theater”-style performance of Neil Simon’s “Fools” will be performed at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at Bremerton Community Theatre, 599 Lebo Blvd., as a benefit for Port Orchard resident and longtime local community theater actor Pasha Phares .
Phares, 40, acted in Performing Arts Guild of South Kitsap’s production of “Fools” 20 years ago. He was set to play the lead in a benefit performance of local playwright Rob Woutat’s “Homo Domesticus” last February when he was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer.
Performers for the Sept. 21 performance, directed by Linda Jensen, include Ray Deuel, Lisa McGill, Becky McKee, Carl Olson, Matt tucker, Ron Cummins, Jerry Snyder, Sherry Knox, Annette Connor, Eric Wise and John Jensen. All have worked with Phares in local productions since his first outing with PAGSK in 1986.
The evening also will include a silent auction of donated goods during the intermission. Separate donations to the Pasha Phares Fund can be made at Wells Fargo Bank branches.
Information: (360) 598-6914 .