‘Broadway at Boren’ kicks off Newcastle Days

September 4, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 4, 2015

Max Willoughby needed to get in character.

So, the 10-year-old Newcastle resident let out a repeated “ribbit.” He was, after all, playing a frog in one of the numbers at the upcoming musical revue, “Broadway at Boren.”

By Christina Corrales-Toy Candace Larson, a choreographer for the ‘Broadway at Boren’ musical performance, leads local actors through rehearsal at the Seattle Revival Center on Aug. 29. ‘Broadway at Boren’ is at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Lake Boren Park.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Candace Larson, a choreographer for the ‘Broadway at Boren’ musical performance, leads local actors through rehearsal at the Seattle Revival Center on Aug. 29. ‘Broadway at Boren’ is at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Lake Boren Park.

Willoughby joined five other local performers at the Seattle Revival Center on Aug. 29 for rehearsal of the show at Lake Boren Park. A cast of community members will dance and belt out tunes from various hit musicals in the hourlong “Broadway at Boren” spectacular at 7 p.m. Sept. 11. Read more

Playwright offers tales from the heart

July 1, 2011

“I went to a vocational school that was me and like 2,500 guys,” Elena Hartwell remembered with a laugh. It was there the high school dropout from San Diego learned to become an auto mechanic.

Elena Hartwell speaks talks about

By Dave Hastings Elena Hartwell talks about writing her first play as an auto mechanic without a high school diploma.

She was 17, and although working on cars was not her lifelong dream, it was work. The days were filled with grease, oil and motors, but after work — and wiping the grease from her fingers — Hartwell became an artist.


It was during these years that she completed her first full-length script for the stage: “Fast Ducks.” The story followed several people in a diner, exploring their relationships with one another. The play took place in a town in which residents raced ducks.

“Inspiration strikes in strange ways,” Hartwell said with a laugh, adding that she wrote the script not knowing anything about theater.

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Patriot Players perform unfinished Charles Dickens novel

April 21, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. April 21, 2011

When Charles Dickens died from a stroke in 1870, he left his latest novel, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” unfinished.

The novel languished until 1985, when American-British composer and author Rupert Holmes transformed it into a musical. To him, it didn’t matter that the novel’s murder mystery remained unsolved. Instead, he decided to let the audience vote, giving the show a possible 476 whodunit endings.

Liberty High School’s Patriot Players, under the guidance of directors Katherine Klekas and Eia Waltzer, have taken on “Drood” with gusto, given that it involves danger, romance and cross-dressing actors.

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Hazelwood teams with Youth Theatre Northwest for ‘Pinocchio’

April 1, 2011

Hazelwood Elementary School teamed up with Mercer Island-based stage company Youth Theatre Northwest early this year for a production of “Pinocchio.” The students performed the play March 10 during an assembly for students and March 11 in the evening for parents.

The production featured a cast and crew of 40 Hazelwood students, and for the first time since the school moved into its new building in 2005, the play was performed at the school instead of at Renton’s IKEA Performing Arts Center.

Mercer-Island-based theater company Youth Theatre Northwest brought costumes to Hazelwood Elementary School for its production of ‘Pinocchio.’ By Tim Pfarr

“We just really wanted to try doing it at school and see how it went,” said Hazelwood Elementary PTSA Vice President Gretchen Paletta, who chaired and coordinated the play. “It worked great, especially to have the assembly for the kids. It’s fun for the kids in the cast to get to perform in front of their friends.”

This was also the first time the school worked with an external theater company to produce a play. Theater-savvy parent Mark Smith directed plays from 2007-2009, but when his children moved to middle school, the school found itself in a pickle.

Paletta’s daughter, Maya Paletta, had acted in two Youth Theatre Northwest productions, so Paletta teamed up with the theater company’s Show to Go program, in which the company brings a director, sets, costumes and scripts to the school.

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Soprano soars to stardom

February 4, 2011

UPDATED — 5 p.m. Feb. 17, 2011

Local opera singer cast in leading roles internationally

Petra Sovcovova stars as the Widow Corney in ‘Oliver!’ alongside Kevin Benedict, who plays Mr. Bumble. By Nicolase Mallat*

Although she claims she’s never shattered glass using only her disciplined soprano pitches, few other things appear unattainable for local, up-and-coming opera star Petra Sovcovova.

Born in Redmond and now a resident of Newcastle, Sovcovova said she has been in six productions so far in her young career and has travelled to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy to perform in operatic productions.

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Local actor channels bully in ‘A Christmas Story’

December 7, 2010

NEW — 1:41 p.m. Dec. 7, 2010

All 9-year-old Ralphie Parker wants for Christmas is “an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.”

While he impatiently waits for Santa Claus to bring him the BB gun for the holidays, the star of the new 5th Avenue Theatre musical production of “A Christmas Story, The Musical!” has to deal with a foil his own age: bully Scut Farkus, played by Newcastle 13-year-old Ashton Herrild.

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