Friday, April 25, 2008

What DO people do all day?

We opened Busytown this past Friday. Busytown was written by Kevin Kling and is based on the Richard Scarry book What Do People Do All Day? So, we got the great idea to start asking that question around here, and all throughout the run of Busytown we'll be sharing the responses of SCT staff and artists with you. Today, our first entry in the series:

What do I do all day?

There's no such thing as a typical day for me.

For instance, last Saturday, I taught two classes of Physical Comedy, substituting for Keni Cohen, who is our physical comedy teacher extraordinaire. About twenty students from 9-12 years old learned how to fall down, trip and roll and throw their backs out, bang their heads against a door, and not pick up a piece of paper.

Then I tried to finish casting Summer Season, which means taking the 222 great young people who auditioned and fitting them into 112 roles for our student productions. That stretched my brain a bit. I love matching up a great part with a great actor. Not so great when you realize you may have to say 'no' to somebody. So, I spent a day writing 'no' letters, trying to let people know that they have worth and talent and dignity, no matter what I may think of their suitability for this year's Summer Season.

I'm emailing back and forth with an excellent fight choreographer who will, I hope, work on the fights in High School Hamlet (one of our summer shows), and an equally skilled and gifted dialect coach, to teach the actors the distinctive Alan Ayckbourn rhythms of Ernie's Incredible Illucinations (another summer show).

I spend a lot of time trying to think up things; ideas for Summer Season shows, sometimes ideas for new classes or other events, better lines in the scripts I'm working on -- I'm writing revisions of High School Hamlet and the swordfighting extravaganza Vesuvia! And just at this moment I'm trying to think of an exciting and entertaining way to introduce the Summer Season to our board of trustees. Last year, I wrote a parody of the song Suppertime from Little Shop of Horrors, a musical we produced last summer (sing along if you know the tune):

It's the last board meeting now,
You think your work's almost done,
Just got to balance the books,
Then go off and have some fun
But I've got news for you:
It's summer season time

This year, I'm thinking of a more dialogue approach, with some of our young actors playing me and Karen Sharp, our education director, in a summer season planning meeting.

Like . . . .

Karen: Don, I have some concerns about Urinetown as the summer musical. Is it appropriate?
Don: Yeah, I was concerned about that, too.
Karen: And it's the last show of summer season . . .
Don: Right. What would the next show on the stage be? The first mainstage show?
Karen: Um, Night of the Living Dead, I think.
Don: Oh.

I like all the parts of my job: writing, auditioning, planning the season, coming up with ideas. But my favorite part is rehearsing the shows; when I get to be inspired by young actors and do my best to inspire them in return, and when we both get to test our ideas and talents in front of an audience. Only a few months away now . . .

Don Fleming
Summer Season Producer

Monday, April 21, 2008

Busytown tiny sneaky peek

Our world premiere of Busytown, based on What do people do all day? by Richard Scarry and written by Kevin Kling, opens this Friday April 25th, and we are incredibly excited. Not only has it been an opportunity to work with the wonderful Kling, but we are absolutely convinced young and old will love the singing, dancing and fun of Busytown.

A few weeks ago, we held a photo shoot during rehearsals, and while our photographer Chris Bennion was busy with the actors, Behind the Curtain crept around the periphery getting close-up snapshots of props, set and models. And we wanted to share this tiny sneaky peek behind-the-scenes with you.

Come and check out the amazing puppets of Puppet Master Douglas Paasch, the colorful sets of Scenic Designer Jennifer Lupton and the vibrant costumes of Costume Designer Cathy Hunt, not to mention the dances of Choreographer Marianne Roberts and the sounds and music of Sound Designer Chris Walker, Music Director Mark Rabe and Composer Michael Koerner.

And let us not forget the delightful ensemble, pictured here during rehearsal.

Auston James, Lisa Estridge, Khahn Doan, Matt Wolfe, Allen Galli and Don Darryl Rivera in rehearsal for Busytown. Photo by Chris Bennion.

Busytown opens April 25th and runs through June 15th in the Charlotte Martin Theatre at Seattle Children's Theatre.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coolest. Quilt. Ever.

Backstage 2008: SCT's Neverending Story is right around the corner. This fun yet sophisticated evening will bring together 500 guests comprised of corporate executives, political figures, and philanthropists in our region, for a celebration of children’s theatre on Monday, April 28.

One of the most exciting events of the evening is always the auction. A few months back we gave you a sneak peek at the guitar signed by Heart, but the item we want to show you today may even trump that (heart, trump, get it? no? oh, well).

This one-of-a-kind piece of art is the brainchild of Cora Brown from our Costume Shop. She wanted to find a fun way to help bring money into the theatre, and to build community within the theatre, and so recruited SCT staff and artists to create and donate panels for a quilt.

The project has been months in the making. Recruits created their panels in the fall. Many of them related to favorite shows from this season...

...or from seasons past.

The final product is really beautiful. It has been hanging at SCT since the Costume Shop completed it, and we're going to be hard-pressed to let it go. But go it will, to the highest bidder in less than two weeks.

If you want to come and bid on this gorgeous quilt or just enjoy an evening with other people that love and support the arts, you can find out more about Backstage 2008 at our website.

Special thanks to all who contributed to this wonderful quilt (by quilt panel, left to right, top to bottom): Colleen Guinn, Lead Electrician and Eve Alvord Light Board Operator; Rosie Currier, Education Intern; Linda-Jo Greenberg, Production Stage Manager and Company Manager; Edie Whitsett, Property Shop Manager; Andrea Randall, Education Programs Coordinator, and her fiance Scott Ichikawa; Morgan Rowe, Actor (BFG) and SCT Teaching Artist; Shellie Moomey, Costume Shop First Hand; Erin Perona, Wardrobe Master; Peter Crook, Actor (Hamlet); Shelley Saunders, Interim Managing Director; Rigmor Vohra, Costume Shop Draper; Cora Brown, Costume Shop Stitcher/Crafts Assistant; Scott Gray, Costume Shop Crafts Person; Rana Webber, Costume Shop Manager; The CAST II class from SCT's Drama School; Brooke O'Neal, Individual Giving Manager; Kurchta Rae Harding, Lead Stagehand for the Eve Alvord Theatre; Torrie MacDonald, Literary and Publications Manager; Cora Brown, Costume Shop Stitcher/Crafts Assistant; Lucinda Wilder, Ticket Office Manager; Trilby Hainstock, Lead Properties Artisan; Rigmor Vorha, Costume Shop Draper; Lauren Graham, Lead Electrician and Charlotte Martin Light Board Operator; Shellie Moomey, Costume Shop First Hand; Rita Giomi, Artistic Associate; Andrea Randall, Education Program Coordinator; Emily McLaughlin, Wardrobe Assistant; Sarah S. Mixson, Assistant Production Stage Manager; Ellie McKay, Education Programs Assistant; Andy Jensen, Education Programs Administrative Manager.