2019 in Review: Stage

In 2019, stages big and small showcased the incredible talent of local performers and national and international acts, and Spokane audiences supported theater, comedy, dance and more.

Here’s a look back at some of the events that wowed us and made us laugh, think and maybe even cry in 2019.

In January, Spokane Civic Theatre opened “The Memory of Water” and “You Can’t Take It With You,” plus a three-show run of “Follies.” Stage Left Theater opened “The Controversy of Valladolid,” and Lake City Playhouse brought “She Loves Me” to its stage.

The touring production of “The Lion King” took over the First Interstate Center for the Arts, and Cirque Zuma Zuma stopped by the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, as did “Whose Live Anyway?” featuring comedians Greg Proops, Jeff B. Davis, Dave Foley and Joel Murray. Comedian Josh Sneed performed at the Spokane Comedy Club, and Spokane Children’s Theatre opened “The Snow Queen.”

In February, Molly Allen’s “Closing It Up,” which initially appeared at Stage Left Theater, and Spokane Civic Theatre’s “Bug” competed, and won big, at the Kaleidoscope Theatre Festival in Prosser.

The “man of 10,000 sound effects” Michael Winslow performed at the 219 Lounge in Sandpoint, while primatologist Mireya Mayor presented “National Geographic Live – Pink Boots and a Machete” at the FICA. Whitney Cummings and Shawn Wayans headlined the comedy club, while the little ones were entertained by “PJ Masks Live: Save the Day” at the Spokane Arena and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live: King for a Day” at the Fox.

All the while, Christian Youth Theatre North Idaho, Aspire Community Theatre, Ignite! Community Theatre and Spokane Civic Theatre all opened shows, and “My Favorite Toy Way Dirt,” a one-man show written by the late Patrick McManus, was performed at Spokane Community College.

March welcomed comedians Monica Nevi, Kelsey Cook and Bill Engvall to town, as well as the touring productions of “Stomp” and “Legally Blonde: The Musical” to the FICA. Extreme filmmaker Bryan Smith also stopped by the FICA with his show “Nat Geo Live! Capturing the Impossible.”

In the theater world, Christian Youth Theatre Spokane opened “Aladdin Jr.,” Ignite! Opened “King Lear” and Lake City Playhouse brought “True West” to the stage. Civic opened “The Flick” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” while the Spokane Civic Theatre Academy opened “The Rehearsal.”

In April, Jim Gaffigan headlined the arena, while David Guttenfelder brought “Nat Geo Live: A Rare Look: North Korea to Cuba” to the FICA. Shen Yun and the Illusionists also graced the FICA stage, and West Coast Entertainment announced its 2019-20 and that “Hamilton” was coming to Spokane during the 2020-2021 season.

StageWest Community Theatre opened “The Savannah Sipping Society,” and Ignite! produced “Bloody Murder.” Civic produced a three-show run of “Moby Dick: The Musical,” and Aspire Community Theatre opened “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

In May, William Shatner appeared at the FICA after a screening of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn,” while the annual “Listen to Your Mother” was performed at the Bing Crosby Theater. Ventriloquist Terry Fator performed at Northern Quest, and the kiddos took in “Paw Patrol Live!: The Great Pirate Adventure” at the FICA.

Spokane Children’s Theater, Children’s Youth Theater-Spokane, Christian Youth Theater-North Idaho, Civic, Lake City Playhouse, Liberty Lake Community Theatre and Stage Left Theatre all opened shows.

In June, Lilac City Figure Skating Club proved Eagles Ice Arena is a stage, too, with its Iceadelics Ice Show “Dream Big.” In its 31st year, Spokane Civic Theatre’s Playwrights’ Forum Festival premiered at the theater, and Spokane Youth Ballet had its summer concert at the Fox.

Spokane Community College’s People Accessing Careers and Education program had its fifth-annual PACE Has Got Talent showcase at the SCC Lair Auditorium, while Ignite! opened “Bottom’s Up,” Spokane Valley Summer Theatre opened “Always, Patsy Cline,” and Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer, aka Cat and Nat, brought Confession Sessions to the Knitting Factory.

 July saw productions of “The Sound of Music,” “Cabaret,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “Tom Sawyer,” “Sally Cotter and the Quest We Follow,” “Spring Awakening,” “Menopause: The Musical” and “Oklahoma!”

Montana Shakespeare in the Park performed in Sandpoint and Liberty Lake; actor/writer/director Jay Chandrasekhar and comedian Pete Lee headlined the comedy club; and Jay Owenhouse, the authentic illusionist, performed at the Fox.

In August, Greg Proops, Nick Swardson, Shane Mauss, Carmen Lynch and Karlous Miller stopped by the comedy club. Laura Little Theatricals produced “First Date,” while productions of “Mamma Mia,” “Buried Child” and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” hit area stages.

Theater Fest, an afternoon of mini performances from performing arts organizations in town organized by Spokane Arts, the Downtown Spokane Partnership and the Spokane Symphony, took over the Fox and the Bing.

September saw a new wave of productions, including Civic’s “Matilda” and “The Book of Will,” Ignite’s “See How They Run,” Lake City Playhouse’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Stage Left’s “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot,” Redbird’s “Into the Woods” and Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox’s “Madame Butterfly” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World.”

Tig Notaro headlined the Bing, and Joe Machi, Mark Curry and Brad Williams all performed at the comedy club. AirAligned and Spokane Aerial Performance Arts stopped by the Bing, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham performed at Northern Quest, and Taylor 2 Dance Company performed at the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center.

October welcomed productions of “Casablanca,” a female version of “The Odd Couple,” “The Threepenny Opera,” “Miss Saigon,” “Matilda,” “A Place to Call Home,” “The Addams Family,” “The Music Man Jr.,” “Yankee Tavern” and “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till.”

Brothers and zoologists Martin and Chris Pratt brought “Wild Kratts Live” to the FICA, and “Disney On Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party” entertained little ones at the arena. The One Heart Native Arts and Film Festival returned to the Bing, as did Paula Poundstone and TEDxSpokane. Bedtime Stories Spokane brought Northwest authors together at the Spokane Club to share short stories written specifically for the event, all in support of Humanities Washington.

November saw a number of holiday-related production, including Civic’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Lake City Playhouse’s “A Christmas Story: The Musical.” Cirque Dreams Holidaze performed at the FICA, and actor/comedian Chevy Chase stopped by the Fox on Nov. 29 after a screening of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

Civic also opened “This is Our Youth,” Christian Youth Theater North Idaho performed “Seussical,” Stage Left opened “Venus in Fur” and performed “The Lonely Soldier Monologues: Women at War in Iraq,” and Ignite presented “The Cemetery Club.”

Magician Nick Norton, his wife and assistant Amanda and Dr. Cosmos brought “Phantasm – An Evening of Magic!” to the Fox, and Lance Burton performed at Northern Quest. David Sedaris headlined the Bing, and the touring production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” stopped by the FICA.

Vicki Barbolak, Josh Blue, Jamie Kennedy and Gilbert Gottfried all headlined the comedy club.

Finally in December, Moscow Community Theater performed “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” while Pullman Community Theatre and Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre brought “A Christmas Carol” to its stage. State Street Ballet and the Spokane Symphony once again teamed up to perform “The Nutcracker,” while “Traditions of Christmas” returned to the Salvation Army Kroc Center. StageWest performed Lux Radio Theatre’s “Miracle on 34th Street,” and actor David zum Brunnen performed the one-man play “The Night Before Christmas Carol” at the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center.


Read the article here.

Article by Azaria Podplesky of the Spokesman-Review