Spokesman: Civic brings art to stage beat by beat, part by part

The art of making art

Is putting it together,

Bit by bit

Beat by beat,

Part by part

-Stephen Sondheim

For Spokane Civic Theatre’s this-weekend-only musical revue, Executive Director Jake Schaefer borrowed a phrase from Stephen Sondheim’s 1983 song about making art.

“’Beat by Beat’ is from the song “Putting It Together” from the show ‘Sunday in the Park with George,’ ” Schaefer said. “We started ‘Beat By Beat’ during our 2018-19 season, which was my first season with the company … ‘Beat by Beat’ is a great way to describe how to build anything worthwhile.”

For Civic’s purposes, it’s about building a show of dynamic singers eager to please local audiences who love Broadway musicals. Beat by Beat will offer musical theater lovers “the ole razzle-dazzle,” a dynamic mix of hits, one after another, sung by some of the most promising talents in the area.

“We have an evolving education arm at Civic,” Schaefer said. “The idea is we want people to progress in their interests and skills, beat by beat, like a baseball player at bat.”

“We’re giving a bunch of people an opportunity to perform on stage with tech, a professional band, and an audience,” Schaefer said.


The singers at bat will be “kaleidoscopic,” said Schaefer. From Elizabeth Theriault, who played a punk princess murderer in Bright Comet Theatre’s Lizzie Borden and Eleanor Weitz, who portrayed Veruca Salt in Civic’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to Danny Post, who appeared in Lewis and Clark High School’s Big Fish, and Karlin Kahler, who played Johanna in Spokane Stage Left Theatre’s Sweeney Todd, Civic’s bullpen of talent is deep and wide.

Many of the other players taking the stage are also young, and they, too, have graced Civic’s stage many times in recent years. The cast includes: Sophia Dompier, Jameson Elton, Tyson Fletcher, Noah Graybeal, David Hardie, Jean Hardie, Mari Hirayama, Nathan Hoyt, Josephine Kahler, Mairead Kahler, Delaney Kahler, Karlin Kahler, Siena Lotrario, Liam Lundberg, Jake Maybrier, Mary Ormsby, Nicole Ostlie, Koa Otis, Matt Pope, Lorelai Provolt, Daniel Renz, Lily Savage, Kaylie Scott, Fiona Sheafor-Genereaux, Declan Sheehan, Elias Underhill, Ryan Wasson, and Josh White. Tonya Ballman is music director.

The shows are Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30, both starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s patrons will get an extra enticement: Schaefer will take that opportunity of a packed opening night to announce Civic’s next 77th Season.

“So this show will be a celebration of what’s happening right now, and also what’s to come,” Schaefer said. Tickets are $28 for adults and $15 for students. For more information, go to CivicTickets.com

The production team suggested several of the songs that will be performed, although there are some cast-driven decisions. Among them is the number from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with the cast from Spokane Civic’s Academy show produced last summer. “Why?” Schaefer laughed. “Because the cast took it to (the Washington state Thespian Festival for high schoolers) and they were like, Jake, we wanna do it again!”

Some of the songs chosen are ones that cast members have been working on with their vocal coaches for months.

“It’s almost like a celebration of some of these kids’ studies,” Schaefer explained. “Nicole Ostlie has been traveling around the country for three months auditioning for colleges and (‘Finishing the Hat’ from Sondheim’s ‘Sunday in the Park with George’) is one of her songs.”

The last song will be “Being Human,” composed by Civic’s Resident Music Director Henry McNulty and first sung during 2019’s Beat by Beat musical revue. It’s a fitting piece celebrating everyone’s individual efforts and acknowledging their fears and imperfections.

Though we may disgrace,

We join as one

Like rivers run

Together at the sea.

That’s what it means to be a human being.



If You Go

‘Beat by Beat,’ a musical revue; plus unveiling of Season 77 titles

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Spokane Civic Theatre, 1020 N. Howard St., Margot and Robert Ogden Main Stage

Tickets: $28 adults; $15 students ages 3-25;

Info: spokanecivictheatre.com


Read the full article here

Article by Audrey Overstreet

Photos by Ryan Wasson