Last Chance to catch the two current shows at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA: the campy Hollywood musical spoof Kiss Me Quick Before The Lava Reaches The Village and Bells Are Ringing, both ending their scheduled runs June 28.
Lava, which opened June 11, is the final show of the current season's Village Originals at Village Theatre's First Stage in Issaquah, replacing the previously announced Montecristo.
The musical's plot concerns a wannabe Hollywood director trying to resucitate a fading leading lady's career in 1941, with a made in Nebraska film entitled Kiss Me Quick Before The Lava Reaches The Village. The book is by Steve Hayes, with music by Peter Eckstrom and lyrics by Ecksrom & Hayes. Village artistic director Steve Tomkins directs and choreographs, with musical direction by Kim Douglass. Mark Sparks and Judy Ann Moulton head up the cast.
Meanwhile, composer Jule Styne, and librettist/lyricists Betty Comden & Adolph Green's 1956 hit musical, Bells Are Ringing , is having its incredibly-belated NW premiere at The Village Theatre. The show started previews May 13 and opened the next day at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre.
The zany tale of an interfering but well-meaning answering service operator who finds romance over the switchboard was a huge hit of the 1956 Broadway season, especially for its star Judy Holliday who beat out both Julie Andrews (My Fair Lady) and Ethel Merman (Happy Hunting) for the Best Actress In A Musical Tony Award, and leading man Sydney Chaplin, who won in the Featured Actor category, acing out My Fair Lady's Stanley Holloway and Robert Coote. The score, one of Styne's career high-points features "Just In Time", "Long Before I Knew You", "The Party's Over" and the unforgettable eleven o' clock number "I'm Goin' Back."
A new twist in the Village version is the casting of African-American actors in the Holliday/Chaplin roles. Lisa Estridge-Gray, the vivacious Ti Moune of Tacoma Actor's Guild's Once On This Island and shining Bon Marche department store Christmas star in the Cabaret de Paris' annual Forbidden Xmas revues is the answering service charmer Ella Peterson, while Timothy McCuen Piggee, most recently acclaimed for his turn in A Contemporary Theatre's Blues For An Alabama Sky is her boozy playwright beau Jeffrey Moss.
Others in the cast, directed and choreographed by Steve Tomkins include Vanessa Miller, Larry Albert, Clarke Evans, Dan Cooper, Kelly Boulware, Bob DeDea, Heather Benton, Jim Orr, Chris Clay and David Austin.
For tickets and information on Village Theatre shows, call (425) 392-2202.
-- David-Edward Hughes
Seattle Correspondent and David Lefkowitz