From Musicals to Backcountry Bayou – Live Performance is Back!

Steep Canyon Rangers

For months, the stage lights have been dark, the green rooms have been empty, and box offices have stood silent as performing arts venues were closed during the pandemic. Actors, singers, musicians, dancers, magicians and performers of all kinds got creative and offered virtual plays and performances, but they were all simply passing the time until they could be with a live audience again. Come fall we can all rejoice in the return to in-person performances throughout the South Sound. From musicals to backcountry bayou, live performance is back!

In Olympia, the Harlequin will be performing three plays in repertory this fall— Tenderly, the Rosemary Clooney Musical based on the life of Rosemary Clooney, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, and Until the Flood by Pulitzer Prize Finalist Dael Orlandersmith. At the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Boogie from the Bayou, a New Orleans zydeco musical performance is scheduled for late October.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Tacoma’s offerings include Steep Canyon Rangers, a Grammy Award-winning bluegrass sextet, and the play Tribes, which won the 2012 New York Drama Critics Circle Award presented by Tacoma Arts Live. At the grand dame of Tacoma’s theatre scene, the Tacoma Little Theatre, you can find two classics: Terms of Endearment and Clue: On Stage. In Tacoma’s West End they are warming up their vocal cords and stretching out their hipscs-inspired production called All Shook Up, a modern rock ’n roll take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Just to the north, the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center will be presenting a wide array of acts including performances by Irish balladeers The High Kings, Grammy-winning guitarist and singer Robert Cray, country music singer Josh Gracin, and classic rock cover band The Hit Men.

Robert Cray

Circle the weekend of November 5 and 6 to make sure you get a seat to enjoy the feeling of shared laughter. Tacoma Arts Live will be presenting the ever-popular David Sedaris, known best for his appearances on the radio show This American Life. American comedy legend Yakov Smirnoff will make a rare appearance at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center.

Before you know it, Christmas songs will be playing in every store, so take a moment to check out the holiday offerings planned for the South Sound which include A Christmas Carol (Harlequin), The Wizard of Oz (Tacoma Little Theatre), and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild and Swingin’ Holiday Party (Tacoma Arts Live).

So no matter what your preference, there is plenty to pick from this fall from the South Sound’s performing arts venues. See you at the theatre!

For Additional Information and Tickets
harlequinproductions.org
washingtoncenter.org
tacomaartslive.org
tacomalittletheatre.com
tmp.org
fwpaec.org

HILLARY RYAN

Robert Cray comes to Federal Way PAEC

Blues is the foundation of the music of Grammy Award winner Robert Cray. But it’s nearly impossible to limit his talent to one genre when his music is also influenced by traditional American rock, soul, jazz, gospel, funk and R&B.

“When I first started playing guitar, I wanted to be George Harrison. That is, until I heard Jimi Hendrix,” explains Cray. “After that, I wanted to be Albert Collins and Buddy Guy and B.B. King. And then there are singers like O.V. Wright and Bobby Blue Bland. It’s all mixed up in there. You just never know. I always attribute it to the music we grew up listening to and the radio back in the ’60s. It’s pretty wide open. It’s hard to put a tag on it.”

With five Grammys won, 15 nominations received, millions of record sales worldwide, and thousands of sold-out performances, Cray is considered one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. In 2011 he was credited by Rolling Stone with reinventing the blues with the release of his Strong Persuader album in 1986. Cray’s “distinct razor sharp guitar playing” on that album, the magazine wrote, “introduced a new generation of mainstream rock fans to the language and form of the blues.”

That same year, the rock blues icon was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame at the age of 57, making him one of the youngest living legends to receive the prestigious honor. The Hall of Fame recognizes those who have made the blues timeless through performance, documentation, and recording.

Robert Cray will bring his trademark sound and distinct style to the stage at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. With state-of-the-art acoustics, this intimate venue, seating only 700, is the perfect place to showcase Cray’s smooth vocals and expressive guitar solos. by Julie Leydelmeyer

For ticket information:

253.835.7010

Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center

31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S

Federal Way, WA 98003

Visit www.fwpaec.org

Taking The World By Storm

Storm Large has been taking the nation by storm with her singing talent and rock and jazz musical infusions since 1989. Yet most people may not have known about her until 2006 when she was a contestant on the CBS reality television show Rock Star: Supernova. On Friday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m., she will take the Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center by storm.

A native of Southborough, Massachusetts, Large has an extensive musical history that’s taken her all across the United States. Now with eight studio albums and a long list of touring experiences, she’s a master of her craft and of performing. And she’s more than a singer. She’s an actor, musician and author too. She has worked on musicals, one specifically to be performed at the Public Theater in New York City, and her rock performances are examples of her acting talents.

Near the beginning of her musical career, Large moved to Portland, Oregon, with a new career in mind as a chef. But music wasn’t going to let her go so easily. Not long after her move she was singing again, this time in her band. Many saw her in 2010 performing with the Oregon Symphony, and she’s sold out shows multiple times since then.

After performing at Carnegie Hall in 2013, The New York Times called her “sensational.” From her long resume, it looks as if she never takes a break, as if her creative juices are constantly flowing. That’s more than likely true, and even more likely is that no one is complaining.

Her latest album Le Bonheur is like an ode to love itself. Storm Large seems to have found a niche in subject matter that her fans can’t get enough of. Her performance this Dec. 1 in Federal Way will no doubt be exhilarating and moving. Try not to miss it. For ticket information, visit fwpaec.org

JORDAN MARIE MARTINEZ

South Sound Fall Arts 2017

With the days shortening and the weather getting cooler, now is the time to plan your fall arts calendar. No matter what you are interested in, you’ll find outstanding performances in the South Sound this autumn. We’ve selected a few standouts that you shouldn’t miss.

POWERHOUSE VOCALS
Experience a night of electrifying music that traces the journey of American superstar Janis Joplin in A Night with Janis Joplin. You get two chances to see this amazing performance that celebrates the queen of rock ’n’ roll at either the Pantages in Tacoma or the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia.

More amazing vocals are on stage in Piaf! The Show coming to Olympia in October. Focused on legendary Parisian chanteuse Edith Piaf, known as “the swallow of Montmartre,” the show follows the ragsto-riches story of the singer’s career through unforgettable songs, complemented by historical photographs from a bygone day.

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
Are current events getting you down? A night of laughter awaits with The Capitol Steps at the Pantages. “Putting the mock in democracy,” this performance will have you rolling in the aisles as Hillary Clinton sings a show tune, President Trump performs a rock ballad or Chris Christie dances ballet. This lighthearted show will certainly put a smile on your face.

Once you get the taste for comedy, you may be interested in checking out other comedic offerings such as the semifinal round of the Seattle International Comedy Competition at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, and stand-up star in the making Hari Kondabolu, who has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show with David Letterman and who just released his second comedy album with major success.

BACK TO CLASSICS
The brand-new Federal Way Performing Arts Center opens its inaugural season with RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles. It’s been 50 years since Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released and here’s your chance to be immersed in Beatlemania.

Other classics offered this fall include Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s Footloose, Symphony Tacoma’s West Side Story, Lakewood Playhouse’s all-kid performance of Alice in Wonderland, and a chance to belt out “Tomorrow” at the Sing-a-long Annie show at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

You don’t need to go far for great performances that will keep your evenings entertaining this fall. The South Sound is full of amazing choices, so book your tickets soon.

HILLARY RYAN

BROADWAY CENTER
broadwaycenter.org

THE WASHINGTON CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
washingtoncenter.org

FEDERAL WAY PERFORMING ARTS AND EVENTS CENTER
fwarts-eventcenter.org

TACOMA MUSICAL PLAYHOUSE
tmp.org