Friday, April 26, 2019

Christmas in springtime

Inspecting Carol at Lakewood Playhouse
By Alec Clayton

from left: Dana Galagan as Dorothy, Tyler Petty as Bart, Tim Hoban as Phil, Brittany Griffins as M.J., Jed Slaughter as Wayne, photo by Tim Johnson

Plays about incompetent theater companies putting on bad plays are so common as to be practically a genre of their own. Some are as bad as the absurd performances they satirize, but there have been a few on stage and screen that are outstanding. The classics of this type are Noises Off and the mockumentary film Waiting for Guffman. The Puget Sound region has its own home-grown entry in the genre, Inspecting Carol by Daniel Sullivan and the Seattle Repertory Company, which premiered at the Rep in 1991. Now it comes to Lakewood Playhouse with an outstanding ensemble cast led by Dennis Rolly, Jed Slaughter, Brittany Griffins, Mark Peterson and Shelleigh-Mairi Ferguson, directed by Jen York.
The Soapbox Playhouse has put on the same boring production of A Christmas Carol year after boring year. But this year things go even more wildly awry than usual. The company is broke, the kid playing Tiny Tim (Gunnar Ray as Luther/Tim) is growing up and is way too big for the part, the actor playing Scrooge (Rolly as Larry/Scrooge) wants to do it in Spanish, and the actor play Bob Cratchit (Tim Hoban as Phil/Bob) has had a one-time fling with the company founder and artistic director, Zorah Bloch (Steffanie Foster) who is now trying to seduce the new guy, Wayne Wellacre (Slaughter). And for reasons that should make no sense to any of them, the entire company thinks Wayne is the inspector from the National Endowment spying on them incognito as a would-be actor — which is apparently why Zorah is trying so hard to seduce him.
Like many a farce, it starts off rather slowly. Conversations between M.J. the stage manager (Griffins) and Karen (Ferguson), who handles the dwindling-to-non-existent finances, are only mildly funny but are needed to set the stage for the mayhem to follow.
The comedy really kicks into high hear when Slaughter first appears on the scene as a confused would-be actor who bursts into an impromptu monologue: “Now is the winter of our discontent …” from Richard III.  This kind of comedy is something new to Slaughter, and it seems to be a role he was born to play.
Rolly is outstanding as the proud trouble maker Larry, who insists on changing everything and somehow gets away with it (up until but not including doing the play in Spanish). Rolly has been acting since the 1970s and has proven himself to be equally at ease with the silliest of comedies to the most demanding of tragedies, performing in more Shakespeare plays with Harlequin and the old Washington Shakespeare Festival than, probably, anyone. His range of emotions expressed in this performance is amazing. He assumes the character so completely that even when he’s just standing on the side while other actors are interacting, he is thoroughly being Larry/Scrooge.
Also outstanding in this play are Bloch (hilarious in the seduction scene with Slaughter), Griffins who  frantically tries to herd this company of misfits, and Peterson as the actor who hates everything about the show he’s doing and can’t learn his lines — partly because he was brought in at the last minute as a token black actor in Zorah’s new commitment to multi-culturalism and partly because Larry keeps changing the script.
Blake York has come up with a purposefully unremarkable scenic design that is perfect for this play, and Stu Johnson has devised some crazy costumes — most notably the costumes Wayne is forced to wear as the various ghosts, including one he says makes him look like the ghost of Liberace.
For a lighthearted evening of laughter, take in Lakewood Playhouse’s Christmas in springtime, Inspecting Carol.

Inspecting Carol 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through May 12, $26.00, $23.00 Military and seniors, $20.00 students and educators, pay what you can Feb. 28 and March 6-7, Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd. Lakewood, 253.588.0042,

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Power of Youth

Heartsparkle Players and STAND

Experience The Power of Youth, a Heartsparkle performance in collaboration with Students Together Avocating for Non-Violence and Diversity, May 10 at Traditions Café.

Heartsparkle is Olympia’s playback theatre.  Playback is a spontaneous collaboration between performers and audience. People tell moments from their lives, then watch them re-created with movement, music and dialogue. Heartsparkle strives to build community, hope and compassion.

Each month Heartsparkle invites guest artists, community organizations, arts programs or social service agencies to be a part of their performance. Through this collaboration they acknowledge and honor the work individuals and organizations do in our community. This month they collaborate with Olympia High School’s student club, STAND – Students Together Advocating for Non-Violence and Diversity. This campus club has been active over the years in our community on issues related to social justice. They have also participated in rebuilding homes in New Orleans.

Time:  7:30 p.m.

Location: Traditions Café – 300 5th Ave. SW (downtown Olympia)

Cost: Suggested Donation $7.00-$12.00 (No one is turned away)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tacoma little theatre’s ‘Off the Shelf’ presents Mrs. Packard

Tacoma Little Theatre's Off the Shelf program presents Emily Mann’s, Mrs. Packard, directed by pug Bujeaud.

Based on historical events, Emily Mann's play tells the story of Elizabeth Packard, who in 1861 in Illinois was committed by her husband to an insane asylum even though there was no proof of insanity. It is the story of one woman's struggle to right a system gone wrong, winner of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award.

Mrs. Packard features the talents of: Heather R. Christopher (Elizabeth Packard), Brian Jensen (Rev. Packard), Michael Christopher (Dr. McFarland), Shannon Olivia Agostinelli (Mrs. Bonner), Ellen Peters (Mrs. Tenny, Sybil Doyle), Kate Ayers (Mrs. Chapman, Mrs. Ramsey), Drew Doyle (Mr. Smith, Mr. Haslet), Rodman Bolek (Dr. Brown, Mr. Dole), Robert McConkey (Judge, Dr, Knott), and Andrea Weston-Smart (Mrs. Stockton, Libby).

Tickets for the May 2, 2019 performance at 7:30pm are $10.00 for non TLT Members, and FREE for those who are members. Tickets may be purchased online at, or by calling our Box Office at (253) 272-2281.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Preview: Laura at Tacoma Little Theatre

By Alec Clayton
Published in The News Tribune, April 19, 2019

Rehearsal photo from left, Robin McGee, Rodman Bolek, Joel Thomas, Randon Welch, Ben Stahl. Photo by Randy Clark

The 1940s noir mystery “Laura” is coming to Tacoma Little Theatre. Written by Vera Caspary. It was first a book, then a film by Otto Preminger with Jean Tierney, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb, and then finally a play. The book was not well received, but the film was one of the most celebrated of the era.
Laura (played by Victoria Ashely, who is listed as simply “a girl” – you’ll see why) has been murdered. Her face was shot away by a shotgun blast. Mark McPherson (Rodman Bolek), is the detective on the case. He finds her more and more beguiling the more he learns about her. He listens to her music, stares at her portrait, and interrogates the men who loved her. All he finds are contradictions. Who murdered her, and why?
At TLT, “Laura” is directed by Randy Clark, co-founder and artistic director of Dukesbay Theatre. Clark can boast of 35 years acting and directing and has been seen on local stages in such plays as “Our Town,” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” 
Yes, this is a mystery, but like all good plays, it also has terrific characters and we have a cast that make them fun to watch,” Clark says. “I can’t say enough about this cast. I’m so lucky to have these actors. I can’t stress that enough.”
In addition to Bolek and Ashley, the cast is comprised of Robin McGee as Mrs. Dorgan, Valeria Sanchez-Jimenez as Bessie Clary, Ben Stahl as Waldo Lydecker, Joel Thomas as Danny Dorgan and Randon Welch as Shelby Carpenter.
Speaking of the detective, Bolek says, “The case is a demotion for Mark, and he resents it until he falls in love with the image he builds of the woman whose murder he is investigating. It's a provocative example of something we all do to varying degrees –build the image of someone or something that then competes with reality. Exploring the dynamic between his role as detective on the murder case and his romantic feelings for the victim has been a delightful challenge.
“It's easy to categorize the play as just another murder mystery, but, in addition to other distinctive twists, Vera Caspary gives us an ambitious, intelligent, independent woman where there is more commonly a damsel in distress. In a genre that is male-centric in a world that, unfortunately, seems bent on remaining male-dominated, it is crucial that strong female writers and strong female characters take the stage. With ‘Laura,’ Vera Caspary took a leap in the right direction in the 1940s, and I hope the play inspires others to do so in the twenty-first century.”
Tarry, whom Tacoma theater goers will remember from his reviting role as Richard Nixon in TLT’s “Frost/Nixon,” says “Laura” is “a classic noir mystery with lots of suspects, a couple subplots, attractive but flawed leads, and more than a little dangerous romantic attraction. I play Olsen, a cop who does leg work for the lead investigator. I'm also the assistant stage manager, which tells you how small Olsen's role is. After doing some of those huge line roles a few years ago, though, this feels nice and comfortable. It feels good to be on stage again, no matter how briefly.
A relative newcomer to the South Sound, Ashley is a Mississippi native with a B.F.A. in Theatre. This is her second show with TLT. Her first was as Gillian Holroyd in “Bell, Book and Candle.” She was also seen in New Muses Theatre’s recent production of “Hamlet.”
“Laura is the most intriguing and complex character I’ve worked on so far,” Ashley says. “She’s not your typical chaste, damsel in distress. Through the subjectivity of those she knew, a portrait is painted of a successful, worldly woman in a male-dominated business world. Yet, there was so much more to her. At the heart of this character was a confident woman who expressed warmth, generosity and vulnerability; which is what invites Mark, and of course the audience, to want to know more about her.” 

WHAT: Laura
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 26 to May 12
WHERE: Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 N “I” St., Tacoma
TICKETS: $25.00 adult, $23 seniors, students, military, $20 children 12 and younger
INFORMATION: (253) 272-2281,

In the footsteps of her ancestors


The art of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
By Alec Clayton
Published in the Weekly Volcano, April 18, 2019
"The Swamp," oil on canvas by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, courtesy of the Accola Griefen Gallery
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s In the Footsteps of My Ancestors at Tacoma Art Museum is a knockout punch to the emotions. Paintings and prints on display range from the 1970s to 2017, and from the earliest to the latest they are expressive and exciting. Upon stepping into the gallery, I immediately thought of Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg and Jean Michel Basquiat, although her work is much more narrative and symbolic then the former two. And then I saw hints of Phillip Guston in “The Vanishing American” and of course Jasper Johns in Smith’s paintings of maps and flags.
Like Pablo Picasso, Smith is a great eclectic. And yet her work is truly and uniquely unlike that of any other artist. She is Native American, raised on the Salish Kootenai reservation in Montana, and the myths and stories of her people are referenced in all of her work, along with commentary on war and peace and environmental destruction and her love of animals — particularly horses.
She was influenced by native art and by such modernists as Rauschenberg and Georgia O’Keefe, to whom she pays homage in the painting “Georgia on my Mind” (no, the title does not come from the song).  
Her drawing ranges from childlike and primitivist to delicate and highly sophisticated, and her painting style has the drip-slash power of abstract expressionism. Her pictures are crowded with images from Indian legends, tribal life, art history and pop culture. Visitors will see Disney cartoon figures, skeletons, the devil, figures copied from other artists, and a rabbit call Nanabozho who is a trickster in Ojibway and Cree culture.
Typically, Smith’s paintings have one large central figure, be it a map, a person or an animal, often drawn with heavy black outlines and surrounded by drips and splashes of color and a cluster of the figures and objects of her large imagery repertoire — the meanings of which are obvious in some instances and hidden or twisted in others. When she uses words (hand-printed or collaged) they are often humorously biting, or they are sly puns.
“Trade Canoe: Don Quixote in Sumeria” is a painting about war in the Middle East and an homage to Picasso’s “Guernica.” It is a monstrous painting, 60 by 200 inches. The central element is a canoe stuffed with skulls and the screaming woman from “Guernica.” Riding in air above the canoe is a skeleton man on a skeleton horse recognizable as a ubiquitous figure from Day of the Dead observances.
The first painting to greet visitors when stepping inside the gallery, “The Swamp,” sucker-punched me with its de Kooning-like color, paint handling and composition. The central figure, a woman with the head of a deer, stands in water surrounded by a tornado of eyes, a snake, feathers, hands and Nanabozho the trickster. 
“Celebrate, 40,000 years of American Art” pictures a happy dancing rabbit with the title scrawled by hand to remind us that while American art goes back only a few hundred years according to European-American tradition, it really goes back much farther if you look at the true American artists.
Seeing this show should be mandatory for every student in Western Washington, from kindergarten through graduate school and all the people who cannot be in school at all but are thirsty for beauty and learning.   
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, through June 30, $15 adults, $13 students and seniors, free for military and children 5 and younger, free Third Thursday from 5-8 p.m., Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, 253.272.4258,

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mobbed Up for Murder

Tacoma little theatre presents Mobbed up for murder a murder mystery dinner

Tacoma Little Theatre makes you a part of the mob with Mobbed Up for Murder at The Social Bar and Grill.  Directed by Karen Christensen and written by Paula Hilton. 

Don Provolone orchestrates a meeting at his favorite restaurant with Don Spumoni and Don Cannoli. They've been to the mattresses for a while, and quite frankly, his back is killing him! He thinks it's time to let bygones be bygones and has come up with a deal they cannot refuse. Or can they? Don't miss out - you'll want to meet these three colorful Don's along with Toni "Two Times" Tortano, Marisa Macaroon, and Olivia Ascolane. Who will come heavy? Who's on the lam? Who's in the wind? And what does that all mean? Join us to find out, but be careful, the mob means business... and the mob means murder!  Featuring the talents of: Virginia Yanoff, Dana Messina Galagan, Grace Nirschl, Jim Rogers, Kerry Bringman, and Nathaniel Walker.

Dinner includes: Appetizer, Salad, Main Entrée (Meat, Chicken, Vegetarian/Gluten Free) & Dessert.  Coffee, Tea, Water and Soda are included, and alcohol is available for purchase at the bar or from your server.
MOBBED UP FOR MURDER will run May 16-May 19, 2019.  Thursday-Saturday performances will begin at 7:30pm, and the Sunday performance will begin at 3:00pm.  The event is held at The Social Bar and Grill, 1715 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA.  RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED.
Tickets are $55.00 per person (includes dinner with gratuity and show) and may be purchased online at, or by calling (253) 272-2281. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Olympia Family Theater launches Summer Stage

Olympia Family Theater is thrilled to add an all-youth summer production to its education offerings. Summer Stage is an opportunity for young performers to participate in a full-length audition, rehearsal and performance process. Summer stage will focus on ensemble building, collaboration and inspiring a sense of confidence in the theater making process. It will be a fun-filled 5-week rehearsal process culminating in two weekends of ticketed performances on the OFT Mainstage.

The Summer Stage program is open to youth age 10 to 17. Director Claribel Gross will cast up to 20 youth who will work together to bring a beloved children’s book to life.

This year’s Summer Stage production will be The Phantom Tollbooth, by Susan Nanus. In this all-youth production, audiences accompany Milo on his adventures. For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams!

SLIDING SCALE TUITION FOR SUMMER STAGE: Participants self-select what they are able to pay between $175-275. Once cast, families choose the tuition level right for them.


Please contact OFT Education Director, Claribel Gross at or call 360-570-1638. 


Olympia Family Theater • 612 4th Ave E • Olympia, WA 98502 • • 360.570.1638

Collaboration transforms 950 Gallery

 Minimalist, abstract and site-specific installation by Richman and Nyland
by Alec Clayton
Published in the Weekly Volcano April 4, 2019
installation view of part of the Elise Richman and Nicholas Nyland exhibition, courtesy 950 Gallery
Elise Richman and Nicholas Nyland are ubiquitous presences in Tacoma art spaces, but what they’ve done together at 950 Gallery is something one has to wonder if either of them could have done alone. Their site-specific and collaborative installation is one large piece of abstract art with individual pieces that are minimalist and abstract, and it resonates with the architectural components of the gallery interior. The gallery website says the installation is a collaboration built on site, but “pieces are included with individual studio work chosen to implicate the spaces of the gallery.” There are no labels to identify who did what, and gallery director Gabriel Brown said they each worked on each part of the installation together. Still, I suspect there are some individual pieces. Dizzying paintings of multi-colored spirals look too much like Richman’s “Ripples” series (see not to be one individual’s work. And there is one little painting on unprimed burlap-looking canvas that does not relate to or fit with anything else in the gallery. Everything else clearly resonates with the architecture and reflects elements of other parts of the installation — which is awash with light and with all the colors of the color wheel. The colors in the little painting in question are not as bright as the rest and are more nuanced. Plus, this painting occupies a wall of its own and is the only rectangular piece in the show.
Entering the main gallery, there is a small side room that is often used for video projections. Here oval shapes and ovals within ovals hang from the ceiling, with colorful video projections and cast shadows — a harbinger of what is to come, as ovals and squares and light and cast shadows are dominant themes throughout.
To the right as you enter the main gallery, three more ovals in red shading to violet, green and yellow shading to orange hang on the wall. Inside two of these are spiral webs of thread in many colors, and inside the third is a vertical curtain of the same threads. Elsewhere in the gallery a similar but much larger curtain of colorful thread hangs from ceiling to floor with layer after layer of color that change as the viewer walks around it.
On the ceiling, one of the gallery’s fluorescent light fixtures has been altered with the addition of rainbow-colored gels that cast light onto the carpet, while in the adjacent 11th Street window similar gels cast more color patterns onto the floor, which change according to time of day and light conditions.
Two pipes that transverse a corner of the gallery inspired the artists to construct similar pipes in primary colors that go from floor to wall and window and appear to go into and out of the walls. And they painted the actual existing pipes in similar bright colors.
They turned another existing feature, a box structure in a corner of the ceiling, into an upside-down sculpture stand and floral-shaped sculpture upon which rainbow-colored light is projected.
This installation is clever and playful. It looks like the artists had a lot of fun putting it together,  and it should brighten your day if you stop by and take it all in.
Encompass: Elise Richman and Nicholas Nyland, 1-5 p.m. Thursdays (until 9 p.m. Third Thursday), or by appointment, through April 18, 950 Gallery, 950 Pacific Ave. Suite 205, Tacoma, 253.627.2175,

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Abby E. Murray Selected as Tacoma's 2019-2021 Poet Laureate

from Tacoma Arts Commission
The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced the selection of Abby E. Murray as Tacoma's 2019-2021 Poet Laureate. Over the next two years, Murray will participate in and host public poetry readings, workshops and other community events to advance the literary arts in Tacoma.
“My admiration for the literary arts community in Tacoma is as genuine as my love of home,” said Murray. “As a military spouse and poet who's spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to belong, I want to increase the reach and impact, geographically and socially, of poetry as a survival skill. We are a fragmented nation. I want to help weave us together, one poem at a time.”

As a wrap-up of National Poetry Month, 2017-2019 Tacoma Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson and the Tacoma Arts Commission will host Pass the Torch, a poetry and music event at which Murray will officially be awarded the title. The free, public event will be held Wednesday, April 24, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., at Tacoma Arts Live, Studio 3 (901 Broadway). Featured poets will include Murray, Richardson, 2015-2017 Tacoma Poet Laureate Thy Nguyễn, and emerging poet and University of Washington Tacoma student Byron Gaines II. Light refreshments will be served and attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a hands-on project.
About Abby E. Murray
Abby E. Murray is a poet, instructor, editor and activist. She was born in Puyallup, Wash. but spent years moving from state to state with her husband, who is still active duty in the U.S. Army. She recently returned to the Tacoma area when he was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Seattle University, a master of fine arts degree at Pacific University and a doctorate degree at Binghamton University. She also taught creative writing at universities and community colleges in Colorado, Georgia, Washington and New York.

Because Murray identifies as a conflicted pacifist indirectly impacted by military service, her poetry, essays and community endeavors often focus on the lasting ramifications of violent conflict beyond the combat zone. She is the editor of Collateral, a literary journal that publishes creative work exploring this experience, and is passionate about creating platforms to amplify voices of marginalized writers and artists. War reaches into all our lives, she says, which is why she teaches poetry and writing workshops to the public and military families, trauma survivors, and the undocumented and detained. She also teaches creative writing at Tacoma School of the Arts and argumentation to army colonels on fellowship to the University of Washington from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Murray has several chapbooks published, including Quick Draw: Poems from a Soldier’s Wife (2012) and How to be Married After Iraq (2018), and her first full-length collection of poems, Hail and Farewell, recently won the Perugia Press Poetry Prize and will be released in fall 2019. She considers her poetry to be her most tested and trusted survival skill.

About the Tacoma Poet Laureate Program
Information regarding the Tacoma Poet Laureate program, founded in 2008 by Urban Grace Church and transitioned to the City of Tacoma’s Arts Program in 2011, is available at the Torch is hosted by Tacoma Arts Live.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Mountains, thickets and tangles

Susan Aurand and Mary McCann enliven Childhood’s End
By Alec Clayton
Published in the Weekly Volcano, April 4, 2019
“Thickets and Tangles” series, graphite on paper by Susan Aurand, courtesy Childhood’s End Gallery

A warm and welcoming glow washes over you as you step into the gallery at Childhood’s End. It’s not just that the art on display is good, which it is. It’s the spacing of the art and the dominant colors that flow wavelike from painting to painting from the warm gray of Susan Aurand’s graphite drawings to the brown tones of her constructed paintings to the violet and blue and hot orange of Mary McCann’s paintings as they circle the gallery walls, and it’s the way Aurand’s and McCann’s artworks complement one another.
Aurand’s “Thickets and Tangles” series is her newest work. Eight pieces from the series are included, each the same size, approximately 16 by 12 inches, and drawn with graphite on paper. Each is of a tangle of sticks, twigs, vines and flowers tangled together like pieces of a bird’s nest, and on top and inside of the tangles are such objects as eggs, feathers and pebbles. Most of the parts are collaged onto a graphite drawing, some flat against the surface and some suspended in front; there is physical depth of close to an inch. And each collaged element is itself a drawing on paper done by Aurand and precisely cut and pasted so there’s an enticing kind of puzzle at work: what is drawn and what is cut and pasted, and it turns out that everything seems to be both. With cast shadows. But are they actual shadows or drawn shadows? It is impossible to tell. The unifying element (and the thing that makes these works so stunning) is the soft and smooth shading in tones of gray.
From these we go to a group of six earlier works from Aurand’s “Ways of Rising Up” series. In this series, Aurand paints and assembles wood, glass, metal and various objects to create landscape-based imagery that is also like an apothecary’s collection of medicine jars, tubes, rocks, feathers and eggs, including mysterious powders in miniature jars and butterfly wings, all of which sit on shelves or are suspended in front of delicately painted natural forms with stormy clouds and brilliant sunbursts. The construction and the painting are both precise and smooth. The dominant color scheme is based on variations on sienna. These constructed paintings are mysterious, intriguing and finely crafted.
"Dry Falls" painting by Mary McCann, courtesy the artist

"Wingate Formation" painting by MaryMcCann, courtesy the artist
And now we come to McCann’s paintings of craggy mountain ranges and brilliant skies. There are a dozen of these, each in a style well known to anyone familiar with McCann’s work. Her colors are vibrant, predominantly bright blues and orange and earth tones. The faces of mountains and cliffs look to be sculpted as she drags heavy paint across the surface. In one painting in particular, “Dry Falls,” the dark edges around a flat swath of gray-blue creates such an illusion of depth as to appear to be a strip of paper painted and accordion folded and collaged to the surface.
The only painting that departs from the heavy impasto is “Windgate Formation,” in which the paint is softly blended. In this one, receding and converging lines in the foreground create the impression of a filmed image with a fast zoom.
The titles indicate that each painting is of a particular place, but recognizing the places is of secondary importance to the wonder of her paint application and color uses.
Visit Childhood’s End to take in this show. You’ll come away feeling better. 
Susan Aurand and Mary McCann, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, through April 20, Childhood’s End Gallery, 222 Fourth Ave. W, Olympia, 360.943.3724.

Charlie Brown is still a good man

Photo: from left - Corissa DeVerse as Lucy, Justine Davis as Sally, Jeff Wallace as Schroeder, Anthony Erickson as Linus, Jake Atwood as Snoopy and Cameron Waters as Charlie, photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis

This is how ‘Peanuts’ should be done
By Alec Clayton
Published in the Weekly Volcano, April 4, 2019
from left - Corissa DeVerse as Lucy, Justine Davis as Sally, Jeff Wallace as Schroeder, AQnthony Erickson as Linus, Jake Atwood as Snoopy and Cameron Waters as Charlie, photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis
That’s the way to do it, Centerstage. This is the way “Peanuts” should be produced on stage. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is based on the comics by Charles M. Schulz, adapted for the stage with book and music by Clark Gesner, and directed at Centerstage by Tyler Harr. It is comprised of scenes with music and dance based on many of the popular storylines Schulz employed in his comic strips: Lucy tricking Charlie into falling for the same jokes over and over, Charlie mooning over the little redhaired girl, Snoopy fighting the Red Barron, Lucy swooning over Schroeder’s piano playing. The only thing I missed was Lucy dropping the football seconds before Charlie kicks it.
As with the comic strip, the humor of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown appeals as much to adults than children. (I counted only three young children in the audience opening night, but I suspect many more will flood in with their parents for matinee performances.)
Don't strike out, Charlie Brown. Cameron Waters as Charlie, photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis
Charlie (Cameron Waters) is a loveable and shy kid who can’t seem to do anything right and thinks nobody likes him, when, in fact, everybody loves him and respects him for his sincerity and kindness. One more thing about him is that he never gives up.
Charlie’s little sister, Sally (Justine Davis) is kindhearted and sometimes naïve, and can sometimes be manipulative. His pet beagle, Snoopy (Jake Atwood), lives a terrific life of the imagination and has long been one of the most beloved characters in “Peanuts.” Lucy (Corissa DeVerse) is a know-it-all who plays nasty tricks on Charlie and charges five cents for psychiatric advice. Linus (Anthony Erickson) is a blanket hugger, and Schroeder (Jeff Wallace) loves classical music and plays the piano beautifully.
All six cast members are terrific. Waters captures Charlie Brown’s expressions and voice wonderfully. His timing is impeccable. Atwood constantly sends the audience into peals of pooch-inspired laughter and excites with his booming voice — both when singing and when shouting “I’ll get you, Red Baron!” His high-energy and captivating dancing on the jazzy song “Suppertime” are a marvel to behold. I loved Davis’s jerky, puppet-like moves and her little-girl voice, which calls to mind Lily Tomlin’s “Edith Ann.”  Unfortunately, the funny voice makes for difficult enunciation.
The thing that lifts this production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown above expectations is the choreographed dance and other movement (choreography by Rico Lastrapes) against a beautiful wash of colored light against a simple background (Lighting designer Kate Wilson and set by Bruce Haasl).
The director wrote: “With the help of the heartwarming Peanuts Gang, we hope to remind adults how the world worked before money, politics or prejudice, and to provide children with figures that validate them and their youthful experiences.” I think they accomplished that goal.
Congratulations to the cast and crew for an outstanding job of entertaining kids of all ages from pre-school to post-retirement. I highly recommend you do yourself a favor and make the trip to Federal Way to see this wondrous show.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, through April 14, Centerstage at Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road, Federal Way, $29 adults, $25, Seniors, Military: $15; Youth (18-23): $12 17 and younger (plus 5% City of Federal Way admission tax), 253.661.1444,