Female Directors Take Over Cornish’s Stages

Cornish's 2017 fall plays include politically charged American drama, youthful musicals, and looks at how gender and race can define a person's place in the world.

Cornish College of the Arts will stage six shows this fall at the college’s South Lake Union and Seattle Center venues. This year’s guest and faculty directors are some of the Seattle’s most exciting female directors: Desdemona Chiang, Sheila Daniels, Arlene Martínez-Vázquez, Malika Oyetimein, and Bobbin Ramsey. Also making a welcome return to Cornish is Theater alumna Nicole Beerman ’04 (Café Nordo and Seattle Children’s Theater) who will choreograph Stride, the senior cabaret show.

Three musical or comic entertainments, Spring AwakeningPeter and the Starcatcher, and the senior cabaret show will take place at Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue. Contemporary and classic dramas The Sins of Sor JuanaIt Can’t Happen Here, and Baltimore will be staged at the Cornish Playhouse and the Alhadeff Studio, 201 Mercer Street.

Tickets for all Cornish College of the Arts’ fall shows are available through Brown Paper Tickets.  More information can be found at the Cornish calendar.

 

Fall 2017 Shows

Spring Awakening, music by Duncan Sheik, book & lyrics by Steven Sater

Directed by Sheila Daniels, with music direction by Katherine Strohmaier and choreography by Amelia Bolyard

Produced by Theater and Performance Production Departments

October 19-21 and 26-28, 8:00 p.m.

Skinner Theater, Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue

Tickets: $17 General Admission, $7 Senior Citizens, $5 Cornish Community and TeenTix

An electrifying combination of sexuality, morality, and rock and roll, Spring Awakening cracks the journey from adolescence to adulthood wide open. Set in a repressed and adult-centric 1891 Germany, the young and naive Wendla doesn’t realize that her question of “where do babies come from,” will spark a celebration of rebellion. The winner of eight Tony awards, including best musical, when the adults of Spring Awakening refuse to answer questions, the teenagers set out to discover some answers on their own…

Director Sheila Daniels is a Cornish Theater faculty member who most recently directed Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s electrifying production of Lydia by Octavio Solis.  

*****

The Sins Of Sor Juana, by Karen Zacarías 

Directed by Arlene Martínez-Vázquez

Produced by Theater Department

October 25-28, 8:00 p.m., October 29 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Alhadeff Studio at the Cornish Playhouse, 201 Mercer Street

Tickets: $12 General Admission, $7 Senior Citizen, $5 Cornish Community and TeenTix

Juana Ines de Asbaje y Ramirez de Santillana, AKA Sor Juana, was born in 1648 near Mexico City. An intellectual prodigy who taught herself Spanish, Nahuatl, Latin, Greek, mathematics, theology, philosophy, physical sciences, rhetoric and literature, she became the most famous Spanish-language poet of her century. In a time when it was unfashionable - and sinful - for women to exercise their intellect, Sor Juana writes sensual poetry. When the Viceroy hires a charming, educated rogue to seduce and discredit her, Juana stands to lose everything she loves. This acclaimed play by Zacarías gives vivid dramatic life to a literary and feminist icon.

Director Arlene Martínez-Vázquez is a teaching artist and director who serves as Education Director for Seattle Repertory Theatre. This summer Martínez-Vázquez directed a bilingual production of David Auburn’s Proof performed on front porches throughout the city.

*****

It Can’t Happen Here, from the novel by Sinclair Lewis, adapted for the stage by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen

Directed by Desdemona Chiang

Produced by Theater and Performance Production Departments

October 26-28 and November 2-4, 8:00 p.m.

Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 201 Mercer Street

Tickets: $17 General Admission, $7 Senior Citizen, $5 Cornish Community and TeenTix

A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, It Can’t Happen Here is an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Lewis’s great American novel, written during the Great Depression when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to “save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press.” This will be the second production of the dramatic version performed to national acclaim by Berkeley Repertory Theatre last year.

Desdemona Chiang teaches directing in Cornish’s Original Works concentration. She directed King of the Yees at ACT Theatre this fall prior to starting rehearsals at Cornish for It Can’t Happen Here. The recipient of the 2016 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre, Chiang co-founded the Seattle theatre company Azeotrope with a mission to produce new and contemporary stage productions about the invisible and marginalized. Her Azeotrope production, Don Nguyen’s Sound, was staged simultaneously in English and American Sign Language.

*****

Baltimore, by Kirsten Greenidge

Directed by Malika Oyetimein

Produced by Theater Department

November 9, 11, 8:00 p.m., November 12, 2:00 p.m., and November 16-18, 8:00 p.m.

Alhadeff Studio at the Cornish Playhouse, 201 Mercer Street

Tickets: $12 General Admission, $7 Senior Citizen, $5 Cornish Community and TeenTix

Shelby, a Residential Advisor at a liberal arts college, tells her dean: “My generation is going to evade history. . . . You’re asking us to answer old dead questions.’’ When a racially-charged incident divides her first-year students, Shelby finds herself in the middle of a conversation she does not want to have. As pressure to address the controversy mounts from residents, the new dean, and even her best friend, Shelby must decide if she will enter the fray or watch her community come apart at the seams. Sharp, funny and utterly contemporary, Baltimore follows a group of students as they raise questions about their college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Director Malika Oyetimein has directed Bootycandy and Barbecue for Intiman Theatre, Hoodoo Love for Sound Theatre Company, and Kirsten Greenidge’s Milk Like Sugar at ArtsWest. This fall, she directed I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings for Book-It Repertory before starting rehearsals at Cornish for Baltimore.

*****

Peter And The Starcatcher, by Rick Elice, music by Wayne Barker, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Directed by Bobbin Ramsey

Produced by Theater Department

November 15-18, 8:00 p.m., November 19 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Skinner Theater, Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue

Tickets: $12 General Admission, $7 Senior Citizen, $5 Cornish Community and TeenTix

Featuring over a dozen actors playing 100+ unforgettable characters, Peter and the Starcatcher reimagines how Peter and his lost boys made it to Neverland in the first place. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants, to unlikely foes and heroes, Peter and Molly, the Starcatcher, explore the depths of friendship, greed, despair, and love.

Director Bobbin Ramsey is the Lead Producer and Resident Director at Washington Ensemble Theatre, where she directed last season's production of Revolt.She Said. Revolt Again. She is also a co-founder of The Horse in Motion and directed Wellesley Girl at 18th & Union. Other credits include American Archipelago for Pony World Theatre. 

*****

Stride: The Senior Cabaret

Conceived and Directed by Frances King and Timothy McCuen Piggee with Nicole Beerman, with music direction by Katherine Strohmaier

Produced by Theater Department

December 13-15 at 8:00 p.m.

Skinner Theatre, Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue

Tickets: Free

Created by Cornish’s Theater seniors, this evening of song explores the themes of self determination, agency and ambition. With material by Tracy Chapman, Pharrell Williams, Cy Coleman and Carole King among others.  Cornish faculty members Timothy McCuen Piggee and Frances Leah King have co-conceived and co-directed the senior cabaret for most of its incarnations since inception. They are joined this year by Cornish Theater alumna Nicole Beerman ‘04, whose credits include performing the Village Theatre, 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre and many other companies in Seattle and New York. Her choreography has been seen at Cafe Nordo, Village KIDSTAGE, Seattle Children's Theater, and others.