Cornish News

Theater Ends 100th Season With Seven April Shows

Theater ends their centennial year with seven student productions including the spring musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Rehearsals are going strong in all available spaces for three weeks of theater starting April 4 including two musicals, generative works, and the return of O!Fest.

Theater Ends 100th Season With Seven April Shows

Natalia Womack (front) in rehearsal for Jesus Christ Superstar. Photo: W. Westergard

​Cornish’s Theater and Performance Production Departments are hard at work preparing for a busy three weeks in April. The big spring musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, opens April 4 at the Cornish Playhouse at the Seattle Center.

Concurrently and in following weeks, six more shows open across campus, including a new generative project and the return of O!Fest.

Calling the Spring 2019 Season “Creating Alternative Communities,” Theater Department Chair Richard ET White says the upcoming shows echo Nellie Cornish’s vision of developing a creative community like none other, one that has “existed and thrived for over 100 years.”

Started in 1918 by the founders of the Chicago Little Theatre, Maurice Browne and Ellen Van Volkenburg, Cornish’s Theater Department was the third division created after Music and Dance. Within a few years, Nellie Cornish would also invite a young artist, Mark Tobey, to join the school. While there, Tobey quickly became enchanted with theater, performing in shows as well as designing for them. Tobey created the foundations for Cornish’s visual arts programs as well as Performance Production. Early set and costume designs by this Northwest artist can be seen in the Cornish library at Main Campus Center.

Today, in conjunction with Cornish’s Performance Production department, the Theater department produces nearly a dozen events every year on three stages (Raisbeck Performance Hall, Alhadeff Studio, and Cornish Playhouse).

Spring 2019 Season

Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice

Directed by Billie Wildrick
Music direction by Katherine Strohmaier
Choreography by Nikki Long

April 4-6 at 8:00 p.m., April 6 and 7 at 2:00 p.m.

Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center
Tickets, $5-$17, available at the door or in advance through Brown Paper Tickets

What does it mean to bring together a group of people to work collectively for radical social change and spiritual evolution in an authoritarian society? How do you deal with expectations and balance personal ambitions and values with the conflicting demands of the world around you? This modern musical theater classic explores those issues with the urgency and power of a rock concert.

Director Billie Wildrick recently directed the 5th Avenue Theatre’s acclaimed production of Annie. Her performing credits include playing Babe in Pajama Game and Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime at the 5th Avenue.

Animal Farm adapted by Ian Wooldridge from the book by George Orwell

Directed by Arlene Martínez-Vázquez

April 4 and 13 at 8:00 p.m, April 6 at 2:00 p.m., April 14 at 4:00 p.m.

Skinner Theater, Raisbeck Performance Hall
Tickets, $5-$12, available at the door or in advance through Brown Paper Tickets

Cornish students apply their skills to transform into the animal denizens of a farm who overthrow their human masters and then need to sort out how to actually run things in George Orwell’s incisive satire on independence, power, leadership and responsibility. How do you live with integrity in a world where, in Orwell’s famous phrase, “Some animals are more equal than others”?

Director Arlene Martínez-Vázquez directed last season’s production of The Sins of Sor Juana at the Alhadeff Studio. Her local productions have included Native Gardens for Intiman and the Proof Porch Project and Juan Palmieri for Thriving Artists.

Xanadu JRbook by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar

Directed and choreographed by Marc Kenison
Music direction by Claire Marx

April 5 and 12 at 8:00 p.m., April 7 at 7:00 p.m., April 14 at 1:00 p.m.

Skinner Theatre, Raisbeck Performance Hall
Tickets, $5-$12, available at the door or in advance through Brown Paper Tickets

A Tony Award-nominated musical adventure based on the Universal Pictures cult classic movie of the same title,Xanadu follows the journey of Greek muse Kira on a quest to inspire a struggling mortal artist. Complications and hilarity ensue.

Director Marc Kenison has directed several productions at Cornish, most recently James and the Giant Peach JRand Above the Fruitless Plain. Marc continues to light up local and international cabaret stages as “boylesque” superstar Waxie Moon.

Everything’s Fine.
created by members of the Sophomore Ensemble

Directed by Paul Budraitis

April 6 and 11 at 8:00 p.m., April 7 at 2:00 p.m., April 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Skinner Theatre, Raisbeck Performance Hall
Tickets, $5-$12, available at the door or in advance through Brown Paper Tickets

Theater without a net! The generative project will use Animal Farm and Xanadu JR as a jumping-off point for a thematic investigation, but the methodology of the process and the shape of the eventual production will be developed by the ensemble and the director.

Paul Budraitis returns to Cornish having directed prior productions of HamletThe Three Sisters and Fefu and Her Friends. In addition to directing numerous productions in Seattle, Budraitis has developed new work for On the Boards and studied and performed in Lithuania.

As You Like It by William Shakespeare

Directed by Corey McDaniel
Music composed and directed by Alex Matt Reed

April 4-6, 11-12 at 8:00 p.m., April 7 at 2:00 p.m.

Alhadeff Studio at the Cornish Playhouse
Tickets, free, available at the door.

Shakespeare’s romantic picaresque follows Rosalind and her companions into the Forest of Arden as they flee the takeover of their homeland by a dictator. In the forest they encounter exhilarating, redemptive and confusing varieties of love as well as a community attempting to create their own utopia in the wilderness.

Director Corey McDaniel previously directed Good Kids and Sister Act at Cornish. As artistic director of Theatre 22 he directed their recent production of Burn This, as well as The Merry Wives of Windsor for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2018 Wooden O touring season.

O!FEST 2019

Cornish Theater/Original Works is a unique program that facilitates the development of performers who want to develop the tools to express themselves as generative theater makers. Cornish celebrates the creativity of our Original Works juniors with our annual O!Fest: two shows running at the Alhadeff Studio.

The Clown Show
Created by the Cornish Third Year Original Works Class

Curated by Keira McDonald

April 17 – 19, at 8:00 p.m., April 20 at 2:00 p.m.

Alhadeff Studio at the Cornish Playhouse Tickets, free, available at the door.

Cornish Junior Original Works students will have spent the year creating their red-nosed clown personas and a variety of lazzi. Come see an evening of zany, touching and daring fun!

10 Minute Play Festival

New plays written and directed by the Cornish Third Year Original Works Class

Curated by Kathleen Collins and A. Rey Pamatmat

April 24 – 27 at 8:00 p.m., April 28 at 2:00 p.m

Alhadeff Studio at the Cornish Playhouse

Tickets, free, available at the door.

A collection of short theater works written, directed and performed by third-year students in the Original Works program. Variety, ambition and striking new voices are guaranteed.

Photo: Winifred Westergard. Seven shows are currently in production for April..

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