Avoid April Showers at Cornish’s Grand Hotel, O!Fest, And More

As Cornish College of the Arts’ 2014/15 academic year draws to a close, multiple theater productions happen at Cornish’s theaters at the Seattle Center and in South Lake Union.  

Cornish graduates in theater can be found in shows throughout Seattle and across the country. These spring productions offer both low-cost or free entertainment as well as a chance to spot the stars of tomorrow today.  More information about these and other Cornish events can be found at www.cornish.edu/events.

Tickets for all Cornish events are available through Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.

Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center
April 8 through April 10, 8 pm
April 11, two performances, 2 pm and 8 pm

Tickets: $5 to $17

The Cornish Theater Department’s dynamic and growing Musical Theater program taught by working professional artists such as Timothy McCuen Piggee (Catch Me if You Can on Broadway, ACT Theatre/5th Avenue Theatre’s current production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris), Frances Leah King (the 5th Avenue’s recent production of Carousel), Tinka Dailey (many productions at the 5th Avenue as performer and dance teacher), Hugh Hastings (Village Theatre’s recent production of Mary Poppins) and others.

After extensive singing, dance and performance skills studies, graduates have gone on to work at local and regional theaters, as well as on Broadway (Don Darryl Rivera in Disney’s Aladdin) and touring internationally (Jerick Hoffer/Jinkx Monsoon and Richard Andriessen/Major Scales in The Vaudevillians).

Each year Cornish presents a number of musical productions to enable the students to synthesize their acting, singing and dance skills through performance. The annual Spring Musical at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center also allows Cornish’s Performance Production students to display their skills in theater design and technology.

Following successful productions of Drood, Bat Boy and The Secret Garden, Cornish Theater and Performance Production departments presents Grand Hotel, April 8 through 11, directed by Richard Gray with choreography by Dannul Dailey and music direction by D.J. Gommels. Grand Hotel is performed by an ensemble of Cornish juniors and seniors.

Cornish Playhouse Studio at Seattle Center
April 17 to 19, 2 pm, and April 24 to 26, 2 pm

Cornish juniors take an intensive course of study exploring the demands of classical theater, from the Greeks through Shakespeare, culminating in a spring production that highlights the verbal, textual and physical skills necessary to bring such challenging and rewarding work to life. Their faculty includes such respected local professionals as Hal Ryder (multiple productions for Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society), Robin Lynn Smith (Freehold’s Engaged Theatre) and Kate Myre (speech and dialect coach at the Village Theatre and others).

Graduates have exercised their classical chops in such respected companies as the Seattle Shakespeare Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and many more.

This year, an ensemble of Cornish theater students will perform Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Kerry Skalsky, who most recently played Macbeth and directed King Lear at the Key City Public Theater.

O! FEST 2015
Cornish Playhouse Studio at Seattle Center
Includes The Ten-Minute Play Festival and The Clown Show (dates for shows listed below)

Cornish celebrates the creativity of Original Works juniors with the first annual O!Fest this spring, with the following two shows running in repertory with Twelfth Night at the Cornish Playhouse Studio at Seattle Center. The college has emphasized the creation of new work for its full century; including the first collaborations of John Cage and Merce Cunningham in the 1930s as well as the original appearances of such characters as Jinkx Monsoon and Lady Rizo. The Cornish Theater/Original Works program facilitates the development of performers who want to express themselves as generative theater makers.

In addition to their core acting skills classes, students study playwriting and directing, ensemble creation and personal clown with such respected artist/educators as Kathleen Collins and Desdemona Chiang (Directing), Elizabeth Heffron and Stephanie Timm (Playwriting), David Taft (Clown, Mask & Character), Keira McDonald (Solo Performance) and Katjana Vadeboncoeur (Neo-Burlesque). New plays created by Cornish students also are featured the annual Winter New Works Festival.

Cornish Original Works alumni include:

  • Joshua Conkel’s plays such as Milk Milk Lemonade have been produced in Seattle, New York and across the country as well as in England; he is currently working on a commission from London’s Finborough Theatre):
  • Mallery Avidon’s work has been seen at New York’s Target Margin Theatre and the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival;
  • Amelia Zirin Brown as Lady Rizo has toured her cabaret act internationally to great acclaim and is now headlining the current Teatro Zinzanni production  
  • Richard Andriessen (“Major Scales”) co-created The Vaudevillians with fellow alumnus Jerick Hoffer.

The Ten-Minute Play Festival

A collection of short theater works including both live theater and short film written, directed and performed by third-year students in the Original Works program. Variety, ambition and striking new voices are guaranteed! Curated by Kathleen Collins and Elizabeth Heffron.

April 18 and 19, 7:30 pm
April 25 and 26, 7:30 pm

The Clown Show

The Cornish Junior Original Works students have been creating their red-nosed clown personas all year long. Come see what they have come up with in an evening of zany, touching and daring fun! Curated by David Taft.

April 16 and April 17, 8:00 pm
April 23 and 24, 8:00 pm


Sophomore Shows at Raisbeck Performance Hall

This month, Cornish sophomores present two productions in rep at the Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue: the classic Federal Theater Project musical The Cradle Will Rock and a Sophomore Generative Project.

The Cradle Will Rock by Marc Blitzstein
Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue
April 21, 23, and 25 8:00 pm
April 26, 2:00 pm

As timely today as when it was written 80 years ago, the classic Federal Theater Project musical champions workers seeking a fair living wage and fighting corporate greed in “Steeltown, USA.” The musical famously debuted in a production directed by Orson Welles, and produced by John Houseman, that suffered its own censorship by the WPA.

Shadows of Doubt: Sophomore Generative Project
Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Avenue
April 22 and 24, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
April 25, 2:00 pm
April 26, 7:00 pm

Theater without a net inspired by the students’ earlier work in Twelve Angry Jurors and recent events.

About Cornish College of the Arts

Founded in 1914, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Art, Dance, Design, Performance Production and Theater, a Bachelor of Music degree and an Artist Diploma in Early Music. Since its beginning, the College’s founder Nellie Cornish, and the many teaching artists who followed her, believed in education through exposure to all the arts. This approach continues to inform the College’s curriculum and community involvement today. The College is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

For additional information about Cornish theater alumni's current activities, see the theater newsletter.