A way to keep up with Seattle theaters, concert halls, galleries, museums and other fine-arts events.
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December 3, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Actor Christopher Evan Welch, a native Texan well-known to Seattle audiences from his school/work here, died Monday in Los Angeles. Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson shares this:
There are some actors whose mere presence produces a jolt: when they step on stage, the electricity crackles and recharges the atmosphere. That was often my experience watching Christopher Evan Welch, a Dallas native who began his successful acting career in Seattle in the early 1990s and who died Monday, in Los Angeles. He was 48, and according to close friends, he had quietly battled cancer for several years. The disease had been in remission, but he suddenly fell ill.
I began hearing about Welch while he was still a graduate student in the Professional Actors Training Program at UW. “You have to see this guy,” was the word, and I soon got the opportunity when he made his professional debut in 1991, starring in Tony Kushner’s “The Illusion” at ACT Theatre. Playing a reckless young rake in 17th-century France, Welch was already a magnetic performer whose wit, charisma and physical command (he finessed some thrilling sword fights ) were unmistakable.
He went on to perform major roles at Shakespeare festivals, and artistic director Daniel Sullivan quickly recruited him for Seattle Repertory Theatre, where Welch honed his sly comedic gifts and superb character-actor chops. As a glum mischief-maker in “She Stoops to Conquer,” a sleazy lawyer (in “Buying Time”), an arrogant psychiatrist in “Harvey,” he was an ace Rep ensemble player who always blended in, and always stood out.
Recalled fellow actor and PATP grad Kevin Loomis, “Chris was a major talent, incredibly adept at comedy. When we did ’Harvey’ together, he had all of us in stitches.”
After excelling opposite Bill Irwin at the Rep, in a boisterous version of Moliere’s “Scapin,” Welch went with the show to New York, and got busy there, performing on Broadway (he was a despicable Puritan minister in “The Crucible” opposite Liam Neeson) and in many Off Broadway productions, including Shakespeare plays in Central Park. Most recently he co-starred with Edie Falco in the Liz Flahive play “The Madrid,” earlier this year.
He became more widely known for his work in dozens of films (“The Master,” “Lincoln,” the narrator in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), and on TV series,
where he had a role in “Rubicon” and guest roles in popular series including the “Law and Order” franchise and “The Sopranos.” He was filming a new HBO series, “Silicon Valley,” just before his death.
Though he often played jerks and weasels, Welch himself was nothing like that offstage. He was friendly and funny, a family guy, a rocker who performed in Seattle with his band, The Ottoman Bigwigs, and favored a grunge-style shaggy look when not in costume.
I interviewed Chris in New York in 1997, as his career was taking off, and I was struck by his humility, openness and dedication to his craft. He had just turned down “about a million Gen-X sit-coms,” he told me, to accept a small role working in Al Pacino’s indie film “Chinese Coffee” — because, well, it was Pacino.
Welch returned to Seattle in 2000, to perform in the U.S. premiere of Martin McDonagh’s “A Skull in Connemara” at ACT. Now his many friends and colleagues here are mourning his loss.
Welch is survived by his wife, Emma, and their 3-year old daughter, June, as well as his parents and two siblings. Funeral services in Dallas are pending.
December 3, 2013 at 11:17 AM
From Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer and wide-ranging wanderer:
It’s not every art venue that includes instructions to “BYOSleepingBag” when announcing an upcoming event. The event in question: The unveiling of “Space Weather Listening Booth” in the basement of Belltown’s Interstitial Theatre.
“Booth” is the brainchild of Seattle composers Nat Evans and John Teske. Its purpose is to create “an immersive acoustic and electronic piece based on the aurora borealis.” Musicians Tom Baker (theremin and electronics), Naomi Siegel (trombone), Evan Smith (saxophone) and composer Evans himself (percussion) will serve up live accompaniment to a 50-minute cycle of electronic sounds. Musicians and electronics, alike, will surround the audience.
“Attendees are encouraged to bring pillows, sleeping bags, blankets, etc.,” Evans writes, “for maximum enjoyment of the immersive surround-sound experience.” 8 p.m. Dec. 6, Interstitial Theatre, 2231 First Ave., Seattle; $5 suggested donation.
December 2, 2013 at 10:26 AM
Let the holidays begin! Ring ‘em in with music of all kinds. Some suggestions:
November 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM
From Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic:
Four years after an arson blaze gutted much of the Eleanor Roosevelt Building, a block-long Greenwood building complex owned by Taproot Theatre, the Seattle stage company is opening new facilities erected from the ashes. On Friday night, just before the premiere of the holiday show “Le Club Noel,” donors and other Taproot insiders will toast the completed $5 million construction of the newly christened Kendall Center, which contains a 120-seat black-box theater, lobby, scene shop, dressing rooms, administrative offices and a new concessions area, The Stage Door Cafe. (Taproot’s main theater, directly next door, was repaired in 2010 and remains in operation.) The Miller Hull Partnership architectural firm designed the new space, which housed four small restaurants before the October 2009 fire. The addition doubles the size of Taproot’s theatrical facilities.
According to Taproot artistic director Scott Nolte, the public will be able to tour the expanded digs at an event planned for early next year, with the exact date to be announced. In the meantime, Taproot’s new black-box space will be used by Inverse Opera for Handel’s “Messiah,” Dec. 13 and 14, 20 and 21.
Below are some before and after images of the theater, and a shot of the sleek new lobby:
November 25, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Here at ArtsPage HQ, we are thankful for you, our readers (of the blog, and The Seattle Times as a whole). We’re also thankful that we live in such an arts-rich city, one that rewards us many times over. This weekend kicks off the “official” holiday season, so here are some events to get you out and about.
November 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM
From Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic:
The musical comedy “First Date,” which premiered at Seattle’s ACT Theatre in spring of 2012, will end a six-month Broadway date at the Longacre Theatre on Jan. 5, 2014. The show will close its run after 34 previews and 174 regular performances.
Co-produced in Seattle by ACT and 5th Avenue theatres, and counting Seattle businessman Ken Alhadeff among its (clarification) New York producers, “First Date,” about a couple navigating their awkward first encounter, was a sold-out hit at ACT. But it drew mixed reviews, ranging from enthusiastic to damning, upon arrival on Broadway last summer in an expanded production starring new leads, TV stars Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez. (Considering the subject matter and relatively small cast size, the show is a likely candidate for future regional theater and student productions.)
An original cast recording of the Alan Zachary-Michael Weiner score for “First Date” was released in October.
November 20, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Tlingit carver Israel Shotridge, of Vashon, is one of 16 artists nationwide to be awarded a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Arts Fellowship, the NACF announced recently. The grants, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 per artist, recognize “Native artists who have made a significant impact in the fields of dance, film, literature, music, traditional and visual arts,” according to fellowship administrators. “The fellowships support these artists as they delve deeper into their practices and cultivate their artistic voices to transport and inspire us. We celebrate their adventurous and creative spirits.”
Shotridge’s work includes significant works in Ketchikan, Alaska; the 12-foot “Hall of Nations” totem at U.S. Forest Service HQ in Washington, D.C., which honors the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps Totem Restoration Project (1939-1953); and the “Eagle/Bear House” screen at Puget Sound Blood Center in Seattle. To see more of Shotridge’s work, including his “Chief Johnson Pole” (a 55-foot pole carved from a single Western red cedar log) , click here.
November 19, 2013 at 4:25 PM
Smithsonian magazine honored 10 people with the 2013 American Ingenuity Awards today, including two with regional ties: Doug Aitken, the Southern California-based multimedia artist whose giant, reactive “Mirror” was installed on the side/front of the Seattle Art Museum last year; and Michael Skinner, of Washingon State University’s Center for Reproductive Biology.
Aitken creates “videopaloozas of murmuring sonics and drifting visuals — equal parts Antonioni, Eno and Disney. Since the 1990s, beating the calendar by a decade, he’s been laying 21st-century siege to 20th-century structures,” writes Steve Erickson on Smithsonian.com. Skinner was honored for leading the way in the field of transgenerational epigenetics, or the study of inherited changes that can’t be explained by traditional genetics, writes Jeneen Interlandi, in her piece on the natural sciences honoree. “Not only is your great-grandmother’s environment affecting your health, Skinner concluded, but the chemicals she was exposed to may have left a fingerprint that scientists can actually trace,” she notes. Skinner’s research was honored by
Discover Magazine as one of the top 100 discoveries of 2005.
November 14, 2013 at 11:38 AM
Due to “a misunderstanding around contract terms,” including higher rent than expected, Balagan Theatre has canceled its holiday show, “A Very Merry (Unauthorized) Children’s Scientology Pageant,” at the Erickson Theatre on Capitol Hill. The theater is owned and managed by Seattle Central Community College and has been Balagan’s home since 2011.
Instead, the company will move what was to be its late-night holiday show, the horror movie spoof “ThanksKilling,” to a regular evening run at the Cornish Playhouse Studio space in the Seattle Center. “ThanksKilling,” about college kids who encounter a homicidal turkey, will run Nov. 29-Dec. 14.
November 11, 2013 at 6:30 AM
We’re a little giddy here at ArtsPage HQ, having just indulged in some decadent luxury chocolate. (I chose the one that promised peanuts and peanut butter; it’s low on the pb, but hey, I’ll make do.) So we feel dandy about pointing you to a 3.5-star movie, comedy, ‘Priscalla Queen of the Desert’ and the chance to win 4 tickets to PNB’s “Nutcracker.” How sweet!
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