On Stage


Love and loss, with music



WHAT: Marina
WHEN: 8pm Thurs.-Sat., May 21-23
WHERE: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.
COST: Tickets are $10-$24
INFO: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com or www.bellinghamtheatreworks.org

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How does one recover from the loss of a child?

This was a question Semiahmoo-based playwright Sandy Wolf decided to explore when she first started working on a musical called Marina more than 15 years ago.

The play, which Bellingham TheatreWords will premiere May 21-23 at the Mount Baker Theatre, goes back in time to tell the story a woman living in Blaine in 1908. As the proprietor of the Grubstake Cabaret, the eponymous Marina must deal not only with unruly fisherman, temperance fanatics and violent union activists, but also with a painful personal tragedy.

“The central story is about a woman who has lost her son and how she recovers from her grief to the point where she can love again,” Wolf says. “The redemptive power of love is a universal theme and important all over the world. I do not know of another Broadway-style musical where the loss of a child is the problem of the heroine, and I think this issue deserves to be explored.

“Sadly, my own family has suffered such a loss, two years ago. When my 20-year-old grandson died, I became even more dedicated to exploring how to recover from the loss of a child. Then when my husband died this past December, I personally began the struggle with grief and am just beginning to get glimpses of recovery.”

There’s little doubt that her own experiences have helped make the character of Marina more nuanced and real, but Wolf is hoping the historically based roles in the play—such as the aforementioned temperance and union activists and the feisty fishermen—will also help bring the past to life.

Thanks to Bellingham TheatreWorks, the production of Marina will be a big one that promises to fulfill Wolf’s creative visions. With direction by Mark Kuntz, choreography by Pamela Kuntz, original compositions by Justin Melland, a full orchestra conducted by Ryan Dudenbostel, and a cast of 25 actors, dancers and singers, the theater company is committed to making sure the musical is done right.

“Firstly, our mission is to create work of local significance, with an emphasis on local actors and local playwrights,” producing director Steve Lyons says. “Secondly, we want to keep ticket prices as low as possible, making theatre widely accessible to the community. Marina embraces both these ideals. The cast and crew are grossly underpaid, but they believe in the project and are willing to dedicate their time and energy to making it a reality. It is both humbling and awe-inspiring to witness.”

Lyons says funding has been the biggest challenge in putting the show together, and hopes the Mount Baker Theatre will fill up for the three-night production. If that happens, shows of this magnitude might become a regular thing for Bellingham TheatreWorks, which is currently in its second season.

“In the history of Bellingham,” Lyons says, “nothing like this has ever been attempted: A world-premiere musical with a live orchestra produced at the 1,500-seat Mount Baker Theatre that tells a local story, written by a local playwright, produced by a local company, using local cast and crew. This is unprecedented.”

More On Stage...
It’s not about the bikes

Rankling Pam Kuntz isn’t easy.

When I queried the dancer and choreographer about a press release she’d sent regarding Kuntz and Company’s latest community dance piece, Spokes, I noted she’d sent photos of people on bikes and the title evoked them, but she’d ended the missive by saying the…

more »
A cabaret with heart

When Brie Turoff makes her way onstage for performances Oct. 16-18 at the Underground Nightclub, audiences will be introduced to her alter ego, Sugar—a singing, dancing force of nature who not only loves herself, but also wants other people to be similarly entranced with themselves.


more »
Chelsea Lately
Looking for laughter

It’s too early to proclaim whether Chelsea Bearce is willing to be my new best friend, but if I’m able to set aside a couple of hours in my Sunday-night schedule to catch her featured set at Aslan Depot as part of the monthly Depot Comedy Club, I’ll be able to ascertain if she wants to move…

more »
Whatcom Housing Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Histories & Mysteries Book Club

6:30pm|Everson Library

Advice for Future Corpses

7:00pm|St. Luke's Community Health Education Center

MIke Allen Quartet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Decriminalize Sex Work

7:00pm|Academic West 205

Matilda the Musical

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Whatcom Housing Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Matilda the Musical

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

MVHS Choirs

4:00pm|McIntyre Hall


6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:00pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

Wines of Whatcom

6:00pm|Porsche Bellingham

Creepy Cabaret

6:30pm|Bellingham High School

Ladies Night

6:30pm|Backcountry Essentials

Mexican Kitchen

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Murder Mystery Evening

7:00pm|Concrete Theatre

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

My Fair Lady

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre


7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

House Concert with Linda Allen and Kristin Allen-Zito

7:30pm|Chuckanut Center


7:30pm|DUG Theater

Whatcom Housing Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Matilda the Musical

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

My Fair Lady

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre


7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts


7:30pm|DUG Theater

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Fall Used Book Sale

10:00am|Burlington Public Library

Whatcomics Call for Art

10:00am|Whatcom County

Wishes and Dreams Call for Art

10:00am|Gallery Syre

Lynden Library Fall Book Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Harvest Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Community Write-In on Peace and Justice

12:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Joy For Sheriff Event

4:30pm|East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

Whatcom Frightmare

5:00pm|Pioneer Park

The Night Gallery

5:00pm|The Majestic

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Bellingham Spirit Walk

5:30pm|Barkley Village

Fresh Hop Friday with Chris Eger

6:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

Gore and Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham.

Halloween for Teens

6:00pm|Blaine Library

The Nightmare on Railroad Haunted House

6:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

GEMS Night Out

6:00pm|Western Washington University

Scream Fair's Camp Fear

7:00pm|NW Washington Fairgrounds

Spooktacular Halloween Party

7:00pm|Depot Arts Center

Chuckanut Radio Hour

7:00pm|Heiner Theater

Beastly, Frightful, Unbelievably Spooky Circus of Doom

7:00pm|Cirque Lab

The Witches

7:00pm|Blaine High School

Skagit Community Band's Brass Menagerie

7:30pm| Maple Hall

An Evening of Improv

7:30pm|Firehouse Arts and Events Center

Becoming Magic Mike

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts


7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

8:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre


8:00pm|Old Main Theater

Spirit Club

8:00pm|Swim Club Cocktail Bar

Afterglow Comedy Hour

9:00pm|Stemma Brewing Company

see our complete calendar »