On Stage

Graffiti to Gardens

Third time’s a charm at Western Summer Theatre

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bellingham’s population visibly shrinks every summer, when Western Washington University students either head to their hometowns to chill until fall or graduate and vamoose. However, a crew of educatees from WWU’s theater and dance department stick around, working to craft creative offerings for Western Summer Theatre, which, since being revived three years ago, brings performances to campus and beyond from late July through early September.

At 7:30pm July 27-29, Graffiti Dance Theater kicks things off at Fairhaven’s Firehouse Performing Arts Center stage with an aim to tell tales through movement. From story lines inspired by love, to characters created by photographs, the contemporary works created by the dance majors and graduates under the direction of Nolan Dennett are sure to intrigue, both visually and philosophically. Live music by the Kronos String Quartet will add another layer of magic to the proceedings.

Next on the lineup are public performances of I Love You, You’re Perfect…Now Change from Aug. 9-13 at the university’s Performing Arts Center Mainstage. The perennially popular musical comedy revue by Tony Award-winning playwright Joe DiPietro celebrates the joys and pitfalls of dating, love and marriage, and has been in continuous production throughout the world since its 1996 Off-Broadway debut. For the local gig, a cast of six will tackle multiple characters in a fast-paced look at what it takes to make it where romance is concerned. Mature themes and language will be part of the shows, so it might be best to leave youngsters with a sitter.

You’ll need a two-wheeled conveyance to take part in Bicycle Noir, which hits the streets Aug. 16-20 starting at Cafe Velo (120 Prospect St.) and continuing on a five-mile loop to the South Bay Trail, Boulevard Park, and back to the venue. The free, all-ages comedic mystery led by director and deviser Rich Brown will involve attendees following the action of a lead detective as she solves multiple murders. You’ll stay mounted on your bike as you follow the clues, stopping briefly to check in on the action at various locations.

The West Coast premiere of Kelli Lynn Woodend’s Angel Food Cake follows, with showings Aug. 23-26 at the school’s DUG Underground Theater. A recent press release summed up the plot succinctly: “Set in a Tennessee trailer on the lot of a drive-in movie theater, one very unusual family wrestles with doubt, love, obsession and the fine line between faith and fantasy.”

A classic children’s story brings the summer season to an end Sept. 1-3 when The Secret Garden makes memories and music on the mainstage. Directed by Heather Dudenbostel and featuring a professional orchestra as the backdrop, a company of talented singers and actors will act as guides to the story of an 11-year-old orphan who finds a new life through the wonders of a hidden garden. Whether you’re an opera buff or a theater lover, you’ll want to secure a ticket.

Tickets for shows (other than “Bicycle Noir”) are $6-$19. For more info, go to http://www.tickets.wwu.edu or www.cfpa.wwu.edu

BTown
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