Saxophones and Seamless Chemistry

Review of BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH at SEATTLE REPERTORY JAZZ ORCHESTRA

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer DAPHNE BUNKER and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member ANNA MELOMED

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On the cold rainy evening of April 20, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra performed a selection of pieces from Blues and the Abstract Truth, the 1961 landmark jazz album by composer and saxophonist Oliver Nelson. SRJO performed the repertoire, along with two pieces composed by artistic director Michael Brockman, with smooth, assertive skill and an infectious love for the music at hand.

That night, Benaroya’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall was distinctly warm, even before the concert started. Its field of red seats sloped softly under the overhead lights. Patrons talked to and greeted each other, some so familiarly it felt like a monthly community potluck. The stage sat close and cozy to the audience, with a piano, drum set, and array of chairs for the musicians gleaming a short distance from the front row seats. As the hall filled, a few orchestra members started coming onstage and taking their seats, quietly laughing with each other and tuning their instruments. One musician spotted friends in the front few rows and chatted with them from the stage. As the lights came down and people settled into their seats, the person introducing the band made sure to shout out volunteers and board members in the audience. Before a single brassy note was played, there was a joyful lack of divide in that hall.

Then, when the performance truly began, that lack of division made SRJO’s concert something special. Nelson’s album cascades (even beyond the song called “Cascades”) in conversational yet calculated melodies, dulcetly energetic. The mood of the concert varied from song to song, but each piece played – including the ones not from Nelson’s album – shared that conversational yet calculated aspect. In “Hoe Down,” my favorite song of the repertoire and one of the first ones SRJO performed, the band blared brightly and assertively like a morning parade, while in “Teenie’s Blues,” they wound their way through deeper, darker sounds like rafts through a river. Every member of the band, from the saxophones to the trumpets to the trombones to the rhythm section, and guest vocalist Jacqueline Tabor, got a chance to shine in a solo, and shine they did. When a musician stood up, or stayed seated in the rhythm section’s case, all eyes in the audience and the band turned to them as they played their solo. Photo by Jim Levitt

And it’s here where you could spend the whole concert watching a single musician. Each band member plays at least one solo, but each person also reacts to the rest of the band’s musicianship. When drummer D'Vonne Lewis takes command of a song, the rest of the band stays active, tapping their feet, watching him play, or nodding their heads as they listen intently to the rhythms. When Tabor joins the band onstage for a vocal piece, she’s a lightning rod of attention. When trumpeters stand up to improvise a section, the saxophonists in the front row smile as the riffs hit their ears. Every single musician is absolutely in it, steadily and seamlessly. Watching them know this music inside and out, enjoying each other’s musicianship, is delightful.

Throughout the show, artistic director Michael Brockman intersperses the music with explanations of the pieces and introductions to soloists, conversing smoothly with the audience. The energy in the room is a call and response, in which the audience gladly participates. People laugh at the right moments, whoop and cheer for soloists, and soak in the anecdotes of Nelson’s return to classic jazz at a point in time when the genre’s future was uncertain. It’s no surprise that there’s no fourth wall in Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra’s Blues and the Abstract Truth. It’s easy to be an attentive audience member when the performers are simply masters of what they do. It’s easy to sit back and enjoy when SRJO reminds you of the truth, abstract or not: it’s pure fun to listen to great musicians performing great music.Photo by Jim Levitt

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Time, Death, and Music in A Thousand Thoughts.

Review of THE KRONOS QUARTET at THE MOORE THEATRE

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer MICKEY FONTAINE and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member ANNA MELOMED

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Despite music’s being a universal aspect of human culture, it evades definition. You would imagine that after hundreds of thousands of years of innovation and evolution, we would have answers to fundamental questions like, what is music? It’s fundemental yet elusive, so should it merely be enjoyed rather than questioned? The icon of New Music, The Kronos Quartet, proves why curiosity will always be relevant in Sam Green's multimedia documentary and concert, A Thousand Thoughts.

The Kronos Quartet is among the most esteemed and forward-thinking in New music. Considering this, documenting their history, motivations, and long artistic journey is no easy task and could never be achieved through conventional means. Sam Green explores the ephemeral nature of music, time, and life, all while presenting the group's rich history on the big screen.

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Honk If You’re Horny!

A Review of Scrambling the Goose at Washington Theater Ensemble

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Callaghan Crook and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Aamina Mughal

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When you read the word “theater,” what do you picture? A raised stage with red curtains and footlights? Dramatic dialogue spoken from behind the fourth wall? Silence from the audience broken only by appropriate laughter and polite applause?

Well, if that sounds boring to you, welcome to Scrambling the Goose! Washington Ensemble Theatre’s newest show, which ran at 12th Avenue Arts from April 26 to May 17, challenges conventional boundaries of theater, not only by showcasing a wide variety of mediums and genres, but also by incorporating the audience as a crucial part of the show.

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‘Fate Plus’ Tour Connects To Fans Through Vibrant Performances

Review of Enhypen at Tacoma Dome

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Rowan Santos and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Daphne Bunker

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K-pop is famous for immersing its audience in bright colors, electric performances, singing, dancing, and endearing connections between artists and fans. One popular Korean boy group is Enhypen, a seven-member ensemble formed within the K-pop survival show I-Land. Enhypen consists of members Sunghoon, Heeseung, Sunoo, Jungwon, Jay, Jake, and Niki, who each contribute a distinct energy to the group. Whether elegant, grungy, or endearing, Enhypen pulls off an array of aesthetics. Since their iconic debut in 2020, Given Taken, Enhypen has experienced tremendous success, leading them to tour globally.

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TeenTix's 20th Anniversary Gala

TeenTix Raised $124k for Arts Access and Youth Empowerment during our 20th Anniversary Gala - THANK YOU!

Written by TeenTix Staff Liz Houlton

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On May 10, 2024, TeenTix celebrated a milestone 20th anniversary year at our annual Gala. Nearly 200 friends, fans, and champions joined us at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion on a bustling Friday night on campus (a Melanie Martinez concert at Climate Pledge and multiple performances across the fountain) to fundraise for our mission centering arts access and youth empowerment.

In the theme of Prom 2004, we let nostalgia take hold of our imaginations and rolled out the red carpet photo booth, hand-made the corsages, decorated with various pop-culture 2004 moments, and spiked the punch (for those old enough to enjoy). The night was accompanied by an inspiring performance from Seattle Jazz Ed featuring three of their teen musicians who quite literally silenced the large room with smooth, wispy, and jazzy tunes. Photo by Clark Rowan

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Village Theatre’s The Fantasticks: Reimagining a Classic

Review of The Fantasticks at Village Theater

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Prisha Sharma and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Anna Melomed

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Love problems, and moral issues, Village Theatre’s The Fantasticks deals with it all. This interpretation delves into childhood naivety and the ways we can be misguided by the things we least suspect. Despite its well-trodden storyline, the production breathes new life into the classic tale, ensuring familiarity doesn't breed lethargy.

Set against a backdrop of two houses separated by a wall, the musical follows the story of two fathers who conspire to unite their children, Luisa and Matt. The show invites the audience to engage in the unfolding narrative, allowing for a more interactive and immersive experience. At times, the audience gets questioned by El Gallo, the narrator, and bandit in charge of uniting the children, or looked at directly by the cast, treated like the lesson is the audience’s to learn too. It is worth noting that while the production succeeds in revitalizing the script by taking out many controversial scenes, there are moments where it stumbles. A fleeting reference to rape felt out of place and unnecessary, detracting from the scene. As it was spoken so quickly, it solidified that the show could have easily gone on without it. Photo courtesy of Auston James

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Reflections on a TeenTix Internship

Written by Kabira Prim, a TeenTix Intern through the Highline Public Schools VOICES Program

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I’ve spent the last two months interning for TeenTix. I’ve done many projects but the one that I had the most fun with and had the biggest takeaways from was interviewing teens who are a part of TeenTix in the Mentorship for Teen Artists of Color (M-TAC) program and the TeenTix Arts Podcast (TAP). Before being selected to work at TeenTix, I knew that this was the site I wanted to spend my time at and I was very grateful to get that opportunity. I was excited to see more of what TeenTix was about and how they help the youth in my community.

I’m glad to say I was pleasantly surprised. In doing these interviews I have found that TeenTix has accomplished so many great things and it makes me feel good to see that people still care about the youth and their interest and helping them succeed. I have also learned that the programs TeenTix offers have a really positive effect on the teens that participate. My interview project really helped me see that. I got to hear from teens who have put a lot of time and work into programs like M-TAC and TAP. Hearing their experiences and growth warmed my heart.

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The Dance Machine and Other Performances

Review of The Seasons' Canon at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Milo Milller and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Aamina Mughal

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The first thing you hear at the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s performance of The Seasons' Canon at McCaw Hall, and the thing that sticks with you throughout the rest of the performance, is the sharp and dynamic choir that begins Twyla Tharp’s Sweet Fields, the first of three works. Constructed of eleven voices, the choir accompanies the ten-part operation with religious hymns from the 18th and 19th centuries. The songs are simple but elevated by crisp tenor voices, later joined by the winding sopranos and altos. Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Twyla Tharp’s Sweet Fields™. Photo © Angela Sterling, 2024.

Due to the power and excellence of the music, the linked dances sometimes feel like they accompany the score, instead of the other way around. The choreography is creative, switching between blue-toned, lighthearted vignettes and brooding, funeral-march-inspired processions. Visually, most of the dances work quite well. Tharp’s fast-paced, complex actions are sometimes lost in their technicalities, but the overall, folksy theme and the duality of celebration and death make for a series of enticing pairings.

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Finales and Finals Season


Teen Editorial Staff May 2024 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Daphne Bunker and Anna Melomed

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It’s a busy time of year at the TeenTix Newsroom. We’ve arrived at the last review cycle of the TeenTix program year, many of us are students and are submerged in final exams and AP tests, and, for some, graduation is on the horizon. We hope that, as the year wraps up and the days seep into summer, you can take some time to rest. To breathe, enjoy a steady moment of your day, and maybe – surely even – go see some art! Here’s what we’re covering this month at the Newsroom.

Seattle Chamber Music Society is bringing a unique classical music fix with Adam Neiman’s varied program featuring Rachmaninoff's 6 Moments Musicaux, Ravel’s Miroirs, and Neiman’s own Visions. Moments Musicaux are very well known in the piano world, with the famous No.4 in E minor held as one of the hardest piano pieces of all time due to its rolling left hand. This set of concert etudes features a combination of musical complexity from introspective reverie to inner turmoil making it a perfect concert piece. If you’re looking to explore classical and experimentalist music you can see Adam Neiman perform on May 10th.

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You Never Know What Can Happen on The Moors

Review of The Moors at Seattle Public Theater

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Kaylee Yu and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Kyle Gerstel

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Two spinster sisters sit in the parlor of their ancestral mansion. The mastiff, with his drooping jowls, pants rhythmically atop a brocaded carpet. The windows let in the weak light from the endless gray sky of the Moors; the maid Marjorie (or is it Mallory? Margret?) coughs and complains that their company is late. A governess, fresh-faced from London, arrives today.

Walking into Seattle Public Theater (known affectionately as “The Bathhouse”), the intimate, public-bathhouse-turned-blackbox-theater is filled with soft, slightly ominous piano music. On the stage is a dark sitting room, where antique, dark tones are counterbalanced by a millennial-pink velvet sofa. The moody set is a perfect, yet slightly quirky, canvas for a period piece—so long as you can ignore the paintings donning sunglasses and the converse-clad cast. Highlights in hair and pom-pom pens abound.

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STEW for the Soul

A review of STEW at ACT Theater
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Raika Roy Choudhury and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Audrey Gray

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STEW at the ACT is a truly contemporary performance that explores the hefty concepts of family, guilt, and maturity. Centering on an intergenerational female household, the play relays the importance of breaking generational trauma through visual and aural cues. The narrative opens by introducing the family’s matriarch, Mama. Soon after, in a chaotic fashion, the rest of the family is introduced: Mama’s daughters Lillian, and teenage Nelly, and Lil’ Mama, Lillian’s daughter. At first, It was difficult to understand their relationships, but it became clear by the second act. The family is deeply interconnected, and each family member’s life parallels those from earlier generations. For example, Mama had Lillian at 17 and Lillian also had Lil’ Mama at 17. The other parallels are revealed at tense points throughout the performance, and the newer generations’ drive to break the often unfair norm created by their previous generation serves as a turning point for each character.

The story revolves around Mama making a large batch of stew. Stew brings the whole family together—even though Lillian and Lil’ Mama live elsewhere, they visit Mama to help her make and eat the stew. Stew serves as a symbol of hope and togetherness, and the progress of cooking the stew throughout the play reflects the mood of the story. Shaunyce Omar, Varinique “V” Davis, Shermona Mitchell, Kataka Corn in Stew, photo courtesy of Rosemary Dai Ross

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Reflection, Growth, and Fun as a Theater Production Mentor

Interview with Bayla Jaffe, 2024 Rising Star Project Mentor

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MUSICAL THEATER IN THE HANDS OF TOMORROW'S LEADERS

This motto, displayed prominently at the top of The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Rising Star Project information page, is exemplified by the teen participants of the career and artistic program. Beyond the clear empowerment of future professionals, these leaders of tomorrow are also strengthening and motivating current theater professionals.

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Storms, Sensationalism, and Self-Reflection

Review of SUPERCELL by slowdanger at Velocity Dance Center

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Angelina Yu and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Daphne Bunker

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In the 21st century, the possibility of supernatural disasters constantly looms above us. Each year, we are subject to more and more unprecedentedly catastrophic events, an aspect of environmental collapse that threatens the livelihoods of thousands. It’s almost surreal, except for the fact that it isn’t: this is the new world we live in. These devastating occurrences, along with how people and the media react to them, are part of what’s examined by slowdanger’s SUPERCELL. An hourlong quintet performance that questions human attraction and passivity towards environmental events. I was lucky enough to partake in the self-reflection involved in watching the show, presented by Velocity Dance at 12th Avenue Arts from March 21 to 24, and the experience left me contemplative, to say the least.

My journey began in a crowded foyer filled with chattering Seattleites. As the sun set, we made our way into the theater, and the change was drastic. In an instant, we were transported from the brightly lit, corporeal world to a hazy realm of darkness. Two sheets of sheer cloth hung down from the ceiling and the yellow-tinged shine of a pale red cast mesmerizing shadows through them. On the stage, five performers lay together in the shape of a star, each bearing a large, see-through sack full of what seemed to be water, connected to those beside them by a complex entanglement of rope.

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Sacrifice and Salvation: A Retelling of The Master and Margarita

A Review of The Master and Margarita at Dacha Theatre

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Zunairah Karim and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Aamina Mughal

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The devil himself orchestrates chaos in the heart of 1930s Moscow in Mike Lion’s adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita presented by Dacha Theatre. This adaptation, staged at 12th Avenue Arts, delves into the philosophical dichotomies of good and evil, exploring their coexistence against the tumultuous backdrop of the Soviet Union. This production shows the power of theater by bringing complex philosophical narratives to life, inviting both newcomers to the story and fans of the original novel to engage with its depth.

The Master and Margarita uses magical realism and gothic elements to challenge societal norms and present deep philosophical questions. Set in a time when atheism was state policy, the story starts with the arrival of Professor Woland, the devil in disguise, and his eclectic entourage, who set Moscow ablaze with events that peeled back the layers of hypocrisy and corruption embedded within society.

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Theater, Martial Arts, Dance, Oh My!

Review of Radical System Art at Edmonds Center for the Arts

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Lorelei Schwarz and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Audrey Gray

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Aside from the ferry’s foghorn, there’s rarely a reason for things in Edmonds to be loud. It’s a quiet suburban town with overly nice drivers and a median age ten years above the national average—that is to say, it’s not the place you’d expect to find an experimental dance/theater/martial arts performance on a Saturday night. But there it was: a half-full house at Edmonds Center for the Arts and Radical System Art’s eight-person cast who brought more energy than this writer’s ever seen in her sleepy town.

The show, Momentum of Isolation began, even before the brief curtain speech and the extinguishing of the house lights, with a man typing at a desk. Unbeknownst to the audience at that point, he’d soon become the main focus of the show, the continuing plot that tied together other seemingly disparate stories. One scene included a depiction of online dating, followed by one dancer trying to woo another, providing brief comedic relief. Another featured the ensemble falling in and out of step with each other. Going into the show with no clue of the performance’s themes, it was at times difficult to parse the significance of scenes or moments. One had the sense that things were supposed to be profound, that the audience was supposed to feel something or react a certain way, but at times the jarring effects and mixture of movements seemed blended beyond coherency. Until checking the website and finding that this performance was “centered around the themes of loneliness and social isolation,” I struggled to describe the overall sense of the show. Photo Credit: Emilie Bland

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The Holdovers

A review of The Holdovers

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Koreb Tadesse and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Kyle Gerstel

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The genre of the holiday movie is tried and true; from Home Alone to Elf, Frosty the Snowman to A Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas movies have been done before, and they’ve been done well. As Thanksgiving rolls around, viewers observe the tradition of watching their favorite characters celebrating the festive time of the year. This makes 2023’s The Holdovers even more of a triumph as a worthy addition to the holiday canon for years to come.

Director Alexander Payne had the task of adding something new to the holiday genre and creating a film that could hold its own outside of the holiday season. Helped by the incredible talents of Payne’s Sideways collaborator Paul Giamatti, seasoned actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and rising star Dominic Sessa, The Holdovers is bound to become a modern classic.

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Rising Star Project Creates Community and Connection

An interview with Rising Star Project participants Sebastian Borges and Spencer Barber

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Jwan Magsoosi

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We have all heard the theater kid stereotypes. Loud, dramatic, proud. Students in the Rising Star Project at The 5th Avenue Theatre are no exception to this, but in the best ways possible! I had the pleasure of chatting with Rising Star Project participants Spencer Barber and Sebastian Borges, who joined this community of talented youth and professionals to nurture their love for the arts. The RSP program mentors students in all aspects of theater production, and puts on a show at the end.

Barber and Borges both play the role of Dr.Grayburn in the farcical comedy, Something’s Afoot. In our interview, they both showed me how empowering the arts could be. We talked about the magic of theater, what they’ve learned from the Rising Star Project, and how more arts programs are becoming accessible to youth—a trend that will hopefully continue in the future.

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Inspired by Tradition, Innovating the Future: Isaiah Hsu's Theatre Odyssey

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Hannah Smith

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Actor, writer, and director-in-progress, Isaiah Hsu is taking on what might be his most important role yet: that of a young professional.

The start of Hsu’s acting passions began at Tacoma Little Theatre’s 2014 summer camp, when he played Shan Yu in Mulan. He also participated in Curtis Senior High School’s theater and choir, experiences that both helped him grow his voice as an artist, but it wasn’t until he joined Village Theatre for their production of Newsies that he felt he really “got his foot in the door” of the theatre world.

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The Gift of the Persistence of Life

Review of Joy Harjo at Seattle Arts & Lectures

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Keona Tang and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Aamina Mughal

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On February 27, Seattle Arts & Lectures hosted Joy Harjo, who performed a breathtaking blend of song, poem, and musing followed by a Q&A session with Arianne True, the current Washington State Poet Laureate.

The event began with a reading of “Dear Spanish” by Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate Mateo Acuña. His poem reflected the frustrations and struggles of multicultural people like himself. The poem artfully moves from a bitter tone to an unending longing and desire to understand Spanish, to reconnect with what he loves and his Peruvian roots. His words and reading truly spoke to my experience as an American-born Chinese person, specifically with his reflections on accent, demonstrating a unique command of the poetic form. Acuña’s reading immediately set up a more intimate, almost conversational atmosphere, like he was sharing secrets that could either resonate with the audience or prime them with a mindset of understanding.

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