What Do We Take With Us?

Review of Samson by Pacific MusicWorks.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Spencer Klein, and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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George Frideric Handel was born the same year as Bach: 1685. He was a German composer, though he travelled around all of Europe, and is most notorious for the oft-overused Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah (see the opening of Face Off). While Handel’s innovations in composition were important, they are drastically overshadowed by the revolutionary achievements of Bach. Handel’s contribution to music came in a much more subtle, but equally radical fashion: he made music a business.

Handel found great success in Italian opera; in 1705 he debuted the instant hit Almira and his influence only grew. The problem with Italian opera, however, was that it was both expensive and exclusive. The costumes are elaborate and few opera-goers in his adopted homeland of England spoke Italian. To solve these problems, Handel renovated and popularized the Oratorio, essentially an unstaged opera. Instead of blocking, singers simply stand up when it is their cue. Featuring mostly liturgical plots, Oratorios became vastly popular because of their relatively low cost to perform and the fact that they are sung in English.

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Embracing The Discomfort of American History

Review of Strange Fruit by Spectrum Dance Theater.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Eleanor Chang-Stucki, and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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“Southern trees bear a strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.”

Originally a poem describing lynching in the American South, “Strange Fruit” was written by Abel Meeropol in 1939 and famously performed by singers Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Strange Fruit, part of the Spectrum Dance Theater’s “Wokeness Festival,” drew its inspiration from this haunting song. This festival was to celebrate, as Donald Byrd, the Strange Fruit choreographer and Spectrum’s Artistic Director, calls it, “the notion of complete awareness.” In his Q&A after the show a few weeks ago, he described lynching, calling it “a method to keep black folks in their place and to assert white supremacy in the south.” Over 4,000 lynchings occurred over a 100 year period in America, so Strange Fruit was an important piece to create and distribute because so many Americans are still unaware of the history that forms our present day systemic inequities. The non-black U.S. population may be somewhat aware of this violence, but they cannot fully absorb the effect that it has had on black bodies, both past and present.

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Like a Hammer: Commanding Presence and Claiming Identity With Bold Color, Pride, and Expression

Review of "Like a Hammer" at SAM.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sumeya Block, and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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Jeffrey Gibson’s loud, emotional, and thought-provoking exhibit "Like a Hammer" is filled with pops of color, ornate beading, chaotic shapes, celebrations of Choctaw-Cherokee culture, and nods to the LGBTQ+ community. Gibson creates a space for viewers to celebrate what makes them different and recognize the hardships society creates.

When I first walked into "Like a Hammer," I was met with bright colors, bold lettering, and various household items that had been repurposed into vibrant and chaotic installations. What immediately caught my eye was an ironing board covered in slashes of neon pink, yellow, and green and a massive flag sewn with patches of different textured fabrics. When I walked into the exhibit I could feel the energy of Gibson’s work animating the room. I could taste the joy, hardship, and care exuded in every stitch and pop of color. What particularly caught my eye was a bright colored travois or parfleche, a large container pulled by horses that is most commonly made by Native American Women. Jeffrey Gibson's "Like a Hammer" exhibit at SAM. Photo by Natali Wiseman.

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DISCOUNT OFFER: Get a Deal on this Comedy Course!

Learn the basics of improv, stand-up, and sketch comedy at MoPOP this summer!

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Our generous friends at the Museum of Pop Culture (aka MoPOP) are offering a super discount for Mic Drop: Comedy Camp this July!

Mic Drop is a two-week long summer camp for high schoolers. Working with three local professional comedians, campers will learn the basics of improv, sketch comedy, and stand-up. In the second week of camp, they’ll prepare for a final showcase at Unexpected Productions Market Theater (another TeenTix Partner!) Campers will also learn about the business of comedy and how to navigate the professional side of being a comedian. The goal is to cultivate a safe environment where campers feel like they can take risks, count on each other, and have an awesome two weeks. MoPOP ultimately wants to help shape the local comedy landscape to be one where marginalized voices are amplified and lifted up.

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GiveBIG SUPERSTAR SORCERER Matthew Echert

Interview with Matthew Echert, Technical Consultant at Tessitura Network

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We’d like to introduce you to yet another TeenTix GiveBIG SUPERSTAR SORCERER, Matthew Echert! Matthew is one of just nine people in the whole world who has donated to TeenTix during GiveBIG every year since 2013! (Don’t know what a TeenTix SUPERSTAR SORCERER is? Click here to find out!)

After studying theatre at University of Washington, Matthew started off his arts career on the production side of theatre, but has since become an integral player on the administrative side of the arts. As a staff member at many of our partner organizations over the years, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, ACT Theatre, Meany Center for the Performing Arts, and Washington Ensemble Theatre, Matthew found himself first working with, and then supporting TeenTix! Now, as a technical consultant at the ticketing company, Tessitura Network, Matthew is an active theatre-goer and remains a huge fan of TeenTix!

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GiveBIG SUPERSTAR SORCERER Karen Bystrom

Interview with Karen Bystrom, Director of Marketing and Communications at Seattle University

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Meet our second TeenTix GiveBIG SUPERSTAR SORCERER, Karen Bystrom! Karen is one of just nine people in the whole world who has donated to TeenTix during GiveBIG every year since 2013! (Don’t know what a TeenTix SUPERSTAR SORCERER is? Click here to find out more!) Karen as a teen!

Even as a young person, Karen passionately believed in the power of art, which led to her studying a self-designed major in theatre management at Lewis & Clark College. After graduation, she became an arts administrator and went on to teach arts marketing for the MFA in Arts Leadership at Seattle University. She came to know the formidable force that is TeenTix when she was the Director of Marketing and Communications at ACT Theatre back when TeenTix was first making the decision to expand Arts Partnerships beyond the arts organizations on the Seattle Center campus. She knew immediately that ACT needed to partner with TeenTix. Inspired, Karen became a part of the Advisory Council and as TeenTix transitioned into a non-profit, Karen joined the TeenTix Board of Directors and thankfully hasn’t budged since!

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Art That Isn’t Theater

Teen Editorial Staff May Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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It’s the final stretch: only one more month until school ends! We on the Teen Editorial Staff are right there beside you, crossing off the days on the calendar. But with the end of school comes testing—every teen’s worst nightmare. At terrible, terrible times like these, we have to turn to our only source of happiness: procrastination. And we have a great lineup of art for you this month, guaranteed to help you forget about the mountains of homework you have waiting for you at home. To really change things up, we’ll be exploring the various types of art Seattle has to offer—music, visual arts—sans theater. That’s right. No theater. Crazy, right? That’s because May also means getting ready for Mother’s Day… AKA perfect gift time. What can you give someone who already has it all? Well, there’s nothing better than spending time together at a show: what other gift could give your mom the night of her life and show her how cultured you are? Luckily, we’ve got you covered with classics, guaranteed to appeal to your mother’s more…elevated artistic sensibilities. Shows like Handel’s Samson with Pacific MusicWorks, Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen at The Henry, or Like A Hammer at SAM will be surefire parent-pleasers. And, if you want to get your mom pumped, try Laser SZA at the Laser Dome at Pacific Science Center. Best of all, you can give your mom the Mother’s Day she’s been dreaming about, all while pretending your schoolwork doesn’t exist. That’s what we call a win-win.

Lead photo credit: Mariya Georgieva on Unsplash.

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Bridging the Gap Between Lack of Arts Funding and Career Pathways in Technical Theatre

Feature about the STARFISH PROJECT, a program by the Intiman Theatre.

Written by Maire Kennan, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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We met Sam, Adem, and Faith along with Kyle Hartmann, around a large table on a cloudy day in April. Sam, Adem, and Faith are all students at Franklin High School in South Seattle, and members of STARFISH PROJECT and Kyle, is the STARFISH PROJECT program manager. The focus of our meeting: to learn and gain insight and information about STARFISH PROJECT.

STARFISH PROJECT, which started in 2017 in a woodshop at Franklin High School, works to provide professional access to education and career opportunities in theatre craft. The program takes place anywhere between six and nine weeks, three days a week, for three hours. Each iteration works to put on a show. The program usually starts with the school’s existing theatre program (if there is one), and works with actors from the drama club as well as students interested in carpentry, set design, lighting design, stage managing and more. Although STARFISH PROJECT works with three high schools: Chief Sealth, Franklin High School, and Rainier Beach High School, the program is not limited to students at those schools. Any 14-18 year olds (and older) in the Seattle area are welcome to join the program, although it is geared toward high school aged kids, and they hope to expand.

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The Art of Backstage Storytelling

Feature about the STARFISH PROJECT, a program by the Intiman Theatre.

Written by Triona Suiter, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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The world of theatre is slowly getting more diverse. Actors of color are finding more jobs, female directors are gradually gaining recognition, and most shows are providing more representation as a whole. But the backstage world is still ruled by straight white men. Technical theatre is an extremely important aspect of stagecraft that is often overlooked. People prefer the flashy and glamorous onstage action to the quiet and stealthy work backstage. Because of that, technical theatre training is almost nonexistent. The STARFISH PROJECT is looking to rectify that.

Through a partnership with Sawhorse Revolution, the Intiman Theatre launched the STARFISH PROJECT in 2017. The project’s goal is to provide accessible training in all aspects of technical theatre to teens in the Seattle area, especially in high schools that have underfunded or nonexistent arts programs. Already, it has had a powerful impact on students’ lives.

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2019 Summer Opportunities for Teens

Feast your eyes on this master list of summer classes, workshops, intensives, and MORE!

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Find something fun to do this summer! Our Arts & Community Partners are offering myriad classes to keep your creative mojo flowing. Below is a ~superpost~ of everything being offered by artistic genre.

DANCE

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What is Going On in Feathers and Teeth?

Review of Feathers and Teeth presented by Washington Ensemble Theatre.

Written by Sitara Lewis during TeenTix’s Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive.

Samie Spring Detzer as Carol in WE Ts Feathers and Teeth. Photo credit: Chris Bennion.

Something is a little off here in the Feathers and Teeth produced by Washington Ensemble Theatre. "It’s Such a Pretty World Today" by Nancy Sinatra accompanying the typical American household set certainly sets the initial mood. This 80 minute play is a unique comical horror show, illustrating grief stricken Chris (Rachel Guyer-Mafune) after losing her mom and now dealing with over enthusiastic perky step mother Carol (Samie Spring Detzer). With Chris’ anger against the world thoroughly expressed through her love of rock music and her multiple attempts of stabbing people (and the successful attempt at a strange animal in the pot that the play revolves around), Carol’s bipolar moods and manipulation over her husband Arthur (Brandon J. Simmons), and Arthur’s introduction is with him having blood on his hands and maybe just killing an animal (on accident, though), this play keeps the audience guessing on who exactly is the psychopath. Rachel Guyer-Mafune as Chris in WET's Feathers and Teeth. Photo credit: Chris Bennion

The artistic touches were great. I will not give any vital spoilers away. In one striking scene, Carol smokes at the table in the dark with the red light highlighting her, and below her in the crawl space (that is viewable to the audience) someone is maliciously being attacked in all red light. It was a great contrast, unique use of multiple levels of staging, and a scene that was ultimately wonderfully twisted. Feathers and Teeth certainly could have been scarier, though. It consisted of a few jump scares with the animal jumping in the pot or with the lighting design by Ryan Dunn, but it could have had more of a variety of scares.

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Feathers And Teeth: Horror With Rotten Messages

Review of Feathers and Teeth presented by Washington Ensemble Theatre.

Written by Francesca Vinci during TeenTix’s Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive.

Rachel Guyer Mafune as Chris in WE Ts Feathers and Teeth Credit Chris Bennion

Feathers and Teeth is a short play with a small cast delving into ideas of grief, madness, and manipulation. A delusional daughter, a manipulative stepmother, and an oblivious father take the stage around a mysterious death and supernatural beasties—but what does it mean?

Created by Charise Castro Smith and directed by Bobbin Ramsey, the play centers around thirteen year old Chris, her father Arthur, and her stepmother Carol. Chris is convinced that Carol, her deceased mother’s hospice nurse, is a demon, while Arthur sees no substance in his daughter’s accusations. The wonderfully designed set by Pete Rush and the lighting design by Ryan Dunn pull the piece together, but the overall meaning of the play is ambiguous at best.

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Secrets, Betrayal, and 70's Rock

Review of Feathers and Teeth presented by Washington Ensemble Theatre.

Written by Makenna English during TeenTix’s Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive.

James Schilling as Hugo and Rachel Guyer Mafune as Chris in WE Ts Feathers and Teeth Credit Chris Bennion

A sinister secret within a traditional family dynamic, or is it all just a paranoia-filled quest for vengeance? Feathers and Teeth, by Charise Castro Smith and directed by Bobbin Ramsey, was a 70’s-esque thriller that embodied the eerie vibes in Hamlet, Hereditary, Pet Cemetery and It Follows that both theater and horror fanatics will love.

Feathers and Teeth, a suspenseful story involving a nuclear family in the 70s, leads the audience down a twisted backstory. Events and secrets are revealed, accusations introduced and action taken by the teen protagonist Christine, who is played by Rachel Guyer-Mafune who has a grudge for her becoming spunky step-mom Carol, played by Samie Spring Detzer.

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GiveBIG SUPERSTAR SORCERER Betsey Brock

Interview with Betsey Brock, Executive Director of On the Boards

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Each year we look forward to sharing the amazing stories of our GiveBIG SUPERSTARS with our TeenTix community. This year, we’ve added a “magic” word to this title to reflect the extra special nature of this group of devoted arts access champions who have transformed TeenTix with their consistent support. So without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to our first TeenTix GiveBIG SUPERSTAR SORCERER Betsey Brock! Betsey is one of just nine people in the whole world who has donated to TeenTix during GiveBIG every year since 2013!

Betsey has been a TeenTix fan from the beginning; she first got to know our programs through her good friend Holly Arsenault, the first Executive Director of TeenTix! At the time, Betsey was working at TeenTix Partner Henry Art Gallery, and her husband (curator and former art critic Eric Fredericksen) was asked to work with the TeenTix Press Corps, so the whole family soon got to see TeenTix’s programs in action... Not long after, her son turned 13 and signed up for his own TeenTix Pass. Today, as Executive Director of TeenTix Partner On the Boards, Betsey regularly works with TeenTix to foster an intelligent and engaged audience of young people.

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Make Believe Earns Explosive Audience

Review of Make Believe at Tacoma Arts Live.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Rosemary Sissel, and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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Spidey's Make Believe: Magic of Your Mind mentalism show is audience-adored and fascinating. The Tacoma Arts Live stop on his international tour sells out to an audience more diverse in age and race than most Tacoma shows, and prompts not one but two standing ovations. Though Spidey seems rather reliant on certain terms (“international acclaim,” “wicked sorcerer,” “Apollo Theater,” and “ultimate magic trick,” being especially prominent) he more than earns all the love we (all the audience members) give him. Casual, composed, witty—and indubitably magical, Spidey is a sensation.

A series of Spidey-themed clips open the show, taking so long that one may wonder if the mentalist will actually appear. (He does.) Strutting in over the Ghostbusters theme, he looks appraisingly out at all of us, waiting for clapping to quiet. At last, he speaks.

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RSVP for Teen Night at PNB's NEXT STEP!

See this special teens-only preview at PNB!

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Feel like a VIP when you attend this FREE teens-only preview at Pacific Northwest Ballet!

Our friends at PNB want to share their love of new work with TeenTix members at their studio preview of NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE / IN. Space is limited, so RSVP to save your seat!

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Meet the Spookiest Family in Edmonds

Review of The Addams Family - A New Musical at Edmonds Driftwood Players.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Katherine Kang, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

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One family full of darkness, two love birds, three “normal” people coming to visit, and four walls being broken, The Addams Family from the Edmonds Driftwood Players is a musical full of mystery, drama, and humor. In their cozy theatre, where every seat has a good view, the stage is set with all natural hues. The iconic intro comes on, and you can’t help but snap along to the familiar beat of the song.

This engaging musical captures the story of Wednesday Addams, (Megan Acuna), daughter of proud parents Morticia, (Tamara C. Davis), and Gomez Addams, (Doug Knoop), and older sister to the troublesome, but soft-hearted, Pugsley Addams, (Catherine Craig). Wednesday, the beloved princess of the family, has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke, (David Naber), who is different from her family—a more average suburban boy. No one knows about the couple except Wednesday’s father, Gomez, who has never kept a secret from his wife, Morticia. This tension only continues to grow as the polar families meet to have dinner. Wednesday has only one request for her family: one normal night. “Normal is just an illusion,” Morticia points out. The Addams Family - A New Musical by Edmonds Driftwood Players. Photo by Dale Sutton

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Kyle Abraham Channels Greater Power

Review of Kyle Abraham's A.I.M. presented by STG and On the Boards.

Written by Rosemary Sissel during TeenTix’s Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive.

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Out of the smoky darkness, Kyle Abraham emerges, opening the magnificent four piece Abraham in Motion (A.I.M.) with one explosive solo, "INDY." Four stand-alone pieces that touch on police brutality, love, human connection, powerlessness, and pain, and everything begins with one gloriously powerful solo. An entire piece performed by one man.

Abraham enters through a veil of smoke, walking into an ethereal ray of light. His arms shake, pelting the light with a barrage of questions. It does not answer. Then, slowly, things calm.

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A.I.M. Should Strike a Chord Within All of Us

Review of Kyle Abraham's A.I.M. presented by STG and On the Boards.

Written by Prama Singh during TeenTix’s Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive.

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“Shut your eyes….”, played repeatedly and the beep, beep, beep, of the sound effects rippled through the theater as the audience watched the fluid dancers take up the stage. Kyle Abraham and his company Abraham In Motion (A.I.M.) presented four pieces on stage at the Moore Theatre this March. They were all beautiful pieces, but there was one piece in particular that stood out along with a specific part of another.

In Abraham’s fourth piece, “Drive”, the music seemed to get louder and louder as fog filtered onto the stage. The dimmed lights were on the dancers as they pulsated in synch, the rhythm of the music pounding along. The feeling of desperation, and the intense need to convey something filled the air as the dynamic dancers unhesitatingly continued to flow and sway. They were swift and unstoppable in their need to get the audience to understand. An ominous feeling filled the theater, yet eyes remain locked on stage. This feeling was amplified after the previous message commemorating any black man who reached age twenty-one from the piece “Meditation: A Silent Prayer.” As the lights dimmed further and the curtains went down, the audience stood for an ovation.

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Broadway or 2.7 Million Dollar Debt? The Ballad of Phillip Chavira

Interview with Phillip Chavira, Executive Director of Intiman Theatre.

Written by Lark Keteyian, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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"The biggest question is, why would I come to Seattle after that?"

Phillip Chavira used to be a Broadway producer. His job was to raise money to invest in shows, and if they made a profit he got paid—which was rare, but glamorous when it happened. In 2016, he was nominated for a Tony Award for co-producing ECLIPSED, a play about the Second Liberian Civil War with an all women of color cast, director, and playwright. He worked with Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey, the only current African-American producers on Broadway. But in 2017, he moved across the country to work with a theater company struggling to get out from under its 2.7 million dollar debt.

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