The Great British Bake Off Gets A Radical Upgrade

Review of the Great Victorian Radicals Bake-Off at Seattle Art Museum.

Written by Teen Editor Anya Shukla and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster.

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In a truly tragic turn of events, I arrived at SAM’s Great Victorian Radicals Bake-Off four days after I vowed to eat healthier and skip dessert for two weeks. As I watched my sister nosh her way through cakes, pies, and even dessert tacos, I could feel my mouth start to water. She looked at me between bites, raising her eyebrows as if to say “your loss!” I stuck to my guns, but if I go by my sister’s review, I missed out on a gastric fiesta.

The event was billed as a mix between The Great British Bake-Off, a family-friendly baking show, and SAM’s Victorian Radicals art exhibit, a showcase of the revolutionary techniques used by artists in 19th century Europe. Bakers had two months to view the exhibit, pick a piece, and create a breathtaking dessert based on their choice. On the day of, judges did a taste-test, scoring each scrumptious baked good on taste, presentation, and connection to the exhibit. At the Bake-Off, the audience also got the chance to vote for the winner of the “People’s Choice Award,” AKA “Best Looking Sweet.” This baking event seemed like a way of connecting the exhibit, which centers around older art, with young adults and teens who might know the British Bake-Off better than the Industrial Revolution. Great Victorian Radicals Bake-Off. Photo courtesy of SAM.

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Turning Up the Volume with Mal Blum

Review of Mal Blum at the Vera Project.

Written by Teen Editor Tova Gaster and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla.

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During their all-ages show at the Vera Project on August 22, musician Mal Blum declared that they weren’t getting into any fights on social media for the month. As they wrote on Twitter earlier that day, they instead opted to “focus on [their] all ages show in Seattle and the trans kids [they] get to meet every night IRL instead. No more tweet beef!!”

At Blum’s energetic and vulnerable show, the crowd was indeed full of trans kids, and Blum’s driving pop-punk guitar and shouted lyrics energized the audience. Blum’s stage presence is self-deprecating and charismatic, and their boyish low voice slides seamlessly into a clear upper register. They’re short with a confident center of gravity.

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B-List is the Best List

Teen Editorial Staff September 2019 Editorial

Written by Teen Editors Anya Shukla and Tova Gaster!

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As the great Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes once said, “It is now two days closer to the start of school than it was two days ago.”

We made that sentence its own paragraph, because the idea can stand alone as a bringer of pure, unadulterated panic.

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Announcing the 2019/2020 Teen Editorial Staff!

Meet the leaders of the TeenTix Newsroom!

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TeenTix is proud to announce the 2019/2020 Teen Editorial Staff. This year's Teen Editorial Staff (TEDS) is comprised of six teens: Anya Shukla, Joshua Fernandes, Kendall Kieras, Lily Williamson, Olivia Sun, and Tova Gaster. The TEDS are the leaders of the TeenTix Newsroom, and work to curate reviews and arts coverage for the TeenTix blog. Teen Editorial Staff members decide which TeenTix Arts Partners' events to cover each month, write an editorial about their curatorial choices, and assign Newsroom writers to review each event. TEDS members interface with TeenTix Arts Partners to set up press tickets for each review, and edit all Newsroom writing before it is published on the TeenTix blog. The Teen Editorial Staff is a group of skilled writers, editors, and leaders, who keep the pulse of the TeenTix Press Corps and the Seattle arts scene.

Statement from the Teen Editorial Staff: “The goal of the Teen Editorial Staff is to promote our local Arts Partners while amplifying the perspectives of the next generation of arts patrons. The TeenTix Newsroom fosters arts journalism by teens, for teens. We are dedicated to elevating youth voices and encouraging them to think critically about the arts and media they consume.”

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Pass Over Confronts Audiences in the Best Way Possible

Review of Pass Over at ACT.

Written by Teen Editor Anya Shukla, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Although I had been warned by the sign at the front door—CAUTION: LOUD GUNSHOTS—I still started, pretzeled my arms into my chest, when the trigger was finally pulled. I sat, head buzzing, as the murderer monologued for the final two minutes of the play. The lights went down amidst audience mumblings, then I stood clapping with the room while the actors bowed. My chest was tight with anxiety all through the talkback, the drive home, my pre-bed face wash; even now, I can easily picture the muzzle flash. If art’s job is to affect individuals, then Pass Over deserves a raise.

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TEDS 1.0 Signing Off!

2019 Teen Editorial Staff Farewell Editorial

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We made it! It’s an odd feeling, watching the first era of our Teen Editorial Staff—the group that we all helped to create—come to a close. Just a little under a year ago, we were five strangers, only connected by our shared passion for art. Now, we’ve grown into a sort of family, and we can’t imagine the Teen Editorial Staff being any different. However, as a different group of teen editors will be the reality next year, now comes the time to move on, let go, and get ready to enter a new era. It truly has been our pleasure editing reviews for the TeenTix blog. We’d like to take a moment to thank some very important people who’ve really made the Teen Editorial Staff the success it is. Firstly, we’d like to thank our incredible Newsroom of teen writers, who write the lovely reviews we have had the pleasure of editing. We’d also like to thank the TeenTix Arts Partners, who provide us with the means and support we need to go out and experience their incredible art. We’d like to give the biggest thanks to Mariko, our mentor and guru who’s guided us through the world of arts criticism and given countless hours to help make the Teen Editorial Staff a reality. And finally, we’d like to thank YOU for supporting TeenTix and the Teen Editorial Staff through your patronage. This has been the 2018-19 Teen Editorial Staff, signing off!

- Anya, Hannah, Huma, Josh, and Lily

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Storytelling through Contemporary Dance

Review of This is Not the Little Prince by Whim W'Him.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Katherine Kang, and edited by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer!

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The movement of the human body accompanied by a simple monotone score, props that seem familiar, and a new musical score can tell a beautiful story with great emotion and power.

After almost two years of brainstorming and eight intense weeks of choreographing and rehearsing, This is Not The Little Prince is now being performed at the Cornish Playhouse. This one hour contemporary dance piece is full of heart, creativity, emotion, and flexibility. Choreographed and staged by Olivier Wevers, this show conveys a well-known story in a new light, with the story of the author. Using the language of dance, everyone can interpret the narrative, no matter what language they speak.Whim W'Him in This is Not the Little Prince. Photo by Stefano Altamura.

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Familiarity And Femininity With A Sense of Wildness

Review of A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes at MoPOP.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Charlotte Hyre, and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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“Click, click, click, click. Beautiful!” said the young woman instructing me on selfie stick use towards the end of my walk through the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)’s A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes. The video, entitled Selfie Stick Aerobics (constructed by Arvida Byström and Maja Malou Lyse) was of two young women in pink tracksuits, posing with a selfie stick as feminine items, such as menstrual cups, belly button rings, and thongs, floated past. As they showed me different photo angles, they continued to enforce body positivity, insisting that this was not a competition. Instead of mocking selfies, which are often viewed as vain and superficial, the artists embraced them enthusiastically, as a way to affirm how beautiful they and the people around them were. The artists found an interesting way to reclaim culture frequently made fun of, all while promoting self-love.

MoPOP strives to use creative expression as a force for change by featuring exhibits that both educate the public on the history behind some of our favorite culture points, often giving new artists a platform. At this particular exhibit, a group of fashion designers diverse in popularity and establishment came together to discuss the meaning of femininity and the label’s borders. The presentation was split up into different feminine archetypes: “Mother Earth,” “Sage,” “Magician,” “Enchantress,” “Explorer,” “Heroine,” and “Thespian Queen,” each accompanied by a paragraph on the wall and archetypal symbols. Instead of a traditional mannequin presentation, there was a mixture of videography, photography, and clothing. Among the fascinating displays were pieces from an Alexander McQueen collection: Natural Dis-Tinction, Un-Natural Selection. His work was an interesting juxtaposition between natural-seeming fabrics and patterns and more modern silhouettes. For example, one outfit was composed of a dress made of light, cream silk patterned with meadow flowers under a simple leather bodice; however, the shoulders were broadened, the upper sleeves were voluminous, and the hips were exaggerated to the extreme. The purpose of this was to find a balance between modern and natural, providing familiarity with a sense of wildness underneath, which was an enthralling contrast. Another dress, similar in shape, had rough rainbow fabric that the light danced upon and, yet, a severe collar and neckline. It was interesting how the two ideas of natural and unnatural blended well together instead of clashing A Queen Within, Installation view by Iris van Herpen. Photo Josh Brasted.

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The Power of Touch

Review of CUDDLE at SIFF and Northwest Film Forum.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Vanessa Chen, and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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CUDDLE stars Hope Shanthi as Dina Razzano, an up-and-coming cuddle therapist as she tries to pave the way for a new bold method of therapy. Created by Adeline Colangelo and directed by John Helde, the series follows Dina as she tries to establish her new business while simultaneously discovering herself. Along the way, Dina finds herself facing many who oppose her non-traditional methods including her own brother, Joe Razzano portrayed by Devin Badoo. Each episode chronicles a new experience for Dina and her business, ranging from encountering anxiety ridden clients afraid of intimacy to hunting for an establishment willing to host a cuddle workshop. The series takes an old classic cliche and puts a fun new spin on it through the introduction of cuddle therapy.

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Locker-Room Talk: American Manhood Unravels in Take Me Out

Review of Take Me Out at Strawberry Theatre Workshop.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Jonah de Forest, and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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Race, masculinity, and American identity have all played a key role in making baseball the national pastime. Richard Greenberg, the playwright behind the Tony-award winning Take Me Out (now playing at 12th Avenue Arts through Strawberry Theatre Workshop), understands baseball’s all-encompassing scope, and attempts to use it as means for a spectacle of societal discourse. His results are mixed, but when performed by a capable cast, certain moments hold all the power baseball possesses.

The concept is compelling enough to make one wish it had been handled differently. There's no doubt that the highly-decorated Greenberg is a talented playwright. Whether he’s the one to pen a play of this subject matter is another question. Darren Lemming (Lamar Legend), a mixed-race pro baseball player seemingly based off Derek Jeter comes out abruptly as gay, unbeknownst to the weight of his action. Lemming must then adapt to his demoted status, going from untouchable golden boy to the patronized poster child for a community he doesn’t identify with. When screw-loose Shane Mungitt (Craig Peterson)—a red-state rogue with a habit for saying bigoted slurs—joins Lemming’s team, tensions give way to a cultural battleground. The plot has all has the makings for a fascinating dissection of baseball in all its glory and carnage, a symbol of Americana that has both unified and divided the country. With the historical context of baseball’s long-winded journey to racial integration, there is certainly potential for a truly explosive work. Unfortunately, Take Me Out doesn’t quite live up to that potential until the second act.Take Me Out at Strawberry Theatre Workshop. Photo by John Ulman.

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The Warnings and Possibilities of What’s “About to Happen”

Review of "About to Happen" at Henry Art Gallery.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Erin Croom, and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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“About to Happen” at the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery marks the first time Cecilia Vicuña’s collection of sculptures, drawings, films, and other art pieces are exhibited alone in the United States. Vicuña is a Chilean-born artist whose career spans over fifty years, and her unique body of work has only gained relevance as time passes and climate change (often alluded to in her art) worsens. This exhibit combines a wide variety of media, largely composed of repurposed materials, in a unique and visually compelling compilation that invites thoughtful consideration from viewers.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors are greeted by dozens upon dozens of tiny sculptures dotting the walls and a raised platform on the floor. These are “precarios” (“uncertainties” in Spanish), or, as Vicuña sometimes refers to them, “basuritas” (“little garbages”). These tiny masterpieces, pinned to the wall like insect specimens, are entirely made of objects Vicuña collected from the shores of northern Chile, where she grew up. The oldest “precarios” are from 1966, and she has continued to create them in the decades since. Just as other pieces in the room float from the ceiling, the “precarios” seem to swim in the vast white expanses of the walls upon which they are mounted. They range in complexity, from singular pieces of wood to intricate assemblies of thread, netting, and other flotsam. Vicuña’s clever hand has taken seaside trash and created beautiful works of art that are captivating in their detail."About to Happen" by Cecilia Vicuña at Henry Art Gallery. Photo by Alex Marks.

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School’s Out, But Art Never Ends

Teen Editorial Staff June Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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It’s June, and as the weather gets warmer and we finally get a break from Seattle rain, most TeenTixers are looking forward to one thing: liberation—from school, homework, teachers, and the dreaded SBA. So, the Teen Editorial Staff has curated June’s shows around the theme of liberation. We’ve picked art events that demonstrate the complex positivity of this theme in celebration of summer. For visual art lovers, MoPOP’s A Queen Within liberates femininity from traditionally associated beauty standards through fashion. If you’re in the mood to see a live show, ACT Theatre’s Pass Over and Whim W’Him’s This is Not the Little Prince reinvent classic pieces of literature, and Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s Take Me Out takes a swing at raising awareness of the constraints homophobia places on a community through baseball. In addition, CUDDLE: The Series at Seattle International Film Festival and later at Northwest Film Forum explores how something as simple as a hug can be liberating. This month’s lineup is incredibly diverse, so, as summer approaches, get out there and see some art!

Photo credit: Ethan Robertson from Unsplash

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The Art of Interpretation

Review of Laser SZA at Pacific Science Center.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Greta Herrington, and edited by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer!

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Music, with all its genres, styles, and variations, often portrays a common understanding among listeners; so when paired with celestial visuals such as lasers, it becomes clear how one song can contain infinite meanings. Laser SZA, an ongoing laser light show at Seattle’s very own Laser Dome, offers the opportunity to discover these personal interpretations through a visual aid.

Set to Grammy-nominated artist SZA’s groundbreaking album Ctrl, this hour long show aims to redefine how one listens to, perceives, and internalizes music.

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The Magic of Female Friendship

Review of Banana Split at SIFF.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Alison Smith, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

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Clara, (Liana Liberato), and April, (Hannah Marks), aren’t supposed to be friends. After all, Clara’s new casual boyfriend is also April’s serious ex—their relationship lasted two years, an eternity in the grand scheme of high school relationships. Nonetheless, the two girls meet at a house party in the summer after their senior year: Clara is charming strangers, while April is drowning her heartbreak in tequila. The social order demands that they hate each other, and April is prepared to comply—as she tells Clara, “I want a reason to give you a black eye.” Clara is also uncomfortable, having not known that she was dating April’s ex until a week before their coincidental encounter. Despite their circumstances, the two become fast friends united by their shared sense of humor and desire for adventure. Banana Split, directed by Benjamin Kasulke, chronicles this budding friendship. Although the film’s focus—a friend group’s romantic entanglements—may not be strikingly original, its witty script, nuanced depiction of female friendship, and naturalistic performances, particularly from Marks, make it as fun as the last few weeks of summer vacation.

In an early scene, Clara and April bond over Nick’s (Clara’s current boyfriend, portrayed by Suite Life of Zack and Cody’s Dylan Sprouse) stranger quirks—like his tendency to put his lovers’ noses in his mouth—before deciding that if they’re going to be friends, it has to be on their terms, not his. So they set out ground rules: no talking about Nick, and no telling him about their friendship. Of course, the viewers can predict that these rules will be trampled on by the time the film’s done, but that knowledge of the inevitable confrontation with Nick adds tension to an otherwise lowkey dramedy. Furthermore, their secrecy is threatened by Ben (Luke Spencer Roberts), April and Nick’s dorky, blabbermouth, mutual friend.

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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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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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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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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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