Molly Gilmore

Molly Gilmore has written for many years on arts, culture and entertainment. She writes for OLY ARTS, The Olympian, The News Tribune and a variety of other South Sound publications.

Articles

  • Barney Carey Gets His Wings at Olympia Family Theater
    Olympia Family Theater’s executive director Mark Alford who plays Barney’s dad in “Barney Carey Gets His Wings” said, “The show is hilarious, but it doesn’t sacrifice any heart. At its core [it] is a discussion of self-identity and self-expression.”
  • Erik Fremstad’s Unnatural Selections at Lakewold Gardens
    The pictures in Unnatural Selections, animal portraits, by Erik Fremstad of Olympia on view beginning Feb. 16 at Lakewold Gardens in Lakewood, are each made up of thousands of words — and these words count. Selections are detailed, realistic depictions of iconic North American species done in pen and ink and watercolor.
  • Big New Digs for Arbutus Folk School
    In December, Olympia’s Arbutus Folk School moved across 4th Avenue to a larger and better laid-out location that will give the school — and its mission — room to grow.
  • Gilligan and Gang Make Merry at Mall
    Olympia’s new WineBox Theatre — the grownup wing of Juice Box Theatre — is paying homage to the three-hour tour with “Island Castaway Christmas” at OlyTheater in Capital Mall this Friday and Saturday as a fundraiser for Juice Box, which creates monthly snack-size shows for children 6 and younger.
  • SPSCC’s Native American Exhibition celebrates Hazel Pete
    Honoring the Legacy of Hazel Pete at SPSCC’s 2023 Native American Art Exhibition through Dec. 8th including baskets, mats, clothing and dolls from the 1800s through the present day.
  • A Tale of Two Nutcrackers
    Both the Studio West Dance Theatre production, opening Nov. 24, and the Ballet Northwest version, opening Dec. 8, are beloved traditions. Studio West first performed the ballet in 2009, and the venerable Ballet Northwest premiered its version in 1983. “There’s always a buzz around The Nutcracker,” said Stephanie Wood-Ennett, the co-director of Studio West. “So many people feel that their holiday is not complete without it.”
  • Harlequin’s A Christmas Carol Is Evolving
    It’s the third season for Harlequin’s Christmas Carol. Aaron Lamb’s adaptation of the redemption story is both familiar and fresh, and he plans to refine it each year. There’s a twist in casting in this production: The spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future are all female.
  • Peck Plays Range from Romantic to Ridiculous
    Peck Plays Range from Romantic to Ridiculous at OlyTheater: “It’s quite diverse,” said TAO vice president John Serembe, who’s organizing the event and directing two plays. “There’s a kind of romantic one and kind of a mystery. There’s one that has to do with climate change in a kind of fun, bizarre way. It’s told by trees. There’s one that’s a little bit absurdist with people playing fish. It’s just a real eclectic bunch. There’s a little bit of everything.”
  • Arts Walk Cover Artist Jennifer Kuhns Has Come a Long Way
    by Molly Gilmore Spring Arts Walk cover artist Jennifer Kuhns has been there before — and she’s come a long way. Kuhns, well known for her glass mosaics, first had her work on the cover of the Arts Walk map back in spring 2007. This fall, she’s done it again with Olympia Reflections, an intricately …

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  • Lily Raabe Retires and Mark Alford steps in at Olympia Family Theater
    Olympia Family Theater Artistic Director Lily Raabe has resigned to spend more time writing and traveling. The company has hired its first executive director, Olympia actor Mark Alford.
  • A River (of felt) Runs Through It
    Artist Janice Arnold’s “Homage to Water” ~ a blue-and-white river of handmade felt swirling and eddying through a rock garden ~ is on view through September 30th along the atrium of Washington State Department of Ecology’s headquarters in Lacey.
  • Play Reveals Hotel’s Little-Known Story
    On Sept. 16 and 17, locals will get a chance to learn the rest of the story at Bryan Willis’ Hotel Olympian Gala Extravaganza, a play that re-creates the hotel’s grand opening.
  • You Are Not Alone Mural Project
    Elisa Del Giudice said of the mural project she created, “I brought in elements from the Procession of the Species — a jellyfish and a mushroom that mirror each other. The procession is a beacon of hope, and it’s celebratory, and it’s just so Olympia.”
  • TAO Returns to the Dark with Mystery
    “It’s a little bit of Halloween in the summer,” said Pug Bujeaud, the play’s director and a TAO mainstay. “It’s fun and quirky and dark. It’s very much an old-school TAO show. The basis of the show is ‘What is a forgivable sin? … What lines do you draw? How do you decide what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors — or people — you have to cut out of your life?”
  • Artists Test-Driving Armory
    “We’re testing out the building — learning about how the acoustics work and how important sinks are for workshops,” said Angel Nava of the city’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Department. “People are so excited for the art interventions, to be engaged in creative projects as a community and to see this wonderful space being used and developed,” Jennifer Kuhns said.
  • Juried Show Brings Barnes Back to SPSCC Gallery
    “We are a community college gallery, and he is a deep part of our community,” said Sean Barnes, the gallery manager — and no relation. “Nathan is an accomplished artist and a wonderful curator, but also, how many opportunities do you have to invite someone back to curate an exhibition in the space where they used to work?”
  • Fools Travel in a Dream World
    “Comedy and tragedy are just a second apart from each other,” said String and Shadow’s Donald Palardy III, who’s playing one of the fools. “We want people to come and to laugh. That is the goal. It’s like Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes is for kids, but there’s a lot of adult humor, sometimes peeking out of the surface and sometimes just under the surface.”
  • Winners of the 2023 Washington Center Arts Awards
    Comedian Gabriel Rutledge and Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia founders Greg and Krina Allison are winners of The Washington Center for the Arts’ annual arts awards, and will be honored on June 29.
  • Plays Like Picture Books Come to Life
    “Our shows are colorful and fun and bright and quick,” said Juice Box’s Kate Ayers, who writes and directs the shows. They’re like picture books come to life, and kids are invited to join the action. Next up is “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” opening June 15.
  • Famous and Soon-to-be Mingle at Burlesque Fest
    Some of the hottest performers in burlesque will show their stuff at the Pacific Northwest Burlesque Festival, happening May 4-6 at the Olympia Ballroom.
  • Something ‘Old,’ Something New
    For Arts Walk, Olympia’s oldest and newest galleries are hosting curated exhibitions that bring together artworks with intention. The shows, at venerable Childhood’s End and tiny upstart CaTMA, aim not just to display art but also to become art.
  • Gaxiola’s Duo Finelli Serves Up Slapstick
    Luz Gaxiola and Molly Shannon of Duo Finelli will perform their slapstick sister act Friday, March 24th at Airbound Arts in Olympia. The Friday show is Shannon’s Olympia debut and the first local opportunity to see Duo Finelli, which has performed nationally and internationally. Also on the bill for the all-ages performance: Dulcito (aka Jonathan Anaya Paredes of Kent), a fourth-generation circus artist from Peru.
  • Black Art and Black Artists Exhibition at The Gallery at Tacoma Community College
    Black Art & Black Artists Exhibition – featuring 14 artists from our region, the exhibition showcases works across mediums, exploring themes like historical education, healing and representation. It explores themes of Black culture, identity and society. At Tacoma Community College’s gallery through March 17, 2023.
  • Composer-coach Shaw tackles ‘House of Mirth’
    Terry Shaw’s musical version of Edith Wharton’s “House of Mirth” opens March 4 at Timberline High School. The new musical has a cast of 20 and a 17-piece orchestra.
  • Celebrating Creative Theatre Experience and Kathy Dorgan
    After forty years of productions, and with the upcoming retirement of longtime Artistic Creative Theatre Experience Director Kathy Dorgan, the board of directors invites the community to celebrate at the Anniversary Gala on Saturday, March 11. Students, parents, alumni, supporters, and the business sponsors will join to reminisce on the past collaborations, performances, and creative moments, all while looking forward to the next 40 years and beyond.
  • Baby – a Funny and Powerful Musical About Expectant Mothers at Broadway Olympia Productions
    “I love the show so much,” said actor Carolyn Fry. “It’s a really lovely exploration of three of many, many pathways to parenthood, which is such a personal journey for everyone. There are so many scenes that are relatable for so many people regardless of their circumstances.”
  • OFT whipping up fresh Tales
    “One day there is nothing, and the next day there are six brand-new plays,” said storyteller and impresario Elizabeth Lord, who is curating the festival, which last happened in 2018. “It is mind-boggling. These plays can now be performed elsewhere. They will be scripts that live.”
  • Broadway Olympia Productions ‘Taking a Break’
    Broadway Olympia Productions is back — but not for long. The black box theater in Capital Mall will remain open. Theater Artists Olympia (TAO) will take over the lease for its own productions and as a space for other performing arts groups.
  • Old Tales Get a Twist in Digital Festival
    “Our community spans all time zones of the United States,” says Olympia actor Stephanie Kamau whose onstage acting experience includes productions at The Evergreen State College and who is now performing in the digital festival of one-act plays, “Twisted Tales.”
  • “The Nutcracker” is back for the holiday season in performances by Studio West Dance Theatre and by Ballet Northwest at The Washington Center
    Visions of Sugarplum Fairies will be dancing across the stage of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts beginning Friday, Nov. 25, when Studio West Dance Theatre’s “Nutcracker” opens. Ballet Northwest’s “Nutcracker” begins Friday, Dec. 9.
  • Olympia’s Indie Music Scene, 1980 to 2002
    A celebration of Olympia’s DIY indie music scene!
  • Debra Van Tuinen: Creating Light and Community
    By Molly Gilmore Debra Van Tuinen has received many accolades for her paintings, which were included in the 2004 Florence Biennale and have hung in U.S. embassies, but her latest award recognizes not her art but her courage and her commitment to Olympia. Van Tuinen — who opened a downtown studio and gallery in August …

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  • Broadway Olympia Productions and Theater Artists Olympia Pair Up in The (One-Act) Play That Goes Wrong
    By Alec Clayton and Molly Gilmore Like a theater version of The Odd Couple, the dark and edgy Theater Artists Olympia and the song-and-dance-fueled Broadway Olympia Productions are sharing a home. The theater companies, both sidelined since the pandemic, will each produce work in Broadway Olympia’s black box theater in Capital Mall. The partnership — …

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  • Washington Center for the Performing Arts Announces 2022 – 2023 Season
    By Molly Gilmore The Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ 2022-2023 season marks both a return to pre-pandemic norms — it’s the first full season with subscription plans since theaters closed in March 2020 — and a fresh start. When the season launches Nov. 4 with “Stunt Dog Experience,” the center will have a new …

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  • Fully Vaxxed at Olympia Family Theater
    Olympia Family Theater’s Fully Vaxxed, opening March 18, is much more than a theatrical production. The trio of bilingual, one-act plays — which will tour throughout the state and be available for streaming — is part of a public health campaign harnessing the power of art to inspire people to get vaccinated.
  • COVID-19 Forces Delays for Harlequin Productions; Others May Follow
    Harlequin Productions appears to be the first theater in Western Washington to implement COVID cancellations in 2022 – a move that other organizations may soon follow.
  • Fridays at the First: Advent Concerts Celebrate the Season
    By Molly Gilmore Jazz musicians are playing and swinging and getting merry like Christmas this month at Olympia’s First Christian Church. Fridays at the First, the church’s annual series of free noontime Advent concerts, continues through Dec. 17, offering a mix of tunes including a few seasonal ones. “Liturgically, Advent is a time of waiting,” …

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  • Olympia Family Theater Welcomes New Artistic Director Lily Raabe
    By Molly Gilmore Lily Raabe, Olympia Family Theater’s new artistic director, loves fantasy, adventure — and community. The company plans to resume producing shows in the spring; meanwhile, Raabe is focused on connecting with and learning about the people who surround and support the theater. She’ll host a series of online and in-person meetings beginning …

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  • Olympia Arts Walk Returns This Fall
    By Molly Gilmore Arts Walk, Olympia’s twice-yearly celebration of community and creativity, is back to something like the event South Sound remembers, with a street closure at the center of the action. Washington Street between Fifth Avenue and Legion Way will be closed from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, to create space for …

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  • Matthew Melendez: the Great Director at Great Bend Creating Unity Through Song
    By Molly Gilmore Matthew Melendez, executive director of the Great Bend Center for Music in Union, is best known as a celebrated choral conductor. The center’s Great Bend Chorale, which is open to everyone with no audition required, has performed at Carnegie Hall and taken second place in a prestigious national competition. But what Melendez …

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  • Artistic Director Jen Ryle Says Goodbye to Olympia Family Theater
    By Molly Gilmore There’s change coming to Olympia Family Theater: Though she’s as passionate as ever about children’s theater, co-founder Jen Ryle is stepping down from her role as artistic director to create space for new leadership. She’s involved with the search for her successor and will stay on to work with the new hire …

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  • The Washington Center Announces 2021-2022 In-Person Season
    By Molly Gilmore There’s big news for Olympia’s arts lovers: Though COVID-19 continues to require theaters to be prepared for all possibilities, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts has unveiled a 2021-2022 season. The season, kicking off Sept 16, offers music, comedy, theater and even performing dogs. “I’m just so excited to have people …

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  • String and Shadow’s Fantastic Fauna Comes to Life at Lions Park
    By Molly Gilmore Near the big cherry tree in Lions Park, there are new trees and bushes — cardboard ones that look like illustrations from a storybook. Nestled against the park shelter, the foliage sets the scene for String and Shadow puppet theater’s Fauna Fantastique, a playful pageant running weekends through Aug. 1. Like the …

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  • The Washington Center for the Performing Arts Announces First Capital Campaign Since Creation
    By Molly Gilmore Open again after more than a year, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is embarking on an effort to make audiences and artists feel even more welcome. The not-for-profit theater is raising money to refresh and renew its public spaces. The project, set to be completed next summer, will include new …

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  • Harlequin Productions Announces 2021-22 In-Person Season
    By Molly Gilmore Audiences hungry for live theater will be treated to a bountiful buffet when Harlequin Productions reopens Oct. 22. Since Covid-19 brought “The Highest Tide” to an early end in March 2020, the company’s State Theater has “essentially been frozen in time,” artistic director Aaron Lamb said Saturday at the company’s virtual season …

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  • A Bright Future for Olympia’s Armory Building
    By Molly Gilmore Two months ago, the Olympia Armory underwent a creative transformation: The 1939 Art Deco building was illuminated with colored lights. Now, the armory is poised for a much bigger transformation — into an arts center, something that the City of Olympia and many in the community have been working toward for 30 …

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  • Native American Performers, Musicians, Storytellers Celebrated in Upcoming Ensemble
    By Molly Gilmore “Welcome to Indian Country,” which premieres Thursday, May 27, at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, is a song- and story-packed celebration of Native American life — and of the accomplishments of Native American performers. The show will tour across the country, but its genesis is right here: It’s produced and …

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  • Broadway Olympia Productions Previews West Olympia Black Box Space
    By Molly Gilmore Not far from the Century Olympia cinemas at Capital Mall is another theater: Broadway Olympia Productions’ new black box. The company showed off the improvements to the 2,500-square-foot space at an industry open house last week and plans to begin producing live entertainment there as soon as it’s safe to do so. …

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  • Local Artist Charters Path Which Gains Her International Recognition
    By Molly Gilmore A lifelong delight in art and a deep commitment to feminism have shaped of Lynette Charters’ way of seeing the world. Among the most recent recognitions of the Olympia painter’s talent: Two of her paintings will be included in Together, a national exhibition opening May 7 in Woodstock, Illinois. And she’s now …

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  • Olympia Lamplighters: Supporting and Uplifting Local Artists With Dedicated Community Workspace
    By Molly Walsh Nestled between the streetlights and tree lines of Olympia’s downtown, an innovative creative space is working to support and uplift local artists. Like a lantern illuminating a shaded walkway, the Olympia Lamplighters invites both visual and performing artists to compose, create and collaborate under one roof. Beyond the picture windows, the Lamplighters …

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  • After 40 Years in Olympia, Future Is Uncertain for The Artists’ Gallery
    By Molly Gilmore Although it’s a large space with big windows, The Artists’ Gallery in west Olympia is easy to overlook. It’s at the mall, but not in the mall, nestled in between Italia Pizzeria and Massage Envy in the Capital Mall Promenade. And over the past year, the cooperative gallery — featuring a wide …

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  • Olympia Gears Up for Arts Month This April
    By Molly Gilmore Remember when Arts Walk, Olympia’s twice-yearly celebration of creations and community, filled the downtown shops and streets with performances, paintings and people? For the second year in a row, Arts Walk as it used to be is on hold. Even with the state poised to enter Phase 3 of the recovery plan, …

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  • Reptiles, Fairies and Gremlins, Oh My! Local Author Releases PNW Horror Collection
    By Molly Gilmore Jonah Barrett wouldn’t be insulted if anyone said their first book was monstrous. That’s because Barrett’s short-story collection “Moss Covered Claws,” dropping March 18, is all about monsters. Barrett of Olympia, a filmmaker, fantasy writer and OLY ARTS contributor, is launching the book with an online reading and talk at 7 p.m. …

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  • Date Set for Olympia YWCA’s Womxn of Achievement
    By Molly Gilmore The Olympia YWCA’s 2021 Womxn of Achievement awards honor three women working for racial justice. The awards ceremony and celebration, happening online Feb. 19, will also spotlight a national leader in the fight for racial equality: activist/author Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been nominated for …

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  • Lacey’s Goldfinch Productions Announces 2021 Season
    By Molly Gilmore At a time when the pandemic has made many theater companies hesitant even to make plans, South Sound’s Goldfinch Productions is ready for takeoff on its 2021 season. The plucky nonprofit, founded in 2018 with the goal of opening a theater and studio in Lacey, will produce a half-dozen audio plays, with …

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  • Harlequin Offers Two Streaming Productions of A Christmas Carol
    By Molly Gilmore When Harlequin Productions announced its 2020 season, “A Christmas Carol” was slated to be the holiday show. Since then, of course, virtually every plan — in the theatrical world and in the world at the large — has changed. But Harlequin is, despite it all, mounting a production of “A Christmas Carol.” …

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  • Olympia Gets Ready for the Holidays
    By Molly Gilmore Though plans for in-person film screenings have been postponed, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is still getting into the spirit of the season. It’s what Jill Barnes, the center’s indefatigable executive director, calls “Operation Holiday Cheer.” The center had planned to reopen Thanksgiving weekend as a movie theater, showing Christmastime …

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  • Ballet Northwest Updates Classic Nutcracker for the Age of Coronavirus
    By Molly Gilmore Update Nov. 24: “The Nutcracker” dates, times and locations have changed since the original release of this story. Updated information is below the article. Despite COVID-19, Ballet Northwest’s “Nutcracker,” a South Sound holiday tradition for 35 years, is on for the holidays, but the company’s 2020 edition of the Tchaikovsky classic — …

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  • YWCA to Present the 26th Annual Womxn of Achievement
    By Molly Gilmore The Olympia YWCA’s 2020 Womxn of Achievement awards honor three women working for racial justice. The awards ceremony and celebration will also spotlight a national leader in the fight for racial equality: activist/author Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People …

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  • City of Olympia Announces Arts Month Innovation Awardees
    By Molly Gilmore Literary walks, a livestreamed concert and a show of work by Black artists are among the winners of Olympia’s Arts Month Innovation awards. The city began giving the awards last year to honor projects that stood out in their efforts to encourage community connection and involvement with the arts.  “We wanted to …

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  • Fall Shows Offer Light on the Horizon for Harlequin, Washington Center
    By Molly Gilmore While live theaters in Washington State remain closed, both Harlequin Productions and The Washington Center for the Performing Arts have shows on the way. Beginning Sept. 20, Harlequin will present radio-style productions of most of the shows it had to cancel during its 2020 season — plus a new thriller for the …

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  • Olympia Distilling Company Offers New Artesian Vodka
    By Molly Gilmore It’s the water. The familiar slogan of Olympia Beer applies just as well to the new Olympia Artesian Vodka, according to distillers Lesa Givens and Ray Watson. The duo, partners in life as well as in the Olympia Distilling Co., are using artesian well water to make the vodka — the same …

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  • Pop-Up Olympia Puppet Show Will Provide Socially Distanced Entertainment
    By Molly Gilmore Big news, Olympia: There’s a show opening July 3. Yes, an actual live performance that will happen right before the audience’s eyes without help from a screen of any kind. String and Shadow Puppet Theater, which has been performing socially distanced pop-up shows since April, is taking another giant leap into the …

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  • Theaters Are Getting Ready — and Ready for a Long Wait
    By Molly Gilmore As restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus begin to lift, those running theaters in Olympia and around the state still have more questions than answers about when they can welcome audiences once again. What they do know is that it won’t happen anytime soon and that the plans they …

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  • Nonprofit Theaters Finding Ways to Navigate Through Closures
    By Molly Gilmore Olympia theaters are dark these days — quite literally — yet those running them see light in the distance. Metaphorically speaking, “the show’s going to go on,” said Jill Barnes, executive director of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts. “It will.” Barnes and the leaders of other local nonprofit theaters have …

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  • Art Unguarded: Incarcerated Artists Raise $14,000 for YWCA
    By Molly Gilmore Sometimes humanity hits like a ton of bricks. Artists behind bars and community volunteers banded together last month to raise thousands of dollars to help homeless people and survivors of domestic violence. Artists in correctional centers across the state donated more than 200 of their creations — from paintings and sculpture to …

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  • Creative Theatre Experience: Building Generations of Local Actors
    By Molly Gilmore Since it started in 1981, Olympia’s Creative Theatre Experience (CTE) has produced 120 summer shows. It’s also built the confidence and skills of two generations of theater-loving students. “Forty years is pretty impressive,” said Elizabeth Swanson, vice president of the CTE board. “We now have children in the program whose parents were …

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  • Dickens Meets Doyle in Harlequin’s Christmas Carol
    By MOLLY GILMORE There’s mystery and magic afoot at Harlequin Productions this season. The company’s Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol, opening November 29, is a mashup that finds Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective receiving a series of ghostly visitors, as Scrooge does in Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic. The combination of two …

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  • The Washington Center for the Performing Arts Kicks Off 2019-20 Season
    By Molly Gilmore This season, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts has the blues — and the world music, and the dance, and the touring musicals, and the comedy, and so on. “We’re continuing to provide something for everyone,” said Jill Barnes, the center’s executive director. “I say that every year, and I feel …

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  • Emerald City Music: Pushing the Boundaries of Classical
    By MOLLY WALSH Emerald City Music, established in 2016, features over two dozen rising and established talents each season. In its upcoming fourth season, performances will explore the nature of the chamber music genre, centering around one question: What is classical music? Utilizing visual elements and collaborations with outside organizations, this season features a diverse …

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  • Proud to Lead the Parade
    By MOLLY GILMORE With her bright smile and warm personality, Jacque Dennee-Lee — who’ll serve as marshal of the Capital City Pride Parade on June 23 — helped many in Olympia find comfort with LGBTQ+ people. Dennee-Lee (whose first name is pronounced “Jackie”) worked from the early 1980s to 2010 as a bus driver with …

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  • A Nuttier Nutcracker
    By Molly Gilmore For the 10th anniversary of its The Nutcracker, Studio West Dance Theatre has added new treats and trimmings to its production of Tchaikovsky’s ballet about a young girl who receives a nutcracker for Christmas and dreams herself into a magical world of fairies and sweets. The production, opening Dec. 9, aims to …

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  • Ballet Confections
    By Molly Gilmore In Ballet Northwest’s 34th-annual The Nutcracker, sugarplums will dance, as will candies, mice, snowflakes and toy soldiers. It’s Tchaikovsky’s classic, holiday tale with an extra dash of romance: Clara, the young girl who dreams of wintry fairylands, gets a duet with a prince. Giving Clara in her toe shoes and the Nutcracker …

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  • Olympia Chamber Orchestra Begins Season
    By Molly Gilmore In its 2018-2019 season — its first full season under the direction of conductor Nicholas Carlson — the Olympia Chamber Orchestra will go beyond the expected classical repertoire. Small by orchestra standards, the group of 40-odd musicians in their 20s through 80s aims to have a big impact on Olympia’s classical-music scene. …

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  • Coffee With Friends
    By Molly Gilmore On Saturday, Oct. 27, Emerald City Music invites you to the musical version of a Parisian café — warm and intimate. Café Music spotlights a group of 20th-century French composers known as “Les Six,” who hung out with other avant-garde artists at Paris’s celebrated Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit. It also showcases …

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  • Broadway Olympia’s “Rocky Horror”
    By Molly Gilmore Broadway Olympia’s production of The Rocky Horror Show — opening, oh so fittingly, on Halloween — was more than two decades in the making. That’s quite a feat considering the musical-theater company launched its first season just two months ago. It all began in 1995, when managing director Kyle Murphy first saw …

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  • Masterworks Choral Ensemble Gets Back to Nature
    By Molly Gilmore Masterworks Choral Ensemble begins its 38th season by celebrating nature’s glories. The singing group will wade in the water — and explore the elements of earth, air and fire, too — in Sacred Elements at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts. “I really resonate with the environment,” said Masterworks artistic director …

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  • Creative Theatre All-Stars
    By MOLLY GILMORE Creative Theatre Experience is a summer program for young people, yet its season offers a chance to see mature work by local, theatrical powerhouses. This summer, the program presents Footloose, based on the Kevin Bacon film about a teen who moves to a town where dancing is forbidden; Crush, an alien-invasion rom-com …

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  • Interview With Melissa Etheridge
    By MOLLY GILMORE  Melissa Etheridge is known almost as much for activism as for such hits as “I’m the Only One,” but when she plays July 17 in Olympia, the singer-songwriter plans not to educate or advocate but simply to rock. “We’re calling it ‘The Rock Show,’ because it’s rocking,” she said in a phone …

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  • Swan Lake Showcased by Ballet Northwest
    by MOLLY GILMORE for OLY ARTS Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake didn’t earn much acclaim when it debuted in 1877 in Moscow, but once it took wing, the ballet continued to soar. Ballet Northwest’s production of the classic about a young woman cursed to live as a swan opens May 11 at the Washington Center for the …

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  • Past and Present Come to Life in Three Days of Rain at Harlequin
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS   Harlequin Productions’ “Three Days of Rain,” opening May 3, is a subtle mystery — not a whodunit, but rather a “what happened and why.” Richard Greenberg’s Pulitzer-nominated 1998 drama begins with a sister (Alyssa Kay) and brother (Fox Rain Matthews) and one of their childhood friends gathering to …

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  • Procession: Luminary Lights Glow in the Night
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS The subtler sibling to the many-splendored Procession of the Species, the Luminary Procession shines brightly, filling the streets of Olympia with glowing paper lanterns and live music. When it began in 2009, this procession was intended exclusively for participants, as a ritual honoring the human spirit. “There’s something extraordinarily …

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  • A Stroll through Providence Christmas Forest
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS In its 30th year, Providence Christmas Forest is a different kind of winter wonderland — a forest of trees and wreaths decorated in themes from traditional to surprising. One tree will have a NASCAR theme, while another will be inspired by Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. The …

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  • Governor’s Arts Award for Terry Shaw
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Choir director, composer, and teacher Terry Shaw has won a Governor’s Arts Award, to be presented Nov. 14. Shaw was named a Young Arts Leader, an award that recognizes his contributions to the arts and impact on the community. Shaw, who teaches wrestling and choral music at Timberline High …

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  • Tales Told in Ten: A Theater Festival
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Gather three dozen creative people. Give them a prompt and some help with props. The following day, they’ll serve six fresh bite-size plays, each 10 minutes or less and suitable for all ages. That’s the recipe for Olympia Family Theater’s Tales Told in Ten, the theater’s second annual festival …

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  • John Welsh’s Grand Finale
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS After 18 years as music director of Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia, John Welsh will retire at the end of this season. Welsh, who has been music director of the group since it was founded, conducts SOGO’s Conservatory Orchestra for musicians in high school and occasionally college. “These young …

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  • A Farewell to the Sun
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS After 24 years filled with performances of all kinds — from original plays to a concert by Modest Mouse — The Midnight Sun is slated to close at the end of this month. Theater Artists Olympia, the troupe that has operated the black-box theater for the past three years, …

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  • Now Entering: The Midnight Zone
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS This Sunday, Olympia Improv Collective launches a new show — and a new form of improvisational theater. In its fall series of shows, called “The Midnight Zone,” the nine-member collective of seasoned improvisers take inspiration from the audience, but not by asking for suggestions. Rather, the group invites those …

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  • Surprises in Store From Masterworks Choral Ensemble
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS This season, Masterworks Choral Ensemble will travel to the frontier, celebrate the sometimes-overlooked talents of female composers and visit some of Broadway’s most colorful characters. And the ensemble’s taking a creative approach to concert themes: The Broadway concert focuses on heroes and villains, while the concert composed by women …

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  • Hit the Trails With Masterworks Choral Ensemble
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS This fall, Masterworks Choral Ensemble takes a break from traditional tunes to head for the Old West. The group’s next concert, Way Out West: Beloved American Ballads, surveys that “Home on the Range” — and yes, that tune is included — with music from the westward expansion or inspired …

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  • Even More Spectacle at Jazz Walk
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS When Arts Walk ends, Jazz Walk begins. The second-annual Olympia Jazz Walk, a fundraiser for the nonprofit JazzClubsNW, is timed to keep the festival atmosphere going late into Saturday night with live jazz throughout downtown Olympia. “The idea is to make the Arts Walk and the great spectacle that …

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  • Fiddle Fest Keeps It Traditional
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Within the citywide celebration that is Arts Walk, there’s nestled a mini-festival with a focus on the fiddle. Fiddle Fest, scheduled for the Friday night of fall Arts Walk, has since 2004 been a showcase for traditional music — an art with a long history. “Traditional music hasn’t always …

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  • Writer Keith Eisner Wins an O. Henry Award
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Olympia actor, teacher and writer Keith Eisner has won an O. Henry Award. His short story “Blue Dot” was one of 20 chosen for publication in the anthology The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017, published this month. Past winners of the prestigious award — named for the late O. …

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  • Join the Hot Fan Club
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS There’ll be a special on the menu next Friday at Traditions Café: Seattle’s Hot Club Sandwich, a multilayered creation of gypsy jazz, classic jazz and international folk tunes. Founded here in Olympia at the turn of the last century, Sandwich has won rave reviews from critics and played on …

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  • A Production on Two Wheels: Bicycle Noir
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Bicycle Noir is theater on the move. Bicycling is an integral part of the comedy by Olympia’s Bryan Willis — and it won’t be just the cast that’s on wheels. The audience will be on bikes, too, cruising the Capitol campus with stops for the action. No worries, though, …

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  • Olympia Celebrates the (Almost) Total Eclipse
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS If you want to see Monday’s total eclipse of the sun, you’ll have to head south and brave what the Oregon Department of Transportation is already calling “the biggest traffic event in Oregon history.” The eclipse will reach 94 percent here in Thurston County, meaning the moon will block …

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  • Broadway Actress Ellen McLain Stars in August: Osage County
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS There’s an internationally known star in the cast of Harlequin Productions’ August: Osage County, but don’t feel out of the loop if you don’t recognize her. Seattle actor Ellen McLain is famous chiefly among video gamers. “Ellen has Broadway credits from a number of years back,” said Aaron Lamb, …

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  • The Incredible Undersea Trial of Joseph P. Lawnboy
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS In The Incredible Undersea Trial of Joseph P. Lawnboy, opening Saturday at Olympia Family Theater, boy meets fish — and loon, and other denizens of Puget Sound — and learns deep lessons about the importance of water. The Open Road Productions musical is educational but not dry (in any …

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  • The International Bob Dylan Tribute Festival
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS The International Bob Dylan Tribute Festival, stopping Saturday in Olympia’s West Central Park, was founded not by a lifelong fan of the Nobel Prize-winning folk icon. Rather, tribute organizer and singer-songwriter Dewey Paul Moffitt of Keystone, Colorado, got interested in Dylan only after a stint selling merchandise for a …

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  • Olympia Improv Collective
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS The Olympia Improv Collective is producing its first show Sunday, and the group of 10 experienced improvisers already has big plans. Mark Alford and Vanessa Postil — both often seen on local stages and both formerly of Something Wicked, Harlequin Productions’ now-defunct improv troupe — and friends aim to …

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