July 31, 2000
by Becky Nixon
The singing! The dancing! The lights! The drama of live theater is all packed into a flashy production when the Woodinville Repertory Theatre presents the timeless musical "Mame" August 10-12, 17-19, 24-26 at 8 p.m. and August 13, 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. at Woodinville High School.
After a sneak preview at a current rehearsal, it became apparent that the small theater company formed three years ago by artistic director and dynamo Peg Phillips, has a great staff that produces great theater.
Besides the actors and actresses, the stage director, Hjalmer Anderson, and other members in the "front" of the production, the backstage and administrative members of this theater group work wageless hours to provide the community with professional theater.
"Since the theater debut of "I Hate Hamlet" the behind- the-scene volunteers have been giving their time to promote, raise funds, build sets and gather props to give the plays to the Woodinville Community," said founding member and master carpenter Hal Larson.
Hal found it difficult to-down-right impossible to say no to a request from Peg Phillips to join her and a few others for an informal meeting at Peg's to discuss the formation of a community theater. Jumping into the fray, Hal became treasurer and vice president (he is still treasurer), and with the help of 30-40 local businesses donating materials, takes intricate set designs and builds the backdrops and props for the theater's productions.
"I do it for the fun, and when you do that you don't need recognition. It's nice to be affiliated with all the wonderful people that I have met. This is especially for the children," said Larsen.
"You meet the people that have the same enthusiasm that you do," said Hal. "You need to talk to the Reeds," and as if on cue, but in another conversation days later, a mutual respect emerged.
"I don't know what we would do without him," said Cheryl Reed, business manager for the group speaking of Hal. Along with her husband Brady Reed, the production manager, the Reeds were "in" from the beginning.
"We're in it for the long haul, getting a place of our own," said Cheryl. Both Reeds work day jobs, as do most of the cast and crew. They were drawn to theater through their children's drama experience at Woodinville High School, and later became the dedicated duo they are today for the Woodinville Rep.
Another kindred theater soul is David Cloutier. By day a bright computer and marketing manager, in the evenings he belongs to the world of the theater putting in endless hours of ticket production, sales and marketing. Cloutier has recently written software for ticket sales and tracking that he would like to market to other theater groups.
What about those have-to-have articles? Pam Trefethen, props mistress can find them. Riding crops, parasols, bridles and ropes, she leaves no antique mall, junk store or Woodinville business unscathed in her pursuit of authentic threads and gear.
This talented, nomadic theater group longs to have a place of their own. A place to store props would also be nice. Not having to be concerned about a evening production getting bumped for a school activity would be one less thing to worry about. Regular schedules and room to create could be less of a concept and more of a reality with the purchase of 2 1/2 acres to build a home for the Woodinville Repertory Theater.
A benefactor is willing to purchase the land if it can be found in the vicinity of Woodinville for a fair market price.
For Woodinville Repertory Theatre ticket information, call the box office at 425-481-8502, or visit their web site at www.woodinvillerep.org. Ticket sales for "Mame" are going fast. The opening night audience is invited to attend an after performance party with the cast and crew.