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Seattle Repertory Theatre

Lithgow and Holbrook for Christmas: Acting memoirs for the fireside

December 21st, 2011 by Seattle Repertory Theatre

The cover of Lithgow's new book as featured on the Barnes&Noble website.

Looking for a great gift idea for the theatre enthusiast in your life? Consider checking out two new memoirs by acting greats John Lithgow and Hal Holbrook. If you’re interested in learning more about these two compelling—and strikingly different—memoirs, Lithgow’s Drama: An Actor’s Education and Holbrook’s The Boy Who Became Mark Twain, read The New York Times’ Sunday book review “Life Onstage with John Lithgow and Hal Holbrook.”

Lithgow visited Seattle this October to talk about his memoir, “Drama: An Actor’s Education,” at the University of Washington and followed the reading with a book signing.

The cover of Holbrook's new memoir as featured on Barnes&Noble's website.

So what about Holbrook? You may have known that Seattle Rep started in 1963, under the leadership of Bagley Wright. But did you know the role Holbrook played in the tale? Seattle Rep legend says that Holbrook was the one to suggest that the Seattle Playhouse built for the 1962 World’s Fair would make an excellent home for a repertory theatre. Holbrook also encouraged Stuart Vaughan to seek out the position as Founding Artistic Director. Vaughan got the position, organized an acting company, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Happy reading and happy holidays to you all.

Bringing out a new cupcake platter at Sylvia's opening night party.

Greetings, merry makers! I’m Antoinette Williams, front of house manager for Seattle Rep. Part of my job is helping plan the theater’s opening night parties, so I’m here to give helpful hints on how to make your holiday party a success. Here are a few easy steps you can take to show your guests a good time—while giving you time to enjoy your party with them!

Pick a theme:

Of course the overall theme for a holiday party will be the holiday itself, but it’s always fun to pick a more specific theme for your gathering. This will allow you to be more whimsical with your food and décor. Working for a theater gives me the advantage of a built-in theme since the parties I throw are usually related to a show. Most recently I hosted an opening night party for Sylvia, a show about empty nesters who get a dog. This party was lots of fun to plan because I was challenged with the unique task of tying a dog theme in with the holidays.

I served Peppermint Bark (pun intended) cupcakes from Cupcake Royale and dog-bone shaped shortbread in a crystal dog bowl from Celestial Bakers to keep people in the spirit of the show. Both of those companies can provide great sweet treats! For your party consider using a recognizable holiday phrase as your theme like “Silver Bells” or “Winter Wonderland.” You can use silver bells or snowflakes in your décor to play up your theme. You can even encourage guests to get into the spirit by asking them to dress in theme. The more ambitious party planner could even create a contest surrounding their theme offering guests kitschy (and inexpensive) prizes.

Those aren't dog treats, just tasty shortbread cookies!

Signature drink:

An easy aspect of your party to have fun with is a signature drink. It can be a cocktail or a non-alcoholic drink (or  a version of each), but a special beverage is always a crowd pleaser. When deciding on a signature drink note who will be attending your party, how well the drink will hold up over the length of the party, and what the overall cost for ingredients will be. A little goes a long way, so don’t feel as if you need twelve ingredients to make it delicious. Our signature cocktail for Sylvia, “Hair of the Dog,” has only four ingredients and it tastes fantastic! If you have a favorite holiday drink, go ahead and use it. There’s nothing wrong with taking an existing recipe and calling it something new. Just remember to make an extra batch or two for refills. Need inspiration? here’s a great list of holiday drinks from the Food Network.

Prep now, party later:

Whenever I am giving a party I’m always concerned with making sure every aspect of the party runs smoothly. Is the music at the right volume? Are we running low on crackers? Does the bathroom have enough toilet paper? As a host, worrying about these things is inevitable, but a little pre-planning will keep your stress level down and the party spirit up!

  • Prepare multiple platters of food before the party starts. By making identical platters of one dish you can easily swap out near empty plates for full ones so that you don’t spend the entire night in the kitchen.
  • Decide at what level you want your music before guests arrive and then stick with it. If the music fades into the background, so be it. Loud party talking is a sign you’ve got a fabulous shindig going on.
  • Keep emergency TP available to guests. Find a way to set out extra paper that  looks nice and organized but is easily in reach should a guest find themselves in need. Even theater restrooms run out of TP sometimes so we always keep extra close by.

Keep it simple:

Everyone wants to give the perfect party but don’t overextend yourself doing it. Make sure your food, decorative scheme, and guest list is manageable. Take on too much and you’ll end up with anarchy on your hands (not to mention a huge post-party mess). Remember, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

The wonderful front of house staff who helped make the party a success.

Get volunteers to help:

Whether it is your spouse, friend or co-worker, it’s always better to have extra hands to help you out. You never know when you might need a willing and able body to make a store run or warm the emergency mini quiches you just knew you would need. Make sure your helpers know exactly what they are getting into and never ask them to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself. With the right help, you and your volunteers will be able to enjoy your party. I am so fortunate to have an amazing staff here at Seattle Rep helping me with every event I host.

That’s it! You’re on your way to giving a holiday party your friends and family will be talking about all year long. Good luck, and don’t forget my invitation!

Seattle Repertory Theatre

Actress Barbara Dirickson on the joy of ‘Sylvia’: The audience

December 9th, 2011 by Seattle Repertory Theatre

R. Hamilton Wright (Greg) and Barbara Dirickson (Sylvia) in Seattle Rep's 1996 production.

Actress Barbara Dirickson recalls Sylvia as one of the best times she’s ever had working on a show. She played the title role in Seattle Rep’s 1996 production opposite R. Hamilton Wright, who directed our current production of Sylvia.

She was a company member with the Rep in the ’80s and ’90′s, and as The Seattle Times points out, was often referred to as “Seattle’s favorite leading lady” and “one of the best actresses on the West Coast.”

Of her many theatrical experiences, Sylvia is both a role and production that stands out. But it’s not just the character or the play she remembers so well, it’s the audience.

Dirickson told us, “I would have to say one of my most memorable experiences was doing Sylvia. Another great director, David Saint, made that rehearsal a joy. Actors, designers, director, we all had the BEST time working on that show. But the reason I will always remember that show SO fondly is because of the audience. They were a vital part of that play. And they more than did their work! Remember, an actual picture of the dog was never seen until the last few minutes of that play…but the audience had an absolutely crystal clear picture of what that dog looked like in their own minds…We found that out when some people who had seen the show were writing the theatre to say that we had put the wrong dog up on the screen at the end of the play…it should have been a …a poodle…a lab…a collie… I ADORED the audience throughout the run of that show. They came to play ..and play they did.  It was a ball.  I will never forget it.”

Sylvia plays at Seattle Repertory Theatre—with another fantastic actress, Linda K. Morris, in the title role—through Sunday, December 11. Want to bring your pooch with you to the show? Then don’t miss our special Dogs Night Out, Pt.2 closing performance of Sylvia on Sunday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. For more information call our Box Office at (206) 443-2222.

Yet we see how her adoptive master Greg might project more human qualities onto her – and welcome Sylvia as a liberating distraction from his dull corporate job, an entree to parts of the city he’d never explored (their nightly jaunts change him from a Republican to a Democrat), and a gusher of the affection his grown children no longer provide.

It’s just as clear why Kate might consider her a slobbering pest. And a threat to her marriage, furniture and husband’s income.

Under David Saint’s broad but effective direction, “Sylvia” is studded with laughs – with the occasional pause for a bittersweet reflection, a wry Shakespeare epigram, a winsome three-way rendition of a Cole Porter ballad. Framed in a series of royal blue arches, the mobile set by James Youmans is more elaborate than necessary, but spiffy nonetheless with its gliding elements of cartoon cityscape, condo living room, park foliage and mock airplane.

The reliable Wright and likable Smythe maintain a lively rapport with each other and Dirickson. Joining them is Jim Fyfe, who does triple-gender duty as a macho dog owner full of alarming advice, a rich (and too campy) matron and, most amusingly, an androgynous couples therapist who is no match for a furry, four-legged friend.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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Meet the Roosevelt Playwrights

December 7th, 2011 by Danielle.Girard

The Roosevelt Playwrights (l-r): Carmen DeGiulio, Ani Schroeter, Adam Houston, and Connor Davis.

Tonight four young playwrights from Roosevelt High School will witness their plays come to life on the stage of Seattle Rep’s Leo K. Theatre. The performance marks the 10th Anniversary of Seattle Rep’s Playwriting Project. Such programs, like this year’s Roosevelt Playwriting Project, are part of the Rep’s Yes Project, an initiative through which we connect a new generation of theatre artists and audience members.

But enough of the big talk; let’s meet this year’s playwrights!

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That's me, Jaks, doing some work in the Seattle Rep Box Office.

Hello fellow canine friends! Our first Dogs Night Out was so popular (pupular?) that my owner and her team here at Seattle Rep have agreed to host one more on the closing night of Sylvia, Dec. 11 at 7:30. p.m. We hope you can join us! Call 206-443-2222 or visit our website for more info. And here are a few reminders and tips about the big night.


Bring your favorite leash because you’ll need to be on it at all times while inside the theatre.

Make sure you are with your human at all times. This means no running to chase after the cute little Chihuahua across the lobby.

Keep Out:

The balcony will be reserved strictly for humans without canine friends.

Backstage is where humans will be too busy running the show to notice four-legged friends running around.

Try to resist the urge to jump up and play with the humans having fun on stage.


Remind your human that you should be up-to-date on all your vaccinations.

Make sure your human has signed the Pet Waiver and brings it with him or her to the theatre.


Understandably, all this fun might cause a little excitement piddle, but do your best to use the designated potty patch to do all your business.


Rather than try to sit in those theatre seats, I suggest you lay down at the foot of the seat. Some of you larger pups may feel more comfortable in an aisle seat, please have your human contact the Box Office if you think you’ll need more space.


You will have the opportunity to make new, theatre-loving four-legged friends. So be nice! Those of you acting like tough guys will be asked to leave by the humans running the event.


The show starts at 7:30, but you will want to come early—starting at 6:30—to check out the sponsor booths in the lobby.

Bark It Out:

If you want to tell your pals that you’re heading to the Rep, tweet it with the hashtag #DogsNightOut. Or have your human do it—I don’t know about you, but I’m all paws when it comes to typing.

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