Dazzle! Glitter! And All That Jazz! Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth presents “Chicago: The High School Edition” opening tonight, Aug. 31, and playing through Sept. 9, at the BAAY Theatre, 1059 N. State St.
Teri Grimes, who’s directed everything from “Les Miserables” to “Noises Off” in her decades-long thespian career in Whatcom County, has done it again. The audience is transported to a time when fast-talking lawyers exonerate the obviously guilty (but boy, can they put on an act), who love to be in the spotlight. (Sound familiar?)
The show features amazingly talented performers ages 14-17, decked out in shiny, fringy flapper dresses (kudos to Dana Crediford); their show-stopping, Bob-Fosse style dancing is choreographed by Lisa Markowitz to the scintillating, finger-snapping live music by the crackerjack pianist Steve Barnes and his crew.
The cast of 27 has it down — the sullen stares, the fake smiles, straight out of the award-winning musical. Set in the roaring 1920s, it’s the story of two voluptuous and gorgeous dancers convicted of murder — Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly — as they vie for the fame, the headlines, and acquittal — is based on a 1926 play by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins (Mary Sunshine is the character in the show) about real-life “”celebrity criminals.”
On Sept. 8, the cast will give a special Dinner Theatre roaring ‘20’s-themed fundraiser with food donated by local restaurants, plus beer and wine, specialty cocktails, and dancing! All proceeds will help further BAAY’s mission to enrich the lives of children through the exploration of the arts. Grimes says that as of Aug. 29, almost half of the tickets are sold for the dinner theater. Get your tickets early at chicago.brownpapertickets.com. Tickets for all other shows and more information available at baay.org or call 360- 306-8531. Here’s a clip from rehearsal! And just a note: it’s hard to tell that this isn’t the “adult” version of the show, so be advised there’s lots of sexual innuendos.
The sixth annual all-ages Hootenanny to Benefit the Co-op’s Farm Fund is from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, at Boundary Bay Brewery Beer Garden, 1107 Railroad Ave., in partnership with Sustainable Connections. Suggested donation is $5 to $20 at the door.
All proceeds benefit sustainable, organic food and farming projects in Whatcom and Skagit counties.
“The Hootenanny is our opportunity to celebrate and recognize the contributions of local farmers,” says Jean Rogers, Farm Fund administrator.“‘The Hoot’ embodies the tradition of farming communities gathering together to celebrate a successful harvest season with live music, dance, camaraderie, and delicious food” she says.
6:15-8:15 p.m.: Frank and Beans from the Co-op’s Real Food Show (for the kids)
6:30-7:30 p.m.: Square dance with caller John Hatten and music by The Great Big Taters, an ensemble of some of Bellingham’s best old-timey musicians.
7:30-8 p.m.: Farmer awards and Farm Fund and Eat Local Month presentation
8-9:30 p.m.: Dance to Sky Colony
For info about other Eat Local Month events visit eatlocalfirst.org.
Poet Frances McCue is the featured author at the Chuckanut Radio Hour on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Whatcom Community College’s Heiner Theater, 237 W. Kellogg Road. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.with music by Giant’s Causeway; taping for the later broadcast on KMRE begins at 7 p.m. Her newest book, “Timber Curtain,” starts with the demolition of the Richard Hugo House, the Seattle literary center that she founded and directed from 1996 to 2006. The poems were originally written as narration for McCue’s forthcoming documentary ”Where the House Was,” but the cinematic poems spiral out to encompass icebergs, exorcisms, the refugee crisis, and the ethics of the myths-of-place we create for ourselves.
McCue is a poet, essayist, reviewer and arts instigator, and became the first writer to win the Washington State Book Award for one book, “The Bled,” a poetry collection, and place as a finalist for a second book, “The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs.”
Here’s what Mary Vermillion, marketing director at Village Books, says about her: “ I was impressed by her intellect and her writing when I listened to her at this year’s Chuckanut Writers Conference. The concepts and issues presented in “Timber Curtain” are so poignant and completely relevant for Bellingham. I hope people will turn out and support this incredible poet and wise commentator on our changing communities.” Tickets are $5 and are available at Village Books, 1200 11th St., and brownpapertickets.com. Receive a free ticket with the pre-purchase of “Timber Curtain” at Village Books. For more on her, visit http://www.francesmccue.com/.
Evan Mueller, assistant professor of voice and acting at Western Washington University, is presenting Theresa Rebeck’s “The Understudy” Sept. 6-15 at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 205 Prospect St., under the auspices of American Theater Northwest. In “The Understudy,” a backstage rehearsal for a Broadway production of an undiscovered drama by Franz Kafka turns into a hilariously Kafkaesque nightmare as Harry, a down-on-his luck actor, clashes with the movie star he’s assigned to understudy. The frazzled stage manager, Roxanne, works to keep the rehearsal on track while she is forced to resolve her own personal romantic history with Harry. Mueller says it’s an intelligent backstage comedy that’s witty, moving and ultimately full of hope for these characters looking for meaning in our absurd world. Tickets are available online and at the door.
Celebrate 160th anniversary of completion of the oldest brick building in the state of Washington, the Territorial Whatcom County Courthouse, 1308 E St. Join a walking history tour of Bellingham’s Old Town guided by Wes Gannaway, local author, historian and president of Whatcom County Historical Society, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, followed by lunch and tour of the historic building.
$20 per person includes tour, lunch and support of the ongoing preservation of the Courthouse. Reservations are requested but not required. Please email reservation or questions to Tremainellc@gmail.com.