Winter theater productions offer variety of options

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

 

The Vancouver performing arts scene took a hit when the Slocum House Theatre Company shut its doors in 2012, but the powerful Clark County play goes on.

Jaynie Roberts, a director at the Magenta Theater at 606 Main St., fondly remembers having Serendipity Players and Slocum House just a few blocks down the street from her a few years ago, before Serendipity moved and Slocum closed.

But while it's been quiet, some signs of growth are starting to reappear, Roberts said.

"We're holding in there, but it's been a rough few years," Roberts said. "There are a few new startups (theater companies) now. And we've been adding shows. We used to do five shows a year, now we do six."

Magenta Theater, while small, is entrenched, stable and has added extra dates for its latest production, "The Dixie Swim Club."

Other than hoping to eventually move to a location closer to restaurants and galleries on Main Street, things are going really well, she said.

"As long as we keep getting volunteers, we're in good shape," Roberts said.

Magenta's play, "The Dixie Swim Club," may be just what theatergoers need after an unpredictable winter season.

The comical story follows five women who get together for a long weekend at the beach every year to renew their friendships. The sets are colorful and sunny, the play light hearted and the music lively, Roberts said.

"It takes you on a journey from 1979 to 2012, and not only do the actors change appearance through time, but the sets and clothing does too," Roberts said. "It's a very bright play. I think since we're having such horrible weather, people coming into the theater will feel like they're on vacation."

The play runs through March 1, and it's far from the only offering in the county, even if it is the only one downtown.

For the younger crowd, Journey Theater Arts Group will perform "The Little Mermaid Jr." through March 2 at the Fort Vancouver High School Auditorium, 5700 E. 18th St. And after that run, the troupe will perform "Disney's Aladdin Jr." at the Washburn Performing Arts Center, 1201 39th St., in Washougal from March 7 to 15.

"They're the Disney versions of the shows, they have Disney music, we recommend ages 4 and up," said Bethany Larson, Journey's area director. "The shows are also under two hours each with an intermission, so they're both great for kids."

Kids who attend the show are also encouraged to join the program, which has been the starting point for a handful of professional actors, Larson said.

"I know we have some now that aspire to do the same, and we certainly do have some talented kids," she said.

For a more classic play, the Battle Ground High School Drama club will present Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" through March 1.

And next weekend, Clark College Theatre will start a run that continues through March 15 of the rock musical "Spring Awakening," by Steven Sater, about teens in 19th century Germany.

Here are more details on Clark County's winter season shows:

Magenta Theater presents "The Dixie Swim Club"

What: The Magenta Theater Company presents a comedy about five women who spend one long weekend at the beach every year to renew their friendships. Spanning more than three decades, the friends tackle men, marriage, parenting and aging together.

Where: Magenta Theater, 606 Main St., Vancouver.

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21-22, 25-28; 2 p.m. Feb. 22 and March 1.

Cost: $13 to $16, with discounts for seniors, students and groups.

Information: 360-635-4358 or magentatheater.com.

Battle Ground High School Drama Club presents "Much Ado About Nothing"

What: Battle Ground High School presents Shakespeare's classic comedy about two pairs of lovers. Benedick and Beatrice, who antagonize each other with wit and proclaim their disdain for love. While Claudio and Hero are the stereotypical image of sweet, young love but tricked into questioning their romance.

Where: The Lair at Battle Ground High School, 300 W. Main St., Battle Ground.

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 21-22 and Feb. 27-March 1.

Cost: $10, $5 for seniors and students.

Information: 360-885-6500 or /payments.battlegroundps.org.

Journey Theater Arts Group presents "The Little Mermaid Jr."

What: Journey Theater presents an adaptation of the Broadway musical about Ariel the mermaid, who longs to visit the world above the ocean's surface, regardless of what her father, King Triton, thinks. To trade her fins for legs, Ariel makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula.

Where: Fort Vancouver High School Auditorium, 5700 E. 18th St., Vancouver.

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 21-22, Feb. 28; 3 p.m. March 1; 2 p.m. March 2.

Cost: $12 to $15, $10 to $13 for seniors and youths, $10 to $13 for Feb. 22 "family day" performance.

Information: 360-750-8550 or journeytheater.org.

Prairie Drama Club presents "The Importance of Being Earnest"

What: Oscar Wilde's classic comedy follows two gentlemen who try to avoid societal obligations by assuming pseudonyms of Ernest. But when they both pursue their lady loves under their fake names, misunderstandings and mistaken identities abound.

Where: Prairie High School, 11500 N.E. 117th. Ave., Vancouver.

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 21-22.

Cost: $8, $6 for students and seniors.

Information: 360-885-5000 or prairiehighschool.org.

Washougal High School Drama presents "Macbeth"

What: Shakespeare's classic tragedy of greed and revenge, offered with a film noir spin. Set in Chicago during the 1930s, with gangsters one step ahead of the police, Macbeth and his lady plot their rise to power.

Where: Washburn Auditorium, 1201 39th St., Washougal.

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 21-22.

Cost: $6, $5 for students and seniors

Information: 360-954-3136

Journey Theater Arts Group presents "Disney's Aladdin Jr."

What: The adventures of Aladdin, the genie, Jasmine and Jafar with familiar songs from the animated movie. Hoping to win Jasmine's affections, Aladdin uses his wishes from the genie to become a prince, but Jafar is determined to unmask the false prince.

When: 7 p.m. March 7, 8, 14, 15; 2 p.m. March 9, 16; 3 p.m. March 15.

Where: Washburn Performing Arts Center, 1201 39th St., Washougal.

Cost: $12 to $15, $10 to $13 for seniors and youths, $10 to $13 for March 8 "family day" performance.

Information: 360-750-8550 or journeytheater.org.

Clark College Theatre presents "Spring Awakening"

What: An award-winning Broadway rock musical by Steven Sater with a music score by Duncan Sheik. Set in Germany during the 19th century, the production follows the trials and tribulations of the teen years as Melchior, Wendla, Moritz and Ilse struggle against rigid expectations and oppression from teachers, parents and society. Recommend for mature audiences.

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28, March 1, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, and 2 p.m. March 8.

Where: Decker Theatre, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver.

Cost: $15, $13 for seniors, $11 for students.

Information: 360-992-2815 clarkbookstore.com/site_theatre.asp