March 27, 2013
BY SALLY GRACIE
Last weekend was a bonanza for the arts: a dance performance, a musical, a Colombian folk music group, and an Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus concert. It’s not too surprising that some of us were confused about which event(s) to attend – and where.
When the Methow Dance Collective opened its second night at the Merc Playhouse, a couple of friends and I arrived early and captured seven seats towards the back of the theater. We sat and watched the activity as the house seats filled. I chatted a bit with Mare Nemeth, who was seated in the row below.
When my friend Joni Hager arrived, Mare seemed surprised to see her. “What are you doing here?” Mare asked. “I thought you were going to see the dance program.”
“I am. This is the dance collective,” Joni replied.
“It is?” said Mare. “I thought the Merc was the place for plays.”
It turns out that Mare hadn’t thought to check the venue. She got her program, took her seat, and never expected that she wasn’t going to see Oliver!.
Though a friend was expecting her at the Methow Valley Community Center, Mare decided to stay at the Merc. “I was glad I decided to stay put,” she told me later. “I thought the dance collective was terrifically entertaining. When it was over, I ran over to the Community Center and caught the last few acts of Oliver!. We all had a good laugh at my mistake, especially me,” Mare added.
As people lined up before the doors as the Merc opened, who should come down the sidewalk but Larry Goldie and Blue Bradley. Blue was carrying their beautiful baby girl, Dalia. Baby magnet. The line reversed as most of us turned to meet the baby and congratulate her parents.
Dalia was surely the youngest person in the audience, but children made up at least a third of the house. The theater got kind of noisy at intermission, but even the littlest ones behaved beautifully during the dance performances.
By Saturday evening I was still itching from a case of hives (possibly brought on by the anxiety of deciding which events to attend that night). I missed the wedding celebration for Judy Brezina and Gordon Camp at the Twisp ValleyGrange. How lovely that they found each other and fell in love.
I paid the extra $5 to sit in the first row at Oliver! on Sunday afternoon, and I’m glad I did. The set has four levels – the stage, two sets of risers that cross below it, and the auditorium floor – so in some scenes I could have reached out and touched the players.
The songs are memorable. I’m still humming “It’s a Fine Life.” The voices are terrific: Janet (J.D.) Mehus’ Mr. Bumble hits the low, low baritone notes in the workhouse scene; Nate Hirsch (playing Oliver) will give you goose bumps and make you cry with “Where is Love?”; Eliza Kamerling continues her recent outstanding song and dance performances with the Artful Dodger’s catchy “Consider Yourself (one of the family)”; and Lynn Nobul nails the energy of Nancy’s songs, especially in the poignant “As Long As He Needs Me.”
Go see this wonderful production. You’ll be humming, too. Performances are next Friday and Saturday (March 29 and 30) at 7 p.m. and Sunday (March 31) at 2 p.m.
History Book Club opens its 2013 program on April 15, 8:30 a.m. at the Confluence Gallery. The first selection for the group is Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Everyone is invited to this book club, which meets on the third Monday of every month. Books will be available at the Twisp library. Contact Emmett Kinkade for a complete list of books.
It was great to see Mary Thompson, here for a short visit and to perform with the Okanogan orchestra. John Weeks is here, too, and will sing with Emele Clothier at Twisp Suites Wednesday night (March 27).