Seattle Musical Theatre - quality entertainment close to home

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Review - Diane Hettrick
Years ago, my husband and I had tickets to five theatre seasons a year. From our home near the Snohomish county line we could hop on the freeway and be at a Queen Anne theatre in 15 minutes. As time went by, travel time took longer, parking was more expensive and difficult, and the quality of the plays seemed to diminish. One by one, we dropped our season tickets.

Later, downtown Seattle opened theatres with touring companies of New York shows. The quality was excellent, but prices were high, parking expensive and difficult, and the commute was not any better, so we never got into the habit.

Now there is a local option, specializing in musical theatre - the Seattle Musical Theatre. The SMT began life in 1975 as the Civic Light Opera. After the first two seasons, they realized that their patrons wanted musicals rather than operettas. In 2006, they changed their name to reflect their productions.

In 2008, they signed a long-term lease with the Seattle Parks Department and the City of Seattle for a facility in Magnuson Park at 7400 Sand Point Way NE. It's a safe environment with ample free parking. It took us 15 minutes to get to the theatre from our home, and 15 minutes from the theatre to Lake Forest Park Commons for a cup of coffee after the show.

The theatre itself is a comfortable size, 425 seats, with a
 sharply slanted floor so that all seats have clear sight lines. Acoustics and sound are excellent. It's very plain, but the SMT has a fund drive running for planned upgrades.

Their season runs September to May. There are two productions left this year. Company, a Stephen Sondheim musical, runs from February 12 - 28 and 100 in the shade runs May 7 - 23, 2010. For information and tickets call the box office at 206-363-2809 or visit them on the web.


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