Lakewood Playhouse is having its landmark 80th anniversary this season alongside the two other major community theatres in Pierce County and we it’s time to celebrate their collective 205 years of presenting outstanding productions.
“It truly an amazing achievement to operate, and sustain, a theatre through decades of fiscal challenges and changing times,” said Lakewood Playhouse Managing Artistic Director John Munn. “And for three theatres in one county to do so is a massive testament about the love and support given to these organizations by their volunteers, boards, actors, actresses, creative teams, educators and, above all, their audiences and donors.”
Tacoma Little Theatre, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary season, is the oldest operating community theatre west of the Mississippi. Its managing artistic director is Chris Serface. Although they have been in the same building since 1940, TLT has gone through numerous improvements such as air conditioning, lighting and sound systems. TLT has recently expanded to include the building next door, affectionately known as “Stage Right,” which serves as a shop for building sets as well as housing its huge array of props, costumes and set pieces. Their season includes a wonderful representation of its century of theatrical production such as “The Foreigner,” “Bell Book and Candle,” “Scrooge – the Musical,” “A Doll’s House,” “A Little Night Music,” “Laura” and “Hayfever.”
Lakewood Playhouse is the next in the timeline celebrating its 80th anniversary season with seven premier productions never before done in their history – three of them South Sound premiers. The theatre has undergone a huge number of upgrades including new microphones for actors, remodeling their restrooms and converting to all L.E.D. lighting for its productions. Their Season features “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “The Velveteen Rabbit,” “Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus,” “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits,” “Angels in America: Parts One & Two,” “Inspecting Carol” and Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.”
The youngest, but largest, of the three is Tacoma Musical Playhouse, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary season. Its founder, and managing artistic director, is Jon Douglas Rake. Its recent production of “Addams Family, the Musical” made its way to the national stage at AACT Fest and walked away the winner for leading actor, featured actor, supporting actress, ensemble, set, sound, costume and outstanding production. They were then invited to represent the United States in the International Festival at AACTWorld Fest. This year’s TMP season includes “Newsies,” “White Christmas, “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “The Full Monty” and Mamma Mia!”
“I have grown up in the theatre community in Pierce County,” Munn continued, “and I have never seen a time where the theatres have worked together as a ‘community of theatres’ such as they are now. It really is an amazing time to be a theatre-goer locally with the addition of Dukesbay Productions, New Muses Theatre Group, Changing Scene Northwest, Tacoma Youth Theatre and more. I am just lucky enough to be a part of the family.”
In a connective bit of synergy, Munn, who started as an actor in the Tacoma Little Theatre Youth Program when he was eight and as an actor at Lakewood Playhouse at 16, will be directing “A Little Night Music” at TLT, where he directed his first show during the 80th anniversary, and will be making his stage debut as Joseph Pulitzer in “Newsies” at TMP, all while directing the mammoth production of “Angels in America: Parts One & Two” at Lakewood Playhouse.
ABOUT THE THEATRES
Tacoma Little Theatre was founded in 1918 to enrich the community through all types of quality, live theatre experiences. The theatre is located near Wright’s Park at 210 N. I St., Tacoma. For further information please contact the box office at TLT at (253) 272-2281 or tacomalittletheatre.com.
Lakewood Playhouse was founded in 1938 and has established itself with theatre that is both intimate and epic. The theatre is located within the Lakewood Towne Center, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood. For further information please contact the box office at the Lakewood Playhouse (253) 588-0042 or lakewoodplayhouse.com.
Tacoma Musical Playhouse was founded in 1993 to enrich lives through the art form of musical theater and the belief that people’s lives are enriched by high-quality entertainment. Sometimes that entertainment challenges people to think about life issues; other times it offers opportunities for hilarity; and still other times it offers moments for tears. The theatre is located at 7116 6th Ave., Tacoma. For further information please contact the box office at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse (253) 565-6867 or tmp.org.