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The Spot to Showcase Groundbreaking Plays in New Season
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Kevin Wade and Yanna Lantz sing a number from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
   
Tuesday, July 9, 2024
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

A timeless masterpiece that established Stephen Sondheim as a force to be reckoned with will be among the plays and musicals The Spot will stage during its new season, which begins Aug. 14.

The Spot announced its 2024-25 season Saturday evening during a lovely cocktail fundraiser at the mid-valley home of Maureen and Barrett Ott. Performers sang favorites from past performances and presented sneak peeks at the songs they’ll be performing in the year ahead.

THE LINEUP:

 
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Ida Belle Gorby was among those with small solos as they sang favorite songs from past productions.
 

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH—August

This 1998 rock musical featuring music by Stephen Trask and story by John Cameron Mitchell, follows a gay East German rock singer who collaborates with a younger man named Tommy who steals her music and becomes a rock star. That leads Hedwig and her band the Angry Inch to shadow Tommy. The film based on the musical won the Best Director and Audience Awards at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001.

“We read a lot of plays, and we also have a wish list thinking that one of these days it’ll be the right time. This has been on our wish list for a long time, and it’s time,” said The Spot’s lightning and stage director Samuel Mollner.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING—Late October

 
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Mattigan Monschke presented a soulful solo.
 

This one-man play, which involves audience interaction, was called “one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression—and possible one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see,” according to The Guardian.

Duncan Macmillan’s story about the lengths we will go to for those we love revolves around a 6-year-old whose mother is in the hospital because “Dad says she’s done something stupid.” The 6-year-old starts to make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world, from ice cream to Kung Fu movies to “laughing so hard you shoot milk out of your nose,” and leaves the list on Mom’s pillow. Soon, the list takes on a life of its own.

Brett Moellenberg noted that the timing of the play in late October and early November will be an anxious time for a lot of people for a multitude of reasons: “We wanted to do something as hopeful as possible. ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is about everything that makes life worth living.”

There will be only four performances because it requires the theater to be full, and Sun Valley’s population tends to be a little sparse at that time, Moellenberg said.

 
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Wyatt Root had a little fun with an upcoming number from “Hadestown,” which contains a lot of complicated, difficult to sing numbers.
 

“I can promise it will be cathartic,” he added.

HADESTOWN--December

This musical by Anais Mitchell tells a version of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Eurydice seeks to escape poverty by going to work in a hellish version of the Greek underworld where a poor singer-songwriter Orpheus comes to rescue her.

The Broadway version of the musical received 14 Tony Award nominations in 2019. It won eight of them, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The Broadway cast album of the show won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

 
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Sara Gorby sings “I miss the mountains, I miss the dizzy heights” from “Next to Normal” about a mother dealing with manic depression.
 

The musical was brought to The Spot’s attention by co-founder Kevin Wade, who came back from New York excited about two plays he had seen. The Spot Young Company produced one of those—"Alice by Heart,” about a young girl confronting grief, loss and love in a London tube station during World War II-- last year.

“Hadestown” is still running, but The Spot grabbed it for its Spot Young Company five minutes after it was announced it would be released for young theater projects.

“It’s beautiful-- really, really perfect for our young people,” said company member Yanna Lantz.

COMPANY—January/February 2025

This timeless masterpiece featuring music by Stephen Sondheim piece will mark the Spot’s first three week run. The original 1970 production featuring book by George Furth, was nominated for a record 14 Tony Awards, winning six.

Among the first book musicals to deal with dating, marriage and divorce, it revolves around a bachelor who is honored with a birthday party by his married friends. Bobby professes that their company is all he needs but what follows is a series of vignettes as he visits the married couples and goes on dates as he grapples with whether he’s ready for marriage.

A PLAY TO BE ANNOUNCED—April 2025

YOUNG COMPANY LITE—May 2025

The Spot will stage its first Middle School production, thanks to a grant from the Spur Foundation.

“We were founded by a collective of artists to be a conservatory and provide a safe space for young people from Bellevue to Sun Valley to find out who they are … and explore what makes them unique. This is something people have been asking for for a long time.”

The Spot is embarking on its tenth season, having started with the rock musical “Next to Normal,” about a mother dealing with mental illness.

“Thank you for sticking with us through comedy, dark comedy, darker comedy,” Moellenberg told the audience tongue in cheek. “They haven’t all be dark comedies. We’ve done tragedies, as well. We’ve watched the organization grow from being a tiny spark to something bigger than all of us.”

Penny Weiss, a longtime supporter of The Spot said she can’t wait to see the next season: “When I saw ‘Pippin”—the first play I saw of theirs--I thought: Am I sitting in a Broadway theater? The kids are just so talented.”

Spot performers do possess “unbelievable” talent, agreed Joyce Fabre: “Having so much talent in this small community and seeing them perform in that small space…it feels so intimate.”

Ida Belle Gorby, who will be a senior at Sun Valley Community School this fall, was one of a multitude of teens helping with the event

“My favorite Young Spot Company production that I’ve been in was ‘Alice By Heart,’ ” she said “Coming together and bringing that to life was just magical.”

“The Spot has given me self-confidence, the pieces I need to be more confident in myself,” said Phoebe Everett Williams.

Lizzie Loving agreed: “I took part in my first production—“Fun Home”—when I was 12, and it completely changed my confidence. You feel so accepted by everyone.”

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