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The Lakewood Playhouse Celebrates 75 Years of Community Theatre

The Lakewood Playhouse Celebrates 75 Years of Community Theatre

Anniversary celebration is September 13 with the start of 75th season

The Lakewood Playhouse, located in the heart of the city, is celebrating 75 years of performances with over 400 plays and musicals and one million volunteer hours contributing to the theater’s success.

Three times the age of the City of Lakewood, the Lakewood Playhouse first opened in 1938 and has evolved with the city since its incorporation in 1996. An intimate theater seating 167 audience members, the Lakewood Playhouse is the oldest “black box” theater in Washington state. The black box theatre environment concentrates on the theatrical performances with minimal sets and parallels the Playhouse’s focus on community.

“Theatre is created through the relationship between performers and their audience. Theatre is like a family and we look forward to many more generations of designers, actors, directors and audience members who will join ours for years to come,” says Lakewood Playhouse Managing Artistic Director, John Munn. “We can’t wait to share this momentous anniversary and 75th season with the community.”

Over the last 75 years, the Playhouse has flourished due to the Lakewood community’s involvement and love of the performing arts with volunteers donating over one million hours as designers, actors, directors and front of the house staff. Additionally, the Lakewood Playhouse Institute of Theatre offers an education program to build confidence and theatrical skills. More than 4,500 children and young adults have graduated from the program over the last 15 years.

The 75th anniversary celebration is Friday, September 13 at 4:30 p.m. at 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd. in Lakewood. Other than the performance of “Arsenic & Old Lace,” the evening festivities are free and includes the following schedule:

4:30 p.m. – Ribbon cutting with the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce with special guests Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen and City Councilwoman Marie Barth.

5:30 p.m. – Proclamation of “Lakewood Playhouse Day” from the City of Lakewood.

6:00 p.m. – Silent auction and wine and cheese reception generously donated by 21 Cellars Wine and hor d’oeurves from Carr’s Restaurant.

8:00 p.m. – Performance of “Arsenic & Old Lace.”

9:00 p.m. – Live auction and raise the paddle to support the Lakewood Institute of Theater and the building endowment. Auction items include glass artwork, signed memorabilia from Broadway shows as well as memorabilia from Dustin Hoffman and Jerry Lewis.

“Our community is fortunate to have a cultural gem for the performing arts such as the Lakewood Playhouse,” adds Ellie Chambers-Grady, economic development manager for the City of Lakewood. “We’re looking forward to the 75th season and to someday celebrating the Playhouse’s centennial anniversary.”

This season’s productions were chosen exclusively by the Lakewood Playhouse’s audience and community that participated in a five month poll with over 1,300 votes shared. Below is a list of upcoming shows that will be running through next summer including three from the Playhouse’s history and three shows never before seen at the theatre.

“Arsenic & Old Lace” by Joseph Kesserling, Sept. 13 – Oct. 13, 2013

Last seen at the Playhouse in 1997, this comedy has a little extra “something.” On his wedding day, a drama critic learns that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family along with a fondness for arsenic-spiked elderberry wine.

“Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen / Adapted by Marcy Rodenborn, Nov. 8 – Dec. 1, 2013

Last seen at the Playhouse in 2001, sparks fly when the spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich and proud Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee, Jan. 10 – Feb. 2, 2014

A Playhouse premiere, George and Martha face off as one of theatre’s most notoriously dysfunctional couples in Albee’s hilarious and provocative masterpiece. They are joined by an unwitting young couple invited over for an unforgettable night of cocktails and crossfire.

“12 Angry Men” by Reginald Rose, Feb. 21 – March 16, 2014

Justice can sometimes be blind when a 19-year-old man stands trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. It looks like an open-and-shut case until one of the 12 jurors begins opening the others' eyes to the facts. This is a classic and tense American drama about the very human part of the judicial system.

“The Odd Couple” by Neil Simon, April 18 – May 11, 2014

Last seen at the Playhouse in 1967, Felix and Oscar are an extremely odd couple. Felix is neurotic, precise, and fastidiously clean. Oscar, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: sloppy and casual. Can they share an apartment together?

“Monty Python’s SPAMALOT” by Eric Idle, June 12 – July 12, 2014

A first at the Playhouse, the production with music by Eric Idle and John Du Prez was lovingly ripped off from the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Like the motion picture, it is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian Legend, but it differs from the film in many ways, beginning with women slapping men in the face with fish. This musical comedy won a 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Bonus Shows

“The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis, Dec. 12 – 22, 2013

Following the success of last season’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” the Lakewood Institute of Theater returns with a beautiful presentation of the wondrous the adventure about a lion, a witch and a wardrobe.

Annual Halloween Radio Show: “The War of the Worlds,” Oct. 25 & 26, 2013

The celebration of the Lakewood Playhouse 75th anniversary will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the broadcast that panicked America on Oct. 30, 1938. The show will open with another twisted episode from the iconic radio show “Lights Out.”

About The Lakewood Playhouse

The 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, Wash. 98499. For further information about 75th Anniversary Celebration, please contact the box office at the Lakewood Playhouse or call (253) 588-0042 or send e-mail queries to John Munn, Managing Artistic Director, at .

Tourism Industry Wins Bid to Host International Tourism Conference

Tourism Industry Comes Together and Wins Bid to Host International Tourism Conference in February 2014

2014 Go West Summit comes to Pierce County thanks to industry collaboration; Washington state to benefit

A coalition of public and private entities collaborated to secure the 2014 Go West Summit in Pierce County, an exciting tourism and economic development opportunity for the area and Washington state. The four-day conference, scheduled for Feb. 24-27, 2014, will bring more than 150 international and domestic tour operators and 200 tourism suppliers from the western United States, plus media and U.S. Embassy delegates. Five experiential tours during the Go West Summit called Adventure Day tours will highlight key attractions in Pierce County.

According to a Go West Summit survey, over $14.5 million worth of contracts were signed on the show floor during this year’s conference in Fort Worth, Texas and the conference is expected to bring more than 6.2 million visitors over 18 months.

“Collaboration with statewide partners helped Pierce County secure Go West 2014,” said Bennish Brown, president and CEO of the Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau (TRCVB). “This is an incredible opportunity for the local and state economy and travel industry to emphasize the assets and amenities of the Pacific Northwest.”

Cities within Pierce County such as Tacoma and Lakewood will prepare for the Go West Summit over the next six months. The TRCVB is working with area restaurants, attractions and surrounding cities to plan evening receptions and experiential activities for conference attendees such as the five Adventure Day tours that will highlight Mount Rainier National Park and the glass art and collector vehicle culture in Tacoma.

“As the second largest city in Pierce County, Lakewood is thrilled to welcome Go West to the region,” noted Ellie Chambers-Grady, economic development manager for the City of Lakewood. “The county has so much to gain from hosting the Summit, particularly within the international travel industry.”

The TRCVB partnered with the City of Tacoma, Greater Tacoma Convention + Trade Center (GTCTC) and Hotel Murano to submit a proposal to host the 2014 Go West Summit in Tacoma. Eleven tourism organizations attended a welcome dinner for representatives to differentiate Pierce County as a host destination and showcase Washington’s support of the conference. Tourism organizations that attended the dinner included the TRCVB, Hotel Murano, Olympia Peninsula, Washington Tourism Alliance, Washington State Destination Marketing Organization, Visit Seattle, Visit Spokane, Visit Rainier, Visit Vancouver USA, Seattle Southside and Yakima Valley.

Media interested in attending the Go West Summit can register online at: www.gowestsummit.com/registration.cfm .

About Go West

Go West Summit is a marketplace that brings together the highest quality suppliers in the western states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The Summit provides international and U.S. based tour operators a venue to meet with suppliers to generate tourism business into the western United States. The Summit is regarded by participating tourism and travel professionals as a premier conference, among the best of its type, as well as an efficient and economical mechanism for booking international business. For more information, visit: www.gowestsummit.com .

About TRCVB

The TRCVB is the official destination marketing organization for Tacoma and Pierce County, Wash. As a leader in tourism, the TRCVB promotes and packages the destination to attract and meet the needs of meetings and conventions, group tours, special interest groups and the leisure traveler. For more information, visit: www.traveltacoma.com .

About Lakewood, Wash.

Lakewood is the second largest city in Pierce County and strategically located between Sea-Tac International Airport and Olympia, the state’s capital. The city is home to 60,000 residents and nearly 3,800 businesses. Lakewood is the host community to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray, two major military installations. The city offers numerous recreational and cultural activities for locals, day-trippers and weekend travelers seeking hidden treasures in the Northwest. Lakewood is a sought after destination for vacationers looking for outdoor fun, foodies craving international food and dog lovers traveling with canine companions. For more information, visit: www.cityoflakewood.us .

Lifeguards on Duty at American Lake & Harry Todd Park

Lifeguards will be on duty beginning this Saturday, June 29th just in time for the predicted 80 degree weather. They will be on duty at Harry Todd Park and American Lake Park from noon until 8:00pm everyday unless weather conditions dictate otherwise.

All lifeguards are certified with both their lifeguard and water safety instructor certification. They are there for your safety and require your cooperation for a safe swimming environment. New this year is a partnership with the Lakewood YMCA, Safe Kids Coalition, West Pierce County Fire and Rescue, Tillicum & Woodbrook schools and the City of Lakewood to provide basic water safety skills at American Lake North swim beach. This free program will begin the weekend of June 29th and run every Friday from noon – 3pm through the remainder of the swim season. YMCA staff and volunteers will help fit the lifejackets provided by the City of Lakewood. In addition to lifejacket fitting, staff/volunteers will be in the water teaching patrons how to float, tread water, kick on their front/back, basic swimming and hypothermia risks.

We are looking forward to hot, fun and safe summer at our beaches. Please remember that lifeguards are not a substitute for parental supervision.

For more information please visit lakewoodparksandrec.com or call (253) 983-7887.

Lakewood and West Pierce Pay Respects to Arizona’s 19 Fallen Firefighters

As a sign of respect, deep condolence, and solidarity, the City of Lakewood and West Pierce Fire & Rescue encourage citizens to take a moment of silence on Tuesday, July 9 to honor the memory of the nineteen “Granite Mountain Hot Shot” firefighters killed in the line of duty last week near Yarnell, AZ. They were all members of the Prescott Fire Department.

Officials in Prescott will host a memorial service for the fallen firefighters on Tuesday. Last week, President Obama praised them as “heroes – highly-skilled professionals who, like so many across our country do every day, selflessly put themselves in harm's way to protect the lives and property of fellow citizens they would never meet.”

The City and West Pierce will also lower their flags to half-staff on Tuesday to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice of the Granite Mountain Hot Shot firefighters. Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson, a former volunteer firefighter, commented, “The loss of these professionals doing their duty was tragic and overwhelming. The City of Lakewood shares a special understanding of the loss suffered by their families and community. It’s important for all of us to acknowledge their sacrifice and honor their memory.”

Deputy Chief Mitch Sagers remarked, “The tragic loss of the 19 firefighters in Arizona has deeply saddened the collective fire service. West Pierce Fire & Rescue mourns for their community, their fire department, and the families of these brave, young heroes who selflessly answered their last alarm.”

The City of Lakewood and West Pierce Fire & Rescue will also send a joint letter of condolence to the mayor and fire chief in Prescott.

Lakewood’s “Community Connector” to Inactivate

​Earlier today, Congressman Denny Heck relayed the news that the Army had selected the 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) for inactivation. The City of Lakewood has enjoyed a very active “Community Connector” relationship with the “Raider Brigade” since 2006.

The Raider Brigade, under the command of Colonel Mike Getchell, is now completing its third deployment in the last seven years. In 2007, the brigade was part of the military’s historic “surge” to Iraq, which turned the tide against the insurgency. The brigade lost fifty-four soldiers during that deployment; their names are inscribed on a bronze plaque in the Lakewood Council Chambers. In 2009, the brigade returned to Iraq and received national recognition as the last combat brigade to leave Iraq when it departed the following summer. In the fall of 2012, the brigade deployed to Afghanistan to serve in the treacherous Kandahar region. The entire brigade will be home by July.

Over the years, City officials have attended memorial services for the brigade’s fallen soldiers, participated in homecoming events and change of command ceremonies, and hosted pre-deployment dinners for the brigade’s leadership. The City also supported the brigade’s “adopt-a-company” program, which connected units with local businesses and collected donations for single soldiers. Over the years, the brigade has been very generous in return by supporting such civic projects as “Make a Difference Day,” “Parks Appreciation Day,” and “Truck and Tractor Day.” The brigade has regularly participated in City Council meetings.

Mayor Don Anderson remarked, “The City was disappointed to hear the news that the 4-2 Stryker Brigade has been selected for inactivation. Lakewood has thoroughly enjoyed its friendship with the Raider Brigade over the years. They are well-led and consummate professionals. We look forward to reuniting with the brigade as they complete their mission in Afghanistan.”

The Lakewood Sub-Chapter of the Association of the US Army (AUSA – Meriwether Lewis Chapter) has also been a major advocate of the 4-2 SBCT. The City, with active support from the AUSA, will host a parade and homecoming event for the 4-2 SBCT on Sunday, September 15. Details are available at www.cityoflakewood.us.