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'A Night on Broadway'

The

high price of gasoline might not be good news for many - but it's good news for Sequim residents who are Broadway lovers.

Every year for the past nine years, Sequim resident and Olympic Theatre Arts board member Tom Williamson and his wife, Karen Pritchard, have hit the road with the Snowbird Orchestra and the Skylarks singing trio, performing throughout the Southwest.

"We did nine tours in nine years," Pritchard said. "It's so much work but so much fun."

This summer, due to the skyrocketing cost of gasoline, the group decided to cancel the road trip and instead perform its planned production, "A Night on Broadway," in Sequim with OTA.

"This show was intended to be a traveling show," said cast member Ric Munhall. "Since they had to cancel, we thought it would be perfect for OTA's first show of the season."

The show, written and directed by Williamson, is OTA's first original production in its nearly three-decade history.

"He just thought about the most memorable (Broadway) tunes for the Sequim generation," Pritchard said of her husband. "He really is just a genius at this, a very creative guy."

Pritchard said most of the songs are favorites such as "The Sound of Music," "I Feel Pretty," "Tomorrow" and "Beauty and the Beast," but a few are relatively unknown songs that Williamson felt fit with the rest. Not only is "A Night on Broadway" OTA's first original play, it also has the largest orchestra - 15 members.

For Lorrie Kuss, who starred in June's "Honky Tonk Laundry" as her OTA debut, working on the 2008-2009 season opener is a family affair - her father, Brian Doig, and daughter Madison are fellow singers in the play and her husband, Jeff, is a drummer in the orchestra. The Kuss family is so dedicated that Jeff and Lorrie will even celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary at a dress rehearsal for the production.

"It's a huge treat to work with my dad and my daughter and my husband," Lorrie said. As for missing their anniversary, Lorrie said, "At least we'll be together!"

Since the play was intended to be on the road, residents from all over the peninsula and beyond are participating. According to Pritchard, the orchestra includes musicians from Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend and Port Orchard. One of the singers, Dorothy Foy, is traveling from Colorado. Pritchard said Foy became interested after seeing the group perform in Arizona.

The play rehearsals provided a minivictory in OTA's challenges as it remodels its building on Sequim Avenue - the rehearsals took place in the newly renovated building, which board member Elaine Caldwell said she hopes to have up and running by the start of the 2009-2010 play season.

"This play is just fabulous and I know people will love it," Lorrie said. "This is just the beginning."



A memorable "Night"



Who: Olympic Theatre Arts, joined by Snowbird Orchestra

What: "A Night on Broadway," an original play written and directed by Sequim resident and OTA board member Tom Williamson

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19-20; 2 p.m. Sept. 21

Where: Sequim High School Performing Arts Center

Tickets: $12, at Pacific Mist Books, Sequim Village Glass in Sequim and Odyssey Books in Port Angeles or by calling the OTA box office at 683-7326

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