This spring, Thurston County has several plays and musicals running around town that you don’t want to miss if you’ve got kids. From high school plays to in-town productions, Thrifty Thurston has it all. “Theater is an avenue to analyze and look at another life in another story and understand what makes them tick,” says Robin Tuckett, a director at Timberline High School, which is why it’s important to highlight children and teen theater programs and shows that aim to showcase the world that we live in and help equip them with the tools, knowledge and skills needed to succeed.
Our first stop is at the local high schools, which are gearing up for more than just tests this time of year. As is tradition in the music world, spring is the time for musicals. It’s the time to sing all those winter blues away and shake off that dreary demeanor. The teens involved in these plays are sure aiming to do just that with their performances. From murder mystery capers to spelling bee shenanigans, Capital High School and Timberline High School have something for everyone.
“Curtains” is a musical based on the book by Peter Stone and was adapted into a stage musical by Rupert Holmes, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Fred Ebb. This is a musical within a musical within a murder mystery and tips its hat to whodunits and theaters of the past. The show takes place on the set of a play where the leading actor has just been murdered, causing an investigator to come in to solve the case or save the show, whichever comes first. Fans of early Broadway-era musicals will delight in the big show dance routines that the actors will put on in this comedic number. For students of Capital High School who are interested in auditioning for the musical, audition dates are February 19-21.
This funny and energetic play put on by the actors of Timberline High School is more than just a mouthful to say. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a comedy and musical by Rachel Sheinkin and lyrics by William Finn. One thing about this show that stands out is that there is audience participation. That’s right! Volunteers from the audience will be asked to join in on the spelling bee: “There’s just a few volunteers that we get up on stage,” Director Robin Tuckett says. “They will be one of the spellers and become part of the challenge!” The play takes place during a spelling bee and follows the actors through to see who will come out on top.
Thurston County High Schools are not the only ones putting on plays and musicals this spring in Olympia and its neighboring towns. Thurston County’s Olympia Family Theater (OFT) also has a couple of shows lined up for the upcoming months leading to summer. For those unfamiliar with the theater, OFT puts on plays, performances, workshops, and classes that connect children and their guardians with the magic of acting, art, and live theater.
“Suzette Who Set to Sea” at Olympia Family Theater
612 4th Avenue E
March 20-April 4, various times
If you’re looking for a play for the younger kids or the young at heart, “Suzette Who Set to Sea” is the perfect choice. This play written by Finegan Kruckemeyer follows young Suzette who lives in a world where she feels so different that she takes her family and breaks from the town she calls home—in a boat no less! The town that Suzette lives in is meant to depict a seaside village draped in traditions that says only men build boats, but Suzette isn’t the type of girl to steer clear of her passions and builds her own boat in secret that she uses to take her family on adventures on the sea. Ages 5 and up will delight in this tale of community, courage and individuality.
“The Alphabet Caper” at Olympia Family Theater
612 4th Avenue E
May 15-June 7, various times
Out of all the plays and musicals featured on this list, this is the only one that is an original production. Created by Ted Ryle of the Olympia Family Theater, The Alphabet Caper is a musical about a young girl and her alphabet of imaginary friends handling one of the biggest events in her life, becoming a big sister. Like many of Olympia Family Theater plays, “The Alphabet Caper” is suitable and recommended for ages five and up.
With these plays and musicals happening in Thurston County this spring, there won’t be a short of local youth and family theater to attend.