Arts and Entertainment

Burlesque to ballet: Three days of dance, music and more at San Juan Community Theatre

The Winter Carnivale will feature performances by Michele Frances and others.    - Contributed photo
The Winter Carnivale will feature performances by Michele Frances and others.
— image credit: Contributed photo

There is something for everyone at the upcoming Winter Carnivale, at the San Juan Community Theatre Jan. 21-23.

Over three days the theater will be hosting a wide range of performers, from the zany creativity of vaudeville-burlesque on Friday, to the more traditional children’s theater on Sunday.

World-class performers and dancers will join local talent in a program designed to entertain, impress and delight.

Friday night’s performance has already attracted some rumors with its “over 18 or parent accompaniment” restriction. Co-producer Linda Downes is quick to point out that Friday’s show has no swearing, full nudity or obscenity in it.

“It’s more on the level of Mae West rather than anything than would offend ... it’s very silly, very funny and very fun,” Downes said.

The adult rating is merited, Downes said, by the double-entendre humor. “If you like Benny Hill or Monty Python, you will like this.”

The piece, “The Birthday Boy,” is defined by the theater as a neo-burlesque cabaret musical. Written by Mary-Lou Mills, the Carnivale’s other producer, the piece is, according to Downes: “a wacky fun, thin plot that strings cabaret acts together.”

“The Birthday Boy” will feature original music, and dance sequences with renowned Seattle-based burlesque and cabaret performers Miss Betsy Dean Buttercream and aerialist Michele Frances.

Local performers Patti Bair, Nick Zervas and Devorah will also contribute to the show, lending a professional but local touch to the evening.

Dancers Danny and Sylvain Boulet, from the Seattle-based Coriolis Dance Collective, will also perform. Downes highly recommended watching Sylvain Boulet not only on the Friday, but at the Saturday show too.

In this performance, “Classical, Contemporary Music, Song and Dance” the mood changes to a more serious artistic tone.

This, as Downes said, is a perfect opportunity to watch Boulet at his best. “Sylvain is one of the most beautiful dancers I’ve ever seen.”

Also headlining on Saturday will be Mark Anderson, a world-famous organist and harpist who is the weekly host of the television show “Crescendo.”

Angela Morgan, the soprano who is known as the “Golden Voice” of the Daniel’s Recital Hall in Seattle, will lend her talents to the evening.

Ashraf Hakim, the first chair cellist for 16 years in the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, will contribute to an evening that features many more performers, including local dancers and professional ballerina Leslie Lott.

Sunday’s show changes the pace again. The final day of the carnivale accommodates “children and the young at heart,” Downes said. “Sunday is a

special one-hour matinee for children.” The younger theatre goers will experience not only young local dancers and musicians, including Julie Hagn and Rhiana Franklin, but professional quality too. The “Golden Voice” Morgan will sing again but this time bringing a repertoire of Disney songs.

Overall, Downes is pleased to be able to bring high quality theatre and entertainment to Friday Harbor.

“The Birthday Boy” will play on Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m., “Classical, Contemporary Music, Song and Dance” will show on Jan 22 at 7:30 p.m., and “Music and Dance for Children and the Young at Heart” will play on Jan. 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets for Friday or Saturday are $19 for Adults, $10 for students, and $5 RUSH tickets. RUSH tickets are not available on Friday. If you buy tickets for Friday and Saturday’s performance, they are $30 for adults. Tickets for Sunday are $14 for adults, $7 for students and $5 for RUSH.

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