The Washington Center Season Launch

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts has been closed for the summer while the City of Olympia made updates to the HVAC system. Rest assured, come October 5 the center will open its 32nd season with an energetic performance by Gaelic Storm.

While every act slated to grace the stage at WCPA is amazing in its own right, some are particularly outstanding. Both A Night With Janis Joplin and Piaf! The Show tell the stories of famous — and infamous — songbirds through their own music. Ladysmith Black Mambazo, an a cappella group from South Africa that gained worldwide fame after working with Paul Simon, takes the stage this season, as will noted saxophonist Kenny G. The latter will perform iconic carols from his Holidays album, the most successful Christmas album ever produced. This American Life producer Brian Reed, who created the award-winning public radio podcast S-Town, will make an exclusive Olympia appearance. Roseanne Cash, eldest daughter of the late Johnny Cash, is also on this season’s roster. Gaining particular buzz is Disenchanted, an adults-only retelling of the classic, fairytale-princess stories. The musical has been selling out across the nation.

The silent-movie series features The Phantom of the Opera, Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr. and a collection of Charlie Chaplin’s short films. All three programs will be accompanied by live music from the center’s Andy Crow Wurlitzer Organ. According to Billy Thomas, WCPA’s director of marketing and sales, “It’s a gem of the original 1924 Liberty Theatre that was maintained by Andy since 1962 until the spring of 1999, when the WCPA board of directors established an endowment for the preservation and maintenance of the organ. It is now considered one of the premier instruments in the Northwest.” Another film worth noting is Annie, this season’s family-friendly sing-a-long.

Partnerships come from both the artistic and municipal sectors, with corporate and private sponsors rounding things out. Sponsors for 2017-18 are 94.5 ROXY, Capitol City Press, KNKX, OLY ARTSOLY Media Group and Thurston Community Media. “We also have 50 more sponsors of various levels,” assures Thomas, “helping to present world-class entertainment to our audiences.”

What: Gaelic Storm

Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5

How much: $26-$52

Learn more: 360-753-8586 | The Washington Center

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