Creative Theatre Experience is a summer program for young people, yet its season offers a chance to see mature work by local, theatrical powerhouses.
This summer, the program presents Footloose, based on the Kevin Bacon film about a teen who moves to a town where dancing is forbidden; Crush, an alien-invasion rom-com by Stephen Gregg and this year’s edition of Arts Festival, an evening of plays, songs and mini-musicals that this year features Disney’s Aristocats. The three-week season begins July 19 with Arts Festival.
Among the well-known names who are part of the program:
- Jason Haws, one of Olympia’s most respected actors, directs Footloose. “We wanted something that would be recognizable to kids, and it’s a really popular show,” said CTE artistic director Kathy Dorgan. “It just has great, really recognizable songs and tons of opportunity for dance.”
- Paul Purvine, who’s acted for Capital Playhouse, Harlequin Productions, Olympia Family Theater and Theater Artists Olympia, is now pursuing a career in New York. He’ll direct Crush, about a teen who gets a crush on a rather unusual classmate. “It has kind of a Stranger Things vibe, which is fun,” said Dorgan.
- Dorgan just retired from Olympia High School. She directed plays there for two decades, winning a fellowship at The Juilliard School and two Fifth Avenue Theater awards for outstanding overall musical along the way. At CTE, she directs Arts Festival, which stars kids in grades one through seven and features plays and musicals directed — and in some cases written — by young directors selected through a competitive process to be summer CTE staffers.
- Bruce Haasl, who’s created scenery for more than 300 productions, many at local theaters, joins the staff this year as technical director.
- Carolyn Willems Van Djik (Fry), Equity actress and 5th Avenue musical regular, returns as a summer costumer for the CTE program, along with her husband Harrison Fry, also a local actor and director.
(Disclosure: Writer Molly Gilmore and Publisher Ned Hayes both have family members who are summer staffers with CTE.)
7 p.m. Thursday, July 19, and Friday, July 20,
1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 21
7 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, July 26-28
7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 2 and 3,
1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4
Olympia High School Performing Arts Center,
1302 North St. SE, Olympia