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Candide – Final Show of Season at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre

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Candide
Candide at The 5th Avenue Theatre - Photo by Chris Bennion

“Candide” is now playing at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle through June 13th. It is the final show of the 2009-2010 season.  “Candide,” with music by Leonard Bernstein, is part of the Seattle Celebrates Bernstein festival in which many of the organizations in the Seattle arts community have participated, including the 5th, the Seattle Symphony, and various choral and dance groups.

I’m not attending until the final weekend so I can’t personally review it, but it has a strong local cast surrounding two of the leading roles, and so far it has gotten great reviews.  Laura Griffith, a California-based actress who has appeared on Broadway, plays Cunegonde.  Misha Berson of The Seattle Times declares that her “killer bel canto aria ‘Glitter and Be Gay,’ truly brings down the house.”

If you want to check out Griffith’s singing prowess, here is a clip of her performing “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair,” on Letterman.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MR2G1tVcLY

Griffith had a leading role in the Lincoln Center revival of “South Pacific.”  Berson also writes that Stanley Bahorek is “perfectly boyish” as Candide.  If you attend theater around the Seattle area, such as the 5th, The ACT, or the Village Theatre or Village Originals, you may recognize some of the other performers in “Candide,” such as local favorites, David Pichette, Billie Wildrick, Allen Fitzpatrick, and Timothy McCuen Piggee.  I have never seen any of them give anything but stellar performances.  I saw Wildrick in The 5th Avenue’s production of “On the Town,” which was also part of the Bernstein festival.  I can personally attest that not only can she handle the complexity of Bernstein’s music with ease, but she can do it while dancing.

It should be noted that “Candide” is not an easy, breezy musical.  Berson called it, “a demanding adventure.”  In The Broadway Hour Seattle blog, Kenna M. Kettrick declares in her Candide review that “this production is well worth it; an audience member who offers time and attention to this sparkling and legendary musical will be well rewarded.”