Photo courtesy Studio East
                                Shot from a 2012 performance of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Photo courtesy Studio East Shot from a 2012 performance of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Studio East, StoryBook theater announce winter shows

Programming includes “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “The Tempest” and “Little Red.”

Studio East announced earlier this year that three of its new plays — “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “The Tempest” and “Little Red” — are coming to Eastside cities like Kirkland and Bellevue in the coming months.

“You’re a Good Man,” Charlie Brown” is based on Charles M. Schulz’s popular cartoon series. “The Tempest” is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s iconic play. And “Little Red,” a product of Studio East’s StoryBook Theater, is a youth-oriented musicalization of the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale.

Studio East, which was founded in 1992, is a nonprofit that focuses on providing arts education to young people living on the Eastside. Currently, it’s one of the biggest theaters of its kind in the Seattle area.

Ahead of the performances, Studio East collaborators spoke of their experiences with the organization.

According to Vincent Orduna, who is the outreach coordinator of Studio East and is choreographing and directing the “Charlie Brown” show, the group allows young people to develop their artistic skills early on. It can also provide outlets not otherwise offered in school.

“Arts are being phased out of schools for budgetary reasons that are focused on technology,” he said, adding, “Kids may not be able to access performing arts typically in schools. It’s great to have an organization like Studio East where they can here, meet that need and learn that skill…Get them young, and the love and desire grows.”

Noah Barr, who started working with Studio East 13 years ago, when he was 5, could attest to that. Since getting “the bug” from his older brother, who started with the organization when he was 7, he has participated, to his estimate, in 30 shows, spending around two months on each.

Barr is playing Charlie Brown in the upcoming show (he played Pig-Pen in 2011). He plans on pursuing music in college, though he did briefly consider professionally chasing after acting.

Barr said that even if you aren’t planning on engaging with the performing arts as a career, the skills you learn from Studio East — like public speaking and self-confidence — are invaluable.

He added that one of the things that he likes about Studio East is the high standards to which its youthful performers are held.

“The way that they work with people at Studio East is that they treat them like professionals,” Barr said. “They don’t treat you like kids; they hold you to a certain standard. And they treat you as if they’re training you to be professional actors, which I’ve always loved about it.”

Deonn Ritchie Hunt, who has worked with the theater for about two decades and has filled in actor, director and teacher roles over the years, appreciates how Studio East supports not just its youths but also art-inclined working moms like herself.

“I really can’t say enough about what a positive company this is,” Hunt, who will be playing “Granny” in “Little Red,” said.

“Charlie Brown” will be in Kirkland Jan. 31-Feb. 9; “Little Red” in Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Everett, Shoreline and Fremont from Feb. 1-March 21; and “The Tempest” in Kirkland from Feb. 28-March 1. More information on tickets can be found on the Studio East website (www.studio-east.org).

More in Life

Photo courtesy of Julia Marshall
                                Tiki’s perch at Totem Lake and the store in its early years.
Denny’s Pet World mascot dies at 45

The scarlet macaw, Tiki, was the pet store’s mascot for over 43 years.

Photo courtesy of Kirkland Downtown Association
                                From the February 2017 Kirkland wine walk, which had a similar “I Heart Kirkland” theme.
First wine walk of the year set for Feb. 7

The theme is “All You Need is Love.”

Father and son Chad and Will MacDonald dig up invasive roots with members of Cub Scout Pack 550 on Jan. 20 at Edith Moulton Park in Kirkland as volunteers for the day of service observance in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Green Kirkland Partnership program coordinator Jeremy Jones said more than 100 people had registered to help with four service events at parks throughout Kirkland. Corey Morris/staff photo
Diggin’ service day in Kirkland

Father and son Chad and Will MacDonald dig up invasive roots with… Continue reading

Kirkland Performance Center set to rock with audiences at annual benefit concert

KPC’s Long Live Rock will play rock encores at “We Will Rock You” benefit concert on Jan. 25.

Award-winning play ‘The Good Adoptee’ coming to Mercer Island

The autobiographical drama was penned by acclaimed playwright Suzanne Bachner.

Kirkland resident now holds the stake president position. Photo courtesy the Church of Latter-day Saints
Kirkland LDS church congregations get new leader

Jacob Sowby was sustained in November.

Animal Control officer Jennifer Matison with some community pets at a recent event. Photo courtesy city of Kirkland
New Kirkland class teaches how to prepare for an emergency with pets

On Jan. 29, Kirkland Emergency Management is offering Emergency Preparedness for Pets.

Mike Weinstein (right) with his grandson Owen at a take-your-children-to-work day event in Kirkland. Photo courtesy of Waste Management
Kirkland’s Weinstein honored for 35 years in waste and recycling industry

Mike Weinstein has lived in the Finn Hill Neighborhood with his wife for the last 38 years.

The time for gratitude is now

Being grateful for the present and focusing on what you have versus what you don’t have is the key to mindfulness.