Tag Archives: Susannah Mars

For OBT, a season to give you the Wilis

By Bob Hicks

The world of ballet has its share of exotic creatures, from lovelorn swan-women to a magical firebird to a princess who takes a hundred-year nap.

Lithograph by unknown of the ballerina Carlotta Grisi in en:Giselle. Paris, 1841. Image was scanned from the book "The Romantic Ballet in Paris" by Ivor Guest. Wikimedia Commons.But no one seems quite as oddball, or as eerily sympathetic and nasty at the same time, as the Wilis, those sad young spectres of girls who were jilted by their lovers before their wedding day and now spend their nights madly dancing young men to death before fading off into the sunrise.

Tuesday night, Oregon Ballet Theatre threw a little party in its studios to announce its 2011-12 season, and one of the highlights of the lineup is Giselle, the venerable story ballet in which the Wilis rose to fame.

Here’s the new season lineup:

Continue reading For OBT, a season to give you the Wilis

Keep on truckin’, Scatter: grinding gears with OBT, Polaris, Sophie and Do Jump!

By Bob Hicks

Shocking as it may seem, sometimes the denizens of Art Scatter World Headquarters don’t give it away for free.

Performers: Andrea Lawhead, Brittany Walsh, Nicolo Kehrwald, Wendy Cohen, Tia Zapp, and Molly Courtney in Do Jump!'s "Greatest Hits for the Holidays." Photo by Jim Lykins“If I can’t sell it gonna keep sittin’ on it, never gonna give it away,” the hard-bitten narrator of the bawdy blues tune Keep on Truckin’ declares. Her hardcore-capitalist sentiment is definitely not the motto at Art Scatter, where we tend to write what we write just because it sends little shivers up and down our spines. Still, we have an abiding fondness for those stalwarts of the heritage media who help us keep the spring in our mattress by paying cash on the barrel head for written contributions. O admirable concept! Here are a few recent pieces wherein we’ve made the noble trade of play for pay. We thank the editors of The Oregonian for assigning these exercises in fundamental free trade, and the publisher for his largesse:

  • A third of a century in, the prestidigious performance troupe Do Jump! just keeps getting better. Mr. Scatter reviews the company’s lighter-than-air holiday show. Catch it if you can.
  • Martha Ullman West, Art Scatter’s chief correspondent and maker of one mean seafood stew, reviews the old reliable Nutcracker and the new kid on the Oregon Ballet Theatre block, a witty grown-up revue with the dancers and singer Susannah Mars. As those TV guys say, thumbs up.
  • Mr. Scatter takes in Repo, the latest show from Polaris Dance Theatre, and reviews it.
  • More than a quarter-century after she first hit the stage in Soph, trouper Wendy Westerwelle once again embodies the amazing Sophie Tucker, last of the red-hot mamas — this time in a leaner, more intimate show. Mr. Scatter compares and reviews.

Grab a seat and come along for the ride. We’ll be truckin’ ’til the break of day.


Andrea Lawhead, Brittany Walsh, Nicolo Kehrwald, Wendy Cohen, Tia Zapp, and Molly Courtney in Do Jump!’s “Greatest Hits for the Holidays.” Photo: Jim Lykins.

Singing for Haiti: a Portland benefit

Seems like every time something cataclysmic happens, artists show up to help out. Like a lot of other people they know they can’t do much, but they also know they can do something. And often, because this is what they do best, they put on a show.

A painting by Leslie Ann Butler will be used as cover art for the benefit CD "Portland Sings for Haiti."Especially when you’re talking about the local artists who are the heart and soul of any city’s arts scene, that often means that people who barely have two dimes to rub together are among the ones who jump in and get something done. They raise awareness (pardon Mr. Scatter for employing that overused phrase) and they raise money. I’m not sure why performing artists and restaurant people so often take the lead on this sort of thing, but maybe it’s because both work in businesses where they become acutely aware that nothing gets done right unless everyone works together.

The Oregonian’s Marty Hughley has announced one such benefit project, a benefit CD called Portland Sings for Haiti. Marty’s story is interesting, especially in relating how actor Patty Price-Yates got the thing rolling from her own sickbed, so click on the link. The CD, which features cuts by such leading lights as Storm Large, Susannah Mars, Julianne Johnson and Isaac Lamb, will be available Feb. 22, and you can pre-order at cd baby. The money will go to Mercy Corps for its efforts to help Haiti dig out from the rubble of its massive earthquakes.

Singer-actor Corey Brunish, a participant and one of the project’s organizers, reminds me that you can get a sneak peek (or an early ear) at the music starting at 7 tomorrow night, Thursday the 11th, at Wilf’s. Several of the CD’s musicians will be on hand for a cabaret-style show, and it’s a two-fer benefit. Proceeds from the $20 admission will benefit the musical-theater company Stumptown Stages. Plus, you can be one of the first people to buy the CD, and that money goes to Mercy Corps.

Sounds like a good night out.


ILLUSTRATION: This painting by Leslie Ann Butler is cover art for the benefit CD “Portland Sings for Haiti.”