Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
May 4, 2015
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photo: Eric Johnson
Program coordinator: Jim Minkler
“Hawaiian Night” fund-raising deadline near
            “We are down to the wire,” event coordinator Jodi Harland said at the May 4 luncheon.   All proceeds from the event, Thursday, June 4, go to benefit programs year-long at Holmes Elementary School.  Deadline is May 18 to turn in lists of sponsors, restaurant donors, and those attending, plus any monies collected by that date.  The deadline is especially important because the club does not meet on the following Monday, Memorial Day.
            Steve Boharski, who distributed the tickets, also encouraged closure on tentative restaurant vouchure donations.  “They are coming in a little slowly,” Boharski said.  The meal deals continue the annual fund-raiser theme of “Dine Out Spokane for Kids.”
            The Backyard bar and grille, 1811 W. Broadway, can hold 110 inside and 80 in the fenced courtyard area, so there is plenty of room, Harland said.
Fund-raising rules:
  1. Tickets ($50 per person) for the June 4 event were distributed May 4.  Deadline for returning tickets and names of ticket-users is May 18.
  2. Any money collected also should be turned in on May 18 but not beforehand.
  3. Guests who are not pre-paid should be listed.  They can pay at the door.
  4. Members who have solicited corporate sponsorships need to get a head count and list of those attending as corporate guests and submit by May 18.
  5. After the May 18 deadline, contact the coordinators or club treasurer Nancy Hanson at nhanson@spokaneent.com
          Club social: Coordinator Melinda Keberle said about 30 members and guests have signed up for the May 9 Spokane Jazz Orchestra concert at The Bing.   The club is buying the concert tickets and providing dessert in the Ovations lounge in advance of the concert.  Contact Melinda with last-minute changes.  She will e-mail attendees with details.
          A triple crown?: Mark Visintainer said the club will have two teams seeking to defend its title in the Spokane Valley Rotary fund-raising golf tournament, Tuesday, May 19, at the Trailhead Golf Course in Liberty Lake.  In scramble format, Visintainer, Dave Hayward and Chuck Rehberg shot a score of 27 last year.  A few years earlier, Diana Riggins, Hayward and Rehberg won the tourney by one stroke at the old Painted Hills course.
No business like show business
          For “theater people,” the pervasive notion is Shakespeare’s line, “the play’s the thing.”
          Administrators, trying to keep the lights on, would add, “so is the money.”
          Laura Little, executive director of the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, shared her passions and concerns, theatrical and financial, with the club May 4.
          Little also is president of the 60-member CdA Sunrise Rotary Club.  The club meets Tuesdays at 7 a.m. at the CdA Resort Hotel.
          The CdA Summer Theatre – CST -- a professional musical organization, is Idaho’s oldest performing arts organization, Little said.  “We make every show Broadway quality,” she adds.
          And since CST’s opening in 1968 in a former church at 14th and Garden, nearly every big Broadway musical has been staged.  The first year featured Carousel and South Pacific and later came West Side Story, Oklahoma, Les Miserables, Caberet, Evita and many more.
          The theater went dark in 1989, then reopened in 1990 at North Idaho College’s Schuler Performing Arts Center.  The 2013 schedule included Big River and Mary Poppins, but attendance averaged only 400-500 in the 1,100-seat theater, Little said.  “That was expensive and less than stimulating for actors,” playing to a half-empty house, she said.
          Thus productions were moved last year to the Kroc Center auditorium, a 400-seat venue on Golf Course Road.  An extra weekend of performances was added to cover costs.
          Little shared the costs of staging My Fair Lady, last year’s top production.
          She said the play is “a war horse” in drawing crowds, but royalties alone were $21,000, payable four months before the show opened.  Actors’ salaries were $28,000; musicians, $8,000; costumes, $4,000; sets, $10,000; venue rental, $11,000.  Added costs included box office staff and other items.
          “That’s what goes into a $49 ticket,” Little said.
          Little said she “started in theater at age 8 in Carlsbad, Calif.,” and has seen productions from every angle of the artistic and financial sides.
          She served as CST executive director from 2009 to 2011 and, with the organization facing a $150,000 debt two years ago, was called back for “a second tour.”  With innovative events like last fall’s Great Gatsby fund-raiser, which netted $30,000 each for her theater and her Rotary Club, the CST debt has been whittled to just $13,000.  “We hope to be in the black by the end of the year,” Little said.
          CST went non-profit in 1984 and in true community spirit, Little said, “we will give vouchers for tickets to any non-profit organization that asks.”  Some $7,154 worth of tickets were distributed last year.
CST’s schedule includes First Date, Singin in the Rain, Shrek the Musical and staged readings of Around the World in 80 Days and On Golden Pond.  Little said First Date, which opens June 18, is “a PG-13 comedy and very, very funny.” It is staged in a dinner-theater setting at the Eagles Club in downtown CdA.  “It seats 100, but we found a way (using smaller cocktail tables) to get in 125 people,” she said.
          She said after some controversy about the move and funding, “everyone is back on board.”  Little hopes to once again feature some of the local CdA entertainment “royalty” – Patty Duke, Ellen Travolta and husband Jack Bannon.  “We just need the right parts,” she said.
          Ever the producer, Little’s big project is a “Radio City Music Hall” style Christmas show.  The cast of 80 includes high-kicking Rockette dancers and eight lead singers sharing holiday traditions from Santa’s Workshop to “White Christmas.”
          She said the show includes a nativity scene, replete with a horse and a donkey.  Last year she had to “fire the donkey” (perhaps for acting like an ass?). Getting a replacement was problematic.
          “It’s hard to find a donkey around here who can show up every night for a performance,” Little said.  
          Just one more hurdle in staging a production.