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After having visited many of the area theatres, my husband and I finally made it to the Paramount Theatre to see “The Book of Mormon” recently. First of all, WOW what a show! We discovered quickly why it has won nine Tony Awards for Best Musical. It was really one of the funniest shows we have ever seen. Sadly, the run was short for this outrageous musical comedy and by press time it will be gone. Next time this show tours I would encourage you to book your tickets early and go!
Suffice it to say though, the Paramount hosts some pretty amazing shows throughout the year, and the next one up is “Hamilton” which has definitely won its share of Tonys as well!
You can also enjoy dance, jazz, live concerts, speakers, comedy, special events, family shows, and movies (including The Silent Movie Mondays Series).
The theatre is stunning with a beautiful gold leaf ceiling that takes your breath away. Although there are over 2,800 seats for patrons, the setting is intimate with a very large balcony to give everyone a good view of the stage.
Like many theatres in downtown Seattle, the Paramount has a long and storied history having originally opened in 1928. Although it was deemed as “Seattle’s Most Opulent Movie Palace” when it opened, it went through many transformations through the years along with financial difficulty in the 80’s and 90’s requiring assistance to restore and renovate the Paramount to its former glory. Thankfully that happened when Ida Cole, a former Microsoft Vice President, purchased the historic landmark. It eventually become part of the nonprofit now known as the Seattle Theatre Group. This prompted a full renovation and the Paramount reopened in 1995.
The Paramount is located at 911 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101. Visit www.stgpresents.org for more information.
Following our usual M.O., we decided to try a new restaurant prior to the show. We had heard about a place called Artusi from a friend and headed out for an early dinner on that Sunday night.
What a cool spot! Artusi is a casual bar with really hip décor and a varied menu of light bites that is perfect for sharing (or a light dinner before a show). As luck would have it, we stumbled upon their Pasta and Wine Night (offered Sundays and Mondays). The special features two pasta dishes off the menu and a bottle of wine (three special wines are picked for the night) for $35. What a deal considering most establishments would easily charge $35 for the wine alone. We added a cheese plate appetizer, and overall had a delicious meal (without feeling overly stuffed) prior to the show.
Artusi is located at 1535 14th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122.
They are open 7 days a week from 5 p.m.
Visit www.Artusibar.com for more information.
During the holiday week just after Christmas, my daughter was visiting and had made the request to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. Since I hadn’t yet seen the NW Ballet perform, and frankly I loved the story of the Nutcracker when I had seen it in the past, we made a date of it!
The show did sell out that final week, but luckily for us I was able to secure a couple seats before that happened. The performance was at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall just off Mercer Street by the Space Needle. Although a civic center/auditorium stood in that location in the past with a storied history, the new facility was opened in 2003 and is beautiful. Every seat in the house has a great view of the stage, and the acoustics were amazing ---- very important when you are listening to Tchaikovsky! McCaw Hall is the primary home of the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and the Seattle Opera.
As expected, the performance was spectacular. The talented dancers were really a treat to watch, and the costumes were gorgeous. I would also be remiss if I did not mention how beautifully the PNB Orchestra sounded in the pit. Overall, this wonderful performance helped us to carry forward the spirit of Christmas another evening for me and my daughter.
The Pacific Northwest Ballet features a company of 50 dancers, and they present over 100 performances annually in Seattle and on tour. The troupe was founded in 1972 and is one of the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States. Our community is really lucky to have the PNB here!
While the Nutcracker performances have come to an end with the passing of the holidays, you can still enjoy the talented PNB in the upcoming performance of Swan Lake. The show has a fantastical plot filled with romance, sorcery, and betrayal. Swan Lake is considered by many to be the greatest classical ballet of all time. Sumptuous scenery by Ming Cho Lee, costumes designed by Paul Tazewell (Hamilton), lighting by Randal G. Chiarelli, and an achingly beautiful Tchaikovsky score performed by the PNB Orchestra, set the stage for the ethereal corps de ballet and the ultimate challenge for ballerinas all over the world—the dual role of Odette, trapped in the body of a white swan until the oath of her true love sets her free; and Odile, the “Black Swan” temptress.
Swan Lake runs for nine performances only, February 2 through 11, at McCaw Hall. Running time is approximately three hours.
Visit www.pnb.org for tickets or more information on upcoming shows.
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again … we love listening to live music! We enjoy many genres, but gravitate towards jazz, blues and classic rock. As we have gotten older though, we prefer to find venues that offer some great music with an earlier than 9 p.m. start time.
In our continuous search around the Seattle area for explorations, we discovered that the Latona Pub features live jazz music during their Friday evening happy hours (5 – 7 p.m.). It was time to check it out.
Located at the corner of N 65th St and Latona Avenue NE in Greenlake, the Latona Pub has been around for 30+ years. It is definitely what you would consider a neighborhood pub with a cozy feel.
We showed up about 15 minutes before the jazz trio started to be sure we got a table. The place definitely started to fill up, but there was seating upstairs also so I think we would have been fine. You could tell by many of the people coming in that the Latona Pub was a local’s hangout. We knew right away that this was our kind of place.
As we settled in and checked out the menu, the band started to play. The Happy Hour Jazz is touted as one of the oldest happy hours in the city. It started in 1992 with Boots, Barrie, and Murray who played weekly. In 2009, bassist and bandleader Phil Sparks took over. He is considered one of the best jazz players in the city. Two or three other extraordinary musicians join Sparks each week. It was a real treat listening to these talented musicians and an added bonus was that there was not a cover charge.
Even with the crowd, the staff was attentive and made sure we were taken care throughout the evening. We started with the house specialty of Latona Steamers (we chose mussels) and roasted jalapeño and cheddar topped with crispy bacon and served with grilled pita. Later on for our entrees, we enjoyed the Steak & Mushroom Salad and a Latona Burger. Everything was fresh and delicious (and we later learned locally sourced). It was also affordable which isn’t always easy in the city!
Overall the night was a hit and the music was really awesome. We’ll be back!
Since it’s the holiday season, we explored very close to home enjoying a favorite pastime of ours…wine tasting in Woodinville Wine Country (WWC).
There really couldn’t be a better place than Woodinville to try so many amazing wines within a small area geographically. At last count, there are 118 Wineries & Tasting Rooms in Woodinville in four districts (Hollywood, West Valley, Warehouse, and Downtown). For this exploration, we stuck to the Warehouse District that has over 50 wineries alone. Even within this area, there are three separate areas highlighted (Warehouse, The Junction, and Artisan Hill).
We ventured to the original Warehouse district that admittedly looks like a strip mall on the exterior marked by dozens of sandwiches boards at the entrance off 144th Avenue NE. Inside the wineries and tasting rooms, however, it is quite a different story. The places we visited offered very warm welcomes with beautiful décor.
We visited a few, but we really enjoyed our visit to Elevation Cellars where we had the chance to meet the owner (and winemaker) Steven Stuart. As I mentioned previously, we enjoy wine tasting but are definitely novices when it comes to varietals, aroma, age, taste, etc. Thankfully, Steven was able to spend a little time with us and walked us through each of the samples we tasted.
Steven’s story is interesting although my guess is there are many of the winemakers in WWC that have stories that are just as interesting. According to the Elevation Cellars website, Steven wanted to make wine as long as he could remember. He was living and working as an engineer in Colorado, and as fate would have it he was offered an engineering job in Woodinville in 1997.
He started making wine on his own and then eventually with a group of “garagistes” while at the same time building relationships with some of the best vineyards in the Columbia Valley. Through the years, he continued to hone his craft and now Elevation Cellars wines are distributed around the region. All we know is that the wine was delicious, and we really enjoyed ourselves.
As I mentioned, there are about 50 wineries and tasting rooms in the Warehouse District alone so you have may to choose from including….Ambassador Wines, Ancestry Cellars, Armstrong Family Winery, Auclair Winery, Baer Winery, Barrage Cellars, Beaumont Cellars, Bunnell Family Cellar, Callan Cellars, Chatter Creek Winery, Covington Cellars, Cuillin Hills Winery, Damsel Cellars, Davenport Cellars, Des Voigne Cellars, Descendant Cellars, DiStefano Winery, Efeste, Elevation Cellars, Eye of the Needle Winery, Five Stars Cellars, Flying Dreams, Gard Vintners, Genoa Cellars, Gorman Winery, Kaella Winery, Keira Cellars, Kevin White Winery, Long Cellars, Love That Red Winery, Michael Florentino Cellars/Gecko Cellars, Newhouse Family Vineyards, Newsprint Wines, Ovelisco Estate Winery, Page Cellars, Patterson Cellars, Pomum Cellars, Pondera Winery, Refuge & Prospect Winery, Robert Ramsay Cellars, Savage Grace Wines, Smasne Cellars, Sol Stone Winery, Sparkman Cellars, Stevens Winery, Tenor Wines, Three of Cups Winery, Two Vintners, Upland Estates Winery, Warr-King Wines, William Church Winery, and W.T. Vintners. (I apologize if I inadvertently omitted any wineries in the warehouse district.)
We’ll be back for sure and definitely plan to try the other districts as well. Please “Don’t drink and drive” when you head out for your own tasting exploration.
Elevation Cellars · 19495 144th Ave NE Suite A-115, Woodinville; 425-483-2800; elevationcellars.com
Woodinville Wine Country; woodinvillewinecountry.com