Producing Original Musicals Since 1995

Comments aboutThe Emperor's New Clothes in November 2010:

"As you know, this was my first participation in a real stage production (an embarrassing thing to
admit for a college Shakespeare teacher who made his students enact scenes all the time), and I
have loved it and learned so much from it. It has given me a whole new respect for what goes into 
creating theatre on a stage, and this respect extends very much to the two of you. I have the 
greatest admiration for the secure competence and calm good humor with which you took an
enormous and very diverse cast and formed us into a working company able to create a credible 
and thoroughly entertaining show. Thank you again for all your work and talent...."

Michael Kischner, Cast member of The Emperor's New Clothes, 2010

"There are times when you forget why you do theatre. You forget, that it is not for the money or fame,
or the short hours. You forget that it creates and nurtures a community, that it brings people 
together, that it gives people reason, hope, joy and above all the love of life. You two have created 
an amazing program that not only brings multi generational people together but it brings everyone, 
from Special needs kids, to people with needs up, it is wonderful to see! Thank you for your work, 
your love of theatre, and the amazing gift you give your community every year. I thank you 
personally for reminding me why we do theatre, why it has to be a part of us. Good job with the 
show, and I wish you two all the best in the future!! ...."

David Kline, Drama Teacher at Bellevue High School


 

Local Theater Builds Community
By Sara Longley

Seattle Press-Nov 08, 2001 --

Variety Plus, Seattle's most inclusive theater group, is mounting a production of Wizard of Oz this week at the Museum of History and Industry. If you go, you will be treated to an experience created by a cast of 83, ranging in age from four to 50-something. At the heart of it all are Angela Rinaldi-Gribas and Bob Gribas, theater professionals who wanted to do something different.

Variety Plus is unique in Seattle. Anyone who wants can join and take part in their yearly production. Nobody is turned away. All the actors volunteer their time and buy their own costumes, and on performance days everyone assists in set changing, concessions and ushering.

Angela Rinaldi-Gribas explains, "We give kids and adults the opportunity to work together. We have lots of families in the show. Kids join and pull their parents in, or sometimes adult actors come in and end up bringing their kids." Cast members come from all over the region, from Tukwila and Burien to Shoreline and Everett.In addition to mixing age groups, Variety Plus also blends people of different experience levels.


The plays they put on have familiar names, like Snow White and Little Orphan Annie, but the scripts are original. Bob Gribas wrote this year's Wizard of Oz. Rinaldi-Gribas says,"we did a spin on the Wizard of Oz using several of the Oz books. It's definitely not the movie version." Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow are here, of course, but so are Quadlings, Porcelain Cows, at least one Chicken. There are 35 speaking parts in the production; other cast members are dancers, singers or street scene extras. Many people take more than one role. "Everyone gets as much stage time as possible," says Rinaldi-Gribas, "so they aren't on stage for five minutes and then sit around for an hour."

Even the very young cast members are given responsibilities, and Rinaldi-Gribas says this is one of the things that keeps them coming back year after year. "It builds confidence," she says. "We have parents and teachers commenting on their kids' improved grades because of this experience."
Gracie Rowan, 10, plays a Munchkin. "It takes up most of my time, but it's fun," she says of the hectic 6-week production schedule.
Sisters Kibbianne and Steevie Sporleder, 10 and eight, have been performing with Variety Plus since 1996. "My first play was Little Orphan Annie," Kibbianne says, and Steevie is quick to jump in, "Me too!" "In Snow White," Kibbianne continues, "I was a flower that helped Snow White."

You can still catch the Wizard of Oz on Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11. Call Variety Plus at (206) 368-8386 or come to the Museum of History and Industry's McEachern Auditorium to buy your tickets at the door. Showtimes are 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

  2008 Seattle Press on Line.
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