WEEKEND: Sunday movie fundraiser to benefit Port Townsend theater

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Key City Public Theatre, at age 56 an artistic force across the region, will begin a new era this Sunday [April 13].

The “Behind the Scenes” campaign, an effort to raise $265,000 to secure a permanent home for the organization, will start out with a movie, an actor and a conversation: “Buffalo Bill and the Indians,” featuring Port Townsend resident John Considine doing a question-and-answer session after the film.

“Buffalo Bill,” the 1976 picture in which Considine starred with Paul Newman, Geraldine Chaplin and Burt Lancaster, will screen at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Rose Theatre, 235 Taylor St. Tickets are $20, or $75 for a pass that includes a post-film champagne reception with Considine and a surprise guest artist plus a signed movie print.

With Robert Altman directing, Considine played Frank Butler, husband of Annie Oakley (Chaplin), and “it was far and away my favorite movie-making experience,” he said.

Considine, whose filmography lists 110 acting credits, is the grandson of theater magnate Alexander Pantages and the son of John W. Considine, a producer who shaped Hollywood in its golden age.

He is also honorary chairman of the Behind the Scenes project.

“Our local theater has arrived. Its time has come. And I feel strongly that it merits a level of financial stability that it has never before enjoyed,” Considine said of Key City Public Theatre, established in 1958.

Key City Artistic Director Denise Winter, who moved to Port Townsend after a years-long stint as production manager for the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, has helped steer the theater company through eight years of growth.

Key City presents a full season of shows, with Shakespeare plays in Chetzemoka Park each summer.

They also put on the annual PT PlayFest of local and national playwrights; youth programs and PT Shorts, a free literary reading during the Port Townsend's first-Saturday Gallery Walk.

Sunday, “we hope theater and film lovers will come out to hear some great stories, and show their support for the behind-the-scenes work it takes to produce great performances,” Winter said.

With the Behind the Scenes Campaign, Key City aims to eliminate mortgage debt and establish an operating reserve, in keeping with its recently adopted strategic plan.

The Key City Playhouse at 419 Washington St. in Port Townsend is leased year-to-year and is not a permanent artistic home, noted Key City Public Theatre board chairman David Goldsmith. The plan is to raise the money to own the troupe's uptown headquarters.

“I've seen our town accomplish amazing things when it gets behind a project,” added Considine. “I'm hoping to see it again, this time for our live theater.”

To learn more about the campaign and Key City's offerings throughout this season, see keycitypublic theatre.org or phone the administrative center at 360-379-0195.

Last modified: April 12. 2014 11:19PM
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