By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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“It’s a smiley show,” said Phina Pipia, who created and stars in “Crook of My Dreams” with her sister Sophie.
“People really seem to get a kick out of it, which is great.”
Phina and Sophie are known to Port Townsend audiences for their hometown shows — seven of them since 2009 — and for their work with local youngsters.
Produced by the Generation Goat Rocket performance company Sophie and Phina created in New York City in 2009, “Crook” shows tonight, Friday, at 7 p.m. at the Chameleon Theater, 800 W. Park Ave. on Castle Hill.
Combining elements of indie folk music, vaudeville, dance, theater and circus, the show tells the story of two FBI agents who set out to create the perfect con artist to undercut other criminal masterminds.
The brilliant, charming crook escapes the agents in search of true love, and they set out to chase him down, partly to rein in their creation and partly, Phina said, because they are completely smitten with their creation.
A Keystone Kop-style chase ensues through a surreal world that features disguises, musical interludes and circus acts.
“It’s loaded with all these funny, mind-bending, whimisical moments,” Phina said.
Generation Goat Rocket premiered the show in New York City in 2010 and brought it back to the stage earlier this month at the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival thanks in large part to Port Townsend contributions to a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $2,500 they needed to get the show to Montreal.
In the end, the campaign raised $2,900 from 70 backers, Phina said.
“It was a really heavy PT contingent that helped us reach our goal,” she said. “That and support we got from the Port Townsend Friends of the Arts really meant a lot to us.”
In addition to the staging of “Crook,” the Kickstarter funds will help the Pipias run their free summer camp for young actors aged 7 to 16.
“That was really great because we were thinking we might have to start charging kids for the camp if we didn’t get the funding,” Phina said.
The Generation Goat Rocket crew is auditioning young actors from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chameleon on Saturday for this summer’s camp, in which they will stage the new musical “Girl Eat Monster.”
Written by Phina and Sophie, the show is set in a library after hours and follows a fearless young book-lover who gets lost in a novel.
There are 20 roles to be cast in the production. Young actors are sought to play the part of librarians, an infamous author, a triumphant antagonist, a hero, a heroine and a chorus of dancing books.
Participants will rehearse the play from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 25-29, with performances Aug. 29-31.
Tickets to “Crook of My Dreams” are $18, $15 for youth younger than 21, and are available at The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney St., online at brownpapertickets.com, by calling 360-774-2965 or at the door 30 minutes before curtain.
For more information, visit www.goatrocket.com.