Aba Kiser as Patsy Cline will star in the Key City Public Theatre in “Always … Patsy Cline.” (Diane Urbani De La Paz)

Aba Kiser as Patsy Cline will star in the Key City Public Theatre in “Always … Patsy Cline.” (Diane Urbani De La Paz)

Key City Public Theatre to show off newly remodeled playhouse

Fall season kicks off next week

PORT TOWNSEND — The lights are about to go up on a new Key City Public Theatre.

Project Scene Change, a multi-year remodel process undertaken during pandemic closure, is completed, said Kat Agudo, audience services manager for Key City Public Theatre (KCPT), in a press release.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned at 4 p.m. Tuesday to celebrate the grand re-opening of the newly remodeled playhouse at 419 Washington St.

The ribbon cutting will be followed by an open house with refreshments and guided building tours until 5:30 p.m.

Improvements include:

• Installation of a UV bacterial and viral filtration system;

• Replacing all of the old theater seats with modern, easier-to-maintain seating;

• Remodeling the restrooms with touchless fixtures;

• Installation of glass around the box office;

• Relocating the control room to make the theater more spacious;

• Remodeling the dressing rooms, concessions and lobby.

“We’re opening up the space,” Denise Winter, KCPT artistic director, has said.

The half-million-dollar project was funded by grants and contributions, Winter said Wednesday.

About 50 percent of that amount was from grants, the largest of which was a $176,500 award from the Murdock Charitable Trust based in Vancouver, Wash. Another large grant was $30,000 from the First Federal Community Foundation.

Contributions from many individuals and businesses made up the other half of the money needed to remodel the playhouse.

“We used more than 50 local businesses, craftspeople and artists to complete the project,” Winter said.

“It provided a lot of employment.”

Project Scene Change was topped off by a new partnership with local business Bazaar Girls located at 280 Quincy St. (formerly The Jefferson Community School), providing a new space for theatre youth education programs in Brigid’s Loft.

The curriculum spans acting, stage combat and playwriting headed by KCPT’s professional teaching artists.

The theatre also has announced its new 2022-2023 season after an extended hiatus.

The season will kick off on Wednesday with Always … Patsy Cline by Ted Swindley, based on a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger.

The show is a musical tribute to the legendary country singer, complete with down-home country humor and emotion, as well as some audience participation.

The show will run through Oct. 23. Showtimes vary; evenings and matinees are available. Tickets can be bought in advance at keycitypublictheatre.org, by phone at 360-385-KCPT (5278), or at the door.

Always…Patsy Cline had a successful run off-Broadway and has been enjoyed by audiences in Canada, the UK and Australia.

In Port Townsend, the play will star Port Townsend’s own singer-songwriter Aba Kiser as Cline and Michelle Hensel as Seger.

Kiser has toured nationally as back-up for the likes of Eleanor Murray and Ings. Hensel, a veteran KCPT performer, has previously appeared in Men on Boats and Enemy of the People, among others.

Winter is directing the show. Musical direction is by Linda Dowdell, who leads a six-piece band featuring Dowdell, Bud Brewer, Maggie Jo Bulkley, Robert Bulkley, Bobbi Nikles and Angie Tabor.

Always… Patsy Cline is sponsored by Clarity, Kristin Manwaring and the 77 Women Producers.

To become a 77 Women Producer, contact the theatre.

KCPT’s season sponsors are Edensaw Woods, Sirens: a Pub of Distinction and Kristin Manwaring.

This past April, KCPT brought live theater back to Port Townsend via a World Premiere of a commissioned play originally scheduled for 2019, Around the World in Less than Eighty Days by David Natale.

That production rehearsed virtually while the remodel was being finished. The community embraced the upgrades and changes at these 2022 spring performances, a pre-cursor to this fall’s full season.

“This ribbon-cutting signifies the community’s remarkable effort in transforming its premier downtown performing arts venue,” Agudo said in the release.

“Fully re-opening after more than two years reflects Key City’s resilient mission which engages residents and visitors with performances and programs that captivate, challenge and celebrate our community.

“Come visit KCPT, and see why their work is uniquely crafted to inspire.”


Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].

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