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Wednesday, January 25, 2017



Photo by Terry Rogers

The series of black and white photos, anonymous portraits, held my gaze because of their sensitivity and intimacy. The work of Dr. Terry Rogers of Shoreline, Washington, they reminded me of images seen in Life magazine or National Geographic. Expressive eyes of total strangers connected with mine. Their faces seem oddly familiar, because they could belong to co-workers, friends, family members, or neighbors. As fellow humans, they were not so different from me, except for one thing. Every one of them is homeless.

Many of us lucky enough to live in better circumstances, at least for now, quickly assume most homeless people are criminals, drug addicts, drunks, or mentally ill. Certainly some are (as are some people who live in houses). But negative stereotypes make life as as a homeless person even more difficult for all the other who are not. I think of the young married couple I met who spent all there money to come to Seattle for promised jobs that did not materialize. Consider the family that could not pay their rent, the mother with children escaping domestic violence, the teenager who ran away for good reason, the old man, the veteran whose life fell apart, the sick and disabled without help. Yet they are, for the most part, treated as invisible human beings. Many people avoid eye contact or cross the street rather than to have any conversation. Automatic condemnation helps to justify a lack of caring or assistance.

Photo by Terry Rogers

Rogers, a retired Seattle area specialist in pulmonary disease and critical care medicine, is a member of Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Shoreline, one of many Northwest churches effectively helping the homeless. When Saint Dunstan’s hosted a “tent city,” Rogers had the opportunity to meet some of the camp’s residents. I asked him to share his story of taking these photos and what the experience taught him.

Good Life Northwest: Please tell me about your church's efforts to help the homeless.

Rogers: This is about the third time we’ve hosted a tent city group. They usually come for about a three-month period of time. We have some undeveloped land to the east of the church on the property, so it works out pretty well for them to use this as a site.

Photo by Terry Rogers

GLN: You titled the collection of photos “United We Stand.” What does that name represent? 

Rogers: It’s the name of this group. They named themselves and present themselves this way. This is an organized group of people who have gotten together to be an entity. There are various kinds of homeless camps. There are the sort of ad hoc spontaneous ones that just develop, but then there are groups that actually get together and support each other and try to do things that help them get along and prevail.  

GLN: How many individuals are in this group, and have you hosted them before?

Rogers: I think we have about 30. It varies in number, but it’s between 30 and 35 people. This is the first time we have hosted this particular group. 

Photo by Terry Rogers
GLN: How did this opportunity to photograph the group members arise? 

Rogers: I was curious about wanting to do a project like this, so I approached the minister, the Rev. David Marshall, and asked if he thought it would be an appropriate thing to do. He said, “Yes. Just go down and talk with them.” So I did. 

They have sort of a central tent where they administer, or govern, their entity. I just went down and introduced myself, told them what I wanted to do. I wanted to know if anyone was interested in having a portrait taken. I would provide an 8½ x 11 copy for anyone who wanted that to occur.         

Photo by Terry Rogers
He [the group’s spokesman] said, “Sounds good. Let me bring you to our all-member meeting then.” They meet every Monday afternoon or evening. I’d left him my number and he called me on Tuesday and said, “We have some folks, so let’s do it.” 

There were probably five people that I took photos of initially. I printed them up and brought them back. Then a couple of days later, I got a call asking if I would come back and do some more. So that’s how it all transpired.

Photo by Terry Rogers
GLN: What comments did you receive from them, before, during, or after?

Rogers: Honestly, I haven’t heard too much. They were pleased. They’d say “Thank you.” It was good to hear that. I delivered them and basically that was it. 

I’ve only had some discussion with two or three of them who thanked me and said, “This is really good. I’m pleased to have it.” There was one couple, the black couple with their heads together, smiling…she actually used to model when she lived in the Los Angeles area. She wanted to have some more pictures taken, so I said “Sure. Let’s go ahead and do it.”

Photo by Terry Rogers
GLN: Have you heard some stories from these folks, about how they ended up homeless?

Rogers: When they came, I’d say “What part of the country are you from? What sort of work have you done? How’d you end up in Seattle?” That sort of thing. They come from various parts of the country — Tennessee, Kentucky, California, Montana, Minnesota—and they all have stories. “I used to do construction,” or “I’ve been injured.” One guy shattered his leg, and he lost his house. He had a couple of kids he hasn’t seen. The stories just go on and on. One guy owned a store that he lost because of the financial crisis. They all have their stories. Any of us could get into a situation like that. 

 Photo by Terry Rogers
The other thing our church does is sponsor a community dinner every Tuesday night and it has grown considerably. It’s open to anyone, actually, but a lot of people in the community, particularly the homeless and downtrodden, know about it. We feed 300 plus people every Tuesday night. Over the time that this has been going on now, we’ve served over 31,000 meals. It’s all done volunteer. It’s all done with food that’s obtained as day-old food or food that was going to be thrown out from Safeway. The protein (meat) does need to be purchased, but the money is donated.The link that we have is the guy who actually does the cooking. He’s a member of our church, and he works for Safeway. That’s what has kept this going as another part of the support for this population of people. 

Our pastor, David Marshall, wrote a guest editorial in the Seattle Times within the last three months. It basically says, we can solve hunger. If one tiny church in North Seattle can do this with the excess food from one Safeway, just think what could be done across the community.

[Note: According to the church’s website, Saint Dunstan's serves about 100 on the premises and deliver food to about 200 more in other camps. After our interview, Rogers sent an email with an example situation: "Tonight we served 117 dinners, with at least 200 more people being served at their tent gatherings. Out of pocket expenses for tonight’s meal were $275, so 300 people ate a great meal (and it was good) for less than a dollar per head. And lots of volunteer help."]

Photo by Terry Rogers

GLN: What is the reaction from people living in the neighborhood? Are any of them pitching in to help, or is it just the congregation?

Rogers: We get various people who help. Initially, the neighbors were a little wary of embracing this notion, but as it turns out, [neighborhood crime did not increase at all]. They police themselves very well. There are no drugs or alcohol allowed on the premises, which is their rule. They are very careful about being good citizens. They keep the place tidy and are proud of and responsible for their actions and for their community. I think our surrounding neighbors have accepted the fact that this is a good thing to do and it has not hurt them in any way. (Please read this article from the Seattle Times — "Homeless camp gets a bad rap from Ballardites")

Photo by Terry Rogers

GLN: Your photos are beautiful.

Rogers: Thank you. I enjoy doing it, to be able to connect and have someone trust you enough for them to show who they really are is very gratifying.

GLN: What did you take away from this? What was the most profound aspect of the experience?

Rogers: Everybody has a story. We all have stories. Some of our stories lead to things we have hoped for in the past, and some lead to things we had not hoped for. In spite of all that, every one of the people has pride. That sense of self-worth was pretty impressive for me. These are people who are our brothers and sisters, people, just like us. At the very least, respect them. And say hello. Reach out. They would enjoy it, and you will be rewarded by it.


Friday, January 20, 2017


The Seattle Theater Writers critics group will soon announce the winners of the coveted Gypsy Rose Lee Awards in 33 categories. 

These awards represent the organization's sixth year of work to honor the best productions seen on the city's stages. They also represent another year of intense effort on the part of the group's members, who see as many productions as possible before writing deeply thoughtful critiques. Please scroll down to see this year's nominations. Then watch for the winners in one week.

The famous entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee was born in Seattle in 1911. 
Learn more about her here.

And the Nominees are….
Seattle Theater Writers Announces the 

Sixth Annual ​
Nominations of the 2016
 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards

Seattle, WA - January 20, 2017 (Embargoed till January 20, 2017) (publication encouraged and requested ON January 20)

Spanning 28 theater companies and 59 productions, from the largest and most prominent to small, humble and innovative, the Gypsy Rose Lee Awards honor as much professional theater as we reviewers can cram into our year. 

Well known large companies such as Seattle Repertory Theatre with 6 nominations and ACT Theatre with 15 nominations and Seattle Shakespeare Company with 8 nominations contrast favorably with small companies such as Sound Theatre Company with 14 nominations, ArtsWest with 14 nominations and Theatre22 with 13 nominations. Musical theater companies The 5th Avenue Theatre and Village Theatre inevitably share 15 and 12 nominations a piece as the top musical providers in our area. 

Seattle Theater Writers, Seattle's only critics’ circle, presents the 6th annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, theater awards devoted to recognizing excellence across the economic spectrum of professional Seattle theaters. Our aim in developing the awards is to entice the general 

to consider seeing excellent theatrical events at myriad venues they may never have entered before! 

Miryam Gordon, head writer-wrangler, says, "We know that human nature seems to love awards and we hope to draw more people to pay attention to (and perhaps even attend) an art form that we love. We also feel that a blended opinion, especially from people who often do not agree, is perhaps a more powerful opinion. If we agree on excellence, we think it means more than any one opinion alone.

“The winners represent coming to a consensus, which can be quite a challenge. It’s not easy to bring people with very different opinions to agreement. We all take these selections quite seriously. Invariably, we each champion different people or productions and sometimes there is vigorous debate before we settle on our slate.”

The winners will be announced January 27, 2017.

"2016 was a challenging year, from powerhouse co-productions to the proliferation of tiny companies with mighty visions that continue to populate our cultural landscape,” says Gordon. "Our nominations are an
 enormous acknowledgement of the vibrancy of our theatrical community.”

Media Contact:
Miryam Gordon
Seattle Theater Writers
(206) 367-7130

And without further ado, arranged in 33 (one more than last year) categories in two divisions (Large Theaters and Small Theaters) - 

The 2016 Gypsy Rose Lee Award Nominees are (by category, in alpha order by name):

Excellence in Production of a Play:

(Large ​Theaters): 
9 Circles - Strawberry Theatre Workshop
A Raisin in the Sun - Seattle Repertory Theatre
The Royale - ACT Theatre
The Winter's Tale - Seattle Shakespeare Company
Wedding Band - Intiman Theatre

(Small​ Theaters): 
A Hand of Talons - Pork Filled Productions
Caught - Seattle Public Theatre
Death of a Salesman - ArtsWest
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot - Sound Theatre Company
The Pride - Theatre22

Excellence in Production of a Musical:

Billy Elliot - Village Theatre
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying - The 5th Avenue Theatre
Disney's The Little Mermaid - The 5th Avenue Theatre
Parade - Sound Theatre Company
Violet - ArtsWest

Excellence in Direction of a Play:

(Large​ Theaters): 

Greg Carter - 9 Circles (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)
Desdemona Chiang - A Tale For The Time Being(Book-It Repertory Theatre)
Valerie Curtis-Newton - Wedding Band (Intiman Theatre)
Ameenah Kaplan The Royale (ACT Theatre)
Victor Pappas - Mrs Warren's Profession (Seattle Shakespeare Company)

(Small Theaters): 
Julie Beckman - Annapurna (Theatre22)
Valerie Curtis-Newton - The Motherfucker With The Hat (Washington Ensemble Theatre/Hansberry Project/eSe Teatro)
Julia Griffin - In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings (Theater Schmeater)
Corey McDaniel - The Pride (Theatre22)
Mathew Wright - Death of a Salesman (ArtsWest)

Excellence in Direction of a Musical:

Bill Berry How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Andrew Russell Violet (ArtsWest)
Steve Tomkins - Billy Elliot (Village Theatre)
Troy Wageman - Parade (Sound Theatre Company)
Schele Williams - My Heart is the Drum (Village Theatre)

Excellence in Performance in a Play as a Lead Actor (Male):

(Large Theaters): 

Gavin Hoffman - The Brothers K (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
Conner Neddersen 9 Circles (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)
Alex Silva - Treasure Island (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
Jarrod M. Smith - The Royale (ACT Theatre)
Adam Standley - Stupid Fucking Bird (ACT Theatre)

(Small Theaters): 

Erwin Galan - The Motherfucker With The Hat (Washington Ensemble Theatre/Hansberry Project/eSe Teatro)
Trevor Marston - The Pride (Theatre22)
David Pichette -  Death of a Salesman (ArtsWest)
David Roby - One Man, Two Guv'nors (Sound Theatre Company)
John Q. Smith - Annapurna (Theatre22)


Excellence in Performance in a Musical as a Lead Actor (Male):

Eric Ankrim - How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Nathan Brockett - Assassins (ACT Theatre/The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Matthew Kacergis - Disney's The Little Mermaid (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Jeff Orton - Parade (Sound Theatre Co.)
Jesse Smith - Violet (ArtsWest)

Excellence in Performance in a Play as a Lead Actor (Female):

(Large Theaters):

Denise Burse - brownsville, b-side for tray (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
Mi Kang A Tale For The Time Being (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
Pamela Reed - Luna Gale (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
Alexandra Tavares - The Brothers K (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
Dedra Woods - Wedding Band (Intiman Theatre)

(Small Theaters): 
Suzanne Bouchard Ghosts (ArtsWest)
Angela DiMarco The Pride (Theatre22)
Stephanie Kim-Bryan - A Hand of Talons (Pork Filled Productions)
Teri Lazzara Annapurna (Theatre 22)
Eleanor Moseley - Death of a Salesman (ArtsWest)


Excellence in Performance in a Musical as a Lead Actor (Female):        

Kate Morgan Chadwick - Bad Apples (ACT Theatre/Circle X Theatre/ArtsWest)
Diana Huey - Disney's The Little Mermaid (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako - My Heart is the Drum(Village Theatre)
Tori Spero - Parade (Sound Theatre Company)
Brenna Wagner - Violet (ArtsWest)

Excellence in Performance of a Play as a Supporting Actor (Male) - any non-lead:

(Large Theaters):

Sam Hagen - 9 Circles (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)
William Hall Jr. - Sorry (Thalia's Umbrella)
MJ Sieber - The Winter's Tale (Seattle Shakespeare Company)
G. Valmont Thomas - Stick Fly (Intiman Theatre)
R. Hamilton Wright - The Royale (ACT Theatre)

(Small Theaters): 

Moises Castro - The Motherfucker With The Hat (Washington Ensemble Theatre/Hansberry Project/eSe Teatro)
Nik Doner - In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings (Theater Schmeater)
Doug Fahl The Pride (Theatre22)
Erwin Galán - The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Sound Theatre Company)
Ray Tagavilla - The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Sound Theatre Company)

Excellence in Performance of a Musical as a Supporting Actor (Male):

Greg McCormick Allen Singing in the Rain (Village Theatre)
Justin Gregory Lopez - Paint Your Wagon (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Casey Raiha - Violet (ArtsWest)
Adam Standley - How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Dane Stokinger - Disney's The Little Mermaid (The 5th Avenue Theatre)

Excellence in Performance of a Play as a Supporting Actor (Female):

(Large Theaters): 

Anne Allgood - Wedding Band (Intiman Theatre)
Molli Corcoran - Joyful Noise (Taproot Theatre)
Tracy Michelle Hughes - Wedding Band (Intiman Theatre)
Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako - A Raisin in the Sun(Seattle Repertory Theatre)
Amy Thone - The Winter's Tale (Seattle Shakespeare Company)

(Small Theaters):

Keiko Green - Caught (Seattle Public Theater)
Rachel Guyer-Mafune - Puny Humans (Annex Theatre)
Meg McLynn - The Motherfucker With The Hat (Washington Ensemble Theatre/Hansberry Project/eSe Teatro)
Shermona Mitchell - The Last Days of Judas Iscariot(Sound Theatre Company)
Ayo Tushinde - In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings (Theater Schmeater)

Excellence in Performance of a Musical as a Supporting Actor (Female) - any non-lead:

Delaney Guyer - Parade (Sound Theatre Company)
Mari Nelson - Billy Elliot (Village Theatre)
Sara Porkalob - Pump Boys and Dinettes (Village Theatre)
Jessica Skerritt - How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Jessica Skerritt Singing in the Rain (Village Theatre)

Excellence in Performance as an Ensemble:

(Large Theaters):

9 Circles - Strawberry Theatre Workshop (Norah Elges, Sam Hagen, Sylvester F. Kamara, Conner Neddersen)
A Tale For The Time Being - Book-It Repertory Theatre (Khanh Doan, Mi Kang, Mariko Kita, Scott Koh, Kevin Lin, Michael Patten, Rachel Rene, Annie Yim)
The Royale - ACT Theatre (Lorenzo Roberts, Jarrod M. Smith, Zenobia Taylor, G. Valmont Thomas, R. Hamilton Wright)
Sorry - Thalia's Umbrella (Macall Gordon, William Hall, Jr., Leslie Law, Terry Edward Moore, Jeanne Paulsen)
The Big Meal - New Century Theatre Company (Jonelle Jordan, Darragh Kennan, Maire Kennan, Todd Jefferson Moore, Hannah Mootz, Julian Mudge-Burns, Conner Neddersen, Betsy Schwartz, Amy Thone)

(Small Theaters):

Duels - stokes/amador (Daniel Christensen, Marianna de Fazio, Carter Rodriquez)
In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings - Theater Schmeater (Draeko Damen, Nik Doner, Brandon Felker, Elena Flory-Barnes, Samuel Hagen, Drew Hobson, Jacquelyn Miedema, Michael Ramquist, Andrew Shanks, Yolanda Suarez, Ayo Tushinde)
Puny Humans - Annex Theatre (Patty Bonnell, Kevin Bordi, Grace Carmack, Rachel Guyer-Mafune, Lauryn Hochberg, Cole Hornaday, Kelly Johnson, Ben McFadden, Nic Morden,  Heather Persinger, David Rollison, Zenaida Smith, Te Yelland)
The Pride - Theatre22 (Angela DiMarco, Doug Fahl, Trevor Marston, Andre Nelson)
The Toxic Avenger - STAGEright (Ann Cornelius, Sara Henley-Hicks, Brian Lange, Jessi Little, Nick Michael Watson)

Excellence in Set Design:

(Large Theaters): 
Michael Ganio Luna Gale (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
Shawn Ketchum Johnson - Daisy (ACT Theatre)
Tommer Peterson - The Birds (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)
Matthew Smucker - Brooklyn Bridge (Seattle Children's Theatre)
Tom Sturge & David Sumner - How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The 5th Avenue Theatre)

(Small Theaters): 
Brandon Estrella A Hand of Talons (Pork Filled Productions)
Silas James - Duels (amador/stokes)
Robin Macartney - Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Washington Ensemble Theatre)
Michael Mowery - Annapurna (Theatre22)
Julia Welch - The Things Are Against Us (Washington Ensemble Theatre)
Excellence in Costume Design:

(Large Theaters):

Nanette Acosta - Joyful Noise (Taproot Theatre)
Melanie Taylor Burgess - A Raisin in the Sun(Seattle Repertory Theatre)
Sarah Burch Gordon - The Trial of 
Ebenezer Scrooge (Taproot Theatre)
Catherine Hunt - Dangerous Liaisons (ACT Theatre)
Rose Pederson - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying 
(The 5th Avenue Theatre)

(Small Theaters): 

Chelsea Cook Amadeus (Seattle Public Theater)
Jocelyne Fowler - A Hand of Talons (Pork Filled Productions)
Carolyn Hall The Wedding Gift (Forward Flux Productions)
Helen Roundhill The Toxic Avenger (STAGEright)
K.D. Schill - Puny Humans (Annex Theatre)

Excellence in Lighting Design:

(Large  Theaters): 

Robert Aguilar Wedding Band (Intiman Theatre)
Alex Berry - Billy Elliot (Village Theatre)
Reed Nakayama The Birds (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)
Tristan Roberson - A Tale for the Time Being(Book-It Repertory Theatre)
Ben Zamora - The Royale (ACT Theatre)
(Small Theaters):

Ahren Buhmann The Pride (Theatre22)
Ryan Dunn - Death of a Salesman (ArtsWest)
Tess Malone - A Hand of Talons (Pork Filled Productions)
Alyssa Milione - Ghosts (ArtsWest)
Tristan Roberson - The Things Are Against Us (Washington Ensemble Theatre)

Excellence in Sound Design:

(Large Theaters): 

Brendan Patrick Hogan - The Birds (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)
Sharath Patel The Royale (ACT Theatre)
Kyle Thompson - Treasure Island (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
Nathan Wade - Titus Andronicus (Seattle Shakespeare Company)
Robertson Witmer - Daisy (ACT Theatre)
(Small Theaters):
Erin Bednarz - The Lost Girls (Annex Theatre)
Brian Brooks - King Kirby (Ghost Light Theatricals)
Erick Johnson - The Pride (Theatre22)
Alex Potter - Puny Humans (Annex Theatre)
James Schreck - The Things Are Against Us (Washington Ensemble Theatre)

Excellence in Musical Direction:

Dan Pardo - How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Brandon Peck - The Toxic Avenger (STAGEright)
Tim Symons - Billy Elliot (Village Theatre)
R.J. Tancioco - Violet (ArtsWest)
Nathan Young - Parade (Sound Theatre Company)

Excellence in Choreography or Movement:

Scott Brateng -
​ ​Parade (Sound Theatre Company)
Donald Byrd Medea (Seattle Shakespeare Company)
Sonia Dawkins - My Heart is the Drum (Village Theatre)
Bob Richard - How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
Katy Tabb - Billy Elliot (Village Theatre)

Excellence in Local Playwriting:

Rose Cano - Bernie's Apt. (eSe Teatro)
Laura Ferri A Tale for the Time Being (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
Maggie Lee A Hand of Talons (Pork Filled Productions)
Nick Stokes - Duels (amador/stokes)
Seayoung Yim Do It For Umma (Annex Theatre)

Excellence in Local Composing:
Shenandoah Davis - Medea (Seattle Shakespeare Company)
Paul Lewis - The Pride (Theatre22)
Paul Lewis, Carrisa Meisner Smit - The Crossing(Theater Schmeater)
Lauren Wilder - The Mechanics of Love (SiS Productions)
Annastasia Workman - To Savor Tomorrow (Café Nordo)

Excellence in Video Design (New Category for 2016):

Tristan Roberson - Daisy (ACT Theatre)
MJ Sieber - Titus Andronicus (Seattle Shakespeare Company)

About Seattle Theater Writers:

Founded in 2010 by Miryam Gordon and comprised of local writers and reviewers, Seattle Theater Writers is a group of critic/reviewers dedicated to raising public awareness of theater practitioners and the work produced by professional theater organizations. Seattle Theater Writers’ hope is that these awards might encourage theater attendance and enjoyment of our rich cultural offerings. Born from this mission are the annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, recognizing excellence in Seattle theater across 33 categories.

The participants in this year’s award process were Candace Brown (, Miryam Gordon (Seattle Gay News and, David-Edward Hughes (, Rosemary Jones (, Dusty Somers (guest writer for Seattle Times), Michael Strangeways (, and Nancy Worssam (

For more information, go to The Notes section of the Facebook page shows the evolution of the awards.