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Editor's Explorations - California Suite

  • Written by Kristen Hamilton

My husband and I stayed close to home for our exploration this week and went to see the Woodinville Repertory Theatre’s fall show—Neil Simon’s classic comedy California Suite.

CALIFORNIA SUITEFront row: Elizabeth Ballstadt and Michala Hansen Back row: Tim Platt, Melanie Workhoven, Mary Hould, Tony Leininger and Curt Simmons (Photo By Sandro Menzel)We have always greatly enjoyed live theatre.  We love comedies so it seemed like a nice way to spend the afternoon (we attended the matinee performance).  The entire cast did a great job, and there were many times that we laughed out loud.  It was that funny.  This production is directed by Jane Ryan and has five different scenes all taking place at different periods of time in rooms 203 and 204 of the Beverly Hills Hotel.  If I were forced to pick a favorite scene, I’d have to say “Visitor from Philadelphia” as the two actors had great chemistry and even though I knew the story (from seeing the show long ago) I couldn’t wait for the next line. 

The Rep performs and has made its’ home at the Denali Slab & Tile Studio.  I was particularly curious about how this might work but quickly realized it is a great location.  Although the lobby area is a little unconventional with huge pieces of granite all around, it really works.  There is plenty of room to chat with friends and neighbors and grab a snack or drink at the concession stand.  Then you head around the corner to the intimate seating area where you are practically sitting on the stage with the actors.  As Charley Blaine (the Woodinville Repertory’s publicity guru) explained, the Rep is grateful to the owners of Denali (Prem and Lily Gnanarajah) as they came to the rescue in the fall of 2011 when the old Wellington Hills Golf Club location was no longer going to be available.   They offered space at their large warehouse location for free to the troupe to perform.  They even upgraded the space to accommodate the Rep at their own cost and the first performance here was in the spring of 2012.

California Suite’s remaining shows are at 7:30 p.m. on October 20, 27 & 28 plus two matinee performances at 2:00 p.m. on October 22 & 29.  With only 50 seats available, I suggest getting your tickets early at www.woodinvillerep.org.

Denali Slab & Tile Studio is located at 16120 Woodinville Redmond Rd NE, Suite 12 in Woodinville.  Look for the signs to direct you to parking and the entrance.

Prior to the show we enjoyed lunch at the Hollywood Tavern.  We thought the outside seating area was great although it wasn’t quite warm enough for us to sit outside. They did have a fire roaring in the fire pit,  and I am sure if we had more time we would have sat outside for a bit and enjoyed one of the last hurrahs of summer.  Inside we sat in the bar area and got to catch of few of the football scores while enjoying lunch.  We started with the Ancho Chile Tots, and quite frankly, they were so filling and delicious we barely had room for the rest of the meal.  I had ordered the Green Goddess salad and ended up taking to go and having for dinner at home later. 

Regardless the food and atmosphere was really enjoyable, and we shall return!

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