Theater offerings few in number, yet high in quality

July will be a bit skimpy for live music and theater in Kirkland, but what will be on the calendar is still some of the best of the Northwest.

Appearing at the Kirkland Performance Center at 7 p.m. on July 12 and 13 is Gansango Dance and Jijoho: Dance of Peace. Gansango Dance presents contemporary and traditional African dance and music, featuring dance from Benin, including rhythms from the Voudoun traditions of the coast and historic royal dances.

The performance also will feature the kora (gourd harp) and the djembe (drum) from the Sahel, traditional costumes and original choreography. Tickets are $12.

Also at KPC, on July 15 and 17 at 10 a.m. and July 19 and 26 and August 9 at 11 a.m. comes Theatre Tales with The Fisherwoman, a Norwegian Folktale and The Fisherman and His Wife, a Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale. Let these family-oriented shows unleash your kid's imagination and set free your inner child when three actors, one trunk and a handful of found objects take audiences on a fanciful romp through uncharted lands, coming face to face with charming new characters.

Relying on pure imagination and a few props, Theatre Tales brings to life two fun-filled classic folktales in an arena where anything can happen, and usually does. Tickets are $7.

Theatre Tales will also offer additional weekday matinees for large groups on request. Contact KPC's Client Services Manager, 425-828-0422, for more details.

M-PACT performs at KPC at 8 p.m., July 25. This is the a capella group that wowed KPC audiences during the Winter Holiday season. They return for another sensational concert, bringing rich harmonies and fresh acoustic textures using a fusion of hip-hop, jazz, blues and Motown sounds. The fab five of M-PACT will perform original favorites and timeless classics. Tickets are $15-12.

Jet City Improv comes to KPC at 8 p.m., July 26, with repeat performances on August 16 and September 13, for evenings of off-the-cuff funny stuff. Ever since "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" took television by storm, improv theater has been growing new audiences. Wickedly funny, Jet City Improv performs improvisational comedy, scenes and musical numbers based entirely on audience suggestions. Fun, fast-paced and hilarious, Jet City Improv is great for all ages. Tickets are $15-13.

For more information visit www. The Kirkland Performance Center offers a range of prices depending on whether patrons are students [below age 25], seniors [above age 62] or your standard, run-of-the-mill adult [everyone else]. There is a $1 service fee/ticket. Contact the box office at 893-9827 for tickets.

KPC is located at 350 Kirkland Avenue.

The Studio East program includes summer theater camps and a performance of Les Misérables, the School Edition, performed August 1, 2 and 3 at KPC. Performed entirely by students and accompanied by a full orchestra, this long-running Broadway musical is based on Victor Hugo's epic tale. Les Misérables packs an emotional wallop that has thrilled audiences all over the world. Epic, grand and uplifting, Les Misérables is a powerful affirmation of the human spirit, as well as an incredible work of musical theater. More than 50 teens are in the Les Misérables cast, including young actors from Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Bothell, Woodinville, Mercer Island, Sammamish and Medina.

Written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, this specially adapted and licensed version of Les Misérables has performances scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All tickets are $12 and can be ordered at 425-893-9900. These are reserved-seat tickets, so order your tickets soon for the best seats.

For more information about Studio summer programs, contact Studio East, 827-3123, or 1-877-827-1100 or point your browser to

Music lovers of Kirkland unite! Our very own Eastside Sings! is here, presented by The Bellevue Chamber Chorus, Cascadian Chorale, Issaquah Chorale and Kirkland Choral Society. Singers of all abilities are invited to participate in these fun, inspiring and collaborative musical experiences. Here's your chance to feel the thrill of performing great works of choral music right in your own backyard.

This is the second time Eastside Sings! has been organized according to Kirkland Choral Society spokesperson, Carolyn Hamby. "It's a collaboration between our four choirs," she said. "We are all in on it and representatives for the four choirs meet together to get it organized." The director from each choir directs one of the four sessions. Eastside Sings! will be presented at the Lake Washington United Methodist Church, 7525 132nd Ave. N.E. in Kirkland. The program. schedule will be: July 8, 7:15 p.m.: Mendelssohn, "Elijah," Dr. Glenn Gregg, Kirkland Choral Society, Conductor. July 15, 7:15 p.m.: Haydn, "Lord Nelson Mass," Linda Gingrich, Issaquah Chorale, Conductor. July 22, 7:15 p.m.: Mozart, "Solemn Vespers," Dr. Fred Lokken, Bellevue Chamber Chorus, Conductor. July 29, 7:15 p.m.: Mozart, "Requiem," Philip Tschopp, Cascadian Chorale, Conductor.

If you're not singing with the choirs, come on down and give them a listen. Tickets are $6 per event or $20 for all four purchased as a package on or before the first night. High School students are admitted free of charge. Now, there's a great deal for young lovers of music.

Eastside Sings! organizers request that singers bring a musical score if they have it. Scores will also be available to borrow, or may be purchased at the door. Advance reservations are available by contacting Eastside Sings!, 881-0445.

Finally, don't forget about Summerfest! Sponsored by the Kirkland Art Center, Summerfest will include music, arts and crafts, great food and an endless weekend of sun and fun.

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