Back to Stage

Best of Olympia 2018: Olympia Family Theater

Writer's pick: Best producer of local plays

Cinder Edna (Carolyn Fry) and Prince Rupert (Harrison Fry) in Cinder Edna at Olympia Family Theater. Photo credit: Dinea DePhoto

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Olympia Family Theater doesn't have far to look in search of original plays, because there is a treasure chest of talented playwrights right here in Olympia.

Starting with an adaptation of the popular children's tale The Wind in the Willows by local playwright Andy Gordon with music by Bruce Whitney and Daven Tillinghast, both well known for their work at Harlequin Productions. This first of OFT's string of locally written world premieres featured Olympia actors Kate Arvin, Jason Haws, Ryan Holmberg, Ingrid Pharris Goebel and Heather Christopher.

Next up in the parade of locally written world premieres was the skewed fairy tale Cinder Edna by playwright Ted Ryle, husband of OFT founder Jen Ryle. Much funnier than Cinderella, Cinder Edna is about Cinderella's next-door neighbor, Edna. Like Ella, she is a maid. But while Ella (Ingrid Goebel) is a self-pitying whiner who cries a lot and dreams that someday her prince will come, Edna (Carolyn Willems-Van Dijk) is a go-getter, an entrepreneur who bakes and sells casseroles and revels in telling jokes that are as silly as they are funny.

Ryle adapted the play from the children's picture book by Ellen Jackson. Guitarist Rich Sikorski, composer Miriam Sterlin and Ryle's daughter Mandy Ryle all pitched in to help with the music.

Cinder Edna had its world premiere at OFT five years ago and will return this year for a repeat performance with a different cast May 11 to June 3.

Three Tales with 8 Tail by Mark Gerth was a mainstage production that featured puppets -- Gerth's expertise. He also built the Large and Terrible Frog and Bunnicula puppets.

Most of the daytime shows for children are adaptations by Kate Ayers, an actor, director and writer familiar to Olympia theater-goers from her many shows at OFT and with Theater Artists Olympia.

Amy Shephard, locally known as a singer, dancer and choreographer for shows at OFT and Harlequin, penned the funny musical Fishnapped with the help of Andy Gordon and Daven Tillinghast. Fishnapped was a rollicking rock musical about kids at a summer soccer camp and the kidnapping of the team's mascot, a fish named Blubber -- a puppet operated by Ryan Holmgren. This hilarious, high-energy musical was a huge success.

Finally, in February 2018, OFT premiered the comedy 3 Impossible Questions adapted by Christian Carvajal from popular Muslim folk tales about Mullah Nissredin, a wise man who dispenses his wisdom with jokes and entertaining parables. This delightful tale was performed by a cast of 15 playing more than 50 parts, and was directed by Ted Ryle.

We congratulate Olympia Family Theater for its many locally written plays and look forward to what is to come. OFT specializes in children's plays and plays for the entire family with both child and adult actors. Many of Olympia's best-known actors are regular performers in their shows.

OLYMPIA FAMILY THEATER, 612 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360.570.1638,

Read next close


Best of Olympia 2018: Sam Miller

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search