BAT does not always produce family-friendly shows. This comes, in part, from the idea

Photo by Michael Brunk /

that adults deserve entertainment too. Not every story worth telling is suitable for every young person or those who are easily offended. Some very interesting stories are more suitable for adults.

That said, BAT’s current Holiday show, The Christmas Carol Rag, is family-friendly. It has been drawing very good audiences. It only has one weekend left. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.

At its shows, BAT asks patrons to fill out questionnaires. The questionnaires ask a number of questions, like how often you come to BAT shows? Did you eat or drink at a Burien restaurant before the show? And so on. These questionaries are part of the data the Foster School of Business used to determine that, on average, each BAT patron adds $22.27 to the Burien economy over and above the ticket purchases.

Two of the questions are, “What types of shows would you like to see BAT produce?” And, “Name a show you would like BAT to produce?

On one questionnaire, there were these two comments:

What type of show, “Only family friendly shows!” (The highlight was on the quetionairre.)

What show BAT should produce, “The Rockey Horror Show.”

Now, the last time BAT produced The Rockey Horror Show, in 2008, PHOTOS, it was not what I would call family-friendly. But that is just me. Maybe times have changed?

BAT will continue to produce interesting scripts, including those that are not as family-friendly as others. Come take a look, and join BAT from February 16, 2018, through March 11, 2018, for Rapture. Blister, Burn. TICKETS

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Is there more than butts in the seats?

This is a tale of two shows. One, BAT’s current Holiday show, The Christmas Carol Rag, and the other In The Next Room, or the vibrator play which BAT produced in 2016.

The former is currently in production. The run is half over and it has sold out five performances. It looks like that trend will continue throughout the run. BAT is a small house, but a show that consistently sells out is a very good thing.

During the entire run of In the Next Room, or the vibrator play the show was seen by just over half as many people who are likely to see The Christmas Carol Rag. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.

So, by the butts in the seat measure, The Christmas Carol Rag is a better show for BAT. Right? About twice as many people will see it. Well, it may not be the best show for BAT. Continue reading

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A bit of kindness

BAT shares its space with a youth theater education organization. Typically, there are no problems with that relationship, however, it does means that BAT must move its seats out of the way for their rehearsals. This does required a bit of work on BAT’s part.

Last Friday, one of the moms in the hallway, waiting for the child to get out of class, offered to help me reset the seats. The seats are on risers and although they roll, the work is much easier with a couple of sets of hands.

Not only did she help set up the seats, but she volunteered to vacuum both the seats and BAT’s concessions room.

While it took her about 30 minutes, it meant the world to BAT. With her help, BAT was up and ready when the first of the audience showed up.

Her bit of kindness made BAT’s day. Thank you.

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The Christmas Carol Rag – 2017

In this delightfully irreverent musical take on the Dickens classic, Ebenezer Scrooge has been recast as an embittered woman named Evelyn and moved to 1911 New York City. Evelyn runs her New York City sweatshop with an iron fist, but slowly opens her heart when visited by a Yiddish-spouting Ghost of Christmas Past and a gospel-wailing Ghost of Christmas Present.

Get your tickets online: Christmas Carol Rag, buy your tickets in person at Pickled & Preserved, enjoy dinner and a show with Frankies B-Town Bistro, or send an email request to

Link to full press release


The Westside Seattle (Highline Times) review

Photo by Michael Brunk /

“Regardless of the gender of story’s central miser and the quirkiness of the ghosts, the takeaway is no different. Scrooge has to reexamine her choices and move into a brighter future – one where she gets into the Christmas spirit instead of foregoing the holiday to spend more time at the office. ”



The Burien Culture Hub review

Photo by Michael Brunk /

“All in all, I highly recommend keeping up our holiday traditions by doing something slightly non-traditional. Norman Allen’s vision of A Christmas Carol offers a slightly different perspective of the classic but cautionary tail of getting too wrapped up in ones own ambitions and the tear littered paths we leave behind when we care for nothing but profits.”




The B-town Blog review

Photo by Michael Brunk /

“The Christmas Carol Rag is successful in getting the audience into the warm feeling of the holiday season.”






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The Chistmas Carol Rag – press release

(Nov. 14, 2017 – Burien, WA) – Burien Actors Theatre’s holiday show, The Christmas Carol Rag, is a delightfully irreverent and moving musical comedy set in ragtime-era New York City. This reimagining of the original Dickens’ classic, written by Norman Allen with musical arrangements by Howard Breitbart, is a Northwest premiere in which Scrooge is an embittered woman who runs a sweatshop. Performances are Nov. 24 through Dec. 17.


The Burien Actors Theatre production features specialty drinks themed to the show and plenty of free on-site parking, plus an opening night party.


This musical comedy take on the Dickens classic is set in the ragtime-era world of rough-and-tumble New York City, circa 1911. Ebenezer Scrooge has been recast as an embittered woman named Evelyn who runs her sweatshop with an iron fist, but slowly opens her heart when visited by a Yiddish-spouting Ghost of Christmas Past and Gospel-wailing Ghost of Christmas Present.  A funny and moving show that puts a new twist on a holiday classic with production numbers featuring live music from ragtime tunes to Gospel.

This show is suitable for all age.

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. at Burien Actors Theatre, 14501 4th Ave. S.W. in Burien.

Ticket prices range from $7 to $20. Student tickets are just $10. Enjoy an opening weekend deal:  Tickets on opening night, Nov. 24, include free admission to the opening night party after the show. On Saturday, Nov. 25 all tickets are half price. On Sunday, Nov. 26, known as Seven Buck Sunday, admission is just $7.

For tickets, special deals or other information, go to or call 206-242-5180.

The Christmas Carol Rag is sponsored by 4Culture and Pickled & Preserved.


 Stage director Calen Winn and music director Elizabeth Bender direct the talented cast of  Cara Hazzard (Evelyn Scrooge), Rochelle Flynn (Gladys/Janet Marley/Partygoer), Hannah Rockel (Anne Cratchit/Young Evelyn Scrooge), Jessica Robins (Agnes/Christmas Past/Edie), Angelica Barksdale (Ruthie/Partygoer/Christmas Present), Jaron Boggs (Bob Cratchit, Young Bob Cratcht), Max Lopuscynski (Fred/Tim), Rosemary Herold (Sylvia/Partygoer), Kevin Finney (Bobby/Fezziwig).  Elizabeth Bender is also the pianist for the show. Lisa Harringon is the show’s stage manager.

Designers for the show are: Gayle Staker, choreographer; Albie Clementi, set; Rob Falk, lighting; Cyndi Baumgardner, props; Tucker O’Conner, costumes; and Eric Dickman, sound.

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The $3.00 donation

Today BAT received a donation in the mail. It was a check for $3.00. On the memo line, it says, “Love heals.”

BAT often gets small donations, and BAT is very happy to get them. Most often someone will roundup an online ticket purchase, or they will drop a few dollars in BAT’s donation box. BAT also gets small checks from people using Amazon Smile and selecting BAT as their charity, or BAT-fans linking their Fred Myer rewards card to BAT as a charity.

However, rarely does anyone send BAT a check for less than $5.00.

This check, likely because it was for $3.00, caused me to stop. It is amazing the people will give BAT money. They are not buying anything tangible with that money. They are becoming a producing partner with BAT. They are investing in better live theater. They are becoming part of something bigger than themselves, and they are making it possible for people they may not even know to have access to better live theater. (Without donations BAT could not continue.)

Most theaters raise 40 percent, or less, of their budgets through ticket sales. BAT’s ticket sales are still too high of a percentage of our budget, but your help is changing that and allowing for a better theater experience for you.

So, this $3.00 donation is a gift to BAT. It means the world to BAT. It means someone cared enough to give to BAT expecting nothing more than continued better live theater in return. It was a sign of the love that heals.

Also, this $3.00 means BAT met its donation target for the close of Ben Butler with $2.00 to spare!

Take a moment right now and join this BAT-fan by giving to BAT. DONATE HERE!


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Ben Butler draws to a close

Ben Butler is coming to a close. This is the last weekend (October 20, 21, and 22). Get

Photo by Michael Brunk /

Photo by Michael Brunk /


This show provided a number of firsts for BAT. The first time we did a thorough dramaturge page HERE. The first time in quite a while that BAT did a show based on an actual historical event. And, of course, it was a Northwest premiere.

BAT knew it wanted to produce this show as soon as we read the script. But that was no easy thing.

When BAT read the script it was in manuscript. That is, the author had not sold it to a punishing house. BAT dealt first with the author, then his agent. We were getting close to a deal to produce the show, sometimes called getting the rights to the show, and then there was a bidding war between a couple of publishing houses for the script. BAT was put on hold until all of that was worked out.

In that tradition, there was a small re-write of the show. BAT waited to get that version, so you could enjoy the best script possible.

Then there was casting. BAT’s first director and two of the four actors had to drop out of

Photo by Michael Brunk /

the project for very good reasons. But that left BAT scrambling. As is, Ben Butler came out better than BAT had hoped, so these changes, although stressful at the time, made for a great show.

Early on, BAT put a copy of Ben Butler into BALL, Burien Actors Lending Library, located at Bumbershoot Books.

Ben Butler played to rave reiews HERE, and it was also the first theater production that the Burien Clulture Hub reviewed, HERE. Continue reading

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Ben Butler reviews to date

Here are the reviews for Ben Butler to date:

Photo by Michael Brunk /

“I highly recommend seeing this story about two men from completely different walks of

life, who find a similarity between each other in a world where neither has to consider the other.”

Burien Culture Hub HERE

“Ben Butler is a timely play as we navigate, on a local and national level, the idea of us vs. them. We are, as it turns out, all part of the human race. We are all a part of the same community, on both a local and national level.

The BAT production of Ben Butler is wonderfully done. It both provokes thought and thoroughly entertains. The talent is top notch and is well worth taking the time to enjoy!”


Photo by Michael Brunk /

B-town Blog HERE

“The main characters are dynamic and complex – and the perfect pair to take viewers on a thoughtful journey, using word play and comedy to open the door for discussion of race and politics in the U.S.

The timing of this production is particularly poignant for Burien – and the rest of the country – telling a story that explores the plight of those seeking refuge and sanctuary – and for a look at the ability to be open-minded and forward thinking.”

Highline Times / Westside Seattle HERE

Get your TICKETS HERE! This is not a show to miss!!!

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The genius of Cyndi

Cyndi is BAT’s props goddess on Ben Butler. Here is just one example of the detail Cyndi

Fireplace on Ben Butler set

puts into her work.

On stage, there is a fireplace and “gas” lamps on either side of the chimney. The play takes place on May 23-24, 1861, the very early days of the Civil War.

On the mantle of the fireplace there are matches, as one might expect in real life, but a detail that might be missed on stage. But then, here is the genius that is Cyndi, next to the matches there is an ashtray. In the ashtray, there are used matches. (Amazing.)

While it highly unlikely anyone in the audience will see these burnt matches, they are there for the actors,

Used matches in the ash tray

to help keep them present in Ben Butler’s office on a May day in 1861.

This is the kind of work BAT patrons have come to expect, and the kind of work BAT, with the help of its creative team, including Cyndi, routinely produce.

Don’t miss Ben Butler – TICKETS.

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Sitting in an empty theater

BAT is volunteer driven. So when we are here we are typically doing something. It is rare that I get to sit in our empty theater.

BAT has just 94 seats, and those seats move. So even on the rare time I am at the theater

Tech rehearsal for Ben Butler, sans costumes.
Photo by Craig Orsinger

waiting, I cannot just sit in the seats and look at a set.

Today, I got that chance. I am sitting in the top row looking out at the Ben Butler set. It is all but done, as we head toward opening night on September 29th. TICKETS

Looking at another great set, I have a chance to pause and think about how far BAT has come. We are in a renascence.

Over the last 10 years or so, BAT has stepped up its game many times. Just look at these pictures. This season is a great example, three Northwest premieres, and all four shows will hold you spellbound and make you laugh. An amazing combination. Plus, BAT is drawing the cream of actors, and our creative team is above outstanding.

But what makes just sitting in an empty theater so special is that the space is hallow. Theater, they say, is the second oldest profession. I think it is likely the first.

When the house lights go down, you are taken to places beyond yourself. You see other worlds, through other eyes. You become one with something that is not just you.

Not all theater should make you think. But if you are not touched somehow, that production has failed. To laugh, to cry, to escape, to wonder that is why there is theater.

As I sat in BAT’s empty theater, I was at peace. Part of something bigger than my life.

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