On Stage in the Inland Northwest

Local productions to look forward to this season

By Taylor Shillam

The theater arts are alive this fall across North Idaho and Eastern Washington. This season, date nights, family outings and holiday celebrations will call for quality entertainment, and our area’s theaters are here to deliver. From local productions to shows straight from Broadway, a lineup of quality productions is just a short drive away, starting this month and continuing through the end of the year.


Don’t miss these highly anticipated shows taking Inland Northwest stages this season!


Seasonal Fun at the KROC Center

Coeur d’Alene’s KROC Center offers a selection of family friendly theater entertainment this season, beginning with this month’s production of the Spongebob Musical. The musical follows Nickelodeon’s beloved characters of Bikini Bottom as they fight to save their undersea home. The Spongebob Musical will kick off Friday, October 15, at 7:30pm, and continue through October 24, including matinee showings on weekend afternoons at 2pm. The show will feature a long list of acclaimed songs from the original Broadway production. Seating selections will include premium, preferred and standard, with senior and military discounts available.


In November, everyone’s favorite holiday curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge takes the stage at the KROC Center in a production of the Charles Dickens’ classic tale. The show will run Friday, November 12, through Sunday, November 21, with a variety of showtimes providing ample opportunity to enjoy this seasonal staple.


The KROC’s seasonal productions will conclude with Traditions of Christmas, the Radio City Music Hall-style show that has garnered a reputation for creating magic for all ages. Through dance, choreography, classic Christmas songs and a grand Nativity conclusion, the production keeps the spirit of Christmas alive throughout. Catch Traditions of Christmas at the KROC Center Friday, December 10, through Wednesday, December 22, with adult, child and senior/military tickets available. This holiday experience is designed for the entire family!


A full event schedule, additional production details, and ticket sales are available online at KROCCdA.org.


Spokane Stage Reading: An Aviary for the Birds of Sadness

On Thursday, October 14, the Spokane Playwrights Laboratory will present its inaugural staged reading, this year featuring An Aviary for the Birds of Sadness. The full-length play by Tristen Canfield is described by the organization as “a found family story about a group of friends who must band together to take care of one of their own during her darkest days.” The show is deemed inappropriate for audience members aged 13 and younger, as it delves honestly into the realm of mental health.


The Spokane Playwrights Laboratory is Spokane’s designated new script development company, acting as a resource for playwrights to provide chances to workshop their unfinished drafts into complete production-ready scripts. The show will be held at 304 West Pacific Avenue, with doors opening at 6:30pm and the workshop performance beginning at 7:30pm. Admission is free, with donations appreciated. The event will be followed by the opportunity to engage in a live “talk back” session with Canfield in a bar setting.


STCU Best of Broadway

Broadway Spokane is back to downtown’s First Interstate Center of the Arts, with a full lineup of productions on the way and rescheduled from 2020! This month, catch Andrew Lloyd Weber’s iconic production, CATS, as it takes the stage October 19 through 23.

Next month, look for Mean Girls coming direct from Broadway as the rock musical version of Tina Fey’s popular comedy. Mean Girls takes the stage from November 23 through 27, bringing a highly praised adaptation to the stage.


November also presents the chance to start the holiday season early with A Christmas Carol. A Christmas Carol hits the stage for just two days, November 12 and 13, as a new interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. Emmy winner Bradley Whitford of “The Handmaid’s Tale” stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, and 12 classic Christmas carols are featured, including “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night,” creating a magical holiday experience not to miss!


Broadway Spokane has become an integral part of Inland Northwest culture, and its return is highly anticipated.


“We’re thrilled to welcome Broadway entertainment back to the Inland Northwest. It’s going to be a big season full of memorable shows that bring back the excitement and joy we’ve all missed over the past year,” shared Justin Kobluk, WestCoast Entertainment president. “We’re so glad to be able to share the unique experience of live entertainment again.”


The First Interstate Center for the Arts has become downtown Spokane’s premier location for Broadway engagements and cultural events, seating 2,600 and holding ample space for spectacular productions. Complete information on venue protocols, production details and ticketing for all upcoming STCU Best of Broadway productions are available online at BroadwaySpokane.com.


Bye Bye Birdie presented by Out of the Shadows Theater

Out of the Shadows Theater exclusively casts actors with disabilities, so that their abilities can take the spotlight on stage. Since 2016, the theater has sold out multiple productions to stellar audience reviews. Every role in its productions is played by an actor with a disability or special needs, from cognitive to physical disabilities, who is accompanied by a shadow actor onstage. Shadow actors provide coaching, reassurance and support to their actors throughout the production.


This fall, Out of the Shadows takes the stage at the KROC with Bye Bye Birdie, the most comedy-oriented production they’ve scheduled yet. The show will take the stage for five shows, after much behind-the-scenes preparation to make the shows as safe and successful as possible. Out of the Shadows’ production of Bye Bye Birdie will hit the KROC Center stage across two weekends: October 29 through 31 and November 4 and 5. The October 31 show will be a 2pm matinee showing, with the other shows scheduled for 7:30pm. Full details and ticket information can be found at OutoftheShadowsTheater.com.


Panida Theater’s Banff Virtual Mountain Film Festival

Sandpoint’s historic Panida Theater is offering access to the Banff Mountain Virtual Film Festival this month for the chance to enjoy epic mountain views from the comfort of your own home. Several options are available for viewing, including the choice of two programs to buy separately, as a bundle, or as a gift. Each film within the festival is new and current for 2021, and 100 percent of the net proceeds from ticket sales will go toward supporting the beloved Panida Theater. “Enjoy the show and keep the Panida marquee lights burning bright,” the theater encourages. Streaming access is available through October 24 at Panida.org.


The Inland Northwest theater scene presents a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. Whether you’re seeking a large-scale, in-person production, a quieter, more intimate reading, or a virtual experience from the comfort of your own home, look to our local venues to take care of your entertainment needs from now through the holidays.


Theater has returned to the Inland Northwest, ready for your enjoyment and grateful for your support. Be sure to include local productions in your entertainment plans this season!




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