Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2005 Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2005
Sandpoint Magazine

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2005

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photo by Doug Marshall/El Photo Grande
Panida so grand
The space grows along with the vision

- Laurel Wagers

Summer 2004 marks a season of change and growth at the Panida Theater. While the Panida has presented the Global Cinema Cafe film series for nine-going-on-10 years, the organization has not produced many other shows, usually renting the theater to other producing entities. The first Panida production, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, will take the stage on June 30.
Changes are apparent on the street side as well since the summer of 2003. The Main Stage Cafe opened in January in the south front retail space with espresso drinks, coffee and tea as well as accompanying desserts. And Pack River Potions has offered its handcrafted, small-batch scented lotions, creams and candles in the north space since July 2003. Both businesses also act as ticket outlets for shows at the theater.
The biggest change is the purchase of the bar immediately north of the theater. The establishment opened as the Kamloops Club Lounge in 1945. Sandpoint landmark Pend Oreille Pete, a rotund fisherman carrying a giant Kamloops over his shoulder, was carved from a single white pine log by club owner Russell Kotschevar. Pete stood inside the plate-glass window for a number of years, then out on the sidewalk. He was moved to the US Bank lobby for his own protection and is at present on loan to an exhibit of small-town memories at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane. Pete may be returned to his former Kamloops site when the exhibit closes.

Doug and Jan Russell, who owned the bar from 1977 until mid-1982, added a dance-floor area to the premises in 1979. Subsequent owners tried a number of new looks, themes, floor plans and music styles. Most recently, the name was changed to the Avalanche.
The Panida Theater Committee purchased the building in October 2003, with board members and other supporters pledging their own funds to guarantee the mortgage. An open house “brainstorming” session in November resulted in walls papered with ideas from friends of the theater.
Owning the adjacent building will allow the Panida management to control noise levels – no more bass guitar thumping through the wall during a tender movie moment or a musical pause on stage – as well as to offer dressing and rehearsal space and a small performance stage.
The plan, says Technical Director Bill Lewis, is to remodel the facade, removing the recent additions to expose the original brick front, and to open the front section of the annex as retail or restaurant space. A lounge area for lobby overflow is planned in the midsection of the building, and the back part of the structure will become a “black box” theater space designed for small-scale performances.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown will, however, play on the main stage. The show will open June 30 for two weeks of Wednesday-through-Saturday performances with matinees on both Saturdays, a total of 10 shows. Directed by Scott Johnson, the musical comedy is the first production under the Panida’s sponsorship.
The six-member cast of professionally trained, experienced performers includes Rob Kincaid as Charlie Brown; Andrea Lyman as Lucy; Johnson as Schroeder; Amy Craven as Sally; Shauna Lyman as Snoopy; and Jeff Poole as Linus. On the production side, Kincaid is musical director; Andrea Lyman, costume coordinator; Shauna Lyman, choreographer. Poole is in charge of sound. Shelley Johnson is assistant director; Deborah McShane and Karen Bowers are acting as producers.
The production developed, Scott Johnson says, from a musical event that the six performers staged late in 2003 as a fundraiser for the North Idaho Chorale. They performed three songs from Charlie Brown in that show, and decided that “we could do this show.” Johnson presented the play and its cast as a possibility, and it fit with the need of the theater for a summer fundraising activity.
Additionally, the play fits with the goals developed in a Panida Theater Committee board retreat in 2003 that included taking a more active role in production of events.
“It’s a big step for us as an organization,” says Executive Director Karen Bowers. “Producing means taking a financial risk. But backing a show like Charlie Brown – one that we know will be done really well – is a good place to start.”
Fundraising for a new heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system has been a priority for the past few years. Recent progress in that area raises hopes that the new system will be in place this summer – perhaps in time for the opening of the musical. In the meantime, the “buy a brick” campaign that raised a large part of the down payment on the theater in 1985 continues. For $50, a donor can “buy” a brick to be stamped with a name or message, and the brick will be set into the sidewalk. The current flyer says that this is “one last time again” – but with another 25 feet of sidewalk to the north, it would appear that space is available for a whole new “generation” of additional bricks in the future. One suggestion: Viva, Panida!

The cast of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, poses inside the Panida: from left, Jeffe Poole, Shauna Lyman, Amy Craven, Rob Kincaid, Scott Johnson and Andrea Lyman. Photo by Tom Woodward


Panida Theater history short takes

Summer 2004

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