Portland streaming theater

When ‘Daddy Long Legs’ says ‘I Do, I Do’

At Broadway Rose, a musical romantic comedy is ready to stream onto your screen – and the stars are signing on for a very long run

Malia Tippets was backstage at a Christmas revue in South Carolina that she had a part in when she collapsed. “I had an ovarian cyst that had toppled over my fallopian tube, and it was so painful that my body just shut down,” Tippets says. “I didn’t know anybody and I didn’t have time to tell my parents what was going on. It was insane. It was wild.”

After Tippets went home to Battleground, Wash., Joe Theissen—who had directed her in a production of Anything Goes at the Lakewood Center for the Arts and had asked her out to a Blazer game before she left for South Carolina—helped her recover. “When I came home, he came and took care of me,” Tippets says. “So that was kind of a weird way to get into a relationship, but that’s how that went.”

Today, Tippets and Theissen are still together—and they’re also the stars of Broadway Rose Theatre Company’s soon-to-be-streaming production of the 2009 musical Daddy Long Legs, which is being directed by Sharon Maroney, who founded Broadway Rose in 1992 with her husband, Dan Murphy.

“There’s no revenue for the Broadway Rose [right now], zero,” says Theissen, who is also the musical theater company’s development manager. “We’re still getting individual donations and we’ve got good COVID-relief funding, but they were really, really intent on doing something that they could have some sort of artistic revenue for.”

Joe Thiessen and Malia Tippets in “Daddy Long Legs”: It’s a match. Photo: Broadway Rose

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Portland theater’s little ‘Black Box’

Gary Cole's online play based on his backstage novel about life, love, and revenge on the theater scene scratches an itch in Covid-19 time

“Theater people are strangely compelled to perform their art… regardless of the obstacles placed in their path, by the empty bank accounts, oppressive landlords, and unflattering critics,” the character Ned Prince observes halfway through the opening scene of CoHo Productions’ online play Black Box: Page to Stage.

I nominate pernicious viruses to be added to Ned’s list of obstacles.

But I suppose that would be a bit of an anachronism, since Black Box – written by CoHo co-founder Gary D. Cole and based on his novel of the same name – isn’t set in 2020. Instead, the virtual work looks back, with a rightful amount of nostalgia, to Portland’s past: a portrait of a theater community in an age when people could actually go to the theater.

Critic and board member, setting the scene: James Luster and Marcella Lasch in “Black Box: Page to Stage.” Photo courtesy CoHo Theatre

Black Box is inspired in part by Cole’s time as a theater producer in Portland. “CoHo Theatre is the center of the novel,” Cole says, although the novel’s plot and characters are mainly fictitious.

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