Arts and Entertainment

A new ensemble aims to fill a variety show void on Vashon

A merry band of local performers will bring homegrown humor, songs, clowning, video and true stories to the stage of Vashon Theatre on Sunday.

It’s the debut offering of a comedy collective that calls itself Plan V. Everyone in the group has been involved in the past with The Church of Great Rain and other local shows.

Jeanne Dougherty, a cast member, said the show was born in discussions that started last summer, after an announcement that the Church of Great Rain — a show that ran for four seasons on Vashon and at times drew upwards of 600 people to its performances — would go on hiatus.

“Some of us really wanted to see if we could put something together that filled the same creative niche in our lives,” Dougherty said. “The community also really seemed to like the (variety show) format, so why not keep doing something like that?”

However, Dougherty was careful to clarify that the new show, which the group is calling “Homegrown Mirth & Music,” is neither a continuation or clone of the Church of Great Rain.

“It is its own beast,” she said.

Plan V, for instance, plans to take advantage of its movie theater venue to offer comedic videos by Jim Farrell and Michael Monteleone, two members of the new ensemble.

And Sunday’s show will also have a circus element, thanks to special guests Lux Gaxiola and Molly Shannon, who will bring their vaudeville-style clowning, dance and accordion act, Duo Finelli, to the stage.

Other cast members and musicians onstage will include Dougherty, Paul Shapiro, Jon Whalen, Harris Levinson, Bill Wood, Lyn McManus, Adrienne Selvy Mildon, Karen du Four des Champs, Casey and Lyn McManus, Arlette Moody, Simon Martin and Ainslie MacLeod.

A few other former cast members of the Church of Great Rain will make video appearances, and the group also includes other island writers and behind-the-scenes types.

Veteran actor Paul Shapiro, a professional clown and founder of Vashon’s Shakespeare in the Park program, has stepped forward to direct the show.

Dougherty said the show will be full of laughs, surprises and chances for the audience to get involved.

“There will be a sing-along,” she said with a laugh.

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