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March 29, 2018


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In the tradition of Parisian salons of old, the Washington Center for the Performing Arts will present an intimate evening of music, theater, literature, and art Friday, April 13, 2018 at 7:30 pm. Local and regional masters of visual art, the written word, and music come together to share their experiences as artists and interact with you—the audience. Featuring Amy Shephard, Maria Mudd Ruth, John Dodge, Jim Lynch, Bryan Willis, Jess Walter, and Lisa Dyvig.

Amy Shephard, Emcee
(Photo: Shanna Paxton Photography)

Amy Shephard is thrilled to be back hosting the Center Salon for the second year in a row! Amy is a theater artist, vocalist, choreographer and playwright whose work has been enjoyed throughout the Pacific Northwest for the past decade.

Known as Olympia’s Diminutive Spitfire, Amy makes her home in Olympia Washington with her family where she strives to bring high quality art and performance to the greater Pacific Northwest. She regularly performs with professional theater companies including local companies Harlequin Productions, Olympia Family Theater, and Animal Fire Theater.

When author Maria Mudd Ruth moved to Olympia in 2006, she assumed everyone would be talking about clouds “fluently and fondly” the way they talked about salmon runs, tides, and IPA’s, but found the opposite to be true. Maria set out to learn what she could starting with the big question: What exactly is a cloud? A Sideways Look at Cloud is a natural-history memoir that blends science, wonder, and humor to take readers on the scenic route into the clouds. Maria has written a dozen non-fiction books, including Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet.

John Dodge was a columnist, editorial page writer and investigative reporter for The Olympian in Olympia, retiring in June 2015 from a journalism career that spanned 40 years. His first book, a non-fiction account of the October 1962 Columbus Day Storm, is scheduled for release by Oregon State University Press in the fall of 2018. He is also at work on a collection of short stories. The father of two grown children, Dodge lives with his partner, Dr. Barbara Digman, on a small farm near Olympia. He enjoys gardening, birdwatching, hiking, traveling and sampling the many craft beers of the Pacific Northwest.

Jim Lynch is the author of four novels: The Highest Tide, Border Songs, Truth Like the Sun and his new one, Before the Wind. His books have been performed on stage and have won prizes, including the Washington state book award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and a Dashiell Hammett Prize finalist. The New York Times has called Lynch “an original and gifted novelist.” Before writing fiction full time, Lynch won national honors as a journalist, including the H.L. Mencken Award. He lives on Eld Inlet in West Olympia with his wife, Denise.

Bryan Willis recently returned from China, where his play Sophie was featured at the International Festival of Children’s Theater in Shenzhen. He serves as playwright-in-residence for the Northwest Playwrights Alliance at Seattle Repertory Theatre. His plays have appeared throughout the U.K., Israel, Japan, U.S. and Canada, including New York Theater Workshop, Milwaukee Rep, Unseam’d Shakespeare Co., ACT, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Olympia Tiny Theater and Riverside Studios in London. His work has also been featured on NPR and BBC Radio (commission for Sophie). Bryan has worked in the literary departments of many theaters, including Lincoln Center (NYU’s Playwright-in-Residence) and Playwrights Horizons. He is also the recipient of the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion and served on the KC/ACTF National Selection Team in 2011. Bryan lives in Olympia with his son Zach and Ms. Margo in their new home: Willoughby, Significantly Close to the Sea.

A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of six novels, one book of short stories and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into 30 languages, and his essays, short fiction, criticism, and journalism have been widely published in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harper’s, Esquire, McSweeney’s, Byliner, Playboy, ESPN the Magazine, Details, and many others.

Lisa Dyvig began her music studies at the age of 10 in the Issaquah public schools, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance from the University of Washington. She was the first prize winner of the Washington State Solo contest in 1996. Lisa has been principal viola of the Olympia Symphony since 2011, and is also a member of Symphony Tacoma and the Auburn Symphony Orchestra. Lisa maintains a private studio of violin and viola students in Olympia, where she resides with her bass-playing husband and her two children who are violinists.

Join Amy, Maria, John, Jim, Bryan, and Lisa for an intimate evening of music theater, literature and art at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts Friday, April 13, 2018 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are just $12 plus the Washington Center $3 per ticket facility fee. Tickets available through the box office at 360-753-8586 or online at Proceeds benefit the Washington Center’s Creative Connections program.

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