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McHale comes home

Kate Stoops, star of the recent Youth Theatre Northwest production of the Little Mermaid, takes a selfie with television star and Island native, Joel McHale at a special meet and greet with YTN students prior to a fundraiser and anniversary party for the theater at the Mercer Island Community and Events Center on March 2.  - Matt Brashears/Special to the Reporter
Kate Stoops, star of the recent Youth Theatre Northwest production of the Little Mermaid, takes a selfie with television star and Island native, Joel McHale at a special meet and greet with YTN students prior to a fundraiser and anniversary party for the theater at the Mercer Island Community and Events Center on March 2.
— image credit: Matt Brashears/Special to the Reporter

Youth Theatre Northwest’s (YTN) 30th anniversary Gala, hosted by comedian and actor Joel McHale, a YTN alumnus, was a resounding success.

“Most importantly it was a room filled with supportive people,” said Manuel Cawaling, executive director of the theater. He estimates that just under 300 people attended, including performers and volunteers. It’s an encouraging launch into this latest chapter of YTN history, said Cawaling.

“The sense is that people really consider YTN to be a very special period of their lives and it’s impacted them in such a profound way. I can’t tell you how many times people came up to me with tears in their eyes, telling them how much YTN has impacted them,” recounts Cawaling.

Though YTN is still counting auction results, Cawaling said the fundraiser surpassed its goal. An announcement was also made about the beloved theatre’s interim location. YTN will move into Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Cawaling says that while YTN met its initial gala fundraiser, it still faces significant financial hurdles in its move.

YTN also announced its summer programming. Among the three productions it will showcase is Disney’s “The Jungle Book.”

For more information visit youththeatre.org.

Molly Azose, a senior at Mercer Island High School, takes a selfie with Joel McHale after an informal session with the YTN alumni as others students wait their turn in what McHale called a “selfie line.” (Photo by Matt Brashears)

The group end the evening with a photo, “photobombed” by one of their own, looming high above the 6-foot-4 inch McHale. (Photo by Matt Brashears)

Event committee member Yvonne Willard goes over the evening’s program before Youth Theatre Northwest’s Red Carpet Gala. (Photo by Matt Brashears)

 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story originally stated that the school district would lend YTN portables for its interim location. The district had in fact offered to sell YTN the portables, but they would not be ready until construction began and YTN would need them as soon as September.

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