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Bellingham TheatreWorks presents new opportunities with one-woman showcase

Local artists are getting more platforms to perform their own works live

Joanna Parson poses for a photo with her guitar on July 8, 2022. Parson composed the songs for her show over the course of a few years beginning in 2012. // Photo courtesy of Joanna Parson

Upcoming show “Three Chords of the Apocalypse: a Transcriber’s Tale” starring and written by Joanna Parson will be presented at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. The event, hosted by Bellingham TheatreWorks, will be the first of many opportunities aimed at uplifting local artists looking for a venue for their work.

Parson’s one-woman show is a 60-minute musical comedy directed by Aimee Todoroff. The show introduces the viewer to the bustling life of a New York City transcriptionist as she tries to maintain her heart and sense of self in the news cycle. The tickets for the show are $20 on the Bellingham TheatreWorks website.

“The secondhand trauma of listening to the media was certainly up first in my mind as I developed [the script] and as it went along, it really became more of a personal story. It’s a coming-of-age story, from someone who maybe was a little older than you’d expect to come of age,” Parson said. 

Parson wants people in all stages of life to reflect on what is serving them and if what they're doing is bringing them the most joy.

Western theater professor Kamarie Chapman said women aren’t often shown in the media during their middle stages in life where they are still able to grow and follow their passions. Parson's show presents the idea that any stage of life can be used to strive for fulfillment. 

“It’s kind of evident in the media that you ingest and see around. How many middle-aged people do you see in pro-dominant roles? I think it’s absolutely a message that we want to send and talk about, that your life isn’t over just because you turn 45,” Chapman said.

3Chords Art.jpg

"Three Chords of the Apocalypse: a Transcriber’s Tale" official art. The production will be performed at Firehouse Arts and Events Center on Feb. 10, 2023. // Photo courtesy of Joanna Parson

Parson has been working on writing this production since 2012 when she originally performed a version of it for the All for One Festival in New York. She plans to continue further developing this production while playing for different kinds of audiences around the country.

“Playwriting is hard because you have to make action happen through dialogue. On stage, you don’t get to switch from scene to scene with a camera. You have to have all the action happen on stage and hope that the audience is there for you and with you,” Chapman said. 

Parson has worked previously on other traveling shows like “Reddy or Not: A Musical Comedy Tribute to Helen Reddy,” a two-person stage production that she co-wrote and co-starred in. The show has been performed all over the country, including to Reddy herself. Parson looks forward to now sharing her personal work on the stage in Bellingham and later in Ellensburg.

Bellingham TheatreWorks plans to host another one-woman show in the future and has goals to further open space for local artists from the Pacific Northwest to expand and share their work.

“We’re expanding the kinds of things we can offer to artists in the community,” said Mark Kuntz, the founder of Bellingham TheatreWorks.

According to Kuntz, no other venue in the community is providing these kinds of resources for artists wanting to share their growing works at this time. Bellingham TheatreWorks is providing a space for local artists looking to expand to new audiences and venues.

“I think the audience should expect to have a lot of fun. This is an opportunity to see somebody who’s kind of at the growing part of their career, and it might be fun to see where it goes from here,” said Kuntz.

Parson has worked acting roles in shows like “Law and Order: SVU,” “FBI: Most Wanted,” “Red Oaks” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and plans to continue her career pursuing paths she’s passionate about – including this production.

Anyone in the area who may be curious to know what life is like in the industry as an actor in New York are more than welcome to reach out to Parson who’s happy to speak to other inspiring artists. 

“Feel free to talk to me after the show,” Parson said.

Jase Picanso

Jase Picanso (he/him) is a city life reporter for The Front. He is a third-year student majoring in Public Relations. His work focuses on local events, organizations, resources and community perspective and experiences on current world topics.

You can contact him at

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