09-18-2021  4:30 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

As Shootings Rise Mayor Wheeler Wants to Hire Retired Cops

Wheeler also called for a citywide expansion of Portland Street Response, a team that helps people experiencing homelessness or low-acuity behavioral health issues, to reduce the number of calls police must handle

Illegal Marijuana Farms Take West's Scarce Water

Deer Creek has run dry after several illegal marijuana grows cropped up in the neighborhood last spring, stealing water from both the stream and nearby aquifers

Biden Slammed for Challenging Nuclear Workplace Health Law

The Biden Administration is picking up where the Trump administration left off, challenging a 2018 Washington state law that made it easier for sick Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers to qualify for compensation benefits.

After Humble Beginnings, Oregon's Dutch Bros Launches IPO

After humble beginnings as a pushcart operation in an Oregon town, Dutch Bros Coffee launched an initial public offering Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

NEWS BRIEFS

Rep. Beatty Introduces Legislation to Establish National Rosa Parks Day

In coordination with Reps. Jim Cooper and Terri Sewell, U.S. Congresswoman and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty...

Rabid Bat Found in Northeast Portland; First in 7 Years

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National Black Law Enforcement Leader Announces Campaign for Multnomah County Sheriff

With a thirty-four year career in corrections Captain Derrick Peterson announces his campaign for Multnomah County Sheriff ...

University Of Portland Ranked 3rd in Western Region on 2022 U.S. News & World Report

In-person fall semester classes proceeding with vaccination rates above 96% among faculty, staff, and students; and adherence to...

Black Parent Initiative With Joy Degruy Publications Awarded $500,000 From MacArthur Foundation Supporting an Equitable Recovery

The grant will support Black Parent Initiative and Joy DeGruy Publications work to advance Racial Justice Field Support, with a Focus...

Oregon tree experts expect delayed mortality due to drought

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The effects of the drought and heat on trees won’t be fully known until next spring, tree experts in Oregon say. Oregon State University professor and forest health specialist Dave Shaw told The Oregonian/OregonLive that there’s typically delayed...

Mayor wants money to hire retired cops as shootings continue

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is calling for more money to rehire officers who have recently retired to address a staffing shortage as homicides have reached the highest level in more than 20 years. Wheeler also called for a citywide expansion of Portland...

Bazelak, Missouri make quick work of SE Missouri, 59-28

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Connor Bazelak squeezed a full day of production into one half Saturday as he led Missouri to a 59-28 victory over Southeast Missouri. Bazelak completed 21 of 30 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers (2-1). “You...

CMU's McElwain relishes return to LSU's Death Valley

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain and the Chippewas have demonstrated already this season that they can go into an SEC stadium and be competitive. Yet McElwain is reluctant to characterize a visit to LSU’s 102,000-seat Death Valley, where the...

OPINION

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

Letter to the Editor: Reform the Recall

Any completely unqualified attention seeker with ,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor ...

Grassroots Organizers Should Be Celebrated in Georgia’s 95% Voter Registration Rate

The recent release of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s biennial report brought welcome news that 95% of Georgia’s voting-eligible population is currently registered to vote. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Pakistani PM to prod Taliban on inclusive govt

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s prime minister says he has “initiated a dialogue" with the Taliban to prod them to form an inclusive government that would ensure peace and stability not only in Afghanistan but also in the region. Imran Khan tweeted on Saturday that he took the...

Police: Prison guard beat banker, used racial slur over mask

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Prison reform advocate calls solitary confinement revenge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A longtime prison reform advocate asked a federal judge on Thursday to move him out of solitary confinement, claiming the punitive treatment violates his Constitutional rights. Alex Friedman was arrested last year and accused of hiding loaded guns and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Actor L. Steven Taylor is the king behind 'The Lion King'

NEW YORK (AP) — L. Steven Taylor got the call that would change his life in 2005: Would he like to make his Broadway debut in “The Lion King”? It was just a six-month contract but he took it, uprooting his family and moving to New York. “Six months has turned into 16...

Sotheby's puts rare U.S. Constitution copy for auction

NEW YORK (AP) — A very special document will be auctioned off later this year — a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution. Sotheby's announced Friday — appropriately on Constitution Day — that in November it will put up for auction one of just 11...

'The Crown,' 'Ted Lasso,' streaming seek Emmy Awards glory

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The miniature statutes given at the Emmy Awards on Sunday can be an outsized boon to egos, careers and guessing games. Will “The Mandalorian” bow to “The Crown” as best drama series? Can the feel-good comedy “Ted Lasso” charm its way into...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Afghan survivors of errant US drone strike seek probe

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Schools get the brunt of latest COVID wave in South Carolina

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US Border Patrol hires civilians to free up agents for field

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The Latest: Arizona reports more deaths, fewer virus cases

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The Latest: Pakistani PM to prod Taliban on inclusive govt

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s prime minister says he has “initiated a dialogue" with the Taliban to prod them to...

Greece opens new migrant camp on island to reduce crowding

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has opened a new migrant camp on the island of Samos that replaces an obsolete and...

Lindsay Ohse, Hannah Penn and Angela Renée Simpson talk aboard the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat in The Portland Opera production of "Show Boat"
Arashi Young of The Skanner News

As “Show Boat” steers its way into The Portland Opera Season, The Skanner News interviewed Angela Renée Simpson, who plays “Queenie” in the production.

It is Simpson’s first return to the Portland performing arts scene since she was in a 1995 production of “Porgy and Bess.” Simpson talked with us about how she got to the stage, what her character means to her and how The Portland Opera is taking on the racially charged “Show Boat.”

Here are excerpts of that interview, edited for space and clarity.

 

The Skanner News: How did you get into musical theater?

Angela Renée Simpson: Well, I've been an opera singer for over 27 years now. I did my first “Show Boat” in 2006 in London. It was the first time I've done a musical since high school. My biggest thing was movie musicals. I thought that singing and being in a movie were the two best things, ever, in the world. That's what I wanted to do, movie musicals, but as I was growing up they stopped making them.

I was content to sing musical theater when I first got out of college, but the program I was in, I had to avail myself of classes in classical music and opera. I told myself if I didn't like it after two years, I would leave. Well, I did like it and I took to it, my voice definitely took to it and that's what I've done since college.

I am getting kind of the best of both worlds now that the opera companies have decided to do these traditional musical theater pieces in their seasons. I am doing a musical theater piece in an opera house, so it kind of works out for me.

 

TSN: Tell me about your “Show Boat” character, Queenie.

ARS: She cooks the meals, she oversees the other people who are hired to clean the boat and to prepare the boat for shows. I want to say she's a jack of all trades. I like the fact that she doesn't take any guff from anybody, especially when she is called the n-word in the beginning of the show.

My back-story with her, my big question is, "was she a slave?" The time period is maybe only 12

years after the emancipation proclamation, so was she a slave? It’s something I haven't answered yet. She's very strong willed as you see with how she acts with her husband. I think she is respected, I think, to a point. She's treated like an equal, in some respects.

I like the role, I like the fact she's funny. I like the fact she speaks her mind. I like the fact she knows what's going on. She's one of the few eyes on the boat that sees everything that is going on, on the boat.

 

TSN: What is your favorite line?

ARS: My favorite line has something to do with flapjacks and popcorn, let's say that. Flapjacks and popcorn and my husband, Joe.

 

TSN: “Show Boat” tackles some controversial racial topics. Did the production do a good job of exploring these issues?

ARS: I think it is very brave of them to keep the words as far as dialogue is concerned. I think the people of Portland are very conscious about and sensitive about the n-word being used. I'm very glad they are using the word. I think if you whitewash history, then you tend to repeat it. If you don't remember what was done, somewhere down the line, it will repeat itself.

(The Director) Chris Mattaliano was very, very adamant about preparing the audience for what was about to be said. I myself am a person of shock value -- just don't tell them, just do it and see what the repercussions are afterwards.

Art is not supposed to be easy, it is not supposed to be nice and sweet all the time, it is supposed to make you think. I've done this role in different productions, at least about five of them, I am the first character that is called that word and to hear the gasps in that audience, I think it's great.

I don't have any problem with the word, it was during that period, that's what they were being called. As long as it stays on stage, it's perfect, but once we come out of that, then it’s a problem.

 

TSN: What will Portland audiences get out of seeing “Show Boat?”

ARS: Oh my gosh, they'll get a little smatter of everything; a little opera, a little vaudeville, a little musical theater, definitely a lot of comedy, a little bit of dancing. They'll get a little bit of everything for every audience member.

Bob Kingston, (the Portland Opera's resident historian) said, "Theater changed when it came to ‘Show Boat,’ it was never going to be the same after it."

It was the only piece that had incorporated music into the storyline of what was happening on stage, as opposed to just having comedy reviews and little skits and things like that, that were separate and had nothing to do with each other. “Show Boat” was the musical theater piece that put those things together and moved the music along with the story.

I think the audience is going to like it because of the spectacle of it. And the comedy, the dialogue is great, people are going to laugh a lot, which you normally don't get to do in an opera house. So I think the audience is really, really going to enjoy it.

 

Get ticket information at www.portlandopera.org.

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