Founded in May of 2000, Paradise Theatre was created to serve the Arts Community by providing both theatre education and Professional grade entertainment to the Puget Sound Area. Dinner Theatre was the main course within the walls of a 100 plus year old Victorian building. Providing a season of 7 shows, Paradise Cabaret Theatre served up laughs, songs and celebration from the likes of Neil Simon, Charles Ludlam, Gershwin, Kander and Ebb and many more. By May of 2006, Paradise Cabaret Theatre audiences had seen over 400 performances of dinner theatre, and delicious hand made, candlelit dinners were served to over 8000 guests.
The summer months provided opportunity to perform in a 3 1/2 acre amphitheatre. While the intimate, cozy indoor theatre took the summer months off; West Side Story, Guys And Dolls, Crazy For You and many other “Big Broadway” style shows were entertaining guests in the beautiful wooded surroundings of Paradise Summer Theatre. Upgrading this setting with light and sound staging and a mega-tent, thousands of guests over the summers took time to bring friends and family and relax under the stars while enjoying Broadway favorites.
The summer months were also a time for Paradise Summer Camp. This 12 year Gig Harbor tradition is a two-week Musical Theatre Camp for kids from 3 through 18 years old. Guest artists from all over the Northwest have entertained and instructed more than 100 kids each summer. Professional Theatre artists teach in three areas of Musical Theatre. Each class is age-customized so that every child has a personal and exciting time.
Paradise Studio has provided dozens of classes, workshops, guest seminars and educational opportunities for hundreds of children.
We have provided classes in everything from Improvisation to Tap. Theatre Workshops during the year have culminated in Children’s productions of Treasure Island, Oliver!, Music Man Kids on Broadway and more. These workshops provide children with a grounded theatre experience as well as a great time.
While all of these programs and performances were happening, it became evident to the Board and Creative Staff of Paradise that change was needed. A more practical and productive use of assets as well as the need for a larger indoor venue were obvious necessities. The members of Paradise Theatre took over a year and a half before deciding that a major change in venue was what was needed and moved into our current space, which has served us well for the last few years.
It is time for us to create a permanent home for Paradise Theatre's performances and arts education.
We have found a temporary location for the immediate future! We have moved to 3114 Judson St, in Gig Harbor!
Will you help us to "Act Local" and save the arts here on the Peninsula? As the only live theatre in Gig Harbor, we'd like to stay. Won't you help us with a donation today?
Vicki Richards is Executive Artistic Director of Paradise Theatre. Vicki is a graduate of AADA in Los Angeles, CA and a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Professional credits include Josie in George M. Cohan starring Ken Berry, Scrooge staring Robert Merrill and John Carradine, Grease 2 starring Michelle Pfeiffer and various dance videos for HBO. Vicki enjoys directing and teaching acting, music and dance classes and has been providing performance opportunities for young theatre artists in Gig Harbor for many years. She and her husband began theatre camps for youth after discovering a love for the arts through a similar experience.
Jeff Richards is Managing Director of Paradise Theatre. He received his Masters Degree in Theatre and Directing from San Jose State University. A native New Yorker, Jeff has been directing, acting, and designing for more than 35 years including performing off-Broadway and founding two theatre companies – one of which is an equity-waiver theatre in Los Angeles. Jeff’s award winning playwriting skills have been recognized in Canada as well as the United States. Jeff’s love for teaching the arts has taken him to Gavalin College, Lighthouse Christian School, PATCH Theatre Company, Guatemala, Sunset Studio West, and Paradise Theatre. Jeff along with his wife has led kids theatre camps in the Gig Harbor area for the past 16 years.
IN MEMORY OF HOWARD KNICKERBOCKER 1956-2015
Howard Knickerbocker was a graduate of Peninsula High School and received a Bachelor of Music with departmental honors from the University of Puget Sound. Howard was a teacher, pianist, tenor/baritone soloist and trombonist. He studied piano with Marybeth Gilbert and Dr. David Kaisermann and voice with Jan Seferian and Dr. Thomas Goleeke. He has taught music in the public schools for the last thirty four years as well as directing church choirs in Seattle, Tacoma, Gig Harbor and Port Orchard. He was recently the director of the Peninsula Community Chorus. He and his wife, Vicki, have enjoyed working together teaching and directing the music as well as performing in the pit and on the stage in many of the shows at Paradise Theatre since 2002.
Vicki Knickerbocker has been teaching at Paradise for eight years now. She received her B.A. in Vocal Music and Education from Pacific Lutheran University. She has worked as choral director and general
music teacher in the Central Kitsap School District
and Lighthouse Christian School. Working with
children of all ages in the performing arts has alw
ays been a passion for Vicki. She has continued to
pursue opportunities to encourage the development o
f their skills and abilities and enable them to
experience the joy of singing and performing in bot
h solo and group settings.
Megan McCormick - Voice Instructor
Megan McCormick received her MM in Choral Conducti
ng from Central Washington University and her
BMA from Pacific Lutheran University. She has been
teaching voice privately for several years as well
being the teaching assistant for the choral area at
Central Washington University (2013-2015). Ms.
McCormick is a sought after choral clinician and an
award-winning soprano. She is eager to work with
Paradise Theatre to encourage students to foster th
eir love of music and find their best, healthy voice."
Ashley Roy – Choreographer
Ashley has been dancing for 12 years and recently completed he B.S.in Sports Medicine at Brigham Young University, with a minor in Ballroom Dance
. She has competed in various styles and trained with the Radio City Rockettes, as well as National Ballroom Champions. A Paradise alumni, she loves musical theatre and helping dance students combine their passion for performing with excellent technique.
Sarah Lenza – Dance Instructor
Nick Richards – Office Assistant
Nick Richards has been involved with Paradise Theatre since its beginning. When he was younger, he used to act. He now is a Percussionist in the orchestra pit for their musicals. Nick grew up, and went to high school in Gig Harbor. He is also a Manager at Panera Bread in Gig Harbor. In his free time, he has started an online sales company for Amazon, and wishes to continue to build it.
Mike Dullum – Sound Designer
Brittany Hess is a veteran of the stage and Paradise Theatre alum, having appeared in over 100 theatrical productions and ballets over the course of her life. Brittany is a classically trained dancer and has enjoyed teaching classes in ballet, tap, lyrical, jazz, and modern. She has worked with children for most of her adult life, from teaching classes for people with disabilities to preschool movement and motion classes to summer theater camps. Brittany has a passion for teaching and working with children of all ages and abilities and bringing her love of theater, music, and dance into their lives.
Our Board and Capital Campaign Team
Troy Turnley - Board President
Troy has been involved with Paradise Theatre for almost 6 years now. He has worked on many productions both on stage and behind the scenes. As a board member, Troy heads up the Haunted House and Fireworks Stand fund raisers. When not at the theater Troy works for the Pierce County Library System in the Communications Department.
Shannon Rauch, Secretary/Treasurer
Shannon Rauch has been a Board member for Paradise Theatre since September 2014 and is currently the Secretary/Treasure for the organization. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Seattle University. Most of her 25 year career has been in the electric utility industry and she is currently the capital program manager at Tacoma Power. Shannon is a longtime supporter of the performing arts and first became involved in Paradise Theatre through her daughter's participation in classes and main stage performances.
Tamara A. Mills - Board Member
Tamara grew up in Maine. She earned her B.A. from the University of Puget Sound. She has worked in administration, marketing, and was owner/administrator of an adult residential care facility. She has volunteered at Paradise Theatre as Prop Mistress, and was Secretary/Treasurer until her recent move to Florida. She continues to serve on the Board via technology.
Melanie Brace, MD
Board Member, Melanie is a pediatric psychiatrist at Harbor Pediatrics and also works with students at Olalla elementary to help challenge students who are identified by their teacher as highly capable or just needing a challenge. Students focus on STEM
projects and are encouraged to share what they learn at home. She has three children in the South Kitsap School district attending elementary, junior high and high school and has lived in Kitsap County for over 17 years. She attended the University of Michigan Medical School and came to Washington in 1991 where she completed her psychiatry residency and child psychiatry fellowship at the University of Washington. She has been practicing pediatric psychiatry since 1995.
Roberta "Bertie" Johnston - Board Member
Roberta was born and raised in Ohio, where she graduated from a small liberal arts school. She met her husband, Bruce, while they were both teaching at Harvey High School,Painesville, Ohio.
After they were married, they moved to Texas and San Diego, where she graduated from nursing school and commenced a 22 year career as an R.N. specializing in labor and delivery. In 1982, Roberta and Bruce and their two daughters, Polly and Becky, moved to the Gig Harbor area. Roberta continued her nursing career at Tacoma General Hospital until she retired. Roberta and Bruce have always enjoyed attending live performances, and were fortunate to find the magnificent Paradise Theatre. Roberta is thrilled to have been selected to the Board of Directors, and looks forward to working in this capacity to provide the Gig Harbor community with continuing premier performances for all ages.
Board Member, Jim Gorman lives in Gig Harbor and works in real estate investment and management. Jim & family have enjoyed Paradise Theatre productions for many years! Their daughter Caitlyn has been participating in Paradise classes and performances for 8 years now. When not caught working, Jim enjoys travel, fishing, and watching Seattle sports. Thanks Paradise Theatre for the lifelong memories being made!
Board Member, Marianne McColley is a native Key Peninsulite, graduating from Peninsula High School. Married to another 'Seahawk', the two moved to Wisconsin where Marianne attended the University of Wisconsin, becoming a loyal Badger alumna, and a Packer fan. Coming back to Washington and Wenatchee, she taught music and classroom, and at the same time became very involved with Music Theatre of Wenatchee, acting, directing music, and serving on the board. Returning to the Peninsula after retirement, she was lucky enough to be cast in the role of "Eulalia" in "Music Man" in Patch Theatre's production, the forerunner of our Paradise Theatre. She has acted, directed music, and served on the board since then; happily involved with what is the "only show in town".
Deborah (Helm) Emans
Capital Campaign Team Member, Deborah has a degree in Theatre from Central Washington University and has used her education to teach the next generation. Thirty-two years in the SK schools and is currently the Theatre Manager/Instructor at SK High School. She has been active in the local theater community since 1983. And still has time to perform in the occasional production, while also enjoying time with her family - two children and 9 grandchildren!
Capital Campaign Team Member
Capital Campaign Team Member
Rex Davison - Board Member
Rex Davison graduated with a BA from the University of Washington’s Theatre Program. He has lived in Gig Harbor for over 25 years. He is originally from Illinois but moved here to serve his country at McChord Air Force Base in the early 1990’s. Rex is a member of SAG/AFTRA and has acted on stage, TV and film. He has been acting at the Paradise Theatre for the past 10 years. He got his start at Paradise portraying Murphy in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST and has been active with Paradise ever since. He is also a local real estate agent with Century 21.