Arts and Entertainment

Centerstage Theatre's ‘Contact’ earns praise from Carl Sagan's widow

Lyricist Amy Engelhardt (right) and composer Peter Sipos met and worked with Carl Sagan’s widow Ann Druyan at her home in Ithaca, N.Y., while writing the new musical “Carl Sagan’s Contact.”  - Courtesy photo
Lyricist Amy Engelhardt (right) and composer Peter Sipos met and worked with Carl Sagan’s widow Ann Druyan at her home in Ithaca, N.Y., while writing the new musical “Carl Sagan’s Contact.”
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Saturday's production of “Contact” will feature wine with the show’s director.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. Oct. 3 wine and hors d’oeuvres are $10 and include a presentation by Centerstage director Alan Bryce. There is also a Q-and-A session after the musical.

The new musical, which had its world premiere on Sept. 25, is based off of Carl Sagan’s book.

“Contact” was adopted by Bryce. Amy Engelhardt is the lyricist and Peter Sipos wrote the music. Both Engelhardt and Sipos met with Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan’s widow, while writing the musical.

According to a press release Druyan recently wrote to Centerstage: “My feeling is hugely positive…I really believe your ‘Contact’ has a place on Broadway and all around the planet.” Carl Sagan and his wife spent long periods of time in Seattle during the mid-1990s when Sagan received bone marrow treatments at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Sagan died in December 1996 in Seattle, after a long battle with bone marrow disease.

“Contact” is the story of Ellie Arroway, the director of Project Argus. Arroway searches for extraterrestrial intelligence.

The book was made into a movie, starring Jodie Foster. American astronomer Jill Tarter, the director for the Center for SETI Research helped Foster prepare for her role in the movie. Tarter also met with Bryce and the lead actress in the musical, Caitlin Frances.

Tickets and special promotions

“Carl Sagan’s Contact” is part of the discounted season pass, which is on sale now. Single tickets for all 12 performances are also on sale now and available by phone at (253) 661-1444, online at, and in person at the Knutzen Family Theatre box office. Single tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors, military, students 18 and over with ID; and $10 for youth 17 and under. $17 tickets are available for groups of 10 or more.

All shows are performed at the Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 Dash Point Road, and are general admission. There are three performances a week on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., plus a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

Centerstage and Salty’s have also teamed up for dinner and a musical combination. For $50, patrons can enjoy at 6 p.m. a three-course meal at Salty’s off the Centerstage menu, then VIP seating and free parking for the musical at 8 p.m.

There is also a brunch option for the same price for the matinee showing on Sunday.

The cast of 18 locally-based actors in “Carl Sagan’s Contact” includes: Caitlin Frances (Ellie), Matthew Posner (Joss) and Eric Hartley (Hadden), Zoe McLane, Jamie Pederson, Natalie Moe, Lance Channing, Joe McCarthy, Alison Monda, Sophia Federighi, Amber Cutlip, Dana Johnson, AnnaMaria Pasley Horn, Matthew Ahrens, James Patrick, Branden Edwards and Jonathan Wright.

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