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Hit & Run: A History

August 25, 2016


In its 10-year history, Hit & Run, Spokane’s annual staged reading of short comedic plays, grew from an hour-long reading to a three-day event. Its audience and international reputation grew with it. Hit & Run evolved from a playwriting workshop held monthly at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Spokane Valley, Washington. Members of the small group, called Play-Makers, needed to hear their plays aloud in front of the audience. As the event grew, submissions exploded to 300 per year.

2007—Spring Fling

In 2007, facilitator Sandra Hosking approached Auntie’s bookstore in downtown Spokane, who allowed the group to do a staged reading of a few short plays in the first-floor café in front of a large bank of windows and with the soundtrack of espresso machines. Passersby would stare at us and curious shoppers would sit down for a few minutes to listen. Playwrights included Hosking, Jeanne Gustafson, Penny Lucas and two out-of-town writers. Jackie Davis, Terry Sticka, Rebecca Cook, Kathleen Malcolm and Whitworth students Ray Bunker and Kaliene Roth lent their acting talents. The inaugural event, held in April, was called Spring Fling and was deliberately designed as a Saturday matinee, a time when no other shows would be happening and talent would be available About 20 people attended the free reading. Our style was to simply read the plays with minimal staging, no props and no costumes. Spring Fling was produced by Hosking’s Debut Promotions.

2008—Hit & Run II

The following year, we invited playwrights from across the U.S. to submit scripts. Five were selected. The presentation, held on April 26, 2008, was renamed Hit & Run, reflecting the short scripts and brief show. The idea was to hit the audience with laughter-invoking plays and exit on a high note. In addition, directors volunteered to bring out the best in the scripts—Dawn Taylor Reinhardt, Sandra Hosking and Jone Campbell Bryan. Actors included Jeff Bryan, Melissa Chan Jones, Ron Ford, Susan Hardie, Molly Parish, Terry Sticka and students from Whitworth University.

  • “Con-Science” by Sandra Hosking, of Newman Lake, WA
  • “For Your Convenience” by Nicki Dyer, of Spokane, WA
  • “Teddy Knows Too Much” by Matt Hanf, of Sacramento, CA
  • “The Date” by Robert White, of West Hollywood, CA
  • “Who’s Herbert” by Alan Woods, of Columbus, OH

2009—Hit & Run III

In 2009, Hit & Run permanently moved to the fall, performing on Nov. 14. Our audience had grown enough that we moved to Auntie’s second floor, escaping the espresso machines. Roughly 30 people came to hear readings of several of Hosking’s plays, as well as works by Seattle dramatist Nick Stokes and a poem by Hosking’s 7-year-old son, titled “My Bug.”

Actors included Tony and Maria Caprile, Penny Lucas, Will Lund, Emily Doughty, Nina Kelly and Molly Parish.

2010—Hit & Run IV

dawnHit & Run IV in 2010 brought more script submissions and a longer lineup of plays. This meant more directors and a larger cast. Rehearsals were held at several area libraries and in people’s homes. Auntie’s had reduced the size of its reading room drastically. At least 40 people and the large cast squeezed into a small area at the top of the stairs on the second floor. It was standing room only, and actors had to sit on the stairs. Though we requested more chairs, the store was unable to accommodate and we turned people away. The backdrop was a folding Japanese-style screen and a large wall covered in plastic.

Actors included David McCallum, Lynn Noel, Frank Sullivan, Molly Parish, Emily Doughty, Marek Nelson, Mark Elston, Lori Kramer, Paul Ruch, Judith Albrecht, Vicki McBride, Anne Selcoe, Mark Sims, Sean Taboloff, Lis Motley, Marty Kittelson, Patty Olson and Dawn Taylor Reinhardt.

  • “A Simple Snow” by Elaine Romero, directed by Mike Noel
  • “Almost Connect” by Tom Pierce, directed by David McCallum
  • “Closet Case” by Judd Lear Silverman, directed by Toni Cummins
  • “Herman’s Wedding” by John Franceschini, directed by Toni Cummins
  • “Drenched” by Sandra Hosking, directed by Kat Malcolm
  • “Waiting Lessons” by Laura Pfizenmayer, directed by Sean Taboloff
  • “It’s My Party” by Susan Middaugh, directed by Anne Selcoe
  • “Opening Line” by Mark Harvey Levine, directed by Anne Selcoe
  • “I Thought I Liked Girls” by Nicole Pandolfo, directed by Sandra Hosking
  • “Job Evaluation” by Terry Hagerty, directed by Sandra Hosking
  • “The Review” by Sandra Hosking, directed by Sandra Hosking
  • “Myth of Six Six Six” by Taylor Doherty, directed by Will Gilman
  • “Such a Choice” by Paul Ruch, directed by Ron Ford

2011—Hit & Run V

martyHaving outgrown Auntie’s Bookstore, Hit & Run V moved to the Blue Door Theatre in Spokane’s Garland district. For the first time, the event had stage lights. The reading was held Nov. 5, 2011 and featured 12 plays. About 50 people attended. Actors also were able to use specially made play booklets, which became a tradition. Admission was free, but donations were gladly accepted.

Directors included Sandra Hosking, Kathleen Malcolm, Toni Cummins, Dawn Taylor Reinhardt, Rebecca Cook and Mike Noel. Actors included Lynn Noel, Jamie Flanery, Mike Noel, Kathleen Malcolm, Marty Kittleson, Paul Ruch, Judith Albrecht, Mary Jo Rudolf, Karolynn Clark, Rebecca Cook, Angie Dierdorff, Bethany Hart, James Pendleton, David Kappus, Mark Elston and Joe Dellwo.

  • “Strange Bedfellows” by Peggy Dougherty
  • “A Bed to Die For” by Paul Ruch
  • “The Date” and “Without a Paddle” by Sandra Hosking
  • “The Fall of Narcissus” by Altenir Silva
  • “Couples Counseling” by Rebecca McNeill
  • “The Home Stretch” by Les Abromovitz
  • “Pomegranate” by Jason Aaron Goldberg
  • “The Gospel According to Bowser” by Dan Borengasser
  • “Paradisium” by Alan Kirkpatrick
  • “Object of Affection” by Thomas Misuraca
  • “Grim Reaper” by Dean Bevan

2012—Hit & Run VI

Hit & Run VI on Oct. 6, 2012, featured another big lineup of plays, selected from over 300 submissions from around the world. Though admission was free, anyone donating $5 or more received a beer cupcake made by Sweet & Stout. The audience at the Blue Door, again, grew, along with our reputation. By this time we had coalesced into a solid team of directors and actors.

Directors: Susan Hardie, Sandra Hosking, Ron Ford, Mike Noel, Toni Cummins, Rebecca Cook and Juan Mas.

Actors included Paul Ruch, Judith Albrecht, Lynn Noel, Ron Ford, Vicki McBride, Rose Liston, Mary Jo Rudolf, Susan and Peter Hardie, Bryan and SueAnn Harnetiaux, Tami Rotchford, Laticia Widman, J.P. O’Shaughnessy, Jason Young, Bob Nelson and more.

  • “Personhood” by Jim Lindheim of Castle Valley, Utah
  •  “The Understudy” by J.C. Svec of Clark, N.J
  • “Not Funny” by Christopher Lockheardt of Andover, Mass
  • “Press Pray” by Seth Freeman of Pacific Palisades, Calif
  • “Red Thing” by Ron Ford of Spokane
  • “Where’s the Fire” by Adam Sharp of Minneapolis
  • “The Clip” by Sandra Hosking of Newman Lake, Wash
  • “Directing Dracula” by Sheri Flannery Verrilli of Branchville, N.J
  • “10-Minute Antigone” by Stephen Dierkes of Pasadena, Calif.
  • “Graveside Manners” by Scott Icenhower of Greensboro, N.C.

2013—Hit & Run VII

LaceyIn 2013, Hit & Run evolved again. As the Blue Door decided not to rent out its space anymore for insurance reasons, the newly formed Stage Left Theater invited the event to make the shoebox space its permanent home. Hit & Run VII was expanded to two nights and held Sept. 27 and 28. Admission was $5. “22 actors. 10 plays. 7 directors. 2 performances,” the press release read.

Directors: Susan Hardie, Sandra Hosking, Ron Ford, Mike Noel, Toni Cummins, Juan A. Mas and Dawn Taylor Reinhardt

Actors:  Paul Ruch, Judith Albrecht, Lynn Noel, Ron Ford, Susan Hardie, David Hardie, Tami Rotchford, J.P. O’Shaughnessy, Bob Nelson, Renei Yarrow, Lauren O’Shea-Hauge, Charles Talley, Rebecca Cook, Mike Noel, Brandon Schmadeka, Kathie Doyle-Lipe, Dawn Hunter, Billy Hultquist, Penny Lucas, David and Lacey Olson, and Bob Gariepy

  • “An Honest Arrangement” by David Wiener
  • “Books on Tape” by William Missouri Downs
  • “Close Encounter” by Robin Pond
  • “Dressing in the Dark” by Sandra Hosking
  • “Fair Shake” by Jeffrey Gold
  • “Faking It” by Amy Hollon
  • “Heavenly Inspiration” by Greg Freier
  • “The Proxy” by Philip Kaplan
  • “Singles Night the Safe Way” by J. Thalia Cunningham
  • “The Angel of Troy” by John Byrne

 2014—Hit & Run VIII

The eighth annual comedy festival had an even bigger cast (34) who played to sold-out houses. From a couple debating whether to update their relationship status on Facebook to two kids battling for control of the universe to a humorous version of Jekyll and Hyde, this production had something for everyone. Hit & Run VIII was held Nov. 7 & 8, 2014. Admission was $10. At intermission, one audience member received a play booklet for answering a question about the first half.

The cast included Aaron Carr-Callen, Amy Sherman, Blake King-Krueger, Bob Nelson, Brandon Montang, Chasity Kohlman, Diana Anderson, Gail Cory-Betz, Janelle Frisque, Jennie Oliver, Jhon Goodwin, Joni Elizabeth, Judith Albrecht, Kendra Ann Sherrill, Lynn Noel, Maxim Chumov, Molly Parish, Nick Dennert, Rick Montgomery, Robyn Urhausen, Ron Ford, Sheri Wohl, Stephen Holcomb, Susan Creed and Tami Rotchford.

  • “Dr. Jekyll in Love,” written and directed by Ron Ford, of Spokane
  • “I Don’t Need No Damn Therpaist” by Paul Ruch, of Spokane, directed by Sandra Hosking
  • “Ladies Night Out” by Sandra Hosking, of Newman Lake, directed by Rebecca Cook
  • “Last Words” by Philip J. Kaplan, of Brooklyn, NY, directed by Mike Noel
  • “Misfortune” by Mark Harvey Levine, of Pasadena, CA, directed by Kimberly Roberts
  • “Status Update” by Jamie Pachino, of Los Angeles, CA, directed by Rebecca Cook
  • “The Dunmores at Dinner” by Josh Watkins, of Spokane, directed by Juan Mas
  • “The Maltese Walter” by John Minigan, of Framingham, MA, directed by Toni Cummins
  • “The Wedding Gown” by John Franceschini, of Irvine, CA, directed by Sandra Hosking
  • “Ultimate Battle for Total Control of the Entire Universe” by Rich Orloff, of New York, NY, directed by Toni Cummins
  • “Writer’s Block II” by Mike Noel, of Tum Tum, directed by Ron Ford

2015—Hit & Run IX

doug2015 featured an expanded program dubbed New November. Hit & Run IX grew to three performances, held Nov. 6-8. While the audiences were smaller, the plays were very well received.

Directors: Juan A. Mas, Rebecca Cook, Sandra Hosking, Susan Hardie and Toni Cummins.

The cast: Bob Nelson, Sheri Wohl, Robyn Urhausen, Brandon Montang, Janelle Frisque, Aubrey Shimek-Davis, Jennie Oliver, Doug Dawson, Nancy Gasper, Shane Dean, Tami Rotchford, Scott Roddan, Christopher  Lamb, Blake King-Kreuger, Jason Young, Penny Lucas and Emily Doughty.

  • “Santa Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” by Patrick Gabridge, Brookline, Massachusetts
  • “The Skewed Picture” by Andrew Biss, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • “The Cosmic Dating Game” by R.A. Pauli, Annapolis, Maryland
  • “My Beautiful Voyage” by Paul Lewis, Bainbridge Island, Washington
  • “Indescribably Delicious” by Gail Cory-Betz, Newport, Washington
  • “Last Words” by Jeff Carter, San Francisco, California
  • “Where is Santa Claus?” by Lewis Shilane, Joplin, Missouri
  • “Aftershocks” by Sandra Hosking, Newman Lake, Washington

The following weekend Stage Left and Empire Theatre Co. presented the staged reading of two one-act plays by local playwrights: Man Without A Saddle by Ron Ford and Foxgloves by Sandra Hosking.

2016—Hit & Run X

Our final performance, Nov. 5-6, 2016, at Stage Left. The plays will feature audience and producer favorites from throughout the years.

  • “The Insured” by Sandra Hosking
  • “Teddy Knows Too Much” by Matt Hanf
  • “Closet Case” by Judd Lear Silverman
  • “I Thought I Liked Girls” by Nicole Pandolfo
  • “A Bed to Die For” by Paul Ruch
  • “Not Funny” by Christopher Lockheardt
  • “The Gospel According to Bowser” by Dan Borengasser
  • “Close Encounter” by Robin Pond
  • “Dr. Jekyll in Love” by Ron Ford
  • “Misfortune” by Mark Harvey Levine
  • And the poem “My Bug” by Carter Hosking

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