Small Jewel in Poulsbo Getting Some Big Talk

March 27, 2024 at 4:39 p.m.
More people than ever are trekking to Poulsbo to attend a rather small theater that produces outstanding shows
More people than ever are trekking to Poulsbo to attend a rather small theater that produces outstanding shows

More people than ever are trekking to Poulsbo, Washington to attend a rather small theater that produces outstanding shows. Kitsap County has a very active and vibrant theater community and the word has gotten out. Directors, actors, musicians, tech and stage crews travel around to all the different theaters in the area.

The Jewel Box Theatre (JBT) just closed a wildly successful five-week run of The Addams Family Musical. All 15 performances were sold out before the show even opened! 

“That was quite an achievement. On paper, this show should never have worked at the JBT. Our 17' x 18' stage should not be able to handle a singing, dancing cast of 16. Our lack of a backstage area should not have allowed all the set changes, exits and entrance, but it did,” said Michelle Peterson, who is the artistic director at the JBT.

The cast (the eight major roles were double cast) and crew did quite an amazing job and the audience were simply delighted.

The Addams Family Musical did stretch all of our resources. It's not something we can do every season, but now we know we can handle a bigger show and can look to doing something similar in the future, just not right away,” said Peterson.

JBT is currently in its 23rd season. It closed for two years during the pandemic. During that time, the theater offered its patrons several play readings and even a holiday sing-a-long over zoom.

“Since reopening in September 2022, we have seen record attendance for all of our productions. Sellouts and near sellouts have become the norm. Needless to say, we have been very fortunate and are very grateful to our loyal patrons," said Peterson.

A Show Made for Older Adults (and younger audiences will enjoy it too!)

The Jewel Box’s latest production is Neil Simon’s play, Chapter Two; it is a return to the type of shows that work the best in a small space. 

“I think it is a timeless story just as relevant today as it was when it premiered in 1977. The show is definitely for folks 50 and older, as well as younger. Older people might be better able to relate to losing a spouse, grieving that loss, and yet wanting to perhaps find love again,” said Karen Hauser, who is directing Chapter Two.

Everyone who has a sibling or a best friend will be able to relate to the relationships between the characters in this play. As soon as Hauser read the script, she knew this show had her name on it. 

“The scenes jumped off the page and I immediately started picturing how we could design a set for The Jewel Box, a thrust stage auditorium,” said Hauser.

The JBT is a small black box theater which seats 95. “We have always specialized in the smaller cast, intimate shows. We are an all-volunteer theater, both in front of house and creative personnel,” said Peterson. Four of the most respected actors in the county are in the cast.

Hauser, who is directing Chapter Two for the first time, has performed as an actor at the Jewel Box several times and she has directed plays in many other local theaters.

“Each of our productions has a unique creative team and I think that allows each of our productions to have a unique look and feel,” said Peterson.
The show has stayed true to the time and location (1976, New York City). The cast includes:

The cast of "Chapter Two" at Poulsbo's Jewel Box Theatre: Autumn McMurry, Raymond Deuel, Alix Black & Casey Cline

Raymond Deuel plays George Schneider. Deuel was last seen as Father Flynn in JBT’s Doubt, and recently as Milo in Bremerton Community Theatre’s Sleuth.

Casey Cline plays Leo Schneider. Cline was most recently in several JBT productions including Other Desert Cities, Miss Bennett in Christmas at Pemberly, and Skin Deep.

Alix Black plays Jennie Malone. Black holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Montevallo and has recently been seen on stage at the Port Gamble Theatre as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. Other notable roles include Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Adriana in Comedy of Errors, and Eurydice in Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice.

Autumn McMurry plays Faye Medwick. McMurry is making her debut at the Jewel Box. Recent credits include 2 Across with Island Theater at the Library, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at Enoch City Arts Studio.

Chapter Two runs Friday, April 19 through Sunday, May 5 at the Jewel Box Theatre in Poulsbo. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 pm, Sunday matinees are at 2:00 pm. For more information, visit

Northwest Prime Time's MEDICAL MINUTE columnist, John Schieszer, has been on quite a tear recently when it comes to reporting on local theater. In addition to exploring the Jewel Box Theatre in Poulsbo, in the month of March alone John has also written about a production of "My Fair Lady" by the Woodland Park Players at Shoreline Community Theater, "Into the Woods" by the Auburn Community Players, and a feature article on the cofounders of Seattle's Taproot Theatre, a husband-and-wife team who are appearing together onstage for the first time since 1993. 
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