by Miryam Gordon -
SGN A&E Writer
It's that time of year again! Theater in Seattle explodes and there are too many wonderful productions to see at once! Anyone up for a contest? Who will see the most September performances? How many can you fit into a week? Some of the most anticipated shows of the year are opening now....
The 39 Steps, Lamplight Productions and KTO Productions, 9/1-11 (at Bathhouse Theatre)
Based on the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock spy/romance film, this hit play is sure to please anyone who enjoys spies, hi-jinks, handcuffs, murder, missing fingers, kissing, secrets, chase scenes, more kissing, trains, planes and yes, automobiles. A cast of four actors tackle over 100 characters in what is guaranteed to be a good time.
Scab, Many Hats Theatre, 9/2-10 (at Ballard Underground)
In this unconventional comedic-drama, Anima's sphere of desperation and self-destruction is invaded by the arrival of her perky new roommate, Christa. Prompted by a malevolent talking statue of the Virgin Mary and a bloodthirsty houseplant named Susan, Anima and Christa enter into a friendship that incurs traumatic results.
Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story In Black and White, Intiman, 9/6-10/2 (at Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse)
Alice Childress' play, produced with community partner University of Washington is set in 1918. It's the story of lovers (Julia, a black seamstress, and Herman, a white baker) who want to marry in the Jim Crow South. Can we be strong enough to tell the truth to each other and still love?
Bad Apples, ACT Theatre Co-Pro with ArtsWest and Circle X Theatre, 9/6-25 (at ACT Theatre)
Welcome to Club Abu, the wildest night in Baghdad. A rock musical pulls back the curtain on one of the greatest moral challenges we have faced as a nation and sets it to a wicked irreverent back beat. Inspired by the real-life prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, this musical portrays the story of two soldiers who ended up pregnant by fellow soldier Charles Graner. Both women wanted to marry him, competed with each other to win his love, and enthusiastically tortured prisoners together, documenting most of it in pictures that later leaked out and shocked the world.
The Fever, theater simple, 9/6 & 9/7, 9/19 & 9/26, 10/2, 10/9 & 10/16, 11/5 (at various locations - see website for details)
theater simple is interested in bringing audiences into the intimate, personal experience. A woman with a fever rides a mental merry-go-round as she becomes more deliriously ill. This blistering monologue occurs during a 'small' civil war outside the narrator's third-world hotel. As her fever rages, so does she, veering wildly from middle class guilt to revolutionary fervor to cold pragmatism.
The Winter's Tale, Seattle Shakepeare Company, 9/7-10/2 (at Seattle Repertory Theater)
Obsessive King Leontes accuses his queen, Hermione, of having an affair and sentences her to a trial. Meanwhile their infant daughter gets spirited away to a distant shore. Sixteen years later, through fate and love, the young woman discovers her true heritage and reunites her family.
Rhinoceros, Strawberry Theatre Workshop, 9/8-10/8 (at 12th Ave Arts)
There is a ferocious rhinoceros on the loose in a small village, and no one seems alarmed. In fact, by the time Eugène Ionesco's cast of citizens can agree on what they saw, it becomes possible for individuals to join the herd. Imagine a business leader, a prominent family, and a politician stampeding as wild rhinoceroses, while a town idly debates whether it is even possible... Casting a woman as Bérenger (a role written for a man) is part of Strawshop's effort to make the character more modern and expand on Ionesco's argument about what society deems natural and normal.
The Royale, ACT Theatre, 9/9-10/9
Inspired by the true story of the first African-American undisputed world heavyweight champion, this play is told in six rounds and set in a boxing ring. Jack Johnson, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the most famous and the most notorious black man on earth. Through a succinct script and the beauty of sound, this intimate story of internal struggle proves that sometimes the most powerful fights are the ones we battle in our own minds. The Royale brings the crackling energy of the early 20th-century boxing circuit to the stage.
Working (2012 version), Seattle Musical Theatre, 9/9-10/2
Based on Studs Terkel's 1978 best-selling book of interviews with American workers and adapted by Nina Faso and Stephen Schwartz, Working paints a vivid portrait of the men and women the world so often takes for granted; from iron workers to flight attendants to waitresses, and more. Updated with songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda and others in 2012.
A Tale For the Time Being, Book-It Repertory, 9/14-10/9
After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, a Japanese American novelist discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox. This beguiling story in Canada connects 16-year-old Nao's diary in Japan and Ruth who finds it.
Pump Boys and Dinettes, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 9/15-10/23, Everett: 10/28-11/20
This high-octane musical is a country western feast for the ears, celebrating life's simple pleasures. The 'pump boys' of Highway 57 in Grand Ole Opry country, North Carolina are a group of boys who love fishin', beer, and a great slice of pie from the local diner, run by the Cupp sisters. Armed with piano, guitar, bass, and even kitchen utensils, they're serving up a night of fun and good times in this show that received rave reviews both on and off Broadway, along with a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical.
The Toxic Avenger, STAGEright, 9/16-10/1 (at Ballard Underground)
A winner of the Outer Critics Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical, this musical is also a huge, dangerous, hysterical, and charming love story. Book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, music and lyrics by David Bryan and based on Lloyd Kaufman's film The Toxic Avenger.
Alcestis, Irrational Robot Bureau and KTO Productions, 9/16-24 (at Slate Theater)
An original adaptation of classic Greek tragedian Euripides. With the aid of a powerful god, King Admetus is granted the ability to circumvent Death's designs on him... but only if another will offer up his or her own mortal existence. When no one else can be found, the Queen Alcestis steps forward, thereby igniting the flames of a passionate struggle for identity, soul, ecstasy and agency.
(Miss) Fortune Has Green Eyes, Brown Soul Productions, 9/16-25 (at Theatre 4, Seattle Center Armory)
Written by local writer Alma M. Davenport, the first show of this multi-cultural company is about a well- respected deacon with a dark and troubled past. He wins the lottery and his whole world quickly begins to unravel. He falls out with family and the friends. As his world falls apart, his eldest daughter tries to put hers together. Because domestic violence is an issue that appears in the play, Brown Soul Productions is proud to partner with NW Family Life, an organization that educates and assists people facing the pain of domestic violence. 18 & up. (Strong adult language and content)
Trump the King or POTUS Drumph, Theater Schmeater, 9/16-10/15
A new play tells a raucous story of one man's quest to reach the pinnacle of political power at all costs. Loosely based on the subversive agitprop classic Ubu Roi, and on the equally disturbing 2016 presidential campaign, this play offers up a parallel reality perhaps closer to our own than comfort admits.
The Summer House, Forward Flux Productions, 9/20-10/8 (at Gay City) (playing in repertory with The Wedding Gift) (world premiere)
Three teens are haunted by the recent disappearance of a local girl as their summer of drugs and partying comes to an end. Over their last day and night together, the three friends forge alliances and fracture them, as each struggles with the truth behind what happened to the missing girl. Sarah Bernstein's new play takes a darkly funny and chilling look at rape culture in America today.
The Wedding Gift, Forward Flux Productions, 9/20-10/8 (at Gay City) (playing in repertory with The Summer House) (world premiere)
Set in a world so far in the future it's stupid, an ordinary dude named Doug suddenly finds himself intergalactically sex-trafficked and gifted to the princess of a strange world on her wedding day. Surrounded by people who speak a language he's never heard, Doug struggles to return home while developing a complicated and fraught relationship with his captors. As the princess grows dangerously fond of him, Doug's chances of escape become ever more remote.
Joyful Noise, Taproot Theatre, 9/21-10/22
George Fredrick Handel is in crisis. His patron is dead, his operas are unpopular and he's suffered public humiliation of his own making. From this ruin a joyous masterpiece is born. Witty, scandalous, this story is based on the true story of the creation of Handel's Messiah.
Ghosts, ArtsWest, 9/22-10/16
Illuminated with fresh poetry and dark humor in a new adaptation from acclaimed British director Richard Eyre (2014), Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts was seen as a scandalous work when it was first performed in 1892. The story follows the widow Helene Alving as she tries to start her life anew after the death of her philandering husband. She is determined that her son Oswald will not follow the same path through life as his father, but when Oswald returns home from a trip to France, she discovers that she may already be too late.
Hotel Nordo, Café Nordo, 9/22-11/20
Cafe Nordo will release the dark history hidden in the walls of its Culinarium with their chilling original theatrical dining experience. Each plate of surrealist cuisine is paired with an episode of this Hotel's history, beginning with a 1927 wedding that ended in tragedy. Tripping through the decades from the twenties through the present day, Hotel Nordo tells four haunting tales of memories, death, loss, and regret. Audiences are encouraged to don their drop-waist dresses, spats, and boas and raise a toast at the ill-fated wedding that whets the Hotel's appetite for human suffering.
On Clover Road, Seattle Public Theater, 9/22-10/16
In this smart, harrowing, edge-of-your-seat thriller by sometimes local playwright Steven Dietz, a desperate mother will do anything to get her daughter back. In an abandoned motel on a desolate American road, she meets with a man whom she believes is her only hope at reunion. But nothing is as it seems and what happens instead will shock her to her core.
Revolt. She said. Revolt again. Washington Ensemble Theatre, 9/23-10/10
Revolutionize. Transform. Revolt. You are not to do as you are told. A wicked and frank education in contemporary feminism, language, and gender politics, Alice Birch's patriarchy-smashing absurdist play is anything but well behaved and like nothing you've ever seen onstage. Intersecting and interconnected vignettes turn the dominant male paradigm on its head.
Devil Boys From Beyond, Fantastic.Z Productions, 9/29-10/15 (at Eclectic Theater)
A 1950's sci-fi B-Movie spoof.... with gayliens. New York reporter Matilda Van Buren has come to the hick town of Lizard Lick Florida to break the story that Aliens have invaded!
A Raisin in the Sun, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 9/30-10/30
In Lorraine Hansberry's classic, African American Lena Younger lives with her extended family in a cramped apartment on Chicago's South Side. On their unknowing behalf, she places a down payment on a home in Clybourne Park, an affordable white neighborhood. Racial intolerance attempts to derail the family's dreams in this 1959 masterpiece and continues to resonate with generation after generation.
The Holler Sessions, Frank Boyd and ACT Theatre, 9/29-10/9
ACTLab presents Frank Boyd's one-man show. The Holler Sessions centers around one man's burning obsession for American jazz through a live radio broadcast. From inside his hole-in-the-wall studio, Ray barely eats, but he bathes himself in jazz. No jazz knowledge needed ahead of time, you'll know plenty when you leave.
Welcome To Wonderland, Teatro Zinzanni, 9/29/16-2/26/17
Journey into this tantalizing alternate reality filled with dueling queens, the maddest of hatters, and a majestic butterfly, all while imbibing on the finest of concoctions. This whimsical night is filled with so many acrobatic and aerial acts it will make your head spin, so let your imagination run wild as you take a tumble down the rabbit hole.
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