by Miryam Gordon -
SGN A&E Writer
You may notice a lot of Shakespeare coming up this month and next month, because theater companies big and small are having a Festival! Shakespeare 'straight up' or musically or twisted into individual shapes. It's all because this town apparently just loves good ol' Will! There are plenty of contemporary plays opening this month as well. Plus, it's another month filled with world premieres that no one has ever seen before except for YOU, when you go check them out!
Bye Bye Birdie, SecondStory Repertory, 3/2-25
In this Tony-Award-winning favorite, superstar Conrad Birdie arrives in Sweet Apple, Ohio to give a lucky girl 'one last kiss' before his induction into the Army. Set in a bygone world of soda fountains, screaming fans and Ed Sullivan, the nostalgic Bye Bye Birdie overflows with comedy, romance, and songs like 'Put on a Happy Face,' 'A Lot of Livin' To Do' and 'The Telephone Hour.'
The Impossibility of Now, Thalia's Umbrella, 3/8-31 (at 12th Avenue Arts) (world premiere)
Locally (and nationally) recognized playwright Y York debuts a play about what you do when your spouse gets conked on the head and wakes up with a terrifying new personality: optimistic happy person. Miranda and amnesia-stricken husband, Carl, embark on the fractured and funny adventure of starting over. The Impossibility of Now is a lovely, word-drunk romantic comedy that celebrates rediscovering the joy of life through words.
Falling Awake, UMO Ensemble at ACT Theatre, 3/8-17
We travel deep into the human condition and its many realities, via language, music, physical theatre - and ballroom dancing. UMO Ensemble's funny new work takes the audience on a shared journey through unexpected recognitions and lives both old and new, with identity, love, and memory dancing together like dust in sunlight.
Ms. Pak-Man: Out of Order!, Scott Shoemaker, 3/8-17 (at Re-bar)
The all-new fourth installment of the critically acclaimed Ms. Pak-Man series. It's a cabaret-style theatre experience. Watch this world-renowned video game superstar of the 1980s pop power pills while she shares scandalous songs and stories about her life and loves... glitches and all!
Ride the Cyclone, 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT Theatre, 3/9-5/20 (opens 3/22) (world premiere)
When the St. Cassian High School Chamber Choir boarded the Cyclone roller coaster, the front axle broke, sending them to their tragic demise. Trapped in fantastical carnival-like purgatory, the recently deceased teens discover a mechanical fortune teller, who invites each of them to tell their tragic stories of a life interrupted, with the promise of a prize like no other. Part comedy, part tragedy, and completely unexpected, this wonderfully weird story is at every turn satirical, macabre, creepy, campy and hilarious.
Hamlet, Fern Shakespeare Company, 3/9-4/1 (at the Slate)
The secret midnight utterings of a Kingly Ghost will set events in motion that seal the tragic fate of Denmark's Royal Family. Hamlet grapples with his mind and heart as he tries to make sense of it all and answer the most famous question in history. Hamlet is driven to pursue the truth and avenge a crime that may or may not be a product of his own imagining.
String, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 3/15/18-4/22, Everett: 4/27/18-5/20/18 (world premiere)
On a mountaintop high over ancient Greece, three sisters - goddesses known as the Greek Fates - are responsible for spinning, measuring, and snipping the String of Life. After falling out of favor with Zeus, they find themselves stuck in a drab modern skyscraper, left to live and work among world-weary office workers and the security guards who watch over the building. But when the eldest sister falls in love with a mortal, her destiny gets all tangled up.
Big Rock, Onward Ho Productions, 3/16-31 (at West of Lenin) (world premiere)
Playwright Sonya Schneider writes about Signe Sands, an up-and-comer in the world of modern art, who flees the demands of her career in New York City to take refuge at her father's home on a remote Pacific Northwest island. Immediately faced with the harsh reality of their strained relationship, and the realization that as her star rises, his may be falling, Signe meets an islander with dreams of his own that inspire new points of view.
We Should Be Women, NowHereThis, 3/16-23 (at The Pocket)
A devised deconstruction of the female narratives in Shakespeare's canon, exploring what it means to be a woman in Shakespeare's work and how we can examine it in a modern context. Five female actors ask each other (and you) how Shakespeare's treatment of women was influenced by his time and how it still influences our own, and where we can go from here.
The Merchant of Venice,
Seattle Shakespeare Company, 3/20-4/15 (opens 3/23)
The wealthy heiress Portia is forced to set her suitors a challenge for her hand in marriage. In order to woo her, Bassiano finances his plan with money borrowed from his friend Antonio. All would be fine except Antonio has taken out a loan from the moneylender Shylock on the assurance that his ships will make it back to the city. They don't, and Shylock demands repayment with a pound of Antonio's flesh.
Crowns, Taproot Theatre, 3/21-4/21
Gospel music and storytelling come together to surprise, delight and remind us all of the unique and diverse ways we express ourselves. When a young woman from Brooklyn struggles to find her place in the world, she is surrounded by a community of women that transcend place and time to infuse her with stories of faith, fortitude and pride.
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, Seattle Children's Theatre, 3/22-5/13 (world premiere)
Emmy winner and Caldecott honoree Mo Willems is back, once again teaming up with Deborah Wicks La Puma, composer of Elephant and Piggie's 'We are in a Play!' for this rock 'n' roll extravaganza. Grab your friends and watch as Wilbur, a clothes-loving mole rat with exceptional style, navigates the pressure to be just like everyone else. With tail-shaking tunes, empowering messages of individuality, and classic Mo Willems humor, this musical is sure to rock audiences of all ages.
Visiting Cezanne, Red Rover Productions, 3/22-31 (at 18th & Union)
Duane Kelly writes about unknown painter Nora Baker who visits the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2016, where things get really weird. From there she travels to an artist's studio in southern France in 1900. Nora desperately wants to get back to 2016, but Paul Cezanne, another obscure artist with his own problems, is not being helpful. Also ensnared in Nora's crisis are an art historian from Utah and Cezanne's gardener.
Happiest Song Plays Last, Theatre22, 3/23-4/14 (12AA)
Iraq War vet Elliot Ortiz has a bright new career working in Hollywood action films. While shooting on location in Jordan, with the tumultuous Arab Spring rumbling nearby, he finds that his wartime dreams and nightmares have followed him into his new life. At the same time, halfway around the world in a cozy North Philadelphia kitchen, his cousin Yaz takes on a heroic new role of her own: as the heart and soul of her crumbling community. This powerful sequel to Quiara Alegría Hudes' Water by the Spoonful (produced by Theatre22 in 2015 and winner of a number of Gypsy Rose Lee Awards) is a tale of two young adults who cross the globe in search of connection, redemption, and their place in the world.
Ironbound, Seattle Public Theater, 3/23-4/15
An immigrant woman waits for her late night bus in the shadows of a run-down Jersey factory. A man appears. (A man always appears.) And he's got something she needs. Spanning over 20 years, three relationships, and three presidents, what will two working-class people trade and how dirtily will they fight for the cheapest safety in a world that does not value all kinds of people?
Smoke and Dust, Macha Theatre Works, 3/23/18-4/14 (Theatre Off Jackson) (world premiere)
Writer Joy McCullough-Carranza introduces us to Barbara Strozzi, an ambitious 17th century composer rumored to be a courtesan. Her brilliance and musical talent are dismissed in a male-dominated profession that stifles female musicians. A modern-day acting troupe explores Strozzi's music and the personal life of this historical figure: was she a victim, or an empowered woman defying society's moralistic expectations? Deftly weaving together past and present, characters in both timelines struggle against the limits society places on a woman's ambition.
The Boys From Syracuse, Showtunes! Theatre Company, 3/23-25 (at Benaroya Hall)
The first musical ever adapted from Shakespeare remains a madcap musical farce. Based on Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, Antipholus and his wily servant, Dromio, travel to Ephesus in search of their respective twins, from whom they were separated in a shipwreck. Naturally, they are immediately taken for their brothers and we're off and running on a riotous chase from marketplace to marital bed. Perplexed wives, disgruntled courtesans, outraged constables are left in its wake before this show's tangled web is unraveled, and Rodgers & Hart & Abbott have triumphed once again! You won't believe how many songs you know including 'This Can't Be Love,' 'Sing For Your Supper' and 'Falling in Love with Love.' (This show is produced is association with Village Theatre.)
The Country Wife, Theater Schmeater, 3/23-4/14
Adaptor Rachel Atkins reveals sexual innuendo and intrigue as an innocent young country wife is brought to London and is confronted by the temptations of city life. William Wycherley's 1665 satire retains its bite in the age of social media, body shaming, and the often-hypocritical tension between the private and public.
The Great Leap, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 3/23-4/22
(opens 3/28) with Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company
Another Lauren Yee play! China, 1971. The Communist Cultural Revolution is in full swing. San Francisco, 1989. The city by the bay is on the brink of a cultural revolution of its own. The name of the game is basketball. Beijing University's Coach Wen Chang is the quiet, efficient Tim Duncan-esque Party supporter, and Manford is a young, sparky kid from SF's Chinatown, vertically challenged, yet graced with undeniable baller skill. As the story leaps back and forth in time, Wen Chang and Manford play the game, facing unimaginable cultural barriers and as they circle ever closer to one another, an undeniable truth is revealed: That sometimes there's more to life than making the shot.
Shakespeare Dice: Hamlet, Dacha Theatre, 3/23-4/8
Seven actors will memorize the entire script of Hamlet. On the night of the show, the audience rolls a die to determine who plays who, and the show goes up. Touring around Seattle and Bainbridge Island.
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