by Miryam Gordon -
SGN A&E Writer
Reliably, when kids go back to school, theater productions explode all over Seattle. This month, we have very interesting choices, from playwrights some may be particularly wishing to see on stage (Karen Zacarias, Native Gardens, Dominique Morriseau, Skeleton Crew), a homegrown musical incubated in Village's new musical development pipeline (The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes) and an exciting all-female Richard III that follows last year's Henrys.
Peruse below and see other tantalizing offerings. Ding! The bell just rang! Hurry!
Prelude to a Kiss, Strawberry Theatre Workshop, 9/6-10/6
Peter and Rita fall for each other and decide to get married. During their wedding reception, an old man kisses Rita. Peter soon realizes that the kiss has caused Rita and the man to switch bodies. As he searches for a way to switch them back, Peter faces the dilemma of loving Rita in the body of a terminally ill man or staying married to a stranger posing as his wife.
Native Gardens, Intiman Theatre, 9/6-30 (at Jones Playhouse)
You can't choose your neighbors. In this new comedy by Karen Zacarias, cultures and gardens clash, turning well-intentioned neighbors into feuding enemies. Pablo, a rising attorney, and doctoral candidate Tania, his very pregnant wife, have just purchased a home next to Frank and Virginia, a well-established D.C. couple with a prize-worthy English garden. An impending barbeque for Pablo's colleagues and a delicate disagreement over a long-standing fence line soon spirals into an all-out border dispute, exposing both couples' notions of race, taste, class and privilege.
Skylight, ACT Theatre, 9/7-30 (opens 9/13)
David Hare's play about a man and woman reuniting after several years apart. Is the gap between them unbridgeable, or can they resurrect their relationship? An intensely clear-sighted, complex, and thought-provoking drama about power, politics, and a love affair.
Waitress, Paramount Theatre, 9/11-16
Inspired by Adrienne Shelly's beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, waitress and expert pie maker. Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town's new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow wait staff offer their own recipes for happiness.
Richard III, Seattle Shakespeare Company and upstart crow collective, 9/12-10/7 (at Seattle Rep)
Richard III is the continuation of the story of the rise of the York family dynasty told in Seattle Shakespeare's 2017 epic two-part production of Bring Down the House (based on Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy). Richard is the last son of the royal York family, and he is as charming as he is cunning. Through scheming and seducing (and a few murders along the way), Richard secures the crown for himself&but can he hold it? Attempting to thwart his ill-gotten rise to power are some potent women who envision hope for their country in a new generation of leaders. A gripping portrait of a cunning villain's rise and fall from power with an all-female acting company.
Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Taproot Theatre, 9/12-10/13
Sherlock Holmes is back and searching for clues to explain a mysterious death on a haunted moor. Five fearless actors conjure over 35 characters to deliver laughter and chills in this dizzyingly inventive adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Bite your nails and howl with delight as Holmes and Watson face their most diabolical case ever.
The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 9/13-10/21, Everett: 10/26-11/18
Joshua Carter stars as Howard Barnes who is a perfectly average American guy; he likes baseball, grilling, and his daily routine. That is, until the day he wakes up to discover his life has become a musical. Desperate to return things to normal, Howard embarks on a fantastical quest through the realm of musical theatre. A Village Original from the 2013 Festival of New Musicals, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes is equal parts satire, romantic comedy, and love letter to the American musical. Can Howard escape? Or will he be trapped with singing orphans and dancing cats& forever?
Jane Eyre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, 9/13-10/14 (opens 9/15)
Book-It premiered this Julie Beckman adaptation in 2001. Orphaned as a child, Jane Eyre musters up the courage to take a governess job at Thornfield Hall, where she meets the brooding Edward Rochester. Though she finds herself captivated by his kind spirit, she is distracted by strange occurrences at the house. In this revolutionary piece of literature, eponymous heroine Jane maintains her integrity and inner strength as she grows into adulthood.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, Seattle Children's Theatre, 9/13-10/21
The timeless classic has made its way off the page and onto the stage. Based on author/illustrator Eric Carle's beloved book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the story of a caterpillar trying to satisfy his insatiable appetite, on his journey to becoming a full-fledged butterfly.
The Journey of the Saint, eSe Teatro, 9/14-30 (at ACT Theatre)
This madcap Journey begins in Spain and circles southern South America, following the real-life pilgrimage of the mummified remains of Saint Fortunata. A devoutly Catholic actor and an atheist theatrical-effects designer traverse the ocean, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru in 1786, with the Inquisition on their trail.
Two Sisters and a Piano, Theater Schmeater, 9/14-10/6
Set in 1991, during the Pan American Games in Havana and while the Russians are pulling out of Cuba, this play portrays two sisters, Maria Celia, a novelist, and Sofia, a pianist, serving time under house arrest. Passion infiltrates politics when a lieutenant assigned to their case becomes infatuated with Maria Celia, whose literature he has been reading. Author of Anna and the Tropics, Nilo Cruz refuses to paint his characters in black & white.
A Small History of Amal, Age 7, Forward Flux Productions and Prathidhwani, 9/18-10/6 (at West of Lenin)
Audiences will travel to Mumbai, India, where they will meet Amal, a 7 year-old boy who uses his explorer's heart and a little Bollywood magic to fight the god of death. Exploring universal issues through the eyes of a small boy, this imaginative play weaves together heartache and triumph as it invites us to examine our connection to family, our city, and the world. It is inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's play, The Post Office.
Skeleton Crew, ArtsWest, 9/20-10/14
In the depths of the 2008 Great Recession, rumors of shutdown start to spread at one of Detroit's last auto-stamping plants, forcing a tight-knit family of workers to face a devastating question: what will you sacrifice to survive? In the spirit of August Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle, award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau's new play lays bare the trials of the human spirit with verve, wit, and an electrifying voice of uncommon poetry.
The Witching Hour, Café Nordo, 9/20-11/18
Venture into the forgotten wing of a natural history museum where a gathering of self-styled occultists, reading from an ancient text, unwittingly unleash the five Nocturnal Fears - Harm, Loneliness, Failure, Filth and Chaos. As the humans scramble to patch the fabric of darkness the audience enjoys a 'four-curse meal' of interactive and innovative cuisine with the charmingly beleaguered sprites in Nordo's employ. With frothy cocktails and genuine scares, this evening is for adults only.
Everything You Touch, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 9/21-10/8
Sheila Callaghan's fantastical dark comedy explores society's obsession with body image and fashion and jumps between the opulent and vapid 1970s and present day. When Jess, a moody and uncertain young woman, hears that her mother, who she has not seen in 10 years, is on her deathbed, she embarks on a cross country journey fueled by self-loathing. Accompanied by Victor, a mercurial fashion designer turned travel companion who may or may not be real, Jess discovers who she is, what she's made of, and how to wear it well.
Legally Blonde in Concert, Showtunes Theatre Company, 9/22-30 (at Cornish Playhouse)
Alexandria Henderson stars as Elle Woods in a diverse take on the 'Hollywood blonde' of the movies. The transformation of UCLA sorority girl Elle Woods develops as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Her quest to prove her worth to her ex-boyfriend by studying law at Harvard leads her on a quest to discover her true worth. Meanwhile, her passion, positivity, and perseverance transform the lives of both her friends and enemies!
Blood Relative, Ren Lunicke solo performance, 9/25-26 (at 18th & Union)
In their play, Blood Relative, Ren ruthlessly exposes the ongoing mythology about biological family and the swing in 'all-or-nothing' relationships when the Hallmark version of 'happy family' disappoints. Redefining family drama, Blood Relative confronts the limitations of biological kinship, and the potential to create reliable loving bonds.
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3596836; FB event link:
The Two-Step, Christine Longe solo performance, 9/27-30 (at 18th & Union)
Edith travels the world through her dreams and memories. She discovers how to connect with herself while celebrating community, universal love and bold risks taken in order to breach physical and cultural barriers. A tribute to the unique life of Christine's influential grandmother, Betty McLain, a longtime ballroom and folk dance instructor for Pacific Northwest senior communities.
Cyla's Gift, Samara Lerman solo performance, 9/27-10/13 (at Taproot Theatre)
A story of train-hopping, border-crossing danger, adventure, magic, and loss. When the ghost of her grandmother, Cyla Tine, starts visiting Samara in the middle of the night, she is compelled to travel through interwoven family stories of survival. What happens when your family lineage stops with you? What happens to the stories and memories of generations past?
'Ze': queer as fuck!, Ren Lunicke solo performance, 9/27-28 (at 18th & Union)
'Ze': queer as fuck! is a dark comedy about sex, gender, and the expanding parade of labels and identities Michelle/Ryan (now Ren) claims on zir way to pride. (*ze/zir are early days gender neutral pronouns.) In this international queer origin story, Ren rips the bandage away from zir startling puritanical upbringing and is catapulted by zir experiences through a complex and surprising 'coming out' process as a genderqueer, kinky, femmesexual, polyminded, gay-divorcee.
https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/34824; FB event link:
Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, Fantastic.Z Productions, 9/28-10/13 (at Ballard Underground)
Dean Cynthia Wreen is having a terrible week! Her college is in dire financial straits and a plan to close its tiny, all-but-forgotten natural history museum is sending unexpected shock waves across campus. At home, her ex-lover, Greer, is staying with her, sending shock waves of a different sort through her current relationship with her (much younger) girlfriend, Andromeda. A lesbian sex comedy about the perils of monogamy, certainty, and academic administration.
Three Days of Rain, Albatross Theatre Lab w/Penguin Productions, 9/28-10/6 (at The Slate Theater)
New York City, 1995, and Walker Janeway and his sister Nan reunite with their childhood friend Pip to read the will of their inscrutable father, famed architect Ned Janeway. After a shocking bequeathing of assets, long-hidden secrets and repressed memories are unearthed as the three attempt to make sense of their parents' inexplicable lives. Act Two finds the same three actors portraying their parents in 1960, where a creative dilemma and romantic entanglements are revealed that none of their children could have imagined.
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