(published in Seattle Gay News)
2015 is here and the theater scene is heating back up after the normal segue into Christmas programming that often helps their bottom lines. You may not have heard of some of these companies, but if you’re intrigued, maybe you’ll taste a new theater in your resolution to try new things this year. Here are productions in the month of January in opening date order!
A new company, Civic Rep, is presenting a new interpretation of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, January 2-25, 2015 at New City Theater. The production aims to emphasize the alcoholism and women’s issues that may not have informed other productions. Information at: civicrep.brownpapertickets.com.
Seattle Shakespeare Company opens Measure for Measure, January 6-February 1, 2015 with director Desdemona Chiang. Chiang has directed all over the West Coast and locally for her own company, Azeotrope, but this will mark her debut at Seattle Shakes. This play has a lot of themes that never become dated: corruption, moral weakness, and sexual obsession. Information at: www.seattleshakespeare.org.
The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide is Ghostlight Theatrical's offering, January 9-24, 2015. A play about bullying for adults, 4th grader Johnny shoots himself but leaves a play behind as a suicide note. His class is forced to perform it as a memorial. Information at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/958683.
A one-night-only staged reading will be presented by Endangered Species Project on January 12. (They present a different play each month that will likely never be fully produced on any local stage again.) This month, they present Dear Ruth by Norman Krasna. This family comedy set in 1944 features a teen girl who masquerades in letters to a soldier as her older sister and then he arrives to court just as the sister makes her own marriage plans. Information at: http://www.acttheatre.org/Tickets/OnStage/DearRuth.
The Love List is at SecondStory Rep from January 15-February 1, 2015. In this Norm Foster comedy, Leon and Bill concoct a list of attributes of the ideal woman and when she actually arrives, the men quickly learn that their list could use a few revisions. Information at: http://www.secondstoryrep.org/mainstage/season16/love.html.
The first production at the new 12th Avenue Arts will be Washington Ensemble Theatre’s play, Sprawl, a world premiere by ex-Seattlite Josh Conkel. It runs from January 16-February 2, 2015 and is about a book club meeting that gets interrupted by… The End Of The World! If you liked Conkel’s Milk, Milk, Lemonade, you should look out for this one. Information at: http://washingtonensemble.org/tickets/.
Seattle Repertory Theatre opens August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, January 16-February 8, 2015 (in association with Syracuse Stage and directed by Timothy Bond). This production includes three actors who appeared in the acclaimed production of Wilson’s Fences in 2010. The Rep has a long history of Wilson productions and puts a lot of effort into making his work sing. Information at: http://www.seattlerep.org/Plays/1415/PL/Synopsis.
A new adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths, by Theatre Machine’s founder, Melissa Fenwick, will play at the LAB@INScape from January 16-31, 2015. The adaptation shows the resonance of the Russian themes of civil unrest and economic uncertainty to today’s society. Information at: http://thelowerdepths.brownpapertickets.com/.
Theater Schmeater brings us Secretaries: A Five Lesbian Brothers play from January 16-February 14, 2015. Their blurb says, “Patty Johnson is thrilled to join the secretarial pool but she soon begins to feel that all is not right—the enforced diet of Slim-Fast shakes, the strange clicking language between the girls, the monthly disappearance of a lumberjack. By the time Patty discovers murder is part of these office killers' skill set, it's too late to turn back!” Information at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1040503.
The people who gave us The Seagull Project return with more Chekhov. The Three Sisters plays at ACT Theatre’s Central Heating Lab from January 20-February 8, 2015. It’s about three Russian sisters… duh. Information at: http://acttheatre.org/Tickets/OnStage/TheThreeSisters#About
An exciting world premiere is at Seattle Children’s Theatre by local playwright Cheryl West. Mwindo plays from January 22-February 15, 2015 and is a Central African tale about a boy whose father, the chief, is threatened by him and hates him. Mwindo battles to overcome his obstacles and find his spirit. Information at: http://sct.org/Shows/2014-2015-Season/Mwindo.
Thornton Wilder’s Our Town will open Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s residency at 12th Avenue Arts from January 22-February 21, 2015. Besides flipping the traditionally male role of Stage Manager to female, we’ll be interested to see what Strawshop will bring to this oft-done script. Information at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/750187.
ArtsWest brings veteran Susan Corzatte back to the stage in 4000 Miles as a 91 year old grandmother dealing with her 21 year old grandson. The very recent Amy Herzog award-winner will play from January 22-February 15, 2015. Information at: http://www.artswest.org/.
Every winter, Village Theatre produces a non-musical. This year, they’re bringing us Around the World in 80 Days, a romp around the world on a bet. It plays in Issaquah from January 22-March 1 and Everett from March 6-29, 2015. Information at: http://www.villagetheatre.org/issaquah/Around-The-World.php/.
A rare opportunity to see Edward Albee’s play, A Delicate Balance, is brought by Theatre9/12, housed in Trinity Church. This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama focuses on a family struggling with sanity and dysfunction. It runs from January 23-February 14, 2015. Also, all tickets are “pay what you can afford.” Information at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/964629.
Taproot Theatre’s next production is The Explorers Club from January 28-February 28, 2015. It’s written by Nell Benjamin, the co-writer of Legally Blonde the Musical. She writes a wacky comedy about an 18th Century British exploring club that might be about to accept its first female member. Information at: http://taproottheatre.org/the-explorers-club/.
Seattle Public Theater presents Humble Boy from January 29-February 15, 2015 from another woman playwright, Charlotte Jones. The subject of this offbeat comedy is a socially awkward scientist who links the cosmology of bees to black holes, but can’t fathom the mysteries of love and family. Information at: http://www.seattlepublictheater.org/2014/10/21/humbleboy/.
There is not a ton of information about Annex Theatre’s world premiere play Zapoi! except that it is written by Quinn Armstrong (locally known as an actor) and their blurb says it is about “Kiril, a brilliant composer fleeing the censorship of Soviet Russia in a strange town where all of Russian history is happening at once.” It runs from January 30-February 21, 2015. Information at: http://www.annextheatre.org/2014/11/11/annex-theatre-announces-its-28th-season-in-2015/.
Also in January, Radial Theater Project is producing a festival of original performances under the umbrella title, Locally Grown. Don’t confuse that with a local web series of the same name. This set of shows will run January 30-February 28, 2015 at New City Theater and present the productions in rotating repertory. A complete performance schedule is available at:
The productions and artists include:
- · After All by Mike Mathieu and Ryan Sanders (Rock Paper Theater). “Two residents of the distant post-apocalypse navigate life among their fellow scavengers and schemers.”
- · Bullygirl by Jennifer Jasper. Jasper tells “tales of bullies, victims in plaid stretch pants, a shunning, and a young teacher’s near breakdown.”
- · The Death of Brian: A Zombie Odyssey (episode 1) and Ides of Undead March (episode 2) by Ricky Coates (theater simple). An award-winning, one-man zombie show that has been frightening audiences across the continent.
- · Dragon Lady by Sara Porkalob. “It is the year of the Water Dragon and the eve of Grandma Maria's 75th birthday. By the light of the karaoke machine, fueled by pork dumplings and diet Pepsi, she shares a dark secret from her Filipino gangster past with one lucky grandchild.”
- · El Hijo Prodigo by José Amador. A man returns to his native Puerto Rico after an absence of 22 years and reconnects with the history and culture of the island state he once called home.
- · Free Desiree by Amontaine Aurore (Ten Auras Productions). “In the 1970s, when Hollywood comes calling, Shauna is sure she will be Blaxploitation star Pam Grier's successor. But is Shauna ready for Hollywood? Is Hollywood ready for Shauna?”
- · Oroboro by K. Brian Neel. “A darkly comedic peek into the struggle with the worst enemy a person could possibly have: oneself.”
- · Sting Is My Spirit Animal by Yana Kesala (Radiant Moxie). “He has her wrapped around his finger. Every little thing he does is magic. If she ever lost her faith in him, she’d have to put on the red light. Well okay, not really…because if you love somebody, set them free.”