Monday, November 27, 2017

Zinzanni Still Rocks the Tent in Marymoor

Ms. Ariana Savalas as Madame Zinzanni (Michael Doucett)
Teatro Zinzanni
Marymoor Park
Through April 29, 2018

Teatro Zinzanni has moved, for at least six months, to Marymoor Park. The spiegeltent is set up, the doors are open, and the merriment is ongoing. If you have been to the Seattle location, be reassured that everything is exactly the same as you remember, except the parking is MUCH easier (though a bit pricey at $15/car).

This time, the story encompassing the night’s antics is that a food critic has come to evaluate the menu and the cast is in a tizzy to please her. Madame Zinzanni, an incandescent Ariana Savalas, commands the staff to make Ms. Pleasant’s visit an outstanding one.

Most Madame Zinzannis are outstanding talents, but Savalas brings the usual singing talent, an appropriate imperiousness, and also an amazing whistle! I haven’t heard such beautiful whistling to a song in a very long time! It’s a special treat!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Village Theatre’s recent production of "Into the Woods" deserves recognition

Christine Marie Brown, Trey Ellett, (Eric Polani Jensen peaking through) and Mari Nelson in the beautiful Witch costume (Mark Kitaoka)
Into the Woods
Village Theatre
Through November 19, 2017

If you have never seen the movie of Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim or the stage play, you may not know that Sondheim took five different fairy tales, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, the Baker and his Wife (a version of Thumbelina, of sort), Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk and wove them together so that they all know each other and live in the same small village.

So, Red visits the Baker and Wife to get food for Grandma, next doorish to Jack and his Mother, and they live in Cinderella’s village with her Stepmother and StepSisters and the same Prince, who is brother to the Prince who falls in love with Rapunzel – and then he throws in a Witch and some curses needing lifting. It’s pretty ingenious, but then – he’s SONDHEIM!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Stop the Presses: Newsies Takes Over Village!

Cast of Newsies (Mark Kitaoka)
Disney’s Newsies
Village Theatre
Issaquah through December 28, 2017
Everett: January 5-28, 2018

There is a pack of muscular male singers and dancers taking over the stage at Village Theatre! They are demanding that audiences pay more attention and stop reducing it, in an effort to make a living! If audiences do not pay more, they may well strike! And we really do not want that because they are extremely effective at what they do.

A robust, energetic and rousing production of the musical, Newsies, which details the Newsboy Strike of 1899 against Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers, brings Issaquah audiences to their feet. The very large cast is called upon to dance huge numbers in sync, including a major tap number at the top of the second act.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Strong Women Take Over "Coriolanus"

Nike Imoru in Coriolanus (John Ulman)
Coriolanus – Fight Like a Bitch
Rebel Kat Productions
(at 12th Avenue Arts)
Through November 18, 2017

Coriolanus is said to be a real general in Rome around the 5th Century. Caius Marcius attacked the Volscians of the city of Corioli viciously, and won. For that win, he was awarded the name “Coriolanus”. Some time later, during a grain shortage in Rome, Coriolanus advocated for a policy that would harshly affect the plebeians and the populace caused him to be put on trial and he was thrown out of Rome.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

November Theater Openings - Plenty of Entertainment

Leads in Holiday Inn at 5th Avenue Theatre (Mark Kitaoka)
You can tell it is holiday season when theatrical productions starting having a lot of holiday content in them. There is lots of music to be had this month and a couple of very-much anticipated dramas that hit the local boards. Check these out:

The Inappropriate Suitor, Ghost Light Theatricals, 11/3-18/17
Ghost Light presents a classic “us against the world” love story about a wild boarding school girl and a city boy, and the strange and oppressive world around them. Inspired by German Expressionism, boarding school gothic, and Medieval super-science, The Inappropriate Suitor is a show that will appeal to fans of melodrama, old New York, Tim Burton, doppelgangers, and ice skating.

Teatro Zinzanni, 11/1/17-4/29/17 (official opening 11/9/17) (at Marymoor Park)
It's opening night of the new Teatro ZinZanni, and the staff anxiously awaits the arrival of a world-renowned restaurant critic.  They are trying to put their best foot forward, without stepping on each other's toes! Getting swept up in the madness is the magical Maître d', who has staffed his restaurant with mechanical waitresses, chefs that defy gravity, and an amorous busboy who has finally met his match. With an aim to impress, the crew literally bends over backwards to give this critic the experience of a lifetime.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

“The Government Inspector” Hits the Funnybone and Misses the Commentary

A moment from The Government Inspector (John Ulman)
The Government Inspector
Seattle Shakespeare Company
Through November 19, 2017

There was a ton of laughing by the audience at the opening night of The Government Inspector at Seattle Shakespeare Company. I laughed some myself. Just, unfortunately, not nearly enough or maybe even too much.

Nikolai Gogol wrote this now-classic play in 1836. It is an ironic and subversive play (for the powers-that-be of Imperial Russia of the time) pointing out the rampant greed, governmental abuses, political corruption, and commenting on the public’s essential stupidity.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

"Burn This" at Theatre22 May Be Too Dated

Cast of Burn This (Margaret Toomey)
Burn This
Theatre22
(at 12th Avenue Arts)
Through November 18, 2017

Lanford Wilson was a fairly prolific playwright in the 1970s and ‘80s and into the ‘90s who was known for a heightened realism with a touch of poetry in the dialogue. He was an openly gay man who included gay characters in his plays, which for that period was considered a challenging act.

Wilson also liked to write about characters on the fringes of society. He also dug deeply into the Talley family in a series of plays about the family and its small town characters.