Thursday, September 21, 2023

Huey Thrills (Again!) with Help of Fab Hometown Ensemble!


Cassi Q Kohl, Diana Huey, and Shaunyce Omar (Photo: Tracy Martin)

The Little Mermaid
The 5th Avenue Theatre
Through October 8, 2023
As good as any Broadway NYC show, our area is blessed with a wealth of gorgeous performers who get to shine now in The Little Mermaid! We then are double-blessed to have Diana Huey return “home” to let us hear her crisp, clean, soaring voice – every bit as good as the first time she starred as Ariel on the 5th Ave stage in 2016. Maybe even better!
Huey broke the mold in 2016 to star in a national tour as the first Asian American performer to star in the show. Rumors had it that there were some ugly adventures in some parts of the country where people somehow could not fathom how a mermaid could be Asian. It was also her biggest role, at that point, carrying a huge Broadway hit show on her shoulders. Now, seasoned by a move to NYC and dozens of performing opportunities, she is sure-finned and in perfect voice to do it again.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Expansive September List Provides Great Entertainment Options

I’m working on expanding this list to include nearby cities and towns and hamlets that are near enough to get to easily. But that means the list for September is pretty massive. It’s exciting because it truly seems “back to normal,” and is wonderful to see. Get outcher calendars!

Deep Purple Wiggle, Theatre Battery, 9/1-10/23 (opened last week) (world premiere)
Milo Cramer writes about Bro and Sibling who are twins in their thirties who, up until now, have self-identified as dudes. When one comes out to the other as non-binary (without either of them fully knowing what it means), a queer Pandora's box is opened. A new comedy (with music) about contemporary masculinity. Theatre Battery practices Radical Hospitality: No-Cost Admission for All!
Matt & Ben, Artswest, 9/7/23-10/1/23
From the mind of multi-award-winning writer and actress Mindy Kaling,Matt & Bendepicts its Hollywood golden boys – before J-Lo, before Gwyneth, before Project Greenlight, before Oscar… before anyone actually gave a damn. When the screenplay for Good Will Hunting drops mysteriously from the heavens, the boys realize they’re being tested by a Higher Power.A hilarious satire on the real and imagined difficulties of pursuing a dream.
Autocorrect Thinks I'm Dead, Sound Theatre Company, 9/7-30/23 (at 12th Ave Arts) (world premiere)
Local playwright Aimee Chou writes about three deaf friends moving into an old house during the centennial anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell's 1922 death, unaware that things go bump in the night. But when a vintage teletypewriter phone (TTY) becomes a landline to the afterlife, the trio finds themselves in a madcap caper of portals - between the hearing and deaf, and living and dead. Meshing historic and technological realities with the theatrical absurd, this tale is both a homage and a home to horror fans of all generations.
Dream Hou$e, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 9/8-25/23
Set in a rapidly changing neighborhood, two sisters sign up for a reality tv show to sell their childhood home after the passing of the family matriarch. As Julia and Patricia perform for the camera, they confront their own desires, aspirations, and the sacrifices they are willing to make to achieve them. What is the cultural cost of progress in America? Is cashing in always selling out?

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Go See Bethany Seeing the Stars - Copious Love at WOL

Bethany Sees the Stars
Through September 9, 2023

What if you got a letter telling you to apply to go to Mars, and then you get a letter saying you've won a spot, but you will have to leave Earth forever?

That's what happens to 15-year-old Bethany (Jade Guillory-Kaub), who dreams of escaping from her life and heading to the stars. She tells her momentous news to her best friend, Fay (Lauren Megan McCarthy), and eventually to a nerdy loaner, Atlas (Lola Rei Fukushima) who joins them to become the Heroic Trinity.

But how are the teens supposed to cope with their friend leaving them? 

This is the premise of a sweet and thoughtful script, a world premiere by Emily Golden. It's fanciful (constellations come to life and speak to Bethany), and manages to tackle a number of real-life conundrums while helping us explore our own reactions about wanting to escape our own realities.

Well-directed by Kathryn Stewart, the tiniest of quibbles is that it could have a slightly faster pace, but she brings out a great level of emotions from the cast without overwhelming our own, allowing us to feel our own feelings. Set design by Jordan Gerow is spare and quick to change, keeping the pace up. Lighting by Adem Hayyu and sound by Alison Kozar bring the atmospheres needed to life.

The cast is cohesive and engaging. The young people are real and relatable. Daniel Christensen as the father brings a leavening presence that is also very relatable to those of us who are parents. Similarly, Olivia Lee is a warm and funny mother. Lee and McCarthy get to play the constellations Cassiopeia and Andromeda, and become very different characters, and show their range to good effect.

There's only one more weekend to see this moving play. It's well worth your time, if you're a teen or a parent or someone who also has looked to the stars to wonder or escape.


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Super Musical at Taproot: The Hello Girls ends this weekend

Rebecca Cort, Miranda Antoinette, Cassi Q Kohl,
Lauren Engstrom, and Jessica Ziegelbauer
(Photo by John Ulman)

The Hello Girls
Taproot Theatre
Composer/Lyricist Peter Mills, Book/Lyricist Cara Reichel
Through August 19, 2023
This musical is a treat from start to finish. It is also such a pleasure to be able to experience full-blown musicals on stage again. Taproot’s choice is a wonderful summer treat!
Likely, you won’t know the true history this musical is based on. But boy! is it fun to find out about it!
During World War I, at a time when women were sorely underemployed and shunted into very specific “pink” jobs, some women found themselves employed as telephone operators. It was a newer profession, since telephones themselves were pretty new. Operators used large banks of plug-in boards where they had to learn which cords to specifically plug into which switch, quickly and seamlessly. This was a good job across the country.
Logically, the need for seamless, fast telephone service applied to the Armed Services, particularly in a war situation. As the war heated up, the generals realized that telephone connections were crucial, and that the reality was that the best operators were women. They were needed in France and had to be bilingual. This is the story of how a bunch of pioneering, brave women fought their way into the military and became unsung heroes of the military communication network.
The cast at Taproot is top-notch. It is mostly an ensemble piece with one star turn from Cassi Q Kohl as Grace Banker. Kohl is onstage almost every minute as the woman with natural leadership skills and an innate sense of self-esteem. She is indefatigable, with a belting power that lasts throughout the entire show – which is about two and a half hours. She is riveting.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

August Theater In Seattle Includes Classics, Parodies And….Ms. Pak-Man!


Ms. Pac-Man (courtesy Shoes and Pants Productions)

Here's your opportunity this summer to revisit classic works from Ibsen and Shakespeare plus new plays and campy comedies to amuse us between barbecues. Get outcher calendars!

Hedda Gabler, General Gabler’s Theatre (GGT), 8/4-12/23 (at West of Lenin)
Hedda, a 19th Century woman with plenty of will but no room to exact it, thought she made a wise deal with the man she just married. She would be his wife, and he would provide her with the safe and respectable means to occupy her active mind. When it becomes clear that her husband can’t fulfill his end of the bargain, her mind quickly turns dangerous.
Ballabhpur Ki Roopkatha, Pratidhwani, 8/4-13/23 (at Ethnic Cultural Theatre)
Once (upon a time) there was a King. His name was Bhoopati Rai. He had a Quee... Nope! He had no queen. That doesn't work! What kind of a fairytale has a king with no queen? To tell you the truth, this isn't a very good tale at all. In fact, it is quite weak in some spots. But if you come to listen to our tale, we will be glad to tell it to you! A Hindi translation of Badal Sircar's original Bengali play.
Titanish, Marxiano Productions with Seattle Public Theater, 8/10/23-9/17/23
Crashing onto the shores of Green Lake this August, this musical parody (that lampoons the epic film) will showcase the wit and creativity that The Habit Comedy writers are acclaimed for. If you missed it last summer, here’s your chance to see and hear all the silliness, and enjoy a giant ship recreated in a tiny theater.

Dancing at Lughnasa, SecondStory Repertory, 8/11-27/23
This intimate portrait of a country and a family at a crossroads, set in rural Ireland in 1936, tells the tale of five unmarried sisters -- the proud Mundy sisters -- staving off the hardships of daily life through talk, laughter and dance. But after they welcome their frail missionary brother home from Uganda, several intersecting events threaten to irreparably burst the Mundy women's fragile bubble of happiness.

Festival of New Musicals, Village Theatre, 8/12-13/23
The premiere developmental workshops for new musicals has again drawn major musical theater-writing talent to Issaquah for a weeklong process with professional actors, directors and music directors. The culmination of the work will be presented over two days. “Festival” is a fun-filled and exciting annual summer event, and this weekend is a significant marker in the post-Covid theater landscape!

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

July Theater - Hot Outsides or Cool Indoors!


Get ready to get outside! Mainland or islands, there's plenty to soak in at parks in the wide area. There are also choices if you don't want to sit in the hot sun, so get outcher calendars!

Falsettos, Harlequin Productions, 7/1-22/23
Winner of two 1992 Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical and set in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, Falsettos revolves around the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, his about- to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door. It’s a poignant look at the infinite possibilities that make up a modern family.
The Tempest, Seattle Shakespeare Company/Wooden O, 7/6/23-8/6/23 (various parks)
When you’re stranded on an enchanted island for twelve long years with only your daughter and magical spirits for company, it turns out you have plenty of time for plotting revenge. Enter Prospero, the erstwhile Duke of Milan who was usurped by his brother Antonio. Prospero’s ire at his brother is given glorious life when Antonio and his crew sail too close to the island, and with the aid of his magical spirit Ariel, he conjures a supernatural storm to shipwreck the passengers. But his plot goes awry as the island becomes a wondrous playground for romance, trickery, and spectacle, ultimately leading to forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Fairy’s Bottom: A Midsummer Burlesque, Marxiano Productions, 7/6-16/23 (at The Triple Door)
From the creators of the absinthe infused hit Bohemia and Seattle Vice comes a new show that undresses the Shakespearean classic A Midsummer Night's Dream, and reveals a clever and sexy new cabaret. Original music by hosts Mark Siano and Opal Peachey will invite audiences into the fairy's bower where some of the Northwest's hottest dancing nymphs and dryads will entertain adventurous human guests.