Thursday, June 30, 2016

July means Free Theater in the Park and so much more!

Sara Porkalob and her real grandma, Maria Porkalob, Sr. aka "The Dragon Lady" (Joe Iano)
July means Free Theater – in the parks, of course. Go to to see the whole schedule including children’s shows for the annual Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival, July 9 and 10 all over Volunteer Park. That weekend explodes with eight (8!) other shows, so unless you’re a clone, you’re going to miss something. Get out those calendars!

The Aliens, ReAct, 7/1-24/16 (at West of Lenin)
In the back of a Vermont coffee shop, a pair of society's misfits spend their days singing songs, writing novels and lamenting past loves. When a young barista asks them to leave, the duo initiate him in the ways of the world, the writings of Bukowski, and the true worth of life. A 2010 Obie Award-winning play by Annie Baker.

Big Fish, Taproot Theatre, 7/6/16-8/13/16
Edward Bloom has never been much of a dad, but as fantasy wages war with reality his tall tales of mermaids and giants may make his son a better man. Let yourself be reeled in by this adventurous and romantic musical as a son fishes for the answer to the looming question: Is Edward Bloom a lunatic, a liar or a living legend? Taproot’s summer musical.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Don't be "Sorry" - See this show...

Cast of Sorry (Alabastro Photography)
Thalia’s Umbrella
(at 12th Avenue Arts)
Through June 26, 2016

If you’re a certain age (middle), you might get pretty tired of all the plays focused on young people. Why the hell are there So Many Plays About Teenagers??? Well, Thalia’s Umbrella is giving you a welcome break with a wonderful script, Sorry, by Richard Nelson that presents a quad of middle-aged siblings dealing with their elderly uncle.

The three sisters, Barbara, Marian, and Jane Apple (Jeanne Paulsen, Macall Gordon, and Leslie Law) and brother Richard (Terry Edward Moore) have a difficult decision to put into effect. They have decided it’s time to move their beloved uncle Benjamin (William Hall, Jr.) into a facility, because it has become too much for Barbara to manage caring for him by herself.

Monday, June 13, 2016

"9 Circles" is a Hell of a Ride

Sylvester Kamara and Conner Neddersen in 9 Circles (John Ulman)
9 Circles
Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Through June 25, 2016

Playwright Bill Cain is also a Jesuit priest. This combination of background allows his compassion for everyone to be written into the complex stories that he presents on stage. A real life story about a young man with a probable personality disorder who is accused of raping and killing a 14-year-old Afghan girl and her family prompted the writing of 9 Circles.

Strawberry Theatre Workshop is presenting a taut and exciting production starring Conner Neddersen as Pfc Daniel Edward Reeves. Reeves echoes the circumstances of Pvt Steven Green (convicted in 2009) in real life. Neddersen gives the role everything he’s got, which is considerable. His character is tense, he is wary, he absorbs everything fed to him and feeds it back appropriately. It’s a brilliant portrayal in a whip-smart play.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

"The Mystery of Love & Sex" fails to reflect 2016 sensibilities

Cast of The Mystery of Love & Sex (Chris Bennion)
The Mystery of Love & Sex
ACT Theatre
Through June 26, 2016

The Mystery of Love & Sex, the new play at ACT Theatre, ought to be buried and never done again anywhere. At least for the Greater Seattle area. Or at least for LGBT folks….

My opinion is not because playwright Bathsheba Doran is a bad writer, because there are some very good jokes in the play, and you can hear that there is a good writer in there somewhere. But the script is presented as if it is something new and different and edgy, and in fact it is dated and appallingly unaware of how retro and unattractive its sentiments are about growing up and coming out Gay, and the supposed daringness of people now in their early twenties to be able to get along across racial lines! “WHAT? How CAN they?”

It’s clear that white, older, liberal Seattle will eat this tepid dish up. The audience loved it. But it’s a pretty fair bet that they don’t know how easy it is for young folks these days to talk about maybe being Gay or Bi or even Trans, and as far as having friends from different racial backgrounds, that’s almost not even something they talk about! Some probably barely notice!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

"Stick Fly" a good way for Intiman to start off summer of African-American playwrights

Tyler Trerise and Chantal DeGroat in Stick Fly (Inye Wokoma)
Stick Fly
Intiman Theatre
(at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute)
Through June 19, 2016

Intiman’s season, this summer, is a celebration of African-American women playwrights. That is a great plan! A chunk of time in the summer will be used for readings from several playwrights, and you should check the website: for times and dates and writers. They are mounting two full productions; the first is open and staging at Langston Hughes Performance Arts Institute.

Stick Fly is by Lydia R. Diamond. It notably avoids the stereotype of the poor black family, setting this family drama in a Cape Cod cottage during a family get-together. But issues of class, historic racism in the community, and absentee fathers play heavily in the script.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

“Caught” at Seattle Public Asks What Is True

Lin Bo (Kevin Lin) in Caught (John Ulman)

Seattle Public Theater
Through June 12, 2016

We hang a lot on “truth” and believing in something real. We like to feel anchored and then free to explore. How many like to go somewhere new and then put your clothing and possessions into hotel drawers so you feel “at home” before you wander off explore the new environment?

Caught, by Christopher Chen, is a play at Seattle Public Theater. But it’s more an experience in disorientation than any kind of story. It asks what truth is. It challenges us to look at what we believe or understand and then shakes us up to ask that again and again and again.

Friday, June 03, 2016

"Billy Elliot" – A Joyous Event at Village

Billy Elliot older and younger duet (Mark Kitaoka)
Billy Elliot the Musical
Village Theatre
Issaquah: through July 3, 2016
Everett: July 8-31, 2016

Village Theatre has undertaken an enormously difficult challenge with the mounting of the musical Billy Elliot, by Elton John and Lee Hall. I think they’ve pulled it off, by golly!

It’s based on the movie about a young British boy who finds a love of ballet, during the 1983 mining troubles there. The gritty miners, including Billy’s own family, have great difficulty moving past their prejudices about ballet, but finally find their way to supporting Billy in his quest to get to ballet school.