Thursday, September 07, 2017

September Blossoms With Theater Openings

The cast of The Who and The What at ArtsWest (courtesy ArtsWest)
If it’s back-to-school, that’s the signal for Back to Theater. 26 productions are listed here and there are likely others. Get out your calendars – you have some work to do!

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Lamplight Productions, 9/1-17/17 (at Bathhouse Theatre)
Christopher Durang plays with Chekhov’s themes and comments on age, entitlement, and social media with ridiculous comedy. Siblings Vanya and Sonia live in the family home in Bucks County, PA spending their days doing nothing but lamenting. Masha, the third sibling (who is funding their life with her movie star career), returns home with a beautiful and very young boyfriend and life as Vanya and Sonia know it is threatened.

The Tempest, Fern Shakespeare Company, 9/1-16/17 (at Slate Theater)
Marooned on a deserted island with a child for twelve years, Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan, finds that those that conspired against him have shipwrecked and washed up on the same shore. Shakespeare asks difficult questions. What will happen when Prospero’s past and present life collides? What does it mean to be human?  Do we ever truly have control over the events of our lives and those we love? Or is the adage true, that if you truly love something you must let it go?

The Who & The What, ArtsWest and Pratidhwani, 9/7/17-10/1/17
Brilliant Pakistani-American writer Zarina is focused on finishing her novel about women and Islam when she meets Eli, a young convert to Islam, who bridges the gulf between her modern life and her traditional heritage. But when her conservative father and sister discover her controversial manuscript, they are all forced to confront the beliefs that define them. From Ayad Akhtar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Disgraced.
Dragon Lady, Intiman Theatre, 9/5/17-10/1/17 (at Jones Playhouse)
60 YEARS. 3 GENERATIONS. 1 Filipino Gangster Family. Sara Porkalob portrays multiple family members from three generations in this moving and new musical about what it means to be brown, poor and newly American. This new iteration features a live band, an intimate theatre setting, and a plot that includes gangsters, murders and more.

Starball: A Dreamy Musical Astronomy Show, John Kaufmann and Dan Dennis, 9/7-11/17 (at West of Lenin)
After more than a decade performing at planetariums around the world, Kaufman and Dennis are bringing their show home to Seattle. They developed “Starball” while working together at  Pacific Science Center. The show literally brings audiences’ dreams to life at West of Lenin's pop-up planetarium, specially built for this production. The production combines live theater, improvisation, original music, and cosmological inquiry into an entertaining, engaging performance. Taking inspiration from audience members’ actual dreams, the performers facilitate the creation of new constellations and mythologies in the night sky.

Blues for Mister Charlie, The Williams Project, 9/7-10/17 (at Emerald City Bible Fellowship), 9/13-17/17 (at Franklin High School)
The Williams Project, in partnership with Emerald City Bible Fellowship and Franklin High School, presents James Baldwin’s classic American play Blues for Mister Charlie. Baldwin’s rarely produced masterpiece explores race and violence in the United States with honesty, music, dark humor, and compassion. In a small southern town, a white shopkeeper kills a black musician. As white and black residents create their own versions of events and tensions rise, a Reverend, a journalist, and the shopkeeper’s wife struggle to find and make sense of the truth. The play is Baldwin’s response to the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till. All tickets are Pay-What-You-Can.  

King of the Yees, ACT Theatre, 9/8/17-10/1/17 
For nearly 20 years, playwright Lauren Yee’s father Larry has been a driving force in the Yee Family Association, a seemingly obsolescent Chinese American men’s club formed 150 years ago in the wake of the Gold Rush. But when her father goes missing, Lauren must plunge into the rabbit hole of San Francisco Chinatown and confront a world both foreign and familiar. King of the Yees is an epic joyride across cultural, national and familial borders that explores what it means to truly be a Yee.

My Fair Lady, Seattle Musical Theatre, 9/8/17-10/1/17
A young flower peddler in Edwardian-era London encounters a linguistics professor who takes on an experiment to turn her into a well-spoken lady. Classic songs include, "Wouldn't it Be Loverly?", "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "I Could Have Danced All Night”.

The Earth Shakes, Heron Ensemble, 9/8-16/17 (at 18th&Union)
HERON presents an ambitious original work by NYC playwright Samantha Cooper, loosely based on Shakespeare's epic Antony and Cleopatra.

Something Rotten!, 5th Avenue Theatre, 9/12/17-10/1/17
Welcome to the ‘90s—the 1590s. Brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard.” When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL! But amidst the scandalous excitement of Opening Night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to thine own self… and all that jazz. Something Rotten! was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Book-It Repertory Theatre, 9/13/17-10/15/17
An adaptation of Maya Angelou’s masterpiece, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings chronicles Angelou’s experiences from age three through the birth of her son. Despite wrenching childhood trauma and racism, she finds her voice, rises above it, and learns to use her identity as a source of strength.

Julius Caesar, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 9/13/17-10/1/17 (at Cornish Playhouse)
After the adoring public raises the charismatic Caesar to power, political factions question the leader’s motives and growing influence. Whispers of mutiny rumble through the corridors of power. Brutus and Cassius reach a dire conclusion that will set their country on the edge of collapse.

Into the Woods, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 9/14/17-10/22/17, Everett: 10/27/17-11/19/17
A Tony- and Drama Desk Award-winning musical, Into the Woods is where your favorite storybook characters collide and “happily ever after” is just the beginning. You might think you know the stories of Little Red, Cinderella, Jack, and Rapunzel, but when the Baker and his wife learn they have been cursed by a witch, their quest to break the spell may have devastating results.

Why We Have a Body, Strawberry Theatre Workshop, 9/14/17-10/14/17 (at 12th Avenue Arts)
Playwright Claire Chafee presents four women who have each built lives for themselves outside of patriarchal expectations—lives without children, lives without husbands, and one life beyond the rule of law.  They demonstrate the illusion of LGBTQ-identifying individuals gaining equality, and the constrictions placed on women who were brought up in a world defined by men

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Fully Reciprocal Theatre Company, 9/14-30/17 (at Alhadeff Studio Theater, Seattle Center)
Set on the campus of an East coast college, during one truth-exposing night, we meet Nick, a biology professor, and his wife, Honey, visiting the older George, a failed prof in the history department, and his bawdy, vituperative wife, Martha. After lubricating their guests with booze, Martha and George begin a series of initially innocent, but increasingly terrifying mind games with each other and their guests. As the night builds to a hideous, cruel frenzy, George turns on Martha, forcing her to face her most deep‐seated illusions and self‐deceptions.

Teh Internet is Serious Business, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 9/15/17-10/2/17
Forward slash, forward slash, angle bracket, quotation, command, dialogue, angle bracket, semicolon: it’s 2004, the year hacktivist group Anonymous emerged as a can’t-be-tamed digital authority with unexpected influence. This mercurial and irreverent tale follows the network’s pointed take down of the Church of Scientology and ponders the revolution of online global power. Can you feel the lulz?

las mariposas Y los muertos, Forward Flux Productions, 9/19/17-10/7/17 (at West of Lenin) world premiere (in repertory with No More Sad Things)
Playwright Benjamin Benne  introduces Las Mariposas, who have poised themselves to be the next great buzz band. As momentum picks up and their following grows, the band begins to divide over what artistic compromises are too much to make. In the digital age, when everything put into cyber space leaves a permanent imprint, Elena, Celestina, and Molly find themselves questioning their identity, integrity, and public image.

No More Sad Things, Forward Flux Productions, 9/19/17-10/7/17 (at West of Lenin) world premiere (in repertory with las mariposas Y los muertos)
A woman catches a last-minute flight to Maui to escape the woes of her mainland life. She meets a boy on the shores of Ka'anapali, and something strange and familiar draws them to each other. Their encounter sets in motion a magical journey through the past and present as she attempts to avoid the sad things in her life. They spend the week together and are forever changed. The woman is 32. The boy is not.

Relativity, Taproot Theatre, 9/20/17-10/21/17 (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere)
Playwright Mark St. Germain (who wrote Best of Enemies) writes that in 1902 Albert and Minerva Einstein had a daughter. After 1904 she was never seen or spoken of again. Fast forward to 1948, as an insistent reporter searches for answers to Einstein’s secrets, only to discover that not everything adds up.

Ay Carmela!, Latino Theatre Projects, 9/21/17-10/7/17 (at Theatre Off Jackson)
Carmela and her husband Paulino travel with their variety show up and down Spain during the Spanish Civil War. They accidentally cross the front without realizing it from the Republican to the Franco side. When they are surprised by Franco's troops, they are forced to improvise a theatrical performance in honor of the fascist army, which ends in tragedy. Using music, comedy, pathos, and fantastical realism, the play explores a confused space dominated by fear, aggression, and the innocence that is always silenced by war.

ONĒRUS™, Café Nordo, 9/21/17-11/19/17
The year is 2046.  Transparency, the technology allowing citizens to be connected to the cloud 24 hours a day through their brains, has rendered the citizens of Cascadia incapable of dreaming.  You have heard tell of the machines at ONĒRUS™, 100% organic dreams harvested from Deviants. The day has arrived when your credit account reads ONĒRUS™ DREAM VIEWING AVAILABLE.   You cash in your Credits™. What will real dreams taste like? 

The Last 5 Years,, 9/21/17-10/2/17 (at Taproot Theatre)
The Jason Robert Brown musical features a couple telling their musical relationship story backwards from each other. This iteration is created by two actor/pianists making a unique musical experience for both the actors and the audience. Starring Aaron Lamb as Jamie and Katherine Strohmaier as Cathy.

Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, Theater Schmeater, 9/22/17-10/14/17
In a suburban subdivision with identical houses, parents find their teenagers addicted to an online horror video game. The game setting? A subdivision with identical houses. The goal? Smash through an army of zombies to escape the neighborhood for good. But as the line blurs between virtual and reality, both parents and players realize that fear has a life of its own.

Witness For The Prosecution, Centerstage Theatre, 9/22/17-10/8/17
An Agasta Christie mystery thriller. The hunt is on to find the murderer of a wealthy glamorous heiress who is found dead in her London townhouse.

Closer, SecondStory Repertory, 9/22/17-10/7/17
Four lives intertwine over the course of four and a half years in this densely plotted, stinging look at modern love and betrayal. This quartet struggles to find intimacy but can't seem to get closer. This show is intended for mature audiences only.

Next Fall, Fantastic.Z Theatre, 9/29/17-10/14/17 (at Ballard Underground)
Luke believes in God. Adam believes in everything else. Next Fall portrays the ups and downs of this unlikely couple’s five-year relationship with sharp humor and unflinching honesty. And when an accident changes everything, Adam must turn to Luke’s family and friends for support… and answers. A beautiful and funny portrait of modern romance, asking the hard questions about commitment, love, and faith.

Aishé Keita (Young Maya) and Brennie Tellu (Maya) in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at Book-It Repertory Theatre
(Photo by Chris Bennion)

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