Sunday, March 03, 2019

March Roars With Theater Openings!

Sunam Ellis and Ayo Tushinde in the world premiere of Sheathed by Maggie Lee (Laura Dux Photography)
The start of 2019 has seen a few exciting productions, but at a sort of “measured pace.” March is changing all that immediately with 21 productions listed here! Children’s productions from Thistle Theater and SCT vie with major musicals and some of the most anticipated shows of the year. Two shows that were presented with the same casts years ago make a much-anticipated return – if you did not see Always…Patsy Cline or Returning the Bones before, both of them are sure to be as marvelous the second time around (although very, very different subjects)! Get your calendars out and start “puzzling!”

Romeo + Juliet, ACT Theatre, 3/1-31/19 (opens 3/7)
Yes, it’s still Shakespeare’s play, but with Joshua Castille as Romeo, the classic story of two young star-crossed lovers who are kept apart by feuding families is performed like it’s never been seen before. ACT is partnering with leaders in the Deaf community to create a production in both spoken English and ASL and makes it accessible for Deaf and hearing audiences alike.

Man of La Mancha, SecondStory Repertory, 3/1-24/19
An imprisoned man must tell a story to the other prisoners or risk dying. He tells one of a dying old man who refuses to relinquish his ideals or his passion, and inspires them all. The celebrated score includes "The Impossible Dream," "I, Don Quixote," and "Dulcinea.”

Magic Teakettle, Thistle Theatre, 3/2-17/19 (various locations)
In a Japanese temple, a teakettle is placed over the fire for the tea ceremony. Suddenly, it sprouts a tail, a head and the four legs of a Tanuki (a raccoon-like animal found in Japan).  Fearing the strange creature with the body of a teakettle, the Priest returns it to the peddler woman who sold it to him.  She gives the Tanuki a home and food and grateful for her kindness, the Tanuki reveals he is Bumbuku Chagama, a teakettle of good luck. Together they start a theatre and the Magic Teakettle of Good Luck performs acrobatic tricks. (Bunraku puppetry)

 Caught, Intiman Theatre, 3/7-30/19 (at 12th Avenue Arts)
An art gallery hosts a retrospective of the work of a legendary Chinese dissident artist who was imprisoned in a Chinese detention center for a single work of art. The artist is present and shares with patrons the details of an ordeal that defies belief. A labyrinthine exploration of truth, art, social justice, and cultural appropriation, where nothing is as it first appears.

Sheathed, Macha Theatre Works, 3/8-23/19 (at Theatre Off Jackson) (world premiere)
Playwright Maggie Lee is a writer you should be following by now! Her new play focuses on two swordswomen try to find their way forward in the aftermath of a devastating war between clans. In this strange new world of peace, one tries to escape her past, and the other is driven by an inherited thirst for revenge. When your very existence is defined by your blade, how do you keep the violence within yourself sheathed?

Trevor, MAP Theatre, 3/8-30/19 (at 18th & Union)
Trevor is a tragicomedy about family, the nature of love, and the lies we tell ourselves to avoid facing sad and terrible truths. At the center of this world are Trevor, an almost-famous chimpanzee, and his owner and "mom" Sandra. Trevor’s getting older and more uncontrollable by the day, but Sandra knows Trevor would never hurt a fly ... not on purpose, anyway. A painfully funny satire exploring how flawed communication can lead to disaster.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 3/14/19-4/21/19, Everett: 4/26/19-5/19/19
When 15-year-old Christopher is wrongfully accused of murdering his neighbor’s dog, he sets off to solve the mystery and prove his innocence. Equipped with an extraordinary brain, but hampered by a strong distrust of strangers and a personal struggle to interpret everyday life, this adventure will turn his life upside-down – while giving the audience an intimate look at the world through his eyes. The Village Theatre production will add new musical compositions and choreography to this play!

Always... Patsy Cline, Taproot Theatre, 3/14/19-4/6/19
Kate Jaeger and Cayman Ilika star in this warm retrospective of the hits of Patsy Cline. Her story is told through her unlikely friendship with Texas housewife, Louise Seger. This musical tribute includes hits like “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy.”

Balloonacy, Seattle Children’s Theatre, 3/14/19-7/7/19
In this wordless, situational comedy, The Old Man, who lives alone, prepares to celebrate his birthday. To his surprise, the solitary festivities are interrupted when a playful Red Balloon floats into his apartment, shaking up his normal routine. The Balloon teases and delights the Old Man. Through physical comedy, the two enjoy a surprising number of adventures. Ages 3+.

Ms. Pak-Man: Mazed and Confused!, Shoes and Pants Productions, 3/14-30/19 (at Re-Bar)
More Scott Shoemaker funnin’. It’s the 5th installment! Hold onto your joysticks, it’s going to be a bumpy night!

John, ArtsWest, 3/14/19-4/7/19
Annie Baker, an award-winning playwright frequently performed in Seattle, writes about a weekend bed & breakfast. The shadow of infidelity hangs over a young couple struggling to rebuild their relationship. The elderly owner shares her own memories and ghosts real and imagined arrive to haunt the living. Blending keen realism with the eerily supernatural, this quiet tale is unafraid to seek beauty in one of the most startling places: the solitude of human experience.

Jitterbug Perfume, Café Nordo, 3/14/19-5/12/19
A large and exotic cast of characters are interested in immortality and/or perfume. Immortal lovers trek from medieval Bohemia to present-day Paris by way of a Tibetan lamasery, the Bandaloop caves in India, Byzantine Constantinople, Pan's Greece, frontier America, and the afterworld. Others are in Seattle and New Orleans and Paris. Adapted from the Tom Robbins novel: What do perfume and immortality have to do with each other? They are both related to memory.

A Doll's House, Part 2, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 3/15/19-4/28/19
Nora Helmer is returning home after closing the door on her life with her husband Torvald and their three children 15 years prior. Her unexpected homecoming is met with recriminations and the family drama unfolds in this explosively entertaining continuation of Henrik Ibsen's acclaimed A Doll's House. The play explores gender roles and societal expectations through the eyes of a woman mired in an era for which she is simply too exceptional.

She Stoops to Conquer, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 3/19/19-4/14/19 (Center Theater)
A raucous comedic romp about a practical joke that leads to mistaken identities, and a young woman clever enough to use it to her advantage. Marlow, the young man that Kate Hardcastle desires, is too shy to talk to well-born ladies. When a practical joke has him believing she’s a working-class barmaid, Kate seizes the opportunity. While wrangling her meddling step-mother, blusterous father, and rascally step-brother, can Kate convince Marlow to love her for who she really is?

We Will Not Be Silent, Taproot, 3/20/19-4/27/19
A gripping historical drama is based on the true story of an ordinary young woman during the meteoric rise of Nazi Germany. Twenty-one-year-old Sophie Scholl is a college student, anti-Nazi activist and, along with her brother, a member of The White Rose resistance. Charged with treason and held in a German prison, Sophie is forced to play a psychological game of cat and mouse as she fights for her life and soul with a Nazi interrogator. This emotionally charged story testifies to the courage required to live out your values.

Dry Land, Seattle Public Theater, 3/22/19-4/14/19
Amy and Ester must find a way to terminate Amy’s unwanted pregnancy. Soon. Limited by their age and the legal restrictions on reproductive health services in their locality, the two best friends meet in the locker room of their Florida high school and do their best to manage the situation while struggling with academics, athletics, and their own respective physical and emotional growing

Marie, Dancing Still – A New Musical, 5th Avenue Theatre, 3/22/19-4/14/19
Director and choreographer Susan Stroman helms this new musical based on a famed masterpiece by Edgar Degas, “Little Dancer,” and the unknown dancer, Marie, who inspired it. Part fact, part fiction and set in the glamorous and dangerous backstage world of the Paris Opera Ballet, this magnificent new musical follows a young woman caught between the conflicting demands of life and art, and an artist with one last chance for greatness.

Returning the Bones, Book-It Repertory Theatre, 3/28/19-4/14/19 (at Erickson Theatre) (opens 3/30)
A solo piece by Gin Hammond tells of a young African-American medical student suddenly faced with a question only she can answer: continue to risk her life in the fight for Civil Rights, or escape to Paris to live a life she’s always dreamed of? 28 characters explore the question: How do you choose between your country, your people, and yourself? The story weaves between the U.S. South and racism, and interweaves World War II, the Holocaust, and anti-Semitism, to illuminate it all.

Feathers and Teeth, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 3/29/19-4/15/19
Stepparents are usually a drag, but Chris’ new stepmom might actually be evil incarnate. When a mysterious creature shows up at their home, poor, grieving Chris sees it as a sign to avenge her mother’s death and take back her life, family, and future once and for all. This twisted horror-comedy grapples with the power of grief and the dangers of the other side.

Mamma Mia!, Seattle Musical Theatre, 3/29/19-4/14/19
On a small Greek island, Sophie dreams of her perfect wedding which includes her father giving her away. The problem? Sophie doesn’t know which of three men he really is! Her mother, Donna, the former lead singer of a 1970s pop group, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands. She secretly invites them all to the wedding which leads to chaos and hilarity. Told through the legendary music of ABBA, Mamma Mia! has become a worldwide sensation that has audiences everywhere singing and dancing.

My Name is Asher Lev, Seattle Jewish Theater Company, 3/31/19-4/28/19 (various locations)
A young Jewish artist is torn between his Hassidic upbringing and his desperate need to fulfill his deep need to paint. When his artistic genius threatens to destroy his relationship with his parents and community, young Asher realizes he must make a difficult choice between art and faith. This stirring adaptation of a modern classic presents a heartbreaking and triumphant vision of what it means to be an artist.

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