Friday, December 27, 2019

January 2020 Theater Openings – Ripe for an Adventurous New Year!

Eric Ankrim and Allison Standley in She Loves Me at Village Theatre (Danielle Barnum)

January theater openings ramp back up in the usual robust way with significant world premiere productions, classics in both plays and musicals, and lots of politics! If you can’t find something that appeals to you, you just aren’t looking! Make your New Year resolution to go to a production from a company you’ve never tried before, or never heard of before! Get your adventuresome calendars out!

The Rivals at Seattle Shakespeare Company (HMMM Productions)
The Rivals, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 1/7/20-2/2/20
Not by Shakespeare, but by Richard Sheridan, an 18th Century reverie on the elusive magic of true love filled with extravagant characters and hilarious circumstances. Young and wealthy Lydia Languish insists on finding and marrying a poor man for the sake of true love. Captain Jack Absolute pretends to be a poor army officer. Aiding and thwarting Jack’s pursuit are a collection of comic characters including his cranky father, Sir Anthony, Lydia’s meddling and misspoken aunt, Mrs. Malaprop, and a pair of adversaries: the jovial Bob Acres and the salty Sir Lucius O’Trigger. Director George Mount and his design team create a twist to the story that involves both the original setting in the 1780s and the 1980s.

Reparations, Sound Theatre Company, 1/8/20-2/2/20 (world premiere) (at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute)
The idea of reparations (making some repayment to progeny of those brought as slaves to our country) resonates now more than ever as we navigate questions of ownership and accountability within ourselves, society and the American government at large. By examining the secrets and traumas we carry in our bloodlines, playwright Darren Canady urges us to inch closer and closer to decolonizing and deconstructing the dominant narrative.

14/48: The World’s Quickest Theater Festival, ACTLab, 1/10-18/20
Part theater magic, part sporting event, 14/48: The World’s Quickest Theater Festival (14/48: TWQTF) brings its unique brand of theatre-making to ACT Theatre. In an epic challenge of creativity and endurance, 14 world-premiere plays will be written, cast, designed, directed, scored, rehearsed, and performed in 48 hours. That same process is repeated for a second weekend. It’s never ever a repeat, so it’s never ever the same.

True West, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 1/17/20-2/15/20 (opens 1/22)
Sam Shepherd’s now classic play about two brothers from different walks of life – one a successful screenwriter, the other a restless drifter – who clash while housesitting for their mother in a sweltering Los Angeles suburb. This outlandishly funny and unsettling Pulitzer Prize-nominated comedy gleefully detonates our misguided myths of family, identity, and the American Dream.

She Loves Me, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 1/16/20-2/23/20, Everett: 2/28/20-3/22/20
From the combined talents of the creators of Fiddler on the Roof and Cabaret (book writer Joe Masteroff, composer Jerry Bock, and lyricist Sheldon Harnick) comes the musical romance that inspired the hit film You’ve Got Mail. Considered by many to be “the perfect musical!” Shop clerks Amalia and Georg have never quite seen eye to eye, but what they don’t know is that they have already fallen in love – through a “lonely hearts advertisement.” A warm romantic comedy with an endearing innocence and a touch of old-world elegance.

The Revolutionists, ArtsWest, 1/16/20-2/9/20
Four beautiful, badass women: Playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle (three of them real historical figures) lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. As this fearless comedy about a motley female foursome unfolds, playwright Lauren Gunderson rewrites the book on violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world.

[MISS], Edmonds Driftwood Players, 1/16-19/20
Based on true events, this play tells the story of Dr. Frances Kelsey’s battle with a powerful drug company to prevent thalidomide from being approved for release in the United States. Concerned about the drug’s potential effect on pregnant women, she resists the drug company’s attacks to force her to back down. The play focuses on the challenges women face in science and the ability of one uncompromising woman to change history and save lives.

Dance Nation, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 1/17/20-2/3/20
Clare Barron’s Pulitzer-nominated play explores the cutthroat world of a preteen competitive dance team on the brink of having it all. Dance Teacher Pat will bring his army of ferocious youth performers all the way to nationals but only if they can harness their immense potential first. This razor-sharp story is a celebration of the unsettling and at times terrifying power of young women as they navigate their own monumental ambition. Sparkles, fangs, and intense feminine energy: what more could you want?

Noises Off, Harlequin Productions, 1/17/20-2/8/20
Noises Off presents a hilarious behind-the-scenes peek at an acting troupe rehearsing and performing the comedy “Nothing’s On.” After barely making it from final dress rehearsal to opening night, things quickly deteriorate during the run, culminating in a closing night disaster that threatens to jinx the old saying, “The show must go on.” In three acts: Act One, Act One, and Act One.

Steel Magnolias, Taproot Theatre, 1/22/20-2/29/20
M'Lynn is the mother of bride-to-be Shelby, and as friend Truvy Jones fixes the women's hair for the ceremony, they welcome a helping hand from aspiring beautician Annelle Dupuy Desoto. Shelby has a diabetic health scare, which is averted but doesn't bode well for her hopes of having children. Time passes, and the women and their friends encounter tragedy and good fortune, growing stronger and closer in the process. Moving from screen to stage, this is a heartwarming American classic.

Our Country’s Good, Strawberry Theatre Workshop, 1/23/20-2/22/20
The United States incarcerates more people than any country in the world, keeping 22% of the world's prisoners behind bars. Many are jailed awaiting trial or a hearing on their immigration status. This play invites audiences to a place where the population is 100% jailed and jailers.  The year is 1787, and the place is the British colony of Sydney, Australia.  In one of the cruelest episodes of criminal justice in history, the governing class has ruled that criminals—even petty thieves and non-violent offenders—must be killed or exiled from England.  There is no rehabilitation for a class of humans genetically defective. Playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker re-imagined this historical scene as 11 actors play dual roles—each as one soldier and one convict—in her retelling of a British officer's experiment with art among the prisoners. 

Liquid Hot, Woody Shticks, 1/23-26/20 (at 18th & Union)
Slip into something a little uncomfortable as comic stripper Woody Shticks gets trapped on a porno set with little more than his spicy signature blend of stand-up, strip, and story. In a night thick with slick satire and compromising positions, Woody reveals more than secrets as he gets down and dirty with power and privilege. Come for the snickers but stay for the kickers in this scalding sex comedy

You’d Better Sit Down for This, Annex Theatre, 1/30/20-2/29/20 (world premiere)
A kooky new sci-fi comedy by local writers Eric Navarrette and Jasmine Joshua focuses on Margaret Lovelace who has always considered herself a normal citizen. But when a mysterious summons to the DMV turns her whole life upside down, she’s left with more questions than answers. How can she be a robot? Did she really contract Robotitis in the Bahamas all those many years ago? Why didn’t the DMV agent ask her to sit down for this before dropping this bombshell? How come the DMV handles these sort of cases? Because this is really the Department of Monster Verification (you see, their logo is different)! Robots, werewolves, lost loves, super powers, and more!

Admissions, Seattle Public Theater, 1/30/20-2/23/20
Sherri Rosen-Mason is head of the admissions department at a New England prep school, fighting to diversify the student body.  Alongside her husband, the school's Headmaster, they've largely succeeded in bringing a stodgy institution into the twenty-first century. But when their only son sets his sights on an Ivy League university, personal ambition collides with progressive values, with convulsive results.

Bliss, 5th Avenue Theatre, 1/31/20-2/23/20 (world premiere)
Comedian Mario Cantone invades Seattle to star in this brand-new musical! The Deep Dark Forest is a mysterious place where fairy godfathers await to grant your every wish for your “happily ever after” guaranteed. Or is it? Bliss tears up the rules on happy endings. In this fractured fairytale with an addictive pop rock score, four wildly distinctive royal sisters sneak out of their castle and discover an intoxicating world of fancy balls and dreamy princes—and a burning desire to be at the center of it all. In a world that demands they fit in, it will take a sister’s love to remind them to stand out. Together they discover that chasing their bliss means leaving expectations behind. Chock-a-block with Broadway directing and technical talent, this musical has clear aspirations!

Saint Joan, SecondStory Repertory, 1/31/20-2/16/20
Joan of Arc of France fought and defeated the besieging English at Orleans, was captured and taken prisoner in Burgundy, and put on trial and burned at the stake - all by the age of 19. Depicted as neither witch, saint nor madwoman in George Bernard Shaw's compelling story, Joan is but a farm girl whose focus on the individual rocks the church and state.

Let There Be Love, Centerstage, 1/31/20-2/23/20 (world premiere)
Playwright Mrinalini Kamath’s romantic comedy with a lot of depth – and a few twists. Elite matchmaker Deedee and her son Eric run an agency, and as Deedee's star begins to rise and Eric takes his love life into his own hands, secrets and challenges begin to emerge from all directions. An absorbing look at love, technology, and whether truth can be subjective. Ages 16 up.

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