Wednesday, December 22, 2021

An Entrancing World Premiere from a Masterful Musician


We've Battled Monsters Before (John McLellan)

We’ve Battled Monsters Before
Through December 26, 2021 (and virtually)

Justin Huertas was born lucky. He is perfectly positioned to take advantage of exactly this age of “becoming inclusive,” as theater works to widen and embrace diverse stories from diverse backgrounds. He’s Gay and Filipino American. He is also, luckily, a hugely talented musician/writer/actor/performer. And it’s lucky for us (particularly in Seattle) that we get to experience his art.

Huertas often writes from a perspective of a young person uneasy with their circumstance or background or family. His first major musical, Lizard Boy, set the table with a story of a boy who magically is turned into a lizard and has to manage how he stands in the world being so clearly different from everyone else. The genesis of the story is linked to Huertas’ journey of coming out Gay, and his Filipino-American heritage, and having to deal with feeling different than others. Like the stories he’s chosen subsequently, the boy triumphs in the end.

While his next effort, Howl’s Moving Castle, was not his own story (it’s an adaptation of a well-known book and movie), it, too, has magical elements and young people struggling with who they will be and how they will navigate life. His songs showed progress in sophistication and in how they move the story along and help the musical come to life.

The summer before Covid, Huertas teamed up with Mathew Wright and Artswest, where you can also see We’ve Battled Monsters Before until December 26th or possibly virtually online, with his next world premiere, The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion. The premise for that story is based on real Puget Sound octopus wrestling! Around that, he crafted a family story of secrets, magic (of course), and learning about how to accept and be your real self.

With each new creation, his musician-ship matures a little bit more, his lyrics become more pointed, and the “reasons” things happen in his musicals continue to strengthen. And now, his latest world premiere, We’ve Battled Monsters Before, arrives. Based on a Filipino poem, Ibong Adarna, we have a family of generations of secret warriors with a young woman who doesn’t know her own power or what it’s to be used for.  

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Holiday Traditions to be thankful for!

Your favorite holiday traditions can now be visited in person! Check out what's opening in December and what is still running into the holidays and don't miss your present by getting tickets late! Shows are already selling out.

We’ve Battled Monsters Before, ArtsWest, 11/26/21-12/26/21 (world premiere)

The next world premiere musical arrives from the creative mind of Justin Huertas. When you’re the youngest sibling in a family of secret warriors who for generations have protected Seattle from monsters and demons, living up to your Lola’s expectations is, in a word, daunting. Adarna’s mistakes were cute at first, but when they begin to cost her family more than she ever imagined, she must decide what she would sacrifice to save them. Loosely adapted from the 16th century Filipino epic poem Ibong Adarna, playwright-composer-lyricist Justin Huertas returns to his Lizard Boy roots with a sweet and intimate actor-musician musical adventure.

Christmastown: A Holiday Noir, Seattle Public Theater, 11/26/21-12/24/21

In this film noir-inspired holiday thriller, hard-boiled detective Nick Holiday investigates some un-holiday-like shenanigans taking place in Christmastown that sends him on a search for the truth about Big Red. Add a glamorous elf, a used-Christmas-tree salesman, a muckraking reporter, and a quick-thinking cab driver, and you have what the Seattle Times calls the “best new holiday romp of the year!”

Inspecting Carol, The Phoenix Theatre, 11/27/21-12/20/21

Behind the scenes of a struggling theatre’s annual clumsy production of A Christmas Carol, rehearsals are at a standstill. Tim is no longer Tiny, Scrooge wants to do the play in Spanish (Feliz Navidad), and their funding is on hold pending an inspection. To top it off, a man who asks to audition for the show is mistaken for the inspector for the National Endowment for the Arts. The cast caters to the bewildered wannabe actor, and he is given a part in the ill-fated production. Everything goes wrong at the theatre that is anything but show business as usual.

Snow Business, Seattle Men’s Chorus, Benaroya Hall, Federal Way Performing Arts Center, Everett Civic Auditorium, 12/5-23/21

Everyone’s favorite Christmas chorus is back on the boards at Benaroya Hall, where it seems they belong best. Get ready for sexy Santas and colorful choralography and the dulcet tones of a 200-man musical melding. or

Scott Shoemaker’s War on Christmas, Shoes and Pants Productions and Theatre Off Jackson, 12/2-24/21

Christmas is saved! The all-star variety spectacular that quickly became a YuleTide tradition makes its triumphant return at Theatre Off Jackson! After two years of sold out shows at Re-bar and a hit streaming special in 2020, "Scott Shoemaker's War on Christmas" is ready to knock your stockings off once again. Come spend an evening with Scott and a cast of Seattle luminaries as they try to figure out who's fighting a war on Christmas and what for? Comedy, songs, dance numbers, delightful videos, and partial nudity! Joining Scott are an amazing group of illustrious superstars: Adé, Waxie Moon, Mandy Price & Faggedy Randy!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

“What We Were”/Pony World Theatre – Intense Re-introduction to Great Seattle Theater


What We Were (photo by Sayed Alamy)

What We Were
Pony World Theatre
(at 12th Avenue Arts)
Through November 6, 2021

If you feel ready to embrace live theater again, and you long for the dark cover of a large room with many silent eyes riveting their gaze at the lighted area in the center with real people telling a story of heartbreak, neuropathways that are disrupted by trauma, and a history of never speaking for themselves, then you must hurry to get tickets for What We Were at Pony World Theatre.

Before I get too far into the “about” section, you’ll be gifted with performances by four of Seattle’s solid talents. Tracy Leigh and Lisa Viertel are two veterans of many small company productions and when you see their names in a cast line-up, you can feel secure that you’ll be experiencing their high-quality acting. They are nuanced and complex and embody full human beings with clear positives and negatives.

Lauren Freman and Tyler Bonnell complement these actors, with Lauren carrying the bulk of the focus and Tyler providing a heart-breaking vulnerability in a small but crucial role. All three women must time-shift without changing a thing except their behavior and do so while never leaving the audience feeling unsure of “when” these characters are portraying the events.

Vaccine or evolution – That is the question

Vaxed (Photo by Michael Brunk)

Theatre 9/12
At Trinity Church
Through October 3, 2021

A geneticist and an immunologist walk into a bar ― and sit down and discuss the nature of humanity ― Shakespeare and all! Charles Waxberg’s new play, Vaxed, is not shy about tackling a huge question. 

The 90-minute play takes a kind of sci-fi leap into a nearby future where an immunologist Ted (Tyler Scowcroft) thinks he’s discovered an essence that could change humanity forever. He’s called his sister Natalie (Cynthia Geary) to an “emergency” at 3a.m. at which he plans to disclose this possible scientific result.