Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Seattle Theaters Forge Ahead with Openings

"The Fifth Wave" at Macha Theatre Works

Despite the brisk wintery air of February and attendant struggles with in-person entertainments, Seattle theater companies continue to provide and protect as much as they can. Some are postponing, but others are forging ahead. We’ve got world premieres and a national tour to see. Get your ids and your shot records ready, mask up and go!

Dragon Lady/Dragon Mama, Café Nordo (in repertory), 2/1/22-3/6/22
Sara Porkalob, solo performer extraordinaire, began a planned trilogy of memoir/biography plays with Dragon Lady: It is the year of the Water Dragon and the eve of Grandma Maria’s 60th birthday. By the light of the karaoke machine, fueled by pork dumplings and Diet Pepsi, she shares a dark secret from her Filipino gangster past with one lucky grandchild. Traversing 50 years of faulty family memories, this timely new musical is about what it means to come to America.

Her second play, Dragon Mama, continues down the generation from grandmother to mother.

Maria Porkalob, Jr., yearns for a gayer, more POC-filled life than Bremerton, WA, can offer. When presented with an opportunity to make a quick fortune, Maria must make an important decision: leave her debt-ridden mother, four young siblings, and newborn daughter Sara for the wild unknown of Alaska, or stay close to home, family, and intergenerational trauma. Traversing 25 years filled with queer love in a barren land, Dragon Mama features ghosts, Filipino gangsters, and a dope ‘80s and ‘90s soundtrack.
These play in repertory, and can be seen without Nordo’s traditional “meal and show” and are offered on the eve of Porkalob’s departure (finally, after a covid-delay of many months) to perform in a Broadway show.
Photograph 51, UW School of Drama, 2/2/22-2/6/22
London, 1953. Scientists are on the verge of discovering what they call the secret of life: the DNA double helix. Providing the key is driven young physicist Rosalind Franklin. But if the double helix was the breakthrough of the 20th century, then what kept Franklin out of the history books? A play about ambition, isolation, and the race for greatness.
Red Riding Hood, Seattle Children’s Theatre, 2/1/22-3/6/22 (world premiere)
Fairytale Farce! Wolfgang (Conner Neddersen), the greatest actor in the world, is preparing for the performance of his lifetime in the “true story” of Red Riding Hood when a Delivery Driver (Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako) carrying a mysterious package interrupts his rehearsal. She boldly calls into question Wolfgang’s story, adamant that he should only tell the classic tale. As their story flourishes, a madcap romp through the popular fairy tale ensues. This lively adaptation reminds us that when something is important, bravery knows no bounds.
37 Postcards, The Phoenix Theatre, 2/5-28/22
After eight years of traveling abroad, Avery Sutton is coming home, but things are not as he remembers them. The house is sitting on the edge of a sink hole, the dog hasn't been fed in years, and his aunt is running a phone-sex operation out of the kitchen. His parents seem happily oblivious to all of this, and the fact that his 97-year-old Grandmother is still alive and living in their home. This comedy proves that you can, in fact, go home again. You just never know what you're going to find.
The Mystery Of Irma Vep, Intiman Theatre, at the Erickson Theatre, 2/8-27/22 (Also a streaming option from Feb 17-26)
This is a penny dreadful (but classic?) sci-fi romp that centers on an English estate haunted by the former mistress who has recently passed (or has she?). There are mummies, werewolves, mistaken identities, and a ton of madcap blunders. Two performers, dozens of wigs, and over forty quick-change costume changes bring an eclectic cast of six characters to life.
The Fifth Wave, Macha Theatre Works, 2/9-27/22 (at West of Lenin) (world premiere)
Twenty-five years after a life-changing event forged her role as a feminist icon, Maxx is now ensconced comfortably as a beloved professor at a private university.  After news of an alleged sexual assault rocks the campus, fear is ignited and loyalties are tested. Maxx must decide what she is willing to risk as the manifestations of her long-suppressed rage begin to rise.
Drum and Colors, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 2/15/22-3/13/22
Shortened versions of Hamlet and As You Like It in a repertory style with nine actors doing both plays. The company is BIPOC as is much of the artistic team, highlighting the great talent we have in our fair city. See one or both. (Run time for each should be around 90 minutes.)
Freestyle Love Supreme (national tour), Seattle Repertory Theatre, 2/16/22-3/13/22
Before Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, beforeIn the Heights, there was Freestyle Love Supreme. Now direct fromBroadway the original hip-hop musical phenomenon arrives in Seattle. The recipient of a special 2020 Tony Award®, the crew takes the crowd on a freestyle, hip-hop, improvisational comedy ride. The performers take suggestions from the audience and spin them into instantaneous riffs and full-length musical numbers. See it for the first time each time — as no two shows are ever the same.
Blue, Seattle Opera, 2/26/22-3/12/22 (at McCaw Hall)
We don’t normally list operas or follow them, but this 2020 winner for Best New Opera (Music Critics Association) arrives at the McCaw Hall stage in February 2022. Librettist Tazewell Thompson and composer Jeanine Tesori present a portrait of contemporary African American life: of love and loss, church, sisterhood, and most importantly, family. A young couple celebrates the joy of family with the birth of their son. And, later leans on their close-knit community in the aftermath of his death at the hands of a police officer. Tesori is also a well-known musical theater writer.

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