Monday, April 10, 2023

Spring forward into theater!

Amy Thone and Varinique 'V' Davis in The Niceties (Joe Moore)

Here comes Spring. There’s a lot of fresh theater to check out in the greater Seattle (and islands and Tacoma) theater community. (But allergies got me, so this is a little late.)
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Seattle Childrens Theater, 4/5/23-5/21/23
Growing tired of her life in Kansas, Dorothy and her little dog Toto discover a new adventure in the wonderful and magical Land of Oz after a cyclone swoops them “somewhere over the rainbow.” While following the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, who quickly become her new friends. Together, they overcome their fears of witches, flying monkeys, and a haunted forest to learn if the Wizard can make their dreams come true. Approx. 60 minutes/Recommended for ages 5+
Redd, Key City Public Theatre, 4/5-30/23 (world premiere)
Kat Agudo brings a Pilipino twist to the classic Little Red Riding Hood. Rue, a mysterious orphan with Babaylan royal ancestry, is planning to leave for Spain with their caretaker, Don Hunter from the sheltered town of Intramuros, Manila.. Accompanied by a spirit guide, Rin, they journey to Grandmother’s house. They engage in a fantastical battle fueled by the sacrifice of Rue’s ancestors and a chance for liberation of her people. KCPT commissioned this world premiere play.
I Hate Hamlet, The Phoenix Theatre, 4/7-30/23
Andrew Rally seems to have it all: celebrity and acclaim from his starring role in a hit television series; a rich, beautiful girlfriend; a glamorous, devoted agent; the perfect New York apartment; and the chance to play Hamlet in Central Park. But there are couple of glitches in paradise –
Andrew’s series has been canceled; his girlfriend is clinging to her virginity with unyielding conviction; and he has no desire to play Hamlet. In the midst of his confusion, he is visited by the ghost of legendary actor John Barrymore. Andrew wrestles with his conscience, Barrymore, his sword, and confronts the ultimate question: Who he wants to be, or not be?

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

March Roars On Stage Like a Lion

Between Two Knees at Seattle Rep (Photo © T. Charles Erickson)

Musicals, shorts fest, Shakespeare, world premieres – March has it all for you. Every person can find something to see they will like on stage! Put on a mask and get out your calendars! 

Short Play Festival, Deaf Spotlight, 3/2-5/23 (at 12th Avenue Arts)
Six new 10-minute plays, created by deaf and deafblind playwrights, centered around the theme “floral shop.” Deaf creatives and artists will act, direct and produce in the festival.
Between Two Knees, Seattle Rep, 3/3-26/23
The first play by acclaimed intertribal sketch comedy troupe The 1491s—best known for the hit television series “Reservation Dogs”—takes audiences on a searing and humorous series of vignettes through American history, centered on one family’s account of their experiences from the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 to the protests there in 1973.
Born Yesterday, Theatre9/12, 3/3-26/23
Born Yesterday is a scathing comedy about the idealism of the United States Constitution corrupted by greed, ignorance, self-service, and disillusion set shortly after World War II. Self-made millionaire, Harry Brock, has thieved his way up the ladder to buying Senators. Paul Verral, an international journalist, befriends Brock, endearing himself to the criminal who hires Paul to class up his main squeeze: a beautiful but improper “showgirl” who doesn’t like having to think. Without altering text or era, Theatre9/12 re-interprets play paralleling today’s events.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

World Premieres and more on Seattle-area stages

Lindsey Welliver and Calder Shilling in Sense and Sensibility at Village Theatre (Angela Sterling)

It is apparently “world premiere” month on Seattle-area stages – including an introduction to Iranian theater artists hosted by Macha Theatre Works, though I didn’t get that memo. But exciting new work is ready for you to experience! Get out yer calendars!
Sense and Sensibility, Village Theatre, Issaquah – 2/1/23-3/12/23 / Everett – 3/17/23-4/9/23 (world premiere)
This playful new adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of the Dashwood sisters—sensible Elinor and sensitive Marianne—after their father’s sudden death leaves them financially destitute and socially vulnerable. This classic-modern mashup layers the story with smart comedy and zany antics—underscored by a contemporary mix of your favorite pop songs.
The People Downstairs, Key City Public Theatre, 2/1-26/23
Miles, an aging funeral home custodian with a taste for whiskey, laughter, and hoarding, is moved to action when a court-appointed guardian threatens to take away the home he shares with his daughter Mabel, a middle-aged agoraphobic who spends her days writing letters to prison inmates, their rights, and their stolen poodle. Miles sets out to find a ‘good guy’ for Mabel. He finds Todd, an inept mortician who lives with his mother and pet hamster Stanley Kowalski. It is a father’s fierce determination not to accept his daughter’s fate that ignites an endearing human comedy about love, loss, loneliness, and the healing power of laughter.
I & You, Valley Center Stage, 2/3-19/23
A young teen struggles with a long-term illness mostly alone, until a classmate shows up to keep her company. Their work on a class project about a book of poetry leads them to some vulnerable conversation and a surprising ending.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Not Perfect Daughter Is Perfectly Fun and Expertly Done

Cast of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Nate Watters)

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Through 2/5/23
Director Juliette Carrillo directed one of the few plays that stay stuck in my mind for many years. Way back in 2011, Carrillo directed The Brothers Size at Seattle Rep. Images from that play instantly come to mind when I think of that production. Carrillo helmed a designer crew of sets, lights, sound, and movement/choreography that melded together perfectly. The trio of actors was magical.
Now, Carrillo has directed another play that may have that same lasting power for me. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is not a perfect play, in that it might need a bit of trimming from a jam-packed script, but this production is magical. From the amazingly simple but amazingly stunning set design of a massive beaded curtain by Efren Delgadillo Jr., to the costumes by Danielle Nieves that fit the actors within an inch of their lives (with an eye-popping quinceañera dress!). From the light by Robert J. Aguilar that went from tenderly subtle to a blinding crescendo and the sound design and compositions of John Nobori. Again, she has indeed assembled a fantastic cast of actors.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is about a 15-year-old Júlia (who ages to about 17 during the play) who has just lost her beloved but maybe-slightly-mysterious older sister and is trying to cope with what that means to the rest of her life. While surrounded by family, the relationships are not at all comforting. Júlia mother (Amá played by Jazmín Corona) might love her, but most of the time she seems as toxic as it might get. Júlia’s father (played by Eddie Martinez) is remote and removed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

"Becoming Othello" - Great Actor Needs a Better Script 

 Guest Reviewer Amy Pierce

Deborah Ann Byrd in Becoming Othello (Robert Wade)

Amy Pierce is a lifelong fan of the theater, an actor, a storyteller, and a Black woman, who hopes to encourage more people of color to embrace art in all its forms (but especially live theater).

Deborah Ann Byrd has great stage presence and has accomplished quite a lot as an actor and as a woman from severely disadvantaged beginnings. One can feel that from the moment she takes stage with a powerful singing voice, owning the stage. She is a vastly talented actor with a story that should be rich and compelling. Her struggles to find and express her talent and love for acting, particularly of acting Shakespeare is certainly worthy of being heard.

In her solo show now presenting at Seattle Shakespeare Company, Becoming Othello, A Black Girl's Journey, Byrd tells the story of those struggles and her unlikely journey to becoming a Shakespearean actor and to founding the Harlem Shakespeare Festival in 2013, a festival that continues today to provide professional opportunities to Black and underrepresented actors to perform any classical roles they might like.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

2023 Starts With A Bang in Seattle Theaters


William Eames and Bretteney Beverly,
A Woman of No Importance, Taproot Theatre (Photo by Robert Wade)

2023 is starting off with several bangs with productions of classic plays, world premieres, new to us stories, and intriguing plays referencing classic writing. There is something for everyone, this month. Get outcher calendars! Happy New Year!

The World’s a Stage: Becoming Othello, A Black Girl’s Journey, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 1/3-29/23
This autobiographical solo show from Debra Ann Byrd, the Founding Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival and Artistic Director of Southwest Shakespeare Company, is a living memoir of her life’s trials and triumphs. Through verses from Othello and dynamic multimedia elements, she chronicles her youth growing up in Harlem, her tumultuous teen years, and navigating race in classics as a gender-flipped Othello.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Seattle Rep, 1/13/23-2/5/23
As she grieves the death of her older sister, Julia Reyes faces pressure to put her own dreams of becoming a writer on hold. She finds herself caught between her family’s expectations and the less-than-perfect life she grapples with every day as a 15-year-old growing up in Chicago. A rich and poignant exploration of how to transcend your circumstances while remaining true to who you are.