This Week in Arts: Wednesday Roundup (7/17)

Here are the things NWT loved (or didn’t) this week, and a few (or more) things to look forward to this weekend. 

Highlights this week included two terrific shows at Cafe Nordo’s Cullinarium and its underground Knife Room; plus, a great big fashion show, loads of one-offs, one show that lasts 24 hours, and another that’s created entirely within that same span.  

For details (like times & ticket info) on these shows and more, view them by date on the Calendar page.


Openings This Week 

It’s a relatively slow week in openings, but there are a few interesting ones to report. On Thursday, Intiman Theatre’s much-publicized free-tickets-for-all production of The Events opens at Erickson Theatre on Capitol Hill. It’s about the aftermath of a mass shooting, and stars Sarah Hartlett and Connor Neddersen. Also opening Thursday is Gills! Gills! Gills!, a co-production of ReAct Theatre and Parley Productions. Written by local playwright Celeste Mari Williams, it’s series of new short plays about the mating habits of sea creatures. 

Opening on Friday is 7th and Jackson, Cafe Nordo’s new food/theatre mashup and the latest play from prolific writer-director-actor-activist Sara Porkalob. Starring Anasofia Gallegos, Corrine Magin, and Sarah Russell, it follows a trio of aspiring singers in telling stories of Seattle’s International District in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. NWT caught an early preview and loved the evening, with an entertaining, thought-provoking narrative — and we can’t sing the praises of the flavorful food highly enough. Catch NWT’s interview with the playwright here.

And starting previews Friday but opening next week is The Year of Magical Thinking, based on the Joan Didion memoir, at ACT. It runs through August 11, and several events at ACT around grief and loss are scheduled throughout the run.


Last Call

Like openings, the closings this week are also relatively calm. Closings our radar are Village Theatre’s KidStage productions of Rent (in Issaquah) and Funny Girl (in Everett), which both run through Sunday.

There are a lot of one-night and short runs of note this week. On Thursday, the annual series Nights at the Neptune continues with The Narrative, a new play by Jace ECAj featuring musical performances by Black Stax. The performance is one night only; the series (with different performances each night) runs through August 15 at the Neptune Theater in the U-District.

Opening Thursday and running through this weekend, Susan Lieu returns to Theatre Off Jackson with an encore performance of 140 LBS: How Beauty Killed My Mother. It’s a smart, tragic, and funny story of Lieu’s family, her mother, and her own relationship to beauty standards. NWT caught a show in Lieu’s jam-packed run earlier this year, along with an early in-development short at NW New Works at On the Boards, and heartily recommends the show.

On Friday night to Saturday night, about 100 performers (actors, journalists, and other community members) will read aloud the Mueller report — yes, the entire thing — in a performance lasting 24 hours at Town Hall. The Mueller Report Live is free to attend (with donations accepted), and audience members can come and go as they wish. It’s non-dramatized and non-partisan, just the facts and findings — and a heck of a lot more approachable than trying to get through the 448-page report with your own eyes. Readers include Susanna Burney, Valerie Curtis-Newton, Bret Fetzer, Miryam Gordon, Gretta Harley, Kathy Hsieh, Tracy Leigh, Pamala Mijatov, Anita Montgomery, Ayo Tushinde, and many more.

Inexplicably, during those exact 24 hours they’ll be performing, another group of artists will be writing and then learning the lines for an entirely different show at Theatre Battery in Kent. Its sixth-annual Sleep Is for the Weak has only one performance, on Saturday at 8 pm, in its storefront theatre space in Kent Commons.

This weekend, the Young Americans’ Theatre Company tackles the trippy Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play at the Hughes Penthouse on the UW main campus. It runs Friday through Sunday.

Monday and Tuesday next week have some unusually good options to choose among this week. On Monday is Brand New Day: A Sarah Celebration, a celebration of actor-singer Sarah Russell, who recently had major eye surgery even as she’s been hard at work. (She’s currently on stage in the above-mentioned 7th and Jackson, for example.) Starting at 8 pm at Taproot Theatre in Greenwood, Russell’s friends are holding a night of singing, celebrating, and fundraising. Justin Huertas hosts; the singers are many. The sisters Russell — Sarah and Be — are also featured performers at next month’s Sensible Cabaret (at the Knife Room on August 19).

Also this Monday: you can catch Opera on Tap, in Baroque N’ Hearts, at Solo Bar; industry night of Claudia Rankine’s acclaimed Citizen: An American Lyric from Sound Theatre Company and the Hansberry Project; and Anne Allgood making cake as Julia Child in Bon Appétit: The Julia Child Operetta at the Rendezvous. The full run of the latter is sold out, though Rendezvous is looking at adding later dates. However, you could give it a whirl for a wait list spot at the door (this and the following Monday), and head downstairs to The Grotto for The Magic Hat (held every Monday), a predictably unpredictable variety show with Emmett Montgomery and friends, if entry to the cake show doesn’t pan out.

Tuesday is another night of great-looking competing options. At U-Heights, Seattle Public Theater presents a reading of Supposed Home, by this cycle’s Emerald Prize-winner, Sam Hamashima. And at Seattle Rep, Steven Tran performs his latest work, The Sonata Years, also in reading/development form. It’s an exciting night of new works. Choose wisely — but you probably can’t lose either way.


Tacoma Spotlight

Those in the south end have some great options for non-theatre arts this weekend, so here’s a special section to tell you about them. Saturday is Cars and Couture, the eagerly awaited fashion show from Fashion District NW highlighting designers alongside some sleek cars in the LeMay museum collection. Designers featured are Akrofi Adjumani, Dream Dresses by P.M.N. (Phuong Minh Nguyen), Gustavo Apiti Couture, MiMi Wolfe, and The BRIN Project by Reshma. A DJ and after-party bookend the runway show itself. Tickets start at $45; info here. (NWT had a grand time at Fashion District NW’s previous show, Fashion Is ART, this year. See coverage here.)

In more fashion news, Sunday is Northwest Thrift-Con, where you can rifle through vintage goods, meet designers, hear music, eat and drink, and more. Admission is $5 (or $10 for early shopping access); reserve here

Opening Saturday and running through October is Bart at TAM: Animating America’s First Family, a new exhibit on The Simpsons, featuring curated pieces from a private collector’s many cels from the first 13 seasons.

And while we’re on the topic of Tacoma — further out, Tacoma Arts Live has a heck of a season coming up in the Theatre District at Pantages, Rialto, and more. Music picks include India.Arie (September 20), and Take Me to the River: New Orleans (October 20). There’s also a stop of the 20th anniversary tour of Rent (September 24-25).


Week in Review

Two highlights of this week were both at Cafe Nordo: in the Knife Room, A Sensible Cabaret featuring Alexandria Henderson, Nik Hagen, and guests; and in the main room upstairs, a preview showing of 7th and Jackson, which opens on Friday. 

Held the third Monday each month, A Sensible Cabaret invites an audience in to watch well-known local artists share the acts and stories they want to share, when the bounds of script and “in-character” are removed. Typically, they bring along some guests, an occasional instrument, their own personality and sense of style, and the same great pipes you’ve heard them use on bigger stages. It’s a small audience, with much banter, backed by Elisa Money on keys and hosted by Cassi Q Kohl. It’s always a special experience. This one particularly upped the ante. Some among many contributing reasons: the featured artists, Alexandria Henderson and Nik Hagen, are both great performers and lovely humans; Hagen picked up the sax after not playing it for years; beauty queen Henderson shined with her vulnerability; Kohl’s pipes bowled everyone over; Justin Huertas guested on cello; and Henderson’s mom (Robin Henderson) closed the thing out, with the room about as into it as any audience we’ve seen in that building, or most any others. (For a small taste of what you missed, catch a video clip of the finale on NWT’s Instagram @nwtheatredotorg.)

And tonight, two days later and just up the stairs, NWT found itself at the first preview of 7th and Jackson, in Nordo’s mainstage Cullinarium. We won’t dish too much from the preview — the show opens on Friday. We we can safely say that each dish is swoonworthy, among the best menu and flavors we’ve had at any Nordo show. They work their way wonderfully between acts of an entertaining, thought-provoking show by Sara Porkalob, alongside the sweet harmonies by Anasofia Gallegos, Corrine Magin, and Sarah Russell throughout. (Catch NWT’s interview with Porkalob here, and see photos of each course on Instagram @nwtheatredotorg.)

If someone will please bring NWT another dessert from the show, that’d be great. 

Wednesday Roundup is a weekly feature, with NWT’s picks for the upcoming week and recaps around town.  

Want to plan your show schedule further out? See what’s happening on NWT’s Calendar pageAnd for news on all the openings this month, see Miryam Gordon’s July coverage here