This Week in Arts: Wednesday Roundup (9/25)
What a surprise to realize this is the last roundup before October. And yet here we are.
After the big rush of September theatre openings, this week brings a welcome relative calm — with a few openings and closings to note, and several short-runs and one-offs we’re excited about.
Weird, Wacky, and Fun
This seems to be a theme among shows this week, so let’s embrace it from the top — the pure entertainment, the particularly unusual, and the combinations of both.
Returning this weekend, after its very sold-out shows over the summer, is Bon Appétit: The Julia Child Operetta. Anne Allgood returns to the Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater stage in her decidedly wacky role as an opera-singing, batter-flinging Julia Child. The original celebrity chef’s real-life grand-niece, Julia Child Prud’homme, tells stories (“anecdotal icing”), and then the audience is treated to some decadent real-life chocolate cake afterwards. Mark Anders adds the tunes on piano. Shows are this Sunday night (9/29), plus a few more dates in October and early November.
Few things boast weird, wacky and fun like exuberant drag artist Cherdonna Shinatra, and she’s back this week with a new show — Cherdonna’s Birth-O-Rama — at ReBar for a few nights only, running Thursday through Sunday. Read NWT’s review of an earlier show from Cherdonna and her dance troupe, called DONNA, here.
Each year, Infinity Box Productions makes the Pacific Science Center its stage. Its short play series, Thought Experiments on the Question of Being Human, showcases new works from local playwrights with an inventive twist: Each writer is paired up with a scientist, and together they create a new piece exploring how current developments in science and technology affect what it means to be human. This year’s playwrights are Maggie Lee, K Brian Neel, Andrew Lee Creech, and Bret Fetzer & Juliet Pruzan, all writing on the theme of AI: Machines that Understand. The festival runs Friday through Sunday.
Periodically, the web series The Panel Jumper hosts a live version — called, fittingly, The Panel Jumper Live! — at West of Lenin. It’s a paean to comics and geek culture, manifested through music, interviews, film shorts, and even burlesque; and hosted by Cole Hornaday and Ben Laurence. The next episode is this Friday.
Two salon-style, community-oriented events mixing drinks and theatre are this week. The Seagull Project celebrates “the comedic side of Chekhov” on Saturday, with Vodka & Vaudeville, held at the Russian Community Center; featuring great directors and cast, free admission and snacks, and steady drinks (no-host bar), it’s a tough proposition to beat. And on Thursday, the always-fun Seattle Playwrights Salon hosts its monthly reading, this one featuring two one-act plays, at the Palace Theatre and Art Bar in Georgetown.
At least five shows open this week. Following the theme, we’ll start off with the wackiest-sounding event. Black Beauty, which opens Friday at Seattle Children’s Theatre, doesn’t sound wacky in itself. But word is, they’ve got a real-live miniature pony attending opening night festivities — which is pretty wacky (and awesome). Whether or not those rumors play out, the cast — which includes Annelih GH Hamilton, Reginald André Jackson, Conner Neddersen, and more — is hard to beat.
Also opening this week is Sunset Baby at ArtsWest, directed by the newly named Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award winner Valerie Curtis-Newton. And two shows that have had fairly recent runs at the big theatres return to smaller stages: Burien Actors Theatre opens Native Gardens (which Intiman Theatre staged last season); and Redmond’s SecondStory Repertory Theatre opens the musical Assassins (which ACT and The 5th Avenue Theatre staged, with a memorable cast and set design, a few seasons back). And Indecent, which entered previews last week, opens this week at Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Closing this weekend is Yen, the Kenan Fellowship in Directing showcase which this year features director Rey Zane. Held in the intimate Lalie blackbox theatre (the former rehearsal space with the cool catwalk), the Kenan show seems to relish the atypical. Yen, by UK playwright Anna Jordan, sounds like a dark trippy modern farce — centered on two young teenagers who raise themselves with their dog named Taliban, streaming porn and playing video games. It’s unclear if it’s heavier on the side of dark or humorous. Either way, it features a great cast and design team; and Tim Gouran plays the dog.
Speaking of the Kenan Fellowship, its inaugural fellow at ACT — Shakespeare pro Wiley Basho Gorn — has a show out now that also closes this weekend. Twelfth Night, or What You Will from the Fern Shakespeare Company, runs through Sunday night at the Slate Theater.
For a taste of both Gorn’s work and the Kenan showcase, check out a photo gallery from his memorable, apple-tossing version of As You Like It (2015 at ACT), here.
Speaking of ACT, Yussef El Guindi’s latest premiere, the “soapy,” dark, and unexpected People of the Book, also closes this weekend. This one suffered from direction problems; but El Guindi’s work is always thoughtful and provocative. Read NWT’s review here.
Three more round out the list of closings this week. For fun shorts and variety, Funhouse V, an “absurdist lens” showcase from Northwest playwrights, closes Saturday at Annex Theatre; and Science Fiction Double Feature, which features futuristic shows by a storyteller and a “banjo balladeer,” runs through Sunday at Copious. And in immersive theatre, This Show Is About Progress, which converts a dance space into a doomed house, closes this weekend at Base; see NWT’s review here.
Wednesday Roundup is a weekly (ish) 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 page, which aims to list just about every theatre show in town. And for news on all the openings each month see Miryam Gordon’s openings coverage here.