This Week in Arts: Wednesday Roundup (1/22)

This week includes a few notable openings and great-looking shows across all the genres. From mainstage theatre to basement salons, opera stars to talking rice cookers, imagination on pages to dancers on walls — this week is one to explore.   

Looking for recommendations? See the editor’s picks for January here


Openings & Short Runs

This week is a happening one for show openings. Tonight, Seattle Rep opened its production Sam Shepard’s True West. Described as a comedy, it’s more of a dark family tale that’s full of laugh lines, unlikely sequences, unbridled drinking, and unlikable characters. As is characteristic of the Rep’s shows, design elements (chiefly scenic, sound, and lighting design) and actors are all top-notch. It runs through February 16.

Two short runs are tomorrow night through Sunday. At On the Boards, South Korean artist Jaha Koo dissects economics and technology as forces of social isolation, in conversations between the artist and three talking rice cookers. Jaha Koo: Cuckoo (the title is a brand of rice cooker) runs through Sunday. Also Thursday-Sunday, comic-stripper Woody Shticks premieres his latest, Liquid Hot, at 18th & Union.

On Thursday, Taproot Theatre opens Steel Magnolias, on the tough-and-delicate women of Chinqupin, Louisiana. It runs through February 29.

This Friday night is a bustling one: Strawberry Theatre Workshop opens Our Country’s Good, which looks at the function and philosophy of criminal punishment, from the massive prison colony in 18th-century Australia; it runs through February 22 at 12th Avenue Arts. Down south, Tacoma Little Theatre opens its world premiere of Shattering, which looks at a Black family undone by violence and pieced back together; it runs through February 9. And on the eastside, Theatre33 opens Animal Tales, in which animals narrate 11 shorts on the human condition, for youth and adult audiences; it runs through February 8 at the theatre’s Bellevue home.

And next Tuesday, the anticipated queer dance piece, Drama Tops: this is for you (Elby Brosch, with Shane Donohue and Jordan Macintosh-Hougham) premieres at Washington Hall. It’s been getting a lot of press, so don’t wait around to buy tickets; see info here.


One-Night Events

Hugo House — now settled into its new-old location — has a robust set of events this week, including the book launch for the acclaimed Black Imagination, curated by conceptual artist Natasha Marin. Marin and other contributors will read selections and talk about her work this Friday; info and RSVP here. Also suggested at Hugo House this week: Fight for Our Lives: A Night of Performances Benefiting the Trans and Queer Community on Thursday, featuring an excellent lineup of local artists (info here); and Black on Craft, curated by Amber Flame, next Tuesday (info here).

This week is also a robust ones for new play readings. On Thursday, Seattle Playwrights Salon hosts its monthly gathering at the Palace Theatre & Art Bar in Georgetown. This month’s selection is Olive and Camila by Robin Brooks. No tickets or reservations required; admission is free or by donation ($10 suggested); info here. On Monday, the playwrights group Parley, which also showcases new work consistently throughout the year, hosts a reading of Finding Ruth by Jessica Andrewartha, at the University Heights Center. Tickets can be reserved ahead of time on a pay-what-you-can basis; info here.

Ahead of Seattle Opera’s production of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird next month, this Saturday renowned soprano Angela Brown presents Opera … From a Sistah’s Point of View at the Northwest African American Museum. At the event, Brown will sing, talk opera, and tell her story, with an eye toward engaging new audiences in the opera experience. Admission $35; info here.

Also on Saturday night, the Sunset Tavern presents the second annual Art Martyrs Showcase, a fundraiser that both showcases and benefits artistic excellence in the area. This year’s honorees and performers are singer-songwriter Stephanie Anne Johnson, funny guy Brett Hamill, drag artist Arson Nicki, the weird-and-soothing Mantraband, Crystal Beth, and Tres Leches. It’s a wide variety of music, and highly recommended. Tickets (sliding-scale for all) and info here.


Last Call

Closing this week are two enjoyable shows, both very different works from and inspired by classic composers. At Seattle Opera, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin — a gorgeous opera with dramatic score — closes on Saturday. And at the Triple Door, Bohemia — a high-brow cabaret collaboration of Opal Peachey and Mark Siano, that looks in on Dvorak and contemporaries as they hunt for artistic inspiration — closes this Sunday.

It’s the last chance to see the gorgeous retrospective exhibit, Donald Byrd: The America That Is To Be at the Frye Art Museum, where admission is always free. The exhibit combines photography, costume design, video archive, and live performance into a breathtaking examination of the choreographer-dancer’s decades of work, so far. (Byrd, who turned 70 this year, isn’t slowing down by any stretch. His full dance card this year includes upcoming work with Seattle Opera, and another full thematic showcase with his Spectrum Dance Theater.) If you haven’t seen the exhibit, make it a must-see. If you have, it’s worth a return trip. Find exhibit info and performance schedule here.

Other notable exhibitions include Seattle Art Museum’s Flesh and Blood, a showcase of Italian masterpieces, which also closes this weekend. See more info on that and other current exhibits around town 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.