This Week in Arts: Wednesday Roundup (2/19)
There’s a big variety on stage in both theatre and dance. Highlights this week include openings of a jazz legend opera and a dystopian classic; short runs of local dance festivals; and a can’t-miss play that closes this weekend.
There’s a good breadth of shows opening this week, but most of it takes a turn toward the dark.
Of course, opera always seems to favor the tragedy. This one takes a modern and American turn, looking at jazz legend Charlie Parker’s accomplished and ultimately tragic story, and imagining his ghost returning to craft a masterpiece. Seattle Opera’s Charlie Parker’s Yardbird opens this Saturday and runs through March 7 at McCaw Hall.
Two timely plays engage with our political world. Along with Radial Theater Project, 18th & Union opens the stage version of the George Orwell classic dystopian novel, 1984. It’s a freaky book to read in any setting, but in current times the stage version feels like a timely selection. It opens on Friday and runs through March 14.
Covering other political ground with a much different approach, Seattle University’s theatre program brings 45 Plays for 45 Presidents. Told in two-minute increments each, it promises a “decidedly 21st Century perspective on our country’s leaders and American history.” It opens Thursday (preview Wednesday) and runs through March 1 at Seattle U’s Lee Center for the Arts. It’s held in conjunction with a devised theatre workshop event this Sunday evening; see info here.
Also opening this weekend is The Moors from Dacha Theatre, which runs through March 7 at Theatre Off Jackson. And opening next Tuesday (2/25) is Last Days of the Tsars, an immersive show from the New York-based Witness theatre company, which runs through March 15 at the Stimson-Green Mansion.
If you need a break from all that dark reality on stage, head south to Burien. There, on a lighter note, Burien Actors Theatre opens its run of the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Show, which opens Friday and runs through March 22.
And in dance, this weekend the Seattle International Dance Festival opens its Winter Mini Fest on Friday, for two separate weekends of performances by groups from Seattle and Seoul.
This week brings plenty of short runs, in both dance and theatre.
In dance this week, On the Boards presents Solo: A Festival of Dance, co-curated with Dani Tirrell. The mainstage performances are joined by artist discussions and durational performances throughout the building. It runs Thursday through Sunday; see a quick preview here.
Also in dance this week, Base presents the latest installment of the long-running short works series, 12 Minutes Max, Sunday through Monday; and Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo performs at Meany Hall, Thursday through Saturday.
In something of a hybrid, Seattle Theatre Group presents The New Colossus, by the Los Angeles-based The Actors’ Gang, directed by Tim Robbins. It promises an “intensely physical production, with live music, poetry and kinetic movement,” in which 12 actors tell stories of their ancestors, immigrants and refugees, in 12 languages.
In theatre, the prolific playwrights group Parley holds a short-run production of The Oysterman’s House by local playwright Susan McNally, Thursday through Saturday at University Heights Center; tickets are available on a pay-what-you-choose basis. Also this weekend, Outsiders Inn holds a double-feature: Passion, Poison & Petrification by George Bernard Shaw, and The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco; they run together, tonight through Saturday, in Burien.
On Friday only, the Seattle Rep holds the annual August Wilson Monologues Competition, featuring youth performing selections from the playwright’s American Century Cycle. With talented youth mentored by theatre professionals, the performers are bound to be great. But if you’ve ever thought “wow, I’m so tired of seeing great performances on stage,” perhaps Sunday night’s show at the Rendezvous is a great way to end the weekend. In A Night of Shitty Theater, Disgruntled Bit-Players seek to celebrate, well, bad theatre. On Monday, back at the Rep, is a free reading of a new play called Be a Man, building on the masculinity themes of the Rep’s recent productions.
And this Tuesday (2/25), well in advance of its production of Saint Joan next month, ArtsWest gives an early look at it from the artists working on the production. Its the latest installment of its First Look series, which happens in advance of every run and is always free to attend.
If you’ve been putting off seeing these shows, your chances are getting limited.
Strive not to miss Seattle Public Theater’s Admissions, in which a stellar cast just crushes it, with a smart script, deft direction, and great design work. It runs through Sunday. (Update: See NWT’s review here.)
Also closing this weekend are Our Country’s Good, a well-acted dark play from Strawberry Theatre Workshop at 12th Avenue Arts, which runs through Saturday (update: See NWT’s review here); and Bliss, the new princess-themed musical that just opened at The 5th Avenue Theatre, which closes on Sunday. Closing in the south end this weekend are Let There Be Love, a brand new play on modern romance at Centerstage Theatre in Federal Way (thru Sunday); the dog-centered Sylvia at Renton Civic Theatre (thru Saturday); and David Mamet’s Oleanna from Tacoma Arts Live at Theater on the Square (thru Sunday).
Also this week, Village Theatre closes out its Issaquah run of the musical She Loves Me, which heads to Everett next week for a month-long run. And Village’s Beta Series developmental production of XY closes its run, with a final show on Sunday night.
Wednesday Roundup is a weekly (ish) feature, with news of openings and closings around town for the upcoming week.
Want to plan your show schedule further out? See NWT’s Shows 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.