This Week in Arts: Weekly Roundup (9/22)

It’s another peak performance weekend in the Seattle area, with a star lineup of Asian American artists, Spanish-translated works, a big-name slate of ballet, a premiere musical comedy, dance and solo performance, and more. 

Ticketing links for most shows can be found on the Performance Calendar page here.  



Openings & Short Runs


Big Showcases to Inspire, Entertain & Uplift

Talk It Up! Asian American Variety Show
SIS Productions @ Theatre Off Jackson

Runs 9/23-24 only. In Seattle (International District).

Maritess Zurbano. Photo by Miri Photo.
Justin Huertas, shown here with Rheanna Atendido. Photo by John Mclellan.

A two-day showcase meant to lighten the mood brings a seriously heavy list of talented performers.

SIS Productions, which centers the work of Asian American women in the arts, presents a big-name variety show at the intimate Theatre Off Jackson stage over two nights.

Friday’s show features Tony Colinares (Elvis performer), Eurasia Ensemble (dance group), Amy Hill (actor of TV and film), Justin Huertas (musician-writer-actor), Susan Lieu (writer-performer), RowzRoyce (DJ), Raymond Sismaet (Ukulele206), Cindy Su (comedian), and Anu Taranath (professor and author).

Saturday’s show includes the return of Huertas, RowzRoyce, Sismaet, and Su, plus MMDC Dance Company (contemporary and classical), Model Minority Moms (comedy trio), and Maritess Zurbano (magician and hypnotist).

Showcases are hosted by Seattle theatre artist Kathy Hsieh.

Lineup is subject to change, so check the show page for the latest.

Show info and tickets ($16) here


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Companies Team Up for Spanish-Translated Theatre 

Book-It Rep: In the Time of Butterflies 
Now through 10/16. At the Seattle Center.

Sound Theatre & Earthseed: Cloud Tectonics  
Tonight through 10/15. In Seattle (Capitol Hill).

Two productions opening this weekend celebrate great writers of stories originating in Latin America. Novelist Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of Butterflies gives voice to four sisters fighting back against an oppressive regime in the Dominican Republic. Playwright José Rivera’s Cloud Tectonics tells a love story steeped in his signature magical realism.

‘In the Time of the Butterflies’ opens Saturday at Book-It. Photo by Anthony Floyd.

The plays are presented primarily in English, but both productions will include performances with full captioning in Spanish. (Sound & Earthseed will hold four Spanish-captioned performances, beginning with the matinee this Sunday; and Book-It has two scheduled, beginning next weekend.)

Grecia Leal Pardo, who is translating Cloud Tectonics into Spanish for Sound Theatre and Earthseed, observed how translation for theatre can be as much a live art as the performance of it. “Translating a script is exciting, because you get to think about the interplay between intention, meaning, and interpretation and how it lives not just on the page but in a moment. … The first time I went into rehearsal, I had a working translation but as soon as I saw the actors work and once I heard the first director note from Jéhan Òsanyìn, my understanding of the play shifted. I had to go back and shift some of my choices, too, based on dynamics I’d learned from the room.”

‘Cloud Tectonics’ at Sound Theatre and Earthseed. Photo by Nikeesha Gooding.

Sound Theatre and Earthseed will hold ASL-interpreted, captioned, and designated sensory-friendly performances (various dates; see schedule at link below). Earthseed will host local vendors at a Grief Market, open to the public, on 10/1 and 10/15.

In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Seattle Theatre Group also has a robust lineup of concerts scheduled over the next month at its historic venues around Seattle, including Bomba Estereo (9/27), Adrián Uribe & Adal Ramones (10/2), Silvestre Dangond (10/13), The Mars Volta (10/14-15), Intocable (10/16). See full list of STG events here.

Tickets for Book-It’s In the Time of Butterflies ($41.50-$68.50, depending on day) available here.  

Tickets for Sound & Earthseed’s Cloud Tectonics ($6-$79, sliding scale available for all) here

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Verlaine & McCann: Through The Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice In Wonderland  @ The Triple Door (opened last night, closing 9/25). Burlesque performers explore the classic fantastical tale. In Downtown Seattle.

The 5th Avenue Theatre: The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation  (in previews, opens tonight, closing 10/2). The traveling family of film heads to NY in this brand new musical comedy. In Downtown Seattle.

On the Boards: Elisa Harkins, Zoë Poluch, Hanako Hoshimi-Caines – Radio III / ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ (runs tonight through 9/24 only). Evoking past, present, and possibility, through an Indigenous futuristic concert, dance, and shift of power. In Seattle (Lower Queen Anne).

Taproot Theatre: A Night With the Russells – The Legacy of Us  (in previews, opens 9/23, closing 10/22). A trio of the area’s foremost theatre artists performs, in storytelling and song. In Seattle (Greenwood).

A Night in Paris  @ Century Ballroom (9/23 only). A cabaret of dance and song, produced by the founder of Westlake Dance Center. In Seattle (Capitol Hill).

Pacific Northwest Ballet: Carmina Burana  (opens 9/23, closing 10/2). This triple-bill features classic and new works by George Balanchine, Alexei Ratmansky, and Kent Stowell. At the Seattle Center (Mercer St. side).

SecondStory Repertory Theatre: The Half-Life of Marie Curie (opens 9/23, closing 10/9). Lauren Gunderson’s play looks at the accomplished chemist who was scandalized by the press. In Redmond.

Café Nordo: Spirit Parlour  (opens 9/23, closing 11/20). A haunting new production; dinner served at Sunday night performances only. In Seattle (Pioneer Square).

Base: Residency Open House with Hexe Fey (9/24 only). A Base resident artist explores pow-wow and the Ghost Dance, and their relationships to Indigenous ancestors and futurisms. In Seattle (Georgetown).



Closing Soon 


A Manly Entanglement  

Drama Tops: Boys, Boys, Boys!
Velocity Dance Center – Made in Seattle @ 12th Avenue Arts 
Closing 9/25. In Seattle (Capitol Hill).

A mobile of Manly Things, washed in pink and blue lighting, looms over the Drama Tops dance floor. Photo by Chase D. Anderson.

Trans, cis, and non-binary. Short and tall. Close-shaven and free-flowing.

Choreographer-dancer collaborators Elby Brosch and Shane Donohue are an intriguing pair to showcase conceptions of masculinity, and they do that with a highly physical exploration of sexuality, stereotype, and commercialization.

The topics are weighty, but the performance is mostly light, occasionally bordering on slapstick humor. It’s also weird, and sometimes gross; an extended scene of “Pride Oreos” and poured milk had me wanting to wander on stage just to hurl away from fellow viewers.

However strange it got, Brosch and Donohue are undeniable talents, with impressive showings of balance and strength. This closing weekend of performances runs tonight through Sunday, with an after-party on Saturday.

Tickets ($22-$55, sliding scale available to all) here.

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18th & Union: Portable Performance Festival (various shows; festival runs through 9/24). In some 20 shows, Seattle-area artists tell stories (real and invented) through solo performances, staged play readings, dance, film, and music. In Seattle (Central District). See NWT’s feature here.

Bremerton Community Theatre: Sylvia  (closing 9/25). A found poodle-mix drives a wedge between a long-married Manhattan couple. In Bremerton.

Monologues of n Women  @ Theatre 4 (closing 9/25). Chinese women explore experiences and expectations in this devised theatrical work, presented in Mandarin with subtitles. At the Seattle Center. Note: all performances are currently listed as sold out.

Olympia Little Theatre: Tiny Beautiful Things  (closing 9/25). A writer takes on the duty of unpaid, anonymous advice columnist, and connects more deeply to her readers than expected. In Olympia.

Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts: The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940  (closing 9/25). A Broadway show succumbs to backstage drama and murder in this comedy of mayhem. In Marysville.

Tacoma Little Theatre: Steel Magnolias  (closing 9/25). The classic play of enduring friendship, with hair salon gossip and Southern roots. In Tacoma.



Continuing Runs


Edmonds Driftwood Players: The Mousetrap  (closing 10/2). This Agatha Christie mystery has run continuously in London for decades. In Edmonds.

Theatre22: Nonsense and Beauty  (closing 10/2). The long-running theatre company’s final show looks at the decades-long same-sex romance of British novelist E.M. Forester and the lengths he went to in order to conceal it. In Seattle (Green Lake).

Seattle Rep: Where We Belong  (touring) (closing 10/9). In this solo touring piece, a Shakespeare scholar seeks to reconcile her Native identity with the language of colonizers. At the Seattle Center (Mercer St. side). (Read NWT contributor Dusty Somers’ interview with the playwright-performer in The Seattle Times here.)

Tacoma Musical Playhouse: Singin’ in the Rain  (closing 10/9). The stage adaptation of the movie-musical classic. In Tacoma.

ACT Theatre & The 5th Avenue Theatre: Choir Boy  @ ACT (closing 10/23). This recent Broadway hit follows a young Black, queer identity, and an elite prep school gospel choir. In Downtown Seattle.

Village Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors  (closing 10/23, then runs 10/28-11/20 at Everett). An insatiable human-eating plant stars in this classic musical. In Issaquah.

Cafe Nordo: Down the Rabbit Hole  (closing 11/19). Deep under the cobblestones, Alice finds cabaret and culinary delight in Wonderland. In Seattle (Pioneer Square).

Can Can Culinary Cabaret: The Hitchcock Hotel  (closing 11/27). The spooky season officially kicks off with the Can Can’s fall show, served up with dinner and drinks in the cabaret’s new location. In Seattle (Pike Place Market).


The Roundup is a weekly (ish) feature. For this month’s shows by day, with ticketing info and links, see the Performance Calendar.

Want to plan your show schedule further out? See NWT’s seasonal show lists — Fall (September & October) and Holiday Season (November & December) — which aim to list just about every theatre show in town.

Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of NWTheatre.org.