This Week in Arts: Weekly Roundup (10/13)

I’ll give it to you straight: this week is loaded, so prioritize what you want to see. Shows on now include plays and musicals for every mood, new dance works, a few seasonal works to ease into the spooky season, group-friendly outings with dinner & drinks, family-friendly fun, and admission at every price point. 

For financially accessible shows, use this filter

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

For a feature listing of shows on in the South Sound, go here



Openings & Short Runs


Dance Dance Evolution 

Spectrum Dance Theater: Occurrence #11
Tonight through 10/23. In Seattle (Lake Washington).

University of Washington Chamber Dance Company
Tonight through 10/16. In Seattle (UW main campus).

Base: Residency Open House with Saira Barbaric
10/15 (morning) only. In Seattle (Georgetown).

This week, three shows look back and into the future of dance, with local dancers performing prominent choreographers and brand new, home-grown works.

UW Chamber Dance Company dancers rehearse David Roussève’s ‘Stardust’. Photo by Kiyomi Taguchi.

Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater celebrates its 40-year mark, 20 of them under venerable choreographer and Artistic Director Donald Byrd, with a milestone “40/20” season. It opens with Occurrence #11, a best-of collection chosen from its first 10 programs over six years of Occurrence sessions.

The students of the UW Chamber Dance Company mix with professional dancers to perform works from some of the most exciting choreographers, including Crystal Pite, whose work has shown prominently at Pacific Northwest Ballet and will again this season, David Roussève, and MFA students Gary Champi and Jenn Pray.

And at the Base Residency Open House, multi-genre artist Saira Barbaric hosts a morning of new works, with treats, arts, and a dance film premiere.

Tickets for Spectrum Dance Theater’s Occurrence #11 ($25 general, plus pay-what-you-choose tickets available for all) here

Tickets for UW Chamber Dance Company ($25) available here.

Tickets for Saira Barbaric’s Base Residency Open House (free) available here

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Bainbridge Performing Arts: Hedwig and the Angry Inch  (opens tonight, closing 10/23). On Bainbridge Island.

Seattle Children’s Theatre: BKXKids! Asks Why and Destination: Everywhere (BKXKids! & Broken Box Mime Theater)  (opens tonight, closing 10/23). At the Seattle Center.

Tacoma Arts Live – Regional Theatre series: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot @ Tacoma Armory  (opens tonight, closing 10/23). In Tacoma.

Macha Theatre Works: La Tofana’s Poison Emporium @ West of Lenin  (opens 10/14, closing 10/29). In Seattle (Fremont). See NWT’s interview with playwright Joy McCullough on a prior work here.

Dukesbay Productions: Java Tacoma – To Bean or Not to Bean  (opens 10/14, closing 10/30). In Tacoma.

ManeStage Theatre: Peter and the Starcatcher  (opens 10/14, closing 10/30). In Puyallup.

Can Can Culinary Cabaret: This Is Halloween @ The Triple Door  (opens 10/14, closing 10/31). In Seattle (Downtown).

Western Washington Center for the Arts: The Poe Show  (opens 10/14, closing 10/31). In Port Orchard.

Seattle Children’s Theatre: The Boy Who Kissed the Sky  (opens 10/14, closing 11/6). At the Seattle Center.

Woodinville Repertory Theatre: Ghost-Writer @ Sammamish Grange Hall  (opens 10/14, closing 11/6). In Woodinville.

Langston: Black and Tan: The Musical  (performs 10/15-16 only). In Seattle (Central District).

Mirror Stage: Expand Upon staged readings series – Income Inequality and the Wage Gap  (performs 10/15-23). Online only.

Seattle Opera: Tristan and Isolde  (opens 10/15, closing 10/29). At the Seattle Center (Mercer St. side).



Closing Soon 


Cloud Tectonics – Sound Theatre & Earthseed @ 12th Avenue Arts   

Closes 10/15. In Seattle (Capitol Hill).

Time stands still when a pregnant woman hitchhiking in the middle of the night lands in a trusting man’s living room in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

Myles Romo and Jay Woods in ‘Cloud Tectonics’ from Sound Theatre and Earthseed. Photo by Aaron Jin.

Celestina del Sol (played Jay Woods, who’s better known for work behind the scenes as an accomplished director and arts leader) and Anibal de la Luna (Myles Romo) engage in a careful dance of getting to know one another: he, taking care to keep things chaste in deference to his relationship with an unseen woman; she, at once on perpetual edge and too eager to trust someone completely.

His clocks suddenly frozen upon her arrival, neither can be sure of the time. How much has elapsed since he brought her home for a night of safety and a meal? The comings and goings of an uninvited visitor (Jacob Alcazar) are their only clue to the passage of time.

Playwright José Rivera’s signature magical realism is on fine display here, under the direction of Jéhan Òsanyìn. Celestina del Sol and Anibal de la Luna are as different as their names (sun and moon), and she pulls him into her orbit on an otherwise unremarkable day in an otherwise unremarkable living room. Woods’ earnest portrayal is what makes this energy work. Her Celestina is untethered to the earth and knows more than we do, but also trapped just enough that she’s deeply dependent on connecting with another. Or perhaps she’s just longing to, despite past experience. Romo’s very-grounded Anibal plays well off that energy — tempering her, a bit, while she reminds him what it’s like to have a flame inside. Alcazar’s visitor, Anibal’s brother Nelson, a reminder of the outside world, is a brusque intrusion.

This contemplative play — with its small moments and time suspended — forces everything to slow down, and for that reason it feels longer than its 90-minute run time. The acting makes it worthwhile to take that mental break and focus on their world. Parmida Ziaei’s set gives it the perfect home, telling us much while embellishing little.

Tickets are $6-$79 (sliding scale available for all), here. Afternoon mercado and Spanish captioned show on closing night (10/15). Note: performances are listed as sold out. View wait-list policies at the ticketing link.

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Book-It Rep: In the Time of Butterflies  (closing 10/16). Based on the novel by Julia Alvarez, the last sister remaining after a repressive regime looks to keep all four of their legacies alive. At the Seattle Center.

Broadway at The Paramount – Seattle Theatre Group: To Kill a Mockingbird  (touring) @ The Paramount  (closing 10/16). This new Aaron Sorkin adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel was wildly popular on Broadway, and performs here this week on its national tour. In Downtown Seattle. See NWT’s review here.

Olympia Family Theater: The Secret Garden  (closing 10/16). A modern-day telling of the classic novel includes puppets and punk rock. In Olympia.



Continuing Runs 


Choir Boy – co-production with The 5th Avenue Theatre @ ACT Theatre 

Don’t Miss   
Closes 10/23. In Downtown Seattle.

If ever there was a natural to play Pharus Jonathan Young, it’s Seattle-based Nicholas Japaul Bernard, whose youthful energy, depth of sass, and solo-ready voice combine in a complex character who’s scarred, manipulative, hopeful, and oh-so-talented.

The young men of the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys in ‘Choir Boy’. Photo by Mark Kitaoka.

Pharus is one among five high school boys at the center of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s coming-of-age tale, set in an elite prep school under the watch of Headmaster Marrow (played by an in-command Arlando Smith), who’s intent on refining the school’s Black boys into Black men.

The pride of the school, and the center of Pharus’ orbit, is the choir, of which Pharus has been elected student leader. But legacy student Bobby Marrow (Jarron A. Williams), nephew of the headmaster, resents Pharus’ newfound confidence in his sexuality (“Drew men don’t swish”) and doesn’t intend to make things easy for him.

Choir Boy could be a simple story of homophobic teenagers and thriving in spite of them. But it doesn’t take that route. It builds a story for each of the five through a montage of phone calls home, constructs each one as a necessary pillar for the others’ stories, and has them both erupting at each other and growing in surprising ways. Somehow, its careful story development and moments of quiet never throw off the show’s crackling energy. The constant motion and clever scene construction mean the one-act show feels much faster than its nearly two-hour run-time.

The whole cast — Bernard, Smith, and Williams, plus Donovan Mahannah, Brandon G. Stalling, and Kyle Ward (as students Junior, David, and Anthony), and Larry Paulsen (as a professor, and the White Presence in the tale) — play wonderfully well off of each other, directed by Jamil Jude and associate director Shermona Mitchell. Catch Bernard in the leading role into next week, and understudy Stephon Jamaal Dorsey stepping in for the final few performances.

With juicy backstories and battle lines drawn, moody direction that pivots from light to dark without warning, addictive musicality, and tight choreography, Choir Boy is my front-runner pick for can’t-miss show of the season.

Tickets (up to $89) available here. Limited pay-what-you-choose ($5-$50) advance tickets at ticket link above, if any remain; and same-day $20 rush tickets available in person for all performances (see discount ticket information here). ASL interpreted performance on 10/23 (matinee).

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Jet City Improv: The Emerald City Slasher – an improvised murder mystery @ Theatre Off Jackson  (closing 10/22). In Seattle (International District).

MAP Theatre: a white haunting @ 18th & Union  (closing 10/22). In Seattle (Central District). See NWT’s review here.

ArtsWest: Swimming While Drowning  (closing 10/23). In West Seattle.

As If Theatre Company: The Foreigner @ Kenmore Community Club  (closing 10/23). In Kenmore.

Seattle Rep: What the Constitution Means to Me – touring  (closing 10/23). At the Seattle Center (Mercer St. side).

Valley Center Stage: On Golden Pond  (closing 10/23). In North Bend.

Village Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors  (closing 10/23, then runs 10/28-11/20 at Everett). See NWT’s review here.

Harlequin Productions: Fun Home  (closing 10/29). In Olympia.

Taproot Theatre: A Night With the Russells – The Legacy of Us  (extended, now closing 10/29). In Seattle (Greenwood).

Centerstage Theatre: The Ghost Train  (closing 10/30). In Federal Way (Dash Point).

The Phoenix Theatre: Clue  (closing 10/30). In Edmonds.

Cafe Nordo: Down the Rabbit Hole  (closing 11/19). In Seattle (Pioneer Square). See NWT’s review here.

Café Nordo: Spirit Parlour  (closing 11/20). In Seattle (Pioneer Square).

Can Can Culinary Cabaret: The Hitchcock Hotel  (closing 11/27). See NWT’s review here.


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.