This Week in Arts: Weekly Roundup (11/17)

Even before the big rush of Christmas openings (that’s next week), there’s a whole bunch of treats in store this week, including dance showcases, interesting works from theatre companies big and small and, yes, some early Christmas shows. 

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



Dance Dance Evolution 

Martha Graham Dance Company @ Meany Center
Tonight through 11/19. In Seattle (UW main campus).

Pacific Northwest Ballet: The Seasons’ Canon (streaming)
Now through 11/21. Online.

Karin Stevens Dance: Two Dances and a Film @ Yaw Theater
11/18-19 only. In Seattle (Georgetown).

Cornish Dance Theater @ Cornish Playhouse
11/18-19 only. At the Seattle Center (Mercer side).

Dare to Dance 11 @ Broadway Performance Hall
11/18-19 only. In Seattle (Capitol Hill).

This week is bursting with big dance energy, from a legendary founder of the modern dance canon to the next generation creating dances for today.

Martha Graham Dance Company performs ‘Canticle for Innocent Comedians’. Photo by Luis Luque.

Influencer means something fleeting now, but Martha Graham has been an influencer of modern dance for close to 100 years. Her company maintains and expands upon her legacy, dancing her own choreographed works and creating new ones from her inspiration. And in a collaborative effort that’s brand new this year, it now bridges and combines the two. Canticle for Innocent Comedians (2022) reworks a series of the same name that Graham premiered in 1952 and has largely been lost to history. One segment, Moon, was filmed contemporaneously and Graham’s original choreography is danced; the others, all inspired by nature, are re-envisioned by eight other choreographers and created in Graham’s style. The Martha Graham Dance Company performs A Canticle, plus two original Graham works (Errand Into the Maze, 1947, and Diversion of Angels, 1948) and Cave (2022) by Hofesh Shechter.

Speaking of dance inspired by nature, it’s your last chance to catch Crystal Pite’s triumphant The Seasons’ Canon from Pacific Northwest Ballet, now in streaming form. Remember when I said The Seasons’ Canon was a must-see? It’s still true. And, while things are (almost) always better live, PNB has the best quality of recorded performances I’ve seen, bar none. So whether or not you caught the live version, and I hope you did, the streaming version — just released today and viewable through Monday (11/21) — should be a great watch. The triple-bill opens with an exuberant, eclectic, and moody AF world premiere by Dwight Rhoden (longtime choreographer and past Ailey dancer), Catching Feelings; moves to a cheeky music-driven duet in George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant (1972) (danced here by Lesley Rausch and Lucien Postlewaite); and closes with Pite’s cinematic, enthralling title work.

Karin Stevens Dance. Photo by Jim Coleman.

But Seattle’s own dance scene has long held its own, and this weekend is also bursting with a showcase of works from artists who call this area home.

In works likewise inspired by connectivity with nature and environment, Karin Stevens Dance presents a triple-bill at Yaw Theater in Georgetown: live performances of Wind of the Vast and Intimate (2022) and A Pearl in Sorrows Hand (2021), and the dance film Sky, Lava Rock, Palms, Sand, Woods, Ocean (2022).

And two multi-choreographer showcases present a wide-ranging slate of new works. The Cornish Dance Theater showcase features contemporary dance by choreographers Lucie Baker, Markeith Wiley, and Celia Weiss Bambara. And the 11th iteration of the annual showcase Dare to Dance features works by a huge list of artists: Afsaana Dance, Brenda Powers, Cindy Jacobs and Sue Scanlon, Cisco (EDM Dancer), Impulse Artistry, Jennifer Cepeda, MiYoung Margolis Dance Collective, Nivedita Awasthi, Palpasa Manandhar, Salsa Cubana, and Sandy Flores and Zheng Wang featuring Jack Mozie.

Feeling a little more Christmasy already? Check out two iterations of The Nutcracker, both in Tacoma, in the Early Christmas section below.


Tickets for Martha Graham Dance Company at Meany Center ($69-$81) available here

Tickets for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Seasons’ Canon – streaming ($39) available here.

Tickets for Karin Stevens Dance Company at Yaw Theater ($28) available here.    

Tickets for Cornish Dance Theater showcase ($12) available here

Tickets for Dare to Dance 11 ($28) available here



Early Christmas  

Apparently some of you are ready for Christmas shows already. It feels a little early, but who are we to stop you?

If you’re going to do early Christmas shows, might as well go big. Two updated takes on The Nutcracker perform in Tacoma, this weekend only. Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center (T.U.P.A.C.), founded by the late great dancer Kabby Mitchell, performs The Urban Nutcracker at Mount Tahoma High School tomorrow night through Sunday (11/18-20). A Northwest icon, Mitchell was the first Black company member of Pacific Northwest Ballet. So it’s apt that Jonathan Batista, elevated this month as PNB’s first Black principal dancer, will perform in the show. And The Hip Hop Nutcracker with MC Kurtis Blow tours to Pantages Theater on Sunday (11/20) as part of the Tacoma Arts Live season.

On the west side of the Sound, two Christmas shows are taking stage in Poulsbo. Elf: The Musical at Kitsap Children’s Musical Theatre is a very early riser, opening earlier this month and closing this Sunday (11/20). And at Poulsbo’s Jewel Box TheatreMiss Bennet – Christmas at Pemberley opens tomorrow (11/18) and runs through 12/4. (Jane Austen fans should also check out Seattle’s Taproot Theatre and Book-It Repertory Theatre later this month.)  

For an Elf nearer to Seattle, Edmonds Driftwood Players opens its version of Elf: The Musical tomorrow (11/18), and runs through 12/18. Or if you’re very Christmasy, I guess you can just hop the ferry back and forth between the two; the Edmonds/Kingston run will get you pretty close to both. And in the heart of Seattle Center, Seattle Children’s Theatre performs the family-centric Paddington Saves Christmas, opening tomorrow (11/18) and running through the end of the year.


Tickets for Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center’s The Urban Nutcracker at Mount Tahoma High School ($18-$44) available here

Tickets for The Hip Hop Nutcracker with MC Kurtis Blow at Pantages Theater ($47-$123) available here

Tickets for Kitsap Children’s Musical Theatre’s Elf: The Musical ($20) available here.  

Tickets for Jewel Box Theatre’s Miss Bennet – Christmas at Pemberley ($22) available here.  

Tickets for Edmonds Driftwood Players’ Elf: The Musical ($30) available here

Tickets for Seattle Children’s Theatre’s Paddington Saves Christmas ($25-$50) available here



Dacha’s Next Stages 

Dacha Theatre, a company known for playful works that run the gamut, has already had a lively year. Among them: a semi-scripted, audience-driven carnival weaving workplace politics and minor injustices throughout the characters’ interactions (Funfair with the Playable Theatre Project, at Billings Middle School); a kid-centric, exuberant park show (Star Play, at the Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival); a truncated, waterfront Shakespeare with a band and hefty swordplay, where the dice decide the roles (Dice: Romeo and Juliet, in Port Townsend).

For the fall, the company enters a bit different territory. The season opens tonight with a workshop reading of a new work, Girls School Memory Play by Donovan Olsen, directed by Leah Sainz Jones. While maintaining its “playful, borderline ridiculous” posture, with Girls School the company delves into socialization of gender and internalized transphobia, as a trans protagonist looks back on their time in the rigid single-sex environment of an all-girls school. And keep a look out this season for work at UW Drama by company co-founder and Artistic Director Kate Drummond, who this fall entered the MFA program in directing.

Tickets for Girls School Memory Play at West of Lenin (in Fremont) opens tonight and runs through Sunday (11/21). Tickets ($1-$50, pay-what-you-choose available for all) here



Openings & Short Runs 


(For ease of reference, shows featured above will also appear here.)

Teatro ZinZanni: Coming Home @ Herban Feast (opened this week, closing 2/19/2023). In Seattle (SoDo).

Village Theatre: Cinderella (in previews, opens 11/18, closing 12/20, followed by Everett run). In Issaquah.

Karin Stevens Dance @ Yaw Theater  (opens tonight, through 11/19). In Seattle (Georgetown).

Meany Center for the Performing Arts: Martha Graham Dance Company (touring)  (opens tonight, through 11/19). In Seattle (UW main campus).

Cornish College of the Arts: Cabaret @ Raisbeck Hall (opens tonight, through 11/20). In Seattle (Denny).

Dacha Theatre: Girls School Memory Play (staged reading) @ West of Lenin  (opens tonight, through 11/20). In Seattle (Fremont).

Pearl Lam and Woody Shticks: Put Your Hands Together @ 18th & Union  (opens tonight, through 11/20). In Seattle (Central District).

University of Washington Drama: Language of Angels @ Jones Playhouse  (opens tonight, closing 12/4). In Seattle (U-District).

Cornish College of the Arts: Cornish Dance Theater @ Cornish Playhouse  (runs 11/18-19). At the Seattle Center (Mercer side).

Dare to Dance 11 @ Broadway Performance Hall  (runs 11/18-19). In Seattle (Capitol Hill).

Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center: The Urban Nutcracker @ Mount Tahoma High School  (opens 11/18, through 11/20). In Tacoma.

Jewel Box Theatre: Miss Bennet – Christmas at Pemberley  (opens 11/18, closing 12/4). In Poulsbo.

Edmonds Driftwood Players: Elf: The Musical  (opens 11/18, closing 12/18). In Edmonds.

Seattle Children’s Theatre: Paddington Saves Christmas  (opens 11/18, closing 12/31). At the Seattle Center.

The 5th Avenue Theatre: The Wiz  (previews begin 11/19, opens 11/27, closing 12/23). In Downtown Seattle.

Tacoma Arts Live: The Hip Hop Nutcracker with MC Kurtis Blow (touring) @ Pantages  (11/20 only). In Tacoma.



Closing Soon 


Blue Hour Theatre Group: Boom @ Youngstown Cultural Arts Center  (closing 11/19). In West Seattle (Delridge).

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

Reboot Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar @ Theatre Off Jackson  (closing 11/19). In Seattle (International District).

Bremerton Community Theatre: The Odd Couple  (closing 11/20). In Bremerton.

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

Kitsap Children’s Musical Theatre: Elf – The Musical  (closing 11/20). In Poulsbo.

Olympia Family Theater: Dragons Love Tacos  (closing 11/20). In Olympia.

Seattle Shakespeare Company: Macbeth  (closing 11/20). At the Seattle Center.

Village Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors  (closing 11/20). In Everett. See NWT’s review here.

The Williams Project: The Amen Corner co-production @ Langston  (closing 11/20). In Seattle (Central District).



Continuing Runs 


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

Pony World Theatre: Not / Our Town @ 12th Avenue Arts  (closing 12/3). See NWT’s preview 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 — Holiday Season (November & December) and an early look at 2023 — which aim to list just about every theatre show in town.

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