There’s plenty to sift through on the calendar this weekend. Here’s what I’d focus on if I ran your agenda.
For performances February 3-5.
Pacific Northwest Ballet: Giselle
Recommended on February 4 (Saturday matinee). Performs throughout the weekend, and through February 12.
Seattle’s preeminent ballet company has diversified its ranks of leading dancers. It’s a great look.
The duo of Angelica Generosa and Jonathan Batista, each an expressive dancer whose pairing is so practiced it looks easy. The tall, precise pointe of Amanda Morgan, so sharp her pose is a spear.
It didn’t take long for these three to top my short list of favorites. And if I’m going to check out a full-length story ballet (always a mixed bag for me), I’m thrilled it’s with them in the leading roles.
It was only last year that PNB promoted a Black dancer to the role of principal — the Brazilian-born Batista, who joined the company in 2021. (PNB’s first Black dancer, the legendary Kabby Mitchell III in 1979-84, rose to the rank of soloist; his legacy is firmly rooted in the Northwest, as a founder of the Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center.) Generosa, a veteran PNB dancer promoted to principal in 2020, is Filipino American who came to PNB from the East Coast. And Morgan, hailing from Tacoma and an alum of the PNB School, last year became the company’s first Black woman promoted to the role of soloist; she already has a long resume as a dancer, choreographer, arts leader, and activist, and has advocated for increased diversity both inside and outside of PNB.
Tomorrow afternoon, those three are scheduled to dance the leading roles of Giselle (Generosa), Albert (Batista), and Myrtha (Morgan) at the matinee performance. The following weekend they’re a bit more spread out, with Generosa and Batista scheduled for Giselle and Albert on Friday (2/10) night, and Morgan as Myrtha on Saturday (2/11) afternoon.
Casting is scheduled, but subject to change occasionally; view schedule here.
Show info and tickets here.
Ain’t Too Proud (touring)
Performs through Sunday.
Now at the Paramount, Broadway’s The Life and Times of The Temptations is a real musical thrill.
Is this too early to make a call on touring show of the year? Maybe. But this one is a sure contender.
Dominique Morisseau wrote the book for this musical, and her mastery — both in crafting stories for the stage and on the city of Detroit (she’s famous for a cycle of Detroit-set plays) — flows throughout this story of Motown’s top hitmakers. The writing is tight, the songs sizzle, and the performers will rock you.
Read NWT’s review here.
Presented by Broadway at the Paramount / Seattle Theatre Group. Show info and tickets here.
Also: Broadway at the Paramount just announced its touring lineup for the 2023-24 season — and it’s hot! Featuring Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, the return of Hadestown, and more. Take a look here.
Make It a Day Trip
With so many out-of-town choices, it’s a good time to pair a local destination with your show.
With mountains looming over on one side and towering trees on the other, Valley Center Stage in North Bend feels much further out than it really is. The theatre often puts up great work, and they open I and You, by the oft-produced Lauren Gunderson, this weekend.
The other direction, head to Port Townsend for some great water views and The People Downstairs, opening this weekend at Key City Public Theatre; or, closer into town, you can Ride the Cyclone with the Lesser Known Players at Rolling Bay Hall on Bainbridge Island, or see Picasso at the Lapin Agile with Western Washington Center for the Arts in Port Orchard.