Top Picks: April Showers Bring May …

Shows to look forward to in early May include a new musical of Seattle mythology, high-flying acrobatics in a bar, the reimagining of a classic work, exploration of queerness and traditional mythology, and a new play on ethnicity, gender, and adoption.

Below, arts-makers tell us what makes these upcoming shows unique. 

Responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.



This Weekend  


UW Drama Producing Artists Lab: In the Blood  

Contrasting styles and symbolism in this post-modern take
Now through May 7 at Hughes Penthouse Theatre (Seattle – UW main campus)

Answers provided by co-director Kate Drummond  

What’s special about this show?

In the Blood photo by Kyler Martin.

Our unique two-act structure allows us to re-imagine the text and stage multiple interpretations of the same characters and relationship arcs in Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood, a post-modernist riff on The Scarlet Letter. The play turns a huge corner in language and imagery in the second act (which I, Kate, directed), and the symbols are really highlighted by our experimental framework.

This Producing Artists Lab is a showcase of the graduate talent at the University of Washington, as the first-year MFA directors and designers collaborate on a ticketed show for the very first time. The cast is made up of six MFA actors, four UW undergraduate actors, and two emerging community actors. These are the young artists who will explode into the Seattle scene in two short years, and this is an incredible opportunity to watch them flex.

What might surprise people about the show? 

There are two completely different casts (and different costume designers) between Act I and Act II, and our rehearsal processes did not overlap at all. Even we (the directors) did not see each other’s acts until about halfway through tech — 3-4 days before we opened. All of the poetic resonance between the two acts is born from the clarity of Suzan-Lori Parks’ playwriting and the smart work of our design team.

If this show were an insect, what would it be? 

Definitely a female lo moth.

Who will love it? 

Fans of literary adaptations, poetic interpretations of classic stories, and post-modern or metaphoric images in theatre will especially enjoy it. 

Why is the season right for this show?  

As we look forward to the summer and start to emerge from our winter hollows, we will begin to more visibly share space with our community. This show is a timely reminder of what we owe each other, and what’s at stake if we don’t treat each other with empathy.


Directed by graduate MFA directing students Nick O’Leary (Act I) and Kate Drummond (Act II). Show info and tickets here



Moonyeka: Base Residency open house  

Queering Filipino mythology in a multi-media celebration
Performs May 7 @ 2:30 pm only, at Base (Seattle – Georgetown)

Answers provided by residency artist Moonyeka 

What’s special about this show? 

This is a works-in-process sharing and celebration of Harana for the Aswang, an audio-visual-performance work centered on queering the research of harana — a Filipinx-Ilocano-Southern Americas diasporic serenade song form rooted in courtship and grief rituals. Aswang is an umbrella term for various shape-shifting, mythological, animist, folkloric, “evil” spirits and creatures in Filipino folklore.

Image by v, justlikethemoon_.

The process uses a biomythographic lens on harana histories and aswang by queering and re-telling mythologies in a way that centers love and care, and critiques current mythological storytelling as a propaganda’d way to demonize aswang spirits. This research modernizes aswang spirits to those of us who root into our intersectional queer and trans diasporic lives.

The celebratory part of this sharing includes Filipinx herbalism-infused flower essence infused mocktails and a formal announcement of the formation of Moonyeka’s artist collective: The House of Kilig.

What might surprise people about this show? 

The atmospheric presence of kilig through experimental lighting, sound, and dance design. Floral and sea-like costuming. Light interactive invitations. Projections in the low lit spaces as digitally produced video poems.

What is the mood of the show? 

Swoons in a tropical rainforest, sea songs, and candlelight dances. 

Why is the season right for this show?  

This early springtime brings forth early ideas and iterations.

If this show were a flower, what would it be? 

Waling-waling orchids. Orchids blossoms grow by unfurling the bud of its head a full 180 degrees. Orchid presence is imprinted in this work based on the multi-sensory perspective of this sharing.

Who will love it? 

Anyone who is interested in biomythographic processes, serenades, and the somatic experience of butterflies in one’s stomach (kilig). 


Show info and tickets (free) here

Moonyeka is a 2023-24 Jack Straw New Media Gallery artist. Their work will open as an interdisciplinary gallery exhibit on February 14, 2024. See gallery info here



Airbound Underground Circus Collective: The Brotherhood Takes Flight  

Serious aerial arts in a well-known Olympia dive bar
Performs May 7 @ 5 pm at the Brotherhood Lounge (Downtown Olympia)
Ongoing series; also performs June 4 (with different artists each show), before summer hiatus

Answers provided by Airbound Underground aerialists Marlo Winter (show co-producer) and Mirrah Stoller 

What’s special about this show? 

Our acts are all original and the audience is up close and personal. You usually have to pay extra to almost get kicked by aerialists, but at The Brotherhood Takes Flight you can choose whether to tip us for it or not! But seriously, it’s very special to get to see the movements that close. Acts are unique, sassy, strong, and often have queer themes, which you won’t find in every aerial community. (MS)

Dream Froehe photo by Jo Arlow.

One of the things that makes this show special is its multitude of vibes, feels, talents, showmanship, jackassery, and more. As a general “rule,” The Broho Takes Flight is down to hold any idea a performer comes up with. We like to get weird as all fuck and stay serious. (MW)

What might surprise people about the show? 

I am proud of how weird this show is. I am proud of how much love I feel surrounding it. (MW)

Straight-up mind-blowing, masterful acts and daring creative interpretations of what aerial dance can be. Our performers take creative risks, resulting in refreshing artistry. (MS)

If this show were a flower, what would it be? 

Bird-of-paradise, because it transcends floral form. (MS)

Describing it as an environment or an ecosystem would more suit the show. It’s like a jungle: full of different types of life making a gorgeous landscape for growth, cathartic experiences, and so much fucking fun. (MW)

What is the mood of the show? 

Sassy, silly, alluring. (MS)

The mood in the Brotherhood Lounge during our show is love. The audience is large and close to the performers onstage. We have been in the same space for 14 years. This event has held local artists through their journeys learning to be aerialists, as well being a destination for professional performers from throughout the Puget Sound region. (MW)

Why is the season right for this show?  

Because it’s fucking cold outside, and we need sweet, exciting, magical stuff to do inside. The performers at The Brotherhood Takes Flight are so talented, doing weird stuff that you don’t see in other shows, constantly experimenting, never just pretty, always pushing the edge of aerial meeting art. We have learned a language, and now are saying things. Sad things, happy things, savory things, sexy things, weird things. Having a show every month means we are constantly making new work, which pushes us into new realms. (MW)

We’re about to wrap up our season for the year, so you only have May and June to come see what it’s all about! (MS)


Performing at May 7 show: PJ Perry and Dream Froehe (guest artists from Bellingham), and local artists Fiona Dahl, Andrea Clarke, and Ariel Schmidke. Performing at June 4 show: all local artists, a tradition for the farewell show of the season (returns in October). 

Admission $15 at the door. Note: both admission and bar are cash only. Show info here, venue info here

Note on financial accessibility (from Airbound Underground aerialist and show co-producer Emily Van Kley): Our door workers ask for a suggested donation of $15 from each audience member, but if a person is unable to pay they can offer a different amount or let us know they aren’t able to afford the ticket, and they’ll be invited in. We believe art is for everyone, not just those who have disposable income. 



Tonight Through the Month 


Seattle Rep: Lydia and the Troll 

The latest in a musical cycle building a new Seattle mythology
First preview tonight; opens May 10, closing June 11 at Seattle Rep (Seattle Center)

Answers provided by writer-composer Justin Huertas 

What’s special about this show?

Workshop rehearsal photo by Angela Nickerson.

Lydia and the Troll has been stewing for literal years. We were on the original schedule for 2019, and then we decided to push to 2020, and then we were in the pandemic theatre queue waiting for our moment.

This project is local, it’s immediate, it’s full of bops and bangers, and it’s years in the making. The music Steven Tran and I are composing is unlike anything we’ve heard in the musical theatre canon — an electronic/popscore that’s gonna make you dance in your seat.

Director Ameenah Kaplan and I created a story that centers a Black female aspiring music producer in Seattle, and we get to explore the trolls in her head that are holding her back, the trolls in her life that are holding her back, and the literal monstrous troll who is holding her back. And as you might see from the poster art, we’re creating an origin story for our city’s beloved Fremont Troll. You’re gonna want to see how we bring this troll to life on stage.

What might surprise people about the show? 

I think audiences might be surprised by the poignancy in Lydia’s journey of identity and learning to stand in her own power. Come for the magical, mythical troll, stay for the self-empowerment!

Who will love it? 

When we say we’re making this show for everyone, we absolutely mean it — anyone who’s ever been held back by the trolls in their lives will connect with this story.

What is the mood of the show? 

We’re making an event for you: a really heartfelt and emotional story about identity and acceptance, a dazzling pop concert with bass drops galore, and a complete spectacle with theatre magic old and new.

Why is the season right for this show?  

This is Seattle Rep’s grand finale for their 2022/2023 season, and that’s exactly what we’re building for you — a grand finale. This is a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-blue-moon theatre experience, and you are not going to want to miss it.


Show info and tickets here

Pay-what-you-choose tickets offered for all performances;  see info here. ASL interpreted and audio described performance on May 27 (matinee). Open captioned performance on May 18 (evening). 



ACT Theatre: Wolf Play 

A journey through family, sparring, and a boy-meets-wolf
First preview tonight; opens May 11, closing May 21 at ACT (Downtown Seattle)

Answers provided by director Rosa Joshi 

What’s special about this show?

Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross.

It’s a universal story about family and belonging, told through the lens of a queer BIPOC couple adopting a child of a different ethnicity. It’s highly theatrical, funny, and moving. You may recognize your own family in it in some way.

What might surprise people about the show? 

It has puppetry, boxing, and a boy who says he’s a wolf.

What is the mood of the show? 

Playful and thrilling. Delightful and gut wrenching.

Who will love it? 

Anyone who loves to have an experience you can’t get anywhere else but in the theatre — not only because it’s live, but also because it will take you on a journey through the power of your imagination.


Show info and tickets here

Pay-what-you-choose advance tickets (limited) and $20 rush tickets offered for all performances; see info here. ASL interpreted performance on May 21 (matinee). 



If You Missed It  


Sound Theatre Company: Roost reading and reception

A new play looks at Black womanhood with a unique lens
Performed May 1 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (Seattle – Central District)

Answers provided by playwright Zharia O’Neal 

Sound Theatre Company held a public reading and reception for its first-ever William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. Playwright Residency recipient, Zharia O’Neal. In her new play, Roost, O’Neal explores perceptions and portrayals of Black womanhood through a reality TV lens.

What might surprise people about the show? 

It’s a reading and celebration, so I think folks might be surprised to see how the actors embody the work in process.

What is the mood of this show? 

A B/black comedy — it’s bright and soft, with some sharp edges.

Why is the season right for this show?  

We’re in a time of asking complicated questions of the media we consume and the conventions we adopt — Roost deals in that.

If this show were a flower, what kind would it be? 

A lotus; they thrive in water and rise far above the surface.

Who will (especially) love it? 

There’s a “hopefully” attached to these! Black women and those who love them — and any reality TV fans.


Residency info here. Show info here


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