Tricks and Treats: Here Comes Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and so are these bawdy, fun, and spooky stage options.  


The Sweetest of Nightmares 

Among Seattle-area theatre, if there’s a hands-down hit Halloween tradition, it’s the Can Can’s This Is Halloween. And it’s not a close call. With rowdy dance numbers, escapist visuals, film-favorite characters, spooky sweetness, and the divine Jasmine Jean Sim, the show has a formula not to be messed with.

Table service throughout the show means you don’t have to plan much beyond your tickets for this one. Just get your favorite seats and wear your Halloween Town finest.

With clear inspiration in The Nightmare Before Christmas but plenty of original content (not to mention excellent performers and design work), this show is so perfectly festive I wish they’d do a Christmastime version. With, y’know, some more trees and Jingle Bells cacophony.

Read NWT’s review of last year’s dazzling show here (and a pre-pandemic showing here).

Read NWT’s catalog of inconsistent dining experiences at the Triple Door here. Recent visits indicate an upswing, but should still be approached with inconsistent quality in mind. 

This Is Halloween runs 10/19-31 at the Triple Door in Downtown Seattle. Tickets ($47+ with fees, depending on date), here.  


Fall Cabaret 

It’s the same producing company, but the Can Can’s main cabaret venue, with its full season of shows, has a schedule that’s distinct from the short-run This Is Halloween. That means the main house has a longer-running, seasonal cabaret on at the same time.

As with last fall, this season’s show features a job-searching former-innocent in The Hitchcock Hotel. The title sounds spooky and noir, but mostly it’s the eventual clothes-shedding you’d expect of a cabaret show, mixed with cool contraptions, artsy glamorous costumes, amazingly physical performers, loud music, and overt nods to The Rocky Horror Show (and its film sibling).

Two things I’ve learned about seeing shows at the Can Can: (1) it matters who you go with, and (2) it matters where you sit. On the first point, go with someone (or someones) willing to be fun, loose (with money helps, but anything but uptight), and a little rowdy (or at least appreciating others doing so).

Nik Hagen joins the cast of this year’s ‘Hitchcock Hotel’ at the Can Can. Photo by Nate Watters.

On the second point, you want to be inside the catwalk, not at the tables outside of it. Inside the catwalk, you’re a part of the crowd, enjoying the energy, with the best view, and decent enough sound moderation. (It’s still loud, but energetically so.) Outside the catwalk, you feel like the outside looking in — often at the backs of corporate parties in big groups sitting at both sides of the catwalk itself. Which wouldn’t be a show-killer, but for the speakers blaring down directly from above those same outer tables. I can’t always prescribe the one way to enjoy a show, but I can guarantee you what it is not for this show: having bass pounding down so directly on you, your freshly consumed beer and burrata vibrate and slosh around inside you.

As for the show itself, it’s very much the same production-wise as it was last year. (You can read my review of that one here.) Can Can debut Rey Rodriguez and Seattle theatre fan favorite Nik Hagen join the cast this year, which local musical theatre fans are bound to love. But this season’s absence of Richard Peacock, a personal favorite of mine (with that magnetic “Big Richard Energy”) is a void that’s deeply felt in this one.

The Hitchcock Hotel runs through 11/12 at the Can Can Culinary Cabaret near Pike Place Market (new location: 95 Pine St.). Admission 21+. Tickets ($88+ with fees, depending on date), here.  


Spooky Stuff 

Less bawdy, more scary? You’ve got a couple of promising options.

One is Bloodletting from Pork Filled Productions (“Seattle’s Geek Theatre”), the long-running troupe centering Asian American writers and performers. In Boni B. Alvarez’s Bloodletting, two siblings reopen old wounds and encounter an aswang (Filipino vampire) while waiting out a storm. It opens Thursday (10/19) after a preview tomorrow night.

Anna Mulia and Jen-Ai Clinton in Bloodletting, opening this week. Photo by Tyler Tang.

Bloodletting from Pork Filled Productions runs 10/17 -11/4 at Theatre Off Jackson in the International District. Tickets $15-$50 (sliding scale available to all) here

(Take note while you’re at it: Pork Filled hosts an entirely different, one-night show on 10/24, that’s probably not scary but sure is stacked. Performers in the AAPI Celebration showcase include Rheanna Atendido, Justin Huertas, magician Maritess Zurbano, the improv group Joy Market, a short bit from Bloodletting, food, and lots more. With pay-what-you-choose ticketing and that lineup, tickets are apt to go fast. You can get them here.)

Another is a different sort of show in a unique location: Dacha Theatre’s The Veil, held at the private and secluded Forest Ledge Mansion. In this interactive new work by Nathan Whitehouse, audiences become participants in trying to rescue amateur occultists from powers they don’t understand. (Sounds too freaky for me! But the uniqueness of this venture, and the warmth of Dacha, make this a tempting one.)

The Veil from Dacha Theatre runs through 11/5 at Forest Ledge Mansion in Burien. Tickets $3-$66 (sliding scale available to all) here

Later this month, get ready for Andelana, based on the spooky Tacoma lore of the real ship wrecked in Commencement Bay. Dukesbay Productions’ new play runs 10/27-11/19 in Tacoma (tickets here). And next Monday (10/23) only, hear Spooky Stories ‘Round the Campfire, written by local teens and produced by Penguin Productions at 18th & Union (tickets here).


A Very ‘Hades’ Halloween 

The North American Tour of Hadestown returns to the Paramount on Halloween. Photo by T. Charles Erikson.

On Halloween itself, Hadestown kicks off its short tour stop at the Paramount Theatre, adding to your available options for October 31st. (You can also catch most of the above options, bucking their usual show schedule to add a special Tuesday night edition. See your night-of Halloween options here.)

Last year, Hadestown at the Paramount was easily one of my favorite shows of the year. Folk singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell is a phenomenal storyteller through song, here delivering a sung-through musical that boasts addictive songs with evocative lyrics that are once tight and dreamy. The set design is magnificent, somehow both stony and hopeful.

Expect those things to all remain the same. A bigger question mark is this tour’s cast, a much greener team. That said, in this electrifying show, that could also wind up a good thing.

Hadestown (Broadway Across America tour) runs 10/31-11/5 at the Paramount Theatre in Downtown Seattle. Tickets ($57.50+ with fees, depending on date), here

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