Over four years ago, the Balagan Theatre moved into their basement digs under Boom Noodle at 12th & Pike Street with their inaugural production of Caryl Churchill’s “Cloud Nine”. I‘ll be frank…it was a shaky beginning, an uneven production by a very young company in a raw, unfinished space. But, over the course of the next couple of years, they grew and matured with several very good productions and several with great promise, despite their tiny budget and cramped, “freezing in winter/broiling in summer”, no room for a lighting grid and constant chair scrapping noises from Boom Noodle, they triumphed and became one of the cities most interesting young theater companies. Rising rents forced them out of that space last year, and Balagan has been a homeless company with fewer productions, but that all changed a few months back when it was announced that Balagan was taking over the occupancy and management of Seattle Central Community College’s Erickson Theatre at 1524 Harvard Avenue, between Pike and Pine and behind the Egyptian Theater. The space, underused since Seattle Central cut its theater program, has been primarily used by Strawberry Theatre Workshop and New Century Theater Company in the last few years, but dormant for much of the time.
That news was received with some cheers and a few jeers, with some other theater companies complaining they didn’t know the space was being offered for a resident company. In addition, Strawshop fans were concerned that their favorite company would become homeless with the change in status. But, many arts lovers on the Hill were thrilled that the Erickson would be revitalized, and that the Balagan had a permanent home, and many fears were calmed when it was announced that the Balagan would share quarters with Strawshop, in addition to offering the theater for rental for periods without a scheduled Balagan or Strawshop production.
The rebirth of the Balagan and the Erickson begins next month, January of 2012, with their inaugural production, and regional premiere, of the hit Broadway musical, the multiple Tony Award winning “Spring Awakening” with music by Duncan Sheik and based on the controversial play by Frank Wedekind featuring the complicated emotional and sexual lives of German teenagers in the 1890’s (but with a very contemporary rock score.) The musical is directed by noted Seattle actor/director Eric Ankrim with musical direction by Kimberly Dare and features several up and coming young actors including Brian Earp, Diana Huey and our own beloved Jerick Hoffer, aka “Jinkx Monsoon” as Moritz. The show opens Friday, January 6 and plays 12 performances until closing Sunday, January 15. That seems like rather a short run for a potentially successful production, (it’s the regional premiere of the musical) but “Spring Awakening” is cutting its run short to make way for Strawshop’s winter production of “The Bells” which opens January 26. HOWEVER, we have learned that it’s very likely “Spring Awakening” will return later in the year for an encore run, but the original run needs to do well, so book your tickets NOW…this will be a hot ticket show next month!
AND, Balagan naturally would like some $$$$ to help them out with their big new move into their big new space with a big new show and agenda, so they’re hitting up all theater fans for a year end donation, (which is tax deductible of course). Go here to share some love with them.
AND/AND, check out this charming retrospective video they made looking back at the last few years…they even name check “Seattle Gay Scene” on the video and a rather unusual pull quote from one of my reviews.