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August 20, 2015 Comments Off on Two Big Theater Openings This Week: “Matilda” and “John Baxter is a Switch Hitter” Views: 2990 Arts & Entertainment, Stage

Two Big Theater Openings This Week: “Matilda” and “John Baxter is a Switch Hitter”

Mia Sinclair Jenness, Gabby Gutierrez and Mabel Tyler (Matilda Wormwood) in Matilda The Musical National Tour. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

Mia Sinclair Jenness, Gabby Gutierrez and Mabel Tyler (Matilda Wormwood) in Matilda The Musical National Tour. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

Two new theatrical works are opening in Seattle tonight….one of them is a known hit, while the other one is making its debut.

The known hit is the national tour of the hit Broadway musical, “Matilda” based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, which is taking up residency at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater for the next month as part of its debut tour which began in May. But, the production is still apparently having some growing pains…the show’s first performance in Seattle on Tuesday night was delayed by an hour and a half due to technical issues then “struggled to make it to the final bow”.

The 5th Avenue responded with a statement on Wednesday:

“Thanks to everyone for your continued support of The 5th Avenue and your love of theater. As everyone knows with live theater-anything can happen, and last night that came true, with technical issues affecting this very complex show. The crew has been working around the clock since last night to assure that the remainder of the performances will run without a hitch, so everyone will be able to enjoy this amazing Tony Award winning production. If you were at last nights performance, and have questions or would like a refund or exchange, please call 206-625-1900 to speak to one of our ticketing representatives or email ticketing@5thavenue.org”

Last night’s performance (Wednesday, August 19) went off without a hitch.

The hit show won 4 Tony Awards and a record breaking 7 Olivier Awards in London. Based on Dahl’s novel, it’s the story of a little girl with a horrid family and a horrid school life, who uses her wit and imagination to improve her situation in the world. This darkly humorous tale is directed by Matthew Warchus with a book by Dennis Kelly and music & lyrics by Tim Minchin.

Matilda: The Musical opens tonight and runs through September 6, 2015 as the opening show for the 5th Avenue’s 2015/2016 season.

Charles Leggett, Drew Combs, Brace Evans, Adam Standley, and Tyler Trerise in Intiman's world premiere of "John Baxter is a Switch Hitter". Photo: Chris Bennion.

Charles Leggett, Drew Combs, Brace Evans, Adam Standley, and Tyler Trerise in Intiman’s world premiere of “John Baxter is a Switch Hitter”. Photo: Chris Bennion.

Also opening tonight in Seattle is a different kind of show and one far less well known than Matilda…at least for now. The Intiman Festival is presenting the world premiere of the locally written and created John Baxter is a Switch Hitter, a new work by Ana Brown and Intiman’s artistic director, Andrew Russell. “John Baxter” is a topical work and one inspired by events with a local connection: the controversial 2008 Gay Softball World Series held in Seattle.

When local gay softball league favorites the Seattle Fireflies go up against the champion San Francisco Hornets, an all-American pastime turns into an impromptu inquisition as one team halts the game to accuse their opponent of having too many “straight ringers” on their roster.

Veteran Seattle director Rosa Joshi leads a vibrant cast of 18 local actors ranging from festival veterans like Adam Standley and Charles Leggett, to other well-known Seattle artists like Reginald André Jackson and Chris Ensweiler.

“Like many classic American plays, John Baxter is a Switch Hitter directs a very focused lens into one specific community in order to reflect universal truths about the larger world,” says Joshi. “Through the metaphor of the great American pastime, Ana and Andrew ask us: If people of goodwill can’t get to the first base of co-existence, what hope is there for any of us? It’s a big question – posed with incredible humor, joy, and theatricality in this big play – that challenges us to embrace a broader sense of humanity.”

Intiman’s Community Partner for John Baxter is a Switch Hitter is the Pride Foundation, a regional community foundation that inspires giving to expand opportunities and advance full equality for LGBTQ people across the Northwest.

John Baxter is a Switch Hitter opens tonight (Thursday, September 20, 2015) at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center and runs through September 27th. It’s the second play in Intiman’s 2015 Festival following its highly lauded production of Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus Descending at 12th Ave Arts on Capitol Hill in July. “John Baxter” will run in repertory with the next production, Lillian Hellman’s controversial classic The Children’s Hour beginning September 9th.

Intiman’s season concludes with another play with queer content: Robert O’Hara’s Bootycandy is “a semi-biographical, subversive satire that weaves together scenes, sketches, and daring meta-theatrics to portray growing up gay and black” will run September 16 – October 3 in the Alhadeff Studio which is located at the rear of the Cornish Playhouse building at Seattle Center.

For tickets and more information to all Intiman Festival shows, go here!

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