Theater is bringing great energy to the new year! I’m partial to world premieres because of the sense of adventure, seeing a show that only has a tempting blurb, and rolling dice hoping that it will be a great experience. Even if it ends up not being your favorite show, you’re still supporting the forward motion of the theater community. Engage your inner adventurer and get out those calendars and book those tickets!
(Editor’s Note: and bring your masks! Cold, flu, and Covid season is really bad this winter and masking can help you avoid catching the crud. Not to mention it can help the actors on stage avoid GETTING the crud if you’re infectious and not aware that you are.)
The Comedy of Errors, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 1/10-28/24
This small ensemble version cleaves right to the heart of this comedy of separated twins. What are the chances there’s a guy walking around town with your face? What are the chances there’s another guy walking around town with your servant’s face? Antipholus and Dromio encounter some trouble when their doppelgangers seem to be on the loose in Ephesus, not realizing that their identical twins with identical names were separated from them in a shipwreck as babies. Performed by a troupe of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) collaborators.
God of Carnage, SecondStory Repertory, 1/12-28/24
A playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents at a home for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters.
Strong Waters, Global Works 1/13/24-2/3/24 (at 12th Ave Arts) (world premiere)
“Permission to come aboard?” A retired actor and his recently divorced son share a tranquil life in a floating home community – until an unexpected guest arrives, destined to make waves. The past is awakened, and the present enlivened, as three people discover where their hidden hurts, and their hope for healing, collide.
Becoming Dr. Ruth, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 1/17/24-2/18/24 Everett: 2/24/24-3/17/24
She’s America’s favorite sex therapist! Before she became Dr. Ruth, Karola Ruth Siegel had to flee Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport, become a sharpshooter in Jerusalem, and survive as a single mother in America. It is a life-affirming story of a woman who—through her perseverance, indefatigable spirit, and bravery—carved her own unique place in the world. Acclaimed actress Naomi Jacobson reprises the role that has garnered her ovations across the country in this tour-de-force one woman play.
Bohemia, Marxiano Productions, 1/18-28/24 (at the Triple Door)
Set in 1890s Prague, Bohemia combines the music of Dvořák and Chopin, with art by Alphonse Mucha. Historic artists like Sarah Bernhardt and George Sand, interweave with beautiful green fairies, aerial numbers, dance, burlesque, classical piano battles, comedy, and original songs.
Czech composer Antonin Dvořák has hit a wall in his composing and looks to the bottom of a bottle of absinthe for inspiration. In a dream cabaret, Dvořák is visited by the ghost of late composer Frederick Chopin and a host of green fairies. Chopin and many other famous Bohemians guide Dvořák on the search for true inspiration in the pursuit of artistic immortality. (Yes, absinthe can be served.)
XXX Island, 18th & Union, 1/18-20/24
‘It Girl’ Amethyst Crystal has just arrived on XXX Island to film what she thinks is the hottest new reality dating show… but is actually a hardcore solo survival challenge. Stranded by producers of failing network ApeTV, she must last 30 days with zero survival skills and enough liquor to haze a whole frat. As her fears begin to manifest, she must brave the elements, drug-induced hallucinations, and a mysterious Production Assistant she can’t stop thinking about…
Quixote Nuevo, Seattle Rep, 1/19/24-2/11/24
Playwright Octavio Solis introduces aging Cervantes professor Jose Quijano. When his family tries to move him to an assisted living facility, Jose escapes on his valiant tricycle steed in search of his long-lost love. Reality and fantasy blur in the Texas desert, as Jose dubs himself Don Quixote and embarks on a fantastic, death-defying journey to discover the truth of his past. Underscored by vibrant Tejano music, here is a humorous and heartfelt quest towards becoming the hero of your own story.
Deathtrap, Harlequin Productions, 1/19/24-2/4/24
Sidney Bruhl would do anything to publish the next great play. He would even kill for it. This dark comedy thriller will have audiences laughing one moment and screaming in terror the next as Sidney discovers he may not be the only murderer in the room.
Shakespeare’s R&J, Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts, 1/19/24-2/4/24
In the regimented world of an all-boys college, four students meet in secret to explore Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet.” But when the students’ deep love for the text collides with their ingrained understanding of romance and sexuality, their worldview is challenged.
The Book of Will, Taproot Theatre, 1/24/24-2/24/24
Shakespeare is dead. But in an act of undying devotion, his dearest friends rally to keep his plays alive by publishing every word he wrote, before time erases them forever. For booklovers and history buffs, and anyone whose love has inspired them to persevere. Taproot brings us another Lauren Gunderson play, back to back!
Spider’s Web, Centerstage Theatre, 1/26/24-2/18/24
Mistress of Mystery Agatha Christie delivers a comedy brimming with twists and turns in this thriller that brings both suspense and humor. Complete with invisible ink, hidden drawers, the (un)usual suspects, and red herrings aplenty, this show delivers absolutely everything you want from a British drawing room mystery – and more!
A Doll’s House Part 2, Tacoma Little Theatre, 1/26/24-2/11/24
In the final scene of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 groundbreaking masterwork, Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children and begin a life on her own. This climactic event—when Nora slams the door on everything in her life—instantly propelled world drama into the modern age. In A Doll’s House, Part 2, many years have passed since Nora’s exit. Now, there’s a knock on that same door. Nora has returned. But why? And what will it mean for those she left behind?
Born With Teeth, ArtsWest, 2/1-25/24
With an aging authoritarian British ruler, a violent police state, and a restless, polarized people seething with paranoia, it’s a dangerous time for poets. Two of them — the great Christopher Marlowe and the up-and-comer William Shakespeare — meet in the back room of a pub to collaborate on a history play cycle, navigate the perils of art under a totalitarian regime, and flirt like young men with everything to lose. One of them may well be the death of the other in this biting comedy about ambition, ego, and history.
Living IncogNegro, Key City Public Theatre, 2/1-11/24
Talented solo performer Gin Hammond writes about her personal journey. When your cultural identity is one thing, but your physical identity is another, how do you navigate self-expression? Both a humorous love-letter, and an academic discourse, dedicated to those who find themselves in the middle of a cultural battle they never asked for.
Once More, Just for You, Seattle Public Theater, 2/2-25/24 (world premiere)
Local playwright Maggie Lee pens a new sci-fi based play. The only foolproof way to truly fix past mistakes is time travel, right? Rae has a time machine and she’s gonna try. But just because you already know which path NOT to take doesn’t always guarantee things will end up where you planned. A curious, heartfelt new play about finding connection, unspoken sacrifice, and the infinite metaphysical paradox of loving and letting go.
A Case for the Existence of God, ACT Theatre, 2/2-18/24
“Whale” writer Samuel D. Hunter won the 2022 New York Drama Critics’ award for this play. Inside a small loan brokerage in Idaho, two men struggle to make a place for their family in the American dream, navigating the tensions of parenthood, financial security, desire, and empathy. Intrigue, revelation, and surprises link the lives of two fathers intertwine reflecting on what it means to be human.
The Lady Demands Satisfaction, The Phoenix Theatre, 2/2-25/24
When a young maiden who has never touched a sword learns she must defend her inheritance in a duel, she struggles with a milksop suitor, a servant girl posing as a Prussian fencing master, the actual Prussian fencing master who believes he is there to marry her, a stodgy lord, and her domineering aunt – the finest blade anywhere – to save her house and lands.
Sunset Boulevard, Showtunes Theatre Company, 2/3-11/24 (at Cornish Playhouse)
We get a local view of the whole musical – going to Broadway in 2024 – chronicling Norma Desmond, a faded star of the silent screen era, living in the past in her decaying mansion on that fabled, famous Los Angeles street. Billie Wildrick, local musical powerhouse star, takes stage as Norma. When young screenwriter Joe Gillis accidentally crosses her path, she sees in him an opportunity to make her return to the big screen, with romance and tragedy to follow. Joining the large cast of favorite musical theater actors will be a 25 person, on-stage orchestra. (Trust me, this is special!)
Banned & Beloved, Seattle Women’s Chorus, 2/3/24 (Town Hall Seattle and livestream)
What they don’t want you to hear. Books are being banned in the US at an unprecedented rate. Seattle Women’s Chorus has commissioned five living female-identified composers to create new music from banned books: Alice in Wonderland, Beloved, Heather Has Two Mommies, Melissa, and This Book is Gay. Featured are censored songs from The Wizard of Oz, Winnie the Pooh, and The Muppets with integrated video storytelling.
The Lower Depths, Intiman Theatre with The Seagull Project, 2/6-24/24 (at Erickson Theatre)
Maxim Gorky’s masterpiece is brought to life in a new adaptation created by The Seagull Project. Neglected, seeking refuge and hope, fourteen lost souls battle for love and humanity while pushing at the limits of the human spirit and a society at the breaking point. The Lower Depths is a classic piece of actor-driven drama, produced in an exciting new way by Seattle’s premiere acting ensemble. The action focuses on an ensemble of characters living in a shelter, brought there by a variety of causes, and seeking their escape amongst the brutal weight of the world. The arrival of the nomadic philosopher, Luka, brings an injection of hope, but when the owner of the shelter is murdered, reality strikes again, and the group must find their own way forward.
Tenderness, Annex Theatre, 2/9-17/24 (world premiere)
Playwright Nelle Tankus introduces Lemon Lymes, a retired pop star and aspiring fascist looking to collaborate on a secret project with an adoring fan, at the dawn of a new swine flu pandemic. Meanwhile, three Queerdos are planning for their uncertain futures as artificial intelligence renders their jobs obsolete. When a parasocial Lymes fan takes things too far and billionaire industries begin to collapse, the queerdos have to outsmart the state and keep their loved ones cared for.
The Last Romance, Olympic Theatre Arts Center, 2/9-25/24
A crush can make anyone feel young again – even a widower named Ralph. On an ordinary day in a routine life, Ralph decides to take a different path on his daily walk – one that leads him to an unexpected second chance at love. Relying on a renewed boyish charm, Ralph attempts to woo the elegant, but distant, Carol. Defying Carol’s reticence – and his lonely sister’s jealousy – Ralph embarks on the trip of a lifetime, and regains a happiness that seemed all but lost.
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