by Miryam Gordon -
SGN A&E Writer
December brings gifts of world premieres, along with options for holiday cheer and a few options that can provide some relief from the holidays, if you choose. Also included are a few shows that opened in November that continue through December.
The Humans, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 11/17-12/17
This was Broadway's most-honored play of 2016. The national tour, directed by Joe Mantello, starts in Seattle before going to The Kennedy Center and beyond, and will star Richard Thomas as Erik, Pamela Reed as Deirdre, and Daisy Eagan as Brigid. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his Pennsylvania family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his daughter's apartment in Lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan's deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed with humor and compassion in this new American classic.
A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration, Taproot Theatre, 11/22-12/30
It's a bitterly cold Christmas Eve on the banks of the Potomac River where the lives of abolitionists, assassins, soldiers, enslaved and free are woven together in an American tapestry. In their darkest hour, when peace seems impossible, the promise of Christmas breaks through despair in this musical celebration of compassion and hope by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel.
Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, The 5th Avenue Theatre, 11/24-12/31
The exciting addition of Lorna Luft to the talented local cast of this movie favorite makes this a must-see show. Don't bother to see the movie, just relax and enjoy the stage treat. Jim leaves the bright lights of show business to settle down on a farm in Connecticut - but he finds the simple life is not as simple as he thought. Jim meets Linda, a spirited school teacher with talent to spare. Together, they turn the farmhouse into a fabulous inn with dazzling performances to celebrate each holiday. This magical holiday treat will feature show-stopping dance numbers, lavish sets and costumes from the recent Broadway production and 20 Irving Berlin songs including 'White Christmas' and 'Easter Parade.'
Howl's Moving Castle, Book-It Repertory Theatre, 11/29-12/30 (world premiere)
Book-It Repertory Theatre has never done a full-out musical before, so this is a special event. When Sophie (Sara Porkalob) unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, she finds herself turned into an old woman. To break the enchantment, she must strike a bargain with a fire demon and seek the help of the frightening sorcerer Howl. The award-winning 1986 novel inspires each of us to trust in our own powers of transformation.
Building the Wall, Azeotrope, 11/29-12/23 (at 12th Avenue Arts)
Set in the not-so-distant future, Building the Wall, by Robert Schenkkan, lays out in a harrowing drama the consequences of Trump's anti-immigration campaign rhetoric turned into federal policy. Events unravel, in this dystopian future, that test every American's strength of character: systemically racist executive actions, a declaration of martial law, and a round-up of millions of illegal aliens, with their incarceration overflowing into private prisons and camps reminiscent of another century. Rick is a former warden awaiting sentencing for a catastrophic event that has happened at a prison facility under his command. Gloria, a Black female historian, has come to seek the truth behind what has happened, and over the course of her interview with him, Rick gradually reveals how the unthinkable became the inevitable, and how the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. (All seating is pay-what-you-will.)
Ham for the Holidays: The Hamchurian Candidate, Tongueinchic Productions and ACT Theatre, 11/30-12/17
Seattle comedians Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt (aka Dos Fallopia) return to ACT with their wonky, gender-bending holiday sketch revelry. The long-running cult might always be described as naughty, nutty, and nervy - nothing is sacred in this mishmash of social satire, musical parody, and campy characters. Platt and Koch deliver a devilishly loony holiday romp.
o Feisty nonagenarians The Matrons of Blues teach elders how to Resist;
o Ballard's own Polka Dots sing polka faves about waste management;
o What the Heck's a Puget? A game show pits audience members against Seattle celebrities;
o The tiny Sequim Gay Men's Chorus sing with glee;
o Country duo The Spudds present their musical political-thriller, The Music Manchurian Candidate
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Taproot Theatre, 12/1-12/27
Charlie Brown is depressed by the never-ending commercialism surrounding the holidays. Thankfully, Linus is there to help him find the true meaning of Christmas in this musical adaptation of the cartoon classic.
The Secret and Impossible League of the NoöSphere in The Baltimore Plot, Live Girls! Theater, 12/1-12/16 (at Theatre Off Jackson) (world premiere)
This is the first in a planned series of plays introducing a secret society sailing in and out of space/time in a sentient ship. Caught out of time in the Noösphere, where reality is formed and destroyed through the power of Ideas, Nicola Tesla, Ava Lovelace, and Lord Byron discover that someone is dismantling human history. The league will swindle con artists, employ Pinkertons, and pose as secessionists in an attempt prevent the assassination of President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he can even take office.
ArtsWest Holiday Cast Party, ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery, 12/1-12/23
Music, comedy, games with the audience, and special appearances are on tap in a performance where you never know exactly what's going to happen next!
Annie, Seattle Musical Theatre, 12/1-12/17
Director Tyrone Brown brings the crowd-pleasing musical to life. Set in the 1930s and encompassing the themes of survival during the Great Depression, homelessness (the original Hoovervilles), and women's struggles in the workplace, it is striking how these same themes resonate almost 90 years after the original comic strip began.
The Flight Before Xmas, Seattle Public Theater, 12/1-12/24 (world premiere)
Playwright Maggie Lee fashions a new play about spending Christmas Eve stranded in an airport with a bunch of strangers. With endless delays, kids shuttling between stepfamilies, a rogue cat on the loose, an important business deal at stake, and missing your grandson's first Christmas morning, the holiday spirit can disappear quicker than your lost luggage. But sometimes, all you need is to be a little late in order to truly appreciate what you're rushing toward. A heartwarming new holiday show about finding your way home and the family we discover for ourselves.
Volume 5 and The Fig Tree Waltzes, Acrobatic Conundrum, 12/1-12/23 (at 12th Avenue Arts)
This modern circus brings two pieces to December: Volume 5 (12/1-12/10) features new short works from the ensemble and guest works from some of the best contemporary circus artists in the business. 12/15-12/23 is The Fig Tree Waltzes. In this evening-length performance, Acrobatic Conundrum blends circus and dance into a poetic experience with ensemble-based aerial work, athletic modern choreography, and a touch of humor.
The View from Santa's Lap, Café Nordo, 12/7-12/24
Small town girl Becky June Beasley-Jones is on the run from the law for a crime she did not commit and takes refuge in the sprawling Klootzak's department store on Christmas Eve. Little does she know there is a killer on the loose among the festive holiday bargains. Can Becky June put a stop to these whimsical, heart-warming murders before she herself ends up stuffed in a stocking?
Two Gentlemen of Verona, Fern Shakespeare Company, 12/8-12/17 (at Slate Theater)
Watch and laugh as close friends Valentine and Proteus both pursue the same woman (all's fair in love and war after all). See how Crab, 'the sourest-natured dog that lives,' provides one of the first examples of the animal stealing the show.
Christmastown: A Holiday Noir, Seattle Public Theater, 12/8-12/24
In this film noir-inspired holiday thriller by Seattle playwright Wayne Rawley, hard-boiled detective Nick Holiday investigates some un-holiday-like shenanigans taking place in Christmastown that sends him on a search for the truth about Big Red. Add a glamorous elf, a used-Christmas-tree salesman, a muckraking reporter, and a quick-thinking cab driver to the mix.
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