by Miryam Gordon -
SGN A&E Writer
The list of productions opening in January is shorter this year than most, but there are a lot of very interesting choices to see on our local stages. It's a mix of old (I Do, I Do and Arsenic and Old Lace) and new (B and Last of the Boys). Get your calendars out and start getting those tickets!
14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival, The 14/48 Projects and ACTLab, 1/4-5, 1/11-12
January 2019 provides The 14/48 Projects another opportunity to bring its unique brand of theatre-making challenge. The rules: 14 world-premiere plays written, cast, designed, directed, scored, rehearsed, and performed in 48 hours. That same process is repeated for a second weekend! You never EVER know what you'll get, which is part of the fun!
All's Well That Ends Well, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 1/8-2/3 (at Center Theatre at Seattle Center)
Smart and unwavering, Helena has pinned her heart to Bertram. He wants nothing to do with her and runs off to the wars for adventure and to escape his newly-arranged marriage. Helena follows him. Overcoming obstacles and aided by a fantastic collection of comical characters, the two begin separate journeys towards each other, both learning about the paradox of holding love tight as well as letting go.
Sovereign: 2nd Annual Black Queer One Womyn Show Festival, Earth Pearl Collective, 1/9-12 (at 18th & Union). Patience Sings presents 'Good Grief', Naa Akua presents 'Akwaaba', Briq House presents 'Lessons from the Pulpit', Aviona Rodriguez Brown presents 'Aviona', Aishe' Keita presents 'Griot'. Visit website for complete descriptions and more details.
B, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 1/11-28
Sharp, political work by Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón. B (world premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2017) is the story of Alejandra and Marcela, two anarchists searching for a way to voice their political beliefs and prove their dedication to the cause. They meet disillusioned bomb maker Jose who agrees to teach them all he knows. With their motives and devotion for non-violent anti-capitalist anarchy put to the test, Alejandra and Marcela must decide how far they are willing to go and what they are willing to give up to speak their minds. Calderón's tightly-wound absurdist play hashes out the complicated and irrational nature of violence, terrorism, and activism.
I Do! I Do! - A Musical About Marriage, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 1/17-2/24, Everett: 3/1-24
Kendra Kassebaum stars as Agnes and Peter Saide stars as Michael in this classic musical about marriage from 1967. It's wedding day for Michael and Agnes, as they get ready to begin their lives together. Told from the venue of their marital bedroom, they navigate the perils and triumphs of marriage, children, arguments, and more. With a tuneful and charming score, I Do! I Do! is an intimate and nostalgic musical chronicling 50 years of life and love.
Bohemia, Opal Peachey & Mark Siano Productions, 1/17-26 (at The Triple Door)
Famous Bohemian composer Antonín Dvorák has hit a wall prior to composing his magnum opus. In a move of desperation, he turns to a bottle of absinthe for inspiration. In this macabre and mystical dream cabaret, Dvorák is visited by the ghost of late composer Frédéric Chopin and a host of beautiful green fairies. Chopin and many other famous Bohemians guide Dvorák as they search for the true source of inspiration and grasp at artistic immortality. This new musical combines live orchestral music with aerial numbers, dance, burlesque, classical piano battles, comedy, and new and original songs. The Triple Door transforms into 1890s Prague.
Everybody, Strawberry Theatre Workshop, 1/17-2/16
Everybody explores the most universal of truths: you can't take it with you, but everybody tries. When the character Somebody faces imminent death, the choice between Friendship, Love, Kinship, Cousinship, and Stuff, is complicated. Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins adds to the mess by asking the core company of nine actors to choose roles by lottery every night, letting fate decide the journey as they play out this new riff on a 15th Century morality tale. Does that mean that every actor memorizes the whole play? Yes, it does. Does it mean that there are 120 possible actor combinations that might perform Everybody? That's right.
Last of the Boys, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 1/18-2/10
Ben lives off-the-grid in his trailer in the California Central Valley, haunted by the memories of his service during the Vietnam War. His self-imposed exile is disrupted by the arrival of Ben's old war buddy, Jeeter, with his girlfriend and her volatile mother. Intimate, funny, and fierce, Last of the Boys by renowned Seattle playwright Steven Dietz delves into a veteran's struggle to understand his troubled past, which threatens to swallow him whole.
Red, SecondStory Repertory, 1/18-2/2
Master abstract expressionist Mark Rothko has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art, a series of murals for New York's famed Four Seasons Restaurant. In the two fascinating years that follow, Rothko works feverishly with his young assistant, Ken, in his Bowery studio. But when Ken gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing.
Arsenic and Old Lace, Taproot Theatre, 1/23-3/2
Taproot favorites Pam Nolte and Kim Morris star as the meddling matriarchs. The Brewsters are an eccentric bunch: Mortimer's a theatre critic, his brother thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt and Aunts Abby and Martha are the most gracious killers. When Mortimer casually proposes to the pastor's daughter, he unwittingly opens the lid on buried family secrets. As strangers and cops keep calling, the Brewster's will go to hilarious lengths to protect the skeletons in the cellar.
Dear Evan Hansen, Paramount Theatre, 1/23-2/2
With music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (A Christmas Story and James and the Giant Peach), this musical tells the story of a young man with social difficulties that inhibit his ability to connect with other people and make friends. He yearns to make a connection with his peers and lies about having a relationship with a deceased student to become closer to the boy's family.
M. Butterfly, ArtsWest, 1/24-2/17
David Henry Hwang writes a commentary on East/West perceptions. When we build fantasies to hide the truth, what happens when it all comes tumbling down? Clever parallels to the famous opera Madame Butterfly abound in this fearless play about a French diplomat who falls for a Chinese opera star: the ideal, exotic woman in his mind. The reality: a man with a secret mission. Rich with deeper themes, M. Butterfly confronts the perception of Eastern culture by the West and the persistent romanticism that clouds it.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Seattle Children's Theatre, 1/24-3/10
An exquisitely fashioned toy china rabbit, Edward Tulane, experiences deep love and loss on a tumultuous 20-year journey. Edward, a self-important toy companion to a young girl, obsesses over his vast array of lovely outfits rather than forge new relationships. In his journey, he discovers what truly matters; to love and to be loved. (Ages 6+)
Fire Season, Seattle Public Theater, 1/25-2/17 (World Premiere)
Aurin Squire won the first Seattle Public Theater 'Emerald Prize,' a $10,000 prize for a new play. Now the prize-winner will be presented on their main stage! When a twelve-year-old boy overdoses on Oxycontin in rural Washington, his small-town community is left reeling. A tragic and humorous look at the last generation of strong, working-class Americans that asks, 'What happens when systems begin to harm the people they're supposed to help - and what does it take to fight back?'
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