Here are the things NWT loved (or didn’t) this week, and a few (or more) things to look forward to this weekend.
Highlights this week included two outstanding musicals (one classic, one new); plus, upcoming outdoor shows in abundance, celebrations of Black artistry, delicious dinner theatre & cabarets, and more.
For details (like times & ticket info) on these shows and more, view them by date on the Calendar page.
The heat wave hasn’t kicked in, but the wave of summer shows sure has. Read on for the many worthwhile things to fill your time. Also of note? Almost all of the openings highlighted this week are totally free to attend. Invite a few friends who rarely see shows, and experience something different; most performances accept donations if desired.
Openings This Week
For summer days and nights outdoors, you’ve got plenty of options. The best way to take in a big variety is this weekend’s Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival, which runs both Saturday and Sunday, all day, and features 18 performances by 10 different companies on three outdoor stages. (These are all free.)
The individual outdoor shows really take off, too, with most of the summer Shakespeare shows opening this week: Seattle Shakespeare Company/Wooden O (Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night) tomorrow through August 11; GreenStage (mainstage Taming of the Shrew and Henry IV, and the condensed Backyard Bard shows Measure for Measure and The Merry Wives of Windsor) this Friday through August 17. Primrose Players, whose Measure for Measure started last month, run through July 27. Bucking the Shakespeare trend is Burien Actors Theatre, who will open their outdoor show, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, this Sunday; it runs at various parks in southwest King County through August 9. See NWT’s rundown of these and other outdoor shows here. (These are all free.)
Another (indoor) summer favorite, Nights at the Neptune, returns with a series of genre-spanning shows each Thursday night for six weeks (through August 15), most of them centering Black artistry. NWT especially recommends next Thursday’s (July 18) performance of The Narrative: Don’t Teach Me No Nonsense, a play by Jace ECAj of Black Stax, and featuring Black Stax and other artists. (These are all free.)
Speaking of Black artistry, two more shows open this week with Black voices at their center. Gay City Arts hosts Bearing Witness: The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Black LGBTQ People, curated by Chad Goller-Sojourner, featuring poetry, music, film, and stories, and running this Thursday through Saturday. (These are free.) And Sound Theatre Company and the Hansberry Project return with the much-anticipated stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric by award-winning poet Claudia Rankine; it runs through July 28. (Tickets are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, with sliding scale from $5 to $75.)
Two young-artist shows of big-stage favorites start up this weekend: West Side Story (The Rising Stars Project) at The 5th Avenue Theatre, which runs only through this Saturday; and Rent (school edition) at Village Theatre First Stage is Issaquah, which runs through next weekend. Each is an opportunity to see younger performers and big shows at small prices (under $20 each).
Other openings among the multitude this week: Vicinity/Memoryall at 18th & Union, with a preview tonight and main run Thursday through July 27; Kitten N’ Lou Presents: Camptacular! at Triple Door (this weekend only) (see dinner-theatre section below); Decadent Delights at Teatro Zin Zanni (see dinner-theatre section below); Princess Ida at Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society (through July 28); and the musical Bright Star at Taproot (through August 17). (All of these are ticketed, and prices vary; see Calendar page for info.)
If you’re planning further out (and you might need to for this one), Town Hall is hosting a 24-hour marathon reading of the Mueller Report called, simply, Mueller Report Live. From 8 pm Friday to 8 pm Saturday (July 19-20), loads of the area’s top actors and other artists and community members will read the entire thing aloud from the stage. Admission is free, and audience members may come and go as they please. Come see what American Theatre has called “the surprise hit of the summer”! It sure beats trying to read the thing yourself.
Recommended: Two Great (and Different) Musicals
Two bold musicals continue this weekend that are very much worth your time: Man of La Mancha at Harlequin, and The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion at ArtsWest.
A bit south in Olympia, Harlequin’s Man of La Mancha re-envisions the popular musical, based on the classic novel Don Quixote. Its biggest twist is the character Aldonza is deaf (played by Monique Holt, who is also deaf). But it’s no gimmick: this version centers her story, highlights themes of isolation and resilience, and plays up Quixote’s failure truly to see and hear her. Galloway Stevens is great (in the leading role), as is the supporting cast. Harlequin’s production makes a compelling new work out of the much-done tale. It runs through July 27.
Speaking of new work, The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion, on now at ArtsWest in West Seattle, is the latest from multi-threat Justin Huertas. It’s little surprise it’s a quirky, quality show filled with many of the things Huertas does best: endearing love stories, catchy original songs, fantastic (and fantastical) characters, and obvious heart. It runs through July 28.
Dinner, Drinks & Theatre
Theatre is great a la carte, but all the better when served alongside food and libations. This week, there are a lot of good choices for that.
Teatro ZinZanni, in its new home in Woodinville, opens Decadent Delights, a feat of acrobatics centering magic and food, on Thursday. It runs through September 8. And Kitten N’ Lou Present: Camptacular! runs this weekend only at the Triple Door, with full bar and dining service so you can indulge during the show.
Continuing their runs are two delightful-looking shows: Bon Appétit: The Julia Child Operetta at the Rendezvous, which stars Anne Allgood making a cake alongside stories from host Julia Child Prud’homme (Mondays only, through July 29); and The Legend of El Dorado, about a girl gang on the lam, at the Can Can Culinary Cabaret through September 29.
Looking ahead, next Wednesday 7th & Jackson enters previews, and opens the following Friday (July 19). It’s the much-anticipated Cafe Nordo show by Sara Porkalob, which focuses on the early vibrant nightlife scene of Seattle’s International District. It runs through August 11.
Underneath Nordo’s mainstage Cullinarium is The Knife Room, in which A Sensible Cabaret, held every third Monday, has entered NWT’s regular rotation as a favorite monthly tradition. This Monday’s version, billed as “Two Queens,” features musical theatre stars Alexandria Henderson and Nik Hagen. They’re hosted by Cassi Q. Kohl and A Sensible Theatre Company, and generally focus on local and queer artistry. It’s casual, but expect some good fashion looks.
Speaking of favorite monthly traditions — how dearly the regular shows at Solo Bar are missed (in particular, the long-running Pipeline series from the departed New Century Theatre Company). Happily, there’s some action on that front: Opera on Tap holds a show there on July 22; and Copious Love Productions will start an ongoing reading series (with dates varying) at Solo on August 5. More on those as the dates near.
More in Arts
Need some non-theatre arts to mix into your week?
This Saturday is Georgetown Art Attack, something of a cross between street fair and art walk. Queer Press Fest is Sunday at the Push/Pull Gallery. Also Sunday, the regular series Sh*t Gold at Velocity Dance Center holds its irregular “Deep End” night, in which experimental art gets a chance to go on longer and deeper. Next Tuesday, Nile’s Edge — a space dedicated to healing, centering Black folks — has its grand opening party, along with storytelling, music, and refreshments; that same night, Wa Na Wari, dedicated to reclaiming space for Black folks in the Central District, hosts Alchemy Poetry featuring poet/actor Kamari Bright.
Looking ahead, next weekend you can get your fashion on with a double-header in Tacoma: Saturday (July 20) is Cars and Couture, a fashion show highlighting designers alongside some sleek cars in the LeMay museum collection. Fashion District NW knows how to put on a show; its last show, Fashion Is ART at the Tacoma Art Museum, was a great time. (See NWT’s coverage on that show here.) And that Sunday (July 21) is Northwest Thrift-Con, where you can rifle through vintage goods, meet designers, and more.
Wednesday Roundup is a weekly feature, with NWT’s picks for the upcoming week and recaps around town.