With Crescendos of Vocals and Horns Blaring, ‘Susan’ Is a Song of Family, and Letting Go

Using humor, rich detail, and ample song, musician-writer-comedian Ahamefule J. Oluo tells stories of his mother, growing up, and searching — from Texas to Seattle to the Niger Delta. ‘Susan’ runs through December 8 at On the Boards. 

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(Ovations) Short-Form Dance Fests

Short-form work is an easy way to test out different art forms. It’s experimental. It’s approachable. And there’s usually something for everyone. Happily, Seattle is bustling with festivals of short new work in performance art and dance. Here are a few coming up soon. 

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With a Trio of Inventive New Works, PNB’s ‘Locally Sourced’ Is Ballet for We Who Don’t ‘Do the Ballet’

With elegance, precision, and an army of highly trained dancers, the slate of new works up now at Pacific Northwest Ballet will satisfy — and excite — frequent-goers, too. But the appeal of ‘Locally Sourced’ is much broader. It runs through November 17.

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Of ‘Racial Tourism’ and ‘Enlightened Allies’: Two Plays Dig Into Cultural Commodification

Two strong productions, on now from Theatre22 and Seattle Public Theater, dive into hot topics around race, culture, and appropriation. They’re both comedic, thought-provoking, and very well done. ‘White’ runs through 11/9, and ‘The Thanksgiving Play’ closes 11/16.

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The Kids of ‘Spelling Bee’ Are Their Own Biggest Hangups, But Have No Trouble Spelling a Fun Show

Some of the area’s best musical theatre grown-ups become nerdy, quirky kids and their chaperones in ‘Spelling Bee’, on now at Village Theatre in Everett. It runs through November 17. 

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A Changing Belltown Still Has its Ghosts. In ‘Belltown Exposed’, They Come Alive.

This Sunday night, the Rendezvous decks the halls with decades past, with a unique, free, through-the-eras party and variety show called ‘Belltown Exposed’. It celebrates the release of Staci Bernstein’s new art photography book of the same name. NWT talked with Rendezvous owner Jane Kaplan about the show, the book, and the storied neighborhood.

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In ‘The Christians’ and ‘Necessary Sacrifices’, Challenging Doctrine with Mixed Success

From Pony World and Taproot Theatre, two plays with little else in common set out to unpack traditional lore in religious belief and American history. They run through October 26.

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5 Questions with Choreographer & Dancer Sean Dorsey

This weekend, Sean Dorsey — acclaimed choreographer and dancer, and out and proud trans man — brings his new work, ‘Boys in Trouble’, to Velocity Dance Center. NWTheatre talked with him about masculinity in and through his artistic lens, this latest work, and the good and bad in today’s trans representation.

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Three Art Openings of Note (and They’re All Free)

Exhibits at Seattle Art Museum, Northwest African American Museum, and Tacoma’s Museum of Glass all have free community opening events this week — and they all look like hits.

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In ‘Kimberly Akimbo’, the Farcical and Familiar Combine in a Witty Family Tale

The latest from As If Theatre mixes humor and sadness in an unusual — but familiar — family tale, in which a teenager deals with self-centered parents, a drifter aunt, and a disease that advances her physical age far beyond her calendar years. ‘Kimberly Akimbo’ runs through October 20.

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‘Blood Water Paint’ Layers Artistry, Sexism, Violence, and Resilience Into a Vivid Portrait

Weaving disparate stories and art forms into one cohesive work, the latest from Macha Theatre Works makes for an inventive and beautiful play — and a fitting ode to an artist known for her vivid paintings. ‘Blood Water Paint’ runs through October 6.

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‘Yen’, on Now at ACT, Is Tender, Crass and Mesmerizing

‘Yen’ is vulgar. Its characters are often unlikeable, even repulsive. But its unexpected glimpses of tenderness, unabashed lack of nuance, and strong direction and performances make this year’s Kenan Fellowship in Directing showcase a highly recommended trip. It runs through September 29. 

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‘Bulrusher’ Takes Its Time, to Welcome Effect

The “slow theatre” at work in ‘Bulrusher’ matches the pace of the town. But the play’s resonant themes, along with strong acting and design work, make for a gripping show even as it strolls along. It runs through September 14. 

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In Comedy ‘Washer/Dryer’, a Tiny Apartment Is the Least of Claustrophobic Forces

‘Washer/Dryer’ lets the a pair of newlyweds live their lives, without assigning them some higher purpose. If only their families and neighbors would do the same. The co-production from SIS Productions and Pratidhwani runs through 9/22.

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5 Questions with Playwright & Novelist Joy McCullough

‘Blood Water Paint’ imagines the great 17th century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi in her studio, interacting with the apocryphal subjects who inspired her. NWT talked with playwright Joy McCullough about the work, ahead of the play’s opening this Friday with Macha Theatre Works.

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Sound Theatre Pulls Back Layers of Disability Politics in ‘Peeling’

Deaf and disabled actors, shoved out of the spotlight in an overworked (and invented) stage performance, shine light on how they experience the world. That’s the premise of ‘Peeling’, in its U.S. premiere, and another powerful show from Sound Theatre Company. It runs through this Saturday.

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