The Best Theater, Dance & Comedy Events in Seattle: Winter 2019/2020 – TheStranger.com

Posted By on December 7, 2019

Below, we've rounded up all of our critics' performance picks for the season, including August Wilson's Jitney, a dance piece by Brian Brooks Moving Company, and an appearance by Trevor Noah: Loud and Clear. Plus, find a complete list of theater, dance, and comedy events in Seattle this winter on our EverOut Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance. Theater

Through Sat Dec 28

A Christmas Carol ACT Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol is a dependable, simple pleasure, with just enough variation to warrant returning year after year. Kelly Kitchens will direct. (ACT Theatre, $37$75)

Dec 522

Hershey Felder: Beethoven Former Stranger writer Sean Nelson described Felder as an "astonishingly gifted vocalist and pianist, not merely in terms of pure technique, but in his capacity for restraint." In this show, he takes on the roles of both Ludwig von Beethoven and his student Gerhard von Breuning while playing such beloved pieces as Moonlight Sonata and Pathetique Sonata, as well as excerpts from the famed Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, $72$77)

Scott Shoemaker's War on Christmas Scott Shoemaker (Ms. Pak-Man) and illustrious friends like Mandy Price, Waxie Moon, Ad Conner, and Faggedy Randy will lead a fearless investigation into the War on Christmas. Their weapons: "ALL NEW hilarious comedy, songs, dance numbers, amazing videos and partial nudity!" (Re-bar, $25$85)

Sat Dec 14

Neal Kosaly-Meyer: Finnegans Wake Seattle composer, musician, and substitute teacher Neal Kosaly-Meyer will continue his amazing feat of reciting James Joyce's Finnegans Wake from memory, chapter by chapteras if reading the modernist monster wasn't hard enough. In praise of Kosaly-Meyer's feat, Charles Mudede wrote, "Maybe this is the only way the novel could be saved. It's not all that amazing to memorize something that everyone understands; it's very impressive to memorize something understood by only one person, who has been in the grave for many years." This will be the debut of Part I, Chapter 6. (Good Shepherd Center, 7:30 pm, $5$15)

Jan 219

Hershey Felder as Monsieur Chopin After his stint as Beethoven, the protean musician and actor Felder embodies the composer/pianist Fryderyk Chopin in a one-man show set just after the 1848 Revolution in France. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, $72$77)

Jan 1018

14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival True to its name, the 14/48 Festival turns around 14 brand-new, theme-based, 10-minute plays in two days. The high-pressure nature of the event produces an evening of surprising theater for the audience, who arrive in their seats charged with expectation and anxiety for the performers. Though there are always a few experiments that don't quite come together, it's endlessly fascinating to see the way one theme filters through the minds of several very different theater artists. Expect shit to get weird. RS (ACT Theatre, 8 pm, $25)

Jan 10Feb 2

Reparations Sound Theatre kicks off its 2020 season with the world premiere of Darren Canady's speculative drama about healing inherited traumas using a device that transforms your blood into a time machine. The cast features Allyson Lee Brown, whose turn as Serena Williams in Citizen: An American Lyric drew effusive praise from Stranger print editor Christopher Frizzelle: "[Brown is] such a captivating presence onstage, it's hard to look away from her." Jay O'Leary, who did such a great job pulling the good acting out of the players in WET's B, will direct. This production is stacked with so much talentcertainly one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season. RS (Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, $5$75)

Sat Jan 11

Dreaming in American The Jewish immigrant communities that fled pogroms and settled in Manhattan's Lower East Side, and the subsequent generations who grappled with assimilation and tradition, are the focus of Tales of the Alchemysts Theatre's performance piece based on works by Anzia Yezierska, Bernard Malamud, and Sholem Asch. (Elliott Bay Book Company, $10)

Jan 16Feb 9

The Revolutionists ArtsWest will stage Lauren Gunderson's comedy about four strong women in perilous revolutionary France: the feminist playwright Olympe de Gouges, the assassin Charlotte Corday, the prisoner Marie Antoinette, and the Haitian freedom fighter Marianne Angelle. (ArtsWest)

Jan 17Feb 16

True West America's favorite masc4masc playwright Sam Shepard is dead. He passed away a few years ago, but the swaggering cowboy, called the "greatest American playwright of his generation" by New York Magazine, is continuing to get a retrospective on stages across the country. Now the celebration comes to the Seattle Rep, with the theater putting on True West, a gritty and funny play about two brothers and some identity theft. Expect brawls and belly laughs. CB (Seattle Repertory Theatre)

Feb 1March 8

The Angel in the House Multitalented theater artist and playwright Sara Porkalob will direct her new dinner theater melodrama set at a New Year's Eve party in the Victorian era. When an uninvited guest shows up to the house of a textile tycoon and his socialite wife, death and shocking revelations are not far behind. (Cafe Nordo, 7:30 pm, $69)

Feb 116

The Best of Everything 2014 Stranger Theater Genius Valerie Curtis-Newton directs graduate actors in Julie Kramer's adaptation of Rona Jaffe's novel about ambitious women in a 1950s typing pool. (Jones Playhouse, $10$20)

Feb 7March 15

The Children In this Tony Award- nominated play by Lucy Kirkwood, two retired nuclear scientists on the coast of an environmentally devastated England receive a disruptive visit from an old friend. (Seattle Repertory Theatre)

Feb 12March 8

The Turn of the Screw Book-It will adapt Henry James's chilling and ambiguous Victorian ghost novel about a naive governess who discovers what she perceives as evil supernatural influences trying to possess her two charges. Carol Roscoe will direct an adaptation by Rachel Atkins. (Book-It Repertory Theatre, $26$50)

Feb 2022

The Actors' Gang: The New Colossus Twelve actors of diverse origins and heritage will tell the stories of their ancestors in this tribute to the strength and courage of refugees. This touring production is directed by Tim Robbins and performed by the Actors Gang, a justice-oriented Los Angeles troupe founded in 1981. (Moore Theatre, $23$133)

Feb 28March 29

August Wilson's 'Jitney' After staging Two Trains Running (the seventh in the great playwright August Wilson's cycle of plays about the black American experience) in 2018, the Rep will continue with the award-winning eighth installment, Jitney, which takes place in the 1970s. The owner and employees of an unlicensed cab company, learning that the city is planning to shut them down, strives to avert disaster. (Seattle Repertory Theatre)

Feb 6March 8

Snow White Two actors will portray Snow White, the evil queen, seven dwarfs, the talking mirror, and the huntsman in this ambitious show written by Greg Banks and directed by Desdemona Chiang. (Seattle Children's Theatre, $20)

Sun March 8

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Live Fred Rogers might be gone (RIP you lovely, lovely man), but his legacy lives on in Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, an animated Daytime Emmy-winning PBS show for preschool-aged children that's based on the Neighborhood of Make-Believe from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and features characters of all shapes, sizes, and animal (and non-animal) persuasions. It's sweet and charming and kind of annoying but also one of my daughter's favorites, so this live theatrical production with all the DT characters ("filled with singing, dancing and laughter") seems like a no-brainer. LP (Paramount Theatre, 2 pm, $16$76)

Through Sun Dec 29

Head Over Heels Tunes by the Go-Go's pepper this musical loosely based on a 16th-century narrative poem by Sir Philip Sidney. A royal family learns of a fateful prophecy that may disrupt "the Beat" that supplies the rhythm to their kingdom. Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q, Bring It On: The Musical, the screenplay for Can You Ever Forgive Me?) wrote the book and lyrics. (ArtsWest, $42)

Mrs. Doubtfire This is the world premiere of the musical Mrs. Doubtfire, a stage adaptation of the 1993 Robin Williams film. After its run in Seattle, it goes straight to Broadway. Mrs. Doubtfire is directed by Jerry Zaks, a Broadway legend who won a Tony Award for directing the revival of Guys and Dolls in 1992, and was nominated again for his revival of Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler in 2017. CF (The 5th Avenue Theatre, $29$169)

A Very Die Hard Christmas Marxiano Productions will restage last year's hit holiday musical from a script by the top-notch sketch comedy outfit the Habit (plus Jeff Schell), which peppers the rip-roaring action with songs, jokes, and more. (Seattle Public Theater, 7 pm, $26$32)

Dec 31Jan 5

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical The great disco diva gets the musical biography treatment, complete with a score full of her biggest hits"Hot Stuff," "Love to Love You Baby," and more. (Paramount Theatre, $30)

Jan 1419

Fiddler on the Roof Fiddler on the Roof is a musical about... oh, you know what Fiddler on the Roof is. The important detail here is that this version is directed by Bartlet Sher, a former Seattle theater director who has gone on to fanciness and fame and Tony Awards with unbelievably brilliant restagings of musical classics, including South Pacific and The King and I. A Sher production of an old musical is always a good bet. CF (Paramount Theatre, $35$95)

Jan 16March 22

She Loves Me Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick, progenitors of the deathless Fiddler on the Roof, also wrote this sweet musical about two perfume store clerks who butt heads constantlynot realizing that they're also in a romantic letter-writing relationship thanks to a classified. Yes, it's the plot of You've Got Mail. (Jan 16Feb 23: Village Theatre Issaquah, $38$80; Feb 28March 22: Everett Performing Arts Center)

Feb 7March 1

Disney's 'Frozen' Stranger managing editor Leilani Polk wrote of the Disney film, "I have a warm spot in my heart for Frozen, Disney's second-highest-grossing animated film about a princess who sets out on a quest (with a group of helpful sidekicks, of course) to find her estranged sister after said sister's powers accidentally bring eternal winter to their kingdom." This magical story will be transposed to the stage in this Broadway-on-tour production, with Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and book by Jennifer Lee. Just be warned that "Let It Go" will be stuck in your head for the next several years. (Paramount Theatre, $30+)

Thurs Feb 27

John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love Tour The guy who starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inchthe original stage show and then the movieis coming to town. Not only did he star in it, he wrote the damn thing (with musical collaborator Stephen Trask). This is not a drill. He is a certified genius. He will tell stories from the show's 25-year history and sing songs from Hedwig, as well as some new music. He told me years ago he was writing a sequel. Maybe this is our sneak peek. CF (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $50$65)

March 13April 5

Sister Act Sister Act is based on the super-popular 1992 comedy/musical film starring Whoopi Goldberg. You know the premise: a raunchy lounge singer must go undercover in a convent to save her own life, hilarity ensues. This new staging will be directed by Lisa Shriver. (The 5th Avenue Theatre)

Through Sat Dec 28

George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker' If you haven't seen this Christmas classic since you were a kid, give it a go this year. In 2014, Pacific Northwest Ballet replaced its beloved Maurice Sendak set with one by Ian Falconer, who did the Olivia the Pig books, and I'm glad that they did. The new set is gorgeous in a Wes Anderson-like way, and it reflects the genuine weirdness and beauty in the story. I mean, the last 45 minutes of this thing is a Katy Perry video starring dancing desserts and a glittery peacock that moves like a sexy broken river. Bring a pot lozenge. RS (McCaw Hall, $27$189)

Dec 615

The Hard Nut The brilliant ballet choreographer Mark Morris's update of The Nutcracker, now a 28-year-old classic in itself, transports E.T.A. Hoffman's story from 19th-century Germany to 1970s America. With production design inspired by the great Fantagraphics-published comics artist Charles Burns, this Broadway staging is gonna be weird, queer, and perhaps even John Waters-esque. (Paramount Theatre, $35$90)

Dec 1215

Donald Byrd's 'The Harlem Nutcracker' Acclaimed local choreographer Donald Byrd developed this adaptation of the cherished Christmas ballet for black American culture. This will be the performance of "phase one," which will include Act 1, "Party Scene" and Act 2, "Club Sweets." (On the Boards, free$50)

Next Fest NW 2019 Velocity's annual Next Fest NW spotlights exciting new choreographers coming up in the Seattle dance scene. Lucie Baker, Shane Donohue, Marco Farroni, Vladimir Kremenovi, and Hannah Rae will present pieces that play to this year's theme"Ritual and Rebellion"covering subjects such as "brutalist architecture, corporate sponsorship, queer coming of age, and Slavic mythology."Last year, Donohue put on atranscendently good display of weird-ass bravado during his solo performance in Kim Lusk's fabulous ADance for Dark Horses,so I'm hoping he brings a similarenergy to THIS SPACE FOR RENT, which sounds like a welcome send-up of the unholy alliance between capitalism and the arts.According to a preview in Broadway World, Farroni's (papi) will draw from the dancer's personal experiences, revealing "performance practice as a method to understand displacement, adaptation, love, memory, and trauma." Baker's Singing Over the Bones, inspired by "figures from Eastern European folklore alleged to be the restless spirits of women who have died unjust or untimely deaths," sounds eminently unmissable, too. RS(Velocity Dance Center)

Dec 1322

Buttcracker V...the Last Thrust! This festive and raunchy holiday show promises glittery professional dance and holiday satire set to a hair-metal soundtrack...for the very last time. (Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 7:30 pm, $22$28)

Thurs Jan 9

Devotion: Flesh & Blood Pop-Up Performance Much-praised Italian-born, Seattle-based dancers Alice Gosti and Lavinia Vago will take to the galleries to respond through movement to the important traveling exhibition Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum. (Seattle Art Museum, 7 pm)

Jan 1724

Xpress Whim W'Him's first production of 2020 is composed of three world premieres by three award-winning choreographers: Sidra Bell, founder of an eponymous dance company in New York; Ihsan Rustem, a Swiss choreographer who's collaborated with Whim W'him dancers in the past; and Whim W'Him's own Olivier Wevers. (Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 8 pm, $35$60)

Jan 30Feb 1

Brian Brooks Moving Company UW Creative Research Fellow Brian Brooks has developed dance pieces inspired by bodies on stage and within the realm of "immersive technologies." For this program, see three world premieres, including a solo by Brooks and two pieces for the ensemble, one of which is set to Partita for 8 Voices by Pulitzer Prize-winning violinist/singer Caroline Shaw. (Meany Center for the Performing Arts, 8 pm, $45/$53)

Jan 31Feb 9

Cinderella The quintessential fairy tale gets the Kent Stowell choreography treatment with music by Sergei Prokofiev performed by the great Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestra, a set by Tony Straiges, and fancy costumes by Martin Pakledinaz. (McCaw Hall, $25$185)

Fri Feb 14

Dani Tirrell: Black Bois In Black Bois, which sold out its 2018 world premiere run at On the Boards pretty quickly, choreographer/dancer Dani Tirrell assembles a many-gendered supergroup of Seattle performers, each of whom could easily carry their own full-length show. Together they create a show about the irreducibility of black experience. Tirrell and the cast fight back against a world that tends to flatten and fragment blackness into digestible, dismissible bits and instead, gives you all of itthe pain, the rage, the joy, the grief, the eroticism, the spirituality, the madness, the clarity, the multiplicity of the individual, and the deep-rooted particularities of the communities. RS (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $40$50)

Feb 1516

Chop Shop This contemporary dance festival has presented performances from troupes and artists around the world, with the goal of reaching diverse audiences and connecting people of all abilities with dance instruction. This year's festival will bring Seattle and world premieres by OcampoWang Dance (New Jersey), Adam Barruch (New York) with Daniel Costa (Seattle), Eva Stone (Eastside), Omar Romn De Jess and Nicole von Arx (New York), Seda Aybay (Los Angeles), Ramona Sekulovic (Brooklyn), and Spectrum (Seattle). (Meydenbauer Center, $28)

Feb 2023

Solo: A Festival of Dance I love solos. They hold the attention of a room like nothing else in the world of performance. They're like the cat in that old theater rule about never allowing cats onstage because it's all the audience will look at. That's because the cat, like the solo dancer, is completely unpredictable. Two dancers, even in an improv show, project a sort of ordered world. In a solo, anything can happen. If this iteration is the same as On the Boards' inaugural edition in 2018, expect a good mix of local and national dancers showcasing incredible choreography they'd have a hard time producing anywhere elsenot because it's bad, but because venues rarely afford solo pieces big stages. RS (On the Boards)

March 1322

One Thousand Pieces This feels like private programming. I've loved everything PNB has ever produced by Alejandro Cerrudo, the genius Spanish choreographer behind Silent Ghost (which was the balletic equivalent of rolling around in bed on Sunday morning) and Little mortal jump (which was the balletic equivalent of a really good indie rock show in college). So, yeah, I'm excited to see One Thousand Pieces, which sets his flat-out gorgeous choreography to "Knee 5," the best piece of music Phillip Glass has ever written. The double bill includes David Dawson's sharp, athletic, and aggressive Empire Noirif you missed it in 2017, make sure you catch it this time. RS (McCaw Hall, $25$185)

Dec 5Jan 5

Wonderland Wonderland is divided into three short acts that make up a brisk 90-minute show. Hosted by the exceedingly charismatic JonnyBoy (Jonathan Betchtel), each act gets progressively naughtier, although the most scandalous thing an audience member sees is a jock-strapped ass and bare tits covered by pasties. The show has danger, but it's found in the cancan lines that occur mere feet from audience members' dinner salads. During the third act, two dancers performed an athletic duet thatwhen I saw itnearly knocked over a birthday girl's wine glass. But it didn't. Everyone whooped. CB (Can Can, $19$95)

Dec 1229

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker A lascivious holiday show experience with sugar plum fairies, exciting clothes-dropping times, and other swanky fun. (Triple Door, $50$80)

Dec 2031

Voltage! Kink, luxury, and avant-garde fashion combine in Valtesse's signature style at this "futuristic sex dream" of a cabaret. Be sure to dress in red or black cocktail attire. (The Ruins, $65$95)

Feb 1316

The Atomic Bombshells in...J'ADORE! A Burlesque Valentine The boisterous Atomic Bombshells troupe has been instrumental in Seattle's burlesque revival, so for lovers of feathery, busty, glitzy fun, there's no better spectacle to attend for V-Day. (Triple Door, 7 pm, $30$45)

Dec 5Dec 24

The Dina Martina Christmas Show Watching Seattle drag legend Dina Martina perform is a bit like having a Christmastime flu. You will sit there, confused and warm, your thoughts disassociating, a fever addling your brain, while the holiday cheer twinkles all around you. Truly, there's no performer who is more like a strong dose of Nyquil than Dina Martina. She is cozy but disorienting. You will laugh without knowing why. Take her with alcohol and double the danger. CB (ACT Theatre, $27$47)

Dec 629

The Christmas Killings at Corgi Cliffs Butch Alice once again stars as Becky June Beasley-Jones in this drag-filled send-up of Agatha Christie-type whodunits. (Cafe Nordo, $95/$115)

Jingle All the Gay! Last year, after seeing the new revamp of the beloved institution Homo for the Holidays, Chase Burns wrote: "The new performers are the standouts in Jingle All the Gay. Kitten N' Lou brought in Markeith Wiley and Randy Ford, two breakout dancers/performance artists who've been having a great couple of years performing around Seattle. Wiley plays the mailman, an important figure in any holiday story, and he's got to deliver lots of big, uh, packages. Ford plays Lil' Fruitcake, a femme voguing fruitcake who fucks shit up in the best way possible. Ford and Wiley's duets are highlights, as are the numbers from Seattle drag artist Abbey Roads, who brings solid musical theater chops and good comic timing. Also in this cast: New York City's Mr. Gorgeous, serving his uniquely tall and hilarious boylesque as the Little Drummer Boy." These favorites return, along with the UK's Reuben Kaye. (West Hall, 7 pm, $25$40)

Fri Dec 13

Crossdresser for Christmas Few queens belt a Broadway hit like Ginger Minj. I once saw the RuPaul's Drag Race star perform her Crossdresser for Christ cabaret show to a sold-out crowd of bears (the gay kind), and her brassy singing brought the crowd to tears. By the end of it, I was drunk and singing along in the balcony. I'm pretty sure it will go down as the gayest night of theater in my life. Now that she's bringing a version of that showtunes-filled original show to Queer/Bar, maybe I can have the queerest night of theater in my life, too. CB (Queer Bar, 9 pm, $12$200)

Dec 2127

All I Want for Christmas is Attention Last year, in a preview of To Jesus, Thanks for Everything! Jinkx and DeLa, Christopher Frizzelle wrote: "BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are like peanut butter and jelly: two great tastes that taste great together. They were on back-to-back seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, they are both stunning drag queens from Seattle, they are both fiery political commentators, and they've never had a proper theatrical production for just the two of them." With To Jesus a smashing success, Jinkx and DeLa are back with another bid for your love. (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $29$69)

Wed Feb 5

Trixie Mattel: Grown Up 2020 Trixie Mattel once said that all her jokes are cries for help. If that's true, the poor girl needs an intervention. The drag queen and winner of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars has built an empire on morbid and strange drag humor, racking up impressive accolades inside and outside the cult of RuPaul, like a TV show on Viceland, a top-selling country album, and a sell-out tour with music from said country album. Mattel, a small-town clown from Wisconsin, has become the gay world's popular girl. Get your tickets now if they're still available. CB (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $37)

Dec 1315

Acrobatic Conundrum Presents: Unraveling As Rich Smith has written, "Acrobatic Conundrum trades the cheeseball spectacle of circus arts for the more expressive vocabulary of modern dance without sacrificing the athletic rigor associated with the form." This live-scored production stars vertical rope artists, including former members of Cirque du Soleil and Teatro Zinzanni and alumni of the Montreal National Circus School, in a dramatization of "themes of interdependence, mortality, and love." (Broadway Performance Hall, $30$100)

Jan 1626

Bohemia This "macabre and mystical" cabaret-style musical from Mark Siano and Opal Peachey, set in 1890s Prague, features the music of Dvok and Chopin and art nouveau by Alphonse Muchaplus "beautiful green fairies, aerial numbers, dance, burlesque, classical piano battles, comedy, and original songs." (Triple Door, $26/$34)

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