The Things Are Against Us (Apr 29—May 16): The world premiere of a dark twisted tale of two sisters, a hottie with an axe, and Federico Garcia Lorca. Written by Susan Soon He Stanton and directed by Bobbin Ramsey.
My Name Is Asher Lev (Apr 22—May 21): Aaron Posner adapted Chaim Potok's best-selling novel to create this story of the artist as a young Jewish man with overbearing parents. Asher grows up under the patriarchal and culturally rigid thumb of his Hasidic father. The subjects (e.g. nude Jesus) and materials (e.g. ashes) that Asher uses to create his paintings render him a genius in the eyes of the art world but a potential heretic in the eyes of his father. Thus Asher's forced to chose between growing as an artist or maintaining his strong connection to his family and his community. NCTC company members Amy Thone, Bradford Farewell, and Conner Neddresen will perform under Sheila Daniels' direction. Thone made the greatest "exit stage right" I'd ever seen during her performance of Festen last fall, and so the fact that she's cast in the role of Rivkeh, a highly educated mother who struggles to take a side in the battle between her son and her husband, accounts for 50 percent of my excitement with this one. RS
Stupid Fucking Bird (Apr 8—May 8): A funny, modern "sort-of-adaptation" of Chekhov's The Seagull, which sticks to the original themes close enough to include plenty of inter-generational bickering on a country estate.
Puny Humans (Apr 22—May 14): Puny Humans, with a bunch of intertwining plot lines à la Crash, is different from Crash in that it's set at Comicon. With dramatic plot lines including pregnancy, fame, and love between unexpected cosplay characters, this play by Bret Fetzer and Keiko Green promises the depiction of "one epic day."
Spin the Bottle (Every First Fri at 11 pm): This is Seattle's longest-running cabaret and has seen just about everything—dance, theater, comedy, paper airplanes, tears, stunts, music, romance—from just about everyone.
Now I'm Fine (Apr 2): Ahamefule Oluo, of Industrial Revelation, performs his "experimental pop opera" Now I'm Fine.
Sarah Rudinoff: NowNowNow (Mar 23—Apr 3): The performer Sarah Rudinoff stars in a new evening-length autobiographical work about finding truth in a world dominated by Facebook, Twitter, and created personas. Rudinoff presented 20 minutes of this material at On the Boards a while back, and it was really, really good—funny, daring, intimate, risky. If that glimpse of the show in-progress was anything like this final result, you don't want to miss this. "She uses shifting narratives, intimate confessions, and her spot-on comedic timing to unravel the schizophrenia of modern living," says a description of the show. Rudinoff won a Stranger Genius Award in 2004 on the strength of two previous autobiographical shows, Go There and The Last State. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
brownsville song (b-side for tray) (Mar 25—Apr 24): The New York Times called brownsville song (b-side for Tray) a "moving if somewhat predictable play" that's both "elegy and polemic." The plot involves a Brooklyn high school senior writing a scholarship essay trying to distance himself from the stereotype that he's a "poor black boy from the violent ghetto," only for him to be victimized by gang violence immediately after he finishes writing it. According to the Times, "The drama moves back and forth in time, vaulting from the weeks and months before Tray's shooting to its aftermath."
Mariela in the Desert (Mar 17—Apr 9): Latino Theatre Projects presents Karen Zacarias's Mariela in the Desert, a family play about creativity, loss, and secrets, set in Northern Mexico.
UW Women's Center presents SEVEN (Mar 6): SEVEN is a collaborative documentary play written by seven award-winning playwrights about seven women (hence the all-caps title) who fight for women's rights in seven different countries, including Russia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Northern Ireland. Playwrights include Carol K. Mack and Anna Deavere Smith, among others. This performance will be directed by UW's Anita Montgomery, and will be read by local female leaders such as The Hon. Mary Yu, State Supreme Court Justice; Teresa Mosqueda of Washington State Labor Council; and Sutapa Basu, Director of the UW Women's Center. Following the production, KUOW's Marcie Sillman will lead a panel discussion. RS
Assassins (Through May 8): This Sondheim musical, co-produced by the 5th Avenue Theatre, tells the story of American history's most famous presidential assassins including John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, and John Hinckley. Stephen Sondheim delivers his usual quick pace and complicated melodies, and the plot will make you feel an unexpected sympathy with the murderous stars. It's worth seeing in person, especially because there aren't any easily accessible videos of the production.
9 to 5: The Musical (Through Mar 13): The irresistibly lovable Dolly Parton musical comes to Magnuson Park Theatre (via Seattle Musical Theatre). The production promises perfectly period costumes and tunes you can't get out of your head. Also playing at Centerstage, May 6-May 28
reSET (May 19—May 20): Curated by Mark Haim, Babette Pendleton, and Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir, reSET is a sort of arts-share dance series put on by the Washington Ensemble Theatre. Choreographers perform new pieces using the set for whatever play the company happens to be producing at that time. RS
Whim W'Him: OUT-spoken (Jun 3—Jun 11): OUT-spoken is Whim W'Him Contemporary Dance's third program of the season, featuring choreography by James Gregg, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Olivier Wevers with composer Brian Lawlor.
Showing Out: Contemporary Black Choreographers (Mar 5): Showing Out: Contemporary Black Choreographers is a reprise of the 2013 performance presented by Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas. This one features new works by Alex Crozier, Jade Solomon Curtis, Randy Ford, Maxie Jamal and Dani Tirrell. Look out for Tirrell's compelling highbrow/lowbrow glam-modern mashups. Do yourself a favor and watch the videos of Curtis performing Donald Byrd's 2012 piece LOVE. She moves with power and grace as male dancers simultaneously control her and support her. One moment they're making a human throne for her to sit in, and the next they're morphing into a smothering mob. RS
PNB: Director's Choice (Mar 18—Mar 27): Pacific Northwest Ballet presents three contemporary ballet works: Paul Gibson's Rush, Alejandro Cerrudo's Little mortal jump, and Justin Peck's Year of the Rabbit.
Yellow Towel (Mar 3—Mar 6): Drawing on the childhood memory of draping a yellow towel over her head to emulate the blonde girls at school, choreographer/performer Dana Michel transforms into an alter-ego built of constantly shifting cultural stereotypes.
Blue Man Group (Mar 31—Apr 3): Weird-pop performance artists/bald icons the Blue Man Group have been featured in Scrubs and Arrested Development.
Cabaret & Variety
Mimosas with Mama (Apr 3—May 22): Good morning, Baltimore/Seattle. Mama's new show, "30 Minute-ish Hairspray," features all your favorite songs from the Broadway show plus some elaborate quick-change drag-queen magic. They've mushed together the best of the original film and the Travolta travesty for a whirlwind of big-boned euphoria. MATT BAUME
Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery (Every First Sun): Comedy, variety, and "a parade of wonder and awkward sharing" are hosted by the self-proclaimed "mustache wizard" Emmett Montgomery.
The Comedy Get Down (Mar 19): Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, Eddie Griffin, and Charlie Murphy headline an all-star evening of comedy.
Comedy Bang! Bang! Live (May 25): Very popular comedy podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! comes to Seattle for a live taping, with host Scott Aukerman and expert improvisers Paul F. Tompkins, Lauren Lapkus, and Neil Campbell along for the ride.
Trump vs. Bernie: The Debate! With James Adomian and Anthony Atamanuik (Mar 8): James Adomian, as Bernie Sanders, takes on Anthony Atamanuik, as Trump, in a topical, timely, and probably hilarious take on the current presidential race.
Noel Fielding (Apr 8): British comedian Noel Fielding comes to the Neptune, bringing a "magical mix" of standup, live animation, music, and some of Fielding's best-known TV characters.
Collide-O-Scope (Every Second, Fourth Mon): Created and hosted by Michael Anderson and Shane Wahlund, Collide-O-Scope is the cavalcade of curated video delights that takes over Re-bar twice a month. The show keeps getting better, with thematic suites, hallucinatory repetition, and inspired guests. Perennial bonuses: free popcorn and Red Vines, and multiple prizes waiting to be won via drawings throughout the show.
Wine Shots: Comedy's Happiest Hour (Every Second Sun): This all-female comedy variety show comes complete with an all-female Michael Bolton cover band, Lightning Bolton, and a free shot of wine for every audience member.
The Gay Uncle Time (Every First Wed): It's an avuncular variety show starring Santa-esque comedian Jeffrey Robert and a rotating cavalcade of local stars, drag queens, storytellers, and weirdos.
Comedy Nest Open Mic (Every Tues): The rules of this pro-lady (but all-inclusive) stand-up night are refreshing in their simplicity: no misogyny, racism, homophobia, hatred, or heckling.
Eulogy (Mar 18—Apr 16): This comedy performance by Kevin Kent, directed by Jennifer Jasper, tells the story of Eleanor, "a professional mourner in a one-stop-shop suburban funeral parlor."