Art and Performance

The Best Theater, Dance & Comedy Events in Seattle: Summer 2019

Our Critics' Picks for June 10–September 15
June 6, 2019
Everyone's favorite curmudgeonly comic, Marc Maron, will bring his self-hating stand-up to Seattle on September 7.
Below, we've rounded up all of our critics' performance picks for the season, including a Black Lives Matter–inflected take on Waiting for Godot, a feminist dramatization of the life of painter Artemisia Gentileschi, a dance meditation on the gender revolutionaries at Stonewall, and outdoor Shakespeare. Plus, find a complete list of theater, dance, and comedy events in Seattle this summer on our Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance.

Found something you like and don't want to forget about it later? Click "Save Event" on any of the linked events below to add it to your own private list.

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June 6–30

The Agitators Concerns about the intersectionality of civil rights movements is not a new phenomenon, as Mat Smart's dramatization of the longtime friendship between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass will attest. Anthony and Douglass hung out on weekends at a farm in Rochester, New York, for several decades. While both civil rights leaders supported voting rights for women and black men, they butted heads on timing. Anthony thought women should get the right to vote before black men. Douglass thought men would grant women suffrage, but only after black men got to vote. Considering the fact that America has clearly achieved universal suffrage, I'm sure the conversation between these two great thinkers won't at all resonate with current conversations about the best strategies for securing inalienable rights for all. But it's worth a go on the off-chance that it does. And, if not, watching Douglass (played by Reginald André Jackson, who's fresh off his incredible performance of Capulet in ACT's Romeo and Juliet) intellectually duke it out with Anthony (played by Carol Roscoe) under Valerie Curtis-Newton's direction will be worth the price of admission. RS (West of Lenin, 8—9:30 pm, $15—$35)

Behold the Dreamers A small Cameroonian family is trying to make it in America when the economy takes a dive. Imbolo Mbue's novel will be adapted for the stage by Myra Platt, who'll also direct. (Center Theatre, $20—$50)

June 7–30

'War in Heaven' and 'The Waste Land' ACTLab and New City Theatre have teamed up to stage two short masterpieces, Sam Shepard's War in Heaven (about an innocent angel who crashes to Earth and witnesses societal turmoil) and T.S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land. New City's Mary Ewald plays both the angel and Eliot's myriad characters. Directed by John Kazanjian. (ACT Theatre)

Mon June 10

Blackbird This drama by aptly named playwright David Harrower premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2005. A 27-year-old woman, Una, arrives unexpectedly at the office of Ray, the man with whom she had a sexual relationship 15 years earlier. Ray has embarked upon a new life, but Una is beset by rage, confusion, trauma, and her past feelings. Paul Budraitis will take up the director's mantle for this Seattle premiere, produced by White Rabbits Inc and Libby Barnard. (18th & Union, $15—$25)

June 13–16

NW New Works Festival 2019 As Rich Smith has written, once a year, "On the Boards transforms into an open studio for the most gifted theater-makers, dancers, and performance artists in the region." For their 36th edition, over a single weekend, the invited artists—among them Au Collective, Stranger Genius Award-winning HATLO, Arson Nicki, and Body Home Fat Dance—will grapple with some of the changes disrupting the Pacific Northwest. (On the Boards, $15/$25/$40)

Through Sat June 22

Kim's Convenience In this award-winning play by Ins Choi, a Korean Canadian family faces gentrification and a generation gap as they debate the future of their convenience store. (Taproot Theatre, $27—$50)

Take Me Out A star outfielder for the "New York Empires" (more Yankees than Mets in appearance) named Darren Lemming comes out of the closet—or, I guess, the locker—in this Tony-winning comedy from Richard Greenberg, put on by Strawberry Theatre Workshop. His straight teammates have a lot to say about it, and they mostly do so while barely covered in towels, a sartorial situation where homophobia and hypocrisy are so often laid bare. Lamar Legend, who has been great in everything I've seen him in, especially in Intiman's production of Barbecue and most recently in Strawshop's production of Everybody, plays Lemming. In addition to being a hilarious exploration of masculinity, the play also offers an opportunity for the audience to take part in a drinking game based on ball puns. How you could pass that up, I do not know. RS (12th Avenue Arts, 7:30 pm, $10—$36)

Through Sun June 23

Don't Call It a Riot! Local playwright Amontaine Aurore's new work, Don't Call It A Riot!, takes audiences on a tour of black activism in Seattle—from the beginnings of the Black Panther Party up to the WTO protests—as seen through the eyes of a character named Reed. Reed has to figure out how to raise a kid, maintain a relationship with her new husband, and build a burgeoning movement, all while the culture at large conspires against her at every turn. RS (12th Avenue Arts, $25)

Pass Over Antoinette Nwandu's Pass Over combines Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot with the biblical story of Exodus, and sets the whole thing in a world where two black guys, Moses and Kitch, cannot hang out on a sidewalk without getting harassed by a white cop. Spike Lee liked the play so much that he filmed a performance and screened it at Sundance to great acclaim. Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss had a different take, which led to an uproar in the theater world. She generally praised the acting but slammed Nwandu for her "simplistic, wholly generic characterization of a racist white cop (clearly meant to indict all white cops)." She then criticized Nwandu for ignoring "black-on-black" crime. The theater world rightly flipped, and Nwandu responded in American Theatre, saying Weiss's review "perpetuates a toxic discourse in which black lives do not matter and white lives remain unburdened by the necessary work of reckoning with white privilege and the centuries-long legacy of violence by which it is secured." You'll get the chance to see Pass Over in Seattle under Tim Bond's direction. RS (ACT Theatre, $27—$47)

Tiny Beautiful Things Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) has adapted Cheryl Strayed's story of writing an advice column under the pseudonym Sugar, yielding a play about empathy, healing, tough love, and kindness. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, $37—$70)

Through Sat June 29

Mae West's The Drag: A Homosexual Comedy in Three Acts When The Drag first opened in 1927, a reviewer for Variety apparently called it "an inexpressibly brutal and vulgar attempt to capitalise on a dirty matter for profit." After only 10 performances, the play was shut down for "indecency." So, in honor of indecency, in honor of the vulgar, and in honor of capitalizing on dirty matters, we must all go see this historical revival about a gay man named Rolly Kingsbury coming out in much more homo- hostile times (in America, at least), and then marvel at how far we've come, and how far we've yet to go. RS (Gay City, Free—$30)

July 18–21

140 LBS: How Beauty Killed My Mother Local theater powerhouse Sara Porkalob will direct Susan Lieu's autobiographical solo show. When Lieu was young, her mom died two hours into a tummy tuck operation. The surgeon was charged with medical negligence, and her family struggled to move on from the loss. Decades later, Lieu decided to confront her mother's killer, as well her mother's and her own relationship with the "impossible ideal of Vietnamese feminine beauty." Porkalob is known for her ability to faithfully render a handful of wildly different characters in her solo shows, so look for her to draw out a similar talent in Lieu's. RS (Theatre Off Jackson, $25)

July 18–Aug 10

The Events A handful of arts patrons and US Bank are funding free tickets for all who want to see Intiman's production of David Greig's The Events, directed by Paul Budraitis. Greig's play is a look at the aftermath of a deadly mass shooting. The show features two actors and a chorus, which, as in all the Greek tragedies, represents the figure of the general populace. (In this case, a rotating cast of local community choirs will play the chorus.) Claire is a priest who witnessed the mass shooting, and "the Boy" doubles as the shooter and Claire's boyfriend/psychiatrist. The shooting in the play, according to a favorable review in the New York Times, was inspired by the racist terrorism of Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011. RS (Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, free)

July 19–Aug 11

The Year of Magical Thinking One of this century's deepest and most affecting memoirs of grief, Joan Didion's 2005 book The Year of Magical Thinking recounts the torments and irrationalities of her existence after the death of her husband and her daughter's illness and decline. (ACT Theatre, $27—$47)

Aug 8–24

4.48 Psychosis English playwright Sarah Kane was known for her ferocious, non-naturalistic approach to theater, dispensing with realism in favor of depictions of extremes. 4.48 Psychosis deals with her experience of depression. According to her fellow writer David Greig, the title refers to 4:48 am, when Kane would regularly wake up in the throes of anguish. Copious will stage the play with video projection and sound design; they give a content warning for discussion of suicide and self-harm. (Copious, 7:30 pm, $10—$20)

Aug 22–Sept 14

Bulrusher Stranger Genius Award and Artist Innovator Award winner Valerie Curtis-Newton will direct Eisa Davis's 2007 Pulitzer finalist about a multiracial, clairvoyant orphan girl growing up in 1950s California. Young Bulrusher feels out of place in her very white town, where the whimsical dialect of Boontling is spoken. But things change when she meets a newcomer—a black girl from Alabama. (Jones Playhouse, $35—$50)

Aug 23–31

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 audience members, 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 (Raisbeck Performance Hall, 8 pm—12 am, $20)

Sept 6–23

Is God Is Washington Ensemble Theatre, supported by the Hansberry Project, will stage Aleshea Harris's carnage-filled tale of twin sisters on a killing spree from the South to California. This homage to Afropunk and spaghetti westerns will be directed by Lava Alapai. It kicks off WET's season of plays related to "the Divine." (12th Avenue Arts, $20+)

Sept 6–26

People of the Book Yussef El Guindi is one of the most talented playwrights in the country today, and he happens to live in Seattle. He earned a Stranger Genius Award in 2015, shortly after the premiere of his play Threesome, about an Egyptian American couple who set out to spice up their sex life by inviting an absolute doofus of a white guy into their bedroom. El Guindi's new play, People of the Book, involves more sexual jealousy across cultural traditions, as well as a soldier-turned-writer whose massive success with a memoir inspires jealousy from some old high school friends. CF (ACT Theatre)

Sept 11–28

Blood/Water/Paint Artemisia Gentileschi was a remarkable painter in 17th-century Italy—but today she's known almost as much for her determination to bring her rapist to justice as for her artistic genius. She's a perfect subject for Macha's women-focused theater. Blood/Water/Paint recounts her career through her interactions with other women, including her models and her own daughter, as well as the trial for which she's famous. (12th Avenue Arts, 8—10:30 pm, $10—$30)

Sept 11–Oct 6

Everything Is Illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer's semi-autographical first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, about a man (also named Jonathan Safran Foer) who travels to Ukraine to try to track down the details of his Jewish ancestry, is one of the most brilliant and celebrated novels of the last 20 years. Much of it is narrated by a translator who shows Jonathan around and gets many English words wrong, hilariously. The language of the book is key, and Book-It adaptations always emphasize the language of the original text in a way that other dramatic treatments (and the movie) don't. CF (Book-It Repertory Theatre)

Outdoor Theater

July 11–Aug 11

Wooden O: Romeo and Juliet Seattle Shakespeare Company will travel from park to park with Leah Adcock-Starr directing the tale of star-crossed lovers. As always, it's free! (Various locations around Puget Sound, free)

Wooden O: Twelfth Night For the comedic half of Seattle Shakespeare Company's free, outdoor diptych, Mary Machala will direct Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's romp of mistaken identities, ill-advised infatuations, practical jokes, and gender-bending. (Various locations around Puget Sound, free)

July 12–Aug 17

Backyard Bard: Measure for Measure Shakespeare's semi-comedy (the tone is a little odd) is about a young nun on the brink of entering the convent, her imprisoned brother, the corrupt, lustful judge planning to execute him, and such comic relief characters as the madam Mistress Overdone and her pimp Pompey Bum. Watch a one-hour, four-player park-set production by GreenStage. (Various locations around Puget Sound, free)

Backyard Bard: Merry Wives of Windsor The knight John Falstaff attempts to seduce two of the town's wealthiest wives in order to acquire their wealth, but the ladies have a scheme of their own. See a one-hour, four-player production of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor play out in this Backyard Bard performance by GreenStage. (Various locations around Puget Sound, free)

Shakespeare in the Park: Henry IV, Part 2 GreenStage will perform Shakespeare's Henry IV: Part 2, a history play in which Prince Hal learns to reject his boyish ways and bad influences (as embodied by Sir John Falstaff, one of the great comic characters). Chris Shea will direct. (Various locations around Puget Sound, free)

Shakespeare in the Park: The Taming of the Shrew You know the deal with this play: One sister is terrible, full of opinions and feelings, and the other one is perfect, pretty, and agreeable. Will the awful one become more like her sister? Can a man succeed in breaking her spirit? Director Jennifer Crooks will take on the task of making the play palatable to modern audiences at this outdoor production by GreenStage. (Various locations around Puget Sound, free)

July 13–14

Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival 2019 Theater is alive in Seattle, but, as in most places, it generally isn't cheap. GreenStage, Theater Schmeater, and Wooden O Productions set out to change that in 2001 with the first Outdoor Theater Festival. Watch Shakespeare plays and more contemporary pieces from the festival's founders and other theater companies—a total of nine, also including Shakespeare Northwest, Last Leaf Productions, the 14/48 Projects, Dacha Theatre, Freehold Theater, and Young Shakespeare Workshop, plus aerial performances by Versatile Arts—over what will hopefully be a sunny weekend. (Volunteer Park, free)

Children's Theater

July 26–Aug 4

The Little Mermaid One of the most charming (old school 2-D non-CGI) Disney films is The Little Mermaid—the young dulcet-voiced princess Ariel wants to give up her tail and life under the sea for legs and a new life on the land with the man of her dreams, a prince in his own realm. They're equals, see! If it wasn't for an octopus witch with nefarious intentions and an overprotective father who is also the king of everything underwater, she might be all good. This theatrical adaptation is based on the Disney Broadway musical. It's presented by Village Theatre and features children from the theatre's Kidstage program. This is a family affair. LP (Village Theatre, $15—$30)

Sat July 27

The Wiggles: Party Time Tour! The Australian children's show troupe, including Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feathersword, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus, and Shirley Shawn the Unicorn, will stop by Seattle on their American tour. (Paramount Theatre, 12:30 pm, $40)

Musical Theater

June 12–July 7

Wicked Anticipate another return of the megapopular musical that presents another perspective on The Wizard of Oz. (Paramount Theatre, $49+)

June 21–22

Seattle Men's Chorus: Summer of '69 Look, I didn't live through 1969, but I've sure heard about that year my entire life. There was Woodstock. Vietnam. And, as you'll be hearing about all Pride month this year, there was Stonewall. It’s now been 50 years since the Stonewall uprising that is often credited as launching the modern gay movement. The Seattle Men's Chorus will celebrate the anniversary by singing through all that rebellion and change, featuring the year's top charts and also introducing new musical theater work about the Stonewall riots. CB (Benaroya Hall, $31—$81)

Through Sun June 23

West Side Story One of the most famous musicals of all time—the first major work Stephen Sondheim ever wrote lyrics to—West Side Story is getting the Bill Barry treatment at 5th Avenue Theatre. The director is known for exuberant takes on classic American musicals and for brilliant casting choices. Excitingly, this production will also feature Jerome Robbins's original choreography, which ought to be a delight for the eyeballs. West Side Story didn't win best musical at the Tonys the year it came out (The Music Man did), but it did win best choreography. CF (The 5th Avenue Theatre, $29—$179)

July 1–29

Bon Appétit! The Julia Child Operetta Lovers of light opera and cake will enjoy this operetta about Julia Child making cake as well as other treats (including a slice of cake, included in the ticket price). (Rendezvous, 7:30 pm, $26)

July 19–Aug 11

7th and Jackson Three friends from different communities in the International District dream of having their own nightclub. Even when Pearl Harbor is bombed and the country gears up for war, they swear loyalty to their visions. This musical takes place over three decades in one of the most fascinating parts of Seattle. (Cafe Nordo, $79)

July 31–Aug 11

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Follow Charlie Bucket through the delicious but treacherous Chocolate Factory in this musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel, featuring songs from the 1971 movie with Gene Wilder. (Paramount Theatre, $30+)

Aug 15–25 & Sept 5–15

Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Temple of the Doomed Ark Sketch troupe the Habit and Seattle Public Theater will take aim at all three Indiana Jones movies, smashing the second and third into a silly version of the first. The producers say, "Indy Jones dutifully denies that the Crystal Skull ever even happened." It's directed by Mark Siano, who had a big hit with Bohemia last year. (Seattle Public Theater, $34)


June 7–22

Seattle International Dance Festival 2019 For 16 days, dancers from around the world (and some local stars) will perform in indoor and outdoor venues, brought to you by this long-running festival organized by Khambatta Dance and Cornish College of the Arts. This year, the international guests will be Alessandra Corona Performing Works troupe, Equilibrio Dinamico, Tchekpo Dance Company with Elisabeth Masé, Tara Brandel, and Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts; they'll perform alongside Seattle dance troupes like HYPERNOVA and Arc as well as other American companies like ka·nei·see | collective (San Francisco) and Molissa Fenley and Company (NYC). Some events will be free and all-ages. The focus is on innovation and diversity—expect to be inspired and occasionally unnerved. (Broadway Performance Hall, $13—$135)

Fri June 14

PNB NEXT STEP: Outside/In The Pacific Northwest Ballet's annual showcase of new dance works will spread outside onto Seattle Center's yards. Outdoor performances are free to view from 6-7:30 pm, while indoor dances afterward—choreographed by Nancy Casciano, Christopher D'Ariano, Steven Loch, Amanda Morgan, Sarah Pasch, and Calista Ruat— are $25. Purple Lemonade Collective and REACH! (featuring Spectrum) will join the PNB's company for these site-specific and onstage performances. (McCaw Hall, 6—9:30 pm, free—$25)

Sat June 15

Massive Monkees Day Massive Monkees Day is a true Seattle institution that is both entertaining and drenched in positivity. The focal point of this breakdancing holiday arranged by Seattle's legendary B-boy/B-girl crew Massive Monkees is the Pro Breaking Tour—sanctioned battle royale, which this year has moved to the Showbox. The world-class dancers (who will be traveling from all over North America, Asia, and Europe to compete) and the DJs who accompany them create an impressive musical/athletic spectacle, and the familial vibe that has helped to keep the breaking community intact runs strong throughout. TODD HAMM (The Showbox, 6 pm, $25)

June 21–Nov 15

David Rue: A Physical Homage David Rue has curated this series of outdoor performances dedicated to activists against AIDS and to those who perished from the disease. The performers will be drawn from some of the most celebrated of the Seattle dance cohort, including Randy Ford (June 21), School Of Spectrum Dance Theater students (July 19), Kyle Bernbach and Gilbert Small (August 16), Nia Amina-Minor (September 20), Marco Farroni (October 18), and Dani Tirrell (November 15). (Cal Anderson Park, free)

June 28–29

Gender Tender: MELTED RIOT Fox Whitney, the 2018 Velocity Dance Center Artist in Residence, has created a reverie based on "drag artist and cabaret singer Stormé DeLarverie throwing the first punch at the Stonewall Riots on June 28th, 1969." MELTED RIOT melds durational performance and visuals with choreography, evoking the queer community's reactions to oppression and support. Whitney lists their influences and inspirations as Stonewall heroines like "Marsha P Johnson, Stormé Delarverie and Sylvia Rivera," among many others. (Velocity Dance Center, 8 pm, $20/$25)

Fri July 12

DANCE This 2019 After an intense collaboration with community and international artists, teens and adults will perform three new dance works for the 21st iteration of this annual series. (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $18/$20)

July 26–27

Strictly Seattle If you love dance, you can't miss this festival of innovative choreography and experimental workshops. Dancers will have collaborated with special guest choreographers like Pat Graney, Dani Tirrell, Veronica Lee-Baik, Jaret Hughes, and Kate Wallich, plus Velocity staff like Mark Haim. Watch them perform the pieces they developed over several weeks as well as films from KT Niehoff's Film Track Frame by Frame dance movie program. (Velocity Dance Center, $20/$25/$50)

July 28–Aug 4

Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation The Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, presented by Velocity Dance Center, is a diverse weeklong exploration of the art, with intensive classes, drop-in workshops, talks, "jams," and performances. (Velocity Dance Center, $5—$500)

Aug 10–11

Arc at 20: A Twentieth Anniversary Retrospective Performance Revisit 20 years of the innovative Seattle dance company's programming during this retrospective festival, with different lineups every evening. Marie Chong, Wen Wei Wang, Edwaard Liang, Jason Ohlberg, Bruce McCormick, and Elizabeth Cooper are just a few of the choreographers featured, and there will be a special In Memoriam performance for Kabby Mitchell III, the first black dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Lovers of the art of movement should make this event a priority. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, $35/$45)

Cabaret & Burlesque

June 7–Sept 29

Legend of El Dorado Three women on a summer trip turn into sexy, fishnetted robbers on motorcycles in the cozy cabaret's latest production, featuring all-new choreography and a soundtrack with singing by Brent Amaker. (Can Can, $20+)

Sat June 15 & Sat June 22

Valtesse For those with a yen for high-end kink, the performers of Valtesse will revel in opulent "couture burlesque, aerial, whips, chains, dance, and doms." Wear black, red, and/or fetish gear to fit in, and stick around after the show for a party by the fireplace. (The Ruins, 7:30 pm, 10 pm, $65/$95)

Thurs June 20

Justin Vivian Bond: Summer Solstice Benefit Performance One of the most critically acclaimed and awarded cabaret stars today, Justin Vivian Bond, will fill the evening with song, snark, and "real glamour." (On the Boards, 8 pm, $75/$100)

June 20–22

Queens The burlesque talents of women of color will be front and center at this burlesque residency at the Forum. Queens, their first production, will be a sexy simulation of a chess match, starring Adra Boo, Caela Bailey, TAQUEET$!, Elise, Shay Simone, and Annya Pin. (Northwest Film Forum, 8 pm, $40—$60)

Through Sun June 23

The Greatest Showqueen More than two decades ago, former Seattle Times critic Tom Orr staged a one-man musical revue called Dirty Little Showtunes!, a gay coming-of-age story that then-Stranger critic Adrian Ryan called "one heck of a fun show." Now, Orr returns with a three-time Bay Area Theatre Critic Circle Award-winning "multitude of new perverted twists on classic showtunes." Songs include "I Feel a Thong Coming On!," "A Crass Act!," "The Devil Wears Nada!," "Aging Bull!" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to His Forearm!" (Unicorn, 6—8 pm, $20)

Thurs June 27

Thriftease: Queer 4 Sheer A wise twink once described Mona Real as "what would happen if Divine walked into Fremont Vintage and came out with the whole store." There are few queens who serve thrift-shop fantasy like Mona Real, and Thriftease is Seattle's chance to finger around her closet (and take home the goods). Queer go-go queens and dive-bar divas will model vintage finds, curated by Real, and the audience will bid on the items—everything beginning at an affordable $1. Winning bids help the models strip down to their panties, so prepare for butts. CB (Kremwerk, $10)

Sat June 29

Lipstick Libations: A Dark Violet Production Adra Boo will "femmce" a "glam, queer, dirty, grindy" burlesque show with much-admired dancers like Nox Falls, Violet Tendencies, Briq House, Mia Maravilla, Seraphina Fiero, Carson St. Clair, and Sapphire Savant. (Palace Theatre & Art Bar, 8 pm, $22/$30)

July 11–14

Camptacular! Camptacular! Kitten 'n' Lou's kitschy and super-queer tribute to summer camp will be back for another year, with illustrious local guests like Stranger Genius Award Winner Cherdonna, burlesque dynamo Waxie Moon, dancers Randy Ford and Markeith Wiley, Minneapolis drag queen Victoria DeVille, and Chicago's JeezLoueez, "The Honey Badger of Burlesque." (Triple Door, $28—$45)

Thurs Sept 12

Nocturnal Emissions: Night of the Creeps Dark-minded burlesque maven Isabella L. Price and Clinton McClung of Cinebago Events will return with their cheeky, sexy, macabre series Nocturnal Emissions, which prefaces an unusual horror classic with "phantasmagoric" burlesque performances and other fun. They'll open with Night of the Creeps (1986), in which college nerds in the 'burbs take arms against "alien slugs, axe-slingin' zombies, and a dude-bro named Bradster." Ugh, Bradster. (Northwest Film Forum, 7:30 pm, $12)

Second Sundays

The Sunday Night Shuga Shaq The Stranger's Kim Selling described Ms. Briq House to me as "the sexiest thing on two feet," and it literally could not be more true—she's the reason seduction is considered an art form. The sex- and body-positive burlesque performer hosts the Sunday Night Shuga Shaq: An All People of Color Burlesque Revue at Theatre Off Jackson every second Sunday of the month. The show features burlesque, dance performances, storytelling, and pole and aerial work that'll make your cheeks flush and pupils dilate with excitement. While the show invites people of all kinds to attend, Shuga Shaq is a space that specifically promotes and focuses on the beauty and utter sexiness of people of color. JK (Theatre Off Jackson, 7 pm, $15—$30)


Through Wed June 26

So You Think You Can Drag? Season 2 As you might've guessed, this event is just like So You Think You Can Dance, but with drag. Cookie Couture will host a lineup of local queens, who will strive to prove their talent onstage every week in pursuit of a $5K grand prize. (R Place, 8 pm, $3)

June 26–30

Kremwerk Complex Pride Week 2019 From early-evening patio drag shows to late-night dance parties, Kremwerk has a whole lineup of Pride festivities for a whole week. (Kremwerk, $50)

Thurs June 27

Midnight Snack: A Late Night Drag Show Here's a late-night prelude to your weekend Pride festivities: a show with Cookie Couture, Cucci Binaca, Kylie Mooncakes, One, and Siren, plus RuPaul's Drag Race 6 star Vivacious. (Kremwerk, 11 pm, $10—$20)

Fri June 28

Cucci's Critter Barn: Queer Pride 2019 I still have white flecks of paint on a certain shirt I was wearing the night I went to Cucci's Critter Barn (a recurring event on second Saturdays), in the basement bar Kremwerk, and sat a little too close to the stage, and one of the queens started playing with a puddle of paint that the previous performer had left behind. Started putting various body parts in it. Started flinging that wet paint at the crowd. That's just the kind of insane shit that happens at Cucci's very punk, very messy, often uproarious drag happenings. What will the pride show be like? God only knows. CF (Kremwerk, 8 pm, $10/$15)

Rapture Pride 2019 Of Arson Nicki's regularly recurring second Saturday drag night Rapture, Matt Baume wrote, "Expect to see the avantest of the avant-garde creatures, peculiar performances, and a runway that may double as a portal to the Negaverse." This Pride edition will be extra-special, boasting burlesque dance by Waxie Moon and Rosa Marchita. (Kremwerk, 10 pm, $10—$20)

June 28–30

Queer/Bar's Queer/Pride Festival A bedrock of Capitol Hill Pride weekend is the Queer/Pride Festival, a three-day affair with nightly performances from RuPaul's Drag Race-famous queens like Vanessa "Vanjie" Mateo (aka "Miss Vaaaaaaanjie") and Miz Cracker (repping Seattle), plus musical performances from hometown heroes like DoNormaal. (Capitol Hill, $50—$195)

Sat June 29

ArtHaus 5.0 All-Stars The bizarro drag show hosted by LIGHTHAUS will ask back the best Season Five acts for some strangely entrancing solo acts. (Timbre Room, 7 pm, $7/$10)

SLIP: Pride After-Hours 2019 Party deep into Sunday with queens Amoania, Britt Brutality, Cucci Binaca, and Yko, with DJs Almond Brown, Gag Reflex, Having Sex, and Heavy Pleasure taking turns on the console for your dancing pleasure. (Timbre Room, 2 am, $10/$15)

Wed July 17

Golden Girls Live! Welcome four queens from San Francisco as they embody the Golden Girls: Heklina, Matthew Martin, D'Arcy Drollinger (who also directs), and Holotta Tymes. They'll be staging the episodes "Long Day's Journey Into Marinara" and "Big Daddy's Little Lady." (SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 6 pm, $25—$60)


Heels! In less than a year, drag performers Betty Wetter and Butylene O'Kipple have organized one of Capitol Hill's best ongoing monthly drag nights. Set in the colorful and cozy Cha Cha Lounge, Heels! is Wetter and O'Kipple at their best: funny, comforting, eccentric. The two hosts perform alongside a rotating list of guest performers, including a "not so typical" go-go dancer. It's very chill and fun. Don't forget to tip! CB (Cha Cha Lounge, 9 pm, free)

Last Thursdays

TUSH! Beacon Hill's Clock-Out Lounge had a promising beginning. Co-owner Jodi Ecklund, former Chop Suey talent booker, launched the venue with a performance by Christeene, an Austin-based "drag terrorist" who ate ass out onstage—or had her ass eaten out? I forget? I was drunk? Ass was definitely eaten! People loved it and hoped it was a sign that more rowdy, uncategorizable drag nights would follow. TUSH!—a drag monthly led by Betty Wetter, Miss Texas 1988, Angel Baby Kill Kill Kill, and Beau Degas—is that sort of night. It's another reminder that the best drag in town doesn't just happen on Capitol Hill anymore. CB (Clock-Out Lounge, 8:30 pm, $10—$12)

Fourth Fridays

MUGZ An abbreviated list of shit I've seen drag queens do at MUGZ: a queen lobbing small apples into the crowd; a queen crab-walking in 8-inch heels, collecting crumpled up dollar bills that people threw onstage; a queen ordering a drink during her number while a broccoli-shaped stuffed animal performed in her place; a queen whipping onlookers with her long pink braids. It's a wild, careening, trashy show full of strange and wonderful drag entertainers. All in the drafty, dumpster-adjacent Timbre Room. It's Seattle drag at its most unrefined (and fun!). JK (Timbre Room, $8)

First Saturdays

ArtHaus The weirdo drag battles at Art Haus produce the kind of shockingly brilliant, deeply strange, and delightfully incomprehensible performances that I imagine when old timers talk about the off-the-wall art people used to make before the first wave of tech money started "ruining" everything. Go and have fun at something for once in your life. RS (Kremwerk, 8 pm, $7/$10)

Bacon Strip The drag company Bacon Strip, helmed by Sylvia O'Stayformore and Mizz Honey Bucket, sets a gaggle of mischievous queens to shocking shenanigans every month (usually on the first Saturday). Themes include "Beach Party Drag Party" (July), "Dead Baby Disco Party" (August), and "Super Hero Drag Show" (September). (Palace Theatre & Art Bar, 7 pm, $22)

Second Saturdays

Dames of Drag Come back to this drag night each month for a different theme, complete with singing and comedy. (Palace Theatre & Art Bar, 7—11 pm, $10/$15)

Last Saturdays

KINGS: A Drag King Show Flipping the traditional drag script, the Kings of Kremwerk will bring royalty to the stage, with a rotating monthly theme. (Kremwerk, 8 pm, $7—$12)


Mimosas Cabaret The drag diva titaness Mama Tits presides over weekly iterations of Mimosas Cabaret, featuring a short musical (it's Cinderfella through August 11), plus songs, comedy, dance, and brunch. (Unicorn, 1 pm, $25)

Circus & Acrobatics

Through June 30

Love, Chaos, & Dinner Beloved circus/cabaret/comedy institution Teatro ZinZanni will reboot their successful variety show, which they describe as the "Kit Kat Klub on acid." They promise to fill their spiegeltent with "world-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen, and aerialists," plus ping-pong-playing comedian Tim Tyler, trapezists Duo Rose, opera singer Kelly Britt, and the Anastasini Brothers, Lady Rizo, and Frank Ferrante. (Teatro ZinZanni, $99+)

July 11–Sept 8

Decadent Delights
Enjoy Zinzanni's winning combination of tasty dinner and circus antics—this time combined quite literally! A Maestro chef struggles to create the perfect meal with the aid of Madame ZinZanni, despite the shenanigans of a host of acrobats. Co-starring comedian Kevin Kent and singer Maiya Sykes (Postmodern Jukebox, The Voice). (Teatro Zinzanni, $109–$159)


Fri June 28

BeautyBoiz Queer AF Live large with a gaggle of queer talent and see aerial, burlesque, and drag performances by the likes of Thadayus, Kimber Shade, LüChi, Karmen Korbel, Beau Degas, Angela Visalia, Cody James, Faggedy Randy, Gunner Field, and Brandon Lentz. (Fred Wildlife Refuge, 10 pm, $20—$40)

June 28–Aug 30

The Disabled List Seattle poets, comedians, storytellers, and other performers with disabilities will return after a sold-out edition of this show in March. (The Pocket Theater, 7 pm, $10—$14)

Through Sat June 29

They/Them: The Festival Drag king and former Intiman Emerging Artist Sam I'Am presents They/Them: The Musical, a solo show. Sam I'Am plays an expecting mother imagining the ways the life of their child would change depending on gender. Though their character explores the slipperiness of gender, the music will be "kinda more traditional," according to Annex. Each night of the festival will kick off with a little cabaret featuring stand-up comedy, burlesque, and musical performances from trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performance artists. RS (Annex Theatre, 7:30 pm, $10—$20)

July 11–Aug 15

Nights at the Neptune: A People's Theatre Joint The Neptune will lend its stage to speakers, dancers, and artists who address the most urgent social and racial issues of our time. (Neptune `Theatre, free)


The Magic Hat Presented by Emmett Montgomery and Friends Five "brilliant humans(?)," ranging from seasoned stand-up comics to sketch performers to audience members, are selected (presumably out of the Magic Hat) throughout the show to perform weekly at this comedy variety show, otherwise described as a "friendship machine that will make the world a better place." (Rendezvous, 7 pm, $5)

Second Thursdays

Spin the Bottle 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. (Annex Theatre, 8 pm, $10/$15)

First Sundays

Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery On the first Sunday of each month, comedy, variety, and "a parade of wonder and awkward sharing" are hosted by the self-proclaimed "mustache wizard" Emmett Montgomery. (Annex Theatre, 7 pm, $10—$15)

Podcasts & Radio

Thurs June 20

Ask Me Another Experience NPR/WNYC's radio game show live with host Ophira Eisenberg, satirical musician Jonathan Coulton, and special VIP Nicole Byer of Nailed It and The Good Place. (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $46—$56)

Mon June 24

Sandbox Radio: Busting Out Sandbox Radio is an old-school-radio-style podcast that periodically stages fresh, fun, live shows. This episode, co-produced with Town Hall, promises "new plays, songs, poetry, adaptations of classic literature," and live sound effects. (Town Hall, 8 pm, $25)

Sat July 13

Lore Podcast Live Writer, host, and producer of the podcasts Lore and Cabinet of Curiosities, Aaron Mahnke will share his spooky folkloric storytelling with a live audience. (Town Hall, 7 pm, $47—$132)

Performance Art

Sun June 16

The Wild Geese Players Present Readings from James Joyce's 'Ulysses' Calling Irish literature nerds: What are you doing for Bloomsday? If you haven't made plans yet to mark the date on which James Joyce's mammoth novel Ulysses takes place, during which the protagonist Leopold Bloom travels picaresquely through Dublin, don't sweat it. This year's reading picks up from last year's with Chapter 10, "Wandering Rocks." Whether you've read the great 20th-century classic or not, this is a great way to commune in love for the possibilities of the English language. (We're not sure we should add this, but apparently Joyce set the book on June 16 to commemorate a particularly significant real-life handjob. Just so you know what you're celebrating.) (Central Library, 2 pm, free)

First And Third Mondays

SH*T GOLD Velocity invites artists from all media and genres to contribute up to five minutes of risky material to this very supportive open mic night. (Velocity Dance Center, 10 pm, free)

Last Fridays

La Petite Mort's Anthology of Erotic Esoterica See "the darker side of performance art" at this eerie, secretive variety show with circus arts, burlesque, music, and more. Feel free to wear a mask if you'd rather not be seen. (Palace Theatre & Art Bar, 8 pm, $28)

Special Events

June 11–13

The Price Is Right Live I'm recommending this show only for the opportunity to remind you that Bob Barker, at 95 years old, is still alive. The former host of The Price Is Right, a show where contestants spin a giant wheel and guess how much products cost so that television audiences essentially get hit with double the commercials, still walks this earth. In any event, comedian Drew Carey now hosts the show, and he's kind of funny for a libertarian—although the host for the touring iteration of The Price Is Right is a TBA "celebrity guest" that apparently changes depending on the city. Go on there, guess $1 for everything, and try to win a Jet Ski. RS (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $18—$48)



Comedy Nest Open Mic The rules of this pro-lady stand-up night are refreshing in their simplicity: no misogyny, racism, homophobia, hatred, or heckling. Based on the size, quality, and diversity of the crowds it attracts, the rules work. Every Tuesday night, fans pack the Rendezvous to watch two and a half hours of comedy, about half of which is delivered by women. Having so many women onstage and in the crowd makes male comics more mindful of their sets and their audience, while reinforcing what should be obvious: Women can be just as funny (or unfunny) as men. (Rendezvous, 8 pm, $5)

First Thursdays

The Central Comedy Show Every month, Central Cinema presents an evening of live comedy starring a lineup of local favorites. (Central Cinema, 8 pm, $13/$15)

Third Sundays

Match Game Contestants will try to guess local celebrities' answers to silly questions during this beloved, long-running, ribald series run by Richard Rugburn and Miss Moist Towelette. (Re-bar, 7 pm, $12)


Sat June 15

Monica Piper: Farmisht, Farklempt, and Farblungit If you've watched Rugrats, Mad About You, or Roseanne, you're probably familiar with the comedy writing of Emmy winner Monica Piper. This is a stand-up/storytelling show about her Jewish heritage and life. (Stroum Jewish Community Center, 7—9 pm, $25)

Fri June 21

Chelsea Handler: Life Will Be the Death of Me...and You Too! There seem to be two schools of people when it comes to comedian, TV producer/host, writer, and activist Chelsea Handler: those of us who love her sarcastic, acerbic wit and brash outspokenness on topics ranging from sex to parenthood to politics; and those who find her abrasive as fuck. She's definitely become far angrier and more vocal about her discontent with American politics following the election of Donald Trump, and she explores this and various other self-involved subjects in her sixth book of memoir-style nonfiction, sold as the "funny, sad, super-honest, all-true story of Chelsea Handler's year of self-discovery," and which includes but is not limited to the content of her therapy sessions with neuropsychiatrist Dan Siegel, and her (not-so) newfound relationship with edibles. Every Handler book reads like she talks, and I imagine this one will be no different. Tickets to this "Sit-Down Comedy Tour" include a copy of the book. LP (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $65—$85)

Sat June 22

The Comedy Nest Presents: Pride with El Sanchez El Sanchez, whom Lindy West has called a "grumpy nugget of delight" and whom Kimya Dawson considers her "favorite underground Northwest comedian," has been performing all over the country since 2010. El is "a queer, pansexual, mixed-race, gender non-binary Seattle-based comedian and comic book reader" whose "conversationally cynical, yet upbeat comedic style weaves together a unique mix of embarrassing personal stories, nerdy obsessions, social politics and possible overshares." Clara Pluton will host. (Rendezvous, 9 pm, $15/$20)

Esther Povitsky Esther Povitsky's Twitter bio sums her up in three words: "Cute but gross." It's doubtful anyone in stand-up is more adorable and petite than Povitsky, who appears to be about half of her 31 years. Intractable biases may lead you to underestimate her, but Povitsky's sharply funny, working her looks and Jewishness into many jokes, including one that's relatable to this lapsed Jew: "My dad is so Jewish I didn't go to Hebrew school because he didn't want to pay the dues to belong to a temple." With popular roles on the sitcoms Crazy Ex Girlfriend and Alone Together (which she also co-created), Povitsky is on the ascent. DS (Columbia City Theater, 8 pm, $25)

Thurs June 27

Stand Up for Pride Prolific, delightful local comedians Bobby Higley and Woody Shticks will host this night of queer laughs with Caitlin Weierhauser, Sabrina Jalees, Patti Harrison, and Matteo Lane. One dollar from each ticket will benefit Seattle PrideFest. (SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 6 pm, 9 pm, $25/$50)

July 12–14

Eddie Izzard: Wunderbar Jesus and the dinosaurs. Darth Vader in the Death Star cafeteria. Eddie Izzard has so many brilliant classic bits, but the comedian/film actor/linguaphile/EU activist has never stopped loading new tricks up his sleeve. This latest show is apparently about "everything from humans over the last 100,000 years to talking dogs and animal superheroes." (Paramount Theatre, $45—$68)

July 18–21

Ali Wong: The Milk & Money Tour LA comic Ali Wong, who's been all over TV (Black Box, Inside Amy Schumer, Chelsea Lately) and occasionally in the movies (Savages), is now best-loved for her jokes: about being a child of immigrants (on the necessity of purse hooks: "My mom didn't come to this country so I could shit with my backpack on"), men (Asian men "smell like responsibility"), money (wanting to get to a financial position where she can afford sliced Whole Foods mango—"That's how you know you've made it. When you're eating mango that was sliced by a dude named Noah.") Not too long ago, she filmed a stand-up special while seven months pregnant—to the delight of critics. She'll be worth seeing live. (Paramount Theatre, $46—$325)

Fri Aug 2

Tiffany Jenkins Tiffany Jenkins is known for her funny, viral Facebook videos, but now she's taking her show on the road. In this live stage show, Jenkins discusses her life as a wife, a mom, and a recovering addict. After spending nearly a decade secretly addicted to opioids, Jenkins hit bottom after getting busted stealing from her ex-boyfriend and going to jail, where she actually attempted to take her own life. Things are very different now, and Jenkins is healthy, happy, and has managed to turn the darkest points in her life into something both inspiring and hilarious. KH (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $35—$85)

Sat Aug 3

Mo Amer Not too long ago, Palestinian Kuwaiti American comic Mo Amer appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to talk about his childhood as a refugee, about spending 20 years trying to obtain US citizenship, about being taught to avoid politics in order to keep from getting deported... and while the topics weren't the most cheerful, he was quite funny. (He also recently endured a plane flight next to Eric Trump.) As one-third of the trio Allah Made Me Funny, Amer sought to defuse harmful stereotypes about Muslim Americans, and his solo work has a similar humane, cheeky charm. (Neptune Theatre, 7:30 pm, $24—$44)

Sun Aug 4

Michelle Wolf After writing for Seth Meyers and the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Michelle Wolf slayed at the 2018 White House Correspondents dinner. The money shots flew fast and furious, filleting politicians, journalists, White House staffers, and the traitor-in-chief with an astronomical hit-to-miss ratio, including this withering diss directed at the Trump Propaganda Network: "Fox News is here, so you know what that means, ladies—cover your drinks." Wolf has ovaries of steel and caustic wit. Beyond politics, though, she offers hilarious observations about feminism, bathrooms, "nice ladies," and some of the funniest barbs about testicles I've ever had the pleasure of wincing to. DS (Neptune Theatre, 7 pm, $25)

Aug 16–18

Michael Che's Liberal But Gangsta Tour Stand-up comedian, actor, and writer Michael Che is best known for his gig as co-anchor on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update." Come for political commentary, social/interpersonal observations, and some dark humor. (Triple Door, $40/$45)

Fri Aug 23

JB Smoove Did you know JB Smoove was in Pootie Tang? That movie is terrible, but Smoove is pretty funny in it. The actor, writer, and comic has been active since his break on Def Comedy Jam in 1995. He's since appeared in and written for a range of films and TV shows (you likely know him best as Leon Black in Curb Your Enthusiasm), in addition to writing a book (The Book of Leon: Philosophy of a Fool came out in 2017), and continuing to deliver sets of his well-honed stand-up, a mix of physical comedy and his humorous perspective on how the world works. LP (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $27—$37)

Sat Sept 7

Marc Maron: Hey, There's More Tour He's the host of a well-regarded podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, has a starring role in fantastic Netflix series Glow as well as significant roles in a few much-anticipated films (Sword of Trust by Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton and Todd Phillips' Joker). But, he's a stand-up comedian first and foremost, his style curmudgeonly self-deprecating humor that reaches self-hate heights while remaining funny and relatable. From his 2017 Netflix special, Too Real: "I came home one night and there's this little 2-month-old black kitten sitting there. Awww. That's the proper response. That is not the response I had. My response was 'Awww fuck, now I gotta fucking love you now?' And oddly that's how all my relationships start." He's belly-laugh funny, but doesn't at all feel like he's trying to be, which is part of his charm. LP (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $33—$43)


Joketellers Union Seattle comedians Brett Hamil and Emmett Montgomery, the curators of Joketellers Union, invite talent from all over the greater area. Some nights, the jokers are from Everett; other nights, they are from Bellevue. And in this way, Hamil and Montgomery expose the self-centered Seattle audience to the wider region. They are also committed to the representation of different voices: women, people of color, queer people. Seattle is just not that cool of a place. It has become a city for the rich, and the rich are always boring. By presenting a variety of voices from different parts of the greater metropolis, Hamil and Montgomery have concocted a show that feels like a real city. CM (Clock-Out Lounge, 8:30 pm, $7)


June 23–30

Seattle International Festival of Improv Improvisors from Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the USA will come to Seattle to participate in the 23rd annual Seattle International Festival of Improv, which lasts for a week. The theme this year will be "maps": landscape maps, road maps, life maps, and more. (Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, 8:30 pm, $15/$30)

Through Sun June 30

Little House of Green Gables Unexpected Productions will improvise two early 20th-century coming-of-age stories: Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. (Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, 8:30 pm, $10)

Through Sat Aug 10

Miscast Funny and spontaneous performers are paired with actors following a script to reshape scenes from real movies and series that the improvisers aren't familiar with in this series directed by John Carroll. (The Pocket Theater, 8:30 pm, $10/$14)

Sun Sept 8

A Night of Musical Improv with Laura Hall and Rick Hall The accompanying pianist of Whose Line Is It Anyway, Laura Hall, and improviser and actor Rick Hall (KC Undercover, Curb Your Enthusiasm) will team up with students and members of Unexpected Productions for a night of musical improv. (Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, 8:30 pm, $15)


Mile High Club Jet City is entering a new era as of April 2019. The new artistic director, the priceless Mandy Price, has created a new ongoing show, featuring long-form improv (in which scenes are connected by plot or pattern) that's not bound by family-friendliness or any other restrictions. Huzzah! Freedom! (Jet City Improv, 10 pm, $17/$18)


Sept 5–14

SketchFest Seattle 2019 The "world's original sketch comedy festival" brings together comedians from around the world (and around Washington) for a week of funny skits. (Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, 8:30 pm, $30)