News Column

8 Theater Picks for Fall

September 11, 2013


Sept. 11--This fall the Seattle theater scene is quite a melange, a feast of Broadway-bound and Broadway-exported works, of noted stage artists from afar toiling here, of newly hatched works, dramatic and musical.

One thing is clear: If you enjoy theater, it's a shame to restrict yourself to a single venue or one genre in the coming months. Go ahead and mix it up, is my advice, because to paraphrase that great sage Auntie Mame, "Theater is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

Some upcoming shows to whet your appetite:


Ends Oct. 6: New from the Broadway composers Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner ("First Date") and author Rupert Holmes ("The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and "Curtains"), the 5th Avenue Theatre's world-premiere version of "Secondhand Lions" could knock 'em dead first in Seattle, then later on Broadway. Or not. Who knows? Seattle audiences get a first look at this big-budget tuner based on the same-titled film about a shy boy's summer with a pair of eccentric, yarnspinning uncles.

Sept. 17-Oct. 13: Book-It Repertory Theatre opens its new season with the challenge of adapting "She's Come Undone," Wally Lamb's best-selling, serio-comic novel about a woman painfully but successfully coping with obesity and mental illness.

Sept. 19-22: From South America comes the Seattle premiere at On the Boards of the inventive, soul-searching piece, "El ano en que naci (The year I was born)." Lola Arias and her company use "letters, videos, old clothes, hazy memories and live rock 'n' roll" to explore the lives of their Chilean parents, during the era when Chile was a military dictatorship where thousands of young people were tortured, executed or just "disappeared."


Oct. 3-Nov. 3: New Century Theatre Company rolls out a rambunctious comic jig, "The Walworth Farce," by the touted young Irish playwright Enda Walsh. It's about relations who engage in a warped family ritual, involving stage wigs and fake mustaches, on a daily basis.

Oct. 4-Nov. 3: The playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, a modern master of the English-speaking theater, treats Seattle audiences to his own staging of "Sugar Daddies," a dark comedy about a naive young woman's strange relationship with an elderly man she rescues from a car accident. Penned by the prolific Ayckbourn in 2003, the play gets its local debut under the playwright's guidance at ACT Theatre.

Oct. 18-Nov. 17: Seattle Repertory Theatre is fostering the work of Northwest playwrights with its Writers Group., which includes Seattle author Elizabeth Heffron. Her new "Bo-Nita," an irreverent but sympathetic new comedy about a resourceful 13-year-old girl's coming-of-age in difficult conditions, will recieve its world premiere at the Rep, in October.

Oct. 30-Nov. 3: "Peter and the Starcatcher" has captivated New York audiences as an enchantingly theatrical, ensemble-driven prequel to "Peter Pan." Suitable for adults and kids, the touring version of this play-with-music will come to the Moore Theatre.


Nov. 15-Dec. 15: Sherlock Holmes, we presume? Yes, that would be the legendary sleuth who solves the case of a vicious, allegedly supernatural hound that is terrorizing the titled Baskerville clan. This new version of the A. Conan Doyle mystery tale "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is the handiwork of Seattle's R. Hamilton Wright and David Pichette, and the Seattle Rep world premiere should have all the Victorian trimmings.

Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic


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