Art News Roundup

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By Dave R. Davison

As summer draws to a close, local theaters are revving their engines as they prepare to take off on a new season of drama, comedy, music and farce. Already, the actors are busy rehearsing and the set makers are madly at work constructing all the scenery and gadgetry that will bring theatrical art pieces to life on the live stage. Following is the first of a two-part listing of everything that our community theaters have to offer in the coming fall, winter and spring.

Lakewood playhouse is up first with the first show of its 79th season, Frederick Knott’s “Wait Until Dark,” scheduled to start Sept. 8.

Following that is the show schedule for Tacoma Little Theatre’s 99th season, which beginning Sept. 15 with Neil Simon’s “Rumors.”

Lakewood Playhouse 2017/18 Season of main stage shows
(lakewoodplayhouse.org)

waituntildark

Wait Until Dark
Sept. 8 – Oct. 8

Susy Hendricks, a blind yet capable woman, and her husband, Sam, are imperiled by a trio of con men in the Greenwich Village apartment. As the climax builds, Susy discovers that her blindness might be the key to her escape, but she and her tormentors must wait until dark to play out this classic thriller’s chilling conclusion.

Alice in Wonderland
Nov. 2-12 (nine shows only)

Travel down the rabbit hole and join Alice, one of literature’s most beloved heroines, in her madcap adventures. The ever-curious Alice’s journey begins innocently enough as she chases the White Rabbit. Her adventures become increasingly more strange as she races the Dodo Bird, gets tied up with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, raps with a bubble-blowing Caterpillar and beats the Queen of Hearts at her own game.

A Christmas Carol
Nov. 24 – Dec. 17

An adaptation of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from an embittered, ungenerous creature into a giving, caring human being at the hands of three spirits who, one Christmas Eve, show him what life means. This richly textured play brings the full spirit of the book, as well as those of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come, to life on the stage. Last presented at Lakewood Playhouse in 2008.

American Idiot
Jan. 5-28, 2018

In the Tradition of The Who’s “Tommy” and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” comes a rock opera for this generation. Johnny, Tunny and Will struggle to find meaning in a post-9/11 world. When the three disgruntled men flee the constraints of their hometown for the thrills of city life, their paths are quickly estranged when Tunny enters the armed forces. Will is called back home to attend to familial responsibilities, and Johnny’s attention becomes divided by a seductive love interest and a hazardous new friendship. An energy-fueled rock opera, “American Idiot” features little dialogue and instead relies on the lyrics from Green Day’s groundbreaking album to execute the story line.

The Glass Menagerie
Feb. 16 – March 11, 2018

In this Tennessee Williams classic, Amanda Wingfield strives to give meaning and direction to her life and the lives of her children, though her methods are ineffective and irritating. Tom seeks escape in alcohol and the world of the movies and Laura, handicapped, has receded more and more into herself. When Tom invites a young friend to dinner with the family. Jim, the caller, is a nice ordinary fellow who is at once pounced upon by Amanda as a possible  husband    for Laura, the gentleman caller is once again.

Peter and the Starcatcher
April 13 – May 6, 2018

A wildly theatrical adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s best-selling novels, the play was conceived for the stage by directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, and written by Rick Elice, with music by Wayne Barker. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, “Peter and the Starcatcher” playfully explores the depths of greed and despair and the bonds of friendship, duty and love.

Little Shop of Horrors
May 25 – June 24, 2018

Meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names Audrey II after his coworker crush. This foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it, blood. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out of this world origins and intent towards global domination.

Tacoma Little Theatre 2017/18 Season 
of main stage shows 
(tacomalittletheatre.com)
Rumors
Sept. 15 – Oct. 1

“Rumors” is an uproariously hilarious comedy about lies, deceit and rumors. At a large, tastefully appointed Sneden’s Landing townhouse, the deputy mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of farce. Gathering for their 10th wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in the other room and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken and wife Chris must get “the story” straight before the other guests arrive. As the confusions and miscommunications mount, the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity.

Blithe Spirit
Oct. 20 – Nov. 5

Halloween is the perfect time for a comic haunting by your two dead wives! Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” is a spook-tacular comic classic. After a “spirited” séance goes decidedly wrong, the cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine suddenly finds himself face to face with the ghost of his deceased wife Elvira…much to the chagrin of his current spouse Ruth. Love and marriage devolve into laughter and mayhem when Ruth is accidentally killed and united with Elvira on the “other side.” Together the paranormal pair of blithe spirits haunt their hapless husband with hilarious consequences.

Seussical
Dec. 1-24

Celebrate the holidays with your family in the world of Dr. Seuss! The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust that contains the Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton faces a double challenge: not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

Children of a Lesser God
Jan. 19 – Feb. 4, 2018

Winner of the Tony Award, the Outer Critics Circle, and the Drama Desk Award as best play. After three years in the Peace Corps, James, a young speech therapist, joins the faculty of a school for the deaf where he is to teach lip-reading. He meets Sarah, a school dropout, totally deaf from birth and estranged both from the world of hearing and from those who would compromise to enter that world. Fluent in sign language, James tries, with little success, to help Sarah, but gradually the two fall in love and marry. At first their relationship is a happy and glowing one, as the gulf of silence between them seems to be bridged by their desire to understand each other’s needs and feelings, but discord soon develops as Sarah becomes militant for the rights of the deaf and rejects any hint that she is being patronized and pitied.

Jesus Christ Superstar
March 9 – April 1, 2018

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece fills the stage with music and dance. It seems especially fitting that the first rock opera, created as a concept album at the end of the turbulent ‘60s, should have at its center a social and political rebel. Jesus’ meteor-like rise in renown provides, as the title suggests, a parallel to contemporary celebrity worship. As his radical teachings are evermore embraced, Judas increasingly questions the enlightened motives of this new prophet, resulting in betrayal. Christ’s final days are dramatized with emotional intensity, thought-provoking edge and explosive theatricality. Propelled by a stirring score, by turns driving and majestic, satirical and tender, “Jesus Christ Superstar” illuminates the transcendent power of the human spirit with a passion that goes straight to the heart.

The Pillowman
April 20 – May 6, 2018

A gripping drama and intrigue that will have you thinking about things differently, Martin McDonagh echoes the works of Stoppard, Kafka, and the Brothers Grimm in this New York Drama Critics’ Circle and Olivier Award winning script. “The Pillowman” is a viciously funny and seriously disturbing tale of Katurian, a fiction writer in an unnamed totalitarian state. Katurian and his brother Michael are brought in for questioning by two bulldog detectives, Tupolski and Ariel, when the content of his short stories — which involve disturbingly gruesome tales — begin to resemble real-life murders. “The Pillowman” weaves between reality and storytelling; and the result is an urgent work of theatrical bravura and an unflinching examination of the very nature and purpose of art.

Macbeth
June 1-17, 2018

Macbeth is a brave and loyal Thane to King Duncan. After hearing a prophecy that he will become king himself, Macbeth is overcome by ambition and greed. Bolstered by the prophecy and his wife’s encouragement, he kills King Duncan and takes the throne. Afterward, Macbeth’s guilt, fear and paranoia lead him to commit even more murders to secure his power. His confidence in the prophecies eventually leads to his downfall and he is overthrown and killed by those he has wronged.

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