Condola Rashad and Quincy Tyler Bernstine in Ruined
(© Joan Marcus)
Condola Rashad and Quincy Tyler Bernstine in Ruined
(© Joan Marcus)
2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner, Ruined by Lynn Nottage (July 2-August 8), is Intiman Theatre's first production in their programming to foster relationships with countries underrepresented to the American artistic community. This challenging play about war and using rape as a weapon will be co-produced with the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and travel to South Africa. It stars Portia as Mama Nadi, with original NYC cast members Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Cherise Boothe, Russell G. Jones, and Condola Rashad reprising their roles.

ACT Theatre pulls up a chair in Yankee Tavern by Steven Dietz (July 30-August 29), a New York dive bar five years after 9/11, where a mysterious stranger turns harmless conspiracy theories into a stream of surprising and dangerous revelations. Charles Leggett and R. Hamilton Wright star.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be contested by Contemporary Classics (July 14-August 21) at the Ballard Underground. Contemporary Classics is also premiering Danny Larsen and Michelle Elliot's musical, The Yellow Wood (Center House Theater, July 23-August 1), which won a Richard Rodgers grant. In it, not-so-normal 17-year old Adam stops taking Ritalin for a day while trying to memorize Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." The yellow wood from the poem comes to life as he navigates through his ADD, his Korean heritage, and complex relationships with friends and family.

BJ: A Musical Romp is another world premiere (July 15-30) from new theater company, Stage Right at the Jewelbox, where homeschooled Benyamin Jeremiah arrives unprepared at Collegetown USA. Side Show, the cult musical inspired by the true story of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, is next up at ArtsWest (July 21-August 1). Taproot Theatre stages Man of La Mancha (July 7-August 7) as Don Quixote dreams an impossible dream while tilting after windmills with his trusty sidekick, Sancho Panza. Tacoma Musical Playhouse gets All Shook Up, the Elvis musical with book by 2010 Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro (July 9-August 1).

Strawberry Theatre Workshop offers The Laramie Project (July 8-August 7) where interviews were done after the murder of gay student, Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. A world premiere from Maggie Lee, Kindred Spirits (July 16-August 8) will be presented by ReAct Theatre, and is a ghost story with comedy and heart. Artattack Theatre opens The Swan by Elizabeth Egloff (July 29-September 11), in which a swan crashes through Dora's front window and she teaches it to talk, dress, and play checkers.

The bi-annual 14/48 Festival, the world's quickest theater festival, brings two weekends of 24-hour theater-making to Theater Off Jackson (July 30-August 7). Environmental disaster has occurred at Annex Theatre and a post-apocalyptic society is run by Mormons and their putative leader, Glen Beck, in Her Mother Was Imagination, written by Elizabeth Heffron (July 30-August 28). Theater Schmeater exhibits Pageant Play (July 16-August 14) setting two pageant mothers in deadly contest while their daughters Chevrolet and Puddle (portrayed by dresses) strut their stuff.

Breeders Theater serves up Withering Heights (July 16-August 1) along with wine, parodying the Bronte novel and adding bankers. Cabaret duo The Wet Spots (John Woods and Cass King) presents Shine: A Burlesque Musical (July 8-18) at the Theatre Off Jackson.

July means the start of free Shakespeare in the parks and more. Seattle Shakespeare Company offers repertory productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Othello (July 8-August 1). Real life husband and wife, Hans Altweis and Amy Thone, take stage as Benedick and Beatrice while Genesis Oliver is Othello. Greenstage chooses Romeo and Juliet, with Ryan Higgins and Carolyn Marie Monroe in the title roles, and As You Like It (July 9-August 14). Eclectic Theatre Company brings The Taming of the Shrew, with Rik Deskin as Petruchio and Melissa Brooks as Kate. Then there is "classic Star Trek" as Hello Earth Productions presents The Naked Time (July 31-August 8) as an alternative to Shakespeare, outdoors in Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Park.

Free theater in the park offerings include two specifically for younger audiences. Theater Schmeater introduces An Inconvenient Squirrel by Joseph Scrimshaw, the tale of a young squirrel that refuses to conform to the village's naming traditions. Performances are at the Amphitheater at Volunteer Park, July 10-August 15. Open Circle Theatre presents Pirates at Princess Island (July 17-August 7) where everything is perfect and everyone is, well, a Princess. But when scurvy sea-dog Pirates storm the island intent on taking the gems and jewels for their own, what on earth might happen?