Poster art for Saint Heaven
Poster art for Saint Heaven
Back-to-school month means ramping up dozens of theatrical productions. Village Theatre goes to Kentucky with Saint Heaven (September 17-November 23), as a man who comes back only to settle his father's affairs meets a young woman who might change his mind. The Phantom of The Opera tours to The Paramount, September 10-October 4. Broadway stalwart Richard Todd Adams stars as The Phantom partnering with Marni Raab who tours again as Christine.

Musical fare this month also includes Gutenberg! The Musical! at Strawberry Theatre Workshop (Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, September 3-27), as playwrights woo backers to produce a musical about the printing press; The Wizard of Oz at The Attic Theater (Meydenbauer Theatre, September 12-28); and 1776 (September 19-October 5) at Seattle Musical Theatre, dramatizing the making of the Declaration of Independence.

Playwright/actress Charlayne Woodard and director Dan Sullivan return to Seattle Repertory (September 25-October 26) with The Night Watcher, her new one-woman show. ACT journeys with Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl (September 5-October 5), a contemporary spin on the classic Orpheus myth. Intiman's American Cycle continues with All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (September 26-November 8), a fictionalized portrait of politician Huey P. Long, played by Seattle's bigger than life John Procaccino.

Politics manifests in several forms. Memory War Theater Project presents work created under compulsion (Center House Theatre, September 1-6), Tikka Sears' multimedia theater production that juxtaposes stories of border crossers, Scheherazade, a Holocaust survivor, and a veteran of the Iraq War. Then, must a woman leader be superhuman? The War Party by Vince Delany explores this at Seattle Public Theater (September 25-October 19). Karen Brody's Birth (Broadway Performance Hall, September 5-7) provides a forum for progressive childbirth. Acclaimed director Carol Roscoe directs The Vertical Hour by David Hare at ArtsWest (September 10-October 4), in which a war correspondent turned Yale professor believes that America morally interceded in Iraq, but her boyfriend's father disagrees.

The White Devil (Theater Schmeater, September 12-October 11) recounts an affair and murder that shocked 16th-Century Italian society. Book-It Repertory gets the blues with the world premiere adaptation of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins (September 16-October 12). Art by Yasmina Reza is sketched by Eclectic Theater Company (September 11-28), debating the merits of an all-white painting. ReAct presents Defiance by John Patrick Shanley (Ethnic Cultural Theatre, September 12-October 5), where race and morality clash within the high-ranks of America's military institution.

Taproot reaches back to the 1930s with Susan and God (September 24-October 25) as a socialite's return sparks questions of how real she is. SecondStory Repertory reveals Private Lives (September 5-27) as a divorced couple book the same hotel for their honeymoons.

SiS Productions debuts Sex in Seattle: Episode 16 The Space InBetween (September 19-October 18), another episode of four contemporary Asian American women. SiS also presents readings of Ixnay by Paul Kikuchi (September 21, 28, October 12), in which Raymond Kobayashi waits at Reincarnation Station and finds he's being sent back as an Asian American...again.

Burnt Studio Productions showcases In the Sawtooths (Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, September 4-20), featuring a trio of backpackers on a challenging journey. New York comic Julie Goldman performs The Julie Goldman Offensive (September 11-14) at the Theatre Off Jackson. Valley Center Stage presents Sylvia by A.R. Gurney (September 12-27), in which a man brings home a stray dog that creates havoc in his marriage.

Driftwood Players, housed at the Wade James Theatre, opens two shows: Rehearsal for Murder (September 12-28), when a heartbroken theatre director investigates his fiancee's death, and Impromptu, by Tad Mosel (September 21-29), as four actors struggle to perform a play learning about each other along the way. New City Theater re-launches full productions with The Fever by Wallace Shawn, (September 25-November 1), about a sick traveler in a third world country, noticing contrasts with his American lifestyle.

Families can improve moral values with Thistle Theater's Aesop's Fables featuring Bunraku-style puppetry (September 20-October 19). Three fables include "The Raven and the Swan," "The Lion and the Mouse," and the "Tortoise and the Hare." Also, Lyric Light Opera reveals the love in the beast with Disney's Beauty and the Beast (September 19-28).