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Chicago Spotlight: January 2009
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Seattle Spotlight: January 2009

Sound of Memphis

By Seattle
Chad Kimball in Memphis
(© Paul Lyden)
Chad Kimball in Memphis
(© Paul Lyden)
Seattle native Chad Kimball returns from Broadway to star in the new musical, Memphis, which premiered this past summer at La Jolla Playhouse and now comes to the 5th Avenue Theatre, January 27-February 15. Book writer and lyricist Joe DiPietro and composer David Bryan (keyboardist for Bon Jovi) have created a rousing tale about one of the first white disc jockeys who dared to play rhythm & blues music for his white teenage listeners in the early 1950s, directed by Christopher Ashley. Could this be the next Seattle to Broadway hit?

Showtunes! Theatre Company presents A Man of No Importance (January 24-25) where a bus driver in 1960s Dublin produces Oscar Wilde's play, Salome, in his church. Glorious! features the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a famous awful singer, at Tacoma Musical Playhouse (January 30-February 22).

A world premiere Israel Horovitz play, Sins of the Mother, opens at Harlequin Productions (January 22-February 14). This comic drama brings a young man back to his small fishing town to probe his past. Travel The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard (January 15-February 14) at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, directed by Leigh Silverman, and starring Marya Sea Kaminski, Dee Maaske, and Terry Edward Moore. Artswest presents Well, by Lisa Kron (January 21-February 15) as the playwright's autobiographical protagonist tries to figure out if illness is psychological or if it's just her mother.

Act A Lady, by Seattle area native Jordan Harrison, and the comic hit of the 2006 Humana Festival of New American Plays, time travels to a 1927 Elks Club where they mount an 18th Century romp despite the Ladies' Morals League and Prohibition (Theater Schmeater, January 16-February 14). The award-winning Gee's Bend focuses on African-American quilt-makers in Alabama (Taproot Theatre, January 28-February 28).

Seattle Shakespeare Company does two in rotation, with The Servant of Two Masters (January 6-February 1) as wise-cracking servant Truffaldino moonlights for two employers, and The Turn of the Screw (January 13-28), the haunting story of a young governess who sees ghosts. Another haunting mystery lurks at SecondStory Repertory when a lawyer hires a professional actor to help him tell the disturbing story of The Woman in Black (January 9-31). More grim goings on are at Balagan, showing Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss (January 8-31). Absurd Reality Theatre offers the ominous Guardians by Peter Morris (January 6-21), which examines what happens when two people get swept up in the American invasion of Iraq.

For fun, come to Seattle Public Theater to experience End Days by Deborah Zoe Laufer (January 29-February 22) as 16-year-old Rachel, tired of Jesus as a Housemate, hopes Stephen Hawking will save the day. Village Theatre discovers The Importance of Being Earnest (January 21-March 29), Oscar Wilde's example of what lying can lead to. Neil Simon's Chapter Two overcomes at Bellevue Civic Theater (January 23-31), as George tries to start over with a second wife, after his first wife's death. The Misanthrope by Molière, newly updated to the 1990s by Lauren Goldman Marshall, is presented by Ghost Light Theatricals (January 30-February 14). Eclectic Theater Company takes a second classic, Woyzeck by Georg Büchner, and creates an all-new adaptation (January 30-February 21).

Breeders Theater digs into Prairie Heart (January 17-February 1) when a young woman stranded in a small town in North Dakota in 1893 debates living on a farm or returning to the city. Theatre Off Jackson hosts two unusual events. Ear To The Ground Theatre presents Not All Clowns Are Bozos (January 15-17), an evening of clown theater, while The Cody Rivers Show (January 23-24) creates kinetic and unpredictable sketch comedy.

Great choices for children this month: Seattle Children's Theatre has Tomas and the Library Lady, based on the book by Pat Mora (January 9-March 1), as well as the world premiere of Pharoah Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire (January 30-March 7) by John Olive, set in Ancient Egypt. Tacoma Children's Musical Theater presents a musical version of The Phantom Tollbooth (January 10-18), while the youngest set can visit the Three Bears with Goldilocks at Storybook Theater (various locations, January 31-March 1).


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