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Seattle Spotlight: December 2008

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Laura Griffith and Edward Watts in
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
(© Bootsy Holler)
Major "don't miss 'em" musicals keep us warm this month. Locally, The 5th Avenue Theater's Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (December 3-28) features a rousing combination of daredevil dancing and catchy songs like "Goin' Courtin" and "Wonderful Wonderful Day." Edward Watts (nominated for several IRNE Awards) reprises the role of Adam, with co-star Laura Griffith as Millie. Allison Narver (former artistic director of The Empty Space Theater) helms the show.

The highly anticipated tour of The Color Purple arrives at The Paramount for a longer-than-usual stay (December 16-28). Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, and the Steven Spielberg film, the musical tells an unforgettable story of a woman finding the strength to triumph over adversity. The Color Purple is adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Grammy Award winners Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray and choreography by Donald Byrd. Broadway stars including Jeannette Bayardelle (Celie), Felicia P. Fields (Tony-nominated for Sofia), Angela Robinson (Shug Avery) and Rufus Bonds, Jr. are in this touring cast.

The Pajama Men in Versus vs. Versus appear at the Annex Theatre (December 4-20). Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen (The Pajama Men) are renowned for swapping and changing characters in a split second, weaving together multiple story lines, and engaging in "some of the most unique and hilarious physical comedy you will ever see." Ghosts, by Henrik Ibsen, is presented by Eclectic Theatre Company (December 1-20) in conjunction with National AIDS Awareness Month. This is an all-new adaptation by Beau M. K. Prichard that demonstrates how the work is still timely in examining sexuality, morality, and the consequences of our decisions.

Screenwriter Jeremy Storey is producing his first play, Last Cup of Sorrow (December 11-20), at Theatre4 in the Seattle Center House. A grim story of penance and redemption, it involves a man looking for his estranged father who ends up in a Mexican prison where he must play a deadly game with the guards. Theatre Off Jackson produces the adult-oriented production, Sgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes: A Terrible Price for Whimsy (December 1-20), a shadow puppet show about a boy inventor who discovers that time travel and tequila just don't mix when a drunken ride on a timecycle ends with history in shambles.

Holiday fare with an adult palate is found at Seattle Public Theater mounting their annual production of The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris (December 4-24) with David Goldstein playing Crumpet the Elf in this true-story one-person play about working as an elf in Macy's Santaland. Jacob Marley's A Christmas Carol hilariously grumbles along at Burien Little Theatre (December 1-21) as the show reveals the "real story" of Jacob Marley's heroic behind-the-scenes efforts to save old Scrooge's soul. Also "adults only," The Dos Fallopia Xmas Hour (and a-Half)! headquartered at Theatre Off Jackson (December 14-17) presents demented sketch comedy.

Many seasonal performances are whole family affairs, with the annual production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever mounted at both Seattle Public Theater (December 12-24) and also at Driftwood Players (December 7-16), Cinderella getting the "British Panto" treatment at Fremonstor Theatrical (December 12-28) where you will be encouraged to boo at the villain and cheer for the hero, and Renton Civic Theatre reassures Virginia that Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (December 5-20). A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas is told by Stone Soup Theatre (December 5-24) where Thomas waxes nostalgic for his childhood Christmases.

Another Panto-style musical is Aladdin, magically appearing at Centerstage (December 1-14). The un-Disney show includes women playing men, men playing women, and some of the comic routines date back to the earliest days of English Theatre. For the smallest children, SecondStory Repertory gets The Elves and the Shoemaker (December 5-21).


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