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Seattle Spotlight: February 2011

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Billie Wildrick, Cayman Ilika, Jennifer Sue Johnson
in Vanities: A New Musical
(© Chris Bennion)
The 5th Avenue Theatre is having a big month in February. First, they're co-producing Vanities: A New Musical at ACT's Falls Theatre (February 4-April 3), starring Cayman Ilika, Billie Wildrick and Jennifer Sue Johnson. (The many changes to the script and music make it a world re-premiere.) Then they're hosting the national tour of Next to Normal (February 22-March 13) highlighting local Tony-award winner Brian Yorkey (who wrote the book and lyrics), and starring the beautiful Alice Ripley, reprising her Tony-winning role.

Showtunes Theater Company presents The Melody Lingers On: The Music of Irving Berlin (February 5-6) with a cast including Shelly Burch and Louis Hobson, and directed by Tony winning Martin Charnin. Seattle Shakespeare Company swashbuckles with Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera (February 16-March 6). John Bogar plays Mac the Knife, a dapper criminal who leaves a trail of broken hearts and slashed throats wherever he roams, and Julie Briskman plays saucy prostitute Jenny. The Drowsy Chaperone lounges at Seattle Musical Theatre (February 11-March 5). Jon Lutyens plays Man in Chair. Singing nuns appear in Nunsense at Redwood Theatre (February 11-26).

Seattle Repertory explores Louisiana and West African mythology with The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney (February 4-27) as a man recently released from prison clashes with his straight-and-narrow brother. ReAct Theatre, along with Pratidhwani and ACT Theatre, gets multicultural with Mother in Another Language by Taniya Hossain (February 18-March 6) when Tarak, a Bengali expatriate, and Karen, an American, decide to get married.

Classic books come to life as Taproot presents The Odyssey (February 2-March 5), starring Mark Chamberlin. Dickens' Great Expectations is given the "Book It" treatment at Book-It Repertory Theatre (February 8-March 6) as the orphaned Pip finds a new life as a gentleman in London.

Washington Ensemble Theater opens a world premiere by Michael Mitnick, Babs The Dodo (February 3-March 14), with Marty Mukhalian as the title character. Another world premiere by Man Alone Productions is 3 Screams by local playwright Vincent Delany (February 4-26), centered on a contemporary theft of Edvard Munch's "The Scream." Annex Theatre world premieres Penguins 4: Suffer the Children (February 5-18) a series of uproarious comedy sketches with nuns and priests in a gun war like mafioso. Annex also presents I Was a Fat Kid... I Was a Really Fat Kid! (February 1-16) as Portland storyteller Nathaniel Boggess transforms his childhood as an outcast into rueful, squalid, and comic tales.

Stone Soup teaches lessons with How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel (February 4-27). Burlesque to Broadway is hitting the Triple Door (February 23-25); the fast paced show is directed by Tony winner Joseph Hardy and features Quinn Lemley.

Phoenix Theatre pops a cork with Drinking Alone, by Norm Foster (February 4-27) as Joe Todd hires Renee Duchane to pose as his fiancé for an evening so that he can impress his father. Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap is at Renton Civic Theatre (February 25-March 12), where a group of strangers is stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm with a murderer.

Shakespeare's on tap with Much Ado About Nothing at SecondStory Repertory (February 4-26) and The Taming of the Shrew by new company, quiet (February 11-25), at Rainier Valley Cultural Center.

For family audiences, Studio East presents two plays (February 4-6): A Thousand Cranes by Kathryn Schultz Miller is the true and poignant story of a young victim of the Hiroshima atomic bomb disaster, while Seagirl by Francis Elitzig is about a young girl who risks all to save her village from drought brought on by a magic dragon. Northwest Puppet Center presents Jack & the Dragon (February 5-20) where after chasing down a Giant Hog and a Unicorn, Jack has to face the meanest critter of all! Thistle Theater creates Brother Coyote and Sister Fox (February 12-20), an adaptation of a Mexican folktale.

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