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Seattle Spotlight: January 2010

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Matthew Saldivar and company in South Pacific
(© Peter Coombs)
Hot productions blow away the winter winds in January as 5th Avenue Theatre brings the acclaimed Broadway revival of South Pacific to town (January 29-February 18). Directed by Intiman's exiting artistic director of ten years, Bartlett Sher, this production was awarded seven 2008 Tonys (including Best Revival and Best Director). Another Broadway tour skates into the Paramount as Xanadu passes through (January 19-24), starring Broadway vets Elizabeth Stanley and Max von Essen. The new musical follows Kira, who helps aspiring painter Sonny build the world's first roller disco.

The Village Theatre finds Lost In Yonkers, by Neil Simon (January 20-March 28). The 1991 Tony and Pulitzer-winning play is about two young brothers in a dysfunctional family, including a formidable grandmother, dim-witted aunt, and Uncle Louie, a small-time thug. Seattle Repertory showcases Speech and Debate, by Stephen Karam (January 15-February 21), as an aspiring teen journalist, an awkward wannabe popstar, and the openly gay new kid in town start an after school Speech and Debate team to expose a possible pedophile -- and sparks more debate than their high school ever bargained for.

Seattle Public Theater mounts a production by Richard Greenberg, The Violet Hour, in which young publisher Denis McCleary has to choose between publishing the work of a friend or a mistress (January 29-February 21). Seattle Shakespeare Company lights up with Sophocles' Electra, as adapted by Frank McGuinness (January 7-31). Treachery and murder line the corridors where Electra mourns the brutal murder of her father by her adulterous mother, Clytemnestra.

Taproot Theatre hopes to renew its work on premises (rebuilt after the Greenwood arsons) with The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (January 27-February 27), a bus ride through heaven and hell. ArtsWest premieres Love Song by John Kolvenbach (January 27-February 21), where Oddball Beane is a modern day hermit, avoiding everyone but his career-focused sister and her cynical husband in an off-beat romantic comedy. Balagan Theatre creates a savage and frightening picture of society in Edmond by David Mamet (January 31-February 6), tracing the fall of a businessman shaken by an encounter with a fortune teller.

Theater Schmeater takes on racial stereotyping with Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes (January 15-February 13), when Ashraf, an up and coming young actor, balks at accepting a leading role in a new action adventure movie because the role portrays a distasteful and bigoted racial stereotype. Washington Ensemble Theatre starts its season with Hunter Gatherers by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (January 8-February 8), a living room play about sex, love and meat, in an award winning comedy where only the strongest survive. Acclaimed solo-performer Maria Glanz portrays the poet Emily Dickinson in Sound Theatre Company's production of The Belle of Amherst, by William Luce (January 22-February 6).

Annex finds a new theatrical superhero in Alecto: Issue #1 (January 22-February 20), written by local Alex Harris, about a heroine who joins a heroic team with questionable notions of good and evil. Also, Annex Late Night debuts Penguins, Episode 2, in the series by local writer Scot Augustson. Another local, Dan Tarker, presents Mr. Angelo (Odd Duck Studio, January 14-February 7), based loosely on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Open Circle Theater and CityArtist Project recipient Lois Mackey present Mackey's Bullied by the Beast (January 8-31), as Lillian, a victim of the subprime loan fiasco, faces losing her home unless she rents rooms to an interracial gay couple. Phoenix Theatre presents Taking Steps (January 29-February 21), Alan Ayckbourn's zany mistaken identity play where newly wealthy bucket manufacturer Roland, in an attempt at appearing high class, buys a rundown mansion that was formerly a brothel.

Children can experience puppetry and commedia dell'arte in a co-production of Speeltheater Holland and Seattle Children's Theatre, as Pero (January 15-February 14) tells the story of the baker who works at night and pines for the washerwoman who works by day. Also, SecondStory Repertory teaches the lesson The Boy Who Cried Wolf (January 8-24), a musical version of the famous fable by Aesop.

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