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Seattle Spotlight: March 2009

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Jenifer Lewis in Hello, Dolly!
(© Curt Doughty)
Strong women onstage honor Women's History Month. The 5th Avenue Theatre hosts Hello, Dolly! (March 10-29), saying hello to the incomparable Jenifer Lewis in the title role and local radio personality, Pat Cashman, as Mr. Vandergelder. The world premiere of Stunt Girl lands at The Village Theatre (March 18-May 24), featuring music by David Friedman, with book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg. Sarah Chalfy stars as Nellie Bly, an investigative journalist and world traveler.

An award-winning play, Piney Ridge, by local playwright La'Chris Jordan, plays at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (March 20-April 5) where an attack on a sharecropper girl provokes racial tensions in 1910 Virginia. New Amerikan Theatre establishes its presence as a new women's company with Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night played by an all-female cast (March13-28).

Theater Schmeater and Seattle Shakes director Stephanie Shine mount When the Messenger is Hot by Laura Eason (March 13-April 11), based on a collection of short stories about Josie, portrayed by three different actresses as she seeks redemption and absolution through biker boys, juke box romances, and long distance calls from her dead mother.

Classic Shakespeare appears with The Merchant of Venice at Seattle Shakespeare Company (Center House Theatre, March 13-April 5). Classic Steinbeck is at Seattle Public Theater in Of Mice and Men (March 19-April 12) featuring Seattle favorites George Mount and Jim Lapan. And a lesser known Chekhov, The Marriage Proposal, romances Renton Civic Theater (March 1-9), when a nervous and excitable man starts to propose but gets into a tremendous quarrel over a boundary line.

The Seattle premiere of Alan Bennett's The History Boys teaches lessons at Artswest, (March 4-29), where an unruly bunch of bright, funny, boys in a British boys' school are in pursuit of sex, sport, and a place at a good university. The Last Night of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry dances into SecondStory Repertory (March 6-28), with a moving portrayal based on Uhry's Jewish family in the South at the brink of World War II. Taproot Theatre presents Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie (March 25-April 25), as Mitch invites you to join him and his beloved, terminally-ill professor, for some of the greatest lessons life can offer.

Balagan embraces Closer by Patrick Marber (March 12-April 4), in which four strangers find themselves bound together by the darker energies of love. Open Circle Theater showcases two one-acts: The School of Whoredom, in which a Madame instructs a novice in upscale prostitution, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, told only through music and movement (March 20-April 11).

The Phoenix Theatre perform Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue (through March 22) in their updated digs in downtown Edmonds. The Satori Group, Cincinnati's award winning theatre company, makes its Seattle debut with Will Eno's TRAGEDY: a tragedy (The Little Theatre, March 26-April 5), about a news team giving complete coverage of the funniest apocalypse of our time. Kevin Brady's The Complex (Market Theatre, through March 29) features an actual apartment manager playing himself and sharing true stories about some of his tenants.

The 3rd Annual Solo Performance Festival comes to Theatre Off Jackson (March 4-21), dedicated to presenting fearless, cutting edge, diverse performances by solo theatre artists. ACT presents their annual Young Playwrights Festival, (March 19-21), featuring staged readings of eight new plays by students age 14-18.

Tacoma Musical Playhouse goes all out with Footloose the Musical (March 13-April 5), while Jesus Christ Superstar blesses Capitol Playhouse, Olympia (March 19-April 11). Also, Harlequin Productions presents The Elephant Man (State Theatre, March 19-April 11), the true story of a young man in Victorian London disfigured beyond imagination.

Children have to be a bit older (11 and up) to appreciate Seattle Children's Theatre presentation of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, adapted by Dwayne Hartford (March 20-April 12). In 1778, France is on the brink of revolution and people are desperate to escape devastating poverty and famine. One man's act of self-sacrifice reminds us what true nobility, true liberty are made of.

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