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Seattle Spotlight May 2007

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Patti Cohenour
For the 50th anniversary of West Side Story (May 26-June 17), 5th Avenue Theatre's production will include a 25-piece orchestra and Seattle's acclaimed Spectrum Dance Theater performing Bob Richard's re-creation of Jerome Robbins' original choreography.

More music, of a very different sort, is offered at ACT Theatre in Souvenir by Stephen Temperley (May 11-June 10), which stars Broadway leading lady Patti Cohenour and Seattle leading man Mark Anders. She plays Florence Foster Jenkins, a real-life New York socialite with a tin ear. He's her frustrated but devoted accompanist Cosme McMoon.

Meanwhile, Village Theatre prepares to rock with The Who's Tommy, featuring Broadway actor Michael K. Lee in this story of a deaf, dumb, and blind boy's journey from tragedy to triumph (May 9-June 15).

If the music of Gilbert and Sullivan makes you ready to travel, the comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance winds up Lakewood Playhouse's season (May 18-June 17); Bainbridge Performing Arts brings us the edgy musical romp Urinetown, The Musical (May 10-27); and Guys and Dolls is presented in Everett by Northwest Savoyards Musical Theater Society (May 25-June 17).

Seattle seems to have gone "Greek" this month. Lysistrata: A Woman's Translation by Troupe du Jour (May 4-19) uses Drue Robinson Hagan's adaptation of Aristophanes' classic sex comedy in which the women of Greece stage a sex strike! Iphigenia and Other Daughters, produced by Frances Hearn (May 4-19), enlists Ellen McLaughlin's retelling of this classic Greek story of the ultimate sacrifice. Iphigenia in Aulis by WET (Washington Ensemble Theatre) (May 18-June 11) also uses McLaughlin's text but emphasizes great visuals and physicality, almost creating a dance performance.

The Edge Theatre Ensemble presents a 2005 adaptation by Caryl Churchill of A Dream Play by August Strindberg (May 4-19) where Agnes comes down to earth (from heaven?) to experience human suffering and report back. Seattle Public Theater will conclude its season with Athol Fugard's Master Harold...and the boys (May 17-June 10), portraying the complex and often humorous cross-racial relationships formed in South African day-to-day life.

Balagan Theatre brings us The Spinning: Love. With Leather (May 10-26), an unconventional production that blends musical theater, iambic pentameter and S&M. The Community Theatre presents Carver's Pieces, three stories by Northwest author Raymond Carver: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," "What's In Alaska?" and "Fat," all adapted for the stage by John Abramson (May 31-June 23). neworldtheatre from nearby Vancouver makes its U.S. debut with The Adventures of Ali and Ali and the Axes of Evil (May 16-20), creating fictional characters from a fictional country that try (and mostly fail) to obtain donations of material goods from US sources.

Annex Theatre presents The Secret Recordings of Lenin to His Lost Love, Mary Anne of Topeka, Kansas: A Revolution in 9 Rounds (May 15-June 13), which mixes the writings of Lenin and Lincoln to hilarious effect. Taproot Theatre (May16-June 18) stages Seven Keys to Baldpate, where writer Billy Magee is so desperate for a new story idea he bets he can complete a novel in 24 hours.

On the Boards presents Must Don't Whip 'Um by Cynthia Hopkins (May 3-6); Theater Schmeater premieres Bug (May 24-June 23), Tracy Letts' tale of love, paranoia, and government conspiracy; Open Circle Theater introduces In The Kafka Colony (May 11-June 2), based on the life and work of Franz Kafka from journals and other writing, adapted by local playwright Dustin Engstrom; and Lee Blessing's Two Rooms appears at The New Space Theatre (May 3-19).

For the family, two different productions and styles of Pinocchio are available: ArtsWest premieres a Commedia Dell'arte styled original adaptation of Pinocchio (May 16-June 3), while SecondStory Repertory's Pinocchio (May 4-20) is a musical theater version geared toward grade school. The Tutor's Tale (May 11-20) is a classic Russian tale suitable for the entire family, a musical adaptation of Anton Chekhov's novel, Green Scythe. Sally Mann and Mary Rhoads adapted this tale of a widowed princess and her daughter into a light-hearted lyric presentation for four talented local performers.

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