Get ready for fall in the Seattle area with a lineup of events involving books, classical music, pop/rock music, comedy, dance, theater and visual arts.
The region’s art scene is nearly impossible to describe, to contain, to stuff into neat little containers like “Top 5” or “Best 3.”
So we didn’t try.
The Seattle Times arts staff was given free rein to look over the lengthy lists of fall arts events — books, classical music, dance, rock/pop music, theater, visual arts — and choose, in a number between 1 and 10, how many events they’d recommend. You’ll see that reflected in the big numbers below. Each section also includes an events calendar — click through for even more choices.
David Miller / The Seattle Times
While all writers gave their lists plenty of thoughtful attention and discussion, some had an unbelievable bounty of events to winnow; the books list, for instance, is packed with literary lights who are coming our way: Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell, Ann Patchett. The visual-arts calendar sparkles with the wit and wisdom of Patti Warashina and the luster of ancient Peru. Classical fans can count on “Daughter of the Regiment” and András Schiff.
No matter how you use this guide, you can count on being busy this fall.
— Melissa Davis, Fall Arts Guide editor
This fall the Seattle theater scene is quite a mélange, a feast of Broadway-bound and Broadway-exported works, of noted stage artists from afar toiling here, of newly hatched works, dramatic and musical.
One thing is clear: If you enjoy theater, it’s a shame to restrict yourself to a single venue or one genre in the coming months. Go ahead and mix it up, is my advice, because to paraphrase that great sage Auntie Mame, “Theater is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
— Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic
1 From South America comes the Seattle premiere at On the Boards of the piece, “El año en que nací (The year I was born).” Lola Arias and her company explore the lives of their Chilean parents, during the era when Chile was a military dictatorship.
Sept. 19-22, On the Boards, Seattle; $25 (206-217-9888 or www.ontheboards.org).
2 Book-It Repertory Theatre opens its new season with the challenge of adapting “She’s Come Undone,” Wally Lamb’s best-selling, serio-comic novel about a woman painfully but successfully coping with obesity and mental illness.
Sept. 17-Oct. 13, Book-It at the Center House Theatre, Seattle Center; $28-$45 (206-216-0833 or www.book-it.org).
3 Seattle audiences get a first look at the 5th Avenue Theatre’s big-budget tuner “Secondhand Lions,” based on the same-titled film about a shy boy’s summer with a pair of eccentric, yarnspinning uncles.
Ends Oct. 6, 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle; tickets start at $29 (206-625-1900 or www.5thavenue.org).
4 New Century Theatre Company rolls out a rambunctious comic jig, “The Walworth Farce,” by the touted young Irish playwright Enda Walsh. It’s about relations who engage in a warped family ritual, involving stage wigs and fake mustaches, on a daily basis.
Oct. 3-Nov. 3, New Century Theatre Company, Seattle (206-661-8223 or www.wearenctc.org).
6 The playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, a modern master of the English-speaking theater, treats Seattle audiences to his own staging of “Sugar Daddies,” a dark comedy about a naive young woman’s strange relationship with an elderly man she rescues from a car accident.
Oct. 4-Nov. 3, ACT Theatre, Seattle; tickets start at $41 (206-292-7676 or www.acttheatre.org).
5 Seattle author Elizabeth Heffron’s new “Bo-Nita,” an irreverent but sympathetic new comedy about a resourceful 13-year-old girl’s coming-of-age in difficult conditions, will receive its world premiere at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, in October.
Oct. 18-Nov. 17, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Bagley Wright Theatre, Seattle; tickets $30+ (206-443-2222 or seattlerep.org).
7 “Peter and the Starcatcher” has captivated New York audiences as an enchantingly theatrical, ensemble-driven prequel to “Peter Pan.” Suitable for adults and kids, the touring version of this play-with-music will come to the Moore Theatre.
Oct. 30-Nov. 3, Moore Theatre, Seattle (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).
8 Sherlock Holmes, we presume? Yes, that would be the legendary sleuth who solves the case of a vicious, allegedly supernatural hound that is terrorizing the titled Baskerville clan. This new version of the A. Conan Doyle mystery tale “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is the handiwork of Seattle’s R. Hamilton Wright and David Pichette, and the Seattle Rep world premiere should have all the Victorian trimmings.
Nov. 15-Dec. 15, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Bagley Wright Theatre, Seattle; tickets start at $15 (206-443-2222 or www.seattlerep.org).
Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images
As the fall concert season descends upon the area’s intrepid venues and fans, we picked a few of the highlights — from Brooklyn hip-hop to Brooklyn hipster, with some folk and dirt-road country thrown in.
— Brian Gallagher, Weekend Plus editor
1The WaMu Theater hosts Brooklyn-based rapper Kid Cudi, who though he stopped smoking marijuana years ago still bears sonic similarities to his stoner-rap days of old.
Sept. 11, WaMu Theater, Seattle, $39.50 (axs.com/events/243247/kid-cudi-tickets).
2On the heels of the documentary “Mistaken for Strangers,” which singer Matt Berninger’s brother Tom made about the band, The National stops by the Paramount Theatre to give devoted fans a long-awaited refresher.
Sept. 19-20, Paramount Theatre, Seattle, $36.75 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
3Sub Pop darling and all-around sensitive sounding guy Samuel Beam, aka Iron & Wine, plays the Paramount Theatre in his inimitable folk-vibe-y way.
Nov. 4, Paramount Theatre, Seattle, $29.50 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
5A folk/country power lineup of Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell with Richard Thompson plays Benaroya Hall.
Nov. 5, Benaroya Hall (S. Mark Taper Forum), Seattle, $125-$200 (206-215-4747 or seattlesymphony.org).
4Touring behind their first record in five years, “Hesitation Marks,” industrial godfathers Nine Inch Nails are joined by Explosions in the Sky at KeyArena.
Nov. 22, KeyArena, Seattle, $39.50-$99.50 (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com).
Fall, with its leaves pirouetting in the wind, is always an appropriate time to dance. Below are a few recommendations from a busy season.
— Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts writer
1Pacific Northwest Ballet presents “Air Twyla,” an evening of work from the great Twyla Tharp (artist in residence at PNB this year). On the program: “Waiting at the Station,” a world premiere set to music by R&B legend Allen Toussaint; the PNB premiere of Tharp’s “Brief Fling,” and the return of a perennial Tharp favorite, “Nine Sinatra Songs.”
Sept. 27-Oct. 6, McCaw Hall, Seattle; $28-$174 (206-441-2424 or www.pnb.org).
2The University of Washington’s Chamber Dance Company performs
Oct. 10-13, Meany Theater, University of Washington, Seattle; $10-$22 (206-543-4880 or meany.org).
3Moses Pendleton’s MOMIX, a company that deftly blends modern dance and illusion, comes to Meany Hall with “Botanica,” a nature-inspired fantasia with elaborate costumes, projections and puppetry.
Oct. 31-Nov. 2, Meany Theater, University of Washington, Seattle; $51-$56 (206-543-4880 or uwworldseries.org).
4“So You Think You Can Dance”? Sure you can. The popular TV show’s top 10 finalists dance their way into town, for one night only at the Paramount Theatre.
Nov. 19, Paramount Theatre, Seattle, $31.25-$61.25 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times
Some terrific art exhibits — notably “Patti Warashina: Wit and Wisdom” at Bellevue Arts Museum — are already on display, while others en route to Seattle (Seattle Art Museum’s “Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon” chief among them) should make it a fine fall season for the visual arts. Here are six well worth investigating.
— Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer
1“Patti Warashina: Wit and Wisdom”: A glorious survey of the Seattle ceramic artist’s career. Warashina’s work is fanciful in spirit, pointed in message and wizardly in its technique, making this show a must-see.
Ends Oct. 27, Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, (425-519-0770 or bellevuearts.org).
2“Buster Simpson // Surveyor”: This retrospective of the Seattle activist-artist’s career ranges from sculpture to video to photographs, as it chronicles Simpson’s antic, subversive approach to public art and environmental statement.
Ends Oct. 13, Frye Art Museum, Seattle (206-622-9250 or fryemuseum.org).
Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times
3“Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff”: Seattle artist Shimomura takes on an array of mischievous guises (Superman, Popeye, George Washington and more) in these self-portraits that comment wryly on the Asian-American experience of all-American icons.
Ends Sept. 28, Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle (206-624-0770 or gregkucera.com)
OPENING IN SEPTEMBER
4“The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker”: The black-and-white photography of Metzker makes spare but daring use of shadows, silhouettes, unusual perspectives, multiple exposures and selective focus. This retrospective, organized by Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, covers more than five decades in Metzker’s career.
Sept. 21-Jan. 5, 2014, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (206-543-2280 or henryart.org).
OPENING IN OCTOBER
5“Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon”: Three thousand years’ worth of Peruvian art, including sculpture, metalwork, painting and textiles, will be on view in this major exhibition, which covers Peru’s indigenous cultures, Spanish colonial influence and the blending of the two by the time the 20th century rolled around.
Oct. 17-Jan. 5, 2014, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, (206-654-3100 or seattleartmuseum.org).
Oct. 24-Dec. 15, Photo Center NW, Seattle (206-720-7222 or pcnw.org).
Steve J. Sherman
Fall is a banquet for classical fans. Seattle Symphony’s opening-night gala kicks things off with a guest list that includes the intense, energetic pianist Lang Lang. The golden guest list continues with stops in town by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Chris Thile and András Schiff.
— Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer
1Seattle Symphony Opening Night Concert and Gala. Maestro Ludovic Morlot kicks off the Symphony’s 2013-2014 season with works by Borodin, Bartók, Dvorák and Brahms, while special guest Lang Lang performs Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.
Sept. 15, Benaroya Hall (S. Mark Taper Forum), Seattle, $76-$169 (206-215-4747 or seattlesymphony.org).
3Seattle Symphony: Morlot Conducts Ravel. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is the star of this all-Ravel program, featuring both of the composer’s piano concertos. Ravel’s “Bolero,” “Rapsodie espagnole,” “Alborada del gracioso” and “Pavane pour une infant défunte” round out the program.
Sept. 19-21, Benaroya Hall (S. Mark Taper Forum), Seattle, $19-$112 (206-215-4747).
2Seattle Symphony: Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” Jeff Tyzik, the Symphony’s new pops conductor, delivers an all-Gershwin program, featuring “Cuban Overture” and “Lullaby for String Orchestra,” as well as picks from “Porgy and Bess.”
Sept. 26-29, Benaroya Hall (S. Mark Taper Forum), Seattle, $19-$91 (206-215-4747 or seattlesymphony.org).
4Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, best-known as a member of acoustic trio Nickel Creek and quintet the Punch Brothers, mixes selections from his new CD, “Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1,” with contemporary fare, including his own compositions (Meany Hall).
Oct. 1, Meany Theater, Seattle, $41-$46 (uwworldseries.org/next-season/chris-thile).
6Seattle Opera takes a turn for the comical with Donizetti’s “The Daughter of the Regiment,” about a young woman who was raised by “1,500 fathers and no mother” after being found as an infant on a battlefield. Soprano Sarah Coburn and tenor Lawrence Brownlee star as Marie and Tonio (McCaw Hall).
Oct. 19-20, 23, 26, 30, Nov. 1-2; McCaw Hall, Seattle, $25-$177 (800-426-1619 or
5András Schiff, the great Bach interpreter, brings his spellbinding take on the marathon “Goldberg” Variations to Benaroya Hall. Will he play sans intermission? Wait and see.
Oct. 11, Benaroya Hall (S. Mark Taper Forum), Seattle, $19-$112 (206-215-4747 or
7Emerson String Quartet , the legendary chamber ensemble, performs quartets by Mozart and Mendelssohn, and is joined by the fantastic University of Washington pianist Craig Sheppard on Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G Minor (Meany Hall).
Oct. 15, Meany Theater, Seattle, $38-$43 (uwworldseries.org/next-season/emerson-string-quartet).
8Vienna Boys Choir, now entering its sixth century of performance (you read that right), returns to Seattle (Benaroya Hall).
Nov. 3, Benaroya Hall (S. Mark Taper Forum), Seattle, $31-$91 (206-215-4747 or seattlesymphony.org).
9Andre Watts brings a Bach/Beethoven/Strauss program to Meany Hall.
Nov. 7, Meany Theater, Seattle, $50-$55
10The McCabe Larionoff Duo, (pianist Robin McCabe and violinist Maria Larionoff) continue their exploration of Beethoven’s violin sonatas.
Nov. 17, Brechemin Auditorium, Seattle, $15 (www.music.washington.edu).
To borrow a well-used phrase from Dickens, the autumn is the best of times and the worst of times in literary Seattle. The best: So much on offer! The worst: Some authors you will most want to see come through during the same week. In some cases, on the same day. Below is a quick checklist of 10 don’t-miss events.
— Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor
1Jonathan Lethem, author of “Motherless Brooklyn,” reads from his new novel, “Dissident Gardens,” at Seattle Public Library.
Sept. 19, 7 p.m., Seattle Central Library, free
2Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation,” reads from his new book about America’s nuclear arsenal, “Command and Control” at Seattle Public Library.
Oct. 1, 7 p.m., Seattle Central Library, free.
4Paul Harding, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “Tinkers,” reads from his new novel, “Enon,” at Seattle Public Library.
Oct. 4; 7 p.m., Seattle Central Library, free.
3Alice McDermott reads from her new novel, “Someone,” at Seattle Public Library.
Oct. 9, 7 p.m., Seattle Central Library, free.
5Margaret Atwood, author of “MaddAddam,” the third book in her dystopian trilogy, reads at Town Hall Seattle.
Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Seattle, $5.
6Jhumpa Lahiri, author of “The Namesake,” reads from her new novel, “The Lowland,” at Town Hall Seattle.
Oct. 10, 7 p.m., Town Hall Seattle, $5.
7Malcolm Gladwell discusses his new book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants” at Seattle Arts & Lectures (Town Hall Seattle).
Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Seattle, $15-$50.
8Donna Tartt reads from her new novel, “Goldfinch,” at Seattle Public Library.
Oct. 25, 7 p.m., Seattle Central Library, free.
9Billy Collins former U.S. poet laureate, reads from his new poetry collection, “Aimless Love” at Town Hall Seattle.
Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Seattle, $5.
10Ann Patchett discusses her new collection of essays, “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage,” with Nancy Pearl at Town Hall Seattle.
Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Seattle, $5.
1Maria Bamford | Sept. 12 Neptune Theatre, Seattle, $25.50 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
3Larry the Cable Guy | Sept. 19 Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup, $20-$65 (www.thefair.com/concerts).
5Dane Cook | Sept. 25 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, $35.75-$51.25 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
2Daniel Tosh | Sept. 13-14 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, $56-$71.25 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
4Jim Breuer | Sept. 24 Neptune Theatre, Seattle, $26.50-$30 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
6Martin Short | Oct. 3 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, $41.25-$51.25 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
8Bill Cosby | Oct. 21 Benaroya Hall (S. Mark Taper Forum), Seattle, TBA (206-215-4747 or www.
7Adam Carolla Podcast — Live Taping | Oct. 12 Neptune Theatre, Seattle, $36-$50 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
9Margaret Cho | Nov. 16 Moore Theatre, Seattle, $29.50-$49.50 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
10Seattle International Comedy Competition Finals | Nov. 29 Kirkland Performance Center, Kirkland, $27 (425-893-9900 or
Fall Arts Guide Staff
Features editor Lynn Jacobson Fall Arts Guide editor Melissa Davis
Online presentation Paige Collins Copy editor Agnes Al-Shibibi
Arts writers Misha Berson, Brian Gallagher, Mary Ann Gwinn, Moira Macdonald, Michael Upchurch
News assistants Jeff Albertson, Doug Knoop, Madeline McKenzie