From Tony Award-winning musicals and acclaimed plays to a one-man show, here are the theater productions to put on your calendar this fall.
Fall Arts Guide
- A guide to the Seattle art world, for newcomers and locals alike
- How to navigate the Seattle art world on a budget
- 7 great neighborhood clubs for live music
- Where to see theater in Seattle, from musicals to more adventurous fare
- Where to see dance in Seattle, from classical to cutting-edge
- Where to see author readings in Seattle
Intiman closes out its season with Karen Zacarías’ 2016 play about two couples living in houses next to each other, whose lawns become a proxy war for their differing identities: Republican vs. Democrat, white vs. Latinx, pesticides vs. no pesticides. Does this metaphorical battle center on the proper placement of a fence between the two houses? You bet. The Minneapolis Post said of Zacarías’ characters: “Everyone thinks their position and perspective are right and righteous. Everyone says the wrong things.” Directed by Arlene Martínez-Vázquez. Through Sept. 30; Intiman Theatre at Jones Playhouse, 4045 University Way N.E., Seattle; $28-$38; 206-315-5838, intiman.org. — Brendan Kiley
Last year, Seattle Shakespeare Company and upstart crow collective delivered the fierce “Bring Down the House,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” trilogy featuring an all-female cast. Actor Sarah Harlett, who played young Richard in that production, returns to continue her character’s story in “Richard III,” produced by the same two companies and again directed by Rosa Joshi. Through Oct. 7; Seattle Shakespeare Company and upstart crow collective at Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Leo K. Theatre, 155 Mercer St., Seattle; $29-$48; 206-733-8222, seattleshakespeare.org. — Janet Tu
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“The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes”
This musical comedy, about an ordinary man who wakes up one day to discover that his life has been turned into a musical, is “intended for people who love musical theater, and their spouses who hate it,” according to the website of show writers Michael Kooman (music) and Christopher Dimond (book and lyrics). This is the world premiere of the musical, which was developed in part at Village Theatre. Brandon Ivie directs. Through Oct. 21 at Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N., Issaquah; $32-$74; 425-392-2202, villagetheatre.org. Oct. 26-Nov. 18 at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett; $29-$69; 425-257-8600, villagetheatre.org. — J.T.
ArtsWest starts its season with Obie Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau’s play about a group of workers at one of Detroit’s last auto-stamping plants in 2008 during the Great Recession. When rumors of a shutdown begin, the workers are forced to confront what they’re willing to do to survive. The New York Times, in a 2016 review, said the play brought to mind the works of theater greats Clifford Odets and August Wilson, and “is also squarely in the tradition of Arthur Miller’s probing studies of consciences under siege and the crippling concessions made in the name of success. It is, in other words, a deeply moral and deeply American play.” Sept. 20-Oct. 14; ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave. S.W., Seattle; $20-$42; 206-938-0339, artswest.org. — J.T.
“Everything You Touch”
Washington Ensemble Theatre launches its 15th season with Sheila Callaghan’s dark comedy about a woman on a cross-country journey to see her estranged, on-her-deathbed mother. The play, which The New York Times called “volatile” and “highly flammable,” explores issues of body image, fashion and beauty. It’ll be interesting to see what this edgy, energetic company, which has been producing some harrowing, visceral plays, does with Callaghan’s work. Sept. 21-Oct. 8; WET at 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle; $15-$25; washingtonensemble.org. — J.T.
“Come From Away”
In a way, this Tony Award-winning musical is coming full circle, back to The 5th Avenue Theatre, where some of its earliest stagings took place under the theater’s New Works Program. The musical — which centers on a small town in Newfoundland whose residents scrambled to play host to 7,000 airline passengers forced to land there on Sept. 11, 2001 — went on to become a huge hit for Seattle Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and other theaters, before opening last year on Broadway, where it is still playing. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including best musical, and won one — for best direction of a musical. This time, the 5th Ave will serve as the launchpad for the North American tour of “Come From Away.” Oct. 9-Nov. 4; The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle; $30-$175 (prices subject to change); 206-625-1900, 5thavenue.org. — J.T.
OK, so a three-hour play about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that led to the 1993 Oslo accords doesn’t sound like the most thrilling way to spend an evening. But! This play by J.T. Rogers — which tells a personal story about the behind-the-scenes negotiations — won the 2017 Tony Award for best play. And it’s been described by critics as “a play alive with tension, intrigue, humor, bristling intelligence and emotional peaks” and “compulsively watchable,” with characters that are “so human. And so funny.” Directed by John Langs. Oct. 12-Nov. 11; ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; $20-$85; 206-292-7676, acttheatre.org. — J.T.
“A People’s History”
Storyteller Mike Daisey is a son of Maine, an adopted child of Seattle and now an official New York Theater Artist™. Like Mark Twain, he’s a fabulous fabulist who’s had his ups and downs. Daisey made his bones in the theater world with “21 Dog Years,” a monologue about working at Amazon.com during the early days, performed in a small Belltown theater space, where he would always mention he’d taped off a seat for Jeff Bezos, who never showed up. (Ha ha, Seattle: Daisey saw that cult of personality, and its backlash, from miles away.) Then he made a bunch of other great shows, including “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” which became a crisis moment when Daisey performed it for “This American Life” and the radio show’s fact-checkers realized he’d invented some of its more colorful details to make the story sound more exciting. Daisey returns to Seattle with “A People’s History,” 18 stand-alone monologues about different sections of Howard Zinn’s iconic “A People’s History of the United States.” In true Daisey fashion, it will be about a whole kaleidoscope of subjects: the book, history, how “all stories are fiction” (also the title of his podcast) and what all of that has to do with his life. Say what you will about Daisey — there’s plenty — but he’s an ace storyteller. “A People’s History” should be excellent. Oct. 17-Nov. 25; Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St., Seattle; $17-$82 (prices subject to change); 206-443-2222, seattlerep.org. — B.K.
“Barber Shop Chronicles”
Seattle Theatre Group is working with Seattle’s On the Boards and London’s National Theatre to present this play — by poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams — that looks at the role barbershops have played in the lives of generations of African men. The story moves through barbershops in London; Johannesburg, South Africa; Harare, Zimbabwe; Kampala, Uganda; Lagos, Nigeria; and Accra, Ghana, exploring ideas of masculinity and showing the importance of the shops in shaping the lives of the men who gather there. The Telegraph, in a 2017 review, called it “a show full of sadness and great joy.” Nov. 1-3; a Fuel Theatre, National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse coproduction, presented by Seattle Theatre Group in association with On the Boards, at The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $20-$65; stgpresents.org. — J.T.
“In the Heights”
If “Hamilton,” which set off a frenzy when the touring production hit town earlier this year, had you longing to see more by its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, you’re in luck. Seattle Rep is presenting a new production of “In the Heights,” Miranda’s earlier musical — about the northern Manhattan neighborhood near where he grew up — that won four 2008 Tony awards, including best musical. The show had previously played in Seattle in 2010 as part of a national tour, and Village Theatre staged a local production in 2014. This production might be your best chance to see it (again?) onstage before the movie version — to be directed by Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”) — hits screens in 2020. Nov. 23-Dec. 30; Seattle Repertory Theatre, produced in association with Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, at Seattle Rep, 155 Mercer St., Seattle; $17-$82 (prices subject to change); 206-443-2222, seattlerep.org. — J.T.