Members of the features department offer their own “to do” lists for taking in the top events in the arts.

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Seattle Times features staff members offer a “can’t miss” list of the top events in books, classical music, comedy, dance, pop music, theater and visual arts. Remember, events are subject to change, so call ahead to confirm.

For full lists of hundreds of plays, concerts, comedy shows and other performances, scroll down to the sidebar.


Jonathan Franzen: Love him or hate him, he is hands-down one of America’s great novelists. Hear him discuss his new novel, “Purity,” about a young woman in thrall to a WikiLeaks-type leader. Sept. 9, Town Hall Seattle, (

Elizabeth Gilbert: She’s another polarizer. Readers were firmly divided over her memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love.” If you were a hater, put it behind you – Gilbert is also an accomplished, inventive novelist with a new book out about creativity. She discusses “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” on Oct. 6 at Benaroya Hall (

Gloria Steinem: Her new memoir, “My Life on the Road,” chronicles her brave, adventurous, significant life — so far. Steinem did some of the writing while at the Hedgebrook retreat on Whidbey Island. Hear her discuss it with another adventurous writer — Cheryl Strayed — Nov. 8 at Benaroya Hall (


Seattle Opera: Georges Bizet is best-known today for “Carmen,” but he had an even bigger hit in 1863 with the love-triangle story of “The Pearl Fishers.” Seattle Opera’s staging includes vibrant costumes by the British designer Zandra Rhodes. Opens Oct. 17, McCaw Hall (


Seattle Symphony: Plenty to choose from this season, starting with the season-opening concert and gala on Sept. 19, featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet.Sonic Evolution returns (Oct. 29), as does the [untitled] and Untuxed series. Then there’s Lang Lang: The pianist polarizes fans of classical music with his hammer-and-tongs approach, but no one can deny he puts on a heck of a show. He’ll perform works by Beethoven, of course, Grieg, Mozart and Respighi at Benaroya Hall on Oct. 11 (


Russell Peters: The Canadian-born Peters routinely sells out arenas in Europe, but it will be interesting to see if he can transfer that to the U.S. (Chris Rock calls him the “most famous person nobody’s ever heard of.”) Peters played Parlor Seattle last time he was in town, but for this gig, he’s booked McCaw Hall, on Sept. 12 (

Kevin Hart: One of the hottest comics around, he was toiling in small clubs until Judd Apatow cast him in the TV cult comedy “Undeclared” in 2000. He plays two shows at KeyArena on Sept. 12; the early show was sold out at press time (


“See the Music,” Pacific Northwest Ballet: George Balanchine’s thrilling, dramatic ballet “The Prodigal Son” is one of his earliest works; created in 1929 for the Ballets Russe, when the great choreographer was only in his mid-20s. It’s a haunting work about forgiveness and redemption, and a showcase for a male dancer. At PNB, it plays with Robbins’ witty “The Concert” and Christopher Wheeldon’s flowing “Tide Harmonic.” See the dance Sept. 25-Oct. 4, McCaw Hall (

Mark Morris Dance Group: Seattle native Mark Morris’ fluid, exuberantly musical company returns, with a program that includes two new-to-Seattle works: “Whelm,” set to Debussy, and his newest work, “The,” set to a four-hand piano arrangement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. Also on the bill: “A Wooden Tree” and the 2005 work “Cargo.” Nov. 20-22, Moore Theatre (

The Who: It’s been 50 years since The Who released its first album, “My Generation,” and surviving members/sometime combatants Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are marking the golden anniversary with what they claim is their “final” tour. Reviews have been mixed along the road, but die-hard fans will likely agree with The Tampa Tribune’s reviewer: The Who is “still a wildly kicking good time.” Joan Jett and the Blackhearts open. Sept. 27, KeyArena (

Neil Young: Young returns to Seattle with Promise of the Real, the Los Angeles band that joined him for his most recent release, “The Monsanto Years.” The album mounts a fierce attack on the chemical company of the title as well as laments recent developments on the American political scene. A bonus: The Promise of the Real includes Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas Nelson (vocals/guitar) and Micah Nelson (guitar, vocals). Oct. 4, WaMu Theater (

A$AP Rocky: The hip-hop star/ex-boyfriend of Iggy Azalea/fashion designer has a movieworthy story: homeless as a teen, his brother murdered, he dug out of Harlem with rap, signed a record deal with Polo Grounds. His albums, “Long. Live. ASAP” and “At. Long. Last. ASAP,” both debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. He’s on tour with Tyler the Creator, Vince Staples and Danny Brown. Nov. 11, WaMu Theater (


“Mother Courage and her Children,” Seattle Shakespeare Company: Seattle Shakes’ staging of the epic anti-war play is notable because this Bertolt Brecht classic is rarely presented locally. Oct. 27-Nov. 22. (

“Mr. Burns, a post-electric play,” ACT: Also much anticipated is the Seattle premiere of Anne Washburn’s highly praised allegory, which inventively blends in the famous “Cape Feare” episode of TV’s “The Simpsons.” (

And here’s a heads-up on two buzzed-about musicals: Seattle Repertory Theatre’s new “Come from Away,” by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, set in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks , opening Nov. 13 (; and “If/Then,” the Broadway tuner written by Issaquah-raised Brian Yorkey that’s on tour, coming to the Paramount starting Nov. 3, and has the original stars Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp. (


Seattle Art Museum: The museum will greet fall with two sure-to-please shows: “Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art,” starring 68 works by French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters, including Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, and Vincent van Gogh — in other words, all your favorites. Also: “Samuel F.B. Morse’s ‘Gallery of the Louvre’ and the Art of Invention,” which gives Morse the Painter, rather than Morse the Inventor, pride of place. His fantastical re-imagining of the museum space contains painstakingly re-created masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens and many more. The 6-by-9 painting is more glorious now, thanks to conservation efforts a few years ago. Both open Oct. 1. (

Frye Art Museum: What’s going on at the First Hill museum? A lot, it turns out. On Sept. 26, the Frye launches “Genius/21 Century/Seattle,” a 16-week, 60-artist, multidisciplinary series of readings, dance, film, music and more. (