From Oscar-bait movie “1917” to a touring production of the Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof,” our Seattle Times arts writers dish on next month’s most buzzworthy arts and entertainment events.




Sam Mendes’ World War I battlefield drama, unfolding in real time, lets us follow two young soldiers (played by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) on a dangerous mission across No Man’s Land. It’s filmed, by the legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, in what appears to be one breathtaking, unbroken two-hour take — it wasn’t, of course, but the effect adds to the breathless impact of the film. Mendes has spoken of how “1917” was inspired by stories told by his grandfather, a World War I veteran; it’s a movie both vast and beautifully intimate. “1917” officially opened in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day, so it’s eligible for the 2020 Oscars, but we in Seattle have to wait for a couple of more weeks.

Opens Jan. 10 at theaters to be determined;

Moira Macdonald


“Fiddler on the Roof”

This is a revival of the famous musical about Tevye the Dairyman and his struggle in turn-of-the-century Russia to maintain Jewish tradition (“trad-DITION!” as the famous song goes) despite encroaching influences, including the violence of pogroms. This “Fiddler” is a touring version of the Broadway show directed in 2015 by Bartlett Sher. Sher, as you might recall, was once artistic director of Intiman Theatre and has been shepherding classic musicals back to life (“South Pacific,” “The King and I,” “My Fair Lady”) and winning awards (Drama Desk, Tony, Outer Critics Circle) for his efforts. His most recent, much-celebrated project has been a Broadway run of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” adapted by Aaron Sorkin.

Jan. 14-19; Paramount Theatre, 911 E. Pine St., Seattle; ticket prices fluctuate but are currently running between $45 and $200; 206-682-1414,

Brendan Kiley


Seattle Opera presents “Eugene Onegin”

Infatuation, jealousy, heartbreak, a fatal duel and a whole lot of beautiful Tchaikovsky: It’s all there in this production of “Eugene Onegin,” previously praised in “Opera News” for its sumptuous costumes and elegant scenery that “conveyed the continental opulence of the country’s rich gentry in nineteenth-century Russia.” Conductor Aleksandar Markovic makes his Seattle Opera debut, with direction by Tomer Zvulun; John Moore and Michael Adams alternate in the title role, with Marjukka Tepponen and Marina Costa-Jackson as Tatyana. 

Jan. 11-25; McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $35-$342; 206-389-7676,


Melinda Bargreen


YBN Cordae

This up-and-coming rapper is starting his “Lost Boy In America” tour in Seattle. At just 22 years old, Cordae has collaborated with established rappers like Chance the Rapper, Anderson Paak and Logic, to name a few. His debut studio album, “The Lost Boy,” was received positively by critics and is nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Snag tickets to see the rapper at a smaller venue before he starts making his way into stadiums.

8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16; Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $22-$75; 206-709-9442,

Yasmeen Wafai


“Exploring Passages Within the Black Diaspora”

This promising-sounding show, curated by artist and scholar Berette Macaulay, shines a light on female-identifying photographers of the Black diaspora, including Nadia Alexis, Zoraida Lopez, Abigail Hadeed and others. In a description of her graduate work in cultural studies at the University of Washington, which helps inform “Passages,” Macaulay wrote that her research maps bodily expression of identity among Westernized Black cultures spread around the world: “This project is a collective-memory ethnography documenting oral soundings, facial expressions, and pedestrian gestures as vocabularies common to my homelands of Jamaica and Sierra Leone.” Sounds fascinating. This exhibition is one in a group of linked events involving the journal MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora, Frye Art Museum and Jacob Lawrence Gallery.

Jan. 16-March 22; Photographic Center Northwest, 900 12th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-720-7222,

Brendan Kiley





Tarryn Fisher

Think “Big Love,” but with a sinister twist. In local bestselling author Fisher’s new suspense novel, “The Wives,” the narrator is one of three wives — and isn’t allowed to meet the other two. She’ll speak in conversation with another local bestselling author, Andrea Dunlop (“We Came Here To Forget”).

6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,


Shawn Wong and Tara Fickle

As part of the festivities of the 2020 Modern Language Association’s annual convention (to be held in Seattle Jan. 9-12), author and University of Washington professor Shawn Wong will speak about the 1974 publication of “Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers,” for which he was one of four original editors; its third edition is newly out. He’ll be joined by University of Oregon professor Fickle, who wrote a new foreword for the third edition.

7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Viet Thanh Nguyen and Ellison Nguyen

This one sounds potentially adorable: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Nguyen (“The Sympathizer”) is joined by his 5-year-old son to discuss the children’s book they wrote together, “Chicken of the Sea,” illustrated by Thi Bui and 13-year-old artist Hien Bui-Stafford.

2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Kim Zarins and Candace Robb

Two very different writers — YA author Zarins and historical-crime novelist Robb — discuss how they, in recent books, tackled the same subject: author Geoffrey Chaucer. Zarins’ debut, “Sometimes We Tell the Truth,” is a contemporary retelling of “The Canterbury Tales”; Robb’s latest, “A Conspiracy of Wolves,” features Chaucer as a character assisting medieval sleuth Owen Archer.


4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11; University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; free; 800-335-7323,

Pamela Paul and Maria Russo

Paul and Russo, both editors of The New York Times Book Review, recently collaborated on “How to Raise a Reader,” a book aimed at urging people of all ages to read. They’ll speak with Seattle author Maria Semple (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette”); all will share thoughts from a lifetime of reading.

7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5; 206-652-4255,

Adam Davidson

Davidson, a journalist and founder of NPR’s “Planet Money” podcast, discusses the 21st-century economic paradigm in his new book, “The Passion Economy” — an economy that, he feels, provides hope for millions of Americans to prosper while doing what they love.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $20-$80; 206-621-2230,

Peggy Orenstein

The bestselling author of “Girls & Sex” and “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” turns her attention to boys; she’s in town to discuss her new book, “Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity.”


7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5; 206-652-4255,

Carmen Maria Machado

Machado’s essay collection, “Her Body and Other Stories,” was a literary hit of 2018, followed up by her remarkable 2019 memoir, “In the Dream House,” in which she recounts — with vivid artistry — a relationship that spiraled into abuse. As part of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Women You Need To Know series, she’ll discuss her work (which also includes a recent DC horror comic and an upcoming TV anthology series of “Her Body”) and answer audience questions.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $20-$80; 206-621-2230,

Stephanie Land

Land’s vivid memoir about life as a single parent who cleaned houses to support herself and her daughter, “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” became a bestseller in 2019; now she’s back in town to celebrate the new paperback edition.

7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

Kantor and Twohey, both New York Times reporters, shared the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for public service reporting with Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker for their coverage of the sexual-abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. They’ve chronicled that story in a new book, “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.”


7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $20-$45; 206-621-2230,

Isabel Allende

The beloved author of “The House of the Spirits” and numerous other bestselling novels — and winner of the 2018 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation — will read from and discuss her latest, “A Long Petal of the Sea” / “Largo pétalo de mar.” The new book is set among a group of refugees fleeing Fascist-controlled Spain in the 1930s, on a Chile-bound ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda. There will be no book signing, but copies of the book (in both English and Spanish) will be available.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $35 (includes book); 206-624-6600,

Moira Macdonald



Seattle Symphony, Beethoven’s “Emperor Concerto”

The fifth and last of Beethoven’s landmark piano concertos gets a Seattle Symphony outing with French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, praised for his originality and flamboyance, as soloist. The young Russian maestro Maxim Emelyanychev conducts; in addition to the familiar and lovely Mendelssohn “Italian” Symphony (No. 4), we’ll hear a world premiere: a new suite from Elena Langer’s 2016 opera “Figaro Gets a Divorce.”

7:30 p.m. Jan. 9, noon Jan. 10, 8 p.m. Jan. 11; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $24-$134; 206-215-4747,

Seattle Symphony presents Itzhak Perlman in Recital

The violin legend is 73 this year, and some recent reviews may refer to the twilight of his career. But it’s a pretty nice twilight: a Boston critic recently praised “the suave, elegant tone, warm vibrato and innate feeling for musical character.” Perlman has been honored by three American presidents: In 2015, President Obama bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and President Reagan honored him with a Medal of Liberty in 1986.


7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $72-$152; 206-215-4747,

Boston Camerata presents “The Play of Daniel”

Step back into the distant past with this musical play about Daniel’s confrontation of Belshazzar — composed eight centuries ago in Beauvais, France, and now staged by early-music authority Anne Azéma. Presented here by Early Music Seattle, this production by the internationally renowned Boston Camerata will also feature musicians from the St. Mark’s Cathedral Choir School, under the direction of Rebekah Gilmore.

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18; Saint Mark’s Cathedral, 1245 10th Ave. E., Seattle; $20-$45; 206-325-7066,

Midori and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Recital

Two undisputed stars on their instruments — violinist Midori and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet — combine forces at one of the region’s finest chamber-music venues, in an enticing all-Beethoven program that celebrates the composer’s 250th birthday. The acoustical excellence of this hall is just the right place to hear all the nuances of the chamber duo.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23; Gerlich Theater at Meany Hall, University of Washington, 4040 George Washington Lane N.E., Seattle; $53-$75; 206-543-4880,

Melinda Bargreen




Pacific Northwest Ballet, after flirting a few years ago with a more avant-garde turn on the familiar fairy tale (Jean-Christophe Maillot’s quirky but moving “Cendrillon“), returns to its better-known traditional version, choreographed by Kent Stowell and last seen here in 2012. It’s a straight-up narrative ballet with charm to spare, particularly in its roles for very young dancers, its shimmering rainbow of color and sparkle — created by Martin Pakledinaz (costumes) and Tony Straiges (sets) — and that haunting Prokofiev score.


Jan. 31-Feb. 9; McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $30-$190; 206-441-2424,

Moira Macdonald

“Devotion: ‘Flesh & Blood Pop-Up Performance’”

Flesh & Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum” is Seattle Art Museum’s current marquee exhibition, with masterworks by Raphael, Titian, El Greco, Artemisia Gentileschi and others. Locally loved, Italian-born choreographers Alice Gosti and Lavinia Vago will dance through the galleries in response to the exhibition, bringing their living flesh and blood into conversation with the bloodiness and fleshiness of the canonical paintings.

7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9; Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., Seattle; $19.99-$29.99; 206-625-8900,

Brendan Kiley



Cold War Kids

California-based indie-rock band Cold War Kids is on tour following the release of its latest album, “New Age Norms 1.” The band has had success on the alternative and rock charts, and its single, “First,” from the 2014 album “Hold My Home,” is certified gold in the U.S. and Canada. Rock fans who love to dance it out will want to catch one of these Seattle shows.

9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 17-18; Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $28-$30.50; 206-709-9442,


This electronic-music producer is bringing his bass-heavy tunes to WaMu Theater for his “Dangerous Waters” tour. Born Sam Vogel, Jauz has remixed songs from popular artists like Ed Sheeran (“Sing”), Childish Gambino (“3005”) and The Chainsmokers (“Closer” ft. Halsey). Fans of electronic music won’t want to miss this show.


7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18; WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $32; 206-381-7848,

Radical Face

This folk act, spearheaded by singer-songwriter Ben Cooper, toured Europe in November and is about to embark on a North American leg. Cooper released two projects in 2019 as Radical Face: an EP titled “Therapy” and an anniversary edition of his first studio album, “Ghost.” If you’re into music that makes you feel like you’re in an indie movie, this show might be for you.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29; Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $25.50-$28.50; 206-682-1414,

Yasmeen Wafai




Last summer, Sound Theatre produced the moving “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine, which The Seattle Times called “a raw examination of everyday racism.” Now Sound brings “Reparations” by Kansas-based playwright Darren Canady, a speculative fiction about a device that allows people to “harness the power of their own blood to relive history” — and might allow some recompense and healing from historical and contemporary traumas. Directed by Jay O’Leary (who brought great performances out of her cast for the challenging and flummoxing play “B” at Washington Ensemble Theatre).

Jan. 8-Feb. 2; Sound Theatre Company at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle; $5-$75 (sliding scale, $25 suggested);

“Dance Nation”

“I have seen the future and it is ‘Dance Nation.’” So tweeted Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks. The play, by Clare Barron (originally from Wenatchee), concerns young teenagers on a dance team, with a high-pressure coach who wants to dominate the competition. It is not “Bring It On” or anything else cute — it’s about the actual viciousness and brutality of being 13. Co-directed by Bobbin Ramsey (“The Arsonists,” “The Nether“) and Alyza DelPan-Monley.


Jan. 17-Feb. 3; Washington Ensemble Theatre at 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle; $15-$25;

Jaha Koo: “Cuckoo”

“Cuckoo” is, nominally, a show about Korean history starring one performer and three talking rice cookers. Some might call that conceit “quirky.” But at its heart, “Cuckoo” is about individual despair, collective anomie and the bitter human cost of neoliberal economics. South Korean artist Koo was born in 1984 — a year, his bio notes, “when Koreans could still entertain dreams of a bright future” before “the agreement reached on the 21st of November 1997, placing the country under the administrative control of the International Monetary Fund.” A review in The Irish Times called it “a humorous introduction to a sombre view of a society under enormous strain.”

Jan. 23-26; On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., Seattle; $12-$75; 206-217-9886,

Brendan Kiley


Klara Glosova and Mya Kerner

Two Seattle artists with Eastern European roots, Glosova and Kerner paint recognizable things but with differing senses of urgency. Glosova’s paintings feature scenes with mammals (mostly human) that make you wonder what’s going on, like you’ve opened a novel to a random page where the tiger puts her forepaws on the chair, or the men are crossing a log bridge while a city burns behind them. (Glosova’s interest in action translates to organizing, too — she was the force behind the NEPO 5K Don’t Run, a miles-long summer art walk ending at Glosova’s Beacon Hill home.) Kerner, on the other hand, makes contemplative, boulder-strewn landscapes where time is measured in millennia, not minutes.

Jan. 3-Feb. 1; Linda Hodges Gallery, 316 First Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-3034,

Ian McMahon: “Aperture”

For the past five years, MadArt has been letting the public take in large installations and projects in its South Lake Union home, including “Middle Fork,” the giant tree made of tiny wooden parts by John Grade that is currently hanging in the foyer of Seattle Art Museum. Visitors to “Aperture” will be greeted by massive, pillow-like forms (made with 5,000 pounds of cast plaster). The rest of the exhibit promises to confound first impressions with objects that look like one thing but are, in fact, something else altogether.

Jan. 7-March 28; MadArt, 325 Westlake Ave. N., Seattle; free; 206-623-1180,

Brendan Kiley

Freelance writer Melinda Bargreen ( contributed to this report.