Theaters and musicals ranging from an acclaimed bio-solo play about Japanese-American activist Gordon Hirabayashi to a new comedy about the absurdity of “whiteness” (“Is She Dead Yet?”) are on the Seattle theater roster.
It’s midsummer, and the current Seattle theater calendar is a grab bag. It features a bare-it-all, returning solo show, and the encore of a one-actor piece about a local Japanese-American hero. A drag-laced musical comes to a beloved downtown cabaret. A new comedy about sex and race debuts on Capitol Hill and an offbeat love story arrives in Wallingford. So here’s the lowdown:
Drop that fan! Seattle-based performance artist Maria Glanz addresses the body-image issues many women face, in a semi-autobiographical show she introduced here in 2001. Thoughtful and humorous, it struck a nerve and Glanz has since toured it widely, revived it locally and now is performing it at the new Cafe Nordo space in Pioneer Square.
Glanz explores her touchy subject through a comic strip tease, a give-and-take with the audience and her own reflections on female nakedness and self-acceptance.
Through Monday, Aug. 3, at Nordo’s Culinarium, Seattle (800-838-3006 orbeingnaked.net).
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A hit at ACT Theatre last year, this biographical monologue honors the legacy of sociologist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Gordon Hirabayashi, who was a University of Washington student when World War II broke out. He defied the federal order for all Japanese Americans to evacuate to government internment camps, served jail time and fought in court until his conviction was overturned decades later.
Jeanne Sakata’s well-researched play, performed in this returning run at ACT by Ryun Yu, captures Seattle native Hirabayashi’s courageous conviction as well as his fun-loving spirit and humility.
Through Aug. 16 at ACT Theatre, Seattle (206-292-7676 or acttheatre.org).
“Is She Dead Yet?”
This world premiere fantasy-satire at Annex Theatre concerns a young woman who sacrifices herself to save her husband — a bigger deal, because she’s the last black person on Earth.
Described as “gleefully savage,” the barbed comedy is a loose update of the more somber “Alcestis,” an ancient tragedy by the Greek dramatist Euripides.
According to Seattle playwright and actor Brandon J. Simmons (who also directs the Annex production), his script addresses our society’s notions of skin color and race, in “a comic death match that reveals the absurdity and collective insanity of American whiteness.” A brave gambit that might make you laugh, feel uncomfortable — or, if it hits the mark, both.
Friday, July 31-Aug. 22 at Annex Theatre, Seattle (206-728-0933 orannextheatre.org).
Based on a popular 1982 movie of the same title, this Broadway musical has a double gender twist. It’s about a struggling Parisian female singer, who with the backing of a gay impresario, passes as a debonair male entertainer who becomes a gay icon with his female drag act. Got that?
Still going, despite being increasingly dwarfed by new high-rise structures, the gloriously grungy Re-bar club hosts this about-to-close run.
Through Saturday, Aug. 1, at Re-bar, Seattle (800-838-3006 orbrownpapertickets.com).
In John Kolvenbach’s well-traveled tale, an oddball loner’s life blossoms after a burglary of his apartment brings him unexpected love. The Porcupine and Poet Productions staging in Wallingford is this new company’s inaugural outing.
Through Saturday, Aug. 8, at Stone Soup Theatre, Seattle (800-838-3006 or porcupineandpoet.com).