Friday, February 15, 2019

Preview: Agnes of God, A Little Night Music and Angels in America,

By Alec Clayton
Published in The News Tribune, Feb. 15, 2019
from left: Maria Valenzuela as Dr. Livingstone, Cecilia Lews as Agnes and Laurie Sifford as Mother Miriam Ruth in Agnes of God at Tacoma Little Theatre, photo by Jason Ganwich of Ganwich Media.

From the snowy end of winter into the dawning of spring, Tacoma Theaters offer important and exciting modern theater.
At Dukesbay Theatre it is the taut mystery “Agnes of God” by John Pielmeier, starring Laurie Sifford as Mother Miriam Ruth, Maria Valenzuela as Dr. Livingstone and Cecilia Lewis as the novice Agnes, directed by Nyree Martinez. “Agnes” is the story of the young nun, Agnes, who gives birth and is accused of killing the baby. Agnes not only denies killing her child, she denies any knowledge of being pregnant or giving birth. Murder mystery or a question of faith? The question posed is: is it murder or is it a miracle.
"At first, ‘Agnes’ looks like just another murder mystery, but I am a believer in miracles,” said Dukesbay co-founder and show producer Aya Hashiguchi Clark. “I love how the story takes us on a journey of faith and hope alongside of the forensic tale." 
At Tacoma Little Theatre it is one of Steven Sonheim’s most popular if more difficult musicals, “A Little Night Music.” Winner of four Tony Awards, “Night Music” is the romantic tale of an aging actress, a married virgin, a sex-starved divinity student and a comical count in 1900 Sweden, with lush music including the ever-popular “Send in the Clowns.”
"We've been waiting for the right time to do a Sondheim, and our 100th year seemed the perfect time to bring back such a beautiful classic,” said TLT artistic director Chris Surface. “We had to write an appeal to the rights holder because the show is currently restricted. Thankfully, our perseverance paid off and we were awarded the rights."
TLT’s “Night Music” is directed by John Munn with Musical Director Deborah Lynn Armstrong and choreography by Lexi Barnett.

For a change of pace, Tacoma Musical Theater brings back “The Drowsy Chaperone,” winner of five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards. This lively musical is a parody of 1920s musicals.

Finally, with a monumental effort, Lakewood Playhouse presents the epic two-part drama “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner. This rambling yet taut drama is a no-holds-barred look at the AIDS crisis in America, the gay community during the most frightening years of the crisis, and the political battles around the epidemic. This epic is presented in repertory with parts one and two on different nights and both on Sundays.
"We've never done two shows at the same time, in repertory, before, and choosing two massive productions like ‘Angels in America’ parts one and two has been a mammoth undertaking,” said Playhouse artistic director John Munn (yes, the same John Munn who is directing “A Little Night Music” at TLT.
Munn said, “My Stage Manager and Production Manager, Melissa Avril Harris, and myself have been working on the shows since last April. Our amazing actors have been in rehearsal for seven months, and our technical team has been supporting us every step of the way. We can't wait to share this landmark piece of epic theater with everyone starting March 22nd."


Agnes of God
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1-17
WHERE: Dukesbay Theater in the Merlino Arts Center, 508 S. Sixth Ave. #10, Tacoma

A Little Night Music
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8-31
WHERE: Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 North I St. Tacoma
INFORMATION: (253) 272-2281,

The Drowsy Chaperone
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, March March 22-April 14
WHERE: Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 6th Ave., Tacoma
INFORMATION: (253) 565-6867,

Angels in America
WHEN: part one 7 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday; part two 7 p.m. Thursday, Sunday, Feb. 22-March 17
WHERE: Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood
INFORMATION: (253) 588-0042,

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