Saturday, September 6, 2008

Local theaters line up shows for fun season

published in The News Tribune, Sept. 5, 2008

Tacoma Little Theatre kicks off its 90th season with a plea for financial help and an uproarious comedy by the greatest playwright of all time, William Shakespeare.
TLT was founded in 1918, making it one of the oldest theaters not only in the Puget Sound region but in the nation. And they are now in serious financial trouble, but under the new and capable leadership of Doug Kerr should weather the storm quite well. They are pleading for people to purchase season tickets, and it looks like a season with plenty to “ado” about, starting with one of Shakespeare’s more insane comedies featuring crazy clowns, “star-crossed” lovers, and a wedding gone wildly awry.
“Much Ado About Nothing” opens Sept. 12 and runs through Oct. 5.
Other plays coming up this season at TLT include the touching and very popular “On Golden Pond,” April 3-26, and Arthur Miller’s classic witch-hunt drama “The Crucible” in February. And their season ends with the May-June production of the rousing musical “The Buddy Holly Story” celebrating the 50th anniversary of “The Day the Music Died.”
For more information about Tacoma Little Theatre and their 90th season campaign, visit their Web site at
Tacoma Musical Playhouse will offer a slate of big-production musicals guaranteed to please the public, including a number of longtime favorites and a couple of new plays that look intriguing. The season opens with one of the most popular musicals of all time, “South Pacific.” Now in revival on Broadway, “South Pacific” won a whopping seven Tony Awards this year, including Best Revival of a Musical. It tells a big dramatic story and includes such great songs as “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Nothing Like a Dame.”
“South Pacific” runs Oct. 3-26.
Other crowd pleasers coming up include “The Producers” in April and May and “The Wizard of Oz” next summer. For more information on TMP’s season, including Tacoma Children’s Musical Theater,” go to
The new season for Lakewood Playhouse kicks off tonight (((Sept. 5))) with a musical murder mystery called “Lucky Stiff.” This insane comedy about taking a dead guy on a weeklong vacation to Monte Carlo was the first collaboration between Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, the team that brought us “Ragtime” and “Once on This Island.” The show runs through Oct. 5.
Next up is The Scottish Play (we can’t say the name, it’s bad luck, but you know what we mean; it’s one of the greatest plays of all time). For Christmas, Lakewood Playhouse will be doing the perennial favorite “A Christmas Carol,” followed in January by the epitome of small town humor, “Greater Tuna.” In March comes Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” and the season winds down with the Kaufman and Hart comedy “Once in a Lifetime.”
More information is available online at
From Tacoma, let’s head north to Federal Way to Centerstage, which opens Sept. 12 with their annual fund-raising murder mystery “Spinster in a Handbag” at the Twin Lakes Country Club. Next up is a musical tribute to an American treasure, “Always…Patsy Cline.” What more need be said? To know Patsy Cline is to love her. This musical treat opens Sept. 26 and runs through Oct. 12.
Over the past two seasons Centerstage has made the British Christmas panto a South Sound tradition. This year they continue the irreverent and absurd tradition with “Aladdin.” If you’re still not familiar with the English panto, you have to see it. It is formulaic comedy filled with gender-bending slapstick that pokes everyone in the eye.
In February, for two nights only, Feb.7-8, Lance Brown portrays the great Will Rogers in the one-man show “Will Rogers Now!” Then comes a Sherlock Holmes mystery, “Crucifer of Blood” and finally Centerstage’s own original musical adaptation of “Carl Sagan’s Contact.”
See Centerstage on the Web at
In Olympia, Capital Playhouse opens with the dark modern classic “The Threepenny Opera” by Bertolt Brecht, Oct. 9 – Nov. 1. Also coming up at Capital Playhouse this season are the popular musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.” More information can be found at
Harlequin Productions always starts the season off with an original musical from their “Stardust” series for Christmas. But first they wind up the previous season with Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra.” As always, Harlequin has a challenging and eclectic lineup, this year including “Sins of the Mother,” “The Elephant Man,” “Batboy the Musical” and “Mating Dance of the Werewolf.” Find out more at
These are just the big community theaters in the area. Smaller theater companies such as Encore! (, Theatre Artists Olympia (, Olympia Family Theater (, Manestage in Sumner (, Paradise Theatre in Gig Harbor ( and Breeders Theater in Burien ( also offer excellent theatrical entertainment.

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