Thursday, August 4, 2016

Preview: 2016-2017 Theatrical Season

Published in The News Tribune
Debbie Sampson and Ryan Holmberg in “Guido in Therapy” from an earlier edition of Improbable Peck of Plays. Photo courtesy Theater Artists Olympia
The theater season is a lot like a wedding: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
To look at what’s in store for South Sound audiences, let’s start with Tacoma Little Theater. TLT’s season includes Steve Martin’s comedy “The Underpants,” a delightfully twisted comedy about a German woman who loses her bloomers during a parade in 1910. For something old that never dies, TLT is doing “Dracula,” adapted by Steven Dietz and directed by pug Bujeaud. Also scheduled is “Exit Laughing,” a Southern Gothic farce about a night of bridge with three women and the ashes of the fourth, the last of whom recently passed away.
Lakewood Playhouse opens with “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penance.” In between these in a season of great diversity will be the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play, “Doubt,” a drama about a priest accused of sexual misconduct by a nun. It was also an Academy Award-winning film with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep.
Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s 2016-2017 season opens with the wonderfully creepy, and kooky musical “The Addams Family,” based, of course, on the popular television series. In this grown-up and updated version of the wacky show about a family of monsters, daughter Wednesday is now grown up and – heaven forbid – in love with a normal boy. For something old there’s “Meet Me in St. Louis,” a holiday musical about the 1904 World’s Fair, and for something blue it’s “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”
In what is becoming South Sound’s favorite holiday tradition, Centerstage in Federal Way will produce another Panto — this one a twisted retelling of the story of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Be prepared for cross dressing villains, outrageous audience participation, and jokes that tickle kids on one level and delight adults on quite a different level.
Olympia’s Harlequin Productions will do Tracy Letts’ 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner “August: Osage County.” Sometimes called a black comedy, it is arguably more drama than comedy. Set in a farm house in Oklahoma, it gets into the heart of a family wracked by alcoholism, drug addiction and a myriad other dysfunctions.
Olympia’s popular children’s theater, Olympia Family Theater, will produce an original musical whodunit called “Fishnapped! this season, written by local actors turned playwright Amy Shepard, Andrew Gordon and Daven Tillinghast. This world premiere musical is recommended for all ages and is scheduled for a spring premiere.
Pug Bujeaud from Theater Artists Olympia says the theme of their upcoming season will be “sexy and sensual.” TAO’s season opens in October with their annual “An Improbable Peck of Plays,” a showcase of one-act plays by local playwrights. In December Bujeaud will direct what she calls a “sexy” version of Moliere’s “A Physician in Spite of Himself.” TAO is the South Sound’s riskiest fringe theater. Their productionsare almost always outstanding.
Something borrowed is Olympia Little Theatre’s “Or,” which played not too long ago at Seattle Repertory Theatre and at Olympia’s Harlequin Productions. It is a strange, beautiful, madcap, gender-bending farce based on the life of Aphra Behn, England's first female professional playwright, who also happened to be a spy. For something new (about something old) at OLT, it’s A Lollard in the Wind” by local playwright and actor John Pratt, an original play about Geoffrey Chaucer and his writing of The Canterbury Tales.
Check Alec’s blog at for reviews of other area theatrical productions.
SIDEBAR: Season preview
Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 North I St., Tacoma, 253-272-2281,
Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood, 253-588-0042,
Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 Sixth Avenue Tacoma, 253-565-6867,
Centerstage, 3200 SW Dash Point Rd., Federal Way, 253-661-1444,
Harlequin Productions, 202 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360-706-0151,
Olympia Family Theatre, 612 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360-570-1638,
Theater Artists Olympia, Midnight Sun Performance Space, 113 Columbia St. NW, Olympia, 360-292-5179,
Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave. NE, Olympia, 360-786-9484,

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