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A banquet on the boards

Seasons of love on area stages

Tacoma Musical Playhouse will revive The Addams Family, which won the national AACT play festival in 2017. (Credit: Kat Dollarhide)

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"All the world's a stage," the Bard famously said, "tho' only certain parts deserve to charge admission." Or perhaps we're misremembering. In any case, the South Sound is resplendent with theatrical talent, from amateur, outdoor Elizabethans to union actors beautified by state-of-the-art lighting. Here's a quick survey of regional venues, along with a tantalizing taste of what they'll serve guests this sweet and savory potluck of a theatrical year.

Animal Fire Theatre stages free, outdoor Shakespeare every summer in Olympia, from the Capitol grounds to Priest Point Park. Late June of 2019 brings the romantic misadventures of Sir John Falstaff, a blundering foil for The Merry Wives of Windsor. Watch Animal Fire's Facebook page for further details.

Also in summer 2019, Apple Tree Productions offers a raft of youth-driven entertainment including Cinderella, Honk! and Shrek the Musical. Those shows go up at Black Hills High School Performing Arts Center (7741 Littlerock Rd. SW, Tumwater).

Broadway Olympia Productions finished its first year in Olympia Film Society's (OFS) Capitol Theater (206 5th Ave. SE) with Young Frankenstein. Expect further name-brand musicals this fall in a noble quest to secure the company's financial future. Meanwhile, OFS continues to present new, art-house films alongside revivals of cinematic classics, as does The Grand Cinema in Tacoma (606 Fawcett Ave.)

Lacey has its own vagabond theater troupe now, thanks to Kevin McManus' Goldfinch Productions. He'll direct its inaugural production, Shakespeare's pastoral romance As You Like It, which opens at Yelm's Prairie Days festival in late June.

Harlequin Productions, Olympia's professional company in the downtown State Theater, is under the guiding hand of Artistic Director Aaron Lamb. Its remaining 2019 offerings are Man of La Mancha, the harrowing drama Blackbird, Clare Booth Luce's 1936 comedy of manners The Women and Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol. Early 2020 brings comic smash Noises Off and an adaptation of Olympia author Jim Lynch's The Highest Tide.

Ever-reliable Lakewood Playhouse (5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd.) announced its full, 2019-2020 season. It gets underway with Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues in mid-September. Then come Radio Noir in mid-October, noted juvenile delinquent Pippi Longstocking two weeks later, The Best- Christmas Pageant Ever, totally awesome Heathers the Musical in mid-January, critical darling The Wolves in late February, Agatha Christie's Murder on the Nile in early April and the unforgettable, musical masterpiece Ragtime in late May.

Niclas Olson's New Muses Theatre Company shares a Tacoma black box with The Dukesbay Theater (508 Sixth Ave., Suite 10). While the former presents Molière's classic comedy Tartuffe in mid-June and Chekhov's The Seagull in August, the latter offers the Tony Award-winning, present-day dramedy Proof in early November.

It's hard to believe, but it's been half a decade since Olympia Family Theater refurbished the downtown space formerly known as Capitol Playhouse (612 4th Ave. E.) This troupe for all ages has produced over 60 mainstage shows including five world premieres. This year, it'll stage Tales Told in Ten and The Wind in the Willows, both in November, plus a new musical by Ted Ryle called The Alphabet Caper.

Olympia Little Theatre (1925 Miller Ave. NE) finishes its stellar, 2018-2019 season with Daphne's Dive in June. No word yet on OLT's upcoming season, partly because its selection committee is poring through 27 scripts proposed by 18 possible directors. The result may be a two-season announcement. We do know Pug Bujeaud is directing the thriller Equivocation, about the Jacobean Gunpowder Plot, there early in 2020.

Few American theaters can boast a century of community service, but that's the milestone Tacoma Little Theatre reached in 2018. Managing Artistic Director Chris Serface will help build on that success with a 2019-2020 season that includes the "wee bit naughty" Calendar Girls in mid-September, the groovy grotesquerie of Evil Dead: The Musical for Halloween, master detective Holmes for the Holidays, cutting-edge drama Shattering in late January, the singular sensation of A Chorus Line in March and tearjerker Terms of Endearment in late April.

Few depart Tacoma Musical Playhouse (7116 6th Ave.) without a song in their hearts. In mid-July, we can expect jubilant patrons to throw "Money, Money, Money" at the 16 Abba hits comprising jukebox smash Mamma Mia! (Alternatively, to see how the disco-era delight plays in a more intimate venue, Standing Room Only will stage the same show in Yelm's Triad Theater come late November.) TMP continues its string of popular hits with The Addams Family and Elf in the fall, then the '60s girl-group revue Beehive, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder and Elvis jukeboxer All Shook Up in spring. Its season concludes with Singin' in the Rain in summer 2020.

Don't forget the developing talent on high-school and college stages. Pierce College, for example, offers smarty-pants romance Constellations in mid-November.

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