2020 preview

Exciting second half of the theater season

By Alec Clayton on December 26, 2019

The remainder of the 2019-2020 theater season in Tacoma and Olympia looks exciting, with a great lineup of shows in the next month or two in particular.

Tacoma Arts Live -- David Mamet's Oleanna is one of the most intense and most controversial plays written in modern times. Audience members famously leave the theater and continue arguing about it. Talkbacks after performances have been notoriously contentious, so much so that Mamet has asked theaters to not allow talkbacks. Tacoma Arts Live brings this challenging and engaging two-person play about a student who charges her professor with sexual exploitation to Theater on the Square in February, starring Sean Neely as John, the professor, and Angelica Barksdale as Carol, his student. It will be directed by Joshua Knudson with co-producers David Fischer and Brett Carr.

Tacoma Little Theatre -- TLT Artistic Director Chris Serface said, "The most exciting thing that we have happening is the AACT NewPlayFest World Premiere of Shattering."  Author Pat Montley will be in the theater opening night. Shattering is the story of a juvenile offender released into foster care who has been ordered to kill his foster parent or be killed himself. The play features Robin McGee, Donovan Mahannah, Joshua Hector and Cynthia Kinyanjui.

Tacoma Musical Playhouse -- "We open the new year with Beehive the Musical, with guest director Harry Turpin," TMP's Sue Snyder said. "This show's music is so iconic, every song including ‘My Boyfriend's Back,' ‘Son of a Preacher Man,' ‘To Sir With Love,' ‘It's my Party,' ‘Respect,' ‘Me and Bobby McGee,' and all the other songs from the '60s will have a special place within everyone's heart, including our cast." Turpin added, "We've assembled a dynamic group of women who will be paying tribute to the originals as well as bringing their own experiences to this music of a generation."

Lakewood Playhouse kicks off the new year with the rousing musical Heathers. "We are proud to be the South Sound premiere of this high-energy, and very timely musical based on the cult classic 1989 film about how being popular in high school can be murder. This show was a record-breaker in last year's voting, and we can't wait to share it with all of the fans who have been looking forward to it all year. This show contains adult situations, language and subject matter." So said Playhouse artistic director John Munn.

Harlequin Productions -- Heading down to Olympia, Harlequin Productions is doing the show Clive Barnes called "the funniest farce ever written," Noises Off. "This piece is absolutely on my bucket list and I think it's on most actors' and directors' bucket lists as well," said director Corey McDaniel. "I have been attempting to get this piece staged for many years, so I am incredibly excited to be invited to direct Harlequin's production. I have seen six or seven versions and I know it to be a pure delight, full of laughter and a whole lot of fun."

Harlequin's Noises Off brings back to the stage some of the South Sound's best and most loved actors, including Jason Haws, Aaron Lamb and Helen Harvester.

Olympia Little Theatre -- Equivocation by Bill Cain is 2020's first offering at Olympia Little Theatre. With an all-star cast of Drew Doyle, Robert McConkey, Brian Hatcher, Kate Anders, Rodman Bolek, Michael Christopher and Josh Palmer, this one promises to be great.

Olympia Family Theater -- OFT kicks off the year with an adaptation of the Newberry Award-winning Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

OLEANNA,Feb. 7-23, Tacoma Arts Live at Theater on the Square, tacomaartslive.org

SHATTERING, Jan. 24-Feb. 9, Tacoma Little Theatre, tacomalittletheatre.com

BEEHIVE THE MUSICAL, Jan. 24-Feb. 16., Tacoma Musical Playhouse, tmp.org

HEATHERS, Jan. 17-Feb. 9, Lakewood Playhouse, lakewoodplayhouse.org

NOISES OFF, Jan. 17-Feb, 8, State Theater, harlequinproductions.org

EQUIVOCATION, Feb. 7-23, Olympia Little Theatre, olympialittletheater.org

NUMBER THE STARS, Jan. 31-Feb. 16, olyft.org