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Category: Theater


New Dukesbay Theater in Merlino building attracts new fringe theater group New Muses, with edgy season starting next week

Having just opened the doors of their new black box theater in the Merlino Building, Tacoma company Dukesbay Productions has already attracted a three-show season from South Sound company New Muses Theatre Company.

Producing fringe theater in Seattle and surrounds since 2009, New Muses will kick off their first show July 12 – Neil Labute’s dark comedy “The Shape of Things,” exploring modern ideals of love, art and manipulation.

8p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays July 12-28.

The season continues with “Angels in America” from Aug.16-Sept.1, Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer-winning play about the ’80s AIDS crisis, and goes on with a version of “Romeo and Juliet” updated for the social media age in late September.

“We are thrilled to be bringing our brand of independent fringe theater to Tacoma,” says managing artistic director Niclas Olson.

Renovated from a long, sunlit room on the top floor of the Merlino Arts Building, the Dukesbay Theater is the work of Tacoma theater husband-and-wife duo Randy and Aya Hashiguchi Clark, who have presented plays in other non-traditional venues like the revamped basement of First Congregational Church downtown. Watch this space for more details soon.

The theater is located at 508 6the Ave., Tacoma. All New Muses tickets will be $15 single, $33 season. newmuses.com, dukesbay.org Read more »


TMP’s Chris Serface takes over as director of Tacoma Little Theatre

Chris Serface. Courtesy photo.
Chris Serface. Courtesy photo.

Chris Serface, former educational director at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, will leave his position April 30 to take over as managing artistic director at Tacoma Little Theatre.  That position has been open since former director Scott Campbell left a year ago, with TLT’s production manager Brie Yost acting in an interim capacity.

“I felt that it was time to take on a new challenge and help keep the arts flourishing in our community,” said Serface in an email.

For the last five years Serface has managed the large educational program at TMP, including camps, after-school programs and performances. A Pacific Northwest native, Serface has also worked with other theaters around the country as an actor, director, technician, manager, educator and musician, and was a district supervisor for Hollywood Entertainment for seven years. Read more »


Tacoma Little Theatre looks for South Sound Asian actors for “The Joy Luck Club”

Calling all Asian American actors in the South Sound – Tacoma Little Theatre wants you. A new production of Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club,” adapted from the best-selling novel by director David Hsieh, needs over 20 Asian men and women, plus several young children, with auditions happening next weekend.

“The Joy Luck Club” was written by Amy Tan in 1989, telling the story of four immigrant Chinese American families in San Francisco within the structure of a mahjong game, and rose to best-seller status with a film version following in 1993. Seattle director and actor David Hsieh adapted

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August Wilson’s “King Hedley II” gets staged reading at Broadway Center

Over the last year or so a handful of excellent local actors, organized by the Northwest Playwrights’ Alliance, the Broadway Center and the Washington State History Museum, have been putting on staged readings of August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle. This Sunday we’re up to “King Hedley II” – the dark tale of an ex-con who sells stolen refrigerators so he can start his own video store.

Set in the 1980s, “King Hedley II” is the second-last play in the cycle written over the last few decades by the award-winning African American playwright. Set one per decade from 1900 to 2000, the

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Gods, heroes, lust and loyalty: ACT Theatre bravely and successfully tackles Hinduism’s enormous epic, “The Ramayana”

The cast of “The Ramayana” at ACT: L to R: Khanh Doan, Todd Jefferson Moore, Cheyenne Casebier, Brandon O'Neill, Rafael Untalan, John Farrage. Photo: Chris Bennion

Reducing a 24,000-verse poem into a three-hour theater show isn’t easy, but Seattle’s ACT Theatre has done a convincing and creative job of it. The “Ramayana,” that 2,500-year-old epic about the divine prince Rama and his beautiful wife Sita in their exile, tribulations and final glory, is a tale that few in India would dare to condense like this. Yet ACT’s world premiere version, full of stunning costumes, clever effects, joyous dance and heartfelt acting, nails the philosophy with a Western brevity and wit.

Of course, they’ve left a lot out. Intrinsic to many Asian cultures, the Ramayana has been recited for days on end by itinerant storytellers, told with puppets, made into lengthy films and televised in a series of Sunday broadcasts that had India’s millions at a weekly standstill. It tells Rama’s life from child to adult, and all the layers of history that went before him and around him through dozens of side characters. It’s not only a big work, it’s a big ask of Western audiences: unfamiliar gods, unpleasant principles like self-immolation and a world where human flaws sit in the same body as divine or demonic powers. To bridge the gap, ACT directors Sheila Daniels and Kurt Beattie have pared the story down to the essentials – Rama’s boyhood strength and wooing of Sita, his exile with Sita and brother Lakshman, Sita’s abduction by the demon king Ravana, her rescue by Rama and Hanuman the monkey god and her final trial by fire to become Rama’s accepted queen.

If you know the story, you’ll notice all the depth that’s skimmed over. But if you haven’t it’s a ripping good tale, and ACT’s superb cast knows exactly how to tell it. Read more »


Free for All kicks off a varied and exciting Broadway Center season, with guest appearance by Vicci Martinez

Singer Vicci Martinez, playing the Pantages this Saturday for Tacoma's Fall Free for All festival. Courtesy photo.

Who doesn’t like free dance, theater and music? The Broadway Center knows it’s pretty hard to resist a free show, let alone a free weekend of shows, and for the second year around is kicking off its season with the Fall Free for All weekend of free arts events this Saturday and Sunday to entice newbies into the downtown theaters and give us all a taste of what’s coming up. Headlining the weekend is Tacoma indie singer Vicci Martinez, playing the Pantages Saturday night.

You can download the program pdf on the Broadway Center’s website, but here are some highlights:

-       New this year is Vicci Martinez, the Tacoma native singer/songwriter who went big on NBC’s “The Voice” and has found it hard to schedule her adoring hometown into her gig schedule ever since. She didn’t make it to Art on the Ave – but she’s booked in at the Pantages, so get in line early. 9 p.m. Sat.

-       Also new this year is a scheduled dinner break. No, they’re not giving you a free meal, but at least there’s a two hour break in the performance schedule to allow everyone to refuel at some of downtown T-Town’s great eating places (Two Koi, Matador, Maxwell’s, The Old Spaghetti Factory, El Gaucho, Corina and The Office), where your FFFA wristband will get you discounts. 5-7 p.m. Sat., 4-6 p.m. Sun. Read more »


Vicci Martinez, Fab-5, Recess Monkey, Squeak Squawk and Double Shot Theatre among many offerings at Broadway Center’s Fall Free for All later this month

Put it on your calendar now – the 2012 Fall Free for All festival, organized by Tacoma’s Broadway Center for Perfoming Arts September 21-22, is bigger and better than ever, with headline acts like singer-songwriter Vicci Martinez and kindie rockers Recess Monkey. Best of all, it’s still all free.

A teaser for the Broadway Center’s new season and an enticement to get new theater-goers downtown, the Fall Free for All was a success last year, though Sunday saw far fewer crowds and a less festive atmosphere. This year, though, the headline act Vicci Martinez is sure to draw crowds, and

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Summer Stock Festival at Centerstage Theatre, Federal Way

Bob DeDea and Caitlin Frances in Centerstage Theatre's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." Photo: Laura Campbell

Yes, you can have theater in summer, and Centerstage Theatre in Federal Way is going to show us how it’s done. Thanks to a new collaboration with Central Washington University theater department and an economic grant from the city, the company will produce two weeks of two shows, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “All in the Timing.” The Summer Stock Festival begins this week.

“We’re dipping our toe in the water,” says Centerstage director Alan Bryce. Bryce acknowledges that theater in summer isn’t the norm (inside, anyway) but explains that the Summer Stock Festival is part of a $35,000 economic grant from the City of Federal  Way and has teamed up with local hotels and the annual Northwest Sand Festival, the biggest of its kind in the country which draws hundreds to see sand sculptures inside the cool of the Commons Mall. Anyone buying a ticket to the theater festival will receive a free Sand Festival ticket as well as a discount at the Clarion Hotel. Read more »