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Stage Calendar

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Openings & Previews

365 Days/365 Plays Suzan-Lori Parks' yearlong theater project, a cycle of 365 short plays, offers one- to 10-minute performances from a great variety of performers in venues across the city. Week 7, through Sun. Dec. 31: Josh Beerman. Week 8, Jan. 1-7: The Rebar Drama Club. Various venues and times; see Free.

Winter Weekend slumber slaughter Teen slasher movies are the inspiration for this improvised show. Blood Squad at Odd Duck Theater, 1214 Tenth Ave., $10. Opens Dec. 29. 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Jan. 13.

Last Chance

Black Nativity: A Gospel Song Play If the words "audience participation" don't send you running for cover, get yourself to Black Nativity now. Written by the late Langston Hughes and directed by Jacqueline Moscou, the show is divided into two distinct parts. The first is the Christmas story (Joseph and pregnant Mary can't find a place to stay in Bethlehem, etc.), told from Hughes' perspective and beautifully re-enacted by lithe dancers/persons of color. There's comedy thrown in, which makes for light yet extremely spiritual scenes. The choir's first-act songs include "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "This Little Light of Mine," "Joy to the World," and other gorgeously sung holiday favorites. You'll be enthralled. However, after the intermission, you'll probably be less blown away, unless you're a big fan of church: The stage turns into a worship area where the well-regarded Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney (formerly of the Mount Zion Baptist Church of Seattle) holds court. Gospel songs are performed and cast members call upon you to sing, clap, dance, and stomp your feet if you want to. Yes, the singers and dancers onstage are extremely talented—especially Joseph (Bojohn Diciple)—but the second act is somehow a less grand performance. In the end, though, you'll walk away more gospel-music savvy and no doubt be inspired by the colorful outfits, the vitality of the characters, and, ultimately, the generous spirit of the Christmas season, regardless of your faith or ethnicity. (P.S. You won't find that at any mall.) Intiman Playhouse, 201 Mercer St., Seattle Center, 269-1900, $10-$42. 7:30 p.m. Wed. Dec. 27. Ends Dec. 27. MOLLY LORI

Bye Bye Birdie Teen idol Conrad Birdie (think Elvis-but-not-quite) is about to join the army, but not before he turns Sweet Apple, Ohio, upside down with a PR stunt in this favorite musical. Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N., Issaquah, 425-392-2202, $25-$49. 8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat. & Sun. Ends Sun. Dec. 31.

The Dina Martina Christmas Show Like giving birth, or Burning Man, or giving birth at Burning Man, a Dina Martina show is an experience nearly impossible to describe to someone who hasn't lived it. In her quest to entertain, she'll pull out stops you didn't know an organ even had. Last year's show opened with a holiday-themed Pet Shop Boys cover ("North Pole Girls") and climaxed with a rectal cancer joke that left a roomful of people unable to breathe for laughing. Rejuvenated from triumphant East Coast gigs this past summer, she's ready to top herself with a new assault of song, dance, film (including clips from her movie career and home movies from her childhood), joyous fashion errors, even more bizarre gifts, and, as promised this year, memorable special guests. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St., 325-6500, $20. 8 p.m. Wed. Dec. 27-Sat. Dec. 30. Ends Dec. 30.

It's A Wonderful Life Joe Landry's adaptation, billed as a "live radio play" (the setting is a '40s-era Seattle studio, not Bedford Falls), strips the visuals—and most of the magic—from the 1946 Frank Capra classic. Unfortunately, Taproot's well-intentioned production can't redeem such a flawed concept. Most of the film's sparkling dialogue seems to have been "adapted" verbatim, yet almost every scene feels anemic. Picture George and Mary Bailey's wedding night in the ramshackle old house, or Harry Bailey's disastrous fall through the ice—then imagine having to be told what's happening in those scenes by an obtrusive narrator rather than seeing it for yourself. Grant Goodeve captures some of Jimmy Stewart's aw-shucks magnetism, and his early speech at the Building and Loan packs some punch, but he's still hemmed in by the concept's limitations. His climactic run through Bedford Falls comes off as silly rather than wonderful, since the movie's backdrop, as much as Stewart, is what made that scene so satisfying. Lisa Peretti seems miscast as Mary; she exudes little of Donna Reed's sweetness and warmth, which makes rooting for the young couple awfully difficult. True fans of Life—and neophytes, too, for that matter—would be much better off just watching it on DVD. Taproot Theatre, 204 N. 85th St., 781-9707, $15-$30. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Dec. 30. NEAL SCHINDLER

Continuing Runs

Late Nite Catechism Maripat Donovan's one-woman show explains everything you wanted to know about the Catholic faith, but were too scared you'd get rapped across the knuckles to ask. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7676, $24.50-$29.50. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Open run.

Menopause: The Musical Jeanie Linders' tuneful celebration of That Time of Life is back at ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7676, $45. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 2 & 5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. (no 5:30 p.m. show Sun. Dec. 31). Open run.

The Show Troy Miszklevitz's one-man musical comedy: "An insane traveling nature-activist" tells a story about a New York City street hustler who attempts to win the affections of a local club diva by becoming the new host of a late-night talk show with the help of a local hobo." Whew! Washington Ensemble Theatre at The Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave. E., 800-838-3006, $5-$15. 8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. Jan. 7.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Lost in an enchanted forest, young Charles is taken under the wing of Miss Marguerite, a powerful sorceress conversant in animal, vegetable, and mineral. But when Charles disobeys her orders and uses "the craft"—in the process nearly inundating her workshop—he's given his walking papers. In an effort to regain her trust and take back the coveted position, he must battle with demons, a giant, and the evil Big John King. On his side are a trio of pontificating plants and a wily groundhog with a special penchant for blueberry tarts. For this story, author OyamO has borrowed from far-ranging sources, from Lucian Samosata (a Greek satirist from AD 150) to Goethe and Disney. It magically comes together in a production that emphasizes harmony with nature and the ways in which what comes around goes around. Sets, especially those depicting Miss Marguerite's enchanted grounds, provide lots of hidden interest—from bebopping vegetation to all-seeing trees. Even the stars take flight. A four-piece live band accompanies the magic and madness with New Orleans-style swing and jazz that will have the young and not-so-young grooving in their seats. Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Center, 441-3322, $16-$32. 2 & 5:30 p.m. Wed. Dec. 27, 11 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. Thurs. Dec. 28, 2 & 7 p.m. Fri. Dec. 29, 2 & 5:30 p.m. Sat. Dec. 30. Ends Sat. Jan. 27. SUZANNE BEAL

Cabaret & Variety

The Bedroom Club A show harkening back to the heyday of burlesque, featuring live music, sketch comedy, and dessert—or "Dinner in Bed," too, if you want it. Burning Hearts Burlesque at the Last Supper Club, 124 S. Washington, 898-9067,, $10. 9 p.m. Wed. Open run.

Burlesque Behind the Pink Door Upcoming performers include Babette La Fave and Miss Indigo Blue. 21 and over. The Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 443-3241, $10. 10:30 p.m. Sat. Open run.

Columbia City Cabaret Tamara the Trapeze Lady and her troupe are back with two shows this week. Friday features The Cocktet, Lucky Penny, Ravenna Black, the Titillation Twins, and Michelle Francis; a special New Year's Eve program includes Babette La Fave and a champagne toast at midnight. Columbia City Theatre, 4916 Rainier Ave. S., 206-605-9920. 8 p.m. Fri. Dec. 29, $20; 8:30 p.m. Sun. Dec. 31, $20-$25.

Sinner Saint Burlesque Weekly revue hosted by Mr. Dane Ballard. SSB at Noc Noc, 1516 Second Ave., $5. 10 p.m. Thurs. Open run.

Teatro ZinZanni: The Trickster's Trunk The latest installment of the big-top dinner theater stars actor/singer/dancer Melanie Stace and opera singer Rachel DeShon. Teatro ZinZanni, 2301 Sixth Ave., 802-0015, $114-$160. 6:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat.; special New Year's Eve show $250-$300. Ends Wed. Jan. 31.

Sketches & Stand-Up

Comedy Underground The long-running humor hangout spotlights seasoned pros as well as up-and-comers. Tuesday at 8:30 is Non-Profit Comedy ($10), benefiting a revolving list of causes and institutions. 222 S. Main St., 628-0303,, $6-$15. See Web site for shows and times for New Year's weekend.

Giggles Comedy Club Stand-up comedians and other entertainers. Thurs. at 9 p.m. is a free open-mike night; Sun. at 9 p.m. is a free "Comedy Showcase"; Fri. and Sat. at 8 & 10 p.m. feature headliners. 5220 Roosevelt Way N.E., 526-JOKE, See Web site for specific date, time, and price info for New Year's weekend.

Jet City Improv Funny, fast-paced theater based on audience suggestions, including Cupcake, Fridays at midnight:30, and "Twisted Flicks," bad movies with improvised dialogue. Historic University Theater, 5510 University Ave. N.E., 352-8291, See Web site for New Year's weekend dates and times. Open run.

Laff-Hole! Comedy and music from the People's Republic of Komedy & Seattle Foundry, each Wednesday. Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave., $5. 9 p.m. Wed. Dec. 27 & Jan. 3.

Monkey Pub A night of stand-up with Cathy Sorbo and three members of the People's Republic of Komedy in the "nearly frat-free" atmosphere of The Monkey Pub, 5305 Roosevelt Ave. N.E., 523-6457. 21 and over. $5. 10 p.m. Sat. Dec. 30.

Unexpected Productions Various shows including TheatreSports, competitive improv since 1983, and Market Fresh Improv. Market Theatre, 1428 Post Alley, 587-2414, See Web site for New Year's weekend dates, times, and prices. Open run.

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