Spring Arts Calendar

A critical listing of selected events.

FEBRUARY 19—March 22 Betrayal One of the great plays by the recently deceased great playwright Harold Pinter, his 1978 autopsy of an affair gone bad is guaranteed to make married couples and adulterers alike squirm in their seats. Cheyenne Casebier, Alex Podulke, and David Christopher Wells star. Seattle Repertory Theatre, www.seattlerep.org. 20—March 1 Take Part in Art ArtsFund presents this first-annual festival. Art lovers and art newbies can attend over 60 events—including theater, dance, music, readings, visual arts, and film—at discounted prices. Various locations, www.takepartinart.org. 23 Andrew Bird This guy's simultaneously folksy, toe-tapping, and often haunting music will always leave you wanting more. And he throws in some serious whistling, too. The Chicago native is touring with a new album, Noble Beast. Moore Theatre, www.themoore.com. 23 Neil DeGrasse Tyson Still mourning the demotion of our beloved ninth planet Pluto? Here's your chance to hurl insults at one of the proponents of its degradation. An astrophysicist, author, and member of the Bush administration's various space-exploration commissions, Tyson has written the lighthearted The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet. Town Hall, www.townhallseattle.org. 26—March 15 Rubble Women This piece of physical theater viscerally explores the strength of women throughout time. Drawing on myth, history, and the Trümmerfrauen, who helped rebuild Germany after World War II, it asks how women cope with seemingly unendurable hardships. Intiman's associate director Sheila Daniels directs. David Smith Furniture Warehouse, www.umo.org. 26—March 28 The Seafarer Playwright Conor McPherson's latest project, about four Irish pals—and a plot-twisting mystery guest—who drink and gamble away the holidays, has gained momentum (and considerable acclaim) since its 2007 stint on Broadway. Seattle Repertory Theatre.MARCH  7—April 3 Nathalie Djurberg As stop-motion animation is slowly squashed by the giant foot of CGI, this Berlin-based artist uses the medium to present fairytale-like short films with a twist. Djurberg lulls her audience into a sense of security before the whimsy turns perverse. She presents four new films. Frye Art Museum, www.fryemuseum.org. 8 Seattle Youth Symphony Three showpieces (by Gershwin, Britten, and Berlioz) from an energetic group that never fails to rise to a challenge. Benaroya Hall, www.syso.org. 10 Tina Dico One of the three sultry singers layering harmonies and touring for Zero 7's second album, When It Falls, this blonde, baby-faced songstress has garnered critical acclaim and a Danish Music Award for her solo efforts. Triple Door, www.thetripledoor.net. 11—15 Moisture Festival This sixth-annual event showcases comedy and amazing physical performance acts. In rapid succession, aerialists, jugglers, comedians, dancers, rope acts, bubble acts, clowns, acrobats, can-can girls, tap dancers, and drill teams pay homage to vaudeville and cabaret. This year offers both family-friendly and adult-oriented programs. ACT Theatre, www.moisturefestival.com. 11—21 The Return of Ulysses Claudio Monteverdi's three surviving operas have been hot properties recently; William Kentridge directs Pacific Operaworks' production, featuring musical direction by Stephen Stubbs and the Handspring Puppet Company of SouthAfrica. Moore Theatre, www.pacificoperaworks.org. 12—29 Elevator Plays In conjunction with Louisville's Specific Gravity Ensemble, Annex brings to Seattle "very short plays for very small spaces." In a Seattle office tower to be announced, audiences will use elevators to shuttle between 30 to 40 plays (running a minute each!), about modern everyday quandaries. Annex Theatre, www.annextheatre.org. 12—April 5 The Merchant of Venice John Langs, who directed one of our favorite plays from last year, The Adding Machine, reorchestrates the Shakespeare classic. Shylock is played by the inestimable Charles Leggett. Seattle Shakespeare Company, www.seattleshakespeare.org. 13 UW Symphony & Choruses Haydn's The Creation, the Age of Enlightenment's musical summit. Meany Hall, www.music.washington.edu. 15—16 Academy of Ancient Music Bach's six dashing Brandenburg Concertos in one concert. You'll probably never hear them played better. Benaroya Hall, www.seattlesymphony.org. 20 Vikram Chandra The Indian novelist (Sacred Games) comes up from Berkeley to join poet Christa Bell, memoirist Jennifer Finney Boylan, and local band the Maldives in a collaborative literary-performance event, My Avatar, presented by Richard Hugo House. Town Hall. 24 Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll's trippy tale gets a makeover from Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann, the creative minds behind the popular Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker. Not for the kids. The Triple Door. 26 Steven Rinella The adventurous food writer previously brought you The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine. Now he'll discuss American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon. Did you know buffalo steaks are very tasty? Pan Pacific Hotel, www.kimricketts.com. 27—April 9 Silent Light One of the most acclaimed art-house movies of last year, Carlos Reygadas' simple dramatization of Mennonite farmers in 1920s Mexico made many critics' 10-best lists. Northwest Film Forum, www.nwfilmforum.org. 29—May 3 Crime and Punishment Yes, it's the same Dostoyevsky production mounted at the Capital Hill Arts Center two years ago, but now on a bigger stage for director Sheila Daniels and stars Hana Lass and Galen Joseph Osier. Intiman Theatre, www.intiman.org.APRIL  2—4 Construct Renowned Australian choreographer Tanja Liedtke spent much of her career dancing with avant-garde British group DV8 before becoming artistic director of Sydney Dance Company. A year later, at age 29, she was hit by a truck and killed. Her final piece of choreography reflects on life and relationships, using three dancers to create a tongue-in-cheek love triangle. On the Boards, www.ontheboards.org. 2—5 Seattle Symphony The premiere of the third in Samuel Jones' series of beguiling and thrilling brass concertos, this one for trombone. Benaroya Hall. 2—May 1 Pop! Pratt instructors present new glass work. Artists include Rebecca Chernow, Carrie Mood, Carlson Potts, Amy Reeves, Morgan Sims, and Cayn Thompson. Tashiro Kaplan Building, www.pratt.org. 2—May 3 Wishful Drinking Princess Leia, aka Carrie Fisher, spills her guts. Contents include drugs, alcohol, celebrity, bad parenting, Paul Simon, self-loathing and, yes, recovery. Seattle Repertory Theatre. 3—September 6 Titus Kaphar The artist copies old canvasses from the 18th and 19th centuries, but then recasts the heroic (white) figures with more diverse, contemporary faces, forcing into question the old colonial narratives of who rules what country. Seattle Art Museum, www.seattleartmuseum.org. 4 SIFF 24-Hour Movie Marathon This fundraiser for SIFF's permanent new location at Seattle Center is hosted by the festival's "fool serious" pass-holders (like "full series," get it?). Participants are asked to gather pledges ($1,000 for full admittance) before enjoying a day's worth of film for a good cause. Harold and Maude has already been announced. King Cat Theater, www.siff.net. 9—May 10 Breaking Hearts and Taking Names NPR commentator Kevin Kling and singer/accordionist Simone Perrin teamed up for last year's acclaimed How? How? How? Why? Why?, about Kling's near-fatal motorcycle accident. Now they're back with a new collection of stories and songs about love. Seattle Repertory Theatre. 9—19 Swan Lake Tchaikovsky's immortal score, choreography by Kent Stowell—the classic that, since its 1877 debut, has inspired tens of thousands of little girls—and not a few little boys—to take dance classes in the hopes of becoming a ballerina. Pacific Northwest Ballet, www.pnb.org. 13 Jonathan Goldstein The NPR contributor and humorist (Lenny Bruce Is Dead) reads from stories in his new collection, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible!, which paraphrases the Old Testament into modern times. University Book Store, www.bookstore.washington.edu. 18 Doug Benson Featured on Last Comic Standing and Best Week Ever, he brings his hyper-irreverent, often extemporaneous stoner comedy to the Emerald City. The Moore. 18—August 2 Ann Lislegaard A Scandinavian artist whose most recent work was inspired by classic science-fiction stories, Lislegaard uses looped digital animation and text in her first U.S. solo exhibition. Sources include J.G. Ballard and Ursula K. Le Guin. Henry Art Gallery, www.henryart.org. 21—May 10 Sunday in the Park With George Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Stephen Sondheim's exquisite, intricate 1984 musical constructs an entire world out of a single canvas by French impressionist painter Georges Seurat. 5th Avenue Theatre, www.5thavenue.org. 25—26 Icono-Clan Spectrum Dance Company has been cranking out exhilarating performances since Donald Byrd took over in 2002. In this latest endeavor, three revered icons of modern dance are celebrated, including Merce Cunningham. The Moore, www.spectrumdance.org. 30 McCabe, McCabe, and Sheppard Not a law firm—three of the Northwest's best pianists tag-team in music by Bernstein and Ravel. Meany Hall.MAY  1—3 Mozart Dances Following last year's L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Mark Morris and company return to Seattle with a stimulating and tender performance featuring the elegant movement and technique for which his choreography is known. Steps are set to Mozart's Piano Concertos No. 11 and 27. The Paramount, www.theparamount.com. 2—16 The Marriage of Figaro Mozart's warmest and most humane comedy (and that's saying something), starring Mariusz Kwiecien, last season's smoldering Don Giovanni. McCaw Hall, www.seattleopera.org. 3—August 16 Jim Henson's Fantastic World The man behind the Muppets, Henson created some of the world's most beloved characters, including Big Bird and Kermit the Frog. The exhibit will feature 100 original artworks, puppets, and television and movie props. I think puppetry is due for a revival, don't you? Experience Music Project, www.empsfm.org. 6—10 Frost/Nixon In this poignant, taut stage piece, a former president tacitly admits his erstwhile mistakes (remember when I said poignant?). Adapted for film last year, Peter Morgan's award-winning play stars Alan Cox and Stacy Keach in place of Michael Sheen and Frank Langella. The Paramount. 11 Music of Remembrance Powerfully moving music from and about the Holocaust, by Betty Olivero, Osvaldo Golijov, and others. Benaroya Recital Hall, www.musicofremembrance.org. 11—13 Flight of the Conchords If you've already worn out your DVDs of the hit HBO comedy, here's a chance to see Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie live (and droll). First two shows sold out; third show added at press time. The Paramount. 12—16 Seattle International Children's Festival It's a fact: all pre-pubescent kids like dance. Why not let them embrace it before they get all self-conscious? This festival highlights some of the most sophisticated dance, theater, and music from around the globe. This year, Belgian group Ontroerend Goed plays with the senses by blindfolding audience members and forcing them to experience performance art without the benefit of sight. Seattle Center, www.seattlecenter.com. 13—17 American String Project Prokofiev, Bernard Herrmann, and more, played by an all-star chamber orchestra. Benaroya Hall, www.theamericanstringproject.org. 13—17 UW Opera Girl loves boy, boy brushes her off, boy changes his mind, girl says "Sorry, too late now. . . " in Tchaikovsky's autumnal, bittersweet Eugene Onegin. Meany Hall. 15—June 17 A Thousand Clowns Herb Gardner's 1963 Tony-winning Broadway debut is dusted off, again raising the dilemma of an iconoclast (and single parent) unwilling to compromise his non-conformity for the sake of love. Sari Ketter (The Diary of Anne Frank) directs. Intiman Theatre. 15—June 15 Titus This liberal adaptation of Shakespeare's gory revenge tragedy explores some of the darkest of human tendencies. Critic S. Clark Hulse once counted them: "14 killings, nine of them on stage, six severed members, one rape (or two or three, depending on how you count), one live burial, one case of insanity, and one of cannibalism—an average of 5.2 atrocities per act, or one for every 97 lines." Washington Ensemble Theater, www.washingtonensemble.org. 16 Fine Art Auction This yearly benefit offers the chance to scoop up some inspired works by Northwest artists and give the local art scene a boost. The 27th annual sale presents over 300 pieces up for silent or live auction and a four-course dinner. Pratt Fine Arts Center. 21—June 14 Seattle International Film Festival The nation's largest film festival enters its 35th year at venues including SIFF Cinema, the Harvard Exit, Pacific Place, and (we hope) the Cinerama. Expect around 200 features and documentaries (some fresh from Cannes and Sundance), visiting directors and stars, repertory programs, industry panels, related musical events, films shot on-the-fly during the fest, and galas on opening and closing nights. Festival packages and tickets packages are already on sale, with great bargains for those who—during our current recession economy—expect to be unemployed during the three weeks of SIFF. SIFF Cinema, www.siff.net. 28—June 7 Dances at a Gathering A groundbreaking ballet when Jerome Robbins created it in 1969, this breathtaking piece is a major PNB acquisition featured alongside Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain and Balanchine's Symphony in C. Emulated countless times by numerous companies, Dances at a Gathering led the way in the development of ballet throughout the 20th century. Pacific Northwest Ballet.

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