Fall Arts: Many Candles on the Cake

This is a year of birthdays and anniversaries among Seattle art institutions. The Frye turns 60, and it celebrated with a summer makeover. Pacific Northwest Ballet has aged gracefully to 40, as our critic Sandra Kurtz considers in the pages ahead. Seattle Repertory Theatre opens its 50th season with a local playwright's new work, which our Margaret Friedman also explores. Intiman Theatre would've been marking its 40th birthday, only there's no fall season to celebrate. Its reduced future looks to be as a summer festival, and its old Seattle Center home (previously the Rep's) will likely become a Cornish/rental facility. Faring better, nearly 50, ACT Theatre is staging a new one-man show whose star tells us about the Vietnamese immigrant experience. Meanwhile, mighty SAM eases toward its ninth decade with more secure funding (its old WaMu office space has been leased) and an incoming new director. Its big fall Elles show—a traveling exhibit from France—may be safe, but safe sells tickets. (And you can be sure there'll be a lavish gift shop.) At the opposite end of the spectrum, Sean Axmaker explains how the 42-year-old Grand Illusion Cinema survives as a nonprofit where no one gets paid and popcorn sales are crucial to the bottom line. The biggest birthday of the season belongs to onetime Cornish faculty member John Cage, whose centennial is being marked by several concerts; Gavin Borchert talks to his devotees and examines his legacy beyond music. Lastly, this is the 60th year since the death of pioneering Northwest photographer Edward S. Curtis, and Timothy Egan tells us all about the man in his new biography. 

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