Opening. George Bernard Shaw examines, by way of broken homes and love triangles, the question Haddaway just won't quit asking us ("What Is Love?"). Taproot Theatre, 204 N 85th St, 781-9707. $18-$26. Wed at 7:30 pm. Through Oct 25.
* DON'S PARTY
Final week. An updated reworking of Wade Madsen's work of last year. "Don's Party isn't really dance, although it is carefully choreographed--the characters speak in excerpts from Don Quixote, which here read as social platitudes, boastful rationalization, and cocktail chitchat, all the more so because the cast members aren't actually speaking, but lip-syncing themselves. It's darker and more interesting than its kooky surface suggests." (Emily Hall) On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. $7. Fri-Sun at 7:30 and 9 pm, Mon at 8 pm. Through Sept 28.
Opening. Andrew Lloyd Webber's paean to the power of a strict hairdo, Eva Perón's éminence grise. "Don't cry for me, Kirkland Performance Center...." Eastside Musical Theatre at Kirkland Performance Center, 350 Kirkland Ave, 893-9900. $12-$20. Fri-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 and 7 pm. Through Oct 5.
Opening. Vashon-based UMO Ensemble weaves its celebrated circus surrealism with gut-busting themes of human frailty and the violent impulse. Inspired in part by the Columbine massacre. UMO Ensemble at Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 325-6500. $17.50-$19.75. Thurs-Sun at 8 pm. Through Oct 12.
"Adapted by Tom Ansart and directed by Dennis Kleinsmith, The Gamblers, which is based on Dostoyevsky's novel The Gambler, is a very light affair that manages to hold one's attention as it runs, but fails to leave an impression after it's done. " (Charles Mudede) Steeplechase Productions at Liberty Deli, 2722 Alki Ave SW, 935-8420. $14. Fri-Sat at 8 pm. Through Oct 4.
See Stranger Suggests. A bored English housewife, fascinated with the troubled history of Afghanistan, travels to the country and disappears. Completed by Pulitzer/Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner just prior to the World Trade Center attacks. Intiman Playhouse, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900. $27-$42. Thurs-Fri at 7 pm, Sat-Sun at 1 and 7 pm, Tues-Wed at 7 pm. Through Oct 11.
KISS ME KATE
Civic Light Opera begins its 26th season with a new venue and an old-ass musical, Cole Porter's circular love-hate story about a backstage romance. Civic Light Opera at Shoreline Conference Center, 18560 First Ave NE, Shoreline, 363-2809. $20-$30. Fri-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2:30 pm. Through Oct 4.
LEND ME A TENOR
Final week. The Cleveland Grand Opera has a problem on its hands--a big, dead, Italian problem--and the solution? MADCAP COMEDY! "ArtsWest's whole goofy contraption is safe, fun, you-can-bring-Gramma-to-see-it theater, and God bless it. Sometimes you're laughing with it, sometimes you're laughing at it, but, hey, you're laughing." (Adrian Ryan) ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave SW, 938-0963. $10-$24. Wed-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 3 pm. Through Sept 27.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
One of Big Willie's early B-sides, Measure for Measure brings the bard to Vienna for a dark comedy of desires. Seattle Shakespeare Company at Seattle Center House Theater, Seattle Center, 733-8222. $12-$24. Thurs-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm. Through Oct 12.
A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN
Final week. The 1923 classic by four-time Pulitzer winner Eugene O'Neill about a Connecticut family fighting--and blackmailing--to save its farm. "Moon gradually shifts from broad comedy to a deep bitterness. The dialogue is flush with old-fashioned character development, laid out a bit too obviously and leisurely for some audience members." (Bret Fetzer) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. $10-$45. Tues-Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat at 8 pm, with additional matinees Thurs, Sat, and Sun at 2 pm. Through Sept 28.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Andrew Lloyd Webber and the man with the prosthetic face return to Seattle for another round of elaborately orchestrated schlock. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 628-1414. $29-$71.50. Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri at 8 pm, Sat at 2 and 8 pm, Sun at 2 and 7:30 pm, Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm. Through Oct 5.
Bald Faced Lie presents the U.S. premiere of Wes Borg and Darrin Hagen's gay pro-wrestling comedy, featuring local stars John Kaufmann, Josh List, and Shelley Reynolds, directed by Andy Jensen. Bald Faced Lie at Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 323-0388. $12. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm, with additional performance Sun Sept 28 at 8 pm. Through Oct 11.
ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Final week. Despite their commendable attempts to curb the inevitable destruction set to ensue (a bolded "absolutely do not bring" list features the following items: rice, confetti, naked flames, water guns, toilet-paper rolls, bread or toast, Kit Kats), this month will no doubt mark the unfortunate destruction of the 5th Avenue Theatre, as an army of fishnetted fetishists converge to celebrate the old boy-meets-girl, boy-turns-into-girl love story. Featuring John Curley! 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave, 625-1418. $15-$57. Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm. Through Sept 28.
Final week. Last year's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about the complex and taut bond of two criminal siblings. "If the characters were genuinely realized, and not simply props, the ending might be sad, or horrifying, or infuriating; instead, it's emotionally inert. Suzan-Lori Parks' play is essentially just an inescapable ritual of reenactment. " (Bret Fetzer) Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. $10-$46. Tues-Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun at 2 and 7:30 pm. Through Sept 27.
THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE
On a ship bound for the United States in the 1800s, a lone British girl learns a series of invaluable life lessons, including such fun facts as "racism is bad," "squealing is bad," and "attacking the captain is bad." Seattle Children's Theatre, 201 Thomas St, 441-3322. $12-$26. Fri at 7 pm, Sat-Sun at 2 and 5:30 pm. Through Oct 24.
FESTIVALS, CABARET, & COMEDY
* 13TH ANNUAL SEATTLE FRINGE FESTIVAL
See reviews this issue. Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave, 322-2018. For specific shows, venues, and performance times, go to www.seattlefringe.org. Through Oct 1.
THE CABARET OF DR. CALIGARI
One night only. I'm not too sure what a bunch of parlor magicians have to do with Robert Wiene's macabre German expressionist classic of 1919, but tonight's production features the talents of Philemon Vanderbeck and Fredrick Turner. Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave, 441-5823. $10. Sun Sept 28 at 7 pm.
Long-form improvisation, based on audience experiences with unexplained--i.e., spooooooky!--phenomena. Unexpected Productions at Market Theater, Post Alley, 781-9273. $5. Fri-Sat at 8 pm. Through Nov 1.
Opening. Fancy dolls and Tolkien--a match made in heaven? The Northwest Puppet Center presents a puppet performance with the newly reinvigorated residents of Middle-earth. Carter Family Marionettes at Northwest Puppet Center, 9123 15th Ave NE, 523-2579, $7.50. Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun at 1 and 3 pm. Through Oct 26.
DELUXE JOY PILOT
Opening. In his latest audience-interactive dance pieces, Berlin-based choreographer Felix Ruckert sprinkles the audience over chairs and beds scattered about the space, with each audience member playing a vital role in the creation of each evening's dance. If this sounds fascinating, go. If it sounds like torture, trust your gut. Felix Ruckert at On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. $12-$22. Wed-Sun at 8 pm. Through Oct 5.
This week only. Los Angeles Butoh artist Michael Sakamoto performs Fugue in this installment of Intimate Stage, the monthly program that brings challenging dance performance to a living room near you. Dappin' Butoh at a home in Green Lake, 2353 N 64th St, 526-5756. $12. Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 7 pm.
Opening. The Pacific Northwest Ballet premieres in its new digs with the only ballet you've ever seen in your life. No, not the one with the fighting mice. The other one. Pacific Northwest Ballet at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, 292-ARTS. $16-$125. Thurs-Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat at 2 and 7:30 pm. Through Oct 5.
BROADVILLE CARNIVAL at Cafe Venus, 624-4516.
BUBBA AND BITCH at Bar, 322-1788.
CABARET: THE ResERECTION at Coffee Messiah, 861-8233.
* THE HOKUM HALL VARIETY SHOW at Hokum Hall, 937-3613.
JET CITY IMPROV at Historic University Theater, 352-8291.
LATE NIGHT CATECHISM from Seattle Theatre Project at ACT, 292-7676.
QUEER AS A THREE-DOLLAR BILL at the Comedy Underground, 800-992-8499.
TEATRO ZINZANNI 2301 Sixth Ave, 802-0015.