THE LION KING
"The show is less a musical than a sublime, mobile diorama--a parade of stunning human-puppet hybrids. From the zebras (with the massive thighs of male ballet dancers and lithe, freely jointed puppet hindquarters) to the giraffes (two sets of knobby stilts attached to the actor's arms and legs, plus a towering neck that defies gravitational intuition to swoop down and drink from a watering hole), every one of these creations is a lure for the eye. " (Annie Wagner) Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 292-2787. $22.50-$125. Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri at 8 pm, Sat at 2 and 8 pm, Sun at 1 and 6:30 pm, Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm. Through Jan 16.
"In the by-the-numbers first act, Suzanne Bouchard manages to drain the remaining color from an already beige character and Mark Anders, indicating his character's sleep deprivation, stalks around like a zombie. All of this is unfortunate and probably director Richard Seyd is to blame, but the staged chaos of the second act is splendid, so I'll forgive him. " (Annie Wagner) Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, Seattle Center, 443-2222. $10-$46. Thurs at 7:30 pm. New Year's Eve Bash following performance, Fri Dec 31 at 7:30 pm. Sun at 2 pm, Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm. Through Jan 15.
PHANTOM OF THE STARDUST
Final week. Swing-dancing ghosts at the State Theater, 202 Fourth Ave E, Olympia, 360-786-0151. $28-$33. Thurs at 8 pm, Fri at 7 pm, Sat at 8 pm. Through Jan 1.
A RADIOLAND CHRISTMAS
Final week. "I would have preferred a sermon to the awful, cross-eyed compromise on display here. A couple of Christian platitudes are smuggled into the dialogue of a fourth-grader, but mostly the playwright seems to think that the holiday spirit is best communicated through slapstick, product placement, and idiotic peroxide blondes. " (Annie Wagner) Taproot Theatre, 204 N 85th St, 781-9707. $17-$29. Thurs at 7:30 pm. Through Dec 30.
THE SECRET GARDEN
"The first few scenes, pitting obstinate little Mary Lennox (a bracing Sharia Pierce) against the dank, dark, Gothic habit of shutting fears and passions up in closets and cloisters, were wonderfully sinister. But as much as you might sympathize with the conciliatory efforts of Mary's truth squad, the good cheer she unveils and the secrets she unlocks are bound to disappoint. " (Annie Wagner) Seattle Children's Theatre, 201 Thomas St, Seattle Center, 441-3322. $14-$28. Sun at 2 and 5:30 pm. Through Jan 8.
IMPROV, CABARET, & COMEDY
THE DINA MARTINA CHRISTMAS SHOW
Final week. "Dina's latest is a stripped-down affair--no films or Phoebe, just a lady and her pianist and a spotlight, all used to maximum effect. Rock standards are molested into new holiday classics, gifts are bestowed, and malapropisms are strewn like confetti. But the highlights come from Dina's letters to God, heartfelt prayers to our Lord performed in a spotlight and rambling into territories beyond the scope of even the Old Testament. Brilliant, as ever." (David Schmader) Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 323-0388. $18. Thurs-Fri at 8 pm. Through Dec 31.
JET CITY IMPROV NEW YEAR'S EXTRAVAGANZA
One night only. A three-hour improv show culminating in a champagne toast. Historic University Theater, 5510 University Way NE, 325-6500. $39 (per person) to $65 (per couple). Fri Dec 31, 9 pm-midnight.
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.
MUSICA VITAE! CABARET at Century Ballroom, 325-6500.
TEATRO ZINZANNI at 2301 Sixth Ave, 802-0015.