OPENING AND CURRENT RUNS

12 MINUTES MAX

Two nights only. The monthly new-work showcase, this edition featuring a dance theater duet performed by Sarah Carlson and Liz Erber in bathrobes and shower caps. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St. Tickets available at the door only, $7. Sun-Mon June 5-6 at 7 pm.

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY

"The set is cool and a little dizzying, with a terrific trick of perspective-and if you're stoned there are moments of high, weird comedy, like when Sarah Rudinoff, as a cupcake-scarfing schoolgirl, strides across the stage holding two cupcakes and screams wildly, 'I LOVE THESE CUPCAKES!' The rest of the cast is equally strong, and so are all the stereotypes their characters reinforce: Mom's in an apron and Dad's in a suit, the teacher is a woman and the dentist is a man. In other words, the whole thing is retrograde and sexist when you think about it. You see this show stoned and all sorts of injustices occur to you. But the googley-eyed kids loved it." (Christopher Frizzelle) Seattle Children's Theatre, 201 Thomas St, 441-3322. $14-$28. Fri at 7 pm, Sat at 11, 2 and 5:30 pm, Sun at 2 and 5:30 pm. Through June 12.

ARTHUR: THE HUNT

"Jeff Berryman's ambitions are not small. Arthur: The Hunt is only the second of the playwright's seven-play cycle about King Arthur. Unfortunately, no one's life-not even Arthur's-has seven distinct, dramatically effective stories in it. At least half of the play consists of long expository scenes about what has been or what's to come, suffocating the story at hand. This talkiness is made worse by the Scots-Welsh hybrid accents that Taproot Theatre has invented, which hamper the actors and test the audience. This could have been a touching romance screwed over by fate; instead, it's a stew of bloated intrigue with an enjoyable garnish of star-crossed love." (Bret Fetzer) Taproot Theatre, 204 N 85th St, 781-9707. $15-$29. Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri at 8 pm, Sat at 2 and 8 pm, Wed at 7:30 pm. Through June 18.

THE AWAKENING

Opening. Book-It's adaptation of the Kate Chopin novel about a woman who discovers both satisfaction and dissatisfaction during a summer vacation on the seashore. Book-It Repertory Theatre at Leo K Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 216-0833. $15-$30. Preview performance Thurs June 2 at 7:30 pm. Opening Fri June 3 at 7:30 pm. Sat at 7:30 pm and Sun at 2 pm. Through June 26.

BACK OF THE THROAT

"In this new play about civil liberties, everything onstage works exceptionally well. But the script isn't nimble enough to avoid tongue-clucking preachiness, and the dead-serious direction exacerbates the situation. Tangential moments-federal agents' insistence that their suspect fill out a customer satisfaction survey grading their 'service,' and other rare, daffy laughs-charm in a way that polemics cannot, but then the characters are quickly tucked back behind their politics, inscrutably outraged and diametrically opposed." (Paul Constant) Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave, 325-6500. $15. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm. Through June 18.

BIG RIVER

Final week. Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing actors perform a movement-based adaptation of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 292-2787. $23-$59. Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri at 8 pm, Sat at 2 and 8 pm, Sun at 1 and 6:30 pm. Through June 5.

DEFENDING THE CAVEMAN

This mid-'90s relic by comedian Rob Becker is about the supposed prehistoric propensities of the two sexes, and is performed by former Portlander Isaac Lamb. There was no excuse for this show then; there's none now. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. $35-$39.50. Thurs-Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat at 5 and 8 pm, Sun at 3 pm. Tickets available through June 12.

DINNER & DREAMS

Ongoing. The summer edition of the rabidly successful dinner-theater/circus hybrid launches this week, with tap dancer Roxanne Butterfly and chanteuse Debbie de Coudreaux. Teatro ZinZanni, 2301 Sixth Ave, 802-0015. $89-$109. Thurs-Sat at 6:30 pm, Sun at 5:30 pm.

ECLIPSE

Opening. A performance work based on the 1911 execution of a female prisoner in Japan. Written and directed by William Satake Blauvelt. Aono Jikken Ensemble at Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave S, 800-838-3006. $12-$15. Preview performance Thurs June 2 at 8 pm. Opening Fri June 3 at 8 pm. Sat-Sun at 8 pm. Through June 12.

EPITAPH

See review this issue. Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse, 7312 W Green Lake Dr N, 524-1300. $12-$20. Thurs-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm. Through June 12.

CIRCUS CONTRAPTION'S GRAND AMERICAN TRAVELING DIME MUSEUM

Opening. A new and improved version of Circus Contraption's one-ring circus, featuring "fauna formations" and dancing girls and aerialists and other curiosities. Magnuson Community Center Auditorium, Magnuson Park, Bldg 47, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Opening Fri June 3 at 8 pm. Sat-Sun at 8 pm. Through July 30.

HOOK THE HOLY HOLLOW

Opening. An experimental play by Roxanne Ray about adolescent sexuality and telephone books. Experimental Theatre Project of White Cat Productions at Chamber Theater, 915 E Pine St, fourth floor, www.brownpapertickets.com. $9-$15. Opening Fri June 3 at 8 pm. Sat at 3 and 8 pm. Through June 18.

recommended HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE

Final week. "What does a reviewer do when the show starts at 7:30 but he thought it started at 8:00-and there's no way into the theater except by walking across the stage? He reclines backstage, staring at the ceiling and feeling like a halfwit, pretending he's listening to a radio play. It was an oddly satisfying way to experience Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, which chews on incest, family, 1960s teen culture, and driving, in that order. Uncle Peck (Lee Morris) has a mellifluous and earnest voice while he convinces Lil' Bit (Jill Snyder) that she 'shouldn't do anything she doesn't want to do.' The production is tender and harrowing at the same time and sounds great from backstage." (Brendan Kiley) Ghost Light Theatricals at Freehold's East Hall Theatre, 1529 10th Ave, second floor, 326-6500. $10-$12. Thurs-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm. Through June 5.

LATE-NIGHT CATECHISM

Support The Stranger

Ongoing. Long-running interactive Catholic-school comedy, in which a nun tells you everything you need to know about your everlasting soul. Cloud 9 Productions at ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. $24.50-$29.50. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 pm.

LOBSTER ALICE

See review this issue. ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave SW, 938-0339. $12-$24. Thurs-Sat at 7:30 pm. Through June 18.

THE MUSIC MAN

Meredith Willson's musical about a scam man and a very clever librarian. Village Theatre, 303 Front St N, Issaquah. 425-392-2202. $26-$42. Thurs-Fri at 8 pm, Sat at 2 and 8 pm, Sun at 2 and 7 pm, Wed at 8 pm. Through June 26 at this location.

MY BOAT TO BAINBRIDGE

Final week. "This one-man show by Matt Smith is an extremely low-key tribute to a middle-aged crisis of heterosexual masculinity. Mainly this tired theme takes the form of a creepy obsession about his pet dog's severed testicles, but there's also a good deal of lame nostalgia for the Seattle of yore, and frequent mimicking of birdcalls." (Annie Wagner) Market Theatre, 1428 Post Alley, 781-9273. $15. Fri at 8 pm. Through June 2.

PIRATES OF PENZANCE

The Gilbert & Sullivan musical comedy, directed by Susanna Wilson and Stan Gill. SecondStory Repertory, 16587 NE 74th St, Redmond Town Center, 425-881-6777. $20-$24. Fri-Sat at 8:15 pm, Sun at 2:15 pm. Through June 18.

QUICKIES, VOLUME 6

Opening. The first show at Live Girls!'s new space is an evening of short plays by Lisa Soland, Lauren D. Yee, Amy Widdowson, Dorothy Lemoult, Regan deVictoria, and Dickey Nesenger. Live Girls! Theater, 2220 NW Market St, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15. Opening Fri June 3 at 8 pm. Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 pm. Through June 26.

REALITY WORLD

Opening. An improvised faux-reality show, wherein you get to vote the actors offstage, and there are no shaky handheld cameras. Jet City Improv at Historic University Theater, 5510 University Way NE, www.ticketwindowonline.com. $8-$10. Preview performance Thurs June 2 at 8 pm. Opening Fri June 3 at 8 pm. Through July 22.

THE RITZ

See review this issue. Open Circle Theater at Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 382-4250. $10-$14. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm. Through June 25.

ROMEO & JULIEN

One weekend only. A adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, set in 1920s Harlem and performed by the Open Circle Youth Ensemble. Open Circle Theater, 429 Boren Ave N. Free. Thurs-Sat June 2-4 at 8 pm, Sun June 5 at 2 pm.

SEX IN SEATTLE, EPISODE 11: THE ULTIMATE DATING CHALLENGE

Opening. The latest in the ongoing Asian-American theater soap opera, The Ultimate Dating Challenge follows Tess (Audrey Fan), Elizabeth (Kathy Hsieh), Shari (Miko Premo), and Jenna (Serin Ngai) on their dating adventures. SIS Productions at Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 325-6500. $8-$12. Opening Fri June 3 at 8 pm. Fri at 10:30 pm, Sat at 8 and 10:30 pm. Through June 25.

STIMULUS

Opening. This experimental, improvised performance promises to "elicit a physiological or psychological response." Kind of like taking a bath or stubbing your toe. Jerk Alert Productions at Freehold's East Hall Theater, 1525 10th Ave, second floor, 755-8726. $7. Opening Sat June 4 at 11 pm. Through June 18.

STUPID KIDS

Opening. A John C. Russell play about suburban high school students, starring Louis Hobson (Miss Saigon), Megan Hill (Laura's Bush), Jeanette Maus (Elephants Are Contagious), and Lathrop Walker (Finer Noble Gases). Adam Greenfield directs. Empty Space Theatre, 3509 Fremont Ave N, 547-7500. $10-$40. Preview performances Fri-Sat June 3-4 at 8 pm, Mon-Tues June 6-7 at 7:30 pm. Opening Wed June 8 at 7:30 pm. Through June 26.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

"It pains me to say it, because I see so few driven, aesthetically unified productions of plays by Shakespeare, but this neat Taming of the Shrew is rotted at its core. No one is ever going to make The Taming of the Shrew into a nice play. And it's really not going to happen with the help of men's movement kook Robert Bly. Seattle Shakespeare Company is reviving its successful (and, bafflingly, celebrated) 2003 production of the play, in which director Stephanie Shine recasts the entire sexist torture session as a moralistic little ceremony that helps boys learn to be men. But The Taming of the Shrew is not an algebra problem to be solved. Its outrageous, offensive excess always spills over the edges of the simple devices meant to contain and excuse it. You'll leave this production unsettled and ashamed-not of Shakespeare or the society that gave rise to his fucked-up genius, but of SSC's pathetic attempts to patch over his sins." Seattle Shakespeare Company at Center House Theatre, Seattle Center, 733-8222. $18-$26. Thurs-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm. Through June 19.

THIS IS NOW... THAT WAS THEN

One night only. A play about the many, many, many challenging issues facing youth, including, but not limited to: war, domestic violence, substance abuse, eating disorders, suicide, sex, hate crimes, depression, gay rights, rape, and divorce. Written and choreographed by Bainbridge High School senior Vince Palazzolo. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave, 842-0622. $15-$30. Fri June 3 at 8 pm.

recommended THE UGLY AMERICAN

See Stranger Suggests. Opening. The hilarious Mike Daisey returns to Seattle with a new monologue about his misadventures in London. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. $30. Preview performances Sat June 4 at 8 pm, Sun June 5 at 8 pm, Tues June 7 at 8 pm. Opening Wed June 8 at 8 pm. Through June 26.

YA GOT TROUBLE!

A workshop production of an original one-man musical about the life of actor Robert Preston (Mark Sparks). Rita Giomi directs. Village Theatre, 120 Front St, Issaquah, 425-392-2202. $16-$20. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 pm, Tues-Wed at 8 pm. Through June 12.

A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD

Final week. The Tony Award-nominated musical is based on the children's books by Arnold Lobel, with music by Robert Reale and book and lyrics by Willie Reale. Seattle Children's Theatre, 201 Thomas St, Seattle Center, 441-3322. $14-$28. Fri at 7 pm, Sat-Sun at 2 and 5:30 pm. Through June 5.

DANCE

COPPELIA

One weekend only. A mime-ballet featuring soloist Evgeny Lushkin. International Ballet Theatre at Meydenbauer Theater, 11100 NE 6th Street, Bellevue, 425-284-0444. $21. Fri June 3 at 7 pm, Sat June 4 at 2 and 7 pm, Sun June 5 at 2 pm.

CORNISH PREPARATORY DANCE PROGRAM

One weekend only. Young students (ages 4-18) present demonstrations of creative movement, classical ballet, pointe, and modern dance. PONCHO Concert Hall, 710 E Roy St. Free. Fri June 3 at 5:30 and 7 pm, Sat June 4 at 3 and 7 pm.

LINESCAPE

Final week. A multidisciplinary program at CoCA, including visual art, performance, and music. This week's event features performers Alan Sutherland, Sheri Brown, and many more. Center on Contemporary Art, 410 Dexter Ave N, 728-1980. $5-$8. Fri-Sat at 8 pm. Through June 4.

NEXT

One weekend only. Amii LeGendre, in an advanced stage in her pregnancy, performs Otherwise Occupied; LAUCH dance theater performs Fermata, a dance piece for six women and six beanbag chairs; Wade Madsen presents a work for 12 dancers entitled Water; and Portland choreographer Emily Stone presents a dance and film work about the color orange. Velocity MainSpace Theater, 915 E Pine, second floor, 325-8773. $10-$15. Fri-Sat June 3-4 at 8 pm.

SILVER LINING

Opening. PNB founding directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell bid you adieu with this encore presentation of Silver Lining, a tribute to musical theater great Jerome Kern. Pacific Northwest Ballet at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, 441-2424. $20-$137. Opening Thurs June 2 at 7:30 pm. Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat at 2 and 7:30 pm, Sun at 1 pm. Through June 11.

CABARET

I SPY MEOW

One night only. Macha Monkey presents a multidisciplinary cabaret, including performance pieces by MC Rachie Rach, Amy Ragsdale, and Christopher Bange; comedy/music from Troy Mink and Orla McGovern; and erotic mime from Kerry Christianson and Jerry Lloyd. Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave, 441-5823. $10. Thurs June 2 at 8 pm.

THE MOBTOWN MOXIE REVUE

One night only. A variety show showcasing the talents, piercings, and bared flesh of Chicago's queer performers. Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St. $8 at the door only (21+ w/ID required). Fri June 3 at 10 pm.

SPIN THE BOTTLE

One night only. The monthly mélange of new material, including dance by Aiko Kinoshita and "scrambled egg comedy" from Patti Feavel. Annex Theatre at Freehold's East Hall Theater, 915 E Pine St, second floor. Tickets at the door, $7. Fri June 3 at 11 pm.

LATE NIGHT

AN EVENING WITH WENDY PEPPERCORN

Opening. A sketch comedy show promising "high-brow and low-bow [sic] humor." Does that mean they can kiss their knees? Garage Band Theatre at Northwest Actors Studio, 1100 E Pike St. Tickets available at the door only, $8. Opening Sat June 4 at 10:30 pm. Through June 25.

IT'S THE WATER

Final week. "Flaming Box of Stuff is more ambitious than your average sketch comedy troupe. Witness It's the Water (a reference to the old Oly beer slogan), an elaborate series of related sketches built around the closing of a brewery and a set of sad-sack employees. Absent the wackiness that autonomous sketches could have sprung on the audience, and without the character development you'd expect from a fully realized comedic play, It's the Water gets mired in dopey jokes and maudlin sentimentality. There is, however, a very funny episode in which people pretend to bears. What does this have to do with beer, you ask? Exactly." (Annie Wagner) Flaming Box of Stuff at Open Circle Theater, 429 Boren Ave N. Tickets available at the door, $8. Fri-Sat at 11 pm. Through June 4.

SWING-IT MIDNIGHT REVUE

A late-night comedy and music show, from the folks at Jet City Improv. Historic University Theater, 5510 University Way NE. $5 at the door (18+ w/ID required). Sat at midnight. No closing date set.

IMPROV & COMEDY

HIGH CONTRAST COMEDY at Comedy Underground, 222 Main St, 628-0303. $6. Tues at 8:30 pm. JET CITY IMPROV at Historic University Theater, 5510 University Way NE, 325-6500. $8-$10. Fri at 10:30 pm, Sat at 8 and 10:30 pm. TODD SAWYER at Comedy Underground, 222 Main St, 628-0303. $6-$12. Thurs at 8:30 pm, Fri-Sat at 8:30 and 10:30 pm. SISTERS OF SAL at Bathhouse Theater, 7312 Green Lake Dr N, 524-1300. $5-$7. Sat June 4 at 10:30 pm. THEATRE-SPORTS at Market Theater, 1428 Post Alley, 781-9273. $8-$10. Fri-Sat at 10:30 pm, Sun at 7 pm.-

SPECIAL EVENTS

ARTSWEST GALA AND AUCTION

One night only. A fundraiser for the multidisciplinary theater and gallery. ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave SW, 938-0963. $75-$85. Sat June 4 at 5:30 pm.

NEW ART PARTY/SILENT AUCTION

One night only. A benefit for Freehold's Diversity Scholarship Program, including performances by Felicia Loud, Alec Stephens III, and more. Freehold Theatre, 1525 10th Ave, 323-7499. $25. Sat June 4 at 8 pm.

PRINCESSES SPOTLIGHT NIGHT

One night only. A preview of the new musical inspired by The Little Princess, presently in development at 5th Ave. 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 5th Ave, 625-1418. Free, tickets recommended. Tues June 7 at 7 pm.

RUMMAGE EXOTICA EXQUISITE TRASH FUNDRAISER

One weekend only. A party and fundraiser benefiting On the Boards. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St. Tickets at the door, $12. Fri June 3 at 6 pm. Sale continues through June 5.

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