OPENING THIS WEEKANSWERING SPIRITS • Stage One THE BABY CONTEST WINNER • Odd Duck GRACE AND PATIENCE • Annex KOKOPELLI COMES BACK TO THE PEOPLE • Cornish NORTH STREET • Printer's Devil OH, COWARD! • Seattle Rep SCREAM QUEEN • Annex THE SYRINGA TREE • ACTONE WEEK ONLY12 MINUTES MAX • On The Boards BALLET NACIONAL DE CUBA • Paramount THE THINNEST WOMAN WITH THE FEWEST WRINKLES WINS • On The BoardsCLOSING THIS WEEKTHE HOUSE OF YES • ARO.spaceOPENING AND CURRENT RUNSAH, WILDERNESS!--Eugene O'Neill's classic explores a childhood blurred by nostalgia that comes apart with the discovery of some love letters. An exploration of family relationships set in 1906 which will "look very familiar to the families of today," according to Associate Artistic Director Karen Lund. Featuring Bob Gallaher and Kim Morris. Taproot Theater, 204 N 85th St, 781-9707. Thurs at 7:30, Fri & Sat at 8, through Feb 27. $14-$22.

THE BABY CONTEST WINNER--It's 1976 in Seattle, and Barb and Leo Mulberry's 15-year-old daughter has fallen in love with a black man. The answer, they decide, is to move to the islands. Local playwright/director Katz McMullen takes on a whirlwind of social issues. Odd Duck Studio, 1214 10th Ave, 547-7375. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 2, through March 6. $8-$10.

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE--28-year-old Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's award-winning play finds a Seattle home at the Rep, with Jason Butler Harner, Zoaunne LeRoy, and Marianne Owen. The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a dark internal drama pitting a lonely woman against her aging mother, and is the first in a trilogy set in the rural town of Leenane. Seattle Repertory Theater, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. Tues-Sun at 7:30, Sat & Sun at 2, through Feb 28. $10-$36.

THE BOYFRIEND--The 1920s musical burlesque that launched Julie Andrews, revived by Seattle's Civic Light Opera, with musical direction by Kim Douglass and choreography by Karen Omahen. Jane Addams Theater, Summit School, 11051 34th Ave NE, 363-2809. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 2:30, through March 6. $14-$18.

BURIED CHILD--Cowboy Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-winning play tracks mud all over Illinois, following the collapse of a once-so-innocent farm family torn apart by a secret. Theater Schmeater's performance features Jerry Lloyd, Paetra October, and John Q. Smith. Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave, 324-5801. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun Feb 21 & 28 at 2, through March 6. $12, free under 18.

CAMELOT--"I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight." Lerner and Loewe and swordplay comprise the Fifth Ave's production of the popular Broadway musical based on the King Arthur tale The Once and Future King. Fifth Avenue Theater, 1308 Fifth Ave, 292-ARTS. Tues-Sat at 8, Sun at 7:30, Sat & Sun at 2, through March 7. $19-$48.

*Dina Martina Live!--Dina Martina, Seattle's treasure (though she claims to be from Las Vegas), returns to Re-bar after a year's absence. "Dina Martina is a kind of Frankenstein of kitsch for thirtysomethings--she'd be drag even without the drag. Martina's show is packed with pop references that play to a very specific house. If you're not a Re-bar regular, or if you're not in your 30s (in other words, if you didn't spend your high school years driving around in rusty Dodge Darts listening to groups like Taco and Toto), Dina could seem much more freakish than funny" (Tonia Steed). Re-bar, 1114 Howell (at Boren), 323-0388. Fri-Sun at 8, through March 7, $10. 21 and over.

EDWARD II--Bertolt Brecht's version of the Christopher Marlowe drama dates from his early years, expressing his emerging anti-bourgeois Marxist leanings, lending the play a suitably propagandist edge. Here directed by Elizabeth Eddy with masks and a live instrumental score. Open Circle Theater, 429 Boren Ave N, 382-4250. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7, through March 6. $10/$12.

GRACE AND PATIENCE--Local playwright Jeff Resta (The Diva Classification System) demonstrates nontraditional family values in this tale of Eric "Grace" Kearney (Patrick Rogers), his six-year-old daughter Patience, his boyfriend "Yoz," and their struggle to stay together. Promises "campy humor, dark dreams, heroism, and magic." Annex Theater, 1916 Fourth Ave, 728-0933. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7, Fri Feb 19 (opening night: $15) through Mar 20. $10.

THE HOUSE OF YES--It may be hard to shake the manic theatricality of the movie version, but remember, The House of Yes had a respectable theatrical run before Parker Posey took her shot at it in 1997. A belated Northwest premiere features Barbi Beckett as Jackie-O, Dan Dembiczak as Anthony, and Julie Fogh as Lesly., 925 E Pike, 320-0424. Fri-Sun at 8, through Feb 21. $10. 21 and over.

KEROUAC--Vincent Balestri's long-running one-person "jazz play" about the On the Road author, punctuated by Brian Kent's saxophone, has been leading the neo-beatnik set to Pioneer Square for over two years now. Velvet Elvis Arts Lounge, 107 Occidental Ave S, 624-8477. Thurs-Sun at 8, through March 14. $14-$18.

Late Night Catechism--And the nun goes on. Somebody really likes cute Catholics. This is an evening of audience participation and interactive improv theater: think Sister Windy crossed with Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. First Covenant Church, 400 E Pike, 292-ARTS. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 2, extended for eternity. $24.50-$29.50.

NORTH STREET-- Printer's Devil Theater opens its 1999 season with the world premiere of Aaron Thomas' psychological and linguistic meltdown, North Street, set on the streets of Vermont, where "unemployment and cold weather go hand in hand." Theater Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave S, 860-7163. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7, through March 13. $10.

PLENTY--Currently getting lots of press for his supposedly risqué play The Blue Room, which stars Nicole Kidman and plays on Broadway, David Hare's older play Plenty--also controversial for its time--is being staged by Seattle's Stepping Stone Productions. Directed by Cornish graduate Carmel Baird, and featuring Retha Tinker as Susan, a woman who served passionately in WWII and must now adjust to post-war life. Book-It Repertory Theater, 1219 Westlake Ave N, 217-9767. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7, through Feb 27. $10/$8.

ROMEO & JULIET--The Seattle Shakespeare Festival promises "dangerous swordplay, lavish costumes, and fast-paced action" in their staging of the Bard's teenage-love-gone-bad poison popper. Featuring Emily Grogan as Juliet, Jos Viramontes as Romeo, Hans Altwies as Mercutio, and Peter Jacobs as Capulet. Children's Museum Theater, Center House at Seattle Center, 286-0728. Thurs-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2, through March 7. $18/$10.

SLED--Slipping down from Canada, Judith Thompson's award-winning play centers on "desperate delinquent" Kevin, who, isolated geographically and emotionally, metes out his anger on those who surround him. There is also lounge singing. Penthouse Theater, UW Campus, 543-4880. Tues-Thurs at 7:30, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2, through Feb 28. $7-$8.

THE SYRINGA TREE--Actress/writer Pamela Gien plays over two dozen characters of various ages and backgrounds in this drama-with-a-conscience set in South Africa. Directed by Larry Moss. Bullitt Cabaret, ACT, 700 Union St, 292-7676. Thurs at 7:30, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2, through March 7. $10.

THE THINNEST WOMAN WITH THE FEWEST WRINKLES WINS--A dance/performance/ spectacle that takes the theme of beauty pageants and runs with it, creating categories like "Miss Breast Implants" and "Miss Anorexia." Dixie FunLee Shulman dances "Nude Solo #73," stretching the norms of dance body aesthetic (select nights only). On The Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 2. $15/$17.

WEARING THE EDGES OF BROKEN GLASS SMOOTH WITH YOUR TONGUE--Two one-acts by William R. Cole, following that cursed couple, Adam and Eve, from sin's inception through time's collapse. Theater Babylon asks, "What better way to celebrate the approaching millennium?" Well, we can think of one. Directed by James Venturini. Union Garage, 1418 10th Ave, 720-1942. Thurs-Sat at 8, through March 6. $9.99.

WEST SIDE STORY--The classic Broadway musical takes on new cross-cultural implications at the Northwest Asian American Theater. With choreography by Bengie Santos and musical direction by Gary Fukushima, a noted local jazz artist. Nippon Kan Theater, 628 S Washington, 340-1049. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7, Sat at 2, through Feb 21. $18/$20.

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE--Raymond Carver's spare, resonant stories might be perfectly suited to the stage, rife as they are with psychological tension. Book-It takes on the title story, along with Intimacy and Cathedral. ACT, Greg Fall Thrust Stage, 216-0833. Thurs-Sat at 8, some Sunday matinees, through Feb 28. $10-$13.FESTIVALS, CABARETS, & COMEDY12 MINUTES MAX--The newest edition of this monthly showcase is curated by John Longenbaugh and Llory Wilson, and features Jamie Benson solo-ing, Matt Smith improvising, Kathleen Hunt exotic dancing, Michael Whistler visiting "The Faggot Museum," Troy Mink depriving himself of oxygen, Michele Steinwald dancing alone, and Alianna Jaqua studying love and sunscreen. On The Boards, 101 W Roy St, 217-9888. Sun & Mon Feb 21 & 22 at 7. $5.

CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION--Fifth-generation master puppeteer Yang Feng and his daughter Yang Xie Zheng present the story of the Chinese New Year in this world premiere. Northwest Puppet Center, 9123 15th Ave NE, 523-2579. Fri at 7:30; Sat & Sun at 1 & 3, through March 7. $5.50-$7.50.

THE HAROLD--Unexpected Productions extends performances of its freeform improv jive monologue dialogue audience-participation thing, baby. Market Theater, Post Alley, Pike Place Market. Wed at 8, now through Feb 24. $5.

Julie Cascioppo Experience--Songs and characters you may grow to love. The Pink Door, Pike Place Market, 1919 Post Alley, 443-3241. Tues at 8:30 & 11. No cover.

KOKOPELLI COMES BACK TO THE PEOPLE--Current Cornish faculty member and "renowned clown" Larry Pisoni directs this mystical comedy based on Native American legends of trickster figures Kokopelli and Coyote. PONCHO Concert Hall, 710 E Roy St at Kerry Hall, 726-5066. Sun-Tues at 8 (except Sun Feb 21), through March 2. $5/$3.

OH, COWARD!--A revue of songs and plays by the post-Victorian but prolifically closeted playwright Noël Coward, featuring Joel Carlton (Annie Get Your Gun), Patti Cohenour (The Phantom of the Opera), and David Pichette (Nixon's Nixon). Directed and choreographed by Stephen Terrell. Seattle Repertory Theater, Seattle Center, 443-2222. Tues-Sun at 7:30, Sat & Sun at 2, through April 4. $15-$39.

*TEATRO ZINZANNI--An elaborate blend of European cabaret, theatrical spectacle, music, and five courses of fine cuisine courtesy of chef Monique Barbeau, all packaged in an antique European dance hall imported from Belgium for the occasion. Seattle Center, 222 Mercer St, 281-7788 ext 700 or 292-ARTS. Thurs-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 6:30, extended through April 11. $88.

*ULALUME/WHEN LILACS LAST IN THE DOORYARD BLOOM'D--Following last year's successful private- residence poetry performances, New City Salon presents Edgar Allan Poe's Ulalume, Walt Whitman's When Lilacs Last In the Dooryard Bloom'd, Shakespeare's Sonnets 29, 116, and 129, and T.S. Eliot's Burnt Norton (from the Four Quartets), performed in multiple environments with maximum audiences of 20 people. "Although the New City's selections beg a few interesting questions (such as why three young women would opt to read four old men to us), the evening is still very worthwhile... imbued with subtle, simple pleasures: warm rooms, coffee with cream, and the vibrant sound of live voices curling and rolling over fine, fine words" (Tonia Steed). Call for location, 328-4683. Thurs-Sat at 8, through March 6. $12.DANCEBALLET NACIONAL DE CUBA--See Calendar Box. Paramount, 911 Pine St, 812-1114. Fri & Sat at 8, this week only. $28.50-$46.LATE NIGHTJet City Improv--Improv comedy and music based on audience suggestions. Ethnic Cultural Theater, 3940 Brooklyn Ave NE, 781-3879. Fri & Sat at 10:30.

SCREAM QUEEN--The talented Bret Fetzer brings more darkness to late-night in this one-act black comedy featuring Lyssa Browne as Dotty Parker, a B-movie star who hurls herself from sexploitation to lesbian vampirism. Annex Theater, 1916 Fourth Ave, 728-0933. Fri & Sat at 11, through March 19. $5.

Theater Sports--Improv comedy with a competitive edge, brought to you by Unexpected Productions. Market Theater, 1428 Post Alley, 781-9273. Fri & Sat at 10:30, $9; Sun at 7, $5.

THEATER SCHMEATER--The seventh season of Theater Schmeater finds them back in The Twilight Zone, Live on Stage, with two classic episodes: "The Jeopardy Room," written by Rod Serling, and "Perchance to Dream," written by Charles Beaumont. Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave (between Pike & Pine), 324-5801. Fri & Sat at 11, through March 6. $8; 18 and under free.

THEATER on the Spot--A new sketch comedy show, with audience participation, featuring the Wheel of Improv. Belltown Theater Center, 115 Blanchard St, 728-7609. Sat at 11. $6.CALLS16 MM SHORT--Actors needed: male, age 21-35; female, age 50+. Call 324-0010 ext 235 for place and time of auditions.

ANNEX THEATER--Call for playwrights to participate in Hothouse '99, a creative workshop hosting writers in residence, May 16-30. Works will be performed on the Annex Mainstage. Call 728-8081 for application guidelines and information.

BELLEVUE OPERA--Seeking singers in all voice categories for chorus and some principal roles, for an upcoming production of The Isle of Tutuila. Call 425- 454-1906 for information and appointment.

DRAMA DOCK--Vashon Island's community theater holds auditions for Wait Until Dark, a mystery by Frederick Knott, on Sat Feb 20, 1-3 pm, and Sun Feb 21, 3-5 pm, at the Vashon Lutheran Church, 18623 Vashon Hwy SW, 463-9640. Male and female roles available.

GREENSTAGE--Now accepting directors' proposals for summer production of Timon of Athens. Deadline is March 5. Call 748-1551 for info.

INTIMAN/ACT/FREEHOLD JOURNEYMAN PROGRAM--Now accepting applications for 16-week intensive mentorship session starting in Sept '99, with a stipend of $3,000. Contact Cyndi Pock, Program Administrator, 624-3570. Deadline is March 20.

MOONLIGHT THEATER CO--Holding auditions for spring production of The Miss Firecracker Contest. Need one woman (25-30) and one man (30-50). Call Teri Mathews at 367-2174.

NEW SAVOY OPERA--Looking for male and female chorus members for March production of Gilbert & Sullivan's comic operetta Yeoman of the Guard. Call 526-4969 for info.

VELOCITY--Submissions now being accepted for Works in Progress Series (March 13-23), showcasing new performance/choreography. Applications due Feb 19 and April 23. Call Helene Lesterline at 325-8773 for application.