by Traci Vogel
ONE WEEK ONLY
A MIRACLE ON 45TH ST · Some Kind of Cult
CLOSING THIS WEEK
COMEDY IN THE KEY OF SKETCH · The Habit
*THE DINA MARTINA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL · On the Boards
THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES · Re-bar
THE FARNDALE AVENUE TOWNSWOMEN'S PRODUCTION OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL · RipTide Deli Theater
*IF ORNAMENTS HAD LIPS · On the Boards
KING LEAR · First Christian Church
THE NUTCRACKER PUPPET BALLET · NW Puppet Center
PSEUDO OMEGA · Annex Theatre
THE SECRET GARDEN · 5th Avenue Theatre
THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK · Theater Schmeater
THE TWILIGHT ZONE LIVE · Theater Schmeater
OPENING AND CURRENT RUNS
ALIENS IN AMERICA
As a monologist, Sandra Tsing Loh has the advantage of having found both an extremely funny and likeable persona and the kind of family-interaction material that is so poignantly hilarious that it nearly makes you cry. Much of this material, including the segment wherein her elderly father searches for a Chinese mail-order bride, has been performed on NPR. Seattle Rep's Leo K. Theater, Seattle Center, 443-2222. Tues-Sun at 7:30, Sat & Sun matinees at 2, through Jan 15. $29/$39.
A gospel play that powers up Langston Hughes' poetry with narration and gospel songs. Back for a second season of popular acclaim, if Black Nativity doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, you might as well end it all now. "The discrepancy between singing and performing has never been more apparent, but when this show sings, it soars; there are moments of ecstatic, tearful joy." (Steve Wiecking) Intiman Theater, 269-19000. Thurs-Sat at 8; Sat-Sun matinees at 2; Sun, Tues, Wed at 7, through Dec 26. $10-$38.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
ACT's yearly production of Charles Dickens' celebration of top-down management returns, with David Pichette and Peter Silbert alternating as Ebenezer Scrooge. "You don't need to see this show, but if you do, it won't hurt too much." (Steve Wiecking) A Contemporary Theater, 700 Union St, 292-7676. Times and days vary, through Dec 26. $12.50-$35.
Unexpected Productions promises a holiday twist in this production described as "a cross between Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane and Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol." With Steven Grenley as Ebenezer Scrooge. Market Theatre, 1428 Post Alley, 781-9273. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7, through Dec 23. $10.
THE COMPLETE MILLENNIUM MUSICAL (ABRIDGED)
"Bad Boys of Abridgement," the Reduced Shakespeare Company take a red pen to 1,000 years of history, treating subjects like the Black Plague to a whimsical musical interpretation. With Reed Martin, John David Pohlhammer, and Taylor Young. Seattle Repertory Theatre, Second Ave & Mercer St, 443-2222. Tues-Sun at 7:30, Sat & Sun 2 pm matinees, through Jan 22. $10-$39.
*THE DINA MARTINA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Journalists often find themselves at a loss when it comes to describing the surreal world of Dina Martina, hostess extraordinaire. With song, dance, stories, special guests, and festive gifts for the lucky, Ms. Martina (performed by Grady West) plies the sweetness out of schizophrenia with the all-important help of her charming and talented daughter, Phoebe. Even if you usually hate holiday shows, you won't want to miss Dina Martina. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. Thurs-Sun at 8, through Dec 19. $15-$18.
THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES
Old fuckdogs never die, they just become "anti-Christmas" comedies. The producer, writer, and cast of the infamous Poona are back with a dark look at the tawdry secrets behind St. Nick's complacent good cheer. Jeff Goode's The Eight has each of Santa's reindeer stepping forward to share "a horrific tale of corruption and perversion," and the terror is preceded each evening by the music and merriment of Kringle's Kabaret, featuring the hysterical Ian Bell as the Big Red One. (Steve Wiecking) Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 323-0388. Thurs-Sun at 8, through Dec 19. $12.
THE FARNDALE AVENUE TOWNSWOMEN'S PRODUCTION OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL
"Seattle's only deli theater," RipTide, presents its annual holiday spoof, in which an all-woman theater guild's version of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol does not turn out quite as expected. Each performance includes a buffet dinner. Liberty Deli, 2722 Alki Ave SW, 405-8433. Thurs-Sun at 6:30, through Dec 19. $22.
*IF ORNAMENTS HAD LIPS
On the Boards scores the other funniest holiday show of the season: Lauren Weedman's emotionally high-strung portrayal of Debraa, who will make you feel as if your relatives are sweet, cuddly bunny rabbits in comparison. Get your tickets now to this "Interpersonal Christmas Hell" (not suitable for children). "Hysterically disturbed, hysterically funny." (Steve Wiecking) On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. Thurs-Sun at 9, through Dec 19. $10/$12.
"Director John Kazanjian's spare staging of King Lear sometimes illuminates the timelessness of Shakespeare's storytelling and sometimes seems as stiff as a board game. Kazanjian wrangles his players with fleet efficiency (though the show's second half wanes some until the bodies start piling up) and, for whatever doesn't work, he surges the evening forward with his clarity of action and respect for the sheer thrill of the tale." (Steve Wiecking) First Christian Church, 632 Broadway, 328-4683. Wed-Thurs at 7:30, Fri-Sat at 8, through Dec 18. $15.
Late Night Catechism
And the nun goes on. This is an evening of audience participation and interactive improv theater: think Sister Windy crossed with Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You. ACT, 700 Union St, 292-7676. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 2, extended for eternity. $24.50-$29.50.
The helicopters throb, the interracial romance throbs, and the music throbs in this melodrama set in Saigon in 1975; a big-budget touring production that's graced our city once before and now returns to draw more fat wallets. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 292-2787. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7:30, Sat-Sun matinees at 2, through Dec 26. $15-$65.
THE NUTCRACKER PUPPET BALLET
The tickets are cheaper than PNB -- and the size of the performers is about the same, too, if you think about how far back you'd be sitting in the real Opera House. Stars from the Carter Family Marionettes present Christmas puppet-style. Northwest Puppet Center, 9123 15th Ave NE, 523-2579. Fri at 7:30, Sat-Sun at 1 & 3, through Dec 19.
*OWEN MEANY'S CHRISTMAS PAGEANT
This John Irving-approved (he actually attended last year's performance) adaptation of A Prayer for Owen Meany returns, bringing to life all the characters from Gravesend, New Hampshire for yet another all-thumbs pageant reenactment. With Stephen Hando as Owen Meany! "Stephen Hando does a perfect job in the difficult title role. The rest of the production is ultimately a mixed bag that is nevertheless a pleasant celebration of Irving's unique heart and language." (Steve Wiecking) Stage One Theatre, on campus of North Seattle Community College, College Way N & N 92nd St, 216-0833. Thurs-Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2, Mon-Wed Dec 20-22 at 8, ends Dec 23. $10-$15.
A PICNIC AT THE EARTH'S MOLTEN CORE
Tamara Paris is Pamela, "a big girl from a small town," who discovers that her artistic self is made up of a number of selves after she slides down a rabbit hole into the dirty worlds of Philly, San Diego, Ohio, and beyond. "Director Burton Curtis and his co-writer Paris respond well to one another, but at times they've muddled their own material. Paris, who is certainly funny, needs an even clearer sense of where her lines pay off -- there's a slight fuzziness between which laughs should be hit and which are funnier when tossed away -- and Curtis has obscured some punchlines with bits of business. But when the two of them are in the same groove, the result is wickedly subtle." (Steve Wiecking) Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 323-0388. Mon at 8, open ended run. $10.
Buffoonery means more than just silly costumes in this epic fable presented by director Stephanie Roberts through storytelling, physical comedy, prophecy, and magic tricks. Not for kids. Annex Theatre, 1916 Fourth Ave, 728-0933. Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7, through Dec 18. $10.
THE SECRET GARDEN
The 5th Avenue Musical Theatre Company presents the sweet story of a young orphan sent to live with her creepy uncle in an apparently haunted Yorkshire mansion, and her outing of the family's secrets with the help of a prescient robin. The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1326 Fifth Ave, 292-ARTS. Through Dec 19, times vary. $19-$50.
SANDERS FAMILY CHRISTMAS
The sentimental Sanders family (Smoke on the Mountain) returns to Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on Christmas Eve, 1941, to send son Dennis off to war armed with a round of festive bluegrass gospel music. Taproot Theatre, 204 N 85th St, 781-9707. Wed-Sat at 8, Sat matinee at 2, through Dec 23. $16-$24.
THE SNOW QUEEN
Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale features talking crows, arrogant flowers, guardian angels, and pesky devils in this holiday adaptation by theater simple. "Full of true theatrical invention, The Snow Queen unfortunately squanders a marvelously game and capable cast on a chilly, metaphorical reading of this engaging children's tale." (Steve Wiecking) UW Ethnic Cultural Theater, 3931 Brooklyn Ave E, 784-8647. Call for dates & times, through Dec 30. $10/$7.
THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK
A dangerous pact in a small town leads two teenagers to the heart of drama, poverty, and friendship. Theater Schmeater presents this Northwest premiere of Naomi Wallace's play. "As playwright Wallace can't decide if she should focus on the psychological, social, economic, or political forces that lead to her tale's tragedy, she just throws everything at us. Along the way, the play's dramatic core gets plowed under by so much cumbersome dialogue and so many megaton metaphors, an industrial-grade backhoe couldn't dig it out." (Tonia Steed) Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave, 324-5801. Thurs-Sat at 8, through Dec 18. $15.
Pacific Northwest Ballet's annual tribute to the decorated food preparation tool, replete with the famous Maurice Sendak sets. Seattle Center Opera House, 292-2787. Thurs-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 5:30, Sat 2 pm matinee, Sun 1 pm matinee, through Dec 28. $16-$77.
FESTIVALS, CABARETS, & COMEDY
THE HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GAME SHOW '99:
Sketch comedy with audience-member participation in a "real" game show (for prizes worth tens of dollars!), with comedian Peggy Platt and others. Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 709-7994. Tues-Sat at 8, Sat & Sun 2 pm matinees, through Dec 26 (no show Dec 25). $17-$19.99.
IMPROSIA: COMEDY OF THE GODS
Performing character-driven scenes based on audience suggestions. Wit's End, 770 N 34th St, 547-2330. Sat at 9:30. $7.
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.
A MIRACLE ON 45TH ST
Sketch comedy troupe Some Kind of Cult brings you some kind of irreverent holiday cheer, performing comedy sketches, songs, and monologues. Stone Soup Theater, 4035 Stone Way N, www.somekindofcult.com. Dec 16 at 8, Dec 17 & 18 at 8 & 10:30. $6.
Five months ago, this show was a true delight, boasting an array of highly accomplished and charming performers and surprisingly decent food. Now, it's a grating mess, with several key performers replaced by charmless, baby-talking howler monkeys and a little less decent food. However, the show still features the utterly amazing Kevin Kent, as well as Ann Wilson and that cute Russian juggler. Seattle Center, 222 Mercer St, 281-7788 ext 700 or 292-ARTS. Thurs-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 6:30, extended through Dec 30. $95.
*THREE DOLLAR BILL
Seattle's original gay/lesbian/bisexual stand-up comedy night is still standing in its second year. Comedy Under-ground, 222 S Main St, 324-8025. Tues at 8. $6.
YE MERRY GENTLEMEN
This year's Seattle Men's Chorus holiday concert features new arrangements of favorites such as O Holy Night, We Need a Little Christmas, and Angels We Have Heard on High, as well as a commissioned Hanukkah song, Over the Skies of Israel, so put on your sparkly shirt and come on down. Benaroya Hall, 323-2992. Dec 18 & 19 at 7; Dec 20 at 8. $12.50-$30.
THE A.M. CABARET
Amoral entertainment for insomniacs; promising naked poetry, music, strippers, and drag queens. You may think you're dreaming. Coffee Messiah, 1554 E Olive Way, 860-7377. Sat from 2-4 am. $5.
COMEDY IN THE KEY OF SKETCH
Sketch comedy full of evil geniuses -- including Andrew Lloyd Webber -- presented by so-talented-they're-addictive the Habit. Union Garage, 1418 10th Ave, 819-6006. Fri-Sat at 11, through Dec 17. $5.
Jet City Improv
Improv comedy and music based on audience suggestions. Ethnic Cultural Theater, 3940 Brooklyn Ave NE, 781-3879. Fri-Sat at 10:30.
Late night improv that promises sketch comedy, local musicians, a full bar, AND free food. Northwest Actors Studio, 1100 E Pike, 324-6328. Sat at 11, through Dec 25. $5.
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.
THE TWILIGHT ZONE LIVE
Theater Schmeater twists The Twilight Zone to further dimensions as it takes on two new episodes: "Night of the Meek," and "Nightmare as a Child." Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave, 324-5801. Fri-Sat at 11, through Dec 18. $8.
RIPTIDE DELI THEATRE
Now holding auditions for Jules Feifer's comedy Hold Me, Mon Jan 3 and Thurs Jan 6 at 7 pm, conference room of West Seattle Library, 2306 42nd Ave SW. No appointment required. For info call 425-644-3685.
SEATTLE POETRY FESTIVAL
The Third Annual Seattle Poetry Festival seeks submissions for individual or group literary performance, literary film or video, multi-media installations, or community-based programs. The event will be held May 2-7 at On the Boards and other venues. For an application, send a SASE to Eleventh Hour Productions, P.O. Box 329, Seattle, WA 98111. Deadline is Jan 12.
THEATER PUGET SOUND GENERAL AUDITIONS
To schedule an audition time, please send a current photo, resume, and SASE to: TPS Auditions, P.O. Box 85824, Seattle, WA 98145. Requests must be postmarked by Dec 31. Please indicate if you wish to sing so you can be scheduled with an accompanist. Auditions will be held Jan 10-13 at Studio 4, Fourth Floor, Seattle Center. For information, call 985-9157.
VIKKI GADGET SAVES THE WORLD
A funny, young, cute guy needed to play the male ingenue; a couple of gals needed who can sing, dance, and say a funny line or two in a rock musical about female superheroes, opening Feb 4 at Re-bar. Please call Linda Santiman to audition: 329-3583.