This list is the best of what's coming. Unless somebody dies. Or falls off the stage. Or just has a shitty day. What can we say? Sue us if you don't end up liking this stuff. TRY IT, BITCHEZ.

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Winky

The Satori Group is a bunch of young persons who were making theater in Cincinnati and decided they needed a new city. They took field trips to Austin, Chicago, and a few other places, but settled on Seattle (take that, local defeatists!). Lucky us. They're still young and a little rough around the edges—their maiden Seattle voyage, TRAGEDY: a tragedy by Will Eno, was merely good—but they're ambitious, energetic, and relentlessly interested in new work. Their latest project is Winky, based on a short story by George Saunders. Saunders picks up the torch of sweet, sad American absurdity left behind by Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, and Satori has been working on the adaptation since last year. They found a gigantic room in Pioneer Square for the show and asked avant-­puppeteer Kyle Loven (my dear Lewis) to help them create the stage effects. Promising. March 19–April 5, 619 Western Ave, 909-1725, $15. BRENDAN KILEY

The West

At their best, "Awesome"—a seven-piece, pop-rock-performance-art collective—represent the future of the American musical: moody, poppy, oblique, esoteric, and funny. (Six of their seven members were sketch comedians before they became musical-­theater pioneers.) Their shows Delaware and no­SIGNAL were superficially about mermaids, bees, suicide, more suicide, magical berries, driving in the rain, computers, and ten thousand other things, while being fundamentally about the sweetness, sadness, and stupidity of being an American (and—let's be honest—being a middle-class American male) in the 21st century. Like the best of the West, "Awesome" are iconoclastic, brave, and not ashamed to be populist: The West (about the West) could be the perfect plinth to display their many talents. April 22–25, On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888, $18. BK

Cabaret de Curiosités

I'll just say it and take the haters as they come: "Erotic" performance is an intellectually, aesthetically, and (ironically) erotically impoverished genre where people behave as if being cute/hot is a talent. Spare me your brain-dead burlesque and self-indulgent "sex-positive" slam poetry. But Cabaret de Curiosités—a performance piece starring burlesque dancers Waxie Moon, Inga Ingenue, the Shanghai Pearl, and many others—could make a convert out of me. It's written and directed by Roger Benington, the director who loaned his gale-force intellect and bravery to Washington Ensemble Theatre for its versions of Crave and God's Ear, two of the best productions at that theater. And Cabaret is being designed by Stranger Genius Jennifer Zeyl (also of Crave fame). April 30–May 2, Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, www .seattle­erotic.org. BK

On the Nature of Dust

The first production by New Century Theatre Company—an old play, Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine—sent a shock wave through the Seattle theater world. It was superbly acted (especially by Paul Morgan Stetler and Amy Thone as Mr. and Mrs. Zero), starkly designed in black and white, and the veteran actors of NCTC brought an elegant, understated magnificence to the 1923 script. Now the company is producing its first world premiere, On the Nature of Dust by Stephanie Timm. Her plays (most recently Crumbs Are Also Bread at Washington Ensemble Theatre) are terse and sometimes perverse postmodern fables. Her emotional intelligence plus NCTC's inventive, loving staging should equal excellence. May 5–30, ACT, 700 Union St, 292-7676, $25. BK

The Thin Place

The Seattle theater world has been doing some public soul-searching about its local playwrights and why the big houses seem so disinterested in them—and now comes The Thin Place, by Sonya Schneider, only the second world premiere by a local writer in Intiman's history. The script is based on interviews with Seattle residents: a survivor of the fatal shooting at the Jewish Federation in 2006, a survivor of a reeducation camp in Vietnam, a gay political activist who grew up in South Africa under apartheid, and many others. Whatever the merits of the production, it will (for better or worse) serve as a kind of referendum on local writers in big houses. (No pressure, Sonya.) May 14–June 13, Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900, $25–$61. BK

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Ruined

Ruined, set in a brothel and based on interviews with Congolese women who survived civil war, was built by playwright Lynn Nottage and director Kate Whoriskey. It also won last year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Whoriskey was tapped as successor to Tony Award magnet Bart Sher at the Tony Award–winning Intiman Theatre—this production will serve as a major test of that decision. July 2–Aug 8, Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900, $25–$61. BK