Below, we've rounded up all of our critics' performance picks for the season, including Ahamefule Oluo’s new jazz musical, a comedy set by Demetri Martin, Ligia Lewis’s dark dances, and an appearance by mean queen Bianca Del Rio. Plus, find a complete list of theater, dance, and comedy events in Seattle this fall on our EverOut Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance.

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Sept 11–Oct 6

Everything Is Illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer's semi-autobiographical first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, about a man (also named Jonathan Safran Foer) who travels to Ukraine to try to track down the details of his Jewish ancestry, is one of the most brilliant and celebrated novels of the last 20 years. Much of it is narrated by a translator who shows Jonathan around and gets many English words wrong, hilariously. The language of the book is key, and Book-It adaptations always emphasize the language of the original text in a way that other dramatic treatments (and the movie) don't. CF (Book-It Repertory Theatre, $26—$50)

Sept 20–Oct 5

We Go Mad Playwright Amy Escobar (Scary Mary and the Nightmares Nine) is back with a frightening haunted-house play incorporating bunraku, shadow play, and "object manipulation" into a story about a woman investigating the estate she's inherited. (18th & Union, $15—$28)

Sept 20–Oct 26

Indecent Paula Vogel's Tony-winning play is based on the true story of Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance, a 1906 Yiddish-language play about a pious Orthodox Jewish family man who also owns a brothel, and whose daughter falls in love with one of the sex workers. Vogel dramatizes the scandal surrounding the 26-year-old playwright, his cast, and his queer masterpiece. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, $17—$82)

Through Mon Sept 23

Is God Is WET kicks off their season with the West Coast premiere of this sci-fi Afro-punk revenge play about two sisters en route to kill their father, presented with support from the Hansberry Project and directed by Portland's Lava Alapai. In 2016, playwright and spoken word artist Aleshea Harris won the biggest prize in American theater for the show, which debuted at the Soho Rep and extended its run twice. I can't think of anything more WET than opening the 2019/2020 season with a gory, gutsy work about two women taking down a literal patriarch with the power of pure scorn. Sounds pretty cathartic in the context of this hell world. RS (12th Avenue Arts, $25)

Sept 26–Oct 20

Sunset Baby A young woman and her estranged father, a veteran of the Black liberation movement, clash over the hurts of their past in this drama by Steinberg and Obie Award-winning Detroit playwright Dominique Morisseau. (ArtsWest, $42)

Through Sun Sept 29

People of the Book When a soldier returns home from war and writes a memoir about his experiences, another friend of his—a poet—feels pangs of resentment. And also suspicion. Is the memoir about the soldier's heroics factually accurate? And there are other jealousies swirling around. The poet's wife is someone the soldier used to have a big crush on, and may still have a crush on. Does she have feelings for him, too? Truth, infidelity, artistic jealousy, and sexual tension come together in this powerful and concise new play by Yussef El Guindi, a phenomenal writer and the winner of a Stranger Genius Award. CF (ACT Theatre, $27—$47)

Through Sun Oct 6

Blood Water Paint Artemisia Gentileschi was a remarkable painter in 17th-century Italy—but today she's known almost as much for her determination to bring her rapist to justice as for her artistic genius. She's a perfect subject for female-focused Macha Theater. Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough-Carranza recounts her career through her interactions with other women, including her models and her own daughter, as well as the trial for which she's famous. (12th Avenue Arts, 8 pm, $10—$30)

Oct 10–14 & 17–19

Overcoming Welcome an exciting new womxn-focused playwrighting festival with fresh plays by Keiko Green (who wrote the well-regarded Bunnies and Nadeshiko), Emily Conbere, Anuhea Brown, and others. Go for free on opening night! (18th & Union, 7:30 pm, $15—$25)

Oct 15–Nov 10

The Tempest Accomplished director Annie Lareau (Cornish College of the Arts's Much Ado About Nothing, many Seattle Public Theater productions), will tackle Shakespeare's fantastical final work about an island wizard, his hot daughter, his nonhuman slaves, and his princely prisoner. (Center Theatre, $50)

Oct 17–Nov 16

The Thanksgiving Play Lakota playwright Larissa FastHorse's comedy addresses the cognitive dissonance that results when "terminally 'woke'" Americans try to square the colonial ideology behind Thanksgiving with the reality of genocide against Native people. When teaching artists try to stage a Thanksgiving pageant, they end up wrestling with their white guilt. Of the play's opening run at Playwrights Horizons, New York Times critic Jesse Green wrote: "Ms. FastHorse [...] is aiming for a takedown of American mythology — white American mythology, that is. The national narcissism, bordering on sociopathy, that could turn theft and genocide into a feel-good feast is her play's point of entry." (Seattle Public Theater)

Oct 18–Nov 17

Dracula It's a new take on the bloody and darkly sexy tale by Seattle's own Steven Dietz! He promises a new spin on the endlessly filmed, adapted, and re-adapted 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, and it sounds like a perfect Halloween treat. (ACT Theatre, $27—$87)

Nov 8–24

Frost/Nixon Forty-five million people watched the first episode of a five-part interview David Frost conducted with former president Richard Nixon in 1977, three years after Nixon left office in disgrace. It is still the most widely viewed political interview in world history. Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon reminds us of the era when politics first became something that happens on TV. Sadly, you watch it knowing that Trump will never offer us the consolations Nixon did. Nixon admitted wrongdoing and apologized. We'll get none of that from Trump, no matter what. Frost/Nixon under Trump thus serves as a way to measure how far down the dark pit our democracy has descended. RS (Second Story Repertory, $29/$30)

Nov 15–17

Sweet William with Michael Pennington Michael Pennington will kick off the first part of Seattle Shakespeare's The World's a Stage series, which will be continued later in the year by fellow actors Lisa Wolpe and Stephen Wofert. Pennington has spent 40 years on the stage, including with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and the English Shakespeare Company. (He also played Moff Jerjerrod in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.) In this one-man show, he'll pay tribute to one of the greatest innovators of the English language by melding Shakespearean text with tales of the Bard's life and his own experiences. (Taproot Theatre, $30—$35)

Nov 22–Dec 8

Dice: Pride & Prejudice Eight actors have memorized the entire script of an original adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. At this performance, presented by immersive/experimental theater company Dacha, an audience member will roll the dice and decide who will play which character. When Dacha gave Shakespeare's Twelfth Night the same treatment in 2017, former Arts Calendar Editor Julia Raban wrote: "Based on the premise, you might expect a harried and unfinished production, but this show does not follow the rules of logic. There's beautiful blocking and choreography, constant and clever improvisation." (TBA location, pay what you can/$15/$25)

Nov 29–Dec 28

A Christmas Carol ACT Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol is a dependable, simple pleasure, with just enough variation to warrant returning year after year. Kelly Kitchens will direct. (ACT Theatre, $37—$75)

Dec 5–8

Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan Following up on his well-received stand-up comedy show and jazz musical, Now I'm Fine, Ahamefule J. Oluo is back with a new one about his mother, Susan. Oluo's Nigerian father left his white, Midwestern mother with a couple of kids to raise. Oluo investigates that part of his past, and tells the story of his travels to Nigeria, the home his father left the family for. The New York Times praised Oluo for his "ingratiatingly self-deprecating manner," his facility with several storytelling modes, and his seemingly effortless skill as a conductor and musician. Expect all that and a little more polish in this new piece. RS (On the Boards, $10—$75)

Children's Theater

Sept 26–Oct 27

Black Beauty As a kid, my two favorite pastimes were reading and horseback riding. Which means that I was a voracious consumer of all things related to horses, including the poignant classic, Black Beauty. It's told from the eponymous horse's point of view and is about his life—from his early years as a colt on an English farm, to his life of servitude pulling cabs in London, to his retirement in the country—and recounts all the highs and lows he endures, cruelty and loving care included. Themes of animal welfare, and treating people and animals with kindness, sympathy, and respect are threaded throughout, so it seems appropriate that the stage adaptation by James Still is being produced by Seattle Children's Theater, which is renowned for its high-production-value presentations. My guess is this one—which will feature large-scale puppetry, live music, and a multi-generational cast—will be no different. LP (Seattle Children's Theatre, $20+)

Musical Theater

Through Sun Sept 22

Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Temple of the Doomed Ark Sketch writers from the Habit plus collaborators Jeff Schell and Ryan Dobosh take aim at all three Indiana Jones movies in this musical parody, smashing the second and third into a silly, song-filled version of the first. The producers say, "Indy Jones dutifully denies that the Crystal Skull ever even happened." The show is directed by Mark Siano, who had a big hit with local theater production Bohemia last year. (Seattle Public Theater, $26/$32)

Sept 29, Oct 3–10, Nov 10

Bon Appétit! The Julia Child Operetta Strolling through the Smithsonian Museum one afternoon, I stumbled upon a full replica of Julia Child's kitchen. I walked in because I had recently finished watching some classic episodes of The French Chef, including her infamous lobster show. "You have to cut him right here," Child says as she sticks her knife into the lobster's neck, "where all of his brains and hearts and feelings are." Genius. Anyway, in the Smithsonian exhibit, I saw a picture of Child bent over a counter in a small French kitchen. On the placard next to the photo was a quote from the famously tall chef: "When I get my own kitchen, I'm going to build the counters up to my waist. I'm through with this French pygmy bullshit!" If you haven't figured it out yet, Child is one of the greatest and funniest people ever to wield an eight-inch knife. In this light opera, a shade of the chef will crack you up while also making you a giant cake, which I am told will be made with Theo Chocolate. The slice of cake is included in the ticket price. RS (Rendezvous, 8 pm, $28)

Oct 4–27

Austen's Pride: A New Musical of 'Pride and Prejudice' This brand-new musical by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs brings us into the life and mind of Jane Austen as she writes Pride and Prejudice. Look forward to a singing Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and other beloved characters. (The 5th Avenue Theatre, $159—$29)

Mon Oct 7

The Simon & Garfunkel Story Relive the history of artsy folk-rockers Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel in this musical. (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $28—$87)

Oct 18–Nov 3

In the Heights Chase Burns has written: "Every decade, a musical comes around that reminds the general public that musicals can be popular, cool, and mainstream. The '10s had Hamilton. But before Lin-Manuel Miranda became a household name for creating Hamilton, he was snatching up trophies and accolades for his other hugely popular musical, In the Heights." See youth actors take up the tunes. (Everett Performing Arts Center, $15—$20)

Sun Oct 27

Todrick: Haus Party Tour The dreamy young choreographer, singer, dancer, actor, and RuPaul's Drag Race guest judge Todrick Hall is swinging back through town with an all-new production of singing and dancing. As you know if you've seen the documentary about his life, Behind the Curtain, Hall grew up in Texas and had the good fortune to have a mother who drove him an hour and a half each way to dance classes. As an adult, he got to star in Kinky Boots on Broadway. And did I mention he's pals with RuPaul? CF (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $35—$151)

Nov 26–Dec 29

Mrs. Doubtfire Shrek the Musical is being replaced by a musical theater adaptation of the 1993 Robin Williams vehicle about a divorced father who disguises himself as a frumpy British nanny to get close to his children. (The 5th Avenue Theatre, $29—$169)

Nov 29–Dec 29

A Very Die Hard Christmas Marxiano Productions will restage last year's hit holiday musical from a script by the top-notch sketch comedy outfit the Habit (plus Jeff Schell), which peppers the rip-roaring action with songs, jokes, and more. (Seattle Public Theater, 7 pm, $26—$36)


Sept 18–21

Choreographic Shindig V Whim W’Him kicks off their fall season the way they have for the last four years—with a sort of opposite day where dancers choose the choreographer with whom they want to work. This year, we've got Montreal-based Kyra Jean Green, who directs Trip the Light Fantastic, a group that seeks to "uncover the truth beneath the surface of human perception" through dance. Sam Houston State University assistant professor of dance Joshua Manculich and Yoshito Sakuraba, who runs Abarukas dance company, will also work with Whim W’Him's dancers to create brand-new works of contemporary dance and structured improv. RS (Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 8 pm, $35)

Sept 19–22

Ligia Lewis: Water Will (in Melody) Witness the final act of a triptych from Ligia Lewis, a Dominican American choreographer based in Germany who, earlier this year, impressed the hell out of Seattle with the first two parts of that triptych, Sorrow Swag and minor matter. A reviewer for Bachtrack called Water Will (in Melody) "a gory fairy tale on human behaviours gone wild," and that's what all the press videos look like. Dancers, covered in black or clear vinyl, strewn across the floor like broken puppets and talking like records played backwards, all while lighting tricks make them disappear and reappear. This is about as goth as contemporary dance gets. RS (On the Boards, $10—$75)

Sept 20–21

Randy Ford: Queen Street In a review of the best performances of 2018, Rich Smith singled out Randy Ford of the dance group Au Collective for high praise: "I have said it before and I will say it again: to those who make decisions about grant funding, please give Randy Ford the money so she can just do her thing for a while." With Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, Ford is organizing a showcase for queer, trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming dancers and movement artists of color. Come for the celebration of intersectional creativity and physical prowess. (Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, $10/$20)

Sept 26–29

Cherdonna's BIRTH-O-RAMA In the words of The Stranger's digital editor, Chase Burns: "Cherdonna Shinatra is a drag performer, dancer, choreographer, and generally fun lunatic. Her drag shtick is that she's a woman playing a man playing a woman, which used to be a radical idea but has now become pretty run-of-the-mill. Which is great! That said, Cherdonna is more than a woman playing a man playing a woman, she's a performance artist dedicated to interrogating how the female body is consumed by the male gaze/gays." In this show, Cherdonna and her three "Donna" dancers will use their wild and weird performance art to subvert ideas about aging and time. (Re-bar, $20)

Sept 27–Oct 6

Carmina Burana/Agon PNB kicks off its 47th season by hanging a 26-foot-long, 2,500-pound golden wheel from the ceiling for founding artistic director Kent Stowell's Carmina Burana, a ballet based on a 13th century medieval poem written by a bunch of saucy Catholic clerics. As a choir belts out one of the most dramatic—if not most played—pieces of classical music, "O Fortuna," more than 100 dancers do their thing beneath the wheel of fortune, embodying fate's random mood swings. PNB pairs this epic dance with George Balanchine's Agon, which Balanchine himself called "the quintessential contemporary ballet," according to press materials. RS (McCaw Hall, $30—$190)

Oct 4–5

Kate Wallich + the YC with Perfume Genius: The Sun Still Burns Here The Sun Still Burns Here is a new live album by Perfume Genius (aka Mike Hadreas) in the form of a Kate Wallich + the YC performance. It's a perfect fusion of Wallich's cold-blooded rituals and Perfume Genius's pathos-drenched chamber pop, and it's like nothing the two artists have ever done before. In an interview, Alan Wyffels, Hadreas's longtime partner, said the show is "basically a re-enactment of the video for 'I'm a Slave 4 U' by Britney Spears." He meant it as a joke, but it's not too far off. The show includes a dance that's essentially a fully clothed orgy, constant references to the divine and submission to a higher power, and the whole thing owes a huge debt to Janet Jackson circa "Rhythm Nation." So the question really is, how is it NOT a re-enactment of "I'm a Slave 4 U"? RS (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $33—$63)

Men in Dance Adjudicated Choreographer Showcase Men dancers at the highest levels of artistry will enliven modern, contemporary, urban, jazz, and ballet genres. The choreographers this year all hail from or have ties to Seattle—Daniel Ojeda of Ballet Idaho, prolific local Beth Terwilleger (seen at 12 Minutes Max and Converge Dance Festival), Elise Meiners Schwicht (SALT II Contemporary Company, Converge), Nahshon Marden (Sensible Theatre Company, the Equalux Fundraiser), and Joel Hathaway (performer and choreographer for the Missouri Contemporary Ballet company). (Velocity Dance Center, $20—$35)

Oct 17–19

Sankai Juku According to critics around the world, Sankai Juku represents the pinnacle of butoh, a modern form of Japanese dance emphasizing the grotesque. Choreographer Ushio Amagatsu has worked with the prestigious Théâtre de la Ville in Paris since 1982 to develop new dance pieces about once every two years. The latest of these, Meguri: Teeming Sea, Tranquil Land, will come to Seattle, bringing its "poetic meditation on the passage of time as symbolized by the circulation of water and the seasonal transformation of the earth." (Meany Center for the Performing Arts, 8 pm, $61/$69)

Nov 4–6

Savion Glover Leilani Polk has called Tony winner Savion Glover "the modern-day boundary-pushing equivalent of Fred Astaire" and "a leader and innovator in tap dance who has both performance and choreographic chops." Don't miss your chance to be in the company of his extraordinary feet. (Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, $50)

Nov 8–17

Locally Sourced Three local choreographers will present three brand new works for PNB, all of which pique my curiosity for different reasons. Tony-nominated choreographer Donald Byrd often uses dance to examine acts of violence levied against minorities, so it'll be interesting to see how music by Emmanuel Witzthum, who creates these warm, morning light compositions, works into his vision. Bellevue-based choreographer Eva Stone, who produces the CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work festival, will have a new piece called F O I L. She often challenges assumptions about gender in her work, and her recent collaboration with Au Collective at PNB & SAM's Sculptured Dance ruled. And PNB corps member Miles Pertl makes his choreographic debut with music from Stranger Genius nominee Jherek Bischoff, whose soaring indie compositions always make me feel better about life. RS (McCaw Hall, $30—$190)

Nov 14–16

Pilobolus: Come to Your Senses Pilobolus is a live pop science magazine that depicts science-related narratives through dance. For Come to Your Senses, they've collaborated with Radiolab and MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, plus Song Exploder podcast host Thao Nguyen, to craft choreography based on the origins of life, humanity's place on Earth, and "the beauty and strength of human connection." The UW Chamber Singers will accompany the multimedia performance with a live score. (Meany Center for the Performing Arts, $61/$69)

Fri Nov 15

Global Party A performance celebrating the diversity of the Seattle community with music and dancing from various cultures. (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm)

Nov 16–17

The Hip Hop Nutcracker This reinterpretation of the beloved ballet swaps out imperial Russia for 1980s Brooklyn as little Maria-Clara travels back in time to her parents' first meeting at a nightclub. It's acted out by a dozen hip-hop dancers, a DJ, and an onstage electric violinist. (Paramount Theatre)

Tues Nov 19

Jon Boogz and Lil Buck (MAI): Love Heals All Wounds Choreographer-dancers John Boogz and Lil Buck will perform a piece, created through the Movement Art Is program, that responds to social crises while extolling diversity and empathy. If you've had your head stuck in the news lately and are feeling pent-up despair and rage, this sounds like a good remedy. (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm)

Nov 21–23

Showing Out: Black Choreographers Part I The Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas' showcase of contemporary black choreographers and dancers, highlighting themes of black and queer experience, returns. Last year's roster boasted such notables as TAQUEET$ and Randy Ford, so we're excited to see who's up this year. (Location to be announced)

Tues Nov 26

So You Think You Can Dance Live! Watch So You Think You Can Dance's Top 10 finalists when they swing through Seattle on their national tour. (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $37—$87+)

Nov 29–Dec 28

George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker' If you haven't seen this Christmas classic since you were a kid, give it a go this year. In 2014, Pacific Northwest Ballet replaced its beloved Maurice Sendak set with one by Ian Falconer, who did the Olivia the Pig books, and I'm glad that they did. The new set is gorgeous in a Wes Anderson-like way, and it reflects the genuine weirdness and beauty in the story. I mean, the last 45 minutes of this thing is a Katy Perry video starring dancing desserts and a glittery peacock that moves like a sexy broken river. Bring a pot lozenge. RS (McCaw Hall, $27—$189)

Dec 3–8

STOMP Eight adults bang on trash cans, swish brooms, clack poles, and more. Prepare for a rhythm to be drilled permanently into your brain, and for household objects to no longer hold quite the same meaning. (Moore Theatre)

Dec 6–15

The Hard Nut Brilliant ballet choreographer Mark Morris's update of The Nutcracker, now a 28-year-old classic in itself, transports E.T.A. Hoffman's story from 19th-century Germany to 1970s America. With production design inspired by the great Fantagraphics-published comics artist Charles Burns, this Broadway staging is gonna be weird, queer, and perhaps even John Waters-esque. (Paramount Theatre, $35—$90)

Cabaret & Burlesque

Sept 13–14 & 27

Devour If you like leather, kink, and cocktails, prepare to be swooned into the night by the luxe burlesque babes of Valtesse at this speakeasy-style show. (Dandylion, $45)

Through Sun Sept 29

The Legend of El Dorado Three women on a summer trip turn into sexy, fishnetted robbers on motorcycles in the cozy cabaret's latest production, featuring all-new choreography and a soundtrack with singing by Brent Amaker. (Can Can, 7 pm, 9:30 pm, $40—$100)

Oct 2–Nov 3

Zombie Cheerleaders from Hell The Heavenly Spies are back with their annual Halloween show featuring scary hot dancers—plus "terrifying masks and pretty pasties, black cats and twerking booties, sweet transvestites and dancing cuties." (Can Can, $40+)

Oct 18–31

This Is Halloween It's Tim Burton's classic The Nightmare Before Christmas repackaged as a semi-scandalous spectacle for the masses. The audience eats chicken skewers and knocks back cocktails while they watch Jack "the Pumpkin King" Skellington sing and dance, cabaret-style, while a ghoulish orchestra pumps out the show's signature tunes. Despite the glitzy and consumerist exterior, the crew manages to smuggle a complicated cabaret about the horror of fixed identities into the unpretentious space of the Triple Door. RS (Triple Door, $29—$49)

Sun Oct 27 & Oct 29–Nov 1

La Fin: Halloween Kink Cabaret Expect a melding of dance, contortion, and aerial arts as the performers of burlesque revue Valtesse bring out their demons for a night of scary-sexy times. (The Ruins, $65/$100)

Oct 31–Nov 2 & Nov 21–23

Simone Pin Productions Presents: Dollhouse The burlesque talents of women of color will be front and center at Simone Pin company's second show at the forum, featuring the Dollhouse Coven (TAQUEET$!, Lindy Lou, Jennifer Meilani, Shay Simone, Annya Pin), Mama (Adra Boo), and their creepy-sexy secrets. (Northwest Film Forum, 8 pm, $40—$60)

Second Sundays

The Sunday Night Shuga Shaq: An All People of Color Burlesque Revue There was a lot of talk about God at Shuga Shaq. Namely in the form of host Briq House, who can also be addressed as "Goddess." Her lap dances, which audience members bid on, are said to have stirred up divine fits of total ecstasy in the recipient's soul. "Your goodies are God," Briq told the lot of us in between performances, with a smile that was equal parts mischievous and sweet. I believed her. Briq entered the burlesque scene at a time when she says many performers were very thin and white. Outside of being featured in shows by other performers of color like Dr. Ginger Snapz, a pioneer of black and brown burlesque in Seattle, Briq was often the darkest and largest person in a show. "I was tired of that, and I wanted a show that represented my folks: my trans folks, my larger bodied folks, my dark skin folks, my light skin folks, black and brown bodies, folks of different abilities—you know, everything," she said. "So I decided to make the show that I wanted to see, because I wasn't about to wait for nobody else to do it." JK (Theatre Off Jackson, 7 pm, $15—$30)


Wed Sept 25

RuPaul's Drag Race: Werq The World Tour 2019 Michelle Visage and a crew of queens, including Aquaria, Kameron Michaels, Asia O'Hara, Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, Violet Chachki, and contestants from Season 11, try to save the universe in this all-new RuPaul's Drag Race show. (Paramount Theatre, 8 pm, $52—$62)

Oct 3–Nov 2

Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor The world-famous Seattle-based drag queen BenDeLaCreme has written and performed three acclaimed solo shows, but Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor, premiered in 2017, was the artist's first foray into writing, directing, and starring in an original play of her own. It's a spooky, campy twist on the horror flick genre, featuring ghosts, dancers, music, and special effects. The chemistry between BenDeLaCreme and Scott Shoemaker alone is worth the price of admission. CF (ACT Theatre, $42—$72)

Fri Oct 18

Thriftease: Camp My Style A wise twink once described Mona Real as "what would happen if Divine walked into Fremont Vintage and came out with the whole store." There are few queens who serve thrift-shop fantasy like Mona Real, and Thriftease is Seattle's chance to finger around her closet (and take home the goods). Queer go-go queens and dive-bar divas will model vintage finds, curated by Real, and the audience will bid on the items—everything beginning at an affordable $1. Winning bids help the models strip down to their panties, so prepare for butts. CB (Kremwerk, 8 pm, $10/$15)

Wed Nov 13

Miss Coco Peru: Have You Heard? You'd be remiss if you missed Miss Coco Peru's visit to Seattle. Peru, the drag persona of Clinton Leupp, is an icon of contemporary American drag—up there with RuPaul and Lady Bunny and Magnolia Crawford. She reminds audiences that drag doesn't need death drops and high kicks and billions of sequins to be entertaining. Good drag can be a solid joke and a funny face, and Miss Coco Peru has got at least one of each. CB (SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 7:30 pm, $25—$75)

Wed Nov 20

Bianca Del Rio: It's Jester Joke Bianca Del Rio, whom Stranger contributor Matt Baume called "the most vicious RuPaul's Drag Race winner of all time," will wield her mean and hilarious sense of humor across the world on her latest tour. Catch her deluge of foul-mouthed devilry in Seattle. (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $37)

Dec 5–24

The Dina Martina Christmas Show If you think you know what drag is, if you think you know what humor is, if you think you know how the English language works, I heartily encourage you to throw your "knowledge" out the window and go see the Dina Martina Christmas Show. There is no one like Dina Martina. And there is no one like her die-hard, inside-joke-obsessed, constantly laughing crowds. Her dedicated fans include Whoopi Goldberg, John Waters, and Kevin Costner. I'm not kidding. CF (ACT Theatre, $27—$47)

Dec 6–29

Jingle All the Gay! Last year, after seeing the new revamp of the beloved institution Homo for the Holidays, Chase Burns wrote: "Scoot on over, homo, because this new holiday cast fucking sleighs. Seriously, the new performers are the standouts in Jingle All the Gay. From their popular Camptacular summer show, Kitten N' Lou brought in Markeith Wiley and Randy Ford, two breakout dancers/performance artists who've been having a great couple of years performing around Seattle. Wiley plays the mailman, an important figure in any holiday story, and he's got to deliver lots of big, uh, packages. Ford plays Lil' Fruitcake, a femme voguing fruitcake who fucks shit up in the best way possible. Ford and Wiley's duets are highlights, as are the numbers from Seattle drag artist Abbey Roads, who brings solid musical theater chops and good comic timing. Also in this cast: New York City's Mr. Gorgeous, serving his uniquely tall and hilarious boylesque as the Little Drummer Boy. I'd watch him poke his ball sack with drumsticks any day." (West Hall, 7 pm, $25—$40)


Heels! In less than a year, drag performers Betty Wetter and Butylene O'Kipple have organized one of Capitol Hill's best ongoing monthly drag nights. Set in the colorful and cozy Cha Cha Lounge, Heels! is Wetter and O'Kipple at their best: funny, comforting, eccentric. The two hosts perform alongside a rotating list of guest performers, including a "not so typical" go-go dancer. It's very chill and fun. Don't forget to tip! CB (Cha Cha Lounge, 9 pm, free)

Last Thursdays

TUSH! Beacon Hill's Clock-Out Lounge had a promising beginning. Co-owner Jodi Ecklund, former Chop Suey talent booker, launched the venue with a performance by Christeene, an Austin-based "drag terrorist" who ate ass out onstage—or had her ass eaten out? I forget? I was drunk? Ass was definitely eaten! People loved it and hoped it was a sign that more rowdy, uncategorizable drag nights would follow. TUSH!—a drag monthly led by Betty Wetter, Miss Texas 1988, Angel Baby Kill Kill Kill, and Beau Degas—is that sort of night. It's another reminder that the best drag in town doesn't just happen on Capitol Hill anymore. CB (Clock-Out Lounge, 8:30 pm, $10—$12)

Third Fridays

Sped Up More goodness is coming directly from the surreal and spooky brain of Seattle drag entertainer Cucci Binaca. In her new drag-driven monthly/dance party, hosted along with resident DJ Cookie Couture, four top-notch Seattle drag entertainers will be competing against each other by lip-syncing to classic drag songs. The catch: Each song will be sped up. The audience then judges who has the best lip sync, and the top two performers will spin a "wheel of speed" to determine which beloved (and accelerated) song they'll perform to next. The winner gets a cash prize and moves on to the next month's round. This is sure to be a night of dancing, lip-syncing, and debauchery. JK (Re-bar, 10 pm, $10/$13)

First Saturdays

ArtHaus 6.0 The Kremwerk Complex has birthed many of Seattle's strangest drag stars. Both of R Place's recent So You Think You Can Drag winners got their start at the complex. But Kremwerk's freaks have to originate somewhere, and they usually spawn at ArtHaus, the venue's factory for developing fresh performers and hosts. Over the course of a "season," which lasts roughly a year, drag houses compete in absurd monthly battles for the final crown. The winning house hosts the following season. The audience controls who wins and loses. HORSE CLUB NW is in charge of this year's season, kicking it all off in September. CB (Kremwerk, 8 pm, $9/$13)

Bacon Strip The drag company Bacon Strip, helmed by Sylvia O'Stayformore and Mizz Honey Bucket, sets a gaggle of mischievous queens to shocking shenanigans every month (usually on the first Saturday). Themes include "Miss Bacon Show" (October), "Stuff Your Face" (November), and the "Wrapped in Bacon Holigay Drag Show" (December). (Palace Theatre & Art Bar, 7 pm, $22)

Second Saturdays

BeautyBoiz Revival Join BeautyBoiz for a queer dance party every second Saturday of the month, complete with house beats from guest DJs like BenTraxx and Arson Nicki, go-go dancers, sexy shadow-box performances, and more to keep your blood pumping for the rest of the weekend. (Kremwerk, 10 pm, $10—$20)

Cucci's Critter Barn Cucci's Critter Barn is more likely to feature queens lip-synching vaporwave tracks and pouring paint on themselves than anything resembling RuPaul's Drag Race. Last year at Critter Barn, a San Francisco artist named Jader Vision shoved a bottle up a papier-mâché anus they sewed to the lining of their body suit. It was very well received. Expect similar performances from the show's "Featured EnterTainer" Miss Texas 1988, as well as from a changing round-up of Seattle's best drag critters; people like Mona Real, Christian Brown, and La Saveona Hunt. CB (Kremwerk, 8 pm, $5—$13)

Last Saturdays

KINGS: A Drag King Show Flipping the traditional drag script, the Kings of Kremwerk will bring royalty to the stage, with a rotating monthly theme. (Kremwerk, 8 pm, $8—$12)


Mimosas Cabaret The drag diva titaness Mama Tits presides over weekly iterations of Mimosas Cabaret, featuring a short musical (it's Cinderfella through August 11, and Hung Frankenstein from August 18 through November 18), plus songs, comedy, dance, and brunch. (Unicorn, 1 pm, $25)

Circus & Acrobatics

Sept 12–Feb 9

A Night Like This Witness acrobats and variety artists act out stories from "exotic travels to the Seven Seas" through dance, aerial feats, song, and more. Michael Cunio of Postmodern Jukebox will step into the role of Master of the House, while Christine Deaver will be your raconteuse. As always, your ticket to this Teatro ZinZanni show will include a multi-course dinner. (Hollywood Station, $99+)

Podcasts & Radio

Thurs Sept 19

Risk! Hosted by The State alum Kevin Allison, Risk! is a podcast and live storytelling event where, according to the tagline, people tell "true stories they never thought they'd dare to share." And, oh, the stories. A memorable episode featured a woman who found a fellow kinkster online and shared her elaborate fantasies of serving as a cum dumpster on a cruise ship (her words, not mine), only to discover later (after many explicit chats) that her fantasy partner was actually her... father. The apple, as they say, fell quite close to the tree. You can hear stories just as touching as this at Risk! live. KH (Fremont Abbey, 8 pm, $25—$30)

Sept 23–24

Criminal Criminal isn't your typical true crime podcast. It doesn't litigate crimes or anoint heroes or villains. There's no blood or gore or salacious detail. Instead, the show embraces nuance, with some stories about mayhem and murder, but just as many about regular people doing criminal things and what happens before and after. The makers, Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer (who, full disclosure, I'm friends with), spent years working in public radio before branching out on their own, and it shows. Criminal is air-tight, well-mixed, and a delight to both listen to and think about later. KH (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $29)

Performance Art

Fri Sept 20

Ascend Ascend: A Poetic Performance Janaka Stucky, the founding editor of indie publisher Black Ocean Press, wrote a poetry collection while fasting, doing rites, and going into trances. It's called Ascend Ascend. In this performance of the poems, which are "rooted in the Jewish mystical tradition of Hekhalot literature," Stucky will be accompanied by Lori Goldston, a renowned cellist and past collaborator of Nirvana, among others. (All Pilgrims Church, 7:30 pm, $19—$55)

Oct 10–13

Autumn Knight: M_ _ _ ER Depending on which letters you place in the blank spaces, M_ _ _ ER could spell mother, matter, or murder. All of those things are possible in this new work from Knight, an interdisciplinary artist who likes to play around with improv, visual art, and fucking with the audience. If the show is anything like Sanity TV, and it sounds a little Sanity TV, Knight will play a variously cheeky and antagonistic talk show host who makes certain audience members feel uncomfortable a lot, which can be fun, especially if you're not the one in the hot seat. RS (On the Boards, $10—$75)

First & Third Mondays

SH*T GOLD Velocity invites artists from all media and genres to contribute up to five minutes of risky material to this very supportive open mic night. (Velocity Dance Center, 10 pm, free)

Last Fridays

La Petite Mort's Anthology of Erotic Esoterica See "the darker side of performance art" at this eerie, secretive variety show with circus arts, burlesque, music, and more. Feel free to wear a mask if you'd rather not be seen. (Palace Theatre & Art Bar, 8 pm, $28)


Thurs Sept 26

Randy Rainbow Live! YouTube phenom Randy Rainbow is the master of the catty sick burn—which comes off especially blistering when his wit's aimed at the flaming hypocrites in the Trump administration. Rainbow's MO is to simulate interviews with major political figures, cleverly twisting their sincere responses into fodder for his own nasty retorts, while weaving in pertinent footage from news outlets and breaking into hilarious, parodistic song. Rainbow is punching up—way up—and his deserving targets are left looking even lousier than they already are, which is a major feat. DS (Paramount Theatre, 7:30 pm, $31—$81)

Wed Oct 23

John Leguizamo: Latin History for Morons Colombian-born, Tony- and Emmy-winning American actor Leguizamo is recognizable for his effortless contributions to supporting roles in crime dramas, superhero movies, family dramas, and more—he often plays a heavy, but he's also beloved for his Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. But onstage, he'll be using his comedic and dramatic talents to a different end: exposing the shameful neglect of Latin history in schools. Based on his experience trying to "find a Latin hero for his son's school history project," he bounces from the Aztec empire to the Revolutionary War. This show has been a hit on Broadway and at other prestigious theaters; don't miss it when it comes here. (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $35—$225)

Thurs Dec 5

A John Waters Christmas: Filthier and Merrier Legendary cult director/noted Baltimore resident/mustache-haver John Waters will regale Seattle once again with filthy Christmas jokes, monologic shenanigans, and gripes about annoying holiday traditions. (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $35/$45/$115)

Third Sundays

Match Game Contestants will try to guess local celebrities' answers to silly questions during this beloved, long-running, ribald series run by Richard Rugburn and Miss Moist Towelette. (Re-bar, 7 pm, $12)


Sept 20–21

Jordan Rock Calling himself "the Solange of my family," Jordan Rock knows he'll never be as wealthy or as renowned as brother Chris (or maybe even Tony). But he's working hard to overcome the innate disadvantage of always having his older siblings' accomplishments overshadow his. Some of the subjects Jordan tackles include female versus male Siri, awful Tinder dates, the twisted ways social media influences our minds ("Every time I meet somebody not on Facebook, it's creepy as shit."), the n-word ("I'm addicted to it, like a cigarette; I need to say it when I wake up."). He has Judd Apatow's imprimatur, acting in the famed director's Netflix series Love. If that doesn't inspire you to investigate the youngest Rock, I don't know what to tell you. DS (Laughs Comedy Club, 8 pm, 10 pm, $15/$20)

Sat Sept 21

Eric Andre: Legalize Everything Tour Prankster, host, and general surrealist weirdo Eric Andre has a great eponymous show on Adult Swim, a parody of public access low-budget strangeness that he hosts with Hannibal Buress. Here's hoping he's just as bizarre in person. (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $33—$267)

Thurs Sept 26

Preacher Lawson Boasting honors like the 2016 Seattle International Comedy Competition top prize and this past season's America's Got Talent top-five finalist, Los Angeles-based comic Preacher Lawson will return to Washington for an uproarious show. (Clearwater Casino, 8 pm, $29)

Fri Sept 27

Demetri Martin: Wandering Mind Tour A handsomer-than-average nerd, Demetri Martin emits brainy, humorous observations with effortless poise. In one set, he said, "I feel like there's a parallel world right in front of us that's revealed with a small shift in perspective." Those words could stand as Martin's mission statement. He scrutinizes the mundane activities and thought processes humans engage in every damn day and forces us to reassess them in ways that make us think, "Wow, I've never looked at it that way—but he's totally right! Now I need to adopt this worldview in order to live a much more entertaining life." Martin excels at slyly making the ordinary seem surreal. DS (Paramount Theatre, 8 pm, $36/$136)

Fri Oct 25

Nick Kroll: Middle-Aged Boy Tour Actor/writer/producer/comedian Nick Kroll is a master of dozens of voices and characters, which enhances his already hilarious routines by at least 33 percent. In a set that he did years ago, Kroll laid down a bit about how dumb people have the best sex and it caused me to laugh so hard, I had to leave the office and take a half personal day. The auteur of the caustically loony Kroll Show, the New York native is a font of mercurial, irreverent humor that generates incredibly uncomfortable feelings and that will build massive cringe muscles. DS (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $27—$37)

Sat Nov 2

Ryan Hamilton Idahoan Ryan Hamilton, his enormous smile, and his gentle burring voice are coming to charm Seattle. Check out why Rolling Stone named this Great American Comedy Festival winner one of five comics to watch. For a preview, check out his special Happy Face on Netflix. (Neptune Theatre, 9 pm, $29)

Fri Nov 15

Jim Jefferies Celebrated Australian stand-up comedian Jim Jefferies will perform his set at the Paramount. In 2015, Dan Savage wrote, "[Jefferies] does a better job making a case for gun control—and puncturing the arguments against gun control—than any liberal American politician or gun-control advocate has ever done." (Paramount Theatre, 7 pm, 10 pm, $36—$46)


Comedy Nest Open Mic The rules of this pro-lady stand-up night are refreshing in their simplicity: no misogyny, racism, homophobia, hatred, or heckling. Based on the size, quality, and diversity of the crowds it attracts, the rules work. Every Tuesday night, fans pack the Rendezvous to watch two and a half hours of comedy, about half of which is delivered by women. Having so many women onstage and in the crowd makes male comics more mindful of their sets and their audience, while reinforcing what should be obvious: Women can be just as funny (or unfunny) as men. (Rendezvous, 8 pm, $5)


Joketellers Union Seattle comedians Brett Hamil and Emmett Montgomery, the curators of Joketellers Union, invite talent from all over the greater area. Some nights, the jokers are from Everett; other nights, they are from Bellevue. And in this way, Hamil and Montgomery expose the self-centered Seattle audience to the wider region. They are also committed to the representation of different voices: women, people of color, queer people. Seattle is just not that cool of a place. It has become a city for the rich, and the rich are always boring. By presenting a variety of voices from different parts of the greater metropolis, Hamil and Montgomery have concocted a show that feels like a real city. CM (Clock-Out Lounge, 8:30 pm, $7)

Every Other Friday

Comedy on Broadway Presents "For some reason, it's dirty to talk about a vagina, but a dick joke is par for the course," says Seattle comedian Erin Ingle. "So it's like we've kept women's bodies and women's issues under wraps for so long that people have a really hard time accepting that as just normal shit that we should know about." That sentiment bleeds into one of Ingle's goals: to provide more space for women's voices in the male-dominated comedy ecosystem. She is the executive producer of Comedy on Broadway, which happens four nights a week at Jai Thai, and cohost (with Alyssa Yeoman) of the woman-centric Unladylike, a gender-stereotype-shredding monthly that happens every last Tuesday at Comedy Underground. A vastly respected figure in Seattle comedy, this Oregon native now ranks among the region's most important gatekeepers. She's a funny comedian in her own right, but Ingle is foremost a fierce advocate for other women and nonbinary comics. DS (Jai Thai Broadway, 9 pm, $5 suggested donation)


Sept 19–Oct 31

Sept 21–Nov 23

Tragic School Bus Taking off on the educational children's series, this cleverly conceived show follows a group of poor adults trapped in public school limbo and their increasingly insane teacher as they go on "magical" field trips to learn about topics of your choice. Directed by Jessica Dunstan and Jet City Artistic Director Mandy Price, this one should earn an A. (Jet City Improv, 10 pm, $17/$18)

Through Sun Sept 29

Vonnegut Unexpected: Kurt Vonnegut Improvised Every Sunday, the improvisers of Unexpected Productions will take some instinctual liberties (paired with audience suggestions) with Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, and other works by the late writer Kurt Vonnegut. (Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, 8:30 pm, $10)

Oct 6–Nov 17

Stephen King Unexpected Expect to see (we're guessing) gruff Northeasterners battling clowns, vampires, sentient cars, and/or the undead in this improv tribute to the horror maestro Stephen King, a perfect show for Halloween. (Unexpected Productions' Market Theater, 8:30 pm, $10)

Sat Oct 19

The Second City's Greatest Hits, Vol 59 The Second City, founded in '59, is one of the world's most famous comedy schools/companies, with such alums as Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Aidy Bryant, and Steve Carell. (Theatre at Meydenbauer, 7 pm, $29—$40)

The Second City's Improv All-Stars Second City's improvisers will come back for a second show. (Theatre at Meydenbauer, 10 pm, $15—$35)

Sept 28 & Oct 26

Fat Cats Fat Cats describe themselves as "two fat feminist women who own fat feminist cats, but are not wealthy political donors." They've performed at Femprovisor Fest '19 in San Francisco and Detroit Women of Comedy Festival, and at many venues throughout Seattle—in fact, they're one of the hardest-working duos in the city. They mix vulnerability and sweetness with a foundation of blunt, pessimistic honesty, a combination that gets right at your heart. (The Pocket Theater, 8:30 pm, $10/$14)

Nov 29–Dec 21

Uncle Mike Ruins Christmas Mike Murphy and Jet City cast members reenact and trample over your fond Christmas memories with gleeful vulgarity. Not for the squeamish. (Jet City Improv, 10 pm, $17/$18)