It’s a Christmas Miracle!

​ACT Theatre makes special Christmas Carol shows TeenTix-able!

Christmas Carol Dancing

Everybody knows that ACT's Christmas Carol is "the granddaddy of Christmas shows". It's just not the holidays without it. But everybody also knows that A Christmas Carol is the one show in ACT's season is that is NOT TeenTix-eligible. But, wait! What's that you say? ACT *is* making several showings of A Christmas Carol available to TeenTixers? Why, it's a Christmas miracle!

ACT loves you and you love them back (they've won the Teeny Award for Best Theatre two years running). So, as a token of their affection, they wanted to offer you this special gift. The following showings of A Christmas Carol are TeenTix-eligible. And there was great rejoicing!

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Idiosyncrasies of the Absurd

​Review of Woyzeck, Undergraduate Theater Society

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Regarded as the first modern play, Woyzeck — written in 1836 by Georg Büchner — certainly embraces the idiosyncrasies of modern writing as it has come to be known. The Undergraduate Theater Society at the University of Washington takes on the fever dream of Franz Woyzeck’s life, complete with the fragmented scenes, impending sense of the absurd, and social commentary that have established this play’s long-running reputation.

I made the mistake of going into Woyzeck knowing absolutely nothing about this actually really well-known play. My complete lack of background knowledge and context left me baffled by the performance. I spent at least the first half of the play trying to mentally stitch the scenes together and wondered whether or not they were even in chronological order, given the absence of transitions. I had difficulty understanding scenes as they unfolded because my thoughts were still trying to make sense of the ones I had seen prior, and it took several scenes before I could gather a working idea of the world director Elizabeth Schiffler was portraying.

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A Show About a Teenager That Is Not Cheesy, Forced, or Dishonest: You Better Go See Bo-Nita

​Review of Bo-Nita at Seattle Repertory Theatre

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Let me preface this by saying that I love one person shows. I love them. I find them incredibly interesting and admirable; as someone who participates in theatre, watching an actor seamlessly switch between completely different characters in less than a split second for upwards of an hour and a half is just awe-inspiring. It never ceases to amaze me that an actor can memorize more than an hour of dialogue with specific ticks, mannerisms, and voices for each character. This show was no exception.

Bo-Nita at the Seattle Repertory Theatre is beautiful. It captures the unique voice of a young teenager in an unconventional way, and manages to be charged and convey an array of emotions without seeming forced, over-the-top, awkward, or dishonest. By the 10-minute mark of the performance, I already found myself loving this strange girl and her way of viewing the world. Playwright Elizabeth Heffron's writing thoughtfully develops Bo-Nita's quirks and way of speaking; the character feels real and honest. Hannah Mootz carries this show beautifully, she has the gift of comedy but can transition into weighty dialogue with ease when necessary.

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That Moment When You Don’t Pee Your Pants

​Review of Blak Cloud at Jet City Improv

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If you’ve got an evening to kill and are looking for something fun and light with somewhat original and spontaneous energy, go see Jet-City Improv’s Blak Cloud. This show is an interesting experiment combining the qualities of improvisation and humor with the story in The Crucible, a recognized literary work of art, but the execution of the performance left me wanting more and feeling like I’d just watched an acting exercise, not a play.

In seeking to describe an experience that’s neither overwhelmingly good nor bad, it becomes difficult to explain the grey areas of comedy. It’s easy to describe the curiosity and interest that come with experiencing a live improvised play, and the sparse moments of laughter did lift my mood and spirits, even if only momentarily. It’s more difficult to describe when the performance doesn’t seem to connect completely. A humor-driven improvised show comes with the risk of letting you down ever so slightly when you don’t have that moment when you think you’ll pee your pants because you’re laughing so hard. Maybe it was an off night, or there wasn’t enough audience participation, but I wasn’t sold completely on the combination of improvisation and literature within a play.

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Sweet Sweet Danger

​Review of Sugar Daddies at ACT Theatre

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Everyone knows what a "sugar daddy" is, but does innocent out-of-towner Sasha understand how dangerous they can be? When Sasha saves Val from getting hit by a car, Val seems like just another nice man trying to do good things in the world. When she hears just how sweet she is to his "Nephew Freddie," Sasha is even more convinced that Val is an amazing man. Her sister, Chloe, and downstairs neighbor, Ashlee, however, see right through him.

With this brilliant in-the-round show, you feel so in-tune with the actors and story that you just can't take your eyes off the beautifully acted and wonderfully staged action. Playwright, director (and living legend) Sir Alan Ayckborn has knocked this American premiere out of the park. Questioning your life, relationships, and view on the world is a definite when going to see this show. With people getting hit by cars, an awkward girl learning how to walk in heels, moments that make you belly laugh, and moments that will take your breath away with tension, ACT Theatre's Sugar Daddies will keep you guessing all the way until the very last line.

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The Dark is a Better Place to Be

​Review of The Walworth Farce, New Century Theatre Company at New City Theater

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As I left the theater after seeing The Walworth Farce, I was already sending texts. I'll be seeing this play again tonight, and I'm bringing friends.

The Walworth Farce is a story about a father haunted by his ghosts who then forces his adult sons to reenact his past as a farce. This family is held together by little more than fear, obligation, and alcohol. And as the curtain goes up this family is on the verge of snapping. When an outsider arrives, this family is sent into a psychotic tailspin. These tortured minds, and desperation along with a few bodies in the closet combine to make this play a total triumph, and a masterfully woven story of trying to rewrite our past mistakes.

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Dreams, Sacrifice, and Garden Gnomes

​Review of Broke-ology at Seattle Public Theater

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​“Gonna make me feel any worse?”

​It was not only the question on the character Malcolm King’s lips, but the one running through my mind during the entirety of Seattle Public Theater’s current production, Broke-ology. For those not yet versed here is a definition: ​ ​Broke-ology: 1. the study of being broke 2. a play by Nathan Louis Jackson detailing the lives of a poor, African American family: two brothers, their sick, aging father and his visions of their deceased mother And since I am a tenured “list-ologist,” here are the top three reasons to see this play: 1. Stubby, the “incog-negro” garden gnome. 2. The smile-inducing relationship between Ennis King (Corey Spruill) and Malcolm King (Tyler Trerise), the brothers who haul Stubby into the living room. 3. The refreshing cast of four and well-dressed set, amplified by the singular intimacy of Seattle Public's Bathhouse theatre. That being said, side effects of this play may include: 1. General melancholy. 2. Guilt, possibly echoing regret for splurging on that nice, new pair of shoes. 3. Garden gnome-induced heebie jeebies. The mood in the room at the end of Broke-ology is much akin to the Seattle weather outside. Though that isn’t to say the play isn’t funny; it is. It’s punctuated by snippets of dark and biting humor, the kind that makes you laugh really hard until your brain catches up with the speed of the dialogue to remember, “Oh no, that was a joke about lynching.” Still, somewhere in that goofy, gloomy game of survival, is an examination of illness, optimism, responsibility, dreams and sacrifice. And all of it is somehow squeezed into two hours spent in the King family’s living room. In those meager minutes, Jackson begins a discussion: How do we care for our parents as they begin to deteriorate? How do we care for our children when we are too frail to help them? What are you willing to sacrifice for those you love? On opening night, during the very last scene, when those questions breathed down the spectators’ necks, the audience’s eyes were fixated… though it varied between fighting back tears and staring vacantly at the box of Quaker Oats in the corner. ​ If you’re looking for the answers to those immense inquiries, you won’t find them here. What you will find is a newfound appreciation for settling scores with dominoes, and another surge of musings about life, love and family as the cast returns for their bows.

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The Quiet, The Joyful, The Socially Awkward

​ACT's Middletown is just right in all the ways

Middletown, written by Will Eno and directed by John Langs, is a contemporary retelling of the American classic Our Town. Middletown is startlingly true and poignant. In keeping with the theme of the original play, Middletown has a stark set only including two outlines of houses, a sidewalk, a bench, and a rock. The lack of set is a true metaphor for the play, a wonderfully quiet work about socially awkward people. Middletown is not afraid of silence and some of the best moments on stage are without dialogue. The performances by Alex Tavares and Eric Riedmann are reserved in just the right ways.

Alexandra Tavares portrays Mary Swanson with a true and moving humor. Her character is a woman who just moved into Middletown and is waiting for her husband to arrive. She quickly develops a friendship with her neighbor, John Dodge, played by Eric Riedmann. Their relationship is masterfully developed by Eno and the performances by Tavares and Riedmann are some of the best performances I have seen all year.

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Social Media Takeover SUCCESS!!!

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Phew, we're ready to call it a night! Thanks to everyone involved in the extraordinary Preview Party for Balagan's 2013-14 Season. According to our Twitter, Facebook, and Blog, everybody there was feeling the love, the laughter, and even the feels. Special thanks to Balagan for showing off the talents of artistic director Louis Hobson, RuPaul's Drag Race Winner Jinkx Monsoon, and the ever-talented Broadway superstar Alice Ripley. Also thanks to our TeenTix Press Corps stars of the night: Sam H., Monet C., Isabella D., Kally P., and Jennie K.! You all did an amazing job! For cereal, we felt the love all the way through our computer screens.

Here's to next time! You never know when the Takeover will strike again... Dun, dun, dunnn!

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Jinkx Monsoon

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Jinkx Monsoon looks so LOVELY tonight! She has such a great voice, and it's so fun to see a "different" kind of theater.

17 sold out shows in New York but Jinkx says she doesn't plan on moving to the east coast. "There's something special happening in the Northwest and Seattle's the epicenter of it."

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Jinkx Knows How to Perform

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Jinkx epitomizes the best of drag. Belting "Survivor," her incredible performance is in no way dependent on her being in drag. She's got the voice and charisma to be a great performer regardless of what she's wearing.

-Kally

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Balagan’s New Works Program

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This theater's definitely interesting. They're partaking in a New Works Program where new shows are being developed constantly.

"Pump Up the Volume" is a rock theater show adapted from the movie with the same title. Great singing and covers a sensitive topic relatable for youth everywhere.

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Jerry Springer Takes to the Theater

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Jerry Springer and opera at first seemed a bit contradictory. I couldn't quite imagine heckling and fist fights to the sound of an orchestra. When Jerry Speinger emerged sporting a bow tie and sorrounded by a chorus, the show still wasn't screaming beer and riotous crowds. The lyrics are what reveal the show's genius satire. The tune may sound like a traditional broadway hit, but the content is anything but classical. Jerry Springer is Rent (in-your-face rock music) and The Book of Mormon's (satire) very lovable, if slightly disfunctional child. I can't wait to see it all grown up later this season.

-Kally P.

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FULL HOUSE !!

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When I got here, the line went beyond the corner of the street. Moore Theater is packed today! The theater's absolutely beautiful and I'm so excited for the event to start.

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Balagan’s Preview Party Social Media Takeover Extravaganza!

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Balagan Theatre, TeenTix partner and all-around awesome organization, is throwing a Preview Party for their 2013-14 season-- and they invited 5 members of our TeenTix Press Corps to attend! It's gonna feature a ton of performances by insanely talented folks like Jinkx Monsoon, winner of Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race, Alice Ripley, star of Next to Normal on B'way and Tony Award Winning Actress, as well as two other Broadway beauties, Kendra Kassebaum and Louis Hobson!

Sounds super great, right? Oh, wait, we forgot to mention: we are handing over the reins of our entire social media presence to those TeenTix Press Corps members. Yeah, you read that right. That means that starting at 7:30 tonight, June 10th, every post on our Facebook, Twitter, and Blog will be from teens, just like YOU.

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Where Hope and Sadness Collide

Review of Crash at Seattle Children's Theatre by Eric M.

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Sadness and hope. These are a few of the feelings I experienced watching the story of Crash. Crash Coogan (played by Quinn Franzen) seems to have everything: great grades, cool friends, and a school record for most touchdowns in a football game. When Crash’s Grandfather (played by Todd Jefferson Moore) has a stroke, Crash starts to learn that winning isn’t always the most important thing.

Author Jerry Spinelli, who wrote the book that Crash is based on, has written a powerful story about the challenges that many kids face when growing up, such as friendship issues and family relationships. I could understand and relate to all these challenges. Playwright Y York has done an amazing job of adapting Crash to the stage, using engaging dialogue to tell the rich story of Spinelli’s book. Director Rita Giomi’s clear vision of this play comes across beautifully in her staging. She has also put together an excellent ensemble cast. Crash’s little sister, Abby, (played by Emily Chisholm) is a constant thorn in his side. His neighbor, Penn Webb, (played by Rio Codda) wants to win the upcoming Penn Relays to make his great-grandfather proud. They are joined by Mike (played by Adam Standly) who wants to be friends with Crash, and Jane (played by Kate Sumpter), who Crash wants to be friends with.

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Mouth Burns and Manifestos

​Balagan's August: Osage County is a true masterpiece

By Tracy M

August

August: Osage County, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts, embodies issues of identity, family unity, and disengagement, as well as a cultural perspective on hierarchies of power and gender roles within a family's core values. Angelo Domitri's lighting design enhances Ahren Buhmann's perfectly executed stage environment. Your eye wanders around the stage, discovering some of the characteristics that identify the Weston family.

The play is set in 2007 in the town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The action takes place throughout the month of August in Beverly and Violet Weston’s house. Beverly, a once renowned and talented poet (played by Charles Leggett), introduces the story and the characters in the play. His sarcasm is palpable from the start. His very first line, T.S. Elliot’s “Life is too long,” tells us a lot about how humor is used to face the problems, issues, and tension throughout the play.

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