The Delicate Magic of “Into the Woods”

Review of Into The Woods at The 5th Avenue Theater

Written by Teen Writer Kyle Gerstel and edited by Aamina Mughal

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Into the Woods is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed musicals of all time, and for good reason: Stephen Sondheim’s intricate lyricism and James Lapine’s witty book tickle audiences of all ages and appeal to both the heart and head. The 5th Avenue Theatre’s rendition of the show allows audiences to appreciate the text’s ingenuity, but some of the magic is unfortunately lost.

Into the Woods is a sophisticated musical comedy that intertwines fairytales to explore the grim realities that follow supposed happy endings. The text manages to balance spectacle and intimacy with its playfully subversive plot and mature themes, but The 5th’s production does not quite succeed on either account. Much of the staging is unimaginative, mostly repeating choices made by many other renditions of the show. With that said, I have also seen productions of the show that have nowhere near as firm of a grasp of its unique tone and dense score, which is a feat for The 5th’s team in and of itself.

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Is This Perfection?

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Richany Sorm during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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Comedic, a bit awkward, and heartwarmingly cathartic. Just a few words to describe an experience of Seattle Repertory Theater’s interpretation of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

This is a story about coming of age. We are taken along by Julia Reyes (Karen Rodriguez) through all the changes, and ups and downs, she faces in her life. One of the most prominent is that of her older sister Olga (played by Sofia Raquel Sanchez) who died from a traffic accident.

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Creative and Beautiful Staging Can’t Save Poorly Written Source Material

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Elyssa Matute during an Arts Criticism workshop at Evergreen High School

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was a play doomed from its conception. The original novel, written by Erika L. Sánchez, boasts one of the most narcissistic and unlikable protagonists in its genre, Julia Reyes. Following her life after her sister’s death and her mission to prove that she wasn’t as perfect as her controlling and old-fashioned parents seemed to think she was. The novel flounders its pacing with too many poorly timed climaxes and a long, droning first act, along with many extremely on-the-nose lines. I appreciate their attempts to portray characters that were already lacking in depth and cutting scenes that deserved to be cut. However, playwright Isaac Gomez and director Juliette Carrillo overshadow the few moments of clarity and well-written scenes by the sheer crudeness and immaturity of the rest of the production. However, the creative team certainly succeeded in making this mess of a story genuinely a sight to behold with its accurate costumes, excellent sound design, minimal stage and props, some genuinely impressive and creative directional choices, and beautiful lighting.

The talented cast aptly captures each character, so much so that one can almost believe they are truly that insufferable in their day-to-day lives. Vocal coach Kate Myre did a fantastic job in guiding Karen Rodriguez’s voice to be as crass and annoying as possible, making Julia sound more like a caricature of a high school girl rather than a real person. Which is accurate to the novel, to be frank. Her monologues are especially irritating. And this sometimes leads to sad or serious moments coming across as more comedic than anything, such as any moments where Julia is crying. Each “joke” from Julia’s mouth is delivered with an embarrassingly screechy tone. Most of the time, the punchline is simply a curse word or a crude phrase, and sometimes not even words but just a juvenile scream.

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"Reorient": Processing Immigration Through Art

Review of Reorient: Journeys Through Art and Healing at the Wing Luke Museum

Written by Teen Writer Harlan Liu and edited by Yoon Lee

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The Reorient: Journeys through Art and Healing display at the Wing Luke Museum features four Asian artists who use their different mediums as ways of telling their stories of immigration and finding purpose. These artists are able to express their gratitude, nostalgia, and defiance through dyed fabric, sculptures, ink-wash paintings, using color and unorthodox shapes to suggest the tone or emotion of a work and appeal to audiences.

First entering the exhibit, there is plenty of blank wall space, wherein only after you turn in either direction can you see the paintings of Victor Wang. His style of art holds a strong influence from his time spent working at a photography studio, as most of his pieces were made using pen ink on photographic paper later blended together with solvent, a liquid used to develop photographs. His use of unconventional materials in his paintings reflect his background as a photo color-corrector and almost makes it look like Wang pulled the art out of the canvas.

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PNB’s "Giselle": A Skilled Interpretation of the Famous Tragedy

Review of Giselle at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Written by Teen Writer Kayla Shin and edited by Audrey Gray

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The lights dimmed in McCaw Hall's massive theater, filled to the brim with people of all ages, eagerly anticipating the overture of a bittersweet romance and haunting tragedy. There was a distant sound of tuning in the orchestra pit, barely heard over the clamor of excited viewers. Suddenly, a moment of stillness. Then, the thrilling first note of Giselle’s opening theme—an upbeat melody that didn’t prepare the audience for the devastating story that lay ahead. Before the hushed audience, the performers of Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) waited behind the curtains to present a unique perspective on the famous ballet for the company’s first production since 2014.

The story of Giselle dates back to the 19th century, first performed at the Ballet du Théâtre de l'Académie Royal de Musique in Paris. Theophile Gautier, the original creator of the celebrated ballet, devised the art after reading two old ghost stories: “Phantoms,” by Victor Hugo, and On Germany, by Heinrich Heine. Essentially, the ballet is about a naive peasant girl’s child-like passion for dancing, and a series of tragic events that sentence her to an eternal existence between life and death.

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Venues: Importance of Always All Ages

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Welcome to the first episode of the TeenTix Arts Podcast (TAP)! Here at TAP, we aim to uplift youth voices and artists in the local music scene through access to education and critical discussion. This month’s episode is on all-ages venues and the impact it has on building community for teens. We explore the history and significance of the Vera Project and the Old Redmond Firehouse, two all-ages venues that are dedicated to supporting youth-driven involvement in the arts. Also featured in the episode are interviews with Maya DeAvilla, the Vera Project’s Community Engagement Coordinator, and Whitney Ballen, a former program leader at the Old Redmond Firehouse, that you won’t want to miss!

Check out our January playlist on Spotify:

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A Sober Look at "A Very Drunken Christmas Carol"

Review of A Very Drunken Christmas Carol at Seattle Opera

Written by Teen Writer Roy Callahan and edited by Yoon Lee

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Seattle Opera’s A Very Drunken Christmas Carol is a festive and chaotic journey through the world of opera. The audience follows the Drunken Tenor, a talented and recognized singer who’s fallen into the bad habit of arriving to shows unprepared, stressing out his duet partners, and drowning himself in alcohol. After yet another messy performance, the opera star is called on by a mysterious voice and thrust into the classic trials of the Christmas Carol. Though an appealing concept, the opera suffers greatly from poor plot development and mediocre comedy, leaving audiences with a heaving pile of disappointment.

The Christmas Carol archetypes of past, present, and future underpin a widely underwhelming story which does nothing to grip the audience. Jumping into the past we meet an innocent Tenor who enters the opera scene under questionable guidance from his mentor and partner, the Baritone. The Baritone passes on his dubious habits of carrying a flask at all times, offering sips before performances for extra confidence, and entering duets wholly unprepared. This easily predictable storyline carries no energy, simply serving as an unsatisfying and unoriginal plot point. The lack of chemistry and heavy-handed dialogue between the tenor and the Baritone further weakens the story. The Drunken Tenor (Robert McPherson) in A Very Drunken Christmas Carol. Photo courtesy of Seattle Opera.

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Celebrating the Venues We Love This February

Teen Editorial Staff February 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Kyle Gerstel and Yoon Lee

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It’s love season and we at TeenTix have many partners we adore (partner venues, that is). We love seeing our partners invest in new works, so we are thrilled to have three world premieres from TeenTix venues this February. Dacha Theatre, a new addition to the TeenTix Pass Program, is debuting the electro-synth musical An Incomplete List of All the Things I’m Going to Miss When the World is No Longer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT Theatre Core Company member Reginald André Jackson pursued an extensive research project about forgotten Black theatre artists, which has culminated in the production History of Theatre: About, By, For, and Near. The play explores whether the history of the oppressed can properly be shared without expressing oppression.

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The Tang of Lemon and Weight of Cinder Blocks

Review of Thank You For Coming: Space at On the Boards

Written by Teen Writer Daphne Bunker and edited by Kyle Gerstel

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Before the show begins, sitting in the audience of Thank You For Coming: Space is like being surrounded by an immersive “I Spy” game. The stage is a white rectangle, with two rows of audience chairs around the perimeter, a raised set of tables on one end, and an opening in the seats on the other. Ropes crisscross in the air, tied to chair legs and slung high above on overhead bars. There’s a lemon suspended in the air, microphones, a bundle of leaves, and a bell too, all hanging over people’s heads as theatergoers trickle in from the lobby. A block of clay sits on a corner, and a pair of Doc Martens with wires duct taped to them lie resting on the floor.

Thank You For Coming: Space, created and performed by Faye Driscoll, is an experimental and participatory theater piece that seeks to explore the relationship between an artist and their audience. Driscoll begins the piece by walking into the space and speaking to the audience. What unfolds from there is an abstract, visceral, and deliberately constructed portrait of an artist’s inner thoughts.

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"The Stolen Heir" and the Monster in the Mirror

Review of The Stolen Heir by Holly Black

Written by Teen Writer Yuena Kim and edited by Kyle Gerstel


Holly Black establishes herself as the ultimate advocate for all “monster girls, girls who have lived wild, girls who are strange.” This theme provides the pulsing heart of her works, most explicitly divulged in How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate with, “You don’t think monster girls and wicked boys deserve love?”

Black poses this same question in her newest addition to the intoxicating world of Faerie. In the outskirts of the suburbs, where the boundary blurs the Folk and mortal realms, The Stolen Heir introduces Suren. Unloved and unwanted, Suren remains caught on the margins, neither place willing to claim her as their own. Paired in an uneasy allyship with Oak, the heir to the ruling High Court of Faerie, Suren sets off to reclaim her identity and possibly her birthright as the leader of the Court of Teeth. A triumphant return to the familiar world, The Stolen Heir incorporates the gritty, biting tension of Black’s previous works while developing a unique investigation into the meaning of acceptance.

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Six Takes on "Christmas Bloody Christmas"

Reviews of the Grand Illusion Cinemas' showing of Christmas Bloody Christmas

Written collectively by the Teen Editorial Staff and edited by Newsroom Programs Coordinator Huma Ali

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The Teen Editorial Staff teamed up to bring to light some different perspectives about the recently released Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022). Read on to see why this Christmas-themed slasher may not make it to your screens this season. Warning: spoilers ahead! AAMINA

I believe the intent of Christmas Bloody Christmas was to be charmingly provocative but, to me the film was just annoying. The first thing I noticed was the banter between the two main characters, Tori and Robbie (Riley Dandy and Sam Delich). They walked through a Christmas night in a way that almost evoked Before Sunrise, and I’ll admit I had hopes for the two terrible people finding each other trope. However, by the end of the film, their chatter just seemed inane. I admire the attempt to inspire compassion in the viewer before delving into the slasher. Honestly though, the more time I spent with the characters, the more I disliked them. Tori and Robbie in Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022). Photo courtesy of IMDb © 1990-2023 by, Inc.

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The Musical Language of Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto

Review of Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto at Town Hall Seattle

Written by Teen Writer Miriam Gaster and edited by Audrey Gray


Sitting in the pews of Town Hall Seattle, it felt as if I could physically breathe in the sound of the jazz quintet, Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto. The venue’s dim lighting and warm atmosphere complemented the quintet’s style well, and the open seating encouraged a sense of community within the audience, a vital aspect of the personal nature of the quintet’s music. The pieces Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto composes and performs are their own language; combining jazz and traditional Brazilian music, each instrument is simultaneously percussion and melody. By the end of the set, the audience felt comfortable in the space the quintet created, creating a distinctive musical atmosphere and reminding us of the joys of human connection.

With Mark Ivester on drums, Ben Thomas on vibraphone and bandoneon, Freddy Fuego on trombone and flute, Alex Dyring on bass, and Jovino Santos Neto on piano, the quintet’s music is tight without losing its laidback and personal feel. The style plays with 7/4 time signatures and beautifully syncopated rhythms, and each note is packed with emotion. The bouncy syncopation of Brazilian folk music, blended with the soothing groove of jazz, makes for a unique and captivating experience. However, beyond the technical complexity, the nature of the Quineto’s music is such that for it to be fully understood, the musicians must pour their entire soul into the song. While beautiful when interpreted as notes on a page, the real music comes from the performers.

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People Have the Patti

Review of Patti Smith presented by Seattle Arts and Lectures

Written by Teen Writer Elle Vonada and edited by Aamina Mughal


Patti Lee Smith is recognized as a legend in the music community. She made her musical debut in the mid-1970s in New York City with her first album Horses. Smith’s first major recognition came when she was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. She came to Town Hall Seattle on December 2 as part of her book tour for A Book of Days, which came out on November 15. She gave a captivating performance as she alternated between different media. In her presentation, she told entertaining anecdotes alongside a slideshow, answered prepared questions from notecards, and performed a few songs with her guitarist. Smith’s innate sense of humor just added to the evening’s entertainment.

Her slideshow displayed pinnacle moments of her life through photographs that are featured in her recently released book. She told stories about meeting other recognized artists, traveling the world, and of her cherished relationships throughout her career. For example, the necklace exchanged between herself and Robert Mapplethorpe, which she mentioned in a previous memoir, Just Kids, was a fun inclusion. It was sweet to see her reminisce about their time together and put an image to the fabled artifact of her life. Another significant image was of Alice Augusta Ball, a Black woman who produced the original cure for leprosy. Ball sadly passed away at the young age of 24 in a laboratory accident, and it was only a matter of time until her work was stolen by a man. Smith paid tribute to her story and ended with “Hail Alice Augusta Ball.” Though that wording landed weirdly, it is always a good thing for another woman of color’s story to be shared. Smith never explicitly responded to the controversy around her use of the N-word, in her song Rock N Roll N*****, released in 1978. The song was silently retired off streaming services sometime in 2022. She may be using her platform to promote marginalized people to demonstrate remorse. However, without first taking accountability for performing the N-word up until 2019, her use of Ball in her presentation felt performative. Nevertheless, Smith recognizes she is a public figure who is privileged to have a platform and uses it to advocate for and give voice to underappreciated people. Patti Smith's book cover for A Book of Days

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A New Year’s Artistic Blessings

Teen Editorial Staff January 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Audrey Gray and Disha Cattamanchi

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With one turn of a calendar’s page, 2023 has arrived. For many, the new year is a time for self-reflection. Some might make New Year’s resolutions to look back on their year in review; others might set on the path to a fresh start. For the more creatively inclined, the new year is a magnificent chance to delve deep into who you are and who you want to become through art. If you’re interested in experiencing the myriad of artistic perspectives the new year has inspired in the Seattle community, check out the events covered this month on the TeenTix Arts Blog, curated by the Teen Editorial Staff.

For those of you aching to return to theater after the holidays, look no further for some truly exciting events. Seattle Repertory Theatre is welcoming in the new year by contemplating change and transformation with Metamorphoses, a thrilling new theatrical production inspired by Ovid’s classic epic poem. If you’re looking to delve even further into history, check out History of Theatre at ACT Theatre, a production that seeks to explore and celebrate the rich, little-known history of Black theatre in America. To challenge your social perceptions, consider seeing This Bitter Earth at Seattle Public Theater, a beautiful exploration of racial issues, Queer identity, and modern love.

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"Mr. Dickens and His Carol" Lacks a Twist

Review of Mr. Dickens and His Carol at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Teen Writer Daniela Mariz-Frankel and edited by Aamina Mughal

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Amidst 1840s London, a man hurries through the streets trying to figure out the plot of his next book, which will come to be known as A Christmas Carol. In the world premiere of the play based off of a novel by the same name, Seattle Repertory Theatre brings us a compelling story of Charles Dickens struggling to write a Christmas-themed book in order to save his finances. The show has many timely messages about how we overlook relationships for currency and material items when we are asked to do something that is stressful or mentally draining. The show has many good parts but some issues with the narrative execution.

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Celebrate the Season with PNB's Nutcracker!

TeenTix Available One Day Only!

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This year, PNB is once again generously providing TeenTix tickets for TWO (2) performances: Tue, Dec 27, 2022 12:30pmTue, Dec 27, 2022 5:30pm

PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability, day-of-show only, starting 90 minutes before showtime. TeenTix 2-for-$10 companion tickets are not available for these performances. We hope to see you there!

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Through the Lenses of "American" Art

Review of American Art: The Stories We Carry at Seattle Art Museum

Written by Teen Writer Maitreyi Parakh and edited by Audrey Gray


The same contradictions and cohesion that makes art worth exploring is the same thing that makes it so difficult to define. While the American Art: The Stories We Carry exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum presents it as a question to be answered, it would be more accurate to consider it a framework to view each piece by. Within each piece and within each question, the exhibit presents nuance–what is American art specifically? Who gets to decide? Curated by Inye Wokoma, American Art: The Stories We Carry highlights the uniqueness of different racial identities and backgrounds in America, especially in the Pacific Northwest, and perceptions of them here and beyond. It presents Indigenous and African-American ties to the land, contrasted with the perspectives of the first colonists in the area. The gallery uses this contradiction to display the relationship and responsibility settlers have to Indigenous people in the area and how that compares with the connections they have with the land.

The gallery opens with two landscapes paintings with similar settings: Mount Rainier, Bay of Tacoma – Puget Sound (1875) by Sanford Robinson Gifford and Mitchell's Point Looking Down the Columbia (1887) by Grafton Tyler Brown both portray the terrain of the Pacific Northwest, with majestic mountains towering in the distance and expansive waterways laid out beyond. The scenery juxtaposes with the role of Indigenous people in the paintings—in Wokoma's words, Indigenous people are considered to be "wild and remote," but even more than that, their role in the environment is significantly diminished. In both paintings, Indigenous people are pictured as diminutive and less than, with their faces blurred out and the focus being on the landscape over the people present on it. They're disregarded on their own land, despite Wokoma's note that land serves as both an origin story and a significant cultural element for many Indigenous groups. Clearly, landscapes weren't the paradigm of impartiality they masqueraded as. This dynamic sets the stage for the rest of the exhibit, which reclaims the role of Indigenous people and changes the position from which viewpoints are centered. Mitchell's Point Looking D own the Columbia, 1887, Grafton Tyler Brown, oil on canvas, 18 x 30 in. Bruce Leven Acquisition Fund, 2020.26

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Paddington Saved My Christmas

Review of Paddington Saves Christmas at Seattle Children's Theatre Company

Written by Teen Writer Lily Fredericks and edited by Kyle Gerstel

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It’s been two years since the pandemic put us under house arrest, condemning us to our pajamas and confining us to our bedrooms. Left to our own devices (quite literally), we missed out on the joys of live performance that our pixels fail to provide.

Now, our cells have since swung open, opening with them fresh arts venues to explore. Emerging from our dwellings into this crisp December month, the air is teeming with holiday spirit along with a hankering for festive antics.

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