SEATTLE -- A very eclectic mix of the old and new, musicals and straight plays, classics and premieres are in the mix for Seattle Repertory Theatre's 1998-99 season. Just added is a staging of Martin McDonagh's London and Broadway hit, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, set to run Jan. 25-Feb. 28, 1999.
The pitch-dark comedy takes the place of Wit, a play by Margaret Edson that won the L.A. Critics Circle Award. Edson's humorous and harrowing study of the journey of English Literature professor Vivian Bearing through her bout with ovarian cancer hasn't been forgotten, though -- it'll open the Leo K. Theatre during the Rep's 1999-00 season.
As for the current Seattle Rep roster:
The season gets under way with a production of the recent Broadway musical Play On!, loosely adapted from William Shakespeare's classic tale of mistaken identities Twelfth Night, re-set in 1940's Harlem to the timeless strains of such Duke Ellington classics as "Take the 'A' Train", "Mood Indigo" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Directed and conceived by Sheldon Epps (whose Blues In The Night was a big Rep hit two seasons ago), Play On! is a co-production with Chicago's Goodman Theatre. (Sept. 21-Oct. 31).
The only play of the Rep's season to be staged outside of the company's Seattle Center homebase is Bill Irwin's Fool Moon which is being presented at the larger 5th Avenue Theatre downtown to accommodate the anticipated demand for tickets, due to Irwin's popularity in Seattle. The comic master teams for this production of his Broadway hit with co clown David Shiner, and the musical group The Red Clay Ramblers for an evening of non-stop hilarity. (Oct. 14-Nov. 1) Russell Lees' Nixon's Nixon mixes wicked satire with poignancy in its fictional portrait of President Nixon's final night in the White House, and conversations with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. (Oct. 26-Dec. 6)
George Bernard Shaw's most prominent masterwork, Pygmalion, will be directed by Rep artistic director Sharon Ott, as the company's holiday season offering. The tale of Professor Henry Higgins' transformation of flower girl Eliza Dolittle from guttersnipe to belle of the Embassy Ball will be inescapable in these parts come November, as the Village Theatre in Issaquah will be presenting the Lerner and Loewe musicalization, My Fair Lady, concurrently. (Nov. 16-Dec. 20)
Seattle Rep affiliate artist, playwright Phillip Kan Gotanda (The Ballad of Yachiyo) will see the world premiere of his play Sisters Matsumoto, directed by Sharon Ott, his long-time collaborator. This heart-felt work, which received a stage reading by the company this past season, concerns a Japanese American family's struggles to readjust to life in the U.S. after several years of internment during WWII. (Jan. 4-Feb, 14, 1999)
"If Love Were All", "Don't Put Your Daughter On the Stage, Mrs. Worthington", and "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" are just a few of the tunes that have kept us mad about the brilliant English composer/lyricist Noel Coward, whose 100th birthday will be celebrated with the jaunty revue, Oh, Coward!, directed by Stephen Terrell (Feb. 22-Apr. 14, 1999).
Rep affiliate artist Stephen Wadsworth, who directed the Rep's hit version of An Ideal Husband , gets his turn at the Coward canon with the playwright's Design For Living, set amongst the Bohemian artists of Paris in 1933, as they cope with sudden success, shifting fortunes and the consequences of unbridled passion. The co-production with the McCarter Theatre for the Performing Arts in New Jersey runs Mar. 15-Apr. 18, 1999.
Closing the season, Apr. 12-May 23, 1999 will be the Latino satirical group, Culture Clash, offering their Radio Mambo.
The Seattle Repertory Theatre houses both the larger Bagley Wright theatre, and the more intimate Leo K. Theatre in its Seattle Center playhouse at 155 Mercer St., thus accommodating the lengthy season of shows. Regular season subscriptions range $79 to $350, and subscribers receive a $5 discount on additional tickets. The company has retained its popular policy of $10 per ticket for those under age 25, and $17 per ticket for those 65 and over, which may be purchased as season subscriber packages. For further information and to order tickets call (206) 443-2222.