REOPENING: ArtsWest raises the curtain on plan for 2021-2022 season

June 23, 2021 12:46 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

West Seattle’s only bricks-and-mortar playhouse is reopening. The jubilant team at ArtsWest in The Junction has just sent the announcement of their upcoming season, and plans for open houses soon so you can get excited too:

ArtsWest has announced their 2021-2022 season WHEN WE WAKE, with six productions – three world premieres and three Seattle premieres – featuring plays by innovative and original new voices in the American theater. This is the first season programmed by a collective of ArtsWest Associate Artists in collaboration with ArtsWest leadership, demonstrating a new power-sharing model of season curation. The season will be presented with an in-person option, including socially distanced performances, as well as an online option.

Through a season of theater full of gods, monsters, myths and legends, WHEN WE WAKE asks us to reflect on who we are as we begin to emerge from a global pandemic – and a period of profound and mythological separation. What have we learned and what will we choose to do differently as we write the next chapters of our collective story? “I’m so proud of the work of the Associate Artists,” stated Artistic Director Mathew Wright. “They have curated what I think is the perfect season of theater to return to. It is at once full of joy and theatricality and profound in its vision of how we might create better lives for and with each other.”

To celebrate reopening to the public, ArtsWest will hold Open Houses on July 1 & 2 from 4 pm-7 pm, July 8 & 9
from 4 pm-7 pm, and July 10 & 11 from 11 am-3 pm.
Visitors will be invited to walk the theater space, reacclimate themselves to being together, take in some videos of ArtsWest’s 2020 digital work, and chat with ArtsWest leadership about what they can expect in the upcoming year, including this powerful new season of theater. WHEN WE WAKE opens the 2021 holiday season with the world premiere musical WE’VE BATTLED MONSTERS BEFORE, noted Seattle composer-playwright Justin Huertas’ latest addition to his canon exploring contemporary mythology and fantasy in the lives of everyday people.

In the new year, ArtsWest will present the world premiere of Christian St. Croix’s haunting and humorous MONSTERS OF THE AMERICAN CINEMA, a tale of a father, a son, and the everyday American monsters we create. Next, from Australian Theater for Young Audiences playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, THIS GIRL LAUGHS, THIS GIRL CRIES, THIS GIRL DOES NOTHING presents a moving modern fairytale of three powerful young women who take on the world and create lives for themselves, each in their own way. Kicking off the second half of the season is ALMA, Benjamin Benne’s story of a mother and daughter yearning for connection while holding vastly different ideas of what the “American Dream” actually represents. Next is the world premiere of miku, and the gods. by playwright Julia Izumi, a moving meditation on family, love, loss – and what it takes to become a god. The season concludes with the world premiere of HERE THERE BE DRAGONS, an original song cycle created by Valerie Curtis-Newton and co-produced by The Hansberry Project, celebrating the journeys of Black women and uplifting the words and music of some of Seattle’s most dynamic Black women recording artists.

Book, Music and Lyrics by Justin Huertas
November 26 – December 26, 2021

When you’re the youngest sibling in a family of secret warriors who for generations have protected Seattle from monsters and demons, living up to your Lola’s expectations is, in a word, daunting. Adarna’s mistakes were cute at first, but when they begin to cost her family more than she ever imagined, she must decide what she would sacrifice to save them. Loosely adapted from the 16th century Filipino epic poem Ibong Adarna, playwright- composer-lyricist Justin Huertas returns to his Lizard Boy roots with a sweet and intimate actor-musician musical adventure.

by Christian St. Croix
January 27 – February 20, 2022

When his husband dies, Remy Washington, a Black man, finds himself both the owner of a drive-in movie theater and a caregiver to his late husband’s straight, white teenage son, Pup. United by their love of classic American monster movies, the two have developed a warm and caring familial chemistry – but their relationship fractures when Remy discovers Pup and his friends have been bullying a gay teen at his school. Monsters of the American Cinema is a haunting and humorous tale about fathers and sons, ghosts and monsters.

by Finegan Kruckemeyer
March 17 – April 10, 2022

Triplet sisters are left in the forest by their woodcutter father. From this fairytale beginning, three resolutions are made – one sister will walk one way, one the other, and the third will stay right where she is. Twenty years later, having circumnavigated the globe, and fought Vikings, and crossed oceans, and tamed wilds, and achieved greatness, the three meet again, as women. What they learn on their separate journeys will change everything, and at the same time nothing, in this moving and irresistibly charming modern-day fairytale.

by Benjamin Benne
May 5 – May 22, 2022

Working mom Alma has singlehandedly raised her daughter, Angel, on tough love, home-cooked comida and lots of prayers. But on the eve of the all-important SAT, Alma discovers her daughter isn’t at home studying. A schooling and la chancla await Angel at home—but so does a creeping realization that more’s at stake than just a test score. A sacrifice from Alma’s past weighs heavy on their present; now, Alma fears that her worst nightmare may soon be their reality. Will the American Dream cost them a life together?

miku, and the gods.
by Julia Izumi
June 16 – July 3, 2022

Miku wants to be a god. Ephraim wants to be an Olympian. Grandma Seiko wants to remember. And minor god Shara just wants people to include him in the conversation, you know? As they journey from the schoolyard to the river to the underworld and back again, Miku and company will learn what it actually takes to become a god. As funny as it is moving, miku, and the gods. is an epic adventure that braids together friendship, death, memory, time, rhythm – and power beyond what one could ever desire.

Conceived and Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
Co-Produced by The Hansberry Project
July 28 – August 28, 2022

Conceived and directed by the inimitable Valerie Curtis-Newton, and featuring the music and lyrics of some of Seattle’s most dynamic Black women recording artists, this brand new theatrical song cycle celebrates the joys, triumphs, and tribulations of Black women. As they confront the mystery of the unknown, they construct new legends with the confidence of all that has come before them. A unique fusion of musical styles and theatrical influences, Here There Be Dragons is a bold journey into uncharted waters and new possibilities.

The doors at ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery have been closed since mid-March 2020 “and it has been really tough,” says managing director Laura Lee.

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