With the passing of summer into fall marked by the end of baseball and the returning of children to school, local theater seasons have begun. While every stage has at least one show for everyone, particular shows stand out as must-sees around Tacoma. Sit back and peruse the menu of top choices.
Lakewood Playhouse is offering up “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “12 Angry Men,” “The Odd Couple” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot” with “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The War of the Worlds” as added shows. Of course, the hit of the season will be “Spamalot,” since that show is just flat-out funny, but special attention will go into the staging of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” a classic show being staged on the tails of the recent hit movie version. Visit: http://www.LakewoodPlayhouse.org.
Crossing the bridge to Gig Harbor will give theater travelers some solid shows at Paradise Theater. Its season includes, “Dracula,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Born Yesterday,” “Angry Housewives,” “Shrek, The Musical,” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Tops on the list of shows at this stage are “Dracula” and “Wizard of Oz,” because of their standings as timeless tales that are gems every time they take to the stage. Visit: http://www.ParadiseTheatre.org.
Centerstage Theatre has a mix of history, thrillers and comedies this season. The Federal Way theater is staging Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps,” “Aladdin,” “The Nerd,” “Cuff Me: The Fifty Shades of Grey Musical Parody” and “Sister's Summer School Catechism.” Of course, the buzz around the theater is that “Cuff Me” will be the hit to watch, since audiences are likely going to love the mix of song and dance and sex and handcuffs. The show is being staged by the New York production company of this off-Broadway spoof of the best-selling novel. Visit: http://www.CenterstageTheatre.com.
The juggernaut community theater of Tacoma, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, is set with a renovated stage and a roster of big shows. Opening the season with a heavy hit, TMP is staging “Les Misérables” followed by “Annie,” “Shout! The Mod Musical,” “Man of La Mancha,” “La Cage aux Folles” and “Young Frankenstein.” Any one of these shows would be the anchor of other community theaters, but TMP is stacking them all in a row to create the best lineup in the South Sound. Visit: http://www.TMP.org.
Tacoma’s Broadway Center, which is marking its 30th anniversary, will be offering more than 40 shows at the Pantages and Rialto theaters. Standouts are “The Acting Company: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet,” and “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience.” Visit: http://www.BroadwayCenter.org.
Tacoma Opera’s season starts off with Gilbert and Sullivan’s masterpiece “Pirates of Penzance,” then stages “The Barber of Seville” and “Madama Butterfly.” While “Pirates” will likely be the crowd pleaser of the season, no ticket to Tacoma Opera is a waste. Visit http://www.TacomaOpera.com.
The gray lady of the region’s theater scene, Tacoma Little Theatre, turns 95 this season, making it the longest running community theater on the West Coast. Its season includes, “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) [revised],” “Steel Magnolias,” “The Weir,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Chapter Two,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Moonlight and Magnolias.” Shows to pay particular attention to are “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” classic works with relevant messages on a community stage. Visit: http://www.TacomaLittleTheatre.com.