16 Best Things to Do in Seattle in February 2020

Our handpicked list of the best bets for entertainment this month
HALLO, HEDWIG: John Cameron Mitchell shares stories and songs from his time playing this East Berlin songstress

This article appears in print in the February 2020 issue. Click here to subscribe.

John Cameron Mitchell
John Cameron Mitchell both co-created Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the 1998 rock musical that recounts how “a slip of a girly boy from communist East Berlin became the internationally ignored song stylist barely standing before you,” and originated its diva-esque title role. On his “The Origin of Love” tour, Mitchell combines songs from the show (by Stephen Trask) with stories from his 20 years with the cult classic on stage and screen. 8 p.m. $50–$65. The Moore Theatre, downtown; stgpresents.org

Exploring Passages Within the Black Diaspora
Ends 3/22
This Photographic Center Northwest exhibit spotlighting female-identifying photographers from Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas is presented in partnership with Frye Art Museum, the University of Washington’s Jacob Lawrence Gallery and Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. The last, a pioneering photography journal created by Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and Adama Delphine Fawundu, was named for the equally pathbreaking Nigerian-American photographer Mmekutmfon “Mfon” Essien (1967–2001). Times vary. Free. Photographic Center Northwest, Capitol Hill; pcnw.org

Photo by Naomi Ishisaka

Black Bois
The unimaginable tragedies—or, really, the all too imaginable and all too common tragedies—experienced by Kalief Browder and Tamir Rice inspired the dance piece Black Bois, which choreographer Dani Tirrell calls “a thanksgiving to our past and our present and our future; it’s also, for me, a love letter to our bodies.” Those who missed the sold-out April 2018 premiere at On the Boards now have a second chance to see Tirrell’s work, performed by local dance stars Markeith Wiley, David Rue, Randy Ford and others, with original music by Benjamin Hunter and written word by J Mase III. 7:30 p.m. $40–$50. The Moore Theatre, downtown; stgpresents.org

Ends 2/23
Composers/lyricists Emma Lively and Tyler Beattie have taken the classic “princess locked in a tower” trope and twisted it into something new: a story of four princesses who escape an overprotective father only to find themselves in the outside world with its stifling expectations. For its world-premiere production of this musical comedy, The 5th snagged Sex and the City’s Mario Cantone to play the tale’s fairy godfather; Broadway veteran Sheryl Kaller directs. Times and prices vary. 5th Avenue Theatre, downtown; 5thavenue.org 

Noir City Seattle
Perhaps it was to counteract the euphoria and triumphalism of winning World War II that led filmmakers, in the decade that followed, to explore America’s flip side—crime and deception, jazz and gunshots, hardboiled private eyes and untrustworthy femmes fatales—in the genre that became known as film noir. SIFF’s annual festival salutes these classics; Turner Classic Movies host Eddie Muller acts as guide. Times and prices vary. SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill; siff.net

The acclaimed Afro-Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo will perform two works,
Gira and Bach. Photo by Jose Luiz Pederneiras

Grupo Corpo
This acclaimed Afro-Brazilian dance troupe will perform two works: Gira, inspired by the celebration rites of syncretic Brazilian religions; and Bach, which “celebrates the architecture of life” by combining playfully slinky movement with an electronic reimagining of the Baroque. 8 p.m. $61–$69. Meany Center, University of Washington, University District; meanycenter.org

Lowbrow Opera Collective: #adulting
Ends 2/9
“What can we do to make sure that new operas are written, performed and experienced by all sorts of people?” asks this group of young singers. Well, one thing they’re doing is reviving their inaugural production from last May, #adulting (music by John Ervin Brooks, libretto by Natalie Stewart Elder), a comedy of four millennials, a shared apartment and a suboptimal couch. Times and prices vary. 18th & Union, Capitol Hill; 18thandunion.org

The Angel in the House
Today, Victorian poet Coventry Patmore is remembered, if at all, for The Angel in the House, his book-length paean to the ideal of female domesticity. Busy Seattle playwright/actor Sara Porkalob is having none of that, grabbing Patmore’s title and turning the whole concept upside down into a “feminist-revenge thriller-critique” for Café Nordo’s next show, a murder mystery that promises “corsets, blood, revenge and cake.” Times and prices vary. Café Nordo’s Culinarium, Pioneer Square; cafenordo.com

Artist and bruja Bri Luna, who offers “everyday magic for the modern mystic” on her website (thehoodwitch.com), has been tapped to curate the very first group show at the modestly named Museum of Museums—which itself is the result of a sort of magical act, the transformation of a former Swedish Health Services building by art provocateur Greg Lundgren. Museum of Museums, 900 Boylston Ave., First Hill; vital5productions.com

Emily Nemens
Writer Emily Nemens trod a path from Garfield High student to editor of The Paris Review (“the premier arbiter of American literary dialogue,” Vanity Fair calls it), a position she’s held since June 2018. Now she’s back in her hometown to present her debut novel, The Cactus League, which uncovers the secrets of a star LA ballplayer and his circle. 7 p.m. Free. Hugo House, Capitol Hill; hugohouse.org

The Children
In British playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s eco-thriller—inspired by the 2011 explosion in Fukushima, Japan—three physicists meet in an isolated cottage to reveal secrets while the world around them deals with the fallout from a nuclear plant accident. New York Times critic Jesse Green called this 2018 Tony nominee “as disturbing to replay in your imagination as it is to see in the first place.” Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Center, Lower Queen Anne; seattlerep.org

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird
Bebop legend Charlie Parker looks back on his tragically brief roller coaster of a life in this 2015 opera by Swiss-born Daniel Schnyder. Like Parker himself, Schnyder is a saxophonist and composer, and, also like Parker, is fascinated by the ways in which jazz and contemporary classical styles flow together. Times and prices vary. Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, Lower Queen Anne; seattleopera.org

The Atomic Bombshells: J’Adore
It’s the 12th annual “burlesque valentine” from this top-notch local troupe. Expect sensuality, sizzle and sparkle in Seattle’s most sophisticated and romantic venue. Times and prices vary. The Triple Door, downtown; thetripledoor.net

Jasmine Joshua presents
Bread Crumbs at ACT’s Solo Fest. Photo by Michael Maine.

Some art is almost always created by a lone artist (literature, painting); some, never (film). Theater and dance fall in between, and as much fun as it can be to collaborate, sometimes artists want to take charge, make their own decisions and do their own thing. By coincidence, two mini festivals this month showcase such singular works. ACT – A Contemporary Theatre’s Solo Fest (February 6–16) is presenting four solo shows by Sherif Amin, Jasmine Joshua, Susan Lieu and Sharon Nyree Williams. Topics explored include medical negligence, nonbinary self-discovery, the black experience in America and a journey to the Emerald City—Oz, that is, not Seattle (or maybe both?). At On the Boards’ Solo: A Festival of Dance (February 20–23), Dani Tirrell (also performing at The Moore a week earlier; see page 91) curates the daytime and late-night programming of solo dance by Jade Solomon Curtis, Allie Hankins, Jumatatu Poe, Adrienne Truscott and Marianna Valencia. Times and prices vary. ACT – A Contemporary Theatre, downtown; acttheatre.org. On the Boards, Lower Queen Anne; ontheboards.org

Now hanging at the new SAAM: work by South Korean artist Jung Yeondoo, among many others. Photo by by Jung Yeondoo.

A newly renovated Seattle Asian Art Museum reopens in Volunteer Park

Out of commission for nearly two years, the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) reopens this month after a $56 million renovation. Along with cosmetic refurbishments, there are two new additions: a 2,600-square-foot gallery space and a lobby that enhances the building’s visual connection with its Volunteer Park surroundings. A free opening celebration (2/8-2/9) includes tours, live music and art-making opportunities, and a chance to check out the two inaugural exhibits: Boundless: Stories of Asian Art organizes highlights from SAAM’s permanent collection according to 12 cultural themes (e.g., worship, literature, clothing), while the special-exhibition galleries host Be/longing: Contemporary Asian Art, which features 12 artists from across Asia. Museum hours and prices vary. Seattle Asian Art Museum, Capitol Hill; seattleartmuseum.org

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