Here we are, caught in the doldrums between the New Year and the spring, when the only arbitrarily cheery respite on the horizon is Valentine’s Day (for those that observe). Grey grey grey, rain rain rain, yadda yadda yadda—get out of your house and go see some great, interesting art and then have a conversation with someone afterward. You’ll feel better, I promise. Here are the four events at the top of my list this week, and just writing about them has made me feel better already.
She Loves Me
This romantic confection, based on the same Hungarian play as You’ve Got Mail, is one of those wonderful classic musicals that would never be produced were it being written today: Two substantial acts, secondary and tertiary characters aplenty, subplots with actual arcs, and a running time that's pushing three hours. But it's a well-constructed delight, and tells the story of two co-workers/enemies who are secretly besotted with each other, thanks to the earnest, anonymous letters they’ve been exchanging through a Lonely Heart's Club, the print-based predecessor to the dating app. Allison Standley and her lovely candy-floss soprano star in this Village Theatre production. Through 2/23, Village Theatre Issaquah
Natasha Marin book launch
Come celebrate the upcoming release of conceptual artist Natasha Marin’s new book, Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures, out February 4. The book, described as “part oral history, part poetry, all imagination” is the latest manifestation of Marin’s multi-nodal, human-centered work, including Black Imagination exhibitions and her web-based Reparations project. The 36 voices included in her book come from all walks of Black life, and the evening’s program includes readings from the book as well as conversations between Marin and her contributors. 1/24, Hugo House
You can count on local contemporary dance company Whim W’Him for, among other things, top-notch technical execution and compelling choreographic curation. Their latest, a mixed-bill program called Xpress, includes world premiere works by rising international dance star Ihsan Rustem, New York-based powerhouse Sidra Bell and Whim W’Him artistic director Olivier Wevers. If you’re a modern dance lover (or aspire to be), you won’t want to miss them. 1/24–1/25, Cornish Playhouse
I’ve yet to see this ArtsWest production, but it’s got a great cast and director, and there’s a reason that writer Lauren Gunderson was the most produced playwright in America for two seasons running. Her fast, funny, digestible plays are ferociously feminist in the gentlest way. Kelly Kitchens directs this French Revolution-set story, which stars Sunam Ellis as playwright Olympe de Gouges, Hannah Mootz as assassin Charlotte Corday, Jonelle Jordan as Marie Antoinette and Dedra Woods as Marianne Angelle, a composite character based on Haitian revolutionaries of the day. Through 2/9, ArtsWest