Call it catharsis or call it exposure therapy, but there’s something undeniably captivating about seeing your fears played out live on stage, and I don’t mean fears of the campy nightmare variety, I mean of the “absolutely possible, rooted in appropriate levels of informed anxiety” variety. Watching a blood-soaked political revolution unfold feels particularly timely, as does investigating the moral implications of environmental disaster. Fun! But there’s also baseball and beautiful writing to discuss, and a chance to hear "Wig in a Box" as sung by the world’s most charming East German songstress ever played by John Cameron Mitchell. If that doesn’t make you feel better about the world, I don’t know what will. Go see something!
Emily Nemens at Hugo House
Not a show show here, exactly, but if you fall anywhere in the Venn diagram of novel readers and baseball lovers, get to Hugo House to hear erstwhile Seattleite Emily Nemens read from her debut novel The Cactus League, set in the unusual ecosystem of spring training in Phoenix. Nemens, who is also the editor of The Paris Review, will have an onstage chat with writer Adrianne Harun after reading—so go curious and get your literary schmooze on.
2/26, Hugo House
John Cameron Mitchell’s “The Origin of Love” Tour
Are you a fan of Hedwig and the Angry Inch? If you know the 1998 rock musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Steven Trask, in which Mitchell originated the title role (“a slip of a girly boy from communist East Berlin”) you probably are—I don’t know many people who are “meh” on Hedwig. That’s largely due to Mitchell’s deliciously acidic, push-pull stage presence, and tonight he’ll perform songs from the show and tell stories from his decades-long tenure with the cult classic on stage and screen.
2/27, Moore Theatre
Kassa Overall album release
Do not sleep on this chance to hear Kassa Overall, a Seattle-raised, New York City–based jazz drummer who recently signed with Brownswood Recordings. Overall’s always joyfully expanding the boundaries of jazz, he’s played with the best of the best, and he’s releasing his first album with Brownswood, I Think I’m Good, on February 28. Come out and celebrate, it’s going to be a special night.
3/1, The Triple Door
There’s nothing flashy about Lucy Kirkwood’s three-person play, set in an English cottage not far from the site of a recent nuclear disaster, akin to Fukushima. The simple, vérité style packs a surprising emotional wallop, as a married couple of retired physicists, living just outside the dangerous “exclusion zone,” are visited by an old friend whose complicated motives slowly reveal themselves. The play has been called an eco-thriller, which is certainly is, with all the attendant climate dread that implies, but its real creeping chill emanates from within: what it means to take responsibility, and to what—and who—are we beholden?
Runs through March 15, Seattle Repertory Theatre
The Last Days of the Tsars
This immersive show at Stimson-Green Mansion still has kinks to work out, but the scope of ambition is undeniable and the environs impressive. When the show begins, you’re set (relatively) free in this stately home to follow which characters you so choose—Romanovs, revolutionaries, Rasputin—on the eve of the Russian Revolution, the night in 1917 when Tsar Nicholas II is forced to abdicate and sent into exile with his family. Wear comfy shoes, check your coat, and don’t worry too much about seeing everything or jockeying for space—that’ll just make you (and everyone around you) stress out unnecessarily.
Runs through 3/15, Stimson-Green Mansion