Live Jazz Orchestra, Top-Notch Talent & Stunning Costumes will Knock Your S(t)ock(ing)s Off! “Land of the Sweets: A Burlesque Nutcracker” on now through 12/28

Review by guest blogger, Amanda Mitchell: 

I had the extreme pleasure of kicking off Seattle’s holiday entertainment season with a trip to renowned venue The Triple Door for opening night of dynamic duo Lily Verlaine & Jasper McCann’s 12th Annual Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque NutcrackerIt truly is a titillating celebratory feast for the senses – sure to be your new favorite holiday tradition!

Though its a completely new, re-envisioned production, returning attendees will be pleased to see all their favorite characters, such as Verlaine’s Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy, Tory Peil’s “toreadora” Hot Chocolate, the adorable Snowflakes and my personal favorite, Babette La Fave’s Sleepytime Reveler, who has a magical interaction with the mischievous glowing light of a candlestick. Other standout professionally-trained dance talent includes Paris Original, Trojan Original, Alice Cao, Marissa Quimby, Dreamy Tangerine, Moscato Ecstatique and Elektra Luxe, who magnificently execute Verlaine’s elegant yet playful choreography. Stephanie Seymour’s custom costuming is not only lavishly exquisite (with Burlesque sparkles-o-plenty!), but also dynamic and full of surprises as the performers sometimes make multiple transitions and reveals on-stage during the same number! Expect to see just the right amount of tasteful/respectful sexiness and sass; a little skin here and there, balanced with flirtatious innuendos and tongue-in-cheek inferences.
McCann’s smooth-crooning Charles Drosselmingus is a Brian Setzer-like host-with-the-most; emceeing throughout the evening, he equally engages with audience and performers, alike. McCann narratively navigates through the whimsical winter wonderland that is Land of the Sweets and cleverly transitions from each vignette to the next with original songs and witty improvised banter. And, his musical talents don’t end there; he’s also responsible for co-collaborating with local musicians Kate Olson and Michael Owcharuk to create an all-new jazzy arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s iconic Nutcracker Suite, performed live, on-stage by a hyper-talented 9-piece jazz orchestra. The end result, in McCann’s own words, is ” a lean, bawdy, bop/cool-influenced re-imagination of the ballet’s original music.” Pure musical ecstasy to this reviewer’s ears; you’ll be tapping your toes and wiggling your hips throughout the entire evening!

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Plan on making a night of it; the venue features cabaret-style seating and offers full dinner and beverage service throughout the show. Audience members are highly encouraged to applause, hoot and holler at the delightful array of dazzling visual and auditory spectacles that grace the Triple Door stage, playing now through December 28th. It might be cold outside, but baby, it’s HOT, HOT, HOT in the Land of the Sweets! Tickets here. 
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Affordable holiday fun: A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol at Unexpected Productions!

Looking for an awesome holiday event that doesn’t break the bank and is family-friendly? Unexpected Productions (the theatre in Pike Place Market next to the gum wall!) presents “A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol” – the improv twist on the popular classic – now through 12/23! My hubby Brandon and I are taking my family –  my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces (age 14 and 11) to see this awesome production and share many laughs together. I have a feeling this may become a new holiday tradition for us! Brandon and I saw this production a few years ago and loved it. Every show is different, as they ridiculously twist the tale in directions from audience suggestions. This production offers two casts and we will see the show when one of our favorite improv actors, Paul Levy, is performing as Scrooge.

Tickets are selling out fast for the shows! December 16 is already sold out and most of the performances (Dec 9-10, 14-15, 17-23) are more than half-sold out already.

Tickets here.

Tickets are super affordable compared to other holiday productions in town, guests ages 21+ can enjoy a nicely-priced drink from the bar. Oh, did I mention they have popcorn and other snacks at concessions? Leave room for popcorn!
Support this local theatre by helping to spread the word! RSVP “Interested” or “Going” to the Facebook event page here.
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“Based on audience suggestions, the improvisers of Unexpected Productions bend and twist Charles Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in all sorts of hilarious directions — and each show is different. Maybe Scrooge owns a pet store, maybe the Ghost of Christmas Past is a film noir detective, maybe Tiny Tim isn’t so tiny and maybe the ghosts show Scrooge the error of his ways, but maybe not!

Traditionally, as with other fully improved shows, every show is the different every night, based completely on audience suggestions. Audiences are encouraged to let their imagination run wild. [The cast has] to incorporate the more than 30-plus audience suggestions to recreate the plot and nuance the story.” – Unexpected Productions

Contemporary circus troupe Acrobatic Conundrum offers two December shows!

I’ve heard wonderful things about “Acrobatic Conundrum,” a contemporary circus troupe, am excited to see them live this weekend! This troupe offers two shows this December, “Volume 5” and “The Fig Tree Waltzes.” If you love circus arts (who doesn’t?!) you’ll want to get out your calendars now and book your tickets to see the troupe has critics raving.
“Volume 5” continues at 12th Ave Arts December 8 – 10 while “The Fig Tree Waltzes” plays December 15 – 23. Tickets here.

More about Acrobatic Conundrum:

Critics are calling Acrobatic Conundrum one of the most important artistic voices in the modern circus uprising. This December, they’re returning to their hometown of Seattle, to debut an astounding array of gravity-defying new works.

 The stage is set at the beautiful new state of the art 12th Avenue Arts for two new pieces. First, running Dec 1 – 10 is a curated cabaret called Volume 5, which features new short works from the ensemble and guest works from some of the best contemporary circus artists in the business.

 Closing out December with shows Dec 15 – 23 is The Fig Tree Waltzes. In this evening-length performance, Acrobatic Conundrum blends circus and dance into a poetic experience with ensemble-based aerial work, athletic modern choreography, and a touch of humor. In a world where stakes are high and time is running out, The Fig Tree Waltzes is a paean to the human drive to keep playing against overwhelming odds.

 “This is the essence of modern circus: intimate and personal, a combination of impressive physical skills and emotional storytelling” – City Arts Magazine

Acrobatic Conundrum- Cooper Stanton (c) Julia Nardin
Acrobatic Conundrum Xochitl Sosa (c) Benjamin Buren
Photos via Acrobatic Conundrum

Review: 5th Avenue Theatre’s “Holiday Inn” is pure joy!

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller:

‘Tis the Season for Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” at The 5th Avenue Theatre! Chock full of classic much-loved song and dance, this timely performance takes many of us back to the fondest of childhood memories.

The story line, for those unfamiliar, transports the audience to a Connecticut farm where Jim (Eric Ankrim) has moved to escape the demands of show business and love gone wrong. Exquisite detail in farmhouse, barn, church, and country set-designs (by Anna Louizos) are deliciously inviting – the perfect setting for the spirit of Christmas as snow flurries descend.

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The high-spirited song and dance Ensemble, choreographed by James A. Rocco, is pure joy throughout the show.  Jim, Linda (Sarah Rose Davis), Ted (Matt Owen), and Ensemble, deliver difficult, outstanding tap routines with extraordinary ease.

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While the audience refrained (mostly) from singing along with well-known tunes, I was intrigued by the preteen girl next to me who softly joined in a time or two. Wouldn’t an audience sing-along be a delightful addition to this show’s ending!

Holiday Inn” plays The 5th Avenue Theatre now through December 31. Tickets here.

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Photos by Mark Kitaoka

 

GIVEAWAY: Homo for the Holidays brings delightful drag and burlesque to your Seattle December!

A favorite Seattle tradition returns December 7 – 30. That’s right, the drag and burlesque masterpiece “Homo for the Holidays” returns to Century Ballroom on Capitol Hill in Seattle!

Tickets are already starting to sell out, so get yours now. Plus you can enter to win a pair on DeLouRue Presents Facebook Page (giveaway ends Sunday night). Be sure to make reservations at The Tin Table (Century Ballroom’s restaurant) for before or after the show.

I have never looked at a gingerbread man or a candy cane in the same way since this show . . . and that’s a good thing! *SPOILER FREE ZONE*

About the show:

After a wildly successful run of sold out, critically acclaimed shows each holiday season, DeLouRue Presents, (the power trio of BenDeLaCreme and Kitten N’ Lou) is thrilled to be offering up thirty chances to see “the premiere event of the true gay yuletided season” (The Stranger), now in it’s tenth anniversary season!

December 7th – 30th
West Hall, OddFellows Building 2nd Floor
915 E Pine Street, Capitol Hill

** The Wednesday December 21, 7pm show will be ASL interpreted

 

Featuring an all-star cast of burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag, and musical local luminaries:
* BenDeLaCreme
* Kitten LaRue
* Lou Henry Hoover
* Cherdonna
* Waxie Moon
* The One The Only Inga
* Faggedy Randy
* The Luminous Pariah
* ilvs strauss
* Rebecca M. Davis
* Danny Kam

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Seattle, December 7th-30th: Homo For The Holidays is a seasonal spectacle guaranteed to make even the most stubborn yuletides gay! An unforgettable all-star cast of burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag, and musical local luminaries come together in a display of glittering grandeur that’s been praised by Dan Savage of The Stranger. With such acclaimed talent as Stranger Genius Award winner Cherdonna, Burlesque Hall of Fame winners and #1 Burlesque Duo in the World (Burlesque Top Fifty) Kitten N’ Lou, RuPaul’s Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme, and the recent addition of cult hit series “Capitol Hill” star Waxie Moon, this show is the most star-studded feast of queer talent you can find on one Seattle stage!

 

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Homo For The Holidays is a hearty holiday fruitcake packed with rollicksome reindeer, enticing elves, ghostly guests, sexy snowstorms, agile angels, musical Maccabees, and new ways to define coming home. It’s not Christmas in July, it’s Pride in December! Light your menorah, stuff your stockings, and join our chosen family for the 10 year celebration of our favorite wintry holiday of all, Homo For The Holidays!

Praise for Homo For The Holidays:

  • “If you see just one holiday show this season, Homo For The Holidays should be it!” (Seattle Gay News)
  • “Passion and camp that’s otherwise missing in Seattle’s theater scene…” (The Stranger)
  • “2014 Artists of the Year” (City Arts Magazine)

About DeLouRue Presents: 
What happens when three of Seattle’s theatrical and literal BIG-WIGS put their hairsprayed heads together in a magical moment of scintillating synergy? “DeLouRue Presents” is birthed! Take one part BenDeLaCreme (RuPaul’s Drag Race), two shakes Kitten LaRue (The Atomic Bombshells, TRAINWRECK!, Kitten N’ Lou), and a dollop of Lou Henry Hoover (Reigning King of Boylesque and Mr. Exotic World 2017, Kitten N’ Lou). Add a dash of blah blah blah and VOILA!…the most MUEY ELEGANZA showbiz parfait you’ve ever tasted!

Images via DeLouRue Presents Facebook page. Photo of 2014 cast (some cast members have changed).

Teatro Zinzanni makes its triumphant return!

Photos by Michael Doucett

Review by guest blogger Amanda Mitchell:
 “Teatro Zinzanni: Love, Chaos & Dinner!” This production lives up to its succinct name – and so much more!
From the moment we step out of the car into Marymoor Park we are greeted with the warm welcoming ambiance of magical revelry and love – from the parking lot attendant who points out the precarious puddles, to the beautifully costumed hostess who professes we are seated at one of her favorite tables. Personalized salutations of welcoming inclusion and gratitude for attending are extended by every ZinZanni performer/staffer we pass in the lavishly-appointed antique spiegeltent. The love and top-level attention only increase as the evening progresses; we felt like cherished guests from start to finish!
Appetizers await at your table and each subsequent course is served with a flourish by the dancing waitstaff after an energy-fueled introductory song. Chef Jason Wilson’s multi-course menu does not disappoint and is punched full of fall flavor-roasted pumpkin, crispy sage, herbed winter squash, Gremolata mushrooms, wild herb-encrusted salmon and Tagine-style root vegetables: yum-city! There are a few different options, including  appetizer and entrée upgrades, to satisfy everyone’s pallet. Save room for the richly divine chocolate cake with dark cherry Ganache and Dulce de Leche.
The real standout treats, however, are the performers: the eclectic cast of over-the-top characters delight and enthrall as their highly-skilled talents are gradually revealed throughout the evening – whether it be surprising magic/illusion, belly-laughing physical comedy, seductive cabaret-singing or enthralling feats of physical prowess. The characters mill about the dining tent pre-show and during the pauses for meal service, engaging guests with flirtatious, playful and improvisational interaction – leaving no dull moments in the entire evening!  A loose storyline moves the raucous topsy-turvy action forward and weaves each show-casing vignette seamlessly to the next. Accolades to performer/director Joe De Paul and the whole artistic team for flawless design and execution of the expertly-crafted scenes of chaos, which steadily whip up into a turbulent frenzy only to dissipate in an instant.
The World-class band, comprised of a top-notch percussionist, bass player, keyboardist and multi-talented band-leader (who plays no less than 8 different instruments!), presents tight, flawless accompaniment to the performer’s vocals, and also provides spot-on, wildly-imaginative sound effects for all the chaotic circus-like shenanigans of the evening. Our table is on a raised lip next to the band, granting us a prime view of all; but really there’s no bad seat in the house as the dynamic action flows around (and above!) the circular space and makes wonderful use of it.
One word of caution: if your personal physical boundaries are on the conservative side you may want to let the hostess know when she seats you; otherwise, enjoy the spontaneous performer/audience interactions to their fullest – you could quite easily find yourself part of the zany proceedings.
Part variety/dinner theatre, part cirque, and part psychedelic dreamscape the production is wildly creative and inventive, slightly sexualized and edgy, cheeky, irreverent and unexpected at every turn – It’s all you will talk about on the ride home (and days, weeks, months to follow)!
“Teatro Zinzanni: Love, Chaos and Dinner” plays at Marymoor Park now through April 29, 2018. Tickets are going fast. More info and tickets here.

Photos by Michael Doucett.

Holiday Wine, Beer & Spirits Fest – A Global Celebration on 11/11

My friend Amanda and I had a delightful time at this event last year. If you love discovering new-to-you wine, beer, and spirits, the Holiday Wine, Beer & Spirits Fest on Saturday November 11th is the place to be!

Tickets here.

Facebook event page here (invite friends!)

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About the event (in their own words):

While we love LOCAL, it’s fun to try WINE, BEER, SPIRITS, & CIDERS from ALL OVER THE PLANET!

We have WINES from ITALY, FRANCE, SPAIN, PORTUGAL, ARGENTINA, & AUSTRALIA as well as 20 wineries from Washington, Oregon, and California!

Sure, we have WHISKEY from Washington, Oregon, & Kentucky – but we also have it and other exotic SPIRITS from FRANCE, CANADA, ARMANIA, as well as unique items such as Kuma Turmeric Liqueur and Tatratea Tea Liqueur from SLOVAKIA!

This event has something for everyone! Not into wine or spirits? How about 3 CIDER companies from OREGON, 3 from WASHINGTON, and 2 from FRANCE! As well as 4 CRAFT BREWERIES and Stella!

But wait – that’s not all! There are 5 booths with free samples of CHOCOLATE and 2 serving CHEESE! And 3 STREET FOOD booths selling delicious NOSHES! And of course, 20 booths of ARTISAN & BOUTIQUES for unique gift ideas!

The 2017 Holiday Wine Fest diverse line-up celebrating the world of libations unlike any other tasting in the Pacific Northwest!

FAQ’s:

Tickets Include: Wine/Cider/Beer/Spirits Tastings, Culinary Samples and Artisan Shopping
Saturday: Wine Enthusiast Noon – 4pm $45.00
Saturday: VIP Connoisseur 5pm – 9pm $55.00 (Take Home a Souvenir Riedel Wine Glass!

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