June is the First Fall – Play – Review – Yun Theatre and Theatre Off Jackson

@showsiveseen Yilong Liu's "June is the First Fall" #play by Yun Theatre at Theatre Off Jackson starring @Seba. Finally, a show with a #gaysian perspective! Lots of "awws" from the audience. Closes 6/27. #gay #lgbt #theatre #showsiveseen #asian #chinese ♬ Fly Me To The Moon – 林培鈞

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): Yilong Liu’s June is the First Fall play by Yun Theatre at Theatre Off Jackson starring Sebastian Wang. Finally, a show with a gaysian perspective! Lots of “awws” from the audience. #gay #lgbt

Recommendation
See it if you want to support Asian theatre or gay-themed theatre.


My Synopsis (No Spoilers): The prodigal gaysian son comes home from the Big Apple and confronts the past that he left behind.

Synopsis from the Licensor or Theatre Company: Written by Lilong Liu, June is the First Fall tells the story of Don, a gay Chinese man, who returns home to Hawaii to rediscover missing memories of his family that he moved away from. This return opens up wounds that never healed, revealing the struggles in this family to find love, acceptance, and belonging.

Attended Performance Date: Opening Night 7/11/24

Type: Play

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: Several

Several or Few Settings/Locations: Most of the story took place in the living room of a childhood home

Static (Stationary) Set? Yes

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: No, but you’d probably enjoy this play more if you’re gay or Asian.

Defined Plot/Storyline: It veered more toward a dialogue play than an action play.

Equity Actors: 0

Total Number of Actors: 5

Perceived Pace of the Show: Slow to medium speed

Was there an intermission? No

Length (Including Any Intermission): 100 minutes

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show? Yes

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now? No

Mainstream Appeal: Low to medium

Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned Above

  • Favorite Line: Something like “Grindr is Facebook for gays.” “But they don’t have any faces!”
  • Bombshell: The “relationship” reveal in the second half of the play was a good bombshell for traditional parents.

Rant(s)

  • A/C: I don’t think Theatre Off Jackson has “air con.” It was a bit warm what with the well-sized audience and the spotlights.
  • Translation: The lines spoken in Chinese needed English subtitles.

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • Main Character Relatability: I’m torn regarding my feelings about the main character Don (played by Sebastian Wang), who was a gay Asian. As a gaysian myself, I mostly did not identify with his character. Maybe it’s because I live a more conservative lifestyle than Don or the typical gay guy. Or maybe it’s because my coming out experience was good. But honestly, his coming out experience wasn’t that bad in my book. In fact, his coming out experience was pretty tame other than a senseless tragedy that was only associated because of temporal sequential proximity. I felt like Don was unnecessarily maudlin, bitter, angsty, sensitive, and self-isolated. Wait … on second thought, maybe I can actually relate to him and I’m just projecting! 😛
  • Tension: On a similar note, the tensions felt throughout the play didn’t seem merited. The conflicts didn’t substantiate why the characters treated each other so apprehensively. Like, can the playwright add an unforgivable scandalous betrayal somewhere to make things more interesting?
  • Mooncakes: I’m not sure what they served at concessions, but it would have been so fitting if they handed out mooncakes after the opening night performance.

Theatre Company: Yun Theatre and Theatre Off Jackson

Venue: Theatre Off Jackson

Venue Physical Address: 409 7th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Price Range: $30

Ticket Affordability Options: You can self-select the $20 “access” ticket option on the ticketing website.

Dates: July 11 to 27, 2024

Seating: General Admission

Parking: Paid street parking is usually available north of the theatre on the hill close to the park. You can also try free parking on Jackson Street under/past the I-5 bridge, though it’s a dodgier area. As usual, there are paid parking lots nearby as well.

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Pictures: See pictures below and in video by Elodie Li.

Photo by Elodie Li.
Photo by Elodie Li.
Photo by Elodie Li.
Photo by Elodie Li.
Photo by Elodie Li.
Photo by Elodie Li.
Photo by Elodie Li.

Clue: Live on Stage! – Play – Review – The 5th Avenue Theatre

@showsiveseen Happy opening weekend to the "Clue: Live on Stage!" #murderMystery #comedy #play national tour at @The 5th Avenue Theatre. Light, short, quick-witted play full of #amusing caricatures & delightful choreographed scene transitions. Loved John Shartzer's portrayal of the slightly flamboyant Mr. Green. Closes on 7/21. #mystery #whodunit #showsiveseen #theatre #clue Review: showsiveseen.com/9041 Photos: @Evan Zimmerman Director: Casey Hushion Stage Mgr: Margot Whitney, Emily Kritzman, & @Maria DiVittorio ♬ PRETTY PLEASE – Dutch Melrose & benny mayne

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): Happy opening weekend to the Clue: Live on Stage! murder mystery comedy play national tour at The 5th Avenue Theatre. Light, short, quick-witted show full of amusing caricatures and delightful choreographed scene transitions. Loved John Shartzer’s portrayal of the slightly flamboyant Mr. Green. Closes on 7/21.

Recommendation
See it if you enjoy murder mystery whodunit comedies like The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 or Something’s Afoot


Synopsis from the Licensor or Theatre Company: Murder and blackmail are on the menu when six mysterious guests assemble at Boddy Manor for a night they’ll never forget! Was it Mrs. Peacock in the study with the knife? Or was it Colonel Mustard in the library with the wrench? Based on the fan-favorite 1985 Paramount Pictures movie and inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue is the ultimate whodunit that will leave you dying of laughter and keep you guessing until the final twist.

My Synopsis (No Spoilers): Someone is murdering guests in a mysterious manor. Who’s the killer?

Attended Performance Date: Opening Night 7/10/24 – Buy your tickets now since the show closes on 7/21.

Type: Play

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: Several

Several or Few Settings/Locations: Several rooms in a manor

Static (Stationary) Set? Mostly no. The background of the stage was stationary, but the walls occasionally expanded to reveal additional rooms. Also, set backgrounds descended from the ceiling to depict other rooms.

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: No, but I imagine you might enjoy this play more if you saw the movie. I never saw the movie, and I still enjoyed the show.

Defined Plot/Storyline: Yes, but the story encompassed a single evening. It did not span multiple days like a typical plot.

Equity Actors: All

Total Number of Actors: 11

Perceived Pace of the Show: Fast speed

Was there an intermission? No

Length (Including Any Intermission): 75 minutes – it was so short that the sun was still out when I exited the theatre.

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show? No, I previously saw Clue in a community production at The Pheonix Theatre.

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now? No. It’s a good script, but twice is enough for me.

Mainstream Appeal: Medium

Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned Above

  • Caricatures: The show was filed with a plethora of funny caricatures. My favorite was the cute, closeted (total bottom for sure), and nimble Mr. Green (played by John Shartzer). He reminded me of a dainty, flexible, un-buff Clark Kent. Also, a dumb brute (Colonel Mustard played by John Treacy Egan) is always a crowd pleaser. Colonel Mustard was actually the most memorable character from the previous Clue production I attended.
  • Funny Script: The script was quick-witted with some slapstick. The audience needed to think fast to not miss any punch lines. I remember someone behind me suddenly exclaimed “Oh Shit!” because of something hilarious.

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • Mystery Shows: I’m surprised The 5th Avenue Theatre decided to produce two whodunit mystery shows (Clue: Live on Stage! and Something’s Afoot) this season. I would expect just one (if any) to ensure show genre diversity. While both shows were well-written and well-executed, I’m generally not a fan of the whodunit genre.

Theatre Company: National tour brought by The 5th Avenue Theatre

Venue: The 5th Avenue Theatre

Venue Physical Address: 1308 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Price Range: $49-200

Tickets: https://www.5thavenue.org/shows/2023-2024/clue/

Ticket Affordability Options: The 5th Avenue Theatre often partners with organizations you’re affiliated with for discount tickets. For example, they sometimes offer a discount for my employer affiliation. Rush tickets are also available day-of at the box office.

Dates: July 9 to 21, 2024

Seating: Assigned Seating

Parking: When I don’t walk to the theatre or park on the street, I park in the paid garage at the Motif Hotel northwest of the theatre. The entrance is on 5th Ave. Do NOT park in the Hilton garage (entrance on 6th Ave). That’s where most of the audience (and I think the subscribers) parks, so it’s a nightmare to leave. However, the Hilton garage is the closest garage to the theatre and you can access the theatre through a tunnel if you want to avoid the elements. But, in my opinion, this benefit is not worth the time wasted leaving the garage.

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Pictures: See pictures below and in video by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

The Company of the North American tour of CLUE. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
The Company of the North American tour of CLUE. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
The Company of the North American tour of CLUE. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
John Shartzer and Tari Kelly in the North American tour of CLUE. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
Elisabeth Yancey and John Shartzer in the North American tour of CLUE. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

Preview Post – Sister Act – Musical – Taproot Theatre

Happy opening weekend to Taproot Theatre’s Sister Act musical production. Performing until 8/10. Stay tuned for my full review! #nun #nuns #disco #sisterAct

Tickets: https://taproottheatre.org/shows/2024/sister-act/

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53% Of – Play – Review – Sound Theatre Company

@showsiveseen Steph Del Rosso's "53% Of" #play by @Sound Theatre Company at @Seattle Center Theatre. Funny parody of social justice warriors. And I always love a portrayal of conservative WASPy suburban housewives. Good dialogue & execution. Show closes on 6/30! #whitePeople #whiteGuilt #caucasians #showsiveseen #theatre Review: showsiveseen.com/8997 Photos: @giaoo2 Directors: @Mona_Lisa_Turtle ♬ Blue Butterfly – Neon Dreams

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): Steph Del Rosso’s 53% Of play by Sound Theatre Company at Seattle Center Theatre. Funny parody of social justice warriors. And I always love a good portrayal of conservative WASPy suburban housewives. #whitePeople #whiteGuilt #caucasians

Recommendation
See it if you’re okay with plays that are more dialogue than action.


Synopsis from the Licensor or Theatre Company: Named for the percentage of white women who (according to initial exit polls) voted for Trump in 2016, 53% Of skewers different voter demographics: a conservative Pennsylvania moms group, their husbands, an enclave of progressive 20-something New Yorkers planning a march–as long as it doesn’t interfere with their yoga. This election year satire, set during 2016-17 with an all-female-presenting cast, holds an unfiltered mirror while asking us how truthfully we see ourselves.

My Synopsis (No Spoilers): Listen to conversations between white Americans on the right and left of the political spectrum. None are in the center.

Attended Performance Date: Opening Night 6/15/24 – Keep your eyes peeled for preview posts on my website and social media if you want earlier notification of shows I’ve seen. Buy your tickets now since the show closes on 6/30.

Type: Play

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: 4 scenes

Several or Few Settings/Locations: 4 locations

Static (Stationary) Set? Yes

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: You should be aware of the American political zeitgeist before and after the 2016 election.

Defined Plot/Storyline: No, it was more dialogue than plot. Usually, I don’t enjoy dialogue plays as much, but this one was actually alright.

Equity Actors: 1

Total Number of Actors: 6

Perceived Pace of the Show: Medium to fast speed. Usually, I frequently check the clock in dialogue plays, but this time I did not.

Was there an intermission? No

Length (Including Any Intermission): 100 minutes

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show? Yes

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now? No

Mainstream Appeal: Medium to Low

Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned Above

  • Social Justice Warrior Scene: Coming from a Texan living in woke Seattle, I enjoyed the parody of holier-than-thou Brooklyn social justice warriors one-upping each other and finding new ways to be triggered/offended. I had to look up what the heck “intersectionality” meant after the show! Were the necklaces made of tampons? The scene culminated into a bizarre white guilt frenzy reminiscent of Pentecostals speaking in tongues.
  • Conservative Suburban Housewives: I always love a good portrayal of WASP-y suburban (desperate) housewives. The more “Stepford,” the better. Bring in the marshmallow salad and PTA mom cat fights! Clutch those pearls and let the red wine flow in the Real Housewives of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Rant(s)

  • Male Portrayal: The male characters played by female actors didn’t seem very realistic. I’m not sure if it was the script or the execution.

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • Message from the Playwright: The play was entertaining, but I couldn’t decipher the moral of the story. Was it just “Both conservatives and liberals are crazy?”
  • Title: I rarely read the synopsis of a show before I attend it. Throughout watching this this play, I continued to wonder why the playwright named it 53% Of. I still don’t understand why even after the seeing show and after reading the synopsis. The play wasn’t about the 53% of white women Trump supporters.

Theatre Company: Sound Theatre Company

Venue: Center Theatre at Seattle Center

Venue Physical Address: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109

Price: $25

Tickets: https://ci.ovationtix.com/36643/production/1199127

Ticket Affordability Options: You can self-select the $5 inclusion price level on the ticketing website.

Dates: June 15 to June 30, 2024

Seating: General Admission

Parking: Paid street parking or paid lot/garage parking. I usually park on the street near the skating park (313 Taylor Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109) East of the theatre. It’s more expensive on Climate Pledge Arena event days though. In that case, I might take the bus or park in South Lake Union around Dexter Avenue and Harrison Street.

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Pictures: See pictures below and in video by Giao Nguyen.

Photo by Giao Nguyen.
Photo by Giao Nguyen.
Photo by Giao Nguyen.
Photo by Giao Nguyen.
Photo by Giao Nguyen.
Photo by Giao Nguyen.

Girl from the North Country – Musical – Review – Paramount Theatre

@showsiveseen @Girl From the North Country jukebox #musical featuring Bob Dylan's eclectic songs at @Seattle Theatre Group's Paramount Theatre. Reminiscent of Portlandia hipsters. Tight harmonies & great solo voices. Good second act climax. Performing till 6/30. Review: showsiveseen.com/8927 #BobDylan #showsiveseen #theatre ♬ Duquesne Whistle / Señor (Tales of Yankee Power) / Is Your Love In Vain? / License to Kill (Reprise) – Girl from the North Country Ensemble & Luba Mason & Todd Almond & Caitlin Houlahan & Marc Kudisch & Colton Ryan

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): Girl from the North Country jukebox musical featuring Bob Dylan’s eclectic songs. Reminiscent of Portlandia hipsters. Tight harmonies & great solo voices. Performing till 6/30.

Recommendation
See it if you’re familiar with Bob Dylan’s music.


Synopsis from the Licensor or Theatre Company: Girl From The North Country is the Tony Award®-winning new musical that the Chicago Tribune declares is “a Broadway revelation!” Written and directed by celebrated playwright Conor McPherson and featuring Tony Award-winning orchestrations by Simon Hale, Girl From The North Country reimagines 20 legendary songs of Bob Dylan as they’ve never been heard before, including “Forever Young,” “All Along The Watchtower,” “Hurricane,” “Slow Train Coming,” and “Like A Rolling Stone”. It’s 1934 in Duluth, Minnesota. We meet a group of wayward travelers whose lives intersect in a guesthouse filled with music, life and hope. Experience this ‘profoundly beautiful’ production (The New York Times) brought to vivid life by an extraordinary company of actors and musicians.

My Synopsis (No Spoilers): This musical is about a group of people in the Midwest during the Great Depression. Their lives already suck and are at the precipice of implosion. Will they survive?

Attended Performance Date: Opening Night 6/26/24 – If you want to see this show, buy your tickets now since it leaves Seattle after 6/30.

Type: Jukebox Musical – But it strangely exuded the energy of a play more than a musical.

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: Several

Several or Few Settings/Locations: Several rooms in a guesthouse

Static (Stationary) Set? Mostly no

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: You should be familiar with Bob Dylan’s songs or his style to enjoy this musical. I’m not familiar with his music and I didn’t recognize any songs except one. Personally, I don’t see what’s so great about his music and why others consider him a musical legend. The emperor is naked. Blasphemy, I know.

Defined Plot/Storyline: Yes

Live Band/Orchestra: Yes, and occasionally the actors would play instruments like the drums as well.

Equity Actors: All

Total Number of Actors: 17

Perceived Pace of the Show: Slow

Was there an intermission? Yes

Length (Including Any Intermission): 2.5 hours

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show? Yes

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now? No

Mainstream Appeal: Low

Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned Above

  • Drummer: It was refreshing to see a dolled up glamourous lady (Jill Van Velzer who also played Mrs. Burke) as a drummer, which contrasted from societal expectations. It reminded me of when Jen Leigh played the guitar in MJ: The Musical. Girl power!
  • Second Act Tragedy (No Spoiler): The shocking climax of the second act was well-devised. It slowly unfolded with dread and tragedy, leading up to Elias Burke’s (played by Kyle Sherman) bright glorious rendition of “Duquesne Whistle” with a lively black-like gospel choir. I was longing for scenes like this during the majority of the sleepy, visually-dark musical.
  • Voices: While I’m no fan of Bob Dylan’s music, I must admit that the actors sang in tight harmonies and good solo. Sharaé Moultrie (as Marianne Laine) effortlessly showcased her voice throughout the musical. I was also a huge fan of the retro girl-group harmonies.

Rant(s)

  • Scenic Design: It was way too simple for a national profit-generating tour from Broadway. Parts of the set looked simple enough for community theatre.
  • Lighting: It was way too dark. I recognize that the designers wanted a specific motif, but what’s the point of the motif if the audience can’t see actors well? I was sitting within the first 10 rows. So, I pity the audience members in the balcony. They probably saw nothing.
  • Story: The story and dialogue were difficult to follow and sometimes mildly bizarre.
  • Audience Reaction: An alarming mass exodus left at intermission. It was the largest mid-show exit I’ve ever seen at the Paramount Theatre. I eavesdropped on the leaving patrons, and they said, “This show is a bit of a snoozer.” and “It didn’t make any sense. I don’t know what I was watching.” Sadly, I agree with their negative sentiments. I hypothesize that the Bob Dylan association was the only thing keeping this show in production. I only feel sorry for the performers who were obviously talented but didn’t receive the full patronage and recognition they deserved. Unfortunately, they were tragic casualties of many wrong things with this production, book, and music. But on the bright side, there was no bathroom line. Plus, the people sitting in front of me left at intermission. So, I saw the stage better in the second act. However, I’m afraid they missed out a little since the second act was better than the first act.

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • Energy/Style: Throughout this musical, I kept thinking about plain white bread, rural cults (like in the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TV show), folksy-ness, Portlandia hipster posers, and country.
  • Music: While I wasn’t a fan of Bob Dylan’s music, I appreciated the eclectic nature of his style since it was difficult to pinpoint his genre. It was a mix of soul, americana, folk, gospel and country. It reminded me of Norah Jones’ music from her later years. But while I love Norah Jones (she’s one of my top 3 favorite artists), her music is sleepy, just like the music in this show. Thus, no one should turn her music into a musical. Girl from North the County desperately needed more contrast of energetic songs like “Duquesne Whistle.”
  • Selling Out: As a pragmatic person, I was rooting for Marianne and Gene Laine (played by Ben Biggers) to sell out. Gurrrl, get that bag!

Theatre Company: National Tour Sponsored by Broadway Across America and Seattle Theatre Group

Venue: Paramount Theatre

Venue Physical Address: 911 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

Price: $8 to $125 + Ticketmaster Fees

Tickets: https://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/3007857?venueId=122980&brand=paramountseattle

Ticket Affordability Options: Seattle Theatre Group might partner with an organization you’re affiliated with for discount tickets. For example, I believe UW employees/students are eligible for an organization discount.

Dates: June 25 to June 30, 2024

Seating: Assigned Seating

Parking: Paid street parking and paid garage parking. The best parking garage is under the convention center w/ the entrance on Pike around the Pike and Terry intersection. Last I checked, this is one of the cheapest, least busy, and closest garages. Alternatively, you can probably find street parking as you move closer to the West Precinct (810 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101). Do NOT park where the Paramount subscribers park. Last I checked, they usually park in the garage attached to the Cheesecake Factory. It’ll take you at least 30 minutes to exit that garage after the show.

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Pictures: See pictures below by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

The cast of the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
L-R Ben Biggers, Sharaé Moultrie, Jennifer Blood and John Schiappa in the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American Tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
Jay Russell and Sharaé Moultrie in the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
Chiara Trentalange and Ben Biggers in the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American Tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
Chiara Trentalange (center) and the cast of the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
Aidan Wharton and the cast of the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American Tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
(L-R) Aidan Wharton, David Benoit, Jennifer Blood and Jeremy Webb in the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.