It’s rare that such a lineup comes to Seattle on the same night — especially a weekday night. (You can’t see me, but I’m shaking my fist in anger.) What’s a culture fiend to do?
At least be informed before you book tickets. Here’s what we know:
John Cleese @ the Moore Theatre
Expect him to: Muse on Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and alimony. The veteran British comic actor/writer is referring to his one-man show as the “How to Finance Your Divorce” tour. Sadly, it’s not a joke: the 70-year-old owes his (third) ex-wife $20 million.
Why you should go: You don’t have to be a Monty Python fan to enjoy Cleese’s sense of humor – though we expect it to be a shade darker since this divorce seems to have left him a tad, um, bitter.
Before you go: Rent the new Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered, just out on DVD.
John Irving @ Third Place Books
Expect him to: Chat candidly with Seattle Times Books editor Mary Ann Gwinn, and read from his latest (and twelfth) novel, Last Night in Twisted River, about a 12-year-old boy who makes a tragic mistake that sends father and son running from the law.
Why you should go: Have you ever met a character quite like Owen Meany? Don’t you want to meet the guy who created Owen Meany? If Irving is as complex and colorful in person as his characters are in A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and The Cider House Rules, this should be one hell of a discussion.
Did you know: Kurt Vonnegut taught John Irving at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the mid-’60s.
Steve Martin @ Benaroya Hall
Expect him to: Play songs from his first full-length bluegrass album, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, with North Carolina quintet Steep Canyon Rangers. Wise-cracking included.
Why you should go: The guy goes from wearing an arrow on his head to being a chart-topping bluegrass banjo player. In between, he’s done films, sketch comedy, written books and plays, and will likely sculpt the next David (if we had to guess). The Talented Mr. Martin remains entertaining – and relevant – after nearly 40 years in the business.
Before you go: Check out his website. Each time you click on a new page, a new quip comes up. Example: “SteveMartin.com: Just to spite other guys named Steve Martin.” “SteveMartin.com: Because Twitter’s too easy.” Great way to waste time…
Regina Spektor @ Paramount Theatre
Expect her to: Perform alt-pop piano tunes from her latest studio album, Far (2009). Listen for hints of the artists who influenced her: Bob Dylan, Queen, Nirvana, The Ramones.
Why you should go: The San Francisco Chronicle called her “the best 29-year-old Jewish-Russian classical anti-folk storytelling female singer-songwriter we’ve heard all year.” Good enough for us.
Did you know: Spektor, who used to open for Kings of Leon and the Strokes, is penning songs for Broadway-bound musical Beauty, based on the Brothers Grimm tale Sleeping Beauty.
Who did we choose? Steve Martin — we’re suckers for bluegrass comedy, whatever that is. Let us know who you picked, and check back here tomorrow for our review of The Jerk’s show.