Met Picks

Seattle Spring Arts Guide 2016

From SIFF to Sasquatch!, here's your guide to the season's hottest tickets in Seattle.

By Seth Sommerfeld March 7, 2016 Published in the March 2016 issue of Seattle Met


Waking Nightmare

Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite has mastered turning dance into a discomfortingly dark realm. For Betroffenheit, she teams up with playwright, performer, and countryman Jonathon Young to create a harrowing piece about a man suffering through PTSD and addiction. As dancers drag him into an inescapable vision of surreal horror, the sense of loss and desperation grows ever more emotionally devastating. Mar 18 & 19, Moore Theatre,

Kidd pivot courtesy wendy d photography wol7vy


Image courtesy Wendy D Photography 



Harp the Herald

In the world of pop music homogeny, it’s almost impossible for an artist to have a truly unique musical style. No one sounds like Joanna Newsom. The indie singer and harpist marries the ethereal, complex beauty of her plucked strings with a voice that can swing from light angelic timbres to deep-punch warbles in the course of a single word. Newsom continues to traverse her own path of untouched sonic ground on her new album, Divers. Mar 29, Paramount Theatre,



The Wit’s End

Father John Misty is America’s premier working satirist. The singer-songwriter wryly sent up the rock star mythos on his debut Fear Fun and followed it up with a more tender treatise on modern love with 2015’s superb I Love You, Honeybear. Somehow it’s taken over a year for him to play a proper (i.e., nonfestival or nonbenefit) Seattle gig in support of Honeybear, so don’t miss it. His shows are worth it just for the banter. Apr 6, Paramount Theatre, 



Great Scots

After delivering a masterful theater experience at the Paramount in 2013 with the Iraq War drama Black Watch, the National Theatre of Scotland returns with another uniquely staged show. The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart transforms Factory Luxe into a Scottish bar where Gaelic music fills the room, prose is delivered in rhymed couplets, and audience participation is demanded in order to tell the wild tale of a folk-loving academic held captive by the devil. Mar 2–20, Factory Luxe,



The Future Is Now

An essential part of art has long been the physical work that goes into each handmade piece. So what happens when tech advances get involved? Bellevue Arts Museum’s Atoms and Bytes gathers work from 30 local and international artists using computers to further their creative process. From preternaturally undulating wooden chairs and digital calligraphy on porcelain to a virtual potter’s wheel that scans hand movements and 3D prints the results in ceramic, each diverse work gives a glimpse into the artistic future. Mar 4–June 26, Bellevue Arts Museum,

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Atoms and Bytes

Image: Emily Cobb



Black Seas

There’s more to Edvard Munch than just The Scream. The Norwegian master of psychological painting frequently turned to the aquatic majesty of his homeland’s fjords and coasts to serve as a motif in his works. Edvard Munch and the Sea at Tacoma Art Museum collects some of the artist’s finest works that simultaneously display the soft, quiet soul and darker undercurrent of the Scandinavian psyche. Apr 9–July 17, Tacoma Art Museum,



Got the Blues

With a rainbow of possibilities, we rarely dwell on the impact of a single color. Drawing largely from Seattle Art Museum’s collection, Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World at Asian Art Museum presents the many feelings the color blue can evoke when dyed on cloth. Ancient Egyptian fragments, Japanese kimonos, Belgian tapestries, Chinese robes, and contemporary multimedia works coalesce to both celebrate and investigate the power of color. Apr 9–Aug 9, Asian Art Museum,



Get a Clue

After delighting Seattle Rep audiences with 2012’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, England’s most famous detective is back on the case in the world premiere of Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem. Holmes’s path collides with the storied American West when gunslinger Annie Oakley crosses the pond for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee and mysterious problems soon arise. Apr 22–May 22, Seattle Repertory Theatre,


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Empire Records

Stanley Kubrick cracked the code when he set 2001: A Space Odyssey to Strauss: science fiction and classical music pair perfectly. Take your ears on an interstellar journey as Seattle Symphony presents Sci-Fi at the Pops featuring scores from Star Trek, E.T., Independence Day, The Last Starfighter, and myriad pieces from a little franchise called Star Wars. May 20–22, Benaroya Hall,



Dancing Off the Page

Social commentary and art are inseparable entities in the eyes of Spectrum Dance, and the world premiere of A Rap on Race underscores that point. The company collaborates with MacArthur Fellow playwright Anna Deavere Smith to transform the 1971 literary conversation about race between black writer James Baldwin and white anthropologist Margaret Mead into an immersive stage creation. A Rap on Race highlights those societal issues that remain unchanged more than 40 years later. May 5–22, Seattle Repertory Theatre,



Cinematic Overload

The joy of the Seattle International Film Festival arises from its overwhelming heap of options to explore. For three and a half weeks, cinephiles and casual moviegoers can dart around town catching everything from future award contenders to obscure foreign films. With hundreds of films on the docket, America’s largest film fest is an exercise in unbridled hope, as each screen offers a new chance to be utterly surprised. May 19–June 12, various venues,



Off the Beating Path

Feel the authentic pulse of African rhythms and take an uplifting coming-of-age feminine journey as the Village Theatre hosts the world premiere of the musical My Heart Is the Drum. When the parents of a 16-year-old Ghanaian village girl pull her from school and arrange a marriage, she flees to pursue her education at an urban university and finds even more struggles facing women in her culture. Can she find happiness and bridge the gap between her two worlds through song? Probably. It is a musical. Mar 17–Apr 24, Village Theatre Issaquah,

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Sonic Reclamation

Tanya Tagaq has taken the Inuit throat singing tradition and turned it into a one-of-a-kind avant-garde musical adventure of abstract breathy chants, guttural moans, and deep--seated emotional cultural passion. Tagaq’s current tour finds her performing a live soundtrack for the famed 1922 silent docudrama Nanook of the North. Her music strips the film of its primitive Eskimo stereotypes by showcasing the power of heritage. Apr 6, Neptune Theatre,



Working for the (Three-Day) Weekend

Days off work are precious, but for 15 years Sasquatch! Music Festival has given Northwest music fans ample reason to sacrifice their Memorial Day weekends. This year’s loaded lineup at the Gorge continues that worthwhile tradition with diverse headliners including the Cure, Alabama Shakes, A$AP Rocky, and Disclosure, exciting upstarts like Leon Bridges, Speedy Ortiz, and Bully, lots of local favorites, and a great slate of comedians. May 27–30, Gorge Amphitheatre, 



Solid Gold

The music of Motown serves as a more essential part of the American identity than even “The Star-Spangled Banner,” so it only makes sense that Broadway would eventually tap the extensive catalog. Motown the Musical follows label founder Berry Gordy and his relationships with stars like Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and his longtime paramour, Diana Ross. Prepare for a grooving onslaught, as the jukebox musical crams in more the 50 Motown hits from the label. (Don’t worry, many are mere snippets; this isn’t an endurance test). May 31–June 12, Paramount Theatre,

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Image courtesy Joan Marcus

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