Way back when, summer was truly doldrumsville regarding theater. A smattering of outdoor productions, a long drive to Ashland, Ore. — those were the options for Seattleites. Fast-forward to July 2013: major theaters are bustling with shows, and smaller ones are, too. So are the parks and the amphitheaters. Seems you can’t throw a rock without hitting a production. Some current shows worth a look:
1 Shakespeare by GreenStage/Wooden O
It’s hard work battling jet noise, car horns and the shifting weather while staging the Bard’s deep tragedies or complex history plays. Fortunately for regional audiences, GreenStage and Wooden O troupes are up to the task. GreenStage has a terrific King Lear this summer thanks to Vince Brady in the title role, and David S. Hogan is an excellent Henry with Wooden O. See them both for free — such a deal. Reviews here.
2 Gilbert & Sullivan galore
“The Gondoliers,” by Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society, through July 27, Seattle Rep’s Bagley Wright Theatre, www.pattersong.org
“The Pirates of Penzance,” through Aug. 4, 5th Avenue Theatre; www.5thAvenue.org
Merry pirates and dashing Venetian boatmen are on Seattle stages this week, borne along by the snappy songs of G&S. (Review of “Pirates” here.) Of note:”Pirates” features Washington native Brandon O’Neill as the dashing Pirate King.
Through Aug. 10, Taproot Theatre Company, Seattle; taproottheatre.org
“Illyria” is based on Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night,” and this local staging is “a summer tonic — and a good fit for the compact stage and family audience at Taproot Theatre,” writes Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson. The cast includes Don Daryl Rivera and other fine local musical-theater talent.
4 Intiman Theatre Festival
Through Sept. 15, Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center; intiman.org
Year 2 of the Intiman Theatre Festival has brought an interesting slate of productions, including Dario Fo’s “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!”; Alice Childress’ more-timely-than-ever “Trouble in Mind”; the premiere of the true-life musical “Stu for Silverton”; and the old, old favorite, “Lysistrata.” Find reviews here.
5 'Rapture, Blister, Burn'
Through Aug. 11, ACT Theatre, Seattle; www.acttheatre.org
Gina Gionfriddo’s take on the friendship between, and contrasting lives of, a single female college professor and her best friend, a stay-at-home wife and mother; complicating things is the SAHM’s husband, who is the prof’s old flame. Review here.