A Look at Tacoma Plays We’re Most Looking Forward to This Autumn

by Adam McKinney

Ahh, can you smell that? We’ve emerged from the oppressive heat of summer and into the fragrant breeze of fall, and with it, the return of the South Sound’s embarrassment of theatrical riches. With so much quality work set to take to the stage in Tacoma and Lakewood over the next few months, the choices can be a little daunting. In the interest of narrowing things down, here are a few productions we’ve got our eyes on.


Sep. 15 – Oct. 8

Josh Wingerter, Ceili Caruso, Stefanie Van Rafelghem, Annika Peterson, Karley Koepnick, Christina Michalk, Krista Lofgren. Photo by Kat Dollarhide.

It’s truly bittersweet how pointed and relevant Cabaret remains, nearly 60 years after it debuted, and close to 100 years after the time it depicts. The story of a nightclub in 1930s Berlin, and the performers and hangers-on that inhabit it, positively vibrates with a sense of dread, as the creeping rise of fascism swells beneath every scene. Darkly funny, deeply melancholy, at times disquieting, and with wonderful songs along the way, Cabaret is one of the defining musicals of the modern era — and there’s still time to catch it before it leaves Tacoma Musical Playhouse!

Tacoma Musical Playhouse
Times and tickets can be found at tmp.org

The Thanksgiving Play

Oct. 12 – Nov. 5

The Thanksgiving Play sure sounds like a breath of fresh air for this time of year. This razor-sharp satire by Larissa FastHorse made its Broadway debut just this year, and it tackles not only the fat, walloping lies of American history, but also the ways in which well-meaning people still manage to screw up representing the story right. At a time in which most of us have long moved past believing the Thanksgiving story we learned in grade school, The Thanksgiving Play offers us a chance to dig a little deeper.

Tacoma Armory Roosevelt Room
Times and tickets can be found at tacomaartslive.org


Oct. 20 – Nov. 5

Stephen King’s classic story of celebrity obsession also carries a bit of relevance with it, although today a crazed fan of, say, George R.R. Martin is probably just satisfied to angrily tweet at him to get back to writing, rather than kidnapping him. Although Misery began life as a novel, before Kathy Bates and James Caan brought it to the big screen, its intimate setting and largely two-person cast makes it an ideal choice to adapt to the stage. As with other productions put on in the shadow of an iconic performance, it’ll be interesting to see how Tacoma Little Theatre handles the character of Annie Wilkes, finding a new take that strays from Bates’ Oscar-winning portrayal.

Tacoma Little Theatre
Times and tickets can be found at tacomalittletheatre.com


Oct. 27 – Nov. 9

In 1899, a ship known as the Andelana was anchored in the Tacoma harbor, when it mysteriously sank, leaving no survivors. How did it sink, and why, and could supernatural forces have been responsible? This is all we know about Andelana, a new play from Tacoma playwright Roger Iverson, that mixes a true piece of Tacoma history with some spooky flourishes. It seems like a promising bit of historical fiction for the Halloween season, and it’s always great to support new and local works like this one.

The Dukesbay Theater
Times and tickets can be found at dukesbay.org

The Seafarer

Dec. 1 – Dec. 17

Connor McPherson’s 2006 play The Seafarer is a crackling bit of familial drama and black comedy, praised for its blending of modern and classical Irish theater. The story of a sober drunk and his newly blind brother nudges into magical realism as a game of poker goes to unexpected places on a momentous Christmas Eve. McPherson’s plays have a unique rhythm to them, even as they toy with old storytelling tropes, and The Seafarer might be his best.

Lakewood Playhouse
Times and tickets can be found at lakewoodplayhouse.org

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