performing arts | KUOW News and Information

performing arts

A Public Works Seattle rehearsal
Courtesy Seattle Repertory Theatre/Jim Bennett

Racial and economic equity are priorities for government leaders and community activists in the Pacific Northwest.

The same holds true for regional arts organizations.

Courtesy of Joe Iano

If you love radio theatre you may find yourself seeking out the classics — online, on AM radio, or at your local library. There’s something about how those stories were told that still fascinates. They draw folks  into a reverie of imagination, suspense, drama and humor.

A conceptual rending of what the Upstream Music Fest will look like.
Courtesy of Upstream Music Fest

Bill Radke speaks with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame DJ Marco Collins about the Upstream Music Festival. The three day festival in Pioneer Square is the brain child of Microsoft's Paul Allen. This is his way of bringing together local technology and local music. Collins is curating his own stage at the festival and shares some of the music he is excited for this weekend. 

Sydney Opera House

Artist Laurie Anderson has written six books, released a dozen albums, created multimedia performances for human and canine audiences and produced an acclaimed documentary film.

In 1992, on the occasion of her book Stories from the Nerve Bible, she talks with Ross Reynolds about her short stint as an art teacher ("I made up stories about artists"), why she made an American Express commercial, her thoughts on the then emerging internet, and how her first hit “O Superman” was appropriated for a car alarm company. 

Courtesy of John Ulman

Since 2011, the people behind Sandbox Radio have been putting together live performances of the kind of variety show you don’t hear much these days. There’s comedy, drama, sound effects and music — all percolating up from the minds and talents of local artists and featured guests.

Seattle Opera General Director Aidan Lang
Facebook/Seattle Opera

Earlier this month, Seattle Opera general director Aidan Lang met with scene shop manager Michael Moore and dropped a bombshell.


Couresy of Seattle Opera/Rozarii Lynch

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW arts and culture reporter Marcie Sillman about the Seattle Opera's plan to close their scene shop in Renton.

A couple of weeks ago, Seattle Opera announced it was making budget cuts. Among them was closing the opera’s scene shop. It is a custom-made building in Renton where they build the sets.

The opera says it needs to be fiscally responsible to its donors. But whenever you tighten the purse strings, somebody feels the pain. In this instance, it’s the artisans who build the scenery for the opera.

Sandbox Radio's 'The Bridal Issue' at ACT Theatre.
Courtesy of Joe Iano

It’s Sandbox Radio time again on Speakers Forum. Our presentation of their latest work, "The Bridal Issue,” includes the following performances: 

  • “The Big Stuff,” by Lisa Halpern
  • “The Mouse That Went To The Country,” by James Thurber (adapted by Leslie Law)
  • “Buckets of Rain,” written and performed by Tina Rowley
  • “The Very Proper Gander,” by James Thurber (adapted by Leslie Law)
  • “Plattitudes: Spinster,” written and performed by Peggy Platt
  • “The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee,” by Mildred Plew Meigs (adapted by Richard Ziman)
  • “Beyond the Box: Unbridled,” by Elizabeth Heffron

Seattle’s historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute has new leadership, and a new mission.

The new nonprofit group calls itself LANGSTON. Its mission is to oversee all cultural programming at the Central Area landmark.


Bridget Quigg plays guitar on stage during her one-woman show 'Techlandia.'
Chelon Towner/Courtesy of Bridget Quigg

Bill Radke speaks with Bridget Quigg about her one-woman show, 'Techlandia.' Quigg uses her 11 years of work experience in the tech industry to poke fun at and explain the mystery of these companies in Seattle. 

A scene from 'SEVEN'
Facebook Photo/Seven - A Documentary Play

Bill Radke speaks with Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu about why she agreed to join the cast of "SEVEN", a documentary play about the lives of remarkable women around from around the globe.

Justice Yu will read a monologue based on the life of Afghan women's rights advocate Farida Azizi in a sold out performance at Town Hall this Sunday, March 6.

Justin Huertas, center, and fellow "Lizard Boy" cast members William A. Williams and Kirsten deLohr Helland.
Courtesy Seattle Repertory Theatre / Andry Laurence

Justin Huertas is one of those people who seemingly can do everything.

Only in his mid-20s, he’s already been a musician with the national tour of the hit Broadway show "Spring Awakening." He’s also performed Shakespeare and musical theater.

The cast of "Letters to the Editor": Shellie Shulkin, David Bestock, Molli Corcoran, Andrew Litzky, Laura Ferri and Carl  Shutoff.
KUOW Photo/John O'Brien

The Jewish Transcript newspaper, now known as The Jewish Sound, first went to print in Seattle in March 1924. Its founder, Herman Horowitz, said he felt a duty to the Jewish community of the Northwest to provide a forum for “their ideas, aspirations and principles." 

To mark the publication’s 90th anniversary, the editors of The Jewish Sound approached Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre about a collaboration. 

Courtesy Book-It Repertory Theatre

Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre is like the "Little Engine That Could."

KUOW Photo/Matthew Streib

Ross Reynolds discusses the once-a-decade sale last weekend in which the Seattle Opera, Teatro ZinZanni, Village Theatre, The 5th Avenue Theatre and the Pacific Northwest Ballet gave the public a rare opportunity to buy their elaborate costumes.

Ross Reynolds talks with John Haynes, executive director of the Tateuchi Center, which is slated to be major performing arts venue in Bellevue. Fundraising began in 2002, slowed because of the recession, and has now picked up again due to Bellevue's decision to publicly finance a piece of it.

Flickr Photo/Metro Theatre Vancouver (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks to Josephine Lee, English and Asian American studies professor at the University of Minnesota, about the checkered history of the Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado."

courtesy ACT Theatre

When Tyrone Brown was a kid, just six or seven years old, his mom took him to Seattle's 5th Avenue Theater for a performance of the long-running musical, "Annie."

"She actually just dropped me off at the theater and let me watch it by myself," Brown says.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Photo/Lindsay Thomas

Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancer Kaori Nakamura remembers the day she got her first pointe shoes.

Flickr Photo/Commonwealth Club (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Tony Kushner is the author of "Angels in America," a two-part play inspired by the tragic rise of the AIDS epidemic. "Angels" debuted on Broadway in 1993, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony award for Best Play that same year.

Seattle’s Intiman Theatre will be staging a production of "Angels" this summer, opening August 12.

Kushner spoke with writer, editor and It Gets Better project co-founder Dan Savage at Town Hall Seattle on May 10.

Flickr Photo/Vikalpa

At 22, Joshua Roman became the Seattle Symphony's youngest-ever principal cellist. With his mop of curly brown hair and his baby face, Roman was a distinctive presence at Benaroya Hall.

But just two years after the young musician took up his post, Roman decided to leave the orchestra to carve out his own career as a concert performer.

The only people inhaling at Seattle Symphony concerts will be the wind-instrument players. The Symphony says it has no plans to follow the lead of the Colorado Symphony and hold marijuana-friendly concerts.

The great outdoors is a perennial theme in classical music, usually expressed through bucolic or picturesque works. But the Seattle Symphony knew that to appear on Spring for Music — an annual festival of adventurous programming by North American orchestras — it required a more unusual, daring take on this theme.

Flickr Photo/Ricky Montalvo (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Ira Glass, host of This American Life, about his career and the art of radio storytelling.

KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Yellow ribbons are tied around each post you pass as you drive into the Rhodes River Ranch just outside of Oso, Wash., a town still recovering from the devastating mudslide on March 22.

Bonnie Rose does just about everything at the 200-acre ranch, which is spotted with horse stables, shoeing barns and a restaurant built to surround a large equestrian arena.

Courtesy of ACT Theatre/John Cornicello

Seattle has a nice reputation. We are squeaky clean, we compost and recycle, and rumor has it we have more people trained in CPR than most cities our size in America.

But a new cabaret show at Seattle's ACT Theatre aims to show the shady past underneath that shiny image. Seattle is a port city, and like every port city, it has had its share of vice, corruption and not-niceness.

Courtesy of Seattle Shakespeare Company/John Ulman

Oscar Wilde is one of those people: You've heard of him, even if you've never read his novels or seen one of his plays.

Courtesy of Teatro Zinzanni

Across from the Seattle Center on Mercer Street, there’s a white, pre-fabricated, nondescript building with a couple of flags outside. The exterior is really camouflage for a 100-year-old velvet tent imported from Belgium.

Courtesy of Annex Theatre/Shane Regan

When Rachel Atkins was 7, she and her sisters got a new stepfather. Atkins loved this man, but when she and her family went out in public, they raised a lot of eyebrows.

Courtesy Spectrum Dance Theater/Nate Watters

When choreographer Donald Byrd first presented "The Minstrel Show" more than 20 years ago, he wasn't ready for the way audiences would react. He recalls one performance in La Jolla, California, when people started yelling at each other across the theater.

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