We have many reasons to be jolly this season, thanks to a merry lineup of plays hitting stages throughout Seattle this month!
First up, through Dec. 18 at the Center Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre presents its first fully improvised play, “Austen Unbound,” directed by Dave Morris. Book-It has achieved national recognition due to splendid adaptations of literary works (recent highlights being Imbolo Mbue’s “Behold the Dreamers” and Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Everything Is Illuminated,” both in 2019), and now audiences are invited into the living, breathing world of Jane Austen. “Austen Unbound” will put on a different show for each of its 17 performances based on the audience’s suggestions, while staying faithful to the charming wit and instantly recognizable style that are hallmarks of the Austen canon.
Austen is a popular fit for the holiday season, with stories that sparkle with warmth and cheerful mayhem. This year, we’ll receive a second helping of Austen delights with Taproot Theatre’s “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley,” playing all month.
Speaking of literary legends whose works bring us cozy delights, Charles Dickens will have his most beloved work shining on stage once again, with Seattle Rep’s “Mr. Dickens and His Carol” — except it’s not an adaptation of his holiday tale but of how Dickens himself brought it into the world. We saw a take on the life and struggles of Dickens in the wonderful 2017 film “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” but while that was based on Les Standiford’s illuminating biographical book, this play draws from Samantha Silva’s enchanting novel of the same name. With Silva’s involvement as the playwright and Braden Abraham at the directing wheel, this show is destined for a triumphant run. Catch this holiday treat at the Bagley Wright Theater with performances lined up through Dec. 23.
For years, Seattle Public Theater’s “Christmastown” has thrilled and entertained audiences with this film noir-inspired story featuring an audacious and unforgettable cast of characters who turn holiday stereotypes upside down, and now the show takes its final bow, with performances set to run from Dec. 2 to 24.
If your taste in Christmas shows is on the spicier side, two shows are guaranteed to serve up more heat than a crackling fireplace: In Can Can’s “Wonderland” (through Jan. 8), you will enter a wild winter wonderland filled with carnival fun. Also on the menu, through Dec. 24, Theatre Off Jackson delivers the return of a local favorite, “Scott Shoemaker’s War on Christmas,” with enough naughty fun to make Santa Claus blush!
Many more holiday treats abound this season, so go on and explore all the wonders waiting to be discovered on stages throughout Seattle. Here’s to a season filled with music, mayhem and marvelous memories!
Johannes Saca is a writer living in Seattle and on IG/Twitter @JohannesSaca.
Read more of the Dec. 7-13, 2022 issue.