Winter winding up with holiday productions

With Thanksgiving coming at the end of November, the turkey is being trampled under the rush of holiday shows invading Seattle.

The Rockettes continue to high kick their way through the Paramount Theatre in their glittering road tour Christmas Show, "Christmas Carol" haunts ACT Theatre one more time, Pacfic Northwest Ballet is twirling to "Nutcracker" tunes and there's enough Christmas concerts to fill anyone's stocking.

But if you're determined not to succumb to the holiday madness until you've digested that last piece of pumpkin pie, consider a night out at Theater Schmeater to sample a number of new works. And for those feeling a little budget stressed, the admission is free.

The Schmee is celebrating the winners of their first annual Northwest Playwright Contest with four staged readings Sunday, Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.

Theater Schmeater's artistic director Rob West held the contest to highlight the pool of talent living in our region. Schmee received more than 65 full-length submissions from playwrights in Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Montana and Idaho.

Eventually, West hopes that future seasons at Theater Schmeater will include a new work discovered through this or future contests. The readings of this year's winners will be "The Cenotaph," by C.P. Stancich, on Nov. 30; "April's Subject," by Tommy Smith, on Dec. 1; "A Eulogy For Citizen," by Joshua Beerman, on Dec. 2; and "Carried by the Current," by Nicola Pearson, on Dec. 3. All readings begin at 7:00 p.m. and feature casts of regular Schmeater actors directed by Schmee friends.

Theater Schmeater is located at 1500 Summit Avenue, between Pike and Pine streets.

'Streetcar' extended

Well, it's no "ho-ho-ho" play, so if you're in a really anti-jolly mood, you can get your angst straight from the master of steamy drama.

Theatre Babylon has extended the run of Tennessee Williams' "Streetcar Named Desire" through Dec. 20. Yes, it's that "Stella!" play, but it includes one of my favorite characters of modern American literature, faded Southern belle Blanche DuBois.

Directed by J.D. Lloyd, the cast includes Teri Lazzara Mathews, Brad Cook, Skye Howell Henley, Cory Nealy, JT Antonopolous, La' Chris Jordan, Jessa Whitewolf, Celene Panariello, Drew Hobson and Douglas Willot.

Theatre Babylon is located in the Union Garage (Capitol Hill's coldest theater, so bundle up warmly), located at 1418 10th Avenue, between Pike and Union streets.

Shows start at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Tickets are $15 at the door.

Local students

shine in 'Nutcracker'

On the other hand, if you're like me and can't wait to stuff your head with sugarplums, Pacific Northwest Ballet's delightful "Nutcracker" never fails to inspire a few smiles.

Never mind that the "Nutcracker" needs 200 pounds of artificial snow for one night's performance, or that the company will wear out 500 pairs of pointe shoes during the show's run. What's truly amazing, and always deserves a big round of applause, is the dedication of the many local students to making the "Nutcracker" happen each year.

PNB artistic director Kent Stowell's choreography for Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" includes roles for approximately 80 children and teenagers. From party girls to warrior mice, the juvenile roles give local youngsters a chance to shine. Local parents also become part of the unseen, but much appreciated, network of volunteers who haul kids to 300 hours of rehearsal as well as 33 performances during the "Nutcracker" season.

The Capitol Hill students in this year's 20th anniversary production of "Nutcracker" include Lael Anderson, Holy Names Academy; Annika Brauer, Lowell Elementary; Jeanmarie Steele, Washington Middle School; Corissa Wennerlind, Washington Middle School; Ellissa Abbott, Whitman; Veronica Buckholtz, Garfield High; Kate Collins, Washington Middle School; Amelia Fischer-Linnet, Bush School; Skiah Garde-Garcia, Happy Medium; Amelia Haselkorn, Evergreen; Danielle Pavlovic, Seattle Prep; Annie Robertson, St. Joseph's; Kirra Steinbrueck, Washington Middle School; Olivia Zech, Kokanee Elementary; Ellissa Abbott, Whitman; and Charles Nguyen.

"The Nutcracker" performances begin Friday, Nov. 28, and run through the end of December. For more information, check

Rosemary Jones writes about arts and entertainment for the Capitol Hill Times. She loves the holiday rush of shows and goes to bed throughout December with visions of theater candy dancing in her head. Reach her at

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