Want Tickets to “Hamilton”?

It seems that every theatre buff, along with myriad people who haven’t been to the theatre in years are foaming at the mouth to get tickets to this Broadway phenomenon that comes to Seattle in early February. To address this demand and give a deal to a lucky few, the Paramount Theatre has established a lottery:

Use the official app for HAMILTON, now available for all iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store (http://hamiltonmusical.com/app).
You can also visit http://hamiltonmusical.com/lottery to register.
The lottery will open at 11:00 AM PT two days prior to the performance date and will close for entry at 9:00 AM PT the day prior to the performance.
Winner and non-winner notifications will be sent at approximately 11:00 AM PT the day prior to the performance via email and SMS (if mobile number is provided).
Only one entry per person. Repeat entries and disposable email addresses will be discarded.
Tickets must be purchased online with a credit card by 4:00 PM PT the day prior to the performance using the purchase link and code in a customized notification email. Tickets not claimed by 4:00 PM PT the day prior to the performance are forfeited.
Lottery tickets may be picked up at will call beginning 2 hours prior to the performance with a valid photo ID. Lottery tickets void if resold.


Limit 1 entry per person, per performance. Multiple entries will not be accepted. Patrons must be 18 years or older and have a valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the name used to enter. Tickets are non-transferable. Ticket limits and prices displayed are at the sole discretion of the show and are subject to change without notice.

Lottery prices are not valid on prior purchases. Lottery ticket offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. All sales final – no refunds or exchanges. Lottery may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase will not improve the chances of winning.

Tickets for HAMILTON are currently on sale. Patrons are advised to check the official HAMILTON channels, Ticketmaster.com and The Paramount Theatre Box Office for late release seats which may become available at short notice.

“Camping with Henry and Tom” at Taproot Theatre

What happens when three of the nation’s brilliant men find themselves marooned in the woods when their auto has an unfortunate encounter with a deer that renders it undrivable? On this stage you’ll find witty and thought provoking dialogue as President Warren Harding, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison match wits and reveal their characters.

The play, directed here by Scott Nolte, is based on an actual experience, but the playwright (Mark St. Germain) has, of course, imagined the conversations and interactions of these three mighty forces who so influenced the 20th C. There’s the aging Edison, a brilliant inventor with a laid back personality. As played by Rob Burgess, he’s a wry, avuncular figure, an island of calm amidst the fireworks provided by Harding and Ford.

David Pichette as Ford epitomizes the greedy, self-serving, and unsavory titan of industry that Ford became. He wrangled Harding into this outing because he wanted Harding to give him control of Muscle Shoals dam and region in Alabama that Ford thought could be made to rival the industrial power of Detroit. As he worked Harding over, nothing was off limits including threats about revealing Harding’s mistress and illegitimate child.

Ford’s anti-Semitism, his disrespect for African Americans, his horrible treatment of his son Edsel, all of these are powerfully exposed by Pichette. Here is a man with few personal qualities to commend him. Brilliant? Yes. Successful? Yes. A human being to honor? No.

Frank Lawler, on the other hand, makes Harding a rather sympathetic character. He’s in way over his head as President. It’s not a job he relishes, and even he understands that he doesn’t quite have the skills to carry out that demanding role. The character contrast revealed in this production is fascinating. And it all plays out in a wonderfully realized forest created by Mark Lund.

When Taproot selected this play and put it on the calendar, it could not possibly have recognized that many of the issues it raises would be so pertinent to audiences today.

Through March 3 at Taproot Theatre, 204 N. 85th St., Seattle, 206 781-9707 or box@taproottheatre.org.

Book-It’s Take on “Howl’s Moving Castle”

Fantasy fiction is not my thing, and I prefer theatre to opera. Given those predilections, it was unlikely that I would be charmed by Book-It’s current offering, “Howl’s Moving Castle,” adapted and directed by Myra Platt, Book-It’s founding Co-artistic Director. This is an “operatic” rendition with music by the very talented Justin Huertas. I use the term “operatic” not to suggest the vocal ranges of the performers, rather to suggest that almost the entire performance is sung.

The production is based on the enormously popular 1986 children’s book by Diana Wynne Jones. This novel has charmed young female readers for years, a readership that does indeed like magical tales and successful young female heroines. So for some audiences this will be a real winner.

The moral of the story is that a girl can achieve what she’s meant to have and to be. Ah yes there will be trials along the way, setbacks, and sometimes miraculous saves, but in the end it will all be good. This story plays out at almost three hours.

What’s really good here are the skillful production values. Andrew D. Smith’s lighting works wonderfully to set mood. His skies are breathtaking. The set by Julia Hayes Welch consists of a series of stone-like risers building up to create a mountain landscape. It’s a setting for all different environments; it’s a platform for action; it’s simple; yet it works so effectively to carry forward the plot.

Adam Quillian’s musicians (strings and keyboard) are in fine form, and the cast is well dressed in Margaret Toomey’s costumes. Sarah Porkalob as the main character Sophie Hatter is most endearing, and Michael Feldman plays her nemesis Howl with panache.

So here’s an overlong, over drawn, stage show with really fine production values within a musical that is, I’m sorry to say, somewhat tedious.

Through December 30 at Center Theatre in the Armory in Seattle Center, 206 216-0833 or Book-It.org.

“Building the Wall” Produced by Azeotrope

It’s been about two years since Seattleites were treated to a production by Azeotrope. The company has been missed! Now, their brilliance is back and especially evident in “Building the Wall” performing at 12th Avenue Arts. It’s a show you won’t want to miss. Though if you are someone who is quite happy with our nation’s current political situation, it might make you more than a little angry.

Desdemona Chiang directs this two-person tour de force by Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan. It features Tim Gouran as Rick, a convict in a federal prison during a period that is all too near the present day. Shermona Mitchell plays an historian seeking truth. To do so she must determine exactly what his crime entailed.

He’s a sullen, not well-educated guy, and not inclined to trust most people. She, however, a true professional, systematically lays out her documents on the table (the only prop besides two chairs) and begins her well-reasoned interrogation. Gouran is the antithesis of her controlled presence. He’s emotionally taut. He electrifies the stage with his performance as an undisciplined loser, a vile individual!

Then, ever so slowly the ugly truth seeps out, and as the no-nonsense historian (so well played by Mitchell) unravels the facts surrounding Rick’s case, she and the audience are horrified at what has transpired. Oh yes, Rick has committed atrocities, but he is better understood as a cog in the wheels of a corrupt system. You can’t help but think of Nazi Germany; the play’s author makes sure of that. You can’t help but reel back in revulsion as you realize how easy it is through lies and manipulation to bring about evil on that horrendous scale. You can’t help but recoil at the reminder that simple people can easily be used to fulfill the immoral plans of unethical leaders.

The acting is brilliantly nuanced. Director Desdemona Chiang has stripped the stage down to bare essentials. All focus is on the two characters whose every shrug, scratch, frown is carefully undertaken to provide the largest impact.

This is a show with a message, and it’s a message one ignores in peril: evil occurs when good men do nothing. It is then when horrors become normalized, when society is thoroughly polluted.

If you like truly compelling theatre, this one is for you.

Through Dec. 23 at 12th Ave. Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle, 800 838-3006 or brownpapertickets.com. (Admission by donation).

Arts West Holiday Cast Party

Following up on a grand theatrical tradition, Arts West is offering intimate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon “Holiday Cast Parties.” Artistic Director Mathew Wright invites some of the well-liked performers of recent shows to sit down with him and chat about theatre, play a silly game of two (to the audiences delight), and sing to the wonderful accompaniment of Music Director Chris DiStefano on piano and Zachary Stowell on drums. It’s casual, eye-opening, funny, and charmingly intimate.

The program I saw featured Jimmie Herrod and Nick Watson, an amiable pair who offered insights into their careers as well as the Seattle theatre world. Still to come are 16 other Seattle theatre people.

Through Dec. 23 at Arts West, 4711 California Ave., SW, Seattle, http://artswest.org/theatre/buy-tickets.