The historic Pantages Theater, the Rialto Theater and Theater on the Square are three of Tacoma’s city-owned performing arts venues. Tacoma Arts Live is a non-profit organization tasked with managing and activating these theaters on behalf of the city. For the past eight years, I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the Tacoma Arts Live board of trustees (currently as board president), and I’ve really enjoyed working with staff and fellow board members in support of our mission to “energize community through live performance.” The branch of the organization that excites me most is our self-produced regional theater program, which is just beginning its second season. Tacoma Arts Live is partnering with professional actors and top notch directors and designers to produce four different plays for the 19/20 season – plays intended to entertain and challenge audiences in equal measure.
Tom Stoppard, Lee Hall and Marc Norman wrote this lively adaptation of the screen comedy that shares the same name. The plot centers on young and penniless playwright William Shakespeare, struggling mightily with writer’s block – until he meets the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant and mayhem ensues.
This classic by award winning playwright David Mamet is as relevant today as it was in 1992, when Time Magazine named it one of the 10 best plays of the year. Oleanna takes a difficult look at sexual harassment, political correctness and the seemingly irreconcilable differences between women and men.
This emotionally charged play by Nina Raine tells the story of a young man who was born deaf in a hearing family and raised to fit into a hearing world. It challenges us to think about the different ways in which we communicate, both linguistically and emotionally, and about the profound impact that family dynamics can have on communication.
This romantic comedy by Michael Golamco takes an interesting look at racial and sexual dynamics in small town Breakneck, WY where four star-crossed lovers must confront their own biases while trying to connect.
There will be 8 performances of each play (10 for Shakespeare in Love) - all in Theater on the Square. If last season’s outstanding productions of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Art are any indication, this season’s shows are not to be missed.