Created from verbatim accounts of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Seattle nurses who were there, AN ENDLESS SHIFT is a tribute to the everyday heroes who were confronted with what would become the longest shift of their lives. Seattle theater artist Gloria Alcalá, in a solo tour de force performance, embodies and voices the multitude of perspectives on the harrowing journey Seattle nurses faced in an ever-shifting landscape. It is a journey of challenge, hope, and deep recognition of our common humanity, told in the firsthand words of the humans who were there.
2022-2023: Begin It.
Last season, ArtsWest began curating a theater for our time in a brand new way, introducing the Associate Artists Group – a diverse and interdisciplinary collective of artists with an ongoing commitment to the work, mission and future of ArtsWest. The work began with a question: what is the theater we want to see in the world right now? This year, the journey continued with a whole new question: what is theater useful for in the world right now?
Three threads emerged as an answer to that question: empathy, community, and creating something new in the wake of so much change. The collective talked about theater as an empathy machine, a place where people can come as they are and share their deepest truths. A place of joy, bravery, and collective learning. A place where community can gather and build something new together.
This year, in a season called BEGIN IT, we’ll use music and theatricality to see what we can begin together. We’ll make theater that has never been more in conversation with our community and our times. We’ll examine pop culture and current events for what’s there and what could be, all while centering empathy, joy and possibility. We’ll see two world premieres, two Seattle premieres, and for the first time ever, two generative projects – one through a partnership in community, and one begun right here by our own Associate Artists. It’s a year to celebrate the courage it takes to begin and the power in building something new together.
A satirical comedy that lovingly skewers the popular tropes of the 90s teen sitcom, ZACH introduces us to the lives and loves of Gina and P.J., a Black girl and a Latino boy at an affluent, majority-white Southern California high school. P.J., a lovesick surfer boy, and Gina, a budding fashionista, are overjoyed when they’re invited into the inner circle of Zach, the white, charismatic, prank-happy new kid at school. But when Zach plans a new prank that goes too far, P.J. and Gina must race to stop him before it’s too late – and along the way, learn to see their peers, and themselves, with fresh eyes.
It’s been five years since Nicholas Japaul Bernard created his iconic portrayal of one of musical theater’s most memorable roles. Our original production of this world-wide phenomenon was one of our most talked about ever, and we think that 2023 is the perfect year to revisit it. We hope you’ll join us for HEDWIG’s return and the rest of our incredible lineup this year!
In this hip-hop remix of Dickens’ classic tale, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Hip-Hop Past, Present, and Future…and a Jamaican Jacob Marley. As Scrooge is shown the path of rhythm and redemption, will he throw off his selfish chains and join the beat? Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL mixes everything from reggae to rock, updating and funkifying this beloved tale of love, forgiveness, and Christmas spirit – and transforming it into something altogether new.
A story of love, poetry, and new beginnings. When teenager Angelo Mendez decides to leave his home out of fear of further disappointing his homophobic father, he encounters a world he was not prepared for at an LGBT homeless shelter in Los Angeles. There he meets a fellow homeless teen who gives him a voice and unexpectedly introduces him to love. Set in the worlds of the homeless shelter and the poetry lounge, SWIMMING WHILE DROWNING paints a world that is simultaneously sweet and funny, heartbreaking and real.