Arts & Culture

Local theater has a variety of options this spring

Maria Valenzuela (from left), Cecilia Lewis and Laurie Sifford star next month in the taut mystery “Agnes of God” at the Dukesbay Theater in the Merlino Arts Center.
Maria Valenzuela (from left), Cecilia Lewis and Laurie Sifford star next month in the taut mystery “Agnes of God” at the Dukesbay Theater in the Merlino Arts Center. Ganwich Media

From the snowy end of winter into the dawning of spring, Tacoma theaters offer important and exciting modern theater.

At Dukesbay Theatre it is the taut mystery “Agnes of God” by John Pielmeier. It stars Laurie Sifford as Mother Miriam Ruth, Maria Valenzuela as Dr. Livingstone and Cecilia Lewis as the novice Agnes and is directed by Nyree Martinez. “Agnes” is the story of the young nun, Agnes, who gives birth and is accused of killing the baby. Agnes not only denies killing her child, she denies any knowledge of being pregnant or giving birth. Murder mystery or a question of faith? The question: Is it murder or is it a miracle?

“At first, ‘Agnes’ looks like just another murder mystery, but I am a believer in miracles,” said Dukesbay co-founder and show producer Aya Hashiguchi Clark. “I love how the story takes us on a journey of faith and hope alongside of the forensic tale.”

At Tacoma Little Theatre it is one of Steven Sonheim’s most popular if more difficult musicals, “A Little Night Music.” Winner of four Tony Awards, “Night Music” is the romantic tale of an aging actress, a married virgin, a sex-starved divinity student and a comical count in 1900 Sweden. It has lush music, including the ever-popular “Send in the Clowns.”

“We’ve been waiting for the right time to do a Sondheim, and our 100th year seemed the perfect time to bring back such a beautiful classic,” said TLT artistic director Chris Surface. “We had to write an appeal to the rights holder because the show is currently restricted. Thankfully, our perseverance paid off and we were awarded the rights.”

TLT’s “Night Music” is directed by John Munn with musical director Deborah Lynn Armstrong and choreography by Lexi Barnett.

For a change of pace, Tacoma Musical Theater brings back “The Drowsy Chaperone,” winner of five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards. This lively musical is a parody of 1920s musicals.

Finally, with a monumental effort, Lakewood Playhouse presents the epic two-part drama “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner. This rambling yet taut drama is a no-holds-barred look at the AIDS crisis in America, the gay community during the most frightening years of the crisis and the political battles around the epidemic. This epic is presented in repertory with parts one and two on different nights and both on Sundays.

“We’ve never done two shows at the same time, in repertory, before, and choosing two massive productions like ‘Angels in America’ parts one and two has been a mammoth undertaking,” said Playhouse artistic director John Munn (yes, the same John Munn who is directing “A Little Night Music” at TLT).

Munn said, “My stage manager and production manager, Melissa Avril Harris, and myself have been working on the shows since last April. Our amazing actors have been in rehearsal for seven months, and our technical team has been supporting us every step of the way. We can’t wait to share this landmark piece of epic theater with everyone starting Feb. 22.”

Agnes of God

When: March 1-17, 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Where: Dukesbay Theater in the Merlino Arts Center, 508 S. Sixth Ave. #10, Tacoma

Information: www.newmuses.com.

A Little Night Music

When: March 8-31, 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Where:: Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 North I St. Tacoma

Information:: (253) 272-2281, www.tacomalittletheatre.com.

The Drowsy Chaperone

When: March 22-April 14, 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Where:: Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 6th Ave., Tacoma

Information: (253) 565-6867, tmp.org.

Angels in America

When: Feb. 22-March 17, part one at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays; part two at 7 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays.

Where:: Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood

Information: (253) 588-0042, www.lakewoodplayhouse.org.

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