Seattle’s Live Theatre is Acting Up


Seattle’s Live Theatre is Acting Up

Have you ever entered a theatre so magnificent, so opulent, you felt you got your money’s worth just by walking in? Thanks to recent renovations sponsored by the Seattle Theatre Group, a non-profit dedicated to both live theatre and historic preservation, Seattle now has three.

THEATERStart with the Paramount, Seattle’s most luxurious. Reopened after major renovations in 1995, visitors and residents alike go just to marvel. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to visit: The Paramount hosts the biggest classics in town, shows like The King and I, Rent, and An American in Paris.

The Moore is Seattle’s oldest operating theatre, designed in 1907 by the Northwest’s premier architect, Edwin Houghton. Called the “epitome of architectural elegance,” it was built as a social magnet for the Gilded Age of early Seattle, and it looks it. Not much to look at on the outside, but step in and gasp at the breathtaking interior full of onyx, marble, stained glass, muses, and mosaics. Restored in 2013, it’s now the hub for STG’s education and artist development programs, where young performers hone their craft. The Moore presents a broad spectrum of performing arts: musicals, dance, concerts, comedy.

Last of the SGT triplets is the Neptune, the only survivor of Seattle’s five original silent-film theaters. Converted to a performance stage in 2011, it recently celebrated its 100th birthday by presenting fresh local and national artists in concert, independent film, comedy and lectures. Many events are free, so you can gawk around this jewel and still have money left for a stop at the nearby Starbucks.

Also located in the Downtown Historic Theatre District, the renowned ACT Theatre is the place to discover modern performances and new voices. ACT nurtures contemporary playwrights and local artists, offering more than 450 performances a year across its five stages. This is where you go to mingle with rising stars.

Theatre Underground
Feel like a little spelunking? Go to the famous Pike Place Market, find Rachel the brass piggy bank, go down the stairs to Post Alley and, next to the icky-sticky Gum Wall, you can expect the Market Theater, home to Unexpected Productions: Seattle’s heart of improv comedy. Prepare yourself to be a part of the show.

Treat all your senses at once: Teatro ZinZanni is part circus, part dinner theatre, always a whirlwind four-hour cabaret. It’s the Kit Kat Klub on acid. Wallow in the scrumptious multi-course feast and elegant libations.

Kid Stuff
For a more family vibe, the award-winning Seattle Children’s Theatre is among the twenty largest in the country. Or whoop it up at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle’s target venue for musicals. You’ll see world-class performers and live full orchestras staging imaginative productions of the Broadway’s biggest hits, like The Little Mermaid and The Sound of Music (a sing-along!).

Seattle has as much live theatre as Los Angeles, at one sixth its size. Here’s why: the larger theatres meet at least once a year to discuss their calendars and coordinate their workload, so big shows don’t fight over audience and actors. You don’t have to miss one show to see another. Bonus: professional actors stay employed longer, which draws the nation’s best talent to Seattle.

A Walk in the Park
For you, it’s a stroll in the neighborhood. All the large theatres are downtown or in the Seattle Center. They’re connected by the monorail, and in between are myriad restaurants, museums and shops. Hit a matinee at one, walk to an evening show at another. With a single $8 Transit Pass, which covers all bus and train transportation, you can wallow in complete theatre gluttony — and include some other Seattle attractions too.

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