12 Must-See Shows

Here are a dozen reasons to put the remote down, get off the couch and enjoy being part of a live audience.

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

The Bing's Stage to Screen series offers a great opportunity for local audiences to see nationally and internationally acclaimed performances of iconic works at a reasonable — well, almost shockingly low — price ($7-$13). Director James Macdonald's revival of Edward Albee's 1962 landmark play about marriage and private fictions won universally effusive praise when it appeared in early 2017, so it would be a shame to miss this one-off screening (Sept. 17, 2017) of a live performance from that recent run in London. Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter) and Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) star. The Bing Crosby Theater • 901 W. Sprague Ave. • 227-7638 • bingcrosbytheater.com


Alongside talent from Opera Coeur d'Alene and the Spokane Symphony, Metropolitan Opera star Sandra Piques Eddy will reprise her widely celebrated leading role as the seductress in Georges Bizet's fiery and sensual opera over a two-night run (Sept. 22 and 23, 2017). Even if you don't know the famous "Habanera" aria by name, chances are you'll recognize it immediately. Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox • 1001 W. Sprague Ave. • 624-1200 • foxtheaterspokane.org

No Clue!

It's your suggestions that begin and end this zany, anything-goes murder mystery — a whodunit in a classic improv comedy format — performed by the Blue Door Players. It's incredibly affordable ($7), geared toward general audiences and runs every Friday between Sept. 29 and Nov. 3, 2017. Given its popularity, reservations are strongly recommended. Blue Door Theatre • 815 W. Garland Ave. • 747-7045 • bluedoortheatre.com

Something Rotten

How and when was the first musical conceived? Was it in 1866 with The Black Crook, as many theater historians argue? Or was it way back in Elizabethan England, when brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom were looking for a show-stopping piece of theater that would finally knock The Bard off his lofty perch? In the tale told by Something Rotten, a tongue-in-cheek homage to Broadway and its colorful history of hit musicals, it was most definitely the latter. The first-ever nationally touring production of this Tony Award-winning show is coming to Spokane (one of very few stops in the Northwest) from Oct. 3 to 7, 2017, to kick off the next Best of Broadway series. "Anybody that is a Broadway person will just find this funny as heck," says Jack Lucas, president of West Coast Entertainment. "I'm always excited for the new season to begin, but I'm really excited for Something Rotten." INB Performing Arts Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • 279-7000 • inbpac.com

Mastodon, Eagles of Death Metal, Russian Circles

It might not qualify as a must-see show for every music lover, but a triple bill of this variety and caliber is hard to ignore. Celebrated by tastemakers almost since their formation, Mastodon is a pioneering heavy metal outfit that has gone on to find commercial success with "Show Yourself" from their recent Emperor of Sand LP. Eagles of Death Metal is an equally genre-bending (and -blending) band that's about as far from death metal as you can get. Rounding out the lineup, Russian Circles is a post-rock instrumental trio that has earned extensive praise and a large fanbase on the back of six well-received albums and countless tours. Catch them all on the same stage on Oct. 24. Knitting Factory • 911 W. Sprague Ave. • 244-3279 • sp.knittingfactory.com

Twice is Nice: An Evening with Deer Tick

When Deer Tick (pictured) appears at the Bartlett on Nov. 2, 2017, in support of not one but two new records, the eponymously titled Deer Tick Vols. 1 & 2, this bluesy, Americana-influenced outfit is promising much more than the usual performance of set list and encore. A comedian will be the opening act, and select songs from Deer Tick's decade worth of albums will be covered during two full sets — one acoustic, one electric — separated by an intermission. For $25, that's one entertainment-packed evening. The Bartlett • 228 W. Sprague Ave. • 747-2174 • thebartlettspokane.com

The Nutcracker

The Spokane Symphony, State Street Ballet and dozens of local dancers continue a holiday tradition with Tchaikovsky's beloved ballet about the magic of Christmas Eve. This all-ages performance, which runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, features the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and other iconic scenes. Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox • 1001 W. Sprague Ave. • 624-1200 • spokanesymphony.org

Foo Fighters

Marking a real get for the Lilac City (neither Seattle nor Portland made the itinerary, as of press time), Foo Fighters play the Spokane Arena on Dec. 4 as part of the band's international tour in support of their new album Concrete and Gold, which frontman Dave Grohl has described as "the biggest-sounding Foo Fighters record ever." That level of sonic ambition offers some indication of just how awesome the live performance is likely to be. "In terms of concert-style experiences," says Matt Gibson, the Arena's general manager, "this one is going to be off the hook." Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena • 720 W. Mallon Ave. • 279-7000 • spokanearena.com


Recently revived on Broadway, William Finn and James Lapine's 1992 musical, running Jan. 5 to 28 at Coeur d'Alene's Lake City Playhouse, is about adhering to traditional beliefs — on religion, on love, on family — amid the complexities of the postmodern age. Lake City Playhouse • 1320 E. Garden Ave., CdA • 208- 676-7529 • lakecityplayhouse.org

Dial M For Murder

Director Heather McHenry-Kroetch calls Frederick Knott's intricate and compelling 1952 murder mystery the ideal form of "escapist theater." Why? "This psychological thriller has all the elements of being able to take people into a different place," she says. "You can forget about everything." Everything, that is, except solving the identity of the elusive killer. It runs from March 23 to April 8, 2018 on the Civic's main stage. Spokane Civic Theatre • 1020 N. Howard St. • 325-2507 • spokanecivictheatre.com

West Side Story

Even if you attended the Civic's season-opening production of West Side Story (Sept. 22 to Oct. 15, 2017), you'll want to catch this encore presentation with live music from the Spokane Symphony on April 20 and 21, 2018. Creators Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins drew inspiration from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and produced a modern masterpiece. Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox • 1001 W. Sprague Ave. • 624-1200 • spokanesymphony.org or spokanecivictheatre.com

God's Country

In describing the first time he ever saw Steven Dietz's riveting 1988 drama about a paramilitary group of white supremacists called The Order, director Troy Nickerson recalls how Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler arrived "with all of his cronies" in tow. When the show let out, "the skinheads [formed] two lines so the audience had to walk through the middle of them. It was a really intense afternoon." This season-closing production (May 25 to June 10, 2018) at Stage Left likely won't have the same offstage tension (which should come as a relief), but Nickerson certainly aims to capture the heightened suspense of the play and its unconventional three-strand narrative — all while hinting at contemporary parallels and seeking to "remind people that we can't go backwards" to the surge in violent, extremist, nationalist groups that the Inland Northwest saw during the 1980s. Stage Left Theater • 108 W. Third Ave. • 838-9727 • spokanestageleft.org

  • or

About The Author

E.J. Iannelli

E.J. Iannelli is a Spokane-based freelance writer, translator, and editor whose byline occasionally appears here in The Inlander. One of his many shortcomings is his inability to think up pithy, off-the-cuff self-descriptions.