Fall Arts | Theater

Highlights from the stage

Sept. 16-Oct. 2


Written by Molly Allen of KZZU morning radio renown, On Shaky Ground is like getting two plays for the price of one. One act, directed by Troy Nickerson, focuses on a crumbling "May-October" relationship between a suspicious newscaster and her boyfriend. The other, set in the same San Francisco apartment building and directed by Dawn Taylor Reinhardt, deals with a grandfather and grandson staring across the generation gap. A natural disaster prompts both duos to try to reconcile. Allen herself stars along with her dad, Jack Bannon. He mom, Ellen Travolta, is a producer. Ignite! Community Theatre, $11-$15, Fri-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm (E.J. IANNELLI)

Sept. 23-Oct. 23


The Modern Theater in Spokane is kicking off its 2016-17 season with one full month of Chicago, the ever-popular Kander and Ebb musical that spins a tale of murder and showbiz seediness around some of the most recognizable tunes in musical theater. Angela Pierson (vaudevillian Velma) and Quinn Vaira (chorus girl Roxie) will star as celebrity-hungry murderesses alongside Andy Meyers as Amos (aka "Mr. Cellophane"). Pierson is also choreographing the show's flashy dance numbers made famous by Bob Fosse. Local stage mavens Abbey Crawford and Troy Nickerson are co-directing. The Modern Theater Spokane, $24-$30, Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm. (EI)

Oct. 13


The riotous Reduced Shakespeare Company offers up hearty belly laughs by putting on hilariously stripped-down, abridged renditions of Shakespeare's famous plays. For reference, their version of Romeo and Juliet clocks in around 13 minutes and culminates with Juliet (played, of course, by a man) stabbing herself repeatedly in the head while screaming "Oh, my brain!" For their stop at WSU this fall, the RSC takes a step away from their usual source material to paint a slapstick, satirical picture of American history in the form of a 90-minute comedy show called The Complete History of America (abridged). This special "Election Edition" throws in appearances by current presidential candidates — which should do nothing but enhance the comedy. Jones Theatre at Daggy Hall, WSU Pullman, $9-$18 (free for WSU students), 7:30 pm (ISAAC HANDELMAN)

Oct. 14-Nov. 5


Geared toward 18-and-over audiences, The Rocky Horror Show is the live-action basis for the 1975 movie that quickly attracted a devoted cult following at midnight screenings. Lance Babbit directs this goofy, lascivious, live-action romp about a strait-laced couple who are sexually awakened by Dr. Frank N. Furter, a transvestite mad scientist harboring a sci-fi secret. "This is going to be Rocky Horror as you have never seen it before," says Babbit. "Come experience the show for the first time, or re-experience the characters and lines you already love. The antici... pation might kill you." Firth J. Chew Studio at the Spokane Civic Theatre, $25, Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm (additional 11 pm showings Fri-Sat from Oct. 21 to Nov. 5), Sun (Oct. 16 only) at 2 pm. (EI)

Oct. 23


Presented by Friends of the Bing, this installment of the Stage to Screen Film Series is showing the original UK National Theatre production of Richard Bean's 2011 adaptation of the 18th-century comedy Servant of Two Masters. Set in 1960s Brighton, this chaotic story of disguises and double-crosses stars Late Late Show host James Corden, who Ben Brantley of the New York Times called "the embodiment of this show's artful anarchy." Yes, it might miss some of the thrill of live audience participation, but it's a great way to travel back in time and across thousands of miles to witness a universally acclaimed performance. The Bing, $17, 2 pm. (EI)

Nov. 4-6


This annual showcase of short comedies is celebrating its 10th — and, sadly, final — year with a retrospective of audience and actor favorites from the preceding nine. During the course of this three-day festival, theatergoers can expect to see a dozen staged readings of quirky, clever and laugh-out-loud works from local and international playwrights. For the grand finale of Hit and Run, the pool of participating actors is likely to be a theatrical who's who from the Spokane area. Stage Left Theater, $10, Fri-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm. (EI)

Nov. 9-13


Jukebox musicals often spell success for a money-weary Broadway, as so many theatergoers like hearing songs they already know. But a show built around a set of songs can also come at the cost of a plausible plot line. With 2014's Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, which tells the early life story of singer-songwriter Carole King, the genre is surely bolstered. Of course the storylines aren't perfect, but with amazing songs like "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," the performances stay with you long after you forget what the show was actually about. INB Performing Arts Center, $30-$75, various times (LAURA JOHNSON)

Dec. 23-24


Sure, you could sit at home and watch Frank Capra's classic tale of George Bailey's magical, life-changing Christmas Eve in idyllic Bedford Falls, but why not share the holiday spirit? Friends of the Bing and the Spokane Civic Theatre team up for a special live production that tells the familiar story through the production of a radio broadcast, complete with local voice actors and foley artists creating all the effects necessary to bring the show to vibrant life. Bing Crosby Theater, $21.50 adults/$13.50 students, 6 pm (DAN NAILEN) ♦

WinterFest Christmas Market @ Bottles

Fri., Dec. 1, 4-7 p.m.
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