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Updated Friday, January 11, 2013 at 07:01 AM

Mamet, ‘Mousetrap’ among new shows in Seattle

By Misha Berson
Seattle Times theater critic

Mid-January is usually one of the busiest times for local theater productions to open, and the first month of 2013 is no exception.

Some of the characters awaiting their cues: David Mamet’s bumbling thieves. A German transgender rock diva. The prime suspects in a very British murder mystery. And a bug and skunk that become great pals.

All will be on the boards in the following shows set to open soon:

“American Buffalo”

After staging an impressive version of “Glengarry Glen Ross” at Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2010, noted director Wilson Milam returns to mount this earlier Mamet favorite. The plot is simple: A junk-shop owner and his scummy pal plot to steal a coin collection, with the help of a teenager, and it all goes awry. But the lingo is distilled Mamet-speak, that patented combo of brute profanity and elaborate obfuscation, and it will be spoken with relish by local actors Charles Leggett, Hans Altwies and young Zachary Simonson.

As Mamet himself described it, “The play is about the American ethic of business. About how we excuse all sorts of great and small betrayals and ethical compromises called business.’’

Friday through Feb. 3, Seattle Repertory Theatre; 206-443-2222 or

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Everyone’s favorite East German transgender glam-rocker returns, in Ian Bell’s fresh local staging of the blistering pop musical crafted by John Cameron Mitchell and composer-lyricist Stephen Trask.

We’ve spotted Hedwig tearing it up with a live band — while dishing about his/her twisted childhood and botched sex-change operation — since the local premiere of “Hedwig” a decade back. On this occasion, the flamboyantly gowned and bewigged star is Jerick Hoffer, Seattle actor (“Rent”) and drag entertainer — who, we are informed, will also be a contestant on the upcoming season of TV’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The Moore Theatre run is the first joint production by Balagan Theatre and Seattle Theatre Group.

Tuesday-Jan. 27, Moore Theatre, Seattle; 877-784-4849 or

“Dot & Ziggy”

Not every upcoming stage offering is R-rated. Parents of young children can rest easy that “Dot & Ziggy,” at Seattle Children’s Theatre, is appropriate fare for tots.

SCT artistic director Linda Hartzell and her husband, educator Mark Perry, created the 40-minute piece specifically as an interactive experience for preschoolers (age 4 and under, infants welcome). During this tale of tolerance and friendship between a skunk and a ladybug, youngsters are seated on the floor with their parents or caregivers. And they’re invited to join with the performers by clapping, singing and dancing along.

The piece, designed to promote early sensory development and creative play, was a hit in Chicago, where it debuted in 2011. The odds are high it will be a hot ticket here as well, so early reservations are advised.

Tuesday-Feb. 24, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Center; 206-441-3322 or

“The Mousetrap”

Talk about a hit: Agatha Christie’s signature play “The Mousetrap” had its London debut in the West End in 1952. Defying all expectation, it has run there continuously ever since. Last year the show logged its 25,000th performance — making it, by far, the longest-running play on record.

The plot is vintage Christie: A murder is committed. Suspicious individuals gather at a remote guesthouse during a blizzard. Another murder occurs. And a wily police detective sets the “trap” to catch the perpetrator.

The Village Theatre is dusting off the script for a revival staged by Jeff Steitzer and featuring reliable local actors David Pichette, R. Hamilton Wright and Ellen McLain as some of the usual suspects.

Thursday-March 24, Village Theatre, Issaquah; 425-392-2202 or

Misha Berson:

From left: Hans Altwies, Zachary Simonson and Charles Leggett in “American Buffalo” at Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Christopher Nelson
Jerick Hoffer is Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”


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