Parents Like It, Too

Children's fest and puppet show aren't just kids' stuff. Plus: Christian Rizzo, new opera.

Christian Rizzo

A rising star, Rizzo is making his U.S. debut in Seattle withI Might as Well Want the Blue of the Sky and Ride Away on a Donkey. A videotape version of this solo work is as wildly varied as the title, combining references from experimental film, disco, high fashion, and contemporary dance, linked by a kind of decadent elegance of gesture, making arbitrary choices seem inevitable. On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 206-217-9888, www.ontheboards.org. $22. 8 p.m. Thurs. May 18-Sat. May 20. SANDRA KURTZ

Two for the Kids

Discriminating kids—and parents, too—have an abundance of good choices for live entertainment this week. First, the Seattle International Children's Festival is in full swing, with a headlining performance by John Lithgow at 7 p.m. Wed., May 17. The quirky film and TV actor will present songs and stories from his best-selling children's books and CDs in the Bagley Wright Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-325-6000, www.seattleIinternational.org. Also at the fest: Dutch skater/dancers, Mongolian throat singers, Belgian clowns, and much, much more. SICF is typically one of the more adventurous festivals in town, so grab a game kid and head over to Seattle Center May 18-20; the festival also plays Tacoma on Monday, May 22. Also this weekend, Northwest Puppet Center presents another in a line of top-notch puppet operas, this time on the subject of Tom Thumb. The Northwest can boast that the real Mrs. Tom Thumb—wife of the celebrity midget made famous by P.T. Barnum—sang at Seattle's opera house in 1892. But it was Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones, who penned the original tale under the pseudonym Scriblerus Secundus over a century before. Originally performed in London as The Tragedy of Tragedies or The Life and Death of Tom Thumb, the current production by the Carter Family Marionettes is concocted from different historic variations with a pastiche score of Celtic folktunes and baroque opera (with the marionettes lip-synching to a quartet of live singers). Characters not often seen in modern adaptations include Punch, his cohort Judy, and a giant with the unfortunate name of Glumdalca. Occasional bawdy marionette misbehavior and cartoon violence make it unsuitable for young children, as does the longer-than-average hour-and-a-half running time. But the graphic thwacking of puppet heads and the creative use of sausages are sure to please a slightly older set (ten and up).

N.W. Puppet Center, 9123 15th Ave. N.E., 206-523-2579, www.nwpuppet.org. $18-$20. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. May 19-21. LYNN JACOBSON AND SUZANNE BEAL

Thirst

Nine months in the making, Stan Hoffmann's masque opera is being developed by his ensemble as a collaborative effort, integrating the evolution of the work's visual design, movement, music, and storytelling. One of Hoffmann's influences, the renaissance masque, was an art form that essentially combined all the others, including dance (movement by the singers, that is, not by a separate corps) and spoken poetry. As opera developed, it came to emphasize music first and spectacle a distant second (even dance fell by the wayside after Verdi and Wagner). Hoffmann's one of several local composers who are revitalizing the form by re-examining its roots and including theatrical elements long under-utilized. Consolidated Works, 500 Boren Ave. N., 877-278-4842, www.brownpapertickets.com. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. May 18-Sun. May 21. GAVIN BORCHERT

 
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