The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY /5/11 Stage: Split Verdict You gotta have a gimmick, as another musical once said, and this revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar has a good one: Returning hometown hero Brian Yorkey—the Village Theatre alum who nabbed a 2009 Tony and 2010 Pulitzer for the book and lyrics of Next to Normal—has actors Michael K. Lee and Aaron Finley alternating in the roles of Jesus and Judas. This means you'll have to attend at least two performances to judge who's the better savior and traitor. Also, director Yorkey wants you to consider the duality of their intense Biblical friendship during Christ's last week of life. Despite containing one of lyricist Tim Rice's most egregious howlers—"God, thy will is hard/And you hold every card"—Superstar still reaches a rather moving level of pop art by pondering the human passion that led to the holy Passion. The show has a nervy, colloquial pizzazz. And, sorry, Phantom of the Opera phans, but this remains Webber's most heartstopping score, taking off into respectable rock torment the second Judas vents a high note of frustration ("Je-e-e-e-suuuuuuus!") in the opening song "Heaven on Their Minds." Yorkey's right to push the interplay between the two leads. In a show often called sacrilegious, Mary Magdalene's weepy "I Don't Know How to Love Him" also expresses the unspoken anguish between two men who love each other to death. (Through July 3; then moves to Everett Performing Arts Center, July 8–31.) Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N., 425-392-2202, villagetheatre.org. $20–$60. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING THURSDAY 5/12 Stage: Luck Be a Lady Reviews for the 2009 Broadway revival starring Oliver Platt apparently notwithstanding, you can't go wrong with Guys and Dolls. Too much smiley, cornpone comedy can sour the songs of Oklahoma!, but almost nothing can defeat a score that includes "Luck Be a Lady," "I've Never Been in Love Before," and the Act Two rouser "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat." The 5th Avenue's native production, which begins previews tonight, features can't-miss charmer Todd Buonopane, whom you may remember as the hilariously useless sexual-harassment mediator Jeffrey Weinerslav ("It's pronounced wiener slave!") on 30 Rock. Cast as Nicely Nicely Johnson, he's got Broadway zing in spades. So of course does the show, Frank Loesser's classic 1950 musicalization of Damon Runyon's tales about Prohibition-era hoods with hearts of gold, a bet that a gambler can't seduce a Salvation Army lass, and an uncertain new venue for "the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York." Another bet? Local Billie Wildrick, who's made a career at the 5th embodying warmly befuddled women in several Sondheim shows, will get to squeeze every empathetic laugh out of the comic showstopper "Adelaide's Lament." You know: From a lack of community property and the feeling she's getting too old, a person can develop a bad, bad cold. (Opens May 19; runs through June 15.) 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., 888-584-4849, 5thavenue.org. $28 and up. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING Dance: Hanging Up His Spurs The previous time Chris Yon appeared on the Velocity stage, the Minneapolis dancer/choreographer was a wannabe cowpoke in a suburban version of the Wild West, singing and dancing like a schlumpfy Roy Rogers. For his return visit, he's bringing The Very Unlikeliness (I'm Going to KILL You!), where his models are Fred Astaire and James Brown rather than Gene Autry. Yon's non sequitur movement style, a kind of dorky virtuosity, meshes with these multiple references in a work named with "the most romantic title I could think of," he explains. Also part of the touring SCUBA program—a joint venture among three dance companies to dive down and discover new talent—are Seattleite Amelia Reeber, with a refined version of her 2010 work this is a forgery, and Philadelphia's Jumatatu Poe in Flight Attendants. He says he's inspired by hip-hop moves "where large explosive movement is confined to small spaces." Check your seat backs and tray tables. (Through Sat.) Velocity Dance Center, 1621 12th Ave., 325-8773, velocitydancecenter.org. $15–$18. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ FRIDAY 5/13 Film: Touched by Lubitsch In the (probably apocryphal) story of the funeral of Ernst Lubitsch, director William Wyler leaves the gravesite with the remark "Well, no more Lubitsch." Billy Wilder replies, "Worse than that. No more Lubitsch movies!" It's hard not to sympathize. Cluny Brown, his final completed film, may have a lightweight screenplay, but the master of sophisticated comedy and continental wit makes it sing. A romantic comedy set in 1938, it offers two uninhibited free spirits (Charles Boyer as a Czech intellectual fleeing the Nazis; Jennifer Jones as a working-class girl with a passion for plumbing) rattling around a class-conscious Britain that's blithely oblivious to the winds of war. Produced in 1946, just after World War II, there's no urgency or bite to the satire of a self-serious high society more concerned with decorum than substance; this disconnected world is flatly, almost lazily visualized. Yet Lubitsch's deft comic grace, generosity of character, and elegant direction transforms every satirical aside and absurd turn into perfectly cut (if never quite cutting) jewels. He never stoops to wink at the audience or stop for a punch line. It's all about the lyric of conversation and the dance of decorum. (Screened on a new 35mm print; not on DVD; runs through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$9. 7 and 9 p.m. SEAN AXMAKER SATURDAY 5/14 Sports: I-5alry The two teams new to Major League Soccer this season being from the Northwest, they immediately had archenemy status bestowed on them. Sounders fans don't seem to have worked up much enmity for the Vancouver Whitecaps, though—what's to hate about Canada? The serious fan animosity is reserved for the Portland Timbers, who seem ridiculously arrogant considering their erratic season so far, losing on the road and winning only at home at their refurbished Qui-Gon Jinn Field (actually Jeld-Wen Field, which still sounds like a Star Wars character). For example, Portland followed an April 23 humiliation at Los Angeles, which scored twice in the first nine minutes, by handing powerhouse Salt Lake City its first loss of the season (its first regular-season loss since last September, in fact) a week later. The Sounders have played Portland in preseason and U.S. Open Cup matches, but tonight is our first MLS meeting, when we shall sow their fields with salt and hear the lamentations of their women and children ring in our ears. The game is sold out, but you can still march down First Avenue and watch it from your favorite bar. Qwest Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 877-657-4625, soundersfc.com. $28–$98. 8 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT Comedy: Polymath Laughter Calling from Los Angeles, Patton Oswalt has pulled his car over to answer a few questions. We applaud a comedian-slash-actor (Big Fan, Ratatouille, etc.) who's both funny and safe. Preparing for tonight's taping of a TV special, he says there's no point in trying to keep up with the latest world events. "I just embrace that everything's gonna be dated one way or the other. This is what's happening in my head and maybe in other people's heads. I don't think of, 'How will people think of [these jokes] in 40 years? Will they be timeless?' I want it to be specific to its time, so it has this kind of documentary value later on." Certain current topics are a given, like politics and Obama's "cool, glacial, long-term thinking." Oswalt is both a pop-culture savant and a serious reader, fascinated with the new biography of the president's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a 1960 graduate of Mercer Island High School. Never mind Obama's growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, he says: "It's no different than the hardscrabble upbringing that Reagan and Clinton had, with fucked-up dads and weird inter-familial bullshit." Then there's his love of movies, even though he now works inside the sausage-making factory: "I do have this frightened hope every summer movie season. I'm excited to see the Terence Malick film. I'm excited to see Werner Herzog's new movie. I don't want to sound like a goddamn snob . . . but I don't hold out much hope anymore. Going to see a movie in a theater is a dying art. I want popcorn movies to do well, but I'd like them to do well and also be original. That used to happen all the time. You'd go see Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark and go 'Holy Jesus—that was so entertaining and also totally original!' " And lastly, says Oswalt, he'll discuss "dipping my little toe into the pool of fatherhood. The stuff I'm dealing with onstage is my first few months as a dad—how kind of fucked-up and wonderful and disastrous that was." Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.com. $23. 7 and 9:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Cats: Show Me Your Pussy People who enter their cats in proper pussy pageants are to pets as the dude who carries a bag full of "irons" and "putters" on a Frisbee golf course. You're taking things way too seriously, people. No cat requires its own cushioned condo, puréed food, and five types of combs. And you just know these purebred pussies would get their asses kicked by more feral felines. But as revolting as these stage parents are, every cat lover who's taken a spin through one of these meow-offs has wondered how his or her tabby would stack up against Mr. Whiskers. Today's Average Joe Cat Show, a fund-raiser for the no-kill sanctuary Purrfect Pals, is the ideal middle ground. You can carry your cat in to compete against fellow neighborhood toughs without having to suffer obnoxious "pros." Speaking of obnoxious, you can actually enter your cat in the "most obnoxious" category. Other noteworthy classifications include "best one-eyed cat," "loudest purr," "monster cat (largest)," and, fittingly, "most average." Rewarding mediocrity? What's not to love?! Shoreline Center, 18560 First Ave. N.E., averagejoecatshow.org. $5 (or $25 to enter your cat). 10 a.m.–3 p.m. MIKE SEELY

 
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