The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 1/2

Stage: Nora Heads for the Door

The first time I saw Jennifer Sue Johnson portray a frustrated wife opposite Michael Patten, their palpable passion made me name Book-It's Lady Chatterley's Lover the best production of 2001. Now the compelling Johnson and Patten are together again on the same stage—only he's now the ball-and-chain hubby, and she's got to get the hell out of A Doll's House. Ibsen's 1879 classic, newly translated by playwright Sean Patrick Taylor and directed by Russ Banham (Johnson's husband), should keep Seattle Shakespeare Company crowds in rapt anticipation of Nora's famous final exit. Audiences in Ibsen's day were outraged by her emancipation; now it seems prescient. Office politics, money pressures, little white lies that explode, and that sinking feeling that we're in over our heads—such pressures are still felt in marriages today. (Previews begin tonight; opens Friday; runs through Jan. 27.) Center House Theatre (Seattle Center), 733-8222, seattle shakespeare.org. $22–$45. 7:30 p.m.

THURSDAY 1/3

First Thursday: Cool Tribute

Remember when glowing-red LEDs were the cutting edge of wristwatch technology in the '70s? Maybe not. Or maybe your dad is still wearing the same Pulsar timepiece he got for a college-graduation gift during the Carter administration. Today the small, cheap diodes are ubiquitous on cars and for household lighting, but artist Robert Teeple was an early adaptor to LEDs—back when they had to be laboriously wired to circuit boards and controlled by four-bit processors with software he wrote himself. In his new show Beat (portraits of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, and company), the technology has been helpfully simplified; LEDs now come in a broader array of colors than the old red (as you'll see in his nearby 1990 bus-tunnel installation Electric Lascaux). Teeple divides the Beats into their East and West Coast camps, and their flickering images remain—like the light source—forever cool. (Through Jan. 31.) Paper Hammer, 1400 Second Ave., 682-3820, paper-hammer.com. Free. Opening reception: 5–7 p.m.

FRIDAY 1/4

Film: We Hate Nazis, Too

After a holiday hiatus, the Egyptian's midnight movie series resumes with Nazis (always a reliable box-office attraction), bullwhips, and Crusader ghosts. We refer, of course, to Steven Spielberg's 1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which concluded that decade's biggest trilogy. (We'll ignore 2008's Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the series' craven, LaBeouffian brand extension; seeing the late River Phoenix here in Last Crusade's opening train-top sequence is a sad reminder of sequels not made.) It was a considerable coup for Spielberg and producer George Lucas to cast grumpy old Sean Connery as Indy's dad, and his bickering with the equally cranky Harrison Ford is always fun to watch. Last Crusade is a first-rate popcorn movie, a big improvement over Temple of Doom, with chases galore and an aerial dogfight launched from a zeppelin (over what's clearly Southern California, but never mind that). As the Jones' loyal comrade in archaeology, the late Denholm Elliott also helps class up the picture, asking at one point in the action, "Is there anyone here who speaks English? Or maybe even ancient Greek?" Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 781-5755, landmarktheatres.com. $8.25. Midnight (repeats Sat.).

TUESDAY 1/8

Stage: Laughter in the Jungle

If you already have tickets to The Book of Mormon—it'll require a miracle from Joseph Smith to score a pair now—you've probably also been presold the notion that it's "the best musical of this century" (per The New York Times' Ben Brantley). Well . . . it is engagingly profane, as you'd expect from South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone, though lacking the memorable musical wit of Avenue Q (whose Robert Lopez collaborated here with Parker and Stone). You won't come out humming any songs, but you'll certainly recall numbers in which God gets flipped off and—better—a bunch of happy Ugandans perform their wild misinterpretation of LDS history. What this Tony-winning blockbuster runs on is tireless cheek: It's hard to resist the idea that a Mormon's vision of hell includes a giant, dancing cup of coffee. Also helping matters is the obvious joy of this touring ensemble, led by Broadway heartthrob Gavin Creel (Hair) and comic find Jared Gertner as a pair of mismatched missionaries sent to convert a village with other, more pressing concerns (cue the AIDS jokes). Book of Mormon is essentially an irreverent update of the kind of popular, disposable musical comedy Broadway churned out until Rodgers and Hammerstein made everybody think. Don't think too hard, and you'll be fine. (Through Jan. 20.) The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $45–$150. 7:30 p.m.

 
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