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An eclectic selection

Tacoma Little Theatre's 99th season is packed with possibilities

Seussical the musical is just one of several exciting plays coming to TLT. Photo credit: Tacoma Little Theatre

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The summer months may be good for many things -- 90-degree weather notwithstanding -- but what they tend to find lacking is the general abundance of local theater that we enjoy in the South Sound the rest of the year. While this is most certainly a bummer, that radio silence serves as merely the preamble to a number of theater companies preparing their latest, exciting seasons. One such company is the Tacoma Little Theatre, one of the region's surest bets for slyly innovative productions, which is now readying its (gasp!) 99th season.

In planning a season of shows, it's good practice to select an eclectic mix of plays, which TLT has done with a typical aplomb. Slated for their 99th season is a healthy variety of productions, pairing unimpeachable classics with critically lauded newer works, erudite comedies with challenging dramas, and one notably cursed work from the Bard.

Neil Simon's Rumors kicks off the season Sept. 15. A light comedy, such as Rumors, should do well in ushering audience members back into the theater, and Simon's sophisticated, pointed words will assure that theatergoers return to TLT in style. Rumors, a quintessential farce, finds four couples trying to keep up appearances in the waning moments before an anniversary party, as the host lies bleeding in the next room and guests are preparing to arrive.

Following Rumors is Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit, another well-regarded comedy that arrives in time for Halloween. An ill-advised séance results in novelist Charles summoning the ghost of his dead wife, who proceeds to make things difficult for Charles and his new wife, Ruth. After that, we've got our first musical of TLT's season, Seussical. A newer musical, having debuted in 2000, Seussical is, of course, based on the works of Dr. Seuss, and should provide for a metric ton of tongue-twisters and wordplay for the actors to navigate.

After three lighter plays, we get Children of a Lesser God. While some may be more familiar with the film adaptation of this one -- which netted Marlee Matlin a Best Actress Oscar -- the original was a hugely successful play that explored the fraught romance between a deaf student and her former teacher. In productions then and since, the role of the student was frequently played by actual deaf actresses, which is still quite a rarity.

A stone cold classic, next, with Jesus Christ Superstar coming to TLT. Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera is still the toe-tappingest telling of the Messiah's rise and fall. It should be a thrill to see it in that little old theater. Next, one of the most exciting recent playwrights, Martin McDonagh, will be showcased with his darkly comic tale of a writer being investigated for murder, The Pillowman. McDonagh, perhaps best known for his films (In BrugesSeven Psychopaths), has a knack for the brutally funny and the just plain brutal.

Finally, TLT closes out its season with Macbeth. No word yet on whether anyone at Tacoma Little Theatre has announced that one out loud, but what they have done is promise what could be one hell of a season.

Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 North I St., Tacoma, 253.272.2281, tacomalittletheatre.com

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