South Sound is already abuzz about the shows coming up at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, though the center is just now announcing its 2015-2016 season.
“It’s a big season,” said Jill Barnes, the center’s executive director.
Broadway favorite Patti LuPone — who’s won two Grammys and two Tonys — will perform Sept. 27, before the season officially begins.
And the Facebook invitation to see sardonic humorist David Sedaris’s Nov. 11 show already lists 462 people attending.
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The center’s 30th season also offers the return of both Arlo Guthrie, whose “Alice’s Restaurant” 50th anniversary tour stops in Olympia April 15, and “Stunt Dog Experience,” with two shows Nov. 22.
Both Guthrie, who sang just the tiniest bit of “Restaurant” when he stopped here in 2014, and “Stunt Dogs,” who charmed audiences at two shows in 2013, have sold out the center in the past.
And that’s not even the end of the big names: Two-time Grammy winner Travis Tritt will sing Jan. 29, legendary folkies The Kingston Trio will play May 18, and actor Hal Holbrook will perform his classic “Mark Twain Tonight” Nov. 4.
The center hasn’t hosted much country music in the past, but Clint Black’s concert this past season was a big draw.
“We had so many people who’d never been here before,” said Anne Larsen, the center’s marketing director. “It was a new audience for us and we want to keep them coming back to the center.”
The season also has two big Broadway touring productions: “The Producers” (March 5) and “Saturday Night Fever” (April 10).
“I feel lucky that we were able to get the two Broadway shows,” Barnes said. “The Broadway inventory this year was probably the best I’ve seen in my eight years in the Northwest.” (She worked in Idaho before coming to the center in 2014.)
The center’s standard series — silent films with organist Dennis James, Comedy in the Box, and Black Box Jazz — all will return.
And after shrinking to just one show last year, National Geographic Live is once again a series, with Mars rover engineer Kobie Boykins speaking Oct. 29 and mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner speaking Feb. 19.
“We doubled our attendance at the one show we had this year,” Larsen said.
Where the season looks a little thin is in classical music and dance. The one classical music offering is Igudesman & Joo (March 4), a music and comedy duo. And the celebrated Momix, which opens the season Oct. 1, is the season’s only dance performance.
“We had a couple of things fall through, but the seed is planted for next season,” Barnes said.
As far as mainstage comedy goes, the Seattle International Comedy Competition will once again have a show at the center (Nov. 19). But the political comedy troupe Capitol Steps, long a mainstay of the center’s schedule, won’t make it to town this year.
“They will be back in the future,” Barnes said.