Washington Center adds a few outrageous offerings to 2019-2020 season

In its 2019-2020 season, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is aiming once again to program something for everyone.

This year, though, the center has broadened its definition of “everyone” with a handful of edgy entertainments spicing up the expected mix of music, comedy, theater and dance included in the new season announced today.

“We’re bringing in some pretty outrageous performances,” marketing director Jessica Caldwell told The Olympian. One — The Naked Magicians, coming Feb. 8 — is open only to people 18 and older, in fact.

“It actually makes me giggle talking about The Naked Magicians,” said executive director Jill Barnes, blushing a little. “We’ve never had anything quite like that on this stage.”

The magicians — an Australian duo that’s as much about comedy as magic — will not be completely naked, though the audience will get a rear view.

“They call it full frontal illusion, which is pretty funny,” Barnes told The Olympian.

The O word came up again in reference to the cabaret singer Meow Meow, scheduled for April 4,, who recently released a joint album with Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale.

“I saw her in New York, and she blew my mind,” Barnes said. “She an amazing singer with a huge range but also does a lot of humor. She crowd surfs, and you wouldn’t expect that at the top of the show.”

Also a bit of a stretch for those who come out for such classic Broadway touring shows as “An American in Paris” (Jan. 16) will be “Looking for Tiger Lily” (Feb. 22), which examines growing up with Native American roots. It features Anthony Hudson, also known as Portland’s “drag queen clown” Carla Rossi.

Shows at the other end of the spectrum include a Jan. 12 concert with Grammy-winning children’s musician Dan Zanes and his wife, Claudia Zanes, a music therapist, and the return of “Stunt Dog Experience,” presenting two shows March 22.

There’ll be lots of laughs again this year, with The Good Humor Men (Feb. 21), the return of both the Seattle International Comedy Competition (Nov. 21) and Ladies of Laughter (March 6) and five dates for the long-running Comedy in the Box series.

Musical offerings will range from “Latingrass” by Argentina’s Che Apalache (Oct. 17) to Celtic rock by Canada’s Derina Harvey Band (April 25). But it’s rhythm and blues fans who have the most to celebrate: Taj Mahal (Nov. 20), Mavis Staples (Jan. 11) and The Temptations, closing out the season June 4.

“You’d think there’s a target market for that show,” Barnes said, “but I know a lot of 30- and 40-somethings who are super pumped about it.”

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ 2019-2020 season

  • Season tickets: A 20 percent discount is available for those subscribers who choose tickets to 8 or more performances, and there’s a 10 percent discount for those choosing 5-7 shows.
  • Individual tickets: Prices vary. Regular season shows go on sale Aug. 1. Tickets to “Menopause the Musical” and Los Lobos are already available.
  • Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. S.E., Olympia
  • More information: 360-753-8586, www.washingtoncenter.org

Up next

  • “Menopause the Musical” (Aug. 7 and 8): This touring musical features female friendship, hot-flash humor and pop-song parodies.
  • Los Lobos (Oct. 1): The three-time Grammy winners have toured the world with their mix of traditional Spanish and Mexican music, rock, country, rhythm and blues and more.

The season

“The Simon & Garfunkel Story” (Oct. 6): The concert-style show traces the career of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel from the duo’s beginnings to their 1981 concert in Central Park.

Che Apalache (Oct. 17); The Buenos Aires-based quartet blends Latin rhythms with bluegrass.

California Guitar Trio + Montreal Guitar Trio (Oct. 25): A half-dozen guitarists pool their talents to play progressive rock, world, jazz and classical music.

National Geographic Live: Ronan Donovan (Nov. 2): Biologist-turned-photographer Donovan will talk about such social mammals as chimps, wolves — and humans.

Pilobolus (Nov. 12); The modern dance company, known for finding inspiration in unexpected places, will explore human biology and the biosphere us in a program of old and new repertoire.

Taj Mahal Quartet (Nov. 20): The legendary multi-instrumentalist is known for fusing music from around the globe into traditional country blues.

Seattle International Comedy Competition (Nov. 21): The famed comedy competition makes its annual Olympia stop with a semi-final round.

“Home for the Holidays” with Derik Nelson & Family (Dec. 1): The Olympia-raised Nelsons, who serve as U.S. Cultural Ambassadors, are known for their three-part harmony.

Mavis Staples (Jan. 11): A rhythm and blues legend and a civil-rights icon, Staples is still singing.

Dan and Claudia Zanes (Jan. 12): Formerly of The Del Fuegos, Dan Zanes has since become what NPR called “the gold standard in kids’ music.” He teams up with wife Claudia Zanes, a music therapist, for a relaxed show that will be comfortable for those with sensory sensitivities.

“An American in Paris” (Jan. 16): This Tony winner, inspired by the 1951 Gene Kelly film, is filled with dance, romance and Gershwin classics.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” Sing-Along (Jan. 31): The center’s annual sing-along, hosted by Lauren O’Neill, promises plenty of flash both onscreen and off, thanks to a costume contest.

The Naked Magicians (Feb. 8): The Aussie duo is known for magic, humor and some nudity — not full frontal, but enough to make this an 18-and-older show.

The Good Humor Men (Feb. 21): Tony Deyo, Pat Hazell and Pete Lee — all veterans of the late-night TV circuit — team up for a night of comedy.

“Looking for Tiger Lily” (Feb. 22): Portland drag performer Anthony Hudson, aka Carla Rossi, explores coming of age as a Native American through music, dance and storytelling.

Ladies of Laughter (March 6): Back for a second year, this tour features some of the top comics from each year’s national LOL competition.

The Center Salon (March 20); The fifth annual salon showcases such local literary luminaries as novelist Jim Lynch and playwright Bryan Willis.

“Stunt Dog Experience” (March 22): Chris Perondi’s clever canines, all rescued from pounds and shelters, return to the center for two shows.

Koresh Dance Co. (March 28): Israel-born choreographer Roni Koresh and his company explore the paintings of Henri Matisse in this program.

Meow Meow (April 4): “Outrageous” is the word for this crowd-surfing cabaret songstress, said center executive director Jill Barnes.

Boogie From the Bayou (April 17): This evening of Cajun and Zydeco music, with BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, aims to get the good times rolling.

“Perk Up, Pianist” (April 23): Concert pianist Sarah Hagen combines music and comedy in this exploration of the life of a touring classical musician.

Derina Harvey Band (April 25): The Canadian Celtic rockers are known for their high-energy concerts and fresh take on traditional folk tunes.

National Geographic Live: Mireya Mayor (May 19): Field biologist Mayor offers a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges, dangers and discoveries of working in the wild.

The Temptations (June 4): The soul group, which helped to define the Motown sound in the 1960s, is still touring with one original member and such classics as “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

Series performances

Silent Movies: The series with organist Dennis James offers the Lon Chaney classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (March 8) and the Mary Pickford rom-com “My Best Girl” (Feb. 14.

Black Box Jazz: The cabaret-style music series will showcase vocalist LaVon Hardison (Nov. 1), composer-percussionist Greg Williamson (Jan. 10), flutist-saxophonist Mark Lewis (March 13) and composer-sax player Kareem Kandi (May 15)

Comedy in the Box: The cabaret-style series continues with performances Jan. 9, Feb. 13, March 12, May 14 and June 11.