The WA Center for the Performing Arts announces 2022-23 season

The national touring company of the Broadway musical “Legally Blonde

The national touring company of the Broadway musical “Legally Blonde” will be part of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ 2022-2023 season.

Courtesy photo

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ 2022-2023 season — its first full lineup since the pandemic closed theaters — looks much like the typical pre-pandemic set of shows.

There’s a Broadway tour (“Legally Blonde”), a modern dance troupe (Ailey II), a big-name band (Los Lobos, performing with Latin Grammy winner Gaby Moreno) and lots of comedy.

“We were kind of late putting the whole season together, and it wasn’t just the center: It was the same thing nationwide,” said Jill Barnes, the center’s executive director. “But we did put it together, and I feel really good about the genres we’re offering, the titles we’re offering, the diversity. It’s going to be a great, exciting season.”

As in the past, there are season tickets available, with discounts and the option to keep the same seats for each show.

The center itself, though, will look quite different.

The building closes June 28 for renovation of the public spaces, and when it reopens Nov. 4 with the perennially popular “Stunt Dog Experience,” both the theater and lobby areas will be transformed.

There’ll be a redesigned concessions area along with new seats, new wall treatments, and new carpet.

That means, as Barnes has been reminding audiences at recent shows, that like it or not, you’ll never again see the much-remarked-upon theater carpet whose pattern she describes as “multicolored kites with yellow strings.”

“It’s served us well,” she told The Olympian, “and it’s time for an update.”

Also changing this year: There’s a bigger range of showtimes, with some family-friendly shows happening earlier and Sunday shows at 2 and 5 pm

“I was inspired to do it because the Olympia Symphony moved its Sunday shows to 3 o’clock, and it really helped with attendance,” she said. “I think it’s a good move.”

Barnes is excited for the new season, including a June 8 mystery show. Though the show won’t be announced until Nov. 3, eager audiences can already buy tickets, and she expects them to sell quickly.

Sales have been trending upward after a slow start when shows resumed earlier this year, she said.

“We sold out David Sedaris, we sold out The Temptations, and we sold out the Indigo Girls,” she said. “We’re ending on a really strong note.”

The Washington Center’s 2022-2023 season

  • Season tickets: A 15 percent discount is available for those subscribers who buy tickets to five or more shows. Those who buy eight or more can sit in the same seats for the shows they choose.
  • Individual tickets: Prices vary. Regular season shows go on sale Aug. 2.
  • Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia, except Jake Shimabukuro, who’ll perform at South Puget Sound Community College’s Minnaert Center for the Arts, 2011 Mottman Road SW, Olympia.
  • More information: 360-753-8586,

The shows

,Stunt Dog Experience” (7:30 pm Nov. 4): Chris Perondi’s clever canines, all rescued from pounds and shelters, return to the center.

Some Stars of Native Comedy (7:30 pm Nov. 5): This night of Native comedy features Gilbert Brown, aka the Naughty Rez Dog, along with Jim Ruel and Sheila Chalakee.

Seattle International Comedy Competition (7:30 pm Nov. 17): The famed comedy competition stops in Olympia for a semi-final round.

,The Aunties(7:30 pm Nov. 18): This original multimedia production, premiering in Olympia, features stories told by Native American and First Nations matriarchs.

Jake Shimabukuro: Christmas in Hawaii (7:30 pm Dec. 9): Shimabukuro returns to Olympia to spread holiday cheer with bassist Jackson Waldoff and singer-songwriter Justin Kawika Young.

National Geographic Live: Andy Mann (7 pm Jan. 20): Mann is a climber, diver, arctic explorer and award-winning filmmaker who has documented expeditions on all seven continents.

Blind Boys of Alabama with Charlie Musselwhite (7:30 pm Jan. 28): The gospel legends are teaming up with singer-songwriter and harmonica master Musselwhite.

Ailey II (7:30 pm Jan. 31): The New York City-based troupe of up-and-coming dancers presents pieces by emerging choreographers.

,Legally Blonde: The Musical” (7 pm Feb. 2): The Broadway touring production follows the journey of sorority woman Elle Woods as she battles stereotypes and sexism, all while looking fabulous.

,Friends: The Musical Parody(5 pm Feb. 26): The musical lampoons the beloved sitcom about a half-dozen 20somethings living in improbably spacious New York City apartments.

Ladies of Laughter (7:30 pm March 10): The returning tour features some of the top comics from each year’s national LOL competition.

,ireann: A Taste of Ireland(5 pm March 12): This contemporary Celtic show mixes music and story with dance performed by champions.

Los Lobos with Gaby Moreno (7:30 pm March 23): The Grammy-winning band returns with singer-songwriter-guitarist Gaby Moreno.

,Ray On My Mind: A Tribute to Ray Charles(2 pm March 26): Part concert, part theater, this tribute show features Kenny Brawner as Ray plus an 11-piece orchestra and a trio of backup vocalists.

Whiskey tasting with Skerryvore (5:30 pm April 14): Members of the band will play music and talk about whiskey (as it’s spelled in Scotland) at this preshow tasting.

Skerryvore (8 pm April 14): This internationally known band blends contemporary Scottish traditional music with rock.

“Frozen II” Sing-Along (6 pm April 29): Lauren O’Neill will host the sing-along, which will also feature a costume contest.

,Women of a Certain Age(2 and 7:30 pm May 6): A trio of would-be stars aims for glory on TV’s “American Starmaker,” an “American Idol”-style show.

Center Salon (7:30 pm May 19): The sixth annual salon, held in the Black Box, offers music, literature and art.

Mystery show (7:30 pm June 8): This show, by an artist that center audiences often request, will be announced Nov. 3.

Series performances

Black Box Jazz: The cabaret-style music series will showcase multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas (Jan. 13), vocalist Greta Matassa (Feb. 24), guitarists Frank Kohl and John Stowell (April 7) and pianist David Joyner and the Jared Hall Quartet (May 26) ).

Comedy in the Box: The cabaret-style series, recommended for ages 18 and older, continues with performances Jan. 26, Feb. 16, March 16, April 6, May 18 and June 15.

Silent Movies: The series with organist Dennis James offers a Buster Keaton collection (April 2) and Douglas Fairbanks in “Robin Hood” (April 30).


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