Food & Drink

16 Best Things to Do in Seattle in April 2020

Check out our handpicked list of entertainment options (but be sure to check for updates on event schedules and cancellations)

By Gemma Wilson April 6, 2020


This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the April 2020 issue. Click here to subscribeDue to evolving public health concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, be sure to check with event hosts and venues for updates on event schedules and cancellations. 

Agnieszka Polska: Love Bite
Ends 4/19
Take advantage of these last few weeks to see video artist Agnieszka Polska’s work at the Frye, including the U.S. debut of two audiovisual essays addressing the urgency of climate change. To tell you what the work is “about” is to wildly reduce the impact of pieces by Polska, a Polish-born artist who splits her time between Krakow and Berlin. Layers of text and computer-generated media work together to excavate ideas of language, history, science, society, ethics and much more. Times vary. Free. Frye Art Museum, First Hill;

Ends 4/12
Dominique Morisseau’s play title refers to the school-to-prison pipeline, that American tradition/tragedy that funnels young black men from public school to penitentiary at an alarmingly high rate. Nya, a teacher at a tough, big-city public school, has sent her own teenage son to a tony private school in hopes of disrupting this seeming inevitability, but is it enough? Seattle Public Theater presents, Faith Bennett Russell directs. Times vary. $34. Seattle Public Theater, Green Lake;

Changer and the Star People
Ends 4/13
In its world premiere, this play, a co-production of Sound Theatre Company and SNAG Productions, explores the origin myths of the Coast Salish and Dakota tribes as adapted by Roger Fernandes and Fern Renville, who also directs. Together, these storytellers combine art forms, including puppetry, music and dance, to envision a future in which “citizens of Native American Tribes reclaim power and spark a cultural revolution.” Times and prices vary. Isaac Studio, Taproot Theatre, Greenwood;

Energy Drink
Ends 8/23
As a concept, “immersive” gets tossed around, ahem, freely in every art form, but this immersive installation should be the real deal. The setting: Museum of Museums, already a bastion for ambitious spatial takeovers. The artists: abstract painter Brian Sanchez and digital artist Neon Saltwater (aka Abby Dougherty), known for dreaming up soothing, world-warping transformational interiors. The goal: an installation that calls on color, lighting, interior design and “the elusive euphoria of vacant and transitory spaces” to create a sublime space in an ordinary setting. Times and prices vary. Museum of Museums, Capitol Hill;

Manual Cinema: Frankenstein
The artistic mélange of Manual Cinema’s signature style marries as many disparate parts as does Frankenstein’s monster (though much more gracefully), to tell two stories simultaneously: that of the doctor and his monster and that of Mary Shelley, the author who created them both. Live performances blend with elements of film, shadow puppetry, live music and low-tech theater magic as it’s made on stage in real time. 7:30 p.m. $35. Moore Theatre, downtown;

Curiouser and Curiouser
This Café Nordo–fied version of Alice in Wonderland, billed as the “tea party of all tea parties,” will wrap the usual Nordo format—food and theater, served up symbiotically—around the classic Lewis Carroll tale. Told in two parts and six total courses, utilizing both Nordo spaces (tickets are available for one or both parts), expect the usual suspects, such as the Mad Hatter and bloodthirsty queen, and when something says “Eat me,” do what it says. Times and prices vary. Café Nordo, Pioneer Square;

This Montreal-based dance company, led by founder and choreographer Victor Quijada, fuses classical and contemporary styles, such as ballet, breakdancing and West Coast hip-hop. This evening-length piece, Ever So Slightly, features 10 dancers (billed by the company as dancer-athletes, to reflect the piece’s explosive, high-energy style) accompanied by a DJ and live music, and looks at the elements that push us toward change.  8 p.m. $50–$58. Meany Hall, University of Washington;

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Don’t miss a chance to see this revered American dance company when it returns to Seattle with mixed-bill programs, including Ailey’s 1960 classic Revelations; Ode, by company member and resident choreographer Jamar Roberts; and Greenwood, by internationally acclaimed, Seattle-based choreographer Donald Byrd, artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater. Times and prices vary. Paramount Theatre, downtown;

Working (Undecided Title)
Dancer, choreographer and thinker Markeith Wiley returns to On the Boards, where he premiered his fascinating 2016 show It’s Not Too Late, to present this new work, a “lyric poem that takes place inside a dance party.” Expect Wiley’s ever-evolving fusion of movement, humor, unapologetic directness, thoughtful abstraction and, in this case, a “demand that we all be present with one another and let go of traditional performance viewership.” Times and prices vary. On the Boards, Lower Queen Anne;

An Evening with Fran Lebowitz
“Culture critics” are a dime a dozen these days, but Fran Lebowitz is in a class all her own, and you should Google everything she’s ever written since Andy Warhol hired her to write for Interview magazine. My personal favorite: “Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.” Find her at Benaroya Hall in conversation with David Schmader, former writer for The Stranger and a splendid stage presence, as anyone who’s seen his famous screening of Showgirls with live commentary already knows. 7:30 p.m. $32–$53. Benaroya Hall, downtown;

Ensō Book Launch
Join local poet Shin Yu Pai to celebrate the release of her newest collection, Ensō, a hybrid book and digital experience released by Entre Ríos Books. In addition to Pai’s thoughtful, contemplative poetry, Ensō highlights her creative process, her influences and identifiers while “inviting the reader into a deeper conversation about how a poet writes with and about their community.” 7 p.m. Free. Hugo House, Capitol Hill;

Lindy West and Samantha Irby: Heavy Flow
Individually, authors Lindy West and Samantha Irby are cacklingly funny and candid writers, each with her own unique voice and devoted fans. But they’re not just best-selling authors, they’re best friends. In this live show Heavy Flow, Irby and West will lead “a raucous conversation about womanhood, pop culture, body image and politics,” followed by a Q&A session. 7:30 p.m. $25–$53. Benaroya Hall, downtown;

American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith
Was there ever a better time to learn more about America’s wild experiment in self-governance? As election season kicks into high gear, dig deeper into the system itself with this exhibit (developed by the National Museum of American History) full of multimedia experiences, immersive design and artifacts from the Smithsonian, as well as pieces from the Museum of History & Industry’s collection. Times and prices vary. Museum of History & Industry, South Lake Union;

Israel Story Live Multimedia Podcast: B-Side
Called “the Israeli This American Life” by none other than public radio legend Ira Glass, Israel Story is back to present another evening of live music and multimedia storytelling for Israel Week. This tour is presented by Stroum Jewish Community Center, Hillel at the University of Washington and the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. 7 p.m. $20–$30. Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island;

Seattle Black Film Festival

The 17th annual
Seattle Black Film Festival, formerly known as the Langston Hughes African-American Film Festival, has a distinguished past—the SBFF has shown early works by illustrious filmmakers such as Ava DuVernay and Barry Jenkins—and an exciting future. In 2020, there are the requisite awards (best feature film, best short film, best direction, student/youth filmmaker and local hero are all confirmed award categories as of press time), but fostering a connection between artists and community is as central to SBFF as any awards system. In addition to film screenings, the festival will include workshops, panel discussions and conversations with “filmmakers, industry professionals and local community leaders.” Times and prices vary. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Central District;

We’re living in strange times
, and this equally strange, nihilistic live game show leans into our surreal reality in an intensely satisfying way. You never know what show creator Claire Buss (also the host, as alter ego Clay Buff) and her Future team will cook up for the trio of contestants from Seattle’s creative community “from different disciplines, competing against each other in a battle of mental, physical and psychological challenges.” Past challenges have included a “High-Rise Condo or New Age Band” guessing game; all the bizarre challenges will make you laugh and teach you a little something about Seattle in the here and now. Nothing matters, let’s have some fun.
Times vary. $25. Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, Capitol Hill;

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