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Originally published Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 12:11 AM

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ACT 2014 season: Man-eating plant, ‘Vanya and Sonia’

ACT has released its slate of performances for the 2013-14 season, which includes “Little Shop of Horrors,” the Seattle premiere of a recession-themed work and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” a recent Broadway hit.

Seattle Times theater critic



Ending dates and directors for the ACT season will be announced later. Subscriptions are on sale; (206-292-7676 or

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ACT Theatre’s 2014 mainstage subscription season features a 2013 Tony Award-winning comedy, a high-finance drama set in the Middle East, a horrific pop musical, and a Woody Allen one-act, among other selections.

The downtown Seattle theater company will open the season with the zany black-comedy musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” about a florist-shop clerk and an insatiable plant that thrives on human blood. (Opens March 8).

Next up is the Seattle premiere of “Bethany,” by Laura Marks, which ACT artistic director Kurt Beattie says reflects the impact of the recent recession on millions of Americans. The play considers a car saleswoman and single mom who is desperately struggling to stay afloat and make that one big sale to help her regain custody of her daughter. (Opens April 11).

Arthur Miller's play “The Price,” which had its last major local production at Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1996, also explores economic hardship and wealth in American society. Miller’s 1968 play concerns a policeman and his well-heeled brother after their father’s death. Beattie says Miller delves into “the meaning of success and sacrifice in an increasingly competitive and money-conscious America.” (Opens May 30)

“Triple Bill,” a set of three one-acts by three high-profile writer-performers, is also slated. All have an otherworldly air and a comic streak: Steve Martin’s “Patter for a Floating Lady”; Woody Allen’s “Riverside Drive”; and “The Unseen Hand” by Sam Shepard. (Opens July 18)

Another drama making its Seattle debut at ACT: “The Invisible Hand” by touted writer Ayad Akhtar (who also authored the film “The War Within”). The 2012 play centers on a financier who is kidnapped by Middle East terrorists and forced to manipulate the hedge-fund market to their advantage. Beattie says the tale offers a fresh perspective on capitalism, and the title comes “from the famous phrase by 18th-century economist Adam Smith, who believed great wealth and the ‘invisible hand’ of a free market insure the good of all.” (Opens Sept. 5)

ACT’s 2014 subscription season ends with Christopher Durang’s recent Tony-winning comedy, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” a Broadway hit that also looks at what constitutes American success by recasting characters borrowed from Anton Chekhov plays as modern siblings — a brother and sister, living on the cheap in their late parents’ home, who are unexpectedly invaded by their Hollywood celebrity sister. (Opens Oct. 17)

Note: The premiere of “Red Earth, Gold Gate, Shadow Sky” by Seattle author Mark Jenkins was announced earlier but will not be presented in 2014.

The play is still in development.

Misha Berson:

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