Now that we’re well into August and fall quarter looms around the corner, maybe it’s time to shake up your summer agenda while there’s still a chance. For something a little different than the normal bar-river-couch routine, no further than the theaters of Portland. A diverse array of theaters, ranging from teeny amateur companies to professional repertories, are showing fresh works to keep you laughing, crying and thinking about the state of art in our great dramatic city.
Footloose at Broadway Rose
Aug. 1–Sept. 1
Somehow, Broadway Rose managed to find a cast full of super-gymnasts capable of performing acrobatic choreography so intense that it’ll blow your mind. Relish in the score chock-full of ‘80s hits such as “Holding Out For a Hero,” “Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” and of course, “Footloose.” Leading man Eric Asakawa dazzles as Ren McCormack and will certainly have you tip-tapping along in your seat.
In the Heights at Portland Center Stage
Aug. 31–Oct. 13
Who could forget Hamilton, that musical about the founding fathers that captivated the world in 2015 and is somehow still going strong? Turns out, its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote something just as good before it. In The Heights takes place in Washington Heights in Manhattan, sizzling with the sounds of hip-hop, rap and multilingual lyrics. If you’re reluctant to see a musical because you expect tap dance, ingenues and fake smiles, go see In the Heights. It changed the game back in 2007 and is still around thanks to its ingenuity, electricity and energy.
The Rocky Horror Show at Lakewood Center For the Arts
Sept. 6–Oct. 13
After they close their summer run of the childhood classic of Matilda the Musical, Lakewood Center for the Arts takes a sharp turn in maturity and begins their run of The Rocky Horror Show. It’s basically the source material for every cult classic movie, so see where your favorite characters originated from, and sing “Time Warp” from your seat while real, live humans in tights and glitter do that silly dance.
1984 at Imago Theatre
Sept. 7–Oct. 6
The first show of Artist Repertory Theater’s “Art on Tour” season—which takes ART all around Portland as their home base is being remodeled—1984 will surely hit home granted the context of our political landscape. Steven Suskin of the Huffington Post calls the theatrical adaptation “astonishing, riveting and almost literally shocking,” so, it’s pretty much light and digestible entertainment.
Mala at Coho Theater
A one-person show starring Portland’s own Julana Torres as the lead character, Mala promises to be a “darkly funny” show about a first-generation child caring for her dying mother. With lovingly-crafted language about family, death, stubbornness and preparedness, it’s a cathartic production for anyone deep in the throes of family drama.
The Wolves at Portland Playhouse
Sept. 25–Oct. 20
Remember when we won the World Cup like, last month? Lest we forget that women dominate the modern soccer-scape, The Wolves allows us into the lives of a suburban girls’ soccer team. If you like the shocking authenticity of movies like Eighth Grade or Booksmart, head to Portland Playhouse for this production. Speaking, scoring, stretching and fighting with the ferocity that only teenage girls have, these unnamed players—we know them only by their numbers—speak such uncensored truths that you have no choice but to listen, though, at times, you may only wish to look away.
Maggie Lombard is a future theatre educator and current grocery store cashier. She has been published by the Portland State Vanguard and Neopets. You can find her online @calilombardi on twitter or in the park blocks, acting like a Disney princess to urban pests.