For all the city-hopping we’re doing, you’d be hard-pressed to find a burg with a children’s arts program that’s both robust and professional. For the most part, the arts for kids are frequently handled by talented but often volunteer practitioners. Not so in Seattle, at least when it comes to theater. The city is known for two great houses — Seattle Repertory and, for young theatergoers, Seattle Children’s Theatre.
Under the artistic direction of Linda Hartzell since 1985, SCT has contributed that most valuable of services — development. Nurturing and premièring the work of playwrights for young audiences, SCT has staked out a national reputation for putting new work on stage, more than 82 such scripts in 30 years. The result is the kind of interesting entry you can see there through March 28, The Shape of a Girl — playwright Joan MacLeod’s study of issues often confronted by boys through the eyes of a girl, 15-year-old Braidie. And following that, Hartzell directs Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, April 2 through June 13, a good musical for kids to take their parents to — it’s about finding the patience of good child-raising through humor. Those big kids are hardly forgotten in Seattle, though, as long as the Tony-winning Seattle Rep is staging strong entries such as It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues, April 8 through May 1, a musical (needless to say) that pulls together the American blues legacy from Chicago to New Orleans. And beyond theater, watch for the 30th-anniversary Seattle International Film Festival in May and June, world-class screenings in a month-long calendar of events.