Alex Yue Named 2023 California Poetry Out Loud State Champion

Alex Yue of Sacramento County has been named this year’s California Poetry Out Loud state champion. The 17-year-old senior from John F. Kennedy High School took first place in the statewide recitation competition held virtually on Sunday, March 19. Yue will go on to represent the state of California at the national finals in May in Washington, D.C.

The 2023 State Finals marked the 18th year of the Poetry Out Loud program for high school students, which encourages youth to learn about poetry through memorization and performance. Students representing 48 counties competed for the state title.

For the fourth consecutive year, students participated in a virtual competition for the finals, but for the first time ever in 2023, with an added live third round conducted via Zoom. Two rounds of pre-recorded poem recitation videos were submitted by students, which were assessed and scored by judges. Score tallies determined the top ten finalists, who performed a third and final round of recitations live via Zoom. Final score tallies immediately following Sunday’s competition decided the 2023 California Poetry Out Loud state champion, announced live during the event.

Click here to watch the archived video of Sunday’s live 2023 California Poetry Out Loud State Finals competition.

Recitations from Alex included “Filling Station” by Elizabeth Bishop, “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allen Poe, and “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” by Walt Whitman. His teacher is Jennifer Reynaga.

Alex shared his love for poetry as a participant of the Poetry Out Loud program: “The arts and Poetry Out Loud have been a way for me to express my individuality,” he said. “Through the poems of my choice, my understanding, my approach, and my few or many victories, I can feel myself interacting with artistically adorned ideas that are depthful and great.”

Anaiya Asomugha, a 17-year-old junior at The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles County, was runner-up in this year’s competition. Third place went to Olivia Le, a 15-year-old sophomore at Orange County School of the Arts in Orange County.

Since 2019, California’s county champions have also been invited to submit original written works at the state level through the Poetry Ourselves creative writing contest. The winning piece for 2023, “my american alphabet,” was written by Orange County Poetry Out Loud champion and state competition third-place winner Olivia Le. Sixteen-year-old Selina Xu, a junior at Harker Upper School in Santa Clara County, was selected as runner-up with her submission, titled “Ocean Sister,” and 17-year-old Tashi Liem, a senior at Santa Cruz High School in Santa Cruz County, received third place for their poem, “under the sun.”

Seattle Symphony Announces a Celebratory Anniversary Season

The Seattle Symphony is proud to present its 2023/2024 season, which marks the convergence of two major milestones for the organization. The upcoming season commemorates over a century of musical legacy for the Seattle Symphony, which will celebrate its 120th anniversary alongside the 25th anniversary of Benaroya Hall’s opening.

In the 2023/2024 season, the Symphony pays tribute to its very first concerts all while taking audiences boldly into the future of classical music, with contemporary works by more than 35 of today’s leading composers prominently showcased across all series offerings throughout the season. 

Of the landmark year, Seattle Symphony President & CEO Krishna Thiagarajan said, “As we begin to celebrate Benaroya Hall’s 25th anniversary and the Seattle Symphony’s 120th year, this season connects us with music that launched the Symphony and opened the Hall. Our focus is on championing the next generation of composers and performers, and the 2023/2024 season brings a continuation of creative partnerships that welcome not only the next generation of composers and performers, but new members of our community as well. With every concert, we share musical stories of dreamers that broke norms in their time to create something bigger than they expected. As Benaroya Hall has become a cornerstone of cultural life in Seattle, it is that same spirit we carry with us as we look toward an ever-brighter future. I am excited to celebrate the anniversary of this Hall with you and our Symphony and hope to see you all here.” 

“This 2023/2024 season, we pay tribute to our past while embarking on musical adventures of the future,” said Vice President of Artistic Planning Raff Wilson. “It is truly a season of celebration — thrilling guest artists and conductors join our own dazzling musicians with unmissable repertoire in every concert. We give the stage to bold new voices, contemporary composition giants as well as surprising firsts never performed before in our Symphony’s history. Our artistic past and future are intertwined, and the season of music we are bringing audiences is designed to reflect that.” 

The 2023/2024 season encompasses a full suite of series offerings at Benaroya Hall — Masterworks, John & Ginny Meisenbach Foundation Seattle Pops, In Recital, Chamber, Octave 9, Family Concerts, Tiny Tots, and the all-new Playlist series — along with additional Special Performances and holiday concerts in the lineup. 

American Conservatory Theater Announces Full Cast and Creative Team for “The Wizard of Oz”

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Sam Pinkleton, The Wizard of Oz will feature a cast of San Francisco Bay Area favorites. The yellow brick road will unfurl at the Toni Rembe Theater on June 1 through June 25.

“How could we possibly do something as bananas as The Wizard of Oz in San Francisco in 2023 without some of the wildest, strangest, most brilliant talents of the Bay Area to lead the way?” asked Pinkleton.” I’m deeply honored to be working with this hilarious and huge-hearted cast of Bay Area locals and can’t wait to make a thing together.”

The cast for The Wizard of Oz includes (in alphabetical order) El Beh (Uncle Henry), Keiko Shimosato Carreiro (Swing), Darryl V. Jones (Tinman/Hickory), Katrina Lauren McGraw (Glinda/Aunt Em), Kunal Prasad (Swing), Ezra Reaves (Ensemble), Cathleen Riddley (Lion/Zeke), Travis Santell Rowland (Ensemble), Danny Scheie (Scarecrow/Hunk), Chanel Tilghman (Dorothy Gale), Courtney Walsh (Wicked Witch of the West), Ryan Patrick Welsh (Swing), Ada Westfall (Professor Marvel), and Beth Wilmurt (Ensemble).

Lead by Pinkleton, the creative team for The Wizard of Oz includes David Zinn (Scenic Design and Costume Design), Stacey Derosier (Lighting Design), Ursula Kwong-Brown and Danny Erdberg (Sound Design), David Möschler (Music Director), Ada Westfall (Additional Orchestrations and Music Supervision), and Amanda Villalobos (Puppet Design).

Tickets are available online.

Mayor Harrell Launches National Search for Permanent Director of the Office of Arts

The City of Seattle is seeking an innovative leader reflecting Seattle’s storied history of arts excellence. The search will center community and creative voices. The search committee will feature prominent Seattle arts leaders.

Today, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced the City of Seattle will begin a nationwide search for the next permanent director of the City’s Office of Arts & Culture. To help guide a rigorous selection process, the mayor has appointed a committee representing a broad array of prominent Seattle arts leaders and stakeholders.

“Arts allow us to share feelings, values, and experiences across communities and shape the unique social character of our neighborhoods,” said Mary Bruce Harrell. “Seattle has always been a hub for creatives and visionaries, and we need to continue to support and develop our world-class arts scene. The next permanent Office of Arts & Culture director must further strengthen our creative landscape – convening artists across mediums, expanding public arts, supporting a next generation of artists, and, most importantly, creating a culture in Seattle where arts are ever present in every community. I want to express my sincere gratitude to Interim Director royal alley-barnes for her work leading this office and her efforts to help our arts sector recover from the impacts of the pandemic.”

Throughout the spring, the committee will identify applicants, interview candidates, and recommend at least three finalists for the mayor. The position opened on March 9, 2023, and applications received by 4:00 p.m. on April 11, 2023 will receive first consideration. Apply now.

Get Your Tickets for the Arts & Culture Town Hall Meeting

Inspire Washington will host Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal for an Arts & Culture Town Hall on March 16th at 6 p.m. at Seattle Art Museum. The evening will begin with a performance by Bailadores de Bronce, a traditional Mexican music and dance group.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal will be joined by three female cultural leaders of King County: LaNesha DeBardelaben, president and CEO of Northwest African American Museum; Allison Reid, executive director of Vashon Center for the Arts; and Ellen Walker, executive director of Pacific Northwest Ballet. The discussion will be led by Inspire Washington’s executive director, Manny Cawaling.

Discussion topics include the effects of the pandemic on cultural businesses, the ongoing need for racial and gender equity, and other issues within Washington’s 7th district. Congresswoman Jayapal will speak about her work in Congress, share her perspectives, and speak to potential opportunities for arts and cultural businesses at the local and federal levels. The evening will end with a question and answer for the audience.

This event is free, but you must reserve your tickets in advance.

West Edge Opera Presents Snapshot 2023

Snapshot 2023 will present the latest development in new opera. Five completely new and different operas in the making will be exhibited in one showcase. “Expressive, insinuating, full of enigmatic fervor… Each excerpt includes passages that make one intrigued to hear the work at fuller length” said Joshua Kosman from the SF Chronicle.

Snapshot 2023 will take place on March 18 at 7 p.m. at the Hillside Club in Berkeley and on March 19 at 3 p.m. at the Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco. Tickets are now available for purchase.

When Purple Mountains Burn

Three different places, three different times: Ying Ying Chang reads Hansel and Gretel to her young daughter Iris, while the older Iris, now a journalist, learns of the horrors of the Rape of Nanking, and the old Japanese soldier Shiro Azuma recalls his own part in that tragedy.

The Limit of the Sun

A complex relationship develops between the mother of a kidnapped journalist and her son’s young minder, who, after the son’s death in captivity, connects with the mother and is lured into federal custody in the West.

Port City

Set in a post-tech San Francisco, Cal and Gal develop avatars Kal and Qal to explore Port City: where neurological systems are turned into memory maps.

The Morpheus Quartet

Tonight, the musicians of the Morpheus Quartet are perfectly in sync—in their dreams!—as the verbal counterpoint of their subconscious desires yields a surprising kind of bed-chamber music.

L’Autre Moi

1939. Surrealist Claude Cahun, who has just moved into a new home on the Isle of Jersey—in retreat from the rise of Fascism—writes a letter to André Breton. As Claude’s partner Marcel joins in Claude’s reflections, Charlotte, their young local housekeeper, unwittingly intervenes.

A Thousand Splendid Events: Seattle Opera Celebrates Afghan Arts and Culture

A Message From Seattle Opera

In conjunction with its upcoming world premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns, Seattle Opera offers a slate of unique educational and cultural events to celebrate Afghan art, culture, and history, and provide a deeper look into the making of a new opera.

First up is Jashin: A Celebration of Afghan Arts, a cultural festival highlighting the remarkable achievements of Afghan artists. The lineup of events on Saturday, February 11, includes a concert by world-renowned rubab player Homayoun Sakhi, an exhibition of rescued artworks by the artist-activist group ArtLords, the unveiling of an embroidery project created by local Afghan women in partnership with Refugee Artisan Initiative, and a presentation by film director and A Thousand Splendid Suns stage director, Roya Sadat. The event will also feature opportunities to support local Afghan artists and refugees through financial and supply donations.

Jashin offers northwest audiences the chance to learn more about Afghan culture and engage with a community that has recently resettled in western Washington. “Since the American withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer, Washington state has welcomed thousands of Afghan refugees who worked and fought alongside Americans during the decades-long conflict with the Taliban,” said Lokela Alexander Minami, associate director of community engagement. “Despite this, the American public knows little about Afghanistan’s rich and diverse culture. Jashin offers an opportunity to celebrate this culture, and we hope our audiences will come away with an appreciation of contemporary Afghan music and art, as well as an understanding of how they can help support our new Afghan neighbors.”

Other events connected to A Thousand Splendid Suns include an Opera Talk with the creators of the opera, a film screening of director Roya Sadat’s A Letter to the President, a special Community Conversation on International Women’s Day, and a recital from cast member John Moore.

Broadway at The Paramount and STG Announce the 2023/24 Season

It’s Broadway, baby! The next season of Broadway at The Paramount, presented by Seattle Theatre Group, has been announced and we’re just as excited as you to see what they have in store for 2023–24.

The upcoming season of Broadway at The Paramount will include shows never before seen in Seattle, as well as returning favorites. “The variety of incredible Broadway touring productions that will play at the Paramount next season reflects the diversity of experiences and backgrounds in our Pacific Northwest community,” said Josh LaBelle, executive director of Seattle Theatre Group (STG). “We are committed to presenting top-notch shows that reflect our vision to embrace all people who experience our programming, which is essential to STG and what we stand for. STG is especially proud to celebrate and uplift these unique stories that have made an impact not only with audiences but have created a profound ripple effect on Broadway and the greater artistic community.”

Season renewal subscriptions are now on sale. New subscriptions will be available in April.  


Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.

From Tudor Queens to Pop Icons, the Six wives of Henry VIII take the microphone to remix five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a Euphoric Celebration of 21st century girl power! This new original musical is the global sensation that everyone is losing their head over!

July 12–23, 2023

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Her voice is undeniable. Her fire is unstoppable. Her triumph is unlike any other. An uplifting comeback story like no other, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is the inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll. One of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, Tina Turner has won 12 Grammy Awards® and her live shows have been seen by millions, with more concert tickets sold than any other solo performer in music history.

Featuring her much loved songs, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd.

September 12–17, 2023


Come see how the world could be. Welcome to Hadestown, where a song can change your fate. Winner of eight 2019 Tony® Awards, this acclaimed new musical by celebrated singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and innovative director Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) is a love story for today…and always.

Intertwining two mythic tales — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone — Hadestown is a haunting and hopeful theatrical experience that grabs you and never lets go.

October 31–November 5, 2023

MJ the Musical

The music. The moves. The icon. Now, the unparalleled artistry of the greatest entertainer of all time comes to your city as MJ, the multi–Tony Award®-winning new musical centered around the making of the 1992 Dangerous World Tour, begins a tour of its own. Created by Tony Award®-winning Director/Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, MJ goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of the star, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted Michael Jackson into legendary status.

December 7–17, 2023

The Book of Mormon

The New York Times calls it “the best musical of this century.” The Washington Post says, “It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.” And Entertainment Weekly says, “Grade A: the funniest musical of all time.” Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show calls it “Genius. Brilliant. Phenomenal.” It’s The Book of Mormon, the nine-time Tony Award® -winning Best Musical. Contains explicit language.

January 9–14, 2024


He earned his stripes on Broadway…now the ghost-with-the-most is coming to your city.

It’s showtime! Based on Tim Burton’s dearly beloved film, this hilarious musical tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a strange and unusual teenager whose whole life changes when she meets a recently deceased couple and a demon with a thing for stripes. With an irreverent book, an astonishing set, and a score that’s out of this Nether world, Beetlejuice is “SCREAMINGLY GOOD FUN!” (Variety). And under its uproarious surface (six feet under, to be exact), it’s a remarkably touching show about family, love, and making the most of every Day-O!

April 2–7, 2024

Disney’s Aladdin

Discover a whole new world at Disney’s Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical.

From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.

See why audiences and critics agree, Aladdin is “exactly what you wished for!” (NBC-TV).

April 24–28, 2024

Girl From the North Country

Girl From the North Country is the Tony Award®-winning new musical that the Chicago Tribune declares is “a Broadway revelation!”

Written and directed by celebrated playwright Conor McPherson and featuring Tony Award-winning orchestrations by Simon Hale, Girl From the North Country reimagines 20 legendary songs of Bob Dylan as they’ve never been heard before, including “Forever Young,” “All Along The Watchtower,” “Hurricane,” “Slow Train Coming,” and “Like A Rolling Stone”.

It’s 1934 in Duluth, Minnesota. We meet a group of wayward travelers whose lives intersect in a guesthouse filled with music, life and hope. Experience this ‘profoundly beautiful’ production (The New York Times) brought to vivid life by an extraordinary company of actors and musicians.

June 25–30, 2024


Winner of 5 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, Company “strikes like a lightning bolt. It’s brilliantly conceived and funny as hell” (Variety). Helmed by three-time Tony Award-winning director Marianne Elliott (War Horse, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Angels in America) this revelatory new production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s groundbreaking musical comedy, at once boldly sophisticated, deeply insightful, and downright hilarious.

It’s Bobbie’s 35th birthday party, and all her friends keep asking, why isn’t she married? Why can’t she find the right man and isn’t it time to settle down and start a family? As Bobbie searches for answers, she discovers why being single, being married, and being alive in the 21st-century could drive a person crazy.

Company features Sondheim’s award-winning songs You Could Drive a Person Crazy, The Ladies Who Lunch, Side by Side by Side and the iconic Being Alive. Let’s all drink to that!

July 23–28, 2024

San Francisco Opera Unveils 2023/24 Season

Beginning with the first season of its second century, San Francisco Opera will launch a new, multi-season initiative in which Music Director Eun Sun Kim will lead performances of both Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner’s works each season. At the same time, the opera company will reaffirm its dedication to growing the repertoire by co-commissioning three new works by prominent contemporary composers.

“Our new season carries forth all of the thrilling energy of the Centennial as we welcome the community into a fascinating array of experiences and stories,” said General Director Matthew Shilvock. “I cannot wait for Eun Sun’s first Wagner opera in the house as she continues to bring awe-inspiring interpretations to our theater. I am so proud that we are telling so many new stories this season, and I’m excited to continue our innovation explorations as we chart a course for the future of opera. The Bay Area Community is discovering opera in fabulous new ways, and we look forward to welcoming many new audience members to immerse themselves in artwork that connects us, bridges differences and speaks to the soul.”

Il Trovatore

A count condemned her mother to be burned as a witch. And when her plans for vengeance go horribly awry—resulting in the death of her own son— Azucena decides to raise the count’s kidnapped child as her own.

September 12–October 1, 2023

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

One device changed the way we interact with each other and the world, but what did it do to the man whose creative zeal brought it into existence?

September 22–October 7, 2023


A woman is set against totalitarian society in Wagner’s epic masterpiece in which a knight in shining armor offers aid with a condition impossible to keep.

October 15–November 1, 2023


The true story of a 19th century Islamic scholar from West Africa, enslaved in South Carolina, but finding identity and faith through the written word.

November 5–21, 2023

The Elixir of Love

Lacking money, confidence and hope, a timid young waiter Nemorino gambles everything he has for a chance at an intoxicating romance with the alluring Adina.

November 19–December 9, 2023

The Magic Flute

Armed with nothing but a magic flute and magic bells, a prince and a bird-catcher embark on a perilous journey to rescue a kidnapped princess — only to discover that their adversary may actually be their ally.

May 30–June 30, 2024


It was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives. But just as a bride and groom toast their marriage, a devastating secret unfolds that threatens to tear the couple apart, questioning where innocence and guilt begin and end.

June 1–21, 2024


Partenope is the queen of the Paris social scene, her salon a magnet to the era’s surrealist artists as they vie for her hand in a laugh-out-loud comedy.

June 15–28, 2024

Meet the Cast and Creative Team of “Metamorphoses” at Seattle Rep

Metamorphoses, a new play inspired by Ovid’s epic poems of transformation, will play at the Leo K. Theater January 27–February 26, 2023. Tickets are now on sale.

Seattle Rep will be the first theatre outside of the U.K. to stage this production. “It’s so thrilling being able to bring these stories across the pond to Seattle,” said co-playwright Sami Ibrahim. “As a group of writers, we’ve always been excited by the idea that these stories have been handed down from generation to generation: passing from ancient myth, onto Ovid, via Shakespeare and endless others, before arriving in the present day. And now we get to pass these stories onto a whole new group of storytellers to reshape them for a brand new audience.”

Metamorphoses will feature performances from Kjerstine Rose Anderson (Seattle Rep: Pride and Prejudice); Meme García (Seattle Rep: Teenage Dick); Nike Imoru (Seattle Rep: The Breach); and Darragh Kennan (Seattle Rep: Sherlock Holmes and The American Problem, The Hound of the Baskervilles)

The cast also includes understudies Miguel Castellano (Seattle Rep: Mr. Dickens and His Carol) and Varinique “V” Davis (Seattle Rep’s Public Works productions of The Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It). The creative team for Metamorphoses includes Sami Ibrahim (Playwright), Laura Lomas (Playwright), Sabrina Mahfouz (Playwright), Shana Cooper (Director), Erika Chong Shuch (Choreographer), Sibyl Wickersheimer (Scenic Designer), An-lin Dauber (Costume Designer), Thorn Michaels (Lighting Designer), Rodolfo Ortega (Sound Designer & Composer), Paul Adolphsen (Dramaturg), and Jeffrey K. Hanson (Stage Manager).