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’s 2023/24 Season Lineup is Here

A.C.T.’s 2023/24 season includes the world premiere of the pre-Broadway musical Hippest Trip — The Soul Train Musical; the world premiere of Kate Attwell’s Big Data; Kristina Wong’s award–winning solo show, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord; and the National Theatre and Neal Street Productions’ international theatrical sensation, The Lehman Trilogy.

The Bay Area’s favorite holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol, returns in 2023 for the last time in its current version; A.C.T. will present a brand-new production of Dickens’s timeless story of redemption in 2024.

“We cannot wait to welcome audiences into the 2023/24 season as we continue gathering together to celebrate, laugh, and learn from these amazing productions,” said Executive Director Jennifer Bielstein. “The best way the Bay Area community can support the arts is by attending performances. Whether you’re an avid A.C.T. theatergoer or a newcomer, we offer a wide range of ticket packages and opportunities that fit your needs and support our mission.”

Hippest Trip – The Soul Train Musical

The wait is finally over! Get ready for “the hippest trip in America” with the world premiere of Hippest Trip – The Soul Train Musical, the Broadway-bound musical based on the iconic TV show that brought Black music, dance, and style into every living room in America. Journey back to 1971’s Chicago, when Black entrepreneur and radio DJ Don Cornelius transformed the pop culture landscape by recognizing the lack of Black musical artists on television. Within a year, his local dance show went national and became one of the longest-running shows in television history. Elegant, determined, and complicated, Cornelius set trends for nearly 40 years by giving a stage—and a camera—to the artists who created the soundtrack of multiple generations, and to the dancers, including Rosie Perez and Jody Watley, who became superstars.

August 25–October 1, 2023

A Christmas Carol

Featuring a lively cast of dozens, delightful music, gorgeous costumes, and those deliciously spooky ghosts, the Bay Area’s favorite holiday tradition returns home. This version of A Christmas Carol—adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff—stays true to the heart of Dickens’s timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language. A Christmas Carol is a decades-long cornerstone of the A.C.T. repertory and has become a holiday tradition for families all around the San Francisco Bay Area.

This will be your final chance to see this version of A Christmas Carol, one that has enchanted audience members like you for almost two decades. There will be a new version of A Christmas Carol in 2024—more on that soon. For now, don’t miss your chance to say farewell to this version of a classic. 

December 1–24, 2023

Big Data

Sam loves Timmy, and Lucy loves Max, but the pressures of modern life leave them anxious, lonely, and susceptible to the siren song of tech. Do our devices—tantalizingly incarnate in this funny, sexy, uncanny world premiere—really know us best? Are our digital footprints predictive of our future choices, or are they choosing for us? When Sam and Lucy’s parents make a shocking announcement, the family is forced to confront what’s distracted them from each other—and the legacy they’ll leave behind. A.C.T.’s Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon and playwright Kate Attwell reunite to realize this revolutionary piece, inspired by Attwell’s experience touring Mozilla’s “Glass Room” pop-up interactive exhibit in San Francisco. Come explore questions of attention, connection, nourishment, and the dizzying possibilities of AI.

February 15–March 10, 2024

Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord

On Day 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristina Wong began sewing masks out of old bedsheets and bra straps on her Hello Kitty sewing machine. Before long, she was leading the Auntie Sewing Squad, a work-from-home sweatshop of hundreds of volunteers—including children and her own mother—to fix the U.S. public health care system while in quarantine. It was a feminist care utopia forming in the midst of crisis. Or was it a mutual aid doomsday cult?  The answer to that question is something you’ll have to decide for yourself as Kristina takes you through this capital-H-Hilarious journey in this Pulitzer finalist play.

March 30–May 5, 2024

The Lehman Trilogy

The National Theatre and Neal Street Productions’ The Lehman Trilogy comes to San Francisco and A.C.T., following sold-out seasons in London and a highly lauded run on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards® including Best Play.

Directed by Academy Award®, Tony Award®, and Golden Globe winner Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy features a cast of three playing the Lehman brothers, their sons, and grandsons, in an extraordinary feat of storytelling told in three parts on a single evening. Hailed by The New York Times as “a genuinely epic production,” The Lehman Trilogy is the story of a family and a company that changed the world.

May 25–June 23, 2024

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.

Spread the Love with Intiman Theatre

Now through March 26, Intiman Theatre invites you to Share the Love with their spring campaign. In a bid to raise $100,000 to support productions in their upcoming season, Intiman invites donors to partake in a variety of events.   

Next fall, Intiman Theatre will celebrate their 50th anniversary season. Donations made during Share the Love will help fund productions during this season as well as arts education programs. Check out all their events and get involved!

Delbert Richardson in Conversation with Vida Sneed

Learn more about Delbert’s life and his American History Traveling Museum: The “Unspoken” Truths, as he talks with playwright Vida Oliphant Sneed. This event will include a very exciting world premiere announcement for the 50th Anniversary Celebration, which kicks off this fall! This event will take place at Seattle Central College on the main campus.

March 16 at 7–9 p.m.

Happy Hour at Jennifer’s

All Share the Love fundraisers who have raised at least $100 on their personal fundraising page by March 20th are invited to join Wesley Frugé (Managing Director) and Jennifer Zeyl (Artistic Director) at Jennifer’s condo for a hosted happy hour event! There will be cocktails, snacks, theatre talk, and amazing views of downtown. Jennifer will also be sharing a sneak peek at Intiman’s 50th Anniversary Celebration which starts this fall.

It only takes 3mins to get started, and you will receive email updates as the campaign goes along. SIGN UP TO BE A FUNDRAISER TODAY!

March 23 at 5–7 p.m.

Tiffany Wilson Live in Concert at Supernova

Join Intiman as they come together to celebrate the campaign wrap, disco style! Enjoy a live concert from Seattle superstar Tiffany Wilson, the amazing atmosphere of Supernova, and music by DJ Essex featuring hits from the 70s, 80s, 90’s and beyond. The event will be hosted by Kennedy Colby! Tiffany Wilson will be performing disco, soul, and some of her own jams.

March 26 at 7–10 p.m.

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.

San Francisco Opera Presents 100 Years of History

Now through August 13, you can view “San Francisco Opera: A Centennial Celebration,” an exhibit at San Francisco International Airport’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1.

“San Francisco Opera: A Centennial Celebration” lets viewers pass through decades of costumes, props, and multimedia. Celebrate the history of SF Opera and its pioneers, such as Kirsten Flagstad and Leontyne Price.

A 16th century style clown costume with a tasseled hat and puppets.
Rigoletto costume worn by Marco Vratogna in “Rigoletto” (2012). COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO OPERA
A golden 18th century style gown with large brocade and jewels on the front.
Amelia Anckarström gown worn by Julianna Di Giacomo in “Un Ballo in Maschera” (2014). COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO OPERA
Opera tickets
War Memorial Opera House opening night ticket to “Tosca” (October 15, 1932). COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO OPERA
two pieces of costume from "Tannhauser" opera.
Tannhäuser costumes worn by Peter Seiffert in “Tannhäuser” (2007). COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO OPERA

Video: Interview with Composer and Musician Jacinth Greywoode on “How to Break”

How to Break will premiere on Village Theatre’s stage later this month. This musical was workshopped as part of the Village Originals program. Check out the interview with Jacinth Greywoode on the innovative and modern production.

How to Break will play at Village Theatre’s Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah March 29–April 30 and at Everett Performing Arts Center May 5–28. Tickets are available now.

An electrifyingly innovative world-debut Mainstage production of new work developed by Village Theatre! Featuring a dynamic kaleidoscope of music, poetry, breakdancing, and beatboxing, How to Break follows two hospitalized teenage hip-hop dancers and how they navigate their adolescence in the confines of a hospital room, finding ways to love and learn amidst IV bags and chemotherapy as inspired by real-life events in writer Aaron Jafferis’ time as an artist in residence at a children’s hospital. Part commentary on the American health care system, part moving autobiography, and part profound journey through the joy and pain of growing up, How to Break reveals just how resilient the human spirit is in the face of change and transformation.

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.

The 5th Avenue Theatre Explores Dreams with 2023/24 Season

The 5th Avenue Theatre has announced their 2023/24 season which includes seven shows that celebrate the power of dreams. The five-show season package lineup will include Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Cambodian Rock Band, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Something’s Afoot, and Spring Awakening. The two season add-ons will be 1776 and Clue.

“There is nothing more powerful than a dream,” said Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry. “This season we’ve combined a selection of shows that examines the power of always searching for something better than the here and now. Whether it’s about a mermaid who is searching to be part of the human world, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge who is processing past and future, or a teenager persevering through tragedy and dreaming of hope for the future, dreams are what keep us going even when we feel like the world is against us.”

Season packages for the five-show lineup are available for purchase online. Subscribers get priority renewal to secure the best seats for full season packages, and access to premium benefits like free parking (not valid on weekday matinees or add-ons), extra ticket discounts, concessions perks, and more. Check out 5th Avenue Theatre’s full 2023/24 season below.


What will it take to get two dozen powerfully passionate, exceedingly complicated, and all-too-human individuals to settle their differences, while they hold the very future of a nation in their hands? American Repertory Theater at Harvard University/Roundabout Theatre Company’s new production of the Tony Award®-winning Best Musical, 1776, is a tuneful, witty, “bold and exuberant” (Variety) reexamination of a pivotal moment in American history from directors Jeffrey L. Page (Violet) and Diane Paulus (Waitress). 1776 comes to Seattle with a cast that reflects multiple representations of race, gender, and ethnicity. You may never think about our country—who we are and why—the same way again.

August 2–6, 2023

Disney’s The Little Mermaid

One of the most successful Disney musicals of all time returns to The 5th Avenue Theatre in celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the original film. Ariel, King Triton, Flounder, Scuttle, Ursula, and Prince Eric tell the story of dreams, love, family, and friendship that has delighted generations. Dive under the sea with Ariel and her friends as they sing some of the best-known songs of the last century.

September 14–October 8, 2023

Cambodian Rock Band

A co-production with ACT

Guitars tuned. Mic checked. Get ready to rock! This darkly funny, electric new play with music tells the story of a Khmer Rouge survivor returning to Cambodia for the first time in thirty years, as his daughter prepares to prosecute one of Cambodia’s most infamous war criminals. Backed by a live band playing contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time as father and daughter face the music of the past. Lauren Yee brings us an intimate rock epic about family secrets set against a dark chapter of Cambodian history.

September 29–November 5, 2023

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Based on the beloved, timeless film, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas comes just in time for the holiday season. After World War II, two veterans, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, begin a successful song and dance act, following two singing sisters to their Christmas gig at a Vermont resort lodge. With classic standards such as “Blue Skies,” “How Deep is the Ocean,” and the titular hit, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is a stirring and delightful musical that stands the test of time.

November 25–December 27, 2023

On stage a group of dancers are jumping in air in unison with their arms outstretched. In the background is a piano keyboard.
The cast of “Irvin Berlin’s White Christmas” in the 2009 production at The 5th Avenue Theatre. PHOTO BY CHRIS BENNION
Something’s Afoot

Prepare to laugh until it hurts with this musical spoof of the whodunit genre. Something’s Afoot pokes fun at Agatha Christie murder mysteries; ten people are stranded in an isolated country estate during a raging thunderstorm. One by one, they are picked off by cleverly fiendish devices. As bodies pile up, the survivors frantically race to solve the mystery! Join in the tomfoolery of this farcical, raucous, and outrageous play, that will appeal to lovers of shows like Arrested Development, The Office, and Schitt’s Creek.

March 1–24, 2024

Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening is an electrifying journey through the trials and challenges of adolescence, with music by Duncan Sheik. Winner of eight Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, the story explores the mystery of attraction, desire, sex, insecurity, and the highs and lows of navigating the pressures of young adult life. With a score of contemporary rock music that transformed the way Broadway thinks about musicals, Spring Awakening is a poignant and thrilling ride that stings with resonance for today’s youth.

June 7–30, 2024


Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie which was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery play. Six guests assemble for an unusual dinner party, where murder and blackmail are on the menu. When their host turns up dead, everyone is a suspect. Led by Wadsworth, the butler, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Colonel Mustard race to find the killer as the body count stacks up. Clue is the absurd comedy whodunit that will leave both cult-fans and newcomers stitches.

July 9–21, 2024