by Aaron Shanks
This holiday season, two Stranger Genius Award winners will pair up once again to bring us a new ludicrous, horrifying, demented musical comedy show. The Dina Martina Christmas Show with Adult Prodigy Chris Jeffries runs December 6–24 at ACT Theatre in downtown Seattle. Tickets are on sale now at ACTtheatre.org.
“Like all of Martina’s shows, this treasured Seattle holiday tradition promises to be a truly wondrous and surreal blend of questionable song, unnecessary dance, overburdened costumes, and sidesplitting video,” says ACT Theatre.
Dina Martina debuted at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art in 1989. Her “holiday train wreck of a show” began at Seattle’s Re-bar over twenty years ago. Martina is the 2012 recipient of The Stranger’s Genius Award for Theater and three Seattle Times Footlight Awards.
She will be joined by fellow Genius Award winner and “creator of astonishing musical theater” Chris Jeffries. Jeffries is known for his decade-long work at Annex Theatre in the fringe theater scene and more recently, the moving new Jane Austin musical Persuasion, at Taproot Theatre.
This year, Martina and Jeffries have partnered with ACT Theatre’s ACTLab to produce the show, just like A Sensible Theatre Co. (Seattle’s newest LGBTQIA+ company) did with the satirical drag musical Pageant. Again, ACTLab has shown itself to be integral to incubating and nurturing new works in Seattle.
Martina graciously took a little time away from creating the new show to share her wisdom about self-producing a show in Seattle.
Aaron Shanks: What drew you to ACT over other venues?
Dina Martina: Availability.
Shanks: What sort of partnership have they been able to contribute?
DM: ACT has contributed a totally supportive and nurturing partnership. Like any healthy partnership, we can get totally lost in a hot ‘n’ heavy spooning session, but we still have our own separate bank accounts and we never go to bed angry. But because both parties have very unique things to offer that we’re each bringing to the table, honestly, it’s really been like the best kind of potluck you can imagine. And then when you consider that the notably talented Mr. Chris Jeffries is bringing his stoic demeanor into the mix, it’s like a really quiet BYOB.
Shanks: Do you have any words of wisdom for young Seattle LGBTQ talent in putting together their own shows?
DM: Yes. That thing W.C. Fields said about working with children and animals? It’s true.
Shanks: Things you love about self-producing and things you don’t?
DM: Shhhhh…that’s a very personal thing. Wink.
Shanks: What would you most like Seattle LGBTQ audiences to know about your upcoming show?
DM: The same things I want Seattle straight audiences to know, which is that my show isn’t specifically for any one demographic, be it gay, straight, black, white, young, or old. It’s comedy, plain and simple. A person of note—I don’t remember who—once said (and I’m paraphrasing): “In many instances, labeling and overanalyzing can really squeegee the spontaneity and wonder out of things.” Merry Christmas!
See the Dina Martina Christmas Show through December 24th, now at ACTLab, Falls Theater, ACT Theatre (700 Union St, Seattle, WA 98101). Click HERE for Tickets.