During the winter quarter of the year, Seattle stage shows tend to focus on traditional, holiday-themed productions that you have seen over and over again. However, when spring time rolls around, it’s a whole different story. This year, local theatre companies are taking a few chances presenting familiar works that don’t necessarily appeal to all audiences and some risks on new, untested material. Here are five works to look forward to:

Little Shop of Horrors
ACT Theatre
700 Union St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 292-7676

Date: Through June 15, 2014

Another great co-production by ACT Theatre and the 5th Avenue Theatre, “Little Shop of Horrors” is a crazy comedy/musical/horror story based on the 1960 Roger Corman horror movie, which actually bombed in theaters. But given lively music and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, this has become a whole different production! Hapless Seymour unknowingly adopts a man-eating plant, which he names after the co-worker he is in love with at a florist shop.

The Tutor
Francis Gaudette Theatre
303 Front St. N.
Issaquah, WA 98027
(425) 392-2202

Date: March 20 – April 27, 2014

The Village Theatre is taking a chance on a brand new musical, “The Tutor,” where a young novelist writes in the morning and tutors “rich kids”—who also serve as the writer’s muses—in the afternoon. Maryrose Wood’s book and lyrics are set to a fun and energetic pop score by Andrew Gerle. The musical comedy is filled with family drama, creative angst and romantic blunders.

The Foreigner
Everett Performing Arts Center
2710 Wetmore Ave.
Everett, WA 98201
(425) 257-8600

Date: Through March 30, 2014

Larry Shue’s classic is one of the best madcap comedies built for the stage. It’s ferociously funny and has a great message to boot. Charlie (dubbed “The Foreigner”) goes away to a fishing lodge in Georgia to get away from it all. To get out of talking to people, he pretends that he can’t speak English; however, he soon learns that strangers will tell you anything when they think that you cannot understand them. This is one of the non-musical productions offered this spring.

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In the Book Of
Taproot Theatre
204 N. 85th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 781-9707

Date: March 28 – April 26, 2014

In a totally unique story, Lieutenant Naomi Watkins has returned home and invites her Afghan translator friend, Anisah to live with her. The small town becomes quite concerned about Anisah when her visa is called into question. It’s a story about romance, fireflies and a reminder that anything can happen when we least expect it.

The Suit
Seattle Repertory Theatre
155 Mercer St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 443-2222

Date: March 19 – April 6, 2014

Based on the book of the same name by Can Themba, Mothobi Mutloatse, and Barney Simon, “The Suit” is a parable brought to the stage with themes of forgiveness in apartheid South Africa. The odd story features a husband who requests that his wife treat her lover’s abandoned suit as a guest of honor in their home. The New York Times has described the musical as being “pretty close to perfect.”

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Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.