Jessica Spencer and Art Anderson in Jane Eyre: The

Jessica Spencer and Art Anderson in Jane Eyre: The Musical at Taproot Theatre (©Erik Stuhaug)

Checking Out: Taproot Theatre

By Stacy Booth on 07/15/14, updated 07/26/16
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The Taproot Theatre Company is a professional, nonprofit theater company in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. I got to watch their latest production, "Jane Eyre: The Musical," this past weekend, my first time at this theater.

Taproot's Jewell Mainstage is a small theater, but that makes it all the better. Unlike the large players in the theater world, this one puts you up close with the actors—close enough to see their facial expressions and hope they aren't distracted by any fidgeting in the audience. The main floor has, at most, seven rows, and there is a small balcony above, so there really isn't a bad seat.

The story of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester is a famous one that, surprisingly, does lend itself to the musical format. The thick novel is paired down to its essentials, with the story moved along through lyrics. And that's the other thing about the small theater—these actors aren't on a microphone. And they sounded fantastic.

The show is a drama, yes, but it's punctuated by humor, in particular Simon Pringle's performance as Robert and April Poland's Blanche Ingram. While the running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes (with an intermission), it didn't feel too long. 

The Taproot facility was recently rennovated after a fire, and the building next door is brand-new, with the small Stage Door Cafe. Stop there for pre-show drinks, as they have a small wine and beer list as well as small bites if you're looking for something to munch on. The theater is right in the heart of Greenwood, so if you're looking for a pre-show dinner, there are lots of options right on Greenwood Ave., including the Gainsbourg, The Olive and Grape, Kalia Indian Cusine and Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

If you're in town and want to see some local Seattle talent, a Taproot production is a good option. Ticket prices are resonable, and you'll experience a well-produced, intimate show. 

"Jane Eyre" runs through Aug. 16, with performances Wed.-Thu. at 7:30 pm, Fri. and Sat. at 8 pm and Sat. matinees at 2 pm. There is no Wed. performance on July 23. Tickets are available on their website, at the box office or by calling 206.781.9707. The show is recommended for ages 12 and older.

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Checking Out chronicles Seattle editor Stacy Booth's adventures playing tourist in her own city and beyond.