There used to be a saying "There's nothing to do in the Tri-Cities." I say, "used to," because seriously, if you can't find anything to do in the TC these days, you're just not looking! We have (among many things) a thriving theater arts community producing high quality shows. Two great plays are opening this weekend. The Rude Mechanicals are presenting The Merry Wives of Windsor and the Academy of Children's Theater (ACT) is presenting Akeelah and the Bee.

The Rude Mechanicals are he Tri-Cities' local Shakespeare company who aims to present Shakespeare in ways that are understandable and relevent to today's audiences. They've put on Shakespeare's work with both traditional and modern aesthetics and themes. The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy that is set as a 1950's sitcom!

ACT has produced shows for and starring not only talented children, but adults as well. They've been in the Tri-Cities community for decades, and Akeelah and the Bee promises to be another wonderful production. ACT has classes, workshops, and programs for children that empower through the magic of the stage.

The Rude Mechanicals and ACT shows are running the same two weekends, but there are enough shows that you can catch them both! Both are family-friendly, and will be sure to make your weekend much more fun! The descriptions of the shows and links to get tickets are below. Get your tickets ASAP!

The Merry Wives of Windsor-  What do you get when you combine one disgraced knight, two crafty wives, three doting suitors, and a sea of polka dots? A comedy of course! The Rude Mechanicals, Eastern Washington’s premier Shakespeare theatre company, presents The Merry Wives of Windsor! This production utilizes a familiar setting: the 1950's TV sitcom that harkens back to “I Love Lucy." While the setting may be familiar, the design concept brings a bit of an edge combining the classic look of the 1950's with the added fun of rockabilly touches.

To help in further educating and enriching the experience for audiences, we offer a pre-show discussion called the Backstage Pass. Tickets for the Backstage Pass are $10 and are available in addition to tickets to the show. Performances are February 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, and 24 at 7 PM, with 2 PM matinees on February 17 and 24. Tickets will be available February 5 and range in price from $5 to $50 and are available at rmtheatre.org, the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet, and at the door.

Akeelah and the BeeAkeelah has a crazy passion for words: the more abstruse and labyrinthine, the better. But this gift is almost overwhelmed by the challenge of her daily life in a tough, Chicago neighborhood. Akeelah’s aptitude earns her a spot in the National Spelling Bee, which inspires the people in her neighborhood with her courage and tenacity.

ACT is presenting this program as part of its celebration of Black History Month. The cast is wonderful, and the play has it all - drama, comedy, conflict, suspense! Appealing to adults as well as children. Directors are the amazing Tamara Pomponio and Ted Miller! Show performances are Feb. 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, and 24. Adults are $15; seniors, students, military are $12; youth ages 12 and younger are $9. Recommended for age 10 and up.