Seattle Rep’s ‘Lydia and the Troll’ is a local myth-making show

A new musical re-imagines a famous Fremont landmark.

A view of the Fremont Troll under the Fremont Bridge on a sunny day

In Justin Huertas’s play, trolls can inhabit human bodies — freaky.

Photo via @travelwith.ks

One of our beloved creatures is gonna be a star, y’all. This week, Seattle Rep will premiere “Lydia and the Troll,” a new, pop musical that mixes myth and fantasy — with a certain Fremont landmark taking center stage.

Seattle-based playwright Justin Huertas — who earned widespread acclaim for his 2015 work “Lizard Boy” — co-created the musical about a struggling singer-songwriter (Lydia) in Fremont who meets a troll named Jane. The lil’ monster offers Lydia a way out of her funk — for a steep price. And it gets more bonkers from there. (The play’s co-creator and director is Ameenah Kaplan, who you might recognize from “The Office” and other roles.)

We caught up with Justin to ask about his local love, landmark name-dropping, and Seattle folklore.

A headshot of playwright Justin Huertas in glasses and a gray t-shirt

Justin Huertas incorporated elements of his own life into the play.

Photo via Seattle Rep

What inspires you to write about this city?

I just found myself coming out of college being like, ‘Why are all of the plays that everyone does set in LA or New York or Chicago or London?’ It’s like, ‘What about Seattle? Seattle’s cool, too.’ There’s something about the culture that’s just very eclectic and inherently magical.

What familiar references should we expect?

You’ll hear Pacific Inn, Tractor Tavern, the Columbia City Theater. But the fun thing for me is that if my shows are produced in another city and the audience doesn’t know Seattle, all these locations sound like I made them up. But if you live in Seattle, you’ll get it and you’ll feel how local it is.

How does the Fremont Troll work its way in?

We created this mythology where a troll can swap bodies with a human — but a troll has to trick the human into confessing a deep confession or secret to activate the transformation spell… By the end of the show, the Fremont Troll will be there. This is the origin story. But we don’t know who it’s going to be.

“Lydia and the Troll” runs from Friday, May 5 (including previews) through Sunday, June 4 at the Leo K. Theater. Tickets are on sale now.

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