Friday, January 18, 2019

review - BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON - Spotlight Youth Theatre

Brody Wurr and cast
photo by Joanne Wastchak
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through January 27th.

"Several years before Alexander Hamilton got his shot at having his life turned into an award-winning Broadway musical, the story of another historical political figure, Andrew Jackson, was musicalized in the satirical rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. While this show didn't have much of a Broadway run in 2010, it is a high-energy musical that mixes history with satire and a punk rock score to depict the controversial life of the seventh president of the United States. Spotlight Youth Theatre's production has an exceptional cast, spirited direction, and a smoking band....blends political incorrectness with fact and fiction to tell the complex and provocative story of Jackson. ..satirically presents Jackson as a rock star with a steady stream of fans, which ties perfectly into the fact that Jackson was the first populist United States president...even though it takes a couple of scenes for the musical to fully jell, it has some upbeat and inventive songs, a poignant ending, and creates a complex portrayal of Jackson's strengths and weaknesses. It also proves to be especially relevant to our current political climate. Spotlight's production, under Kenny Grossman's spotless direction, hits all the right marks with the perfect blend of sarcastic humor and social significance. With an abundance of charism and the perfect swagger of an egotistical rocker, Brody Wurr is superb as Jackson. ..Savoy Antoinette plays Jackson's wife Rachel and she brings passion to the part....The unconventional musical may not be exactly perfect, and it presents a lot of information and asks a lot of difficult questions. However, by doing so, it makes for a rich, rocking blend of history and humor. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

An inside look to an Ordinary Day. Zao's cast discusses why ORDINARY DAYS is a special musical

Amelia Huot, Karson Cook, Zac Bushman, and Emily Walter
photo courtesy Zao Theatre
by Julia Bashaw

Zao Theatre’s production of Ordinary Days opens tonight. The cast is very excited to be putting on this unique musical, which has virtually no dialogue, just music.

Ordinary Days is about four people living in the city that never sleeps and how they struggle and encounter everyday things. This musical is a great reminder for audiences to recognize and appreciate the little things in everyday life.

The cast is ready to share a bit of comedy, pain, and joy with audiences on stage tonight. But before they do, this small cast of four was asked some questions about why this show is so special to them.

Zac Bushman

What do you find special or unique about the musical Ordinary Days and the experience of performing in this production? 

"Ordinary Days is such a beautiful musical because there is something for everyone to relate to. Everyone has felt like they are “moving fast but going nowhere” or that they don’t know how to realize their dreams. Getting the chance to play this role has been very special to me because I relate to Jason on almost every front."

Tell us about the character you play.and how they factor into the storyline?

"I play the role of Jason in the show. He is an architect who loves Claire with all his heart and just wants them to take on the “hundred story city” hand in hand. He is constantly going out of his comfort zone and trying new things with Claire but she isn’t quite reciprocating. He’s stubborn though, and very in love, it would take a lot to push him away. "

Do you have a favorite scene, song, line of dialogue, or moment in the show? And why is it special to you?

"I personally like the song “Big Picture.” Deb and Warren are sitting in Starbucks having an actual conversation for the first time and it’s such a wonderful clashing of opposite minds. Warren is so focused on loving and appreciating life in its current state and Deb always has her sights set 5 years down the road. I first listened to this show at a time in my life when I felt like I was stuck in a rut that I was going to be in for a very long time. This show, this song in particular, helped me take a step back and realize that just because my “picture’s not quite clear” doesn’t mean that there isn’t a beautiful life in store for me. "

Since it is such a small cast show, how has this experience been different for you from other shows you've been in and how has it challenged you?

"Luckily, I have worked with my three cast mates in other shows prior to Ordinary Days so we already all had chemistry with each other. And since we all have such a deep love for the show, we were able to help each other dive deeper into our characters and find more beautiful moments. "

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing this show?

"The final song in the show says “things aren’t beautiful all on their own, beautiful comes from reflection.” I hope that as people drive home from the theater, they take a step outside themselves and reflect on the life they have and see that any rough days or sad moments they have are just shading in a beautiful work of art that is their 'life story.' "

Karson Cook and Amelia Huot
photo courtesy Zao Theatre

Karson Cook

What do you find special or unique about the musical Ordinary Days and the experience of performing in this production? 

"Ordinary Days, to me, is so special and unique because it's such an intimate and personable show. The show is performed only by 4 actors, and the entire show is underscored and set to music; there's no true dialogue that isn't set to music. What's beautiful about it is that the piano becomes the fifth character of the show. It adds texture and personality to each characters story. Each character has a specific musical style, and motif, that accompanies them and in a show like this that's so important.

Performing in this production has truly been a whirlwind. I dreamed about being in this show since my Freshman year of high school when I discovered the cast album. Since then, I have looked up to Warren and Jared Gertner (the original Warren) in so many ways. To find a role that you connect with on an extremely personal level to the point of being a role model for you and a mentor, and then to get to PLAY that role, has been so euphoric for me. It adds a lot more pressure, and nerves, but it has been one of the most "Beautiful" theatrical experiences I've had so far. (Pun completely intended)."

Tell us about the character you play.and how they factor into the storyline?

"I play Warren. Warren is a young aspiring artist. He works for another rich artist that just so happens to be in jail when we first meet him. Warren is determined to keep the artists message with the people, and devotes his life to creating flyers to hand out so everyone can feel inspired and uplifted. But (in New York), no one ever truly wants to give you the time of day; especially when you bombard them on the street. He becomes frustrated, questions his life choices, and struggles to find his "Life Story" in a city that he feels will never pay attention to him.

He eventually meets Deb, a grad student that is also going through struggles in her life, too. Through his encounters with Deb, he adds to the storyline as their lives join forces. Jason and Claire get added into the mix here and there, and it makes for a truly remarkable portrayal of how the smallest encounters, and the littlest moments, can have the biggest impact on our lives. All four of them have hardships, all four of them are going through change, and this script shows us how you never know how your life could affect someone else's."

Do you have a favorite scene, song, line of dialogue, or moment in the show? And why is it special to you?

"This entire show is one of my all time favorite musicals, since it seamlessly weave's each characters stories, songs, and lives, together. But, If I had to pick one specific moment right now it would be a tie between "Rooftop Duet/Falling" and "Hundred Story City." I don't want to spoil too much from both. But, "Rooftop Duet/Falling" is the most remarkable part of the show as it's the climactic moment where we finally see all the storylines intersect in a way we hadn't before; this moment is incredible to watch and I can't wait for audiences to see it. "Hundred Story City" is beautifully sung and performed by Zac. I used to not appreciate the song until I heard him perform it with such power, emotion, and thought. There's a little beautiful moment in the song as well that I'm not gonna spoil, but it's brief but so beautiful and powerful. "

Since it is such a small cast show, how has this experience been different for you from other shows you've been in and how has it challenged you?

"This is by far the smallest cast I've been a part of. Before this show, the smallest cast I was in was Putnam at Brelby Theatre Company. Performing in a cast this small has been so inspiring, and equally terrifying. It's only the four of us telling these stories; I'm the only one that brings Warrens storyline to life. It's on each of us to make sure our storylines come across and show the power of their story. Which makes it remarkably empowering and scary all at the same time. This has been a different experience because the show and the cast are very personable; it's incredibly intimate. Instead of a large ensemble, it's just the four of us with CJ O'Hara on the piano. We've had a lot of time to talk through moments and dive into characters which you normally do not get as much time in larger casts. Every rehearsal we are talking through moments and diving in deeper, which has allowed for a lot of trust between all of us. Trust is so important and this cast/crew have been so amazing to work with because of it. Also, Amelia is my roommate so we definitely have a lot of trust in each other; I couldn't be happier to play alongside her in our roles! Whats remarkable is how similar all four of us are to our roles, too. Each of us, so perfectly relate to these characters and find power in their stories, and trust/acceptance of your character is just as important in a show like this."

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing this show?

"I hope audiences are captivated by how beautifully simple this show is and how it's written. It truly does capture everyday life and how all of us don't know each others stories, but we have an important part to play in the stories of the people we interact with daily. You never know what every person is going through, and you never know how big a small moment could change a life forever. I truly hope audiences fall in love with this show as much as I have over the years. This is the first time it's been done in Arizona, and I can't wait to see more people fall in love with it, and perform it!"

Amelia Huot

What do you find special or unique about the musical Ordinary Days and the experience of performing in this production? 

"The music in this show is beautiful and highly underrated, it’s a show not a lot of people know  and I’m excited that we are putting on the AZ premiere of this production. Their will be at least one thing people will take with them after seeing this show."

Tell us about the character you play.and how they factor into the storyline?

"I play Deb, she is a cynical graduate student trying to find her place in life. She is constantly on the go, she is never really calm. She meets Warren, an artist who makes think about how she doesn’t need to have a 5 year plan. To not always be thinking ahead, to live in the now. "

Do you have a favorite scene, song, line of dialogue, or moment in the show? And why is it special to you? 

"My favorite song in the show is Rooftop Duet/Falling, I love how we all sound together as a quartet. But it’s special to me because it’s the only moment where Deb is her most vulnerable. I’ve been in her shoes of constantly on the go but still having that feeling of being stuck and wondering if things will ever change. If just hits home for me every time I sing it. "

Since it is such a small cast show, how has this experience been different for you from other shows you've been in and how has it challenged you?

"This is my first small cast show, and luckily with people I’ve all worked with before. Especially Karson who plays opposite of me because he’s my best friend AND roommate, so we got that chemistry down. Their wasn’t really any challenge because we all came in knowing the material. We all had the same love and passion for this project, and we even helped one another. So it’s been easy and refreshing to work with such a talented and driven group."

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing this show?

"I hope audiences take away that life is going to be okay. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a rut, if your future isn’t quite clear. To live in the now, and everything else will fall into place. "

Zac Bushman, and Emily Walter
photo courtesy Zao Theatre
Emily Walter

What do you find special or unique about the musical Ordinary Days and the experience of performing in this production? 

"The main thing I find special about this production is just how much nuance and depth has been incorporated in this one act, 4-person cast show. There were so many small details we found throughout the rehearsal process that just opened up so many other layers to the characters and the way their stories intertwine. It really has been a remarkable experience."

Tell us about the character you play and how they factor into the storyline?

"I play the character of Claire, who is currently dating Jason. Claire is a 30 something woman who is really struggling to deal with some things in her past while trying very hard to move forward in her relationship with Jason. She's very much afraid that moving forward in her life story with Jason will erase the experiences of her past, and that's something that makes it really difficult for her to live in the moment."

Do you have a favorite scene, song, line of dialogue, or moment in the show? And why is it special to you?

"I think my favorite moments of the show, in general, are those where all four of us get to come together onstage. That being said, my favorite song/scene of the show is Rooftop Duet/Falling. Warren's struggle and passion, Deb's connection with Warren and her own life story, Jason's hope for the future, and Claire's internal struggle all are things that I really connect with. Pair that with the amazing vocals of my colleagues and the visual that's created for the audience in that scene, it really is just a joy to perform every time (even while working through Claire's struggle). "

Since it is such a small cast show, how has this experience been different for you from other shows you've been in and how has it challenged you?

"One of the main differences is just how quickly we've been able to move through the process. Having only 4 performers, who were already familiar with the show, meant that we got to spend a lot more time developing nuance and moments rather than learning the music, which has been a challenge for me, but also a real blessing. I am a singer first and a dancer second with actor bringing up the rear, so it really has been a challenge to perform in a show with so much work to do on the characterization and no choreography to learn. It has also been a very different thing to be in the spotlight rather than amongst a large ensemble, which is my usual place in a production. I just hope I make Mickey proud as he was so kind to take a chance on me for a lead role."

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing this show?

"I hope that audiences will take away just that: hope. Every character in this show has a hope and by the end is moving forward with that. I also hope that they hear the message that there can be immense beauty found in the simplest of things."

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through January 26th

photos - CASH ON DELIVERY - Hale Centre Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through February 9th


 










 



photos by Nick Woodward-Shaw

cast announcement - 13 THE MUSICAL - Spotlight Youth Theatre


CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs February 22-March 10

Evan: Owen Donsker
Patrice: Zoie Moller
Brett: Kendall Hook
Eddie: Patrick Mullen
Malcom: Michael Hook
Lucy: Alexis Archer
Kendra: Sophie Jurkovich
Cassie: Hannah Wiegand
Molly: Lyda Armistead
Simon: Owen Brady
Richie: Kai Nunziato-Cruz
Charlotte: Emma Gass
Archie: Christopher Poulios

Kids:
Payson Cyphert
Corban Adams
Brielle Quintana
Julia Hughes
Ryan Parker
Kayla Trevino
Jaely Damasco

Laughing Pig Theatre seeks submissions for their third Monologue Cafe


Laughing Pig Theatre is looking for submissions to their third Monologue Cafe! This time around, the theme is #FML (f***my life) so we want to hear your awkward, ironic, embarrassing stories!

We are looking for monologues between 1-8 minutes in length. They can be real or fictional, comic or dramatic, and from any perspective you’d like. You can request to perform your monologue yourself, or we can cast a talented local actor or actress to perform it on your behalf.

Submissions will be accepted until 11:59 PM on Saturday, February 2nd. The performance will be March 22, 23, 29, & 30.

Use THIS LINK to submit or email laughing.pig.theatre@gmail.com with any questions.

photos - ROBIN HOOD - TheaterWorks' Youth Works

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through January 27th










photos by Carly Weekly

Thursday, January 17, 2019

BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL - Arizona Musicfest - February 7, 2019


Broadway's Leading Man
Thursday, February 07, 2019 07:30 PM
Highlands Church, 9050 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale

Brian Stokes Mitchell is a veteran of 10 Broadway shows including Ragtime, Man of La Mancha, Kiss Me Kate, and Shuffle Along. His performances have garnered two Tony Awards and induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Stokes has been dubbed Broadway’s “Last Leading Man” by the New York Times, adding that he “brings an unprecedented fusion of theatrical heroism, pop-jazz sizzle and emotional vulnerability.” Join us for a joyously creative evening of song to include personal favorites and selections from his upcoming album, Plays With Music.

TICKET PRICES: $79; $59; $49; $37

CLICK HERE for more information, and to purchase tickets

THE STREISAND SONGBOOK Featuring Ann Hampton Callaway - Arizona Musicfest - March 7, 2019

THE STREISAND SONGBOOK FEATURING ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY

Celebrate the unforgettable music of Barbra Streisand, when Tony Award nominee and acclaimed cabaret singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway performs timeless classics from five decades of Streisand's multi-faceted career.  From Barbra's Broadway years (Funny Girl) and film work (A Star Is Born), to her early pop hits (People) and later concept albums, Hampton Callaway—who has herself composed seven songs for Streisand albums—imparts her unique spin on Streisand’s beloved songs, and crafts a loving and familiar musical portrait of the iconic performer.

This concert is generously sponsored by:
Vi @ Silverstone

Thursday, March 07, 2019 07:30 PM
Highlands Church, 9050 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale

TICKET PRICES: $76; $57; $47; $34

CLICK HERE for more information, and to purchase tickets

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD- THE MUSICAL - Baker Performing Arts - February 25-March 2, 2019


Little Red is wondering why life isn’t more exciting, while Granny shows up in search of the Wolf, who has stolen her bicycle.  Granny, who is a karate expert, has no fear of the Wolf, a most unusual creature who is Harvard educated (he wrote his thesis on Wolfgang Mozart), enjoys being evil, and loves little children (on whole wheat toast).  When Granny has an accident (she breaks her hand practicing karate on a brick), Little Red sets out to deliver dinner to her.  She goes through the woods, where she encounters a variety of forest creatures including, of course, the Wolf, who discovers her destination and arrives at Granny’s house before she does.  He locks up Granny and lays a trap for Little Red.  Luckily, this updated retelling retains the traditional ending as the Woodsman arrives in time to save her.

Monday, February 25 - 7PM
Tuesday, February 26 - 7PM
Wednesday, February 27 - 7PM
Thursday, February 28 - 7PM
Saturday, March 2 - 7PM

2035 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa, 85210
480.313.7714

CLICK HERE for more information, and to purchase tickets

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST- THE PLAY - Baker Performing Arts - March 4, 2019


BEAUTY AND THE BEAST- THE PLAY

As punishment for rebuffing a powerful witch, a selfish prince becomes a true ’beast’ until someone will love him for himself.  Many years later, a poor widow stumbles onto the castle and innocently plucks a forbidden rose.  The Beast sentences her to death, but first allows her to return home and bid farewell to her family.  There we meet her two unpleasant daughters, Isabel and Marguerite, and her nasty sons-in-law, Greedo and Graspo.  They hear her story and think she’s insane.  But her third daughter, Beauty, agrees to go to the castle and stay with the Beast if her mother’s life is spared.  When Beast kindly permits Beauty to return home briefly, Graspo and Greedo sneak into the castle, hoping to steal a treasure.  In a wildly funny and exciting scene, not only do they fight the Beast, they fight the furniture!  With the aid of an enchanted mirror, Beauty sees that Beast doubts her love for him and she returns to the castle.  Her love restores Beast to his true form and happiness reigns.



Monday, March 4 - 7PM

2035 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa, 85210
480.313.7714

CLICK HERE for more information, and to purchase tickets

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL, JR - Baker Performing Arts - March 9, 2019



LEGALLY BLONDE – The Musical, follows the transformation of California girl Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in self-discovery at Harvard Law School.

Equipped with LED technology, fresh inventive design, and snazzy modern scenery, this show is perfect for lightening everyone’s mood and bringing joy.

Harvard's beloved blonde takes the stage by pink storm in this fun, upbeat story of self-discovery.

Saturday, March 9 - 7PM

2035 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa, 85210
480.313.7714

CLICK HERE for more information, and to purchase tickets

promo photos - AVENUE Q: SCHOOL EDITION - Starlight Community Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 18-February 2





photos courtesy Starlight Community Theatre

audition notice - BLITHE SPIRIT - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre - February 4 & 5

Directed by Janis Webb

Don Bluth Front Row Theatre
8670 E. Shea Blvd, Suite 103, Scottsdale 85260 480-314-0841
Located in the Pima Crossing Shopping Center next to Dream Dinners

Auditions held on:
Monday, Feb 4th 6:30 to 9:00 pm
Tuesday, Feb 5th 6:30 to 9:00pm

To reserve your audition time, please Email Janis Webb at janisawebb@gmail.com 

Auditions will consist of cold reads from the script.

Head shots and resumes required.

Rehearsals to begin Feb 6th.
Show run is March 21st to May 4th .
Pays a stipend.

Summary:
Charles Condomine, a novelist, and his wife, Ruth, have invited their friends Dr. and Mrs. Bradman to join them for drinks and dinner with a local clairvoyant, Madame Arcati. Charles is planning a novel about a homicidal spiritualist and wants to observe the behavior of Madame Arcati during a séance after dinner. The Bradmans arrive, and the four friends discuss Madame Arcati, sure that she will be a harmless fraud. They are interrupted when Madame Arcati arrives, dinner is served, and the séance begins. Much to the surprise of the two couples, there are supernatural manifestations--the table trembles, Madame Arcati falls into a trance, and Charles hears the voice of Elvira, his first wife, whom he loved dearly but who died several years ago.

Charles (40 – 60)
Ruth (35-55)
Elvira (25-35)
Dr. and Mrs. Bradman (50’s)
Edith (20’s)
Madame Arcati – female (60’s)

promo photos - SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS - Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 18th to February 24th



photos by Wade Moran