Friday, November 16, 2018

WEEK AT A GLANCE: November 12 - November 18

SHAKE-SMASH - Laughing Pig Theatre - December 7-9, 2018


Laughing Pig Theatre’s Shake-Smash Festival Line-up!

Laughing Pig’s first ever Shake-Smash is almost upon us, and tickets are available now for individual nights or the whole weekend’s worth of shows!
Friday and Saturday night will offer a full program of one-act and ten-minute plays. These plays will be voted on by both the audience and a jury of local theatre pros. The top selected shows from both nights will have an encore on Sunday afternoon, where three writers will be awarded a cash prize!

Go to LaughingPigTheatre.com to purchase tickets and find more details. Let your voice be heard and support local theatre!

cast announcement - INHERIT THE WIND - Theatre Artists Studio



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

HENRY DRUMMOND ............................ Michael Fleck
MATTHEW HARRISON BRADY ................... Tom Koelbel
E.K. HORNBECK ....................................... Walt Pedano
RACHEL BROWN ............................ Elizabeth Broeder
BERTRAM CATES ................................. Christian Boden
REVERAND BROWN ................................. Al Benneian
THE JUDGE ........................................... Charles Sowder
MRS. BRADY ............................................ Judy Lebeau

Ensemble
(In order of appearance)
Howard, Dunlap, et al ......................... Jacob Nichols
Melinda, Bannister, Radio Man ............ Anne Sanford
Meeker .......................................................... Bill Mosley
Tom Davenport ............................... Christopher Dorto
Mayor ................................................... George Cohen
Mrs. Krebs, Reuters Man ........................ Martha Welty
Elijah .......................................................... Joe Schwab
Mrs. McLain, Goodfellow ......................... Carol Gibson
Mrs. Loomis, Photographer .................. Patti Hurtado

video preview - LEONARD BERNSTEIN'S MASS - ASU Music Theatre and Opera

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which plays November 16 & 17

Bernstein "Mass" behind the scenes from ASU School of Music on Vimeo.

cast announcement - A WINNIE THE POOH CHRISTMAS TAIL - Valley Youth Theatre



CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 30 - December 23

Roo: Elizabeth Evans         
Frost the Fox: Sydney Hassler
Kanga: Makenna Jacobs     
Rabbit: Nathaniel McNamara
Owl: Brooke Nielsen       
Piglet: Vivian Paige Nichols
Gracie Gopher: Brianna O'Brien
Nibbles: Ellie Pompay   
Tigger: Carson Roubison 
Christopher Robin: Prescott Smidt       
Eeyore: Samantha Stinnett
Pooh: Oriana Valcamp   
Roxie Racoon, Jr: Ashlyn Weir
Savannah the Squirrel: Savannah Wetch
Brooklyn Badger: Journey Wishom

Thursday, November 15, 2018

promo photos - ELF - Phoenix Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through December 30th





photos by Reg Madison Photography

a conversation with Seth Rudetsky, appearing with Tony winner Jessie Mueller this Saturday at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Seth Rudetsky
by Gil Benbrook

Seth Rudetsy wears a lot of hats. 

Not only can be be heard every day as one of the regular hosts on Sirius XM's "On Broadway" channel but he is also an author of numerous books and also the co-author of the recent Broadway musical Disaster! 

He is a skilled pianist, having played in a dozen Broadway shows, and is also a frequent accompanist for Broadway stars in concerts around the world, including four shows this coming season at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. 

When I last had the chance to ask Rudetsky some questions, when he was presenting his Big Fat Broadway show in town three years ago, he said that of all the hats he wears and jobs he's done that interviewing people and getting the chance to ask them in-depth questions is the one that he loves the most. 

After having a great time three years ago getting his answers to some fun questions, I had the chance to turn the tables again on Rudetsky to ask him some questions about his past, as well as get his thoughts on the four Broadway stars he's playing for in Scottsdale this season, including his concert this coming Saturday, November 17th with Tony winner Jessie Mueller.


Seth, the series of concerts you've done around the world, as well as in Scottsdale the past two seasons, include you not just accompanying the performers on many songs they are known for but also talking to them between songs and asking them in-depth questions about their past.  

How did these shows come about, especially since the traditional form of a cabaret show usually only features a performer singing songs from their repertoire with some pre scripted patter in between songs?  

"Well, there you have it; I hate scripted patter! I remember watching a famous cabaret artist do her sound check and she was pretending she was noticing certain people in the audience...and the entire theater was empty. It was so creepy to me! Around 8 years ago, Mark Cortale and I started a series where I would play piano for Broadway's biggest stars but instead of hearing them doing pre-written material, I would interview them in between each song so the show would always remain fresh..and funny!"

If someone asked you to describe each of the four performers you are playing for and interviewing in Scottsdale this season in one or two sentences each what would it be?

Jessie Mueller - November 17:

"An incredible artist...when I saw her as Carole King in BEAUTIFUL, I thought she was making up the lines because it was so real. Add that to her ability to sing anything! From the jazz of ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN FOREVER to the beautiful soprano songs of CAROUSEL"


Sutton Foster - December 14:

"A superstar! She has conquered Broadway and television. So glamorous yet so hilariously goofy. And what a belt!"








Audra McDonald - January 19: 

"She's played some dark characters so people don't realize how funny she is. This show will be hilarious...and will feature what many call 'the voice of Broadway.' "





Jeremy Jordan - February 9: 

"Holy cow! I am constantly in awe of his 'instrument'...his voice is crystal clear and so flexible. I recently posted a video of him singing and my sister wrote that he had the best male voice she's ever heard!"




Any songs that aren’t in their current repertoire you’d really like to ask them each to sing when you play for them in Scottsdale?

"Are you kidding? That's what I love to do! Here's an example: recently I was in San Francisco with Tony Nominee Ramin Karimloo who just starred in LES MISERABLES. When he announced where he was from, someone in the audience applauded and we found out Ramin had gone to high school with his cousin...and they had done GREASE together. Well, you know that I immediately ran to the piano and made Ramin sing "Summer Nights" with the audience as his backup. It was amazing!"

Any questions you are dying to ask them?

"I can't reveal them here or they will see! Suffice it to say, you will learn things about every single one of these people you haven't heard anywhere else. And songs you've never heard them sing."

Your musical Disaster! ran on Broadway and is now available to be licensed for productions across the country. There are three theatres presenting the show in the Phoenix area this season, including Desert Foothills Theater, where you did your Big Fat Broadway show a years back, and one in Scottsdale at Desert Stages Theatre in January being directed by Gary Crumm, the father of Max Crumm that co-stared in the Broadway run of the show. Did you imagine that Disaster! would become such a hit show in regional theatres? 

"Wow! I love that Max's Dad is doing it! I knew it would be done a lot. It sounds like I'm bragging but I'm actually basing it on what the show is: a big cast with lots of great roles...I think there are 11 leads...and regional theaters love having their favorite stars featured. Plus the show is a comedy and that always sells tickets. AND the shows score is all the music from the 70s like Donna Summer and Barry Manilow.. Those songs are super-popular with everyone who was alive back then as well as with young people because they're featured on shows like American Idol and The Voice. So, yes,  I expected it to happen but that doesn't mean I'm not thrilled it is! It's a dream come true!"

Any plans for your next musical?

"The next step is getting DISASTER! to London!"

Any current Broadway performers that you haven’t yet had the chance to interview but would like to?

"Ben Platt! I'm working on it!"

What performer who is no longer with us would you have liked to have interviewed and/or played for?

"Oh, man! So many! I interviewed Barbara Cook but never did an entire show with her. And amazing men like Richard Kiley and John Raitt...and Gwen Verdon and Susan Johnson from THE MOST HAPPY FELLA. Roz Russel! Jerry Orbach! Basically, anyone who ever starred in a show!"

Any younger performers on Broadway that you’re paying attention to and think could be the next big broadway star?

"Bonnie Milligan. She just made her Broadway debut as a lead in HEAD OVER HEELS and she is fantastic. So funny and what an incredible voice!"

As anyone who listens to you on the Sirius On Broadway channel knows, you love to use the word “ah-mahzing” and to say you are “devastated” about something. What is the most current thing you find “ah-mahzing” and the most recent thing that made you “devasted”?

"Well, on the serious side, people probably know that I care a lot about animal welfare,  I think it's "amahzing" that CoverGirl is going cruelty free. No more horrific animal testing! And I'm "devastated" that Juul's and other brands are targeting our youth so there is now an epidemic of kids who smoke e-cigarettes."

You wear a lot of hats and also talk about your personal life on air, including interesting and humorous situations with your husband and daughter. What’s the one thing people may not know about you?

"I actually don't like to go out a lot. I really prefer having a few friends over for a game night or just hanging out with my doggies and reading!"

CLICK HERE for information on Seth's concert with Jessie Mueller this Saturday as well as information on his three other shows at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts this season.

cast announcement - LEONARD BERNSTEIN'S MASS - ASU Music Theatre and Opera



CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 17 & 18

Celebrant
JUBILANT SYKES

Street Chorus
(Students from ASU Music Theatre and Opera)
*denotes soloist
CHARLES ALDRICH*
KADE BAILEY*
MADISON BOYER
WESLEY BRADSTREET*
EMILY COTTAM*
MOLLY COX
ERIC FLYTE*
MELANIE HOLM*
ERIN KONG*
DAVID LARSON*
JULIAN MENDOZA*
VICTOR MERCADO*

Dancers
(Students from ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre)
DAVID NELSON*
ROBBIE NELSON
GRETA PERLMUTTER*
MAURICIO PERUSQUIA*
TYMIA PETERSON
KATIE RODIN
GIGI SIERRA*
THOMAS SMITH*
MICHAEL TALLINO*
ARIANA WARREN*
LEIA WASBOTTEN*
SARAH WELDEN*

Acolytes
ELLIE BARRETT
HAHNNA CHRISTIANSON
JULIA DAVIS
BRIANNA MCCLURE

Dancers
(Students from ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre)

ADISON DAHLE
TAYLOR FORD
MADELEINE GHIKAS
MANON GOODRICH
LANDON GUINN
MIRA HILLS
XOCHILT HUITZIL
LAUREN JIMENEZ
CARLA LEON
ARMANI MOTEN
MIA NELSON
GENEVIEVE OPPASSER
AZANA PIERRE
ZOE RISCHITELLI
STEVE ROSALES
MARGARITA SALGADO-CRUZ
TIERRA SCIBETTA
SHANNON SMITH
ELLE SPINELLI
ASHLEY TENAGLIA
TIFFANY VELAZQUEZ
VICTORIA WARD
LINDSEY WAWRZYNIAK
OAKLEE WILKINSON
JORI YOUNG

Choir
(Members of ASU Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Choral Union)

Soprano
REBECCA ABRAHAM
BANLINGYU BAN
JULIA BENNER
MARGARET BERRY
SUZANNE CAMPBELL
ACADIA CAUPP
CHELSEA COLLIAT
BRITTANY DARDIS
AMELIA DAVIES
MEGAN DENEAULT
ASHLEY DUMKE
BROOKE DURBOROW
LAURA ELLER
MEIGAN FIRST
ERICA GLENN
THERESA GRANT
SUSAN GRIFFIN
HELEN HENDRICKS
CATHY JANSSEN
ASHLEY JONES
ARADHANA KUMAR
ELISABETH LACEY
JULIA LAIRD*
TANYA LANDAU
NATALIE LEVAN
JENNIFER MADRUGA
MANNI MO
MARY PENDLETON-HOFFER
MICAELA REBB
RONG REN
HARMONY-LYNN SALVAS
SHARI SAMUELSON-WESELY
NIPUNI SIYAMBALAPITIYA
KIERNAN STEINER
LARA SUER
RACHEL THOMAS
EMILY WELSH
BONNIE WILSON
YUE ZHAO

Alto
LIZ ALANNA
EMILY BENOIT
NATALIE BOOTH
CATHLEEN BROCK
AMELIA BURRELL
STEPHANIE CLUFF
LAUREN COLEMAN
EMILY EVANS
KAY FIRST
CYNTHIA GLIDDEN-TRACEY
YING JIN
JULIE KIM
SARAH LARIMER
MANDALYN LARSEN
JANE MAGRUDER
JACKIE MCGARRY
JULIA MEYER
MARIANNE MURZYN
JANET NISSLY
VERONICA NIXON
EUN-MI (MIA) OH
SOPHIA PIERL
WHITNEY REED
ANDREA RICHA
PAULA SHEPARD
KELLI SHILL
EMILY SPENCER
PATRICIA STAMPER
LEE VAN CAMP
LOUISE WAL
JUDITH WALTZ
SAMANTHA WINTERS MCALPIN
JOYCE YI

Tenor
CORY BURRIS
LOGAN FERGUSON
BENJAMIN KRUTSCH*
GRIFFIN LEBLANC
CAM OAKES
CHRISTIAN LUKE OTTINGER
VAUGHN SHERMAN
NIKOLAS STEVENS
CADE TROTTER
CHRISTIAN WILTBANK

Bass
BEN BURRELL
SAM ENRIQUEZ
TYLER GARCIA
MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN
MICHAEL KOESTER-HESTAND
SUYOUNG LEE
MARIO MANZO
KRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ
BOB SIMINGTON
BERT TE VELDE
EMMANUEL TIMMONS
CODY VANCLEVE
XINGYU WANG
MARIO YNIGUEZ
GORDON ZAFT

Phoenix Boys Choir
ENZO ARIANO
ANDREW BROWN
BENJAMIN COMBS
DYLAN COUSINS
CONNOR CROKER
JEREMIAH ELIAM
CHRISTOPHER HERNANDEZ
ETHAN HETHERINGTON
PARKER JOHNSON
CONNOR JUNG
WILLIAM KO
DOMINICK KROEGER
TYLER LIME
JASON LIN
STEPHEN NEAL, soloist cover
OWEL NEELY
JACOB PELINO
HOLDEN POGANY-RALSTON
JASON REED
NATHAN REYNOLDS
WILLIAM RICE
TIMOTHY RUSSONIELLO
NATHAN SHENK, soloist
JOSEPH SLANKAS
CORBAN SMITH
SEBASTIAN STANGELBERGER
NATHAN TU
MARCUS WOODS

Orchestra
Flute (Stage Orchestra)
MIAO LIU, principal
DEANNA BURINGRUD
KATELYN McCLAIN
Oboe
MICHAEL JOHNSON, principal
KATHLEEN ROMERO
Clarinet
VINCE DOMINGUEZ, principal
LIBBY DRUESEDOW
BRENNAN COFFEY
Saxophones
KRISTEN ZELENAK, principal
NATHAN SALAZAR
BONSON LEE
Bassoon
KIEFER STRICKLAND, principal
TYLER COLVIN
Horn
RYAN EVERSON, principal
JULIE STEPHENS
ALEJANDRO CUETO
JAICI SULLIVAN
GRIFFIN BOURDON, Asst.
Trumpet
SPENCER BRAND, principal
BILLY BERUE
ZACH PLOEGER
MASON CHRISTOFFERSON
Trombone
REBECCA BURINGRUD, principal
SETH NEUFELDT
NICK ST. CROIX, bass
Tuba
BLAKE RYALL

(Pit Orchestra)
Violin I
CHRISTIANO RODRIGUES, concertmaster
EVA DOVE
KAH YAN LEE
JINGTING LIU
SHINHYE DONG
MEI LIU
INNA KARSHEVA
AMANDA ROMANI
JULIAN NGUYEN
RAMON SOBERANO
Violin II
MICHAEL DiBARRY, principal
DYLAN FELDPAUSCH
GRACE WILLS
WEICHAO ZHU
EMILY RUMNEY
HAIYUAN SONG
ZIYANG ZHANG
SICONG CHEN
ALLISON PARKS
HAYDEN SHANER
Viola
KIM HANKINS, principal
MILA GALLARDO
GLORIA YOON
JACOB ANDERSON
CHLOE CALVINO
RUI YANG
COURTNEY FERRY
KATHRYN HOLSTE
Cello
JENNIFER SON, principal
JACOB BARKER
XUE CHEN
JUN LEE
CAMERYN BAUM
BRANDON WU
Bass
NATHANIEL DE LA CRUZ, principal
TRISTON KOSLOSKE
SCOTT MARTINEZ
LEA ALE
Harp
CHARLES LYNCH
Organ
BRANDON BURNS
JOHN SOLARI
Percussion
TYLER WALES, principal
JINGHA ZHOU
JAKE KREJSTA
JOSH SIMMONS
SOYOUNG KEY
TRAVIS ROWLAND

Rock Band
Guitar 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ALEX OLIVERIO
Guitar 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .GULLI BJORNSSON
Bass Guitar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NATHAN BENITEZ
Traps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JEREMY REYNOSO
Percussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEAN ALBARRAN
Keyboard 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .GREGORY PALADINO

Blues Band
Bass Guitar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KARL KESSLER
Traps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EGHA KUSUMA
Percussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LINDSAY DE LEON
Keyboard 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DANI LEE HUTCH

audition notice - HELLO DOLLY! - Mesa Encore Theatre - November 25 & 26



We need singers, dancers, and a Dolly Levi! All roles are open!

Auditions: November 25 and 26 at 933 E. Main St. in Mesa
Rehearsals begin: January 21, 2019
Performances: March 1-17 at the Nesbitt-Elliott Playhouse at the Mesa Arts Center

Director/Choreographer: John Staniunas

CLICK HERE to sign-up for an audition time (plan to be there a full hour to sing AND dance) 

Contact Suze St John if you have questions - suzer22@earthlink.net

cast announcement - PETER AND THE STARCATCHER - Grand Canyon University


CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 16-25

Grempkin: Christian Bradford

Slank: Kaleb Burris 

Astor: Micah Larsen

Scott: Alex Cavanaugh

Ludwig: Joel Segraves

Fighting Prawn:   Christina McSheffrey

Hawking Clam: Gavin Harris

Mack: Michael Massone

Cheese: Sam Brown 

Mrs.Bumbrake: Ryan Ardelt 

Alf: Jessica Rumrill

Lefty: Tyler Sorrels

Peter: Isaac O’Farrel

Stache: Megan Sutton

Smee: Devin Erwert

Prentiss: Brandon Brown

Ted: Mackenzie Reppy

Molly: McKenna Kollman   

Teacher: Emily Sheppard

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

cast announcement - MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET - Arizona Broadway Theatre



CLICK HERE for more information on this production which runs November 23-December 29

Kris Kringle: MJJ Cashman
Fred Gaily: Cody Gerszewski
Doris Walker: Melissa Mitchell
Susan Walker*: Ava Newton
Susan Walker*: Emily Grace Anton
Marvin Shellhammer: Andy Meyers
Miss Crookshank: Renée Kathleen Koher
Mrs. Finfer: Katy Callie
Hendrika's Mom / Clara: Kara Ziringer
Girl Scout: Meggie Siegrist
RH Macy: Tony Blosser
Mr. Sawyer / Whitey: Jay Roberts
Judge Martin Group / Mayor: Fred Gerle
Tammany O'Halloran / Mr. Gimbel: Tim Shawver
Miss Sims / Mrs Beeler: Chae Clearwood
DA Thomas Mara, Sr.: John Knispel
Alvin: Nick Kuhn
Climber / Watchman: Phillip Giandiletti
Bailiff: Jacob Herrera
Mailman: Evan Dolan
Hendrika*: Julianne Creed
Hendrika*: Katerina Anderson
Girl*: Drea Metzger
Girl*: Meredith Arends
Thomas Mara, Jr.*: Cyrus Hilding
Thomas Mara, Jr.*: Creedence Weisberg
Harry Finfer*: Aaron McCaskill
Harry Finfer*: Sam Lawrence

*Shared role

review - THE CRUMPLE ZONE - Nearly Naked Theatre

William Rippenkroeger, Ezra Neighbors, and Jack Francis
photo courtesy Nearly Naked Theatre
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 November 17th.

"Buddy Thomas' The Crumple Zone is a smart and funny play follows a group of young gay men on Staten Island who are all looking for the perfect romantic relationship but having a difficult time finding it. Nearly Naked Theatre presents the Arizona premiere of this show, which ran off Broadway in 2000, in a production that features a talented cast and spirited direction, and amounts to a comical drama of humor, heart, and an abundance of honesty....Director Damon Dering does a very good job in keeping the playful comic moments high but also ensuring the heartfelt realistic scenes are truthful. He also keeps the pace taut. The cast features a superb performance from William Rippenkroeger as the long-suffering Terry. With perfect comic timing and line delivery infused with the driest of wit, Rippenkroeger is a laugh riot as the high-strung, put-upon man who always has a put-down at the ready. ...Ezra Neighbors is quite good as Alex...With rugged good looks and a charming demeanor, Jack Francis is adorable as Buck. ...A. Katen is excellent as Sam....With a cast who know how to get big laughs while also creating honest individuals, Nearly Naked Theatre's production of The Crumple Zone makes for a fun and honest roller-coaster of a romantic comedy that also offers moments of contemplation, a touch of melodrama, and a lot of honest reality......... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

reviews - THE CAKE - Stray Cat Theatre

Megan Holcomb, Jodie Weiss, and Racquel McKenzie
photo by John Groseclose
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 November 24th.

"...a perfect study of a topical issue with characters that are richly layered and realistic...Stray Cat Theatre presents the Arizona premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's 2017 play in an excellent production, full of rich, natural and poignant performances, that will most likely challenge you and give you food for thought and new understanding of people who have different beliefs and values than you. The plot focuses on Della, the owner of a bakery in North Carolina who follows the scripture like she follows her recipes—by the book. ...Della's world is about to encounter a major hiccup and an unsurmountable obstacle when Jen, the daughter of Della's now deceased best friend whom she loves like a daughter, asks her to make the cake for her upcoming wedding. Della is ecstatic at the news. The only issue? Jen is marrying a woman, which doesn't align with Della's literal reading of the Bible....while there is plenty of drama and ugliness in the piece, there is also a lot of comedy and beauty. Brunstetter paints fully three-dimensional characters who, under Katie McFadzen's succinct direction, are brought vividly to life by a superb cast for this production...Jodie Weiss is exceptional at portraying this lovable, conflicted woman who shows just how difficult it is for someone to change. Brunstetter has crafted a soulful woman who, while she may at first be perceived to be a bigot and simpleminded, we clearly see from her many layers that she is far from either....Megan Holcomb and Racquel McKenzie are equally as good as Jen and Macy. ...As the world and culture changes around us, Bekah Brunstetter's The Cake is a relevant play that expertly challenges our ideas and beliefs." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...an incisive and deeply empathetic perspective on love and acceptance, the marriages of true minds, and the unspoken impediments to their fulfillment. ...rises to perfection in Stray Cat Theatre's current production, baked with exacting precision and balance by director Katie McFadzen, and seasoned with outstanding performances by Jodie Weiss, Megan Holcomb, Racquel McKenzie, and Christopher Haines....The wisdom of Brunstetter's work is to transform the impasse between old friends into breakthroughs of perception and ultimately alterations in attitude. The result are riveting moments of poignancy, tempered with humor and tears....one tremendous theatrical dessert......." Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

promo photos - THE GIVER - Musical Theatre of Anthem

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 29-December 2




photos by Michele Celentano

cast announcement - PETER PAN, JR - Pinnacle Creative Arts


CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 25-27

Tinker Bell: Jamie Greaves
Wendy: Brynn VanNewkirk
John: Keira Jakobsen
Michael: Charlie Pettee
Mr Darling: Peyton Jones
Mrs Darling: Nikelle Lander
Peter Pan: Katerina Anderson
Hook: Shyla Gowda
Smee: Madeline Jones
Chief Tiger Bamboo: Manvik Malreddy
Tiger Lily: Drea Metzger
Nana: Marley Johnson-Ordonez
Crocodile: Drea Metzger

Lead Fairies:
Silver Mist: Alyssa Jakobsen
Iradessa: Elsie Thompson
Rosetta: Victoria Reiter
Fawn: Tori Jakobsen
Lyria: Sydney Stoneberg
Vidia: Jaiden Rinta

Lead Lost Boy:
Cubby: Gabriella Batt
Skunk: Sofia Posner
Hop: Caprice Warren
Fox: Annaliese Saunders
Raccoon Twins: Nathan and Jonah Thompson

Lead Pirates:
Skottish Jukes: Teagan Allison
Cockney Flint: Nicole Greaves
Mean Murphy: Anela Wailani
Simpleminded Noodler: Manvik Malreddy
Clubfoot Cookson: Makayla Voeller
Sweet Skylights: Marlee Williams

Lead Mermaids
Aquata: Scarlett Warren
Adella: Annaliese Saunders
Arista: Marley Johnson-Ordonez
Allana: Jordana Saunders

Lead Indians:
Brave Pine: Anela Wailani
Brave Oak: Teagan Allison
Brave Shrub: Nicole Greaves

Indian Tappers / Dance Ensemble
Teagan Allison
Nicole Greaves
Nikelle Lander
Marlee Williams
Anela Wailani
Madeline Jones
Katerina Anderson (as Peter)
Drea Metzger (as Tiger Lily)

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 25-27

Digital Lottery for DEAR EVAN HANSEN at ASU Gammage announced


from our friends at ASU Gammage:

DEAR EVAN HANSEN has launched its First North American Tour and is coming to ASU Gammage November 27 – December 2, 2018.  DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the fastest-selling Broadway show in ASU Gammage history and with limited availability, the tour has announced that DEAR EVAN HANSEN will host a digital ticket lottery offering fans the chance to purchase a limited number of $25 tickets available per performance.

The digital lottery will begin accepting entries 48 hours prior to the first performance in each tour city and will be accepted until 9:00am local time the day before the performance. Fans who have been selected will be notified daily via email and can then purchase up to two (2) tickets at $25 each. The ticket lottery will continue on a rolling basis for every performance in the engagement. All entrants are encouraged to follow DEAR EVAN HANSEN on Instagram (@dearevanhansen), Twitter (@dearevanhansen) and Facebook (@DearEvanHansen) for additional lottery news and information.

Entrants must be 18 years or older. A valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the name used to enter is required for pickup. Seat locations awarded by the lottery are subject to availability. Additional details and times will be announced in each tour city by the local theatre box office prior to the engagement. Additional lottery requirements can be found at www.luckyseat.com/dearevanhansen.

The winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, DEAR EVAN HANSEN features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy®, Tony® and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

Monday, November 12, 2018

review - MARY POPPINS - Mesa Encore Theatre

Hector Coris, Nicholas Gunnell, Heidi-Liz Johnson, Samantha Gibbons, Elliot Noah Thompson, and Cast
Photo by Stephanie 'Tippi' Hart-Dragonfly Studio Photography
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 November 18th.

"Mesa Encore Theatre's production of Mary Poppins is, to use a phrase that P. L. Travers' iconic literary character uses to refer to herself, "practically perfect." MET has found perfect leads and with lively direction and effective creative elements the end result is a perfectly wonderful, crowd pleasing and joyous affair....Heidi-Liz Johnson wonderfully gets across Mary's perfect combination of strictness and good intentions with undercurrents of fun and love. ...Johnson's voice excels on every song she sings with bright, beautiful notes. Nicholas Gunnell is joyful and spirited with plenty of charm and a playful mischievousness as Mary's chimney sweep friend Bert..Gunnell's strong and clear signing voice, limber limbs, and wink in his eye instill the role with a jolt of vibrancy and theatricality. MET has included a flying component in the show, which adds a few magical moments for Johnson as well as a fun bit for Gunnell in "Step in Time" ..Samantha Gibbons and Elliot Noah Thompson deliver spirited portrayals of two rambunctious, fun-loving and adorable kids...Tom Mangum and Danielle Hale are equally good as their parents....Director David Chorley does an exceptional job. He adds many original comic bits throughout that add pops of humor while always making sure the seriousness of the story is never lost...Full of exuberant moments, a terrific cast who create memorable characters, lively musical segments, and superb direction, Mesa Encore Theatre's Mary Poppins is a beautiful production of a beloved classic......... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

WEEK AT A GLANCE: November 12-November 18

Click on any show title to get more information on that production

CLOSING:

promo photos - MARY POPPINS, JR - Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 16-December 23



photos by Renee Ashlock

photos - ELF, JR. - TheaterWorks' Youth Works

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 18








photos by Carly Weekly Photography

Sunday, November 11, 2018

photos - COUNTRY BLUE SALOON - Space 55

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 18





photos courtesy Space 55

audition notice - THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE - Fountain Hill Theater's Youth Theater - December 10, 11



Music and Lyrics by Book by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman - Additional Material by Jay Reiss

December 10, 11, at 5:45 pm, and possible call backs on the 12th, 2018

Fountain Hills Theater, 11445 N Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

Call to register for audition:(480)837-9661x3

There is a $50.00 participation fee for all cast members.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is spelled W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L and follows six awkward adolescents  through their daunting and hilarious championship quest. As they navigate the tournament’s pressures, the eccentric coterie finds a new sense of belonging.  Along the way, they learn that there is more to life than winning a trophy.

Auditioners should prepare:
- 16 bars of an upbeat song or ballad that best shows off their voice
- Bring sheet music in appropriate key or edited karaoke track in proper key
and queued to desired start
- 1-2 minute monologue
- Dress to move for dance audition
- Headshot and resume if available
- List of possible rehearsal conflicts

Auditioners should register by going to www.fhtaz.org/youth-auditions

For The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we are casting male and female actors ages 12-19 for the following parts:

Chip Tolentino
An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment.

Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere (Schwartzy)
Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and will be back next year.

Leaf Coneybear
The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance.

William Barfee
A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous "Magic Foot" method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive.

Marcy Park
The ultimate over-achiever, Marcy has never been given another option. She comes from a family where excellence is expected and so simply produced. A parochial school student, she assumes God, too, expects perfection. She sees herself as a mass of problems but she keeps them to herself. Having moved often because of her parents' work, she knows she can beat the local competition. Her many talents include piano, dance, martial arts, baton twirling, and/or whatever special gifts you can find in your casting pool.

Olive Ostrovsky
A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and shyly blossoms.

Rona Lisa Peretti
The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward.

Douglas Panch
The Vice Principle. Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in "a better place" now, thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.

Mitch Mahoney
The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better.

Carl Dad
Schwarzy's main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy's fathers.

Dan Dad
The more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy's fathers.

Jesus Christ
Deity invoked by a speller in need.

Leaf’s Mom, Dad, and Siblings
All more academically gifted than Leaf, they are even more surprised than he is by his success.

Olive's Dad
A fantasy version of Olive's dad coming to the bee from work..

Olive's Mom
A fantasy version of Olive's mom at her Ashram in India.