Monday, October 26, 2020

Spotlight Youth Theatre seeks Adult, Female, Black actress for EMMETT'S ART PROJECT


Spotlight Youth Theatre is looking for an adult, female Black actor to perform in our powerful and important show about racism called “Emmett’s Art Project”. 

Modest but, focused commitment. Stipend is available. 

Contact Kenny Grossman for details at 623-521-8093 or at kenny@spotlightyouththeatre.org

Friday, October 23, 2020

mini review - BENJAMIN SCHEUER: IN CONCERT FROM LONDON - Arizona Theatre Company


by Gil Benbrook

Singer/songwriter Benjamin Scheuer and Arizona Theatre Company's artistic director Sean Daniels are friends who have also worked together; Daniels directed Scheuer in his one man show The Lion, which Scheuer wrote. That show has been performed across the country and in the UK and won a Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Solo Performance” for its 2014 0ff Broadway production. 

As another example of the strength of Daniels' and Scheuer's friendship, Scheuer asked Daniels if he'd like to use his recent London solo concert as a benefit for Arizona Theatre Company. The filmed concert is streaming through Tuesday, October 27th at 5pm.

Like a modern day James Taylor or Jim Croce, Scheuer's tunes are well-composed story songs that tell either his own stories or stories of others. The theatrical, autobiographical and personable nature of his work makes each song incredibly intimate and relatable with lyrics that are simple yet precise with words and rhymes that are well thought out.  

Some of the songs in the concert come from the popular children’s books “Hundred Feet Tall” and “Hibernate with Me” that Scheuer wrote with his wife Jemima Williams. The concert also includes the upbeat, romantic "Hello Jemima" which is a beautiful love song Scheuer wrote shortly after meeting Williams.

While several numbers in the concert grew out of Scheuer's past, one of the most personable songs in the concert isn't one about Scheuer but a song about a woman he met in a coffee shop in New York, before he moved to London a year ago with his family. “I Am Samantha” tells the story of Samantha's journey as she transitioned. It's an inspiring and moving number and the single of the song and video were released this past March 31st, the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Songs in the concert from The Lion include the poignant "Cookie-tin Banjo" and the rousing "Weather The Storm". The appropriate "Empty Stage" serves as an encore and a beauitful yet bittersweet reminder of our current state of affairs.

Each song in the hour long concert brings the characters vibrantly to life while painting vivid images. This event was Scheuer's first time performing in public since the pandemic struck and the combination of Scheuer's natural performance style and his exceptional song writing makes one hope that Daniels can bring Scheuer and The Lion to ATC for a run in a future season.

CLICK HERE to watch Benjamin Scheuer: In Concert from London, which is available to view for free, though Arizona Theatre Company is accepting donations to help support their digital offerings and the safe return of theatre to their stages.
 


Talking to Arizona native BEN CRAWFORD about playing the Phantom on Broadway and about his upcoming BROADWAY FRIGHT NIGHT concert next Friday at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Ben Crawford

by Gil Benbrook

Arizona native Ben Crawford was born in Tucson, went to the University of Arizona where he earned a BFA in Music Theatre and has appeared in dozens of shows both on Broadway and in regional theatres. Earlier this year he was playing the Phantom in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera when COVID shut down Broadway. 

Crawford comes to Scottsdale next Friday for a special Halloween themed Broadway concert at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts where he'll appear with other performers with Broadway and regional theatre credits.

In addition to Phatom, Crawford has appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables, Shrek The Musical, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and On the Twentieth Century, in addition to over a dozen regional productions. He's also performed with symphonies and orchestras across the U.S. and Canada.

Crawford sat down to answer some questions about Phantom, growing up in Arizona, the impact of COVID on Broadway and what fans can look forward to at next week's concert

I know you were playing the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera when the shut down of Broadway happened. What can you tell us that experience was like, both as appearing as the Phantom in Broadway’s longest running musical, and the impact of the shutdown?

"Well it was very sudden I’ll be honest. We had a Thursday matinee and as I was sitting in a make up chair I was getting all the sports notifications of certain colleges not participating in the NCAA tournament, then suddenly it was all divisions of schools, and of course the night before the NBA had canceled games so it was a whirlwind to go into work that morning and then within five hours you don’t have a job for now what’s going on over six months and will be over a year and a half once we get back to work.

As a Phantom to be honest it’s no different for everyone else; we’ve all suddenly become weirdly unemployed for something completely beyond our control. It’s very frustrating when you’re not able to do something that you love so much & get paid vwell to do because others didn’t do their jobs."

What have you been doing to stay creative since the shutdown in March?

"You have to get in the right mindset for the situation. It requires a lot of self motivation and in turn I’m trying to use that positively to work on some projects that I’ve been thinking about doing but haven’t had the time to unfortunately until now. 

I have a teaching website called Bencrawfordcoachings.com where you can get appointments to work with me virtually live or through uploaded videos and critiques, and I also have a beer blog that is currently on Instagram called Broadway beer time with Ben Crawford: desert edition. It’s a lot of fun and I’m having a great time doing it. A lot of the difficulty during this time is finding an artistic outlet; so I think it’s vital to be self-sufficient and make your own outlets.

I know you grew up in Tucson, and that you went to U of A.  What was your experience like growing up in Arizona?

"Arizona is a great place to grow up. I have a lot of great memories growing up in Tucson, and still keep in touch with a lot of my friends from there. It was definitely a culture shock when I moved to the East Coast to start my career, but it’s always nice to be able to come back to the desert to escape the crazy city LOL."

Were you involved in theatre or appear in any shows in Tucson, U of A, or in Phoenix? 

"Because I came to theater so late in school I didn’t really participate a lot in artistic extracurricular activities- except for the Tucson Arizona boys chorus, which wonderfully enough I am performing at their virtual gala this November.

I didn’t really start doing musicals until my final two years in high school, and those were fantastic because They really opened my eyes to the arts as a living; the application of arts to be more specific.
When I went to the University of Arizona to get my degree in musical theater I was very fortunate to have a lot of opportunities on stage there, and that experience I’m sure helped translate into the career that I’ve had today."

Ben Crawford and Meghan Picerno in The Phantom of the Opera
photo by Matthew Murphy

I know you’ve been back to Arizona to teach some master classes. What do you try to instill in young musical theatre students in your classes?

"Show business is such an interesting concept – you need to fully be yourself to be the best artist you can be, but most of the time you were having to fit that talent within parameters of people who are paying you to be artistic and be your ultimate self. So a lot of what I teach is to really understand how extreme your work ethic has to be, and how the business works. Those are the two fundamental things I try and teach to all ages of students. Of course I’m going to teach it a little less intense to younger children LOL, but it’s good to instill that you need that passion as soon as you can."

I moved to Phoenix in September of 2013, after living and working in NYC for over 25 years, and Big Fish was the last Broadway show I saw before heading west and I thought you were very memorable in that show as the antagonist of the main character.  Unfortunately, that show didn’t last long on Broadway but it has been a staple in regional theatres. I’ve seen three productions in Phoenix and there were also other productions in town I missed. I have to imagine the fact it didn’t have a longer run was devastating since it was the first time you created a role on Broadway. Why do you think the show didn’t find an audience and why do you think it has found a following after the Broadway run?

"You know Broadway is so weird. You can think you have all the pieces and then something happens in the translation and it just doesn’t work out the way you wanted. Big Fish was one of those examples for me where you don’t know what people like; it’s really hard to predict it. I was attached to that show for a little over two years and everyone had such an emotional connection to it- so it was really heartbreaking when I didn’t have that life on Broadway that we all wanted. 

But we all gave so much time to it and that’s the sad part of art- is that sometimes you don’t get a long time on a project, but in some ways that makes you a better artist and makes you understand how fleeting your moments on stage are I suppose."

Besides Phantom and Big Fish, you've appeared in several Broadway shows such as Shrek and in Les Mis where you understudied the lead roles. How difficult is it to be in a show while also understudying the lead male role and what was the experience like when you went on?

"A lot of understudying has to do with your work ethic and the person you’re understudying. I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many talented men who haven’t looked at me as a problem and more as their Savior when they need someone to go on. There can be an interesting chemistry between an understudy and the lead player- but that’s only if someone’s trying too hard. When everyone knows what their role is and everyone’s just coming in to do their job it’s fantastic to be a part of that because it really helps your bond with actors who have more experience with you and you’re able to learn from them and glean from them. 

When it comes to Phantom I am incredibly supportive of the men who go on for me when I’m not there because it gives me the opportunity to rest, it gives me the opportunity to go off and do something else besides a show for a couple days, and it gives them the opportunity to put on the mask and have those fantastic moments. So when you look at it as a win-win situation it’s a really wonderful relationship."

What has been your most memorable stage experience?

"I mean my first night as the Phantom is of course very memorable. But I have some other ones too; the ones where you get asked to do something crazy, like go on for someone with no time to spare and you do and you’re (thankfully) wonderful and you feel good because you worked hard and you showed everyone that you cared because the show wasn’t fractured because you were ready to go on-those are fun, loving moments in theater."

What are your dream roles?

"Two big ones right now are Emile de Becque in South Pacific and Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha. And then of course there’s that elusive new musical that hasn’t been written yet where there’s a lead or supporting leading character written for me; that’s of course my dream role."




What can concert goers expect from the upcoming "Broadway Fright Night" Halloween concert at Scottsdale Center for the Arts? 

"They’re coming in to have a great time, connect with people, & hear some A-class vocalists all while being safe and socially distanced and protecting each other. We need these arts havens right now- where we can still congregate and experience arts together."

Will this be the first time you’ll be singing a song from Phantom since you last appeared in the show at the Majestic Theatre last March?

"It’s not actually! I’ve done a couple virtual galas for some symphonies and music festivals this summer- but it will be the first time live in public so that‘s somethin!"

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tony Award Winner Trezana Beverley and Grammy Award Winner Patrick Page Headline Southwest Shakespeare Company’s Fall 2020 Season


Southwest Shakespeare Company announces an exciting and diverse virtual and limited in-person Theatrical Season, featuring Hadestown star Patrick Page, and TONY Award winner Trezana Beverley, among others.

Southwest Shakespeare Company answers the demands of this critical moment by offering a bold, diverse Falls Season, packed with star power and available for limited in-person participation as well as virtual attendance. Explore Shakespeare’s demons with Hadestown star Patrick Page in his one-man show All the Devils Are Here - How Shakespeare Invented the Villain. Be thrilled by first Black female TONY Award Winner Trezana Beverly in her musical exploration of the sensational life of Mabel Mercer. Find healing with Lisa Wolpe in her exploration of gender in Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender. Join Arizona’s best performers in an array of additional shows, including Artist in Residence Debra Ann Byrd in her autobiographical Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey. Truly offering something for everyone, drama and comedy, the 2020 Fall Season covers a broad range of human experiences, exploring important topics and helping us to dig deep in order to answer the demands of our world.


Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey  
(Nov 5th-8th) by Debra Ann Byrd 

Smart, thoughtful and transformative, Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey is a living memoir about a young woman’s trials and triumphs with race and the classics, her memorable experiences growing up in Spanish Harlem and her gender flipped journey on the road to becoming Shakespeare's noble, flawed general. This solo show is complete with moving songs and lyrical language from Black women playwrights, William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and the King James Bible. A victory over helplessness and hopelessness, it’s sure to leave you feeling uplifted and inspired.

How to attend: Limited in-person tickets for Taliesin West are available by contacting info@swshakespeare.org. Virtual tickets are available at swshakespeare.org/tickets. 


Mabel Madness 
(Nov. 12th-15th) by TONY Award Winner Trezana Beverley

Called “compelling” and “beguiling” by the New York Times, Mabel Madness, written and performed by TONY Award Winner Trezana Beverley, is the captivating miraculous story of Frank Sinatra’s muse. British born, Cabaret singer and unsuspecting winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Mabel Mercer tells the story in her own style - Cabaret! 

How to attend: Limited in-person tickets for Taliesin West are available by contacting info@swshakespeare.org. Virtual tickets are available at swshakespeare.org/tickets. 

All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain 
(Nov. 19th-22nd) by Patrick Page

TONY nominated actor and star of Broadway’s Hadestown Patrick Page takes the audience on a dazzling exploration of Shakespeare’s two-decade-long investigation of Evil from Richard III to Prospero. Moving swiftly and chronologically, Page will trace the evolution of Shakespeare’s malefactors from the mere two-dimensional to the psychologically complex characters that heralded the modern psychopath. Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

How to attend: Limited in-person tickets for Taliesin West are available by contacting info@swshakespeare.org. Virtual tickets are available at swshakespeare.org/tickets. 


Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender 
(Nov. 26th-29th) by Lisa Wolpe

Internationally renowned actor Lisa Wolpe has stepped into many of the Bard’s male characters’ shoes throughout her career. In those shoes she found the power to overcome the unique challenges she faced, as she learned the truth about her Jewish World War II hero father, who infiltrated Nazi intelligence. and other family secrets that revealed themselves over time. A cathartic and deeply human story, Wolpe’s inspiring one-woman show demonstrates the healing power of Shakespeare’s writing.

How to attend:  Virtual tickets are available at swshakespeare.org/tickets

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) 
(Dec. 3rd-6th) By Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield

Called “Pithier than Python,” by the New York Times, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) was London’s longest-running comedy and now comes to Arizona - holiday style! Join a trio of Arizona’s finest performers in this irreverent, fast-paced romp through the Bard’s plays, weaving their jolly way through all of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies in one wild ride that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Holidays this year.

How to attend: Limited in-person tickets for The Shop in Mesa are available by contacting info@swshakespeare.org. Virtual tickets are available at swshakespeare.org/tickets. 

An Iliad  
(Jan. 14th-17th, 2021) by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare

The Trojan War meets the contemporary world and poetry meets humor in An Iliad, a captivating modern retelling of Homer’s classic. Performed by Arizona’s own acclaimed actor Clay Sanderson, this play promises to provide inspiration, laughs and a good dose of pathos as it explores war and the paths of civilizations, ancient and modern.

How to attend: Limited in-person tickets for Taliesin West are available by contacting info@swshakespeare.org. Virtual tickets are available at swshakespeare.org/tickets. 

Flachmann Seminar
 (Oct. 24th, 2021) by Dr. Susan Willis

The season will kick off with an educational seminar by Dr. Susan Willis “The Life and Times of WIlliam Shakespeare.” This Flachmann Seminar will be presented in conjunction with our production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), to add color and insight to Shakespeare’s writings. 

How to attend:  Virtual tickets, which will stream live with interaction, are available at swshakespeare.org/tickets

Season Tickets: the 6 Show Virtual Fall 2020 Season Pass is $150 (unlimited at-home participants!) and may be purchased through swshakespeare.org/tickets. Limited in-person Fall 2020 Season Tickets are available by contacting info@swshakespeare.org


Individual Tickets: VIrtual ticket prices range from $15-$50 (unlimited at-home participants!) and may be purchased through swshakespeare.org/tickets. Limited in-person tickets are available by contacting info@swshakespeare.org

Arizona Theatre Company announces Auditions for their ATCTeen production of MALCOM

 

ATCteen is excited to announce AUDITIONS for our first play of the season! 

This play will be recorded over zoom and broadcasted nationally on Broadway on Demand! 

Casting Breakdown 

SISTER
The adoptive sister of Malcolm. 
BANDMATE
A close friend of Malcolm. 
COLLEGE FRIEND
A confident lawyer on this case. This role must be played by a person of color. 
DRIVER
The person who gave Malcolm his last ride.

In addition, we are looking for: 
a BIPOC guitarist who would be interested in playing or creating music for the production
a student interested in being the Stage Manager
a student interested in being the Scenic Designer 
students interested in helping to put together a community panel on the topics of Gun Violence and Police Brutality 

------

The play is attached for you to read, as well as the rehearsal schedule and audition flier. 


To read more about the play visit: https://www.enoughplays.com/malcolm

To read more about the #Enough Plays to End Gun Violence Project and the Broadway on Demand streaming visit: https://www.enoughplays.com/broadway-on-demand

If you cannot make auditions but are interested in being part of the project, please email me at jroth@arizonatheatre.org 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

TheaterWorks Creates Holiday Immersive Theater Production A CURIOUSER NUTCRACKER

Tyler Sorrels as "The White Rabbit"
Photo by Kristy Velesko Photography 

TheaterWorks Creates Holiday Immersive Theater Production A CURIOUSER NUTCRACKER Following Sold-Out Extended Run of Curiouser & Curiouser 

Following the massive success of TheaterWorks’ revolutionary immersive theater experience CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER, the theater announces a new holiday version of the production opening November 27, A CURIOUSER NUTCRACKER.

Wonderland has been taken over by the Mouse King and is stuck in an eternal winter.  A CURIOUSER NUTCRACKER travels through Winter Wonderland with the White Rabbit and the Sugar Plum Fairy to find the four keys, defeat the Mouse King and free the Nutcracker.

Filled with snow and the traditional music of Tchaikovsky, A CURIOUSER NUTCRACKER catapults you into the worlds of Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker. This family-friendly, holiday version of  CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER continues the safe and intimate approach to live theater developed by the theater in response to the pandemic restrictions. Audience members walk through every theater, rehearsal space and hallway in the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts experiencing winter Wonderland intimately.

Up to 12 audience members per performance will experience this 100-minute immersive theater production flowing through each room exploring, solving puzzles, encountering inhabitants experiencing live theater in a new and safe way.

“The holidays are an important time for the community to engage in traditional stories that help us celebrate this time of togetherness. Our new immersive theater experience will allow people to still have those traditions and participate safely,” said TheaterWorks Managing Director Cate Hinkle.

In order to create a safe space for both audience members and actors, audience members will be required to wear face coverings, temperatures will be taken upon arrival, gloves will be provided to audience members to wear throughout the experience, all touch points will be sanitized between groups and a thorough deep clean will take place each evening, in addition to other safety protocols put in place.

This production is supported by the Constance W. McMillin Trust, Thom and Shelley Gyder, Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat, Peoria Councilmember Vicki Hunt and in Honor of Dr. Robert C. Sharp and his many pearls of wisdom.

Tickets to A CURIOUSER NUTCRACKER range from $48 - $36 and go on sale October 24. Advance ticket purchases are required. Multiple performances take place on November 27 – 29, December 3 – 6, 10 – 13, 17 – 23, 27 – 30, 2020.

The production takes place at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 10580 N. 83rd Drive Peoria, AZ 85345. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Box Office at (623) 815-7930 or visit curiousertheater.org.

Monday, October 19, 2020

WEEK AT A GLANCE: October 19-October 25

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


GHOSTLIGHT - Paradise Valley Community College - October 29-November 1, 2020


Ghostlight by Michael R Duran directed by Andrea Robertson:

Ghostlight is a collection of theatre ghost stories told from the perspective of different theatre professionals from an actress to a stage manager.  "It should be known that each of the stories told this evening comes from personal experiences. Each incident is based on an actual event that happened to me in different theatres throughout my career. And so, with that said.... picture yourself, it is late on a windswept Autumn night, a storm of rain or snow has you gathered around the warm glow of a fireplace, you are safe and comfy and a trusted friend speaks into the quiet and says:   "I’m going to tell you a story, you probably won’t believe it. In fact if you told me this selfsame story- I wouldn’t believe you either, but I know it to be true... because I was there...”   Michael R Duran

 CPA Show Dates: Streaming October 29-November 1 Click here for streaming information

Friday, October 16, 2020

Starlight Community Theater announces November 20 deadline for their 2020 Starlight Community Theater Playwriting Contest


Starlight Community Theater is now accepting entries in our 2020 Starlight Community Theater Playwriting Contest until November 20!

The purpose of this contest is to encourage new works for the stage by providing an opportunity to engage in the playwriting process. Starlight Community Theater values the time and talent needed to write a play. The winner of the Starlight Community Theater Playwriting Contest will receive a staged reading and given consideration for a full production in subsequent seasons. The 2019 winning play, HOLY MATRIMONY! by Dan Marburger, will receive a full production November 13-15 at Starlight.  For complete rules, visit:

https://www.starlightcommunitytheater.com/our-current-season

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Actor's Youth Theatre announces Auditions for INTO THE WOODS on November 14


AYT PRESENTS... “INTO THE WOODS” 
Our First Premiere show of the year for kids 13-19

Auditions are on November 14th at 1:00pm (with callbacks at 5:00pm that day) 

Audition Workshop is on November 7th (Come learn a bit about the show and how to audition for it with the production team!) See AYTAZ.org to sign up under “Workshops” Tab! 

Show will be in January!! 

COME JOIN THIS BEAUTIFUL SONDHEIM WORK OF ART!! We will be doing this show safely. 

Wearing Masks during rehearsals and shows, socially distancing as much as possible both during the show and during rehearsals. 

ASU Music Theatre and Opera announces their Fall 2020 Season!



From our friends at ASU Music Theatre and Opera:

We are hard at work preparing an exciting season of online and physically distanced performances for the 2020-21 season. Each project will be announced 6-8 weeks in advance. Please follow us on social media or signup for our newsletter for regular updates!

In order to remain most flexible during COVID-19, details of each production will be announced as information becomes available. Please follow us on social media, and check season.asu.edu for the most up-to-date information on any of the exciting projects we have planned. Stay tuned!

Alumni Cabaret
Oct 17, 7:30 p.m.
Streaming event
Free Admission on ASU Music Theatre and Opera Vimeo

Speed Dating Tonight
Music and libretto by Michael Ching
Based on a concept by Dean Anthony
DATES TBD
Ticketed event, online only


Opera Under the Stars
Nov. 6 and 7, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. rain date
Details and location to be announced.

Opera Online
Nov. 8, 2 p.m. (MST)
Online event
Free Admission on ASU Music Theatre and Opera YouTube Channel

Runaways
Music, book and lyrics by Elizabeth Swados
Dates and location to be announced
Ticketed online event - subject to change

Holiday Cabaret
Nov 30, 7:30 p.m. (MST)
Ticketed online event - subject to change

Check Music Theatre and Opera Upcoming Events for the most up-to-date information.

Details of our spring productions and performances will be announced in December or early January.