Sunday, October 23, 2016

FEATHERS AND TEETH - ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre - October 28 - November 6, 2016

Written by Charise Castro-Smith
Directed by Ricky Araiza

As Chris struggles to make peace with the death of her mother, a new woman arrives in her home. So does a mysterious creature. "Feathers and Teeth" is a biting horror comedy, perfect for this Halloween season.

Time: 7:30pm Oct 28-29, Nov. 3-5

2 pm Oct. 30, Nov. 6th

Where: ASU Nelson Fine Arts Center RM 133
51 East 10th Street
Tempe, AZ

General: $16
ASU Faculty, Staff and Alumni: $12
Seniors: $12
Students: $8

CLICK HERE to order tickets, or call 480-965-6447

WEEK AT A GLANCE: October 17 - October 23

audition notice for two roles in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

Don Bluth Front Row Theatre is still looking for two actors to play the following parts in their upcoming production of It's a Wonderful Life -

  • Ma Bailey
  • Mr. Gower the pharmacist.

To schedule an audition please contact Cheryl Schaar at 480-707-8273 to schedule a time.

It's a Wonderful Life will run Dec.1st to Dec. 30th. 22 shows and it pays a stipend.
No shows on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

cast announcement - FRUITCAKES - Stage Left Productions

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs December 9th-11th 

Maxine Morgan................Deborah Lee Hall
Jamie.............................Haiden Ruffino
Beebo Dantzler................Filip Chudziak
Betty Jane......................Robin Burk
Little Beebo....................Aden Chudziak
Sally..............................Adalie Chudziak
Miss Sara......................Cathy Corbin-Mannino
Miss Alice......................Sheila Lester
Skeeter..........................George Gonzalez
Mattie Sue.....................Susan Webster
Rick Morgan..................Darren Napoli
Meredith........................Maddie O'Brien
Laura............................Aubrey Chudziak
Marybeth.......................Jami Fick
Frances........................Megan Buchert
Amy.............................Lily Gray
Joanie..........................Sophia Gray
Little Skeeter.................Garrett Pinuelas
Larry.............................Zander Nolte
Billy/James...................Aiden Pinuelas

reviews - THE GLASS MENAGERIE - Fountain Hills Theater

Quinn Johnson and Shari Watts
Photo by Patty Torrilhon
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 October 30th.

"Tennessee Williams' autobiographical "memory play" The Glass Menagerie is an emotional and captivating drama that delves into the dynamics of a family that includes a dominating mother who only wants the best for her two children. With a mesmerizing performance by Shari Watts, aided by a trio of talented actors and sure-footed direction, Fountain Hills Theater's production of this classic is a must see... looks back at one tragic moment in the past and shows how Tom's incisive recollections of regret are the result of the combination of responsibility and family dysfunction that can ultimately force someone to flee. is a passionate, personal piece that is full of intimacy, which works well for the small Fountain Hills space. Under Ben Tyler's assured direction the cast deliver well thought out, layered and truthful portrayals. Shari Watts is luminous as the talkative, hovering and pestering Amanda. ...I've seen Watts in numerous productions across the Valley and she never fails to impress with her well thought out, honest, and always exceptional performances. Quinn Johnson and Shannon Phelps are very good as Tom and Laura. Johnson..holds his own with Watts...and he clearly represents the pain and suffering that are behind the decisions and actions that Tom makes. Phelps is perfect as the self-conscious, damaged, fragile and shy Laura, who has a limp and seeks comfort in her collection of miniature glass figurines. Jack Lambert is sensational as Jim, the gentleman caller, an energetic, polite man who comes over for dinner. The scene that Phelps and Lambert share is full of heart yet also heartbreaking. Jeff Blake's set design does well to portray the enclosed, claustrophobic feel in the apartment that forces Tom to continually seek solace and peace elsewhere. Patricia Tonzi's costumes are stunning representations of the period, and the evocative lighting design by Peter J. Hill echoes the shadows of the past that the play represents. ...The Glass Menagerie is a simple yet captivating and moving story filled with a heightened sense of melancholy and compassion. Fountain Hills delivers an intoxicating combination of superb performances and clear and concise direction which results in a superb and sensitive production of this classic Tennessee Williams play. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

photos - THE PRICE - Theatre Artists Studio

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

Photography by Mark Gluckman

Saturday, October 22, 2016

cast announcement - IN THE VILLAGE OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM - Youth Works at Theater Works

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 4th to November 20th

Elie Anthony: Silly Goose, Elfin, Jessup
Noah Consalvo: Karl, Social Goose, Onilde, Johan, Neely
Emilio Cress: Abel, Woody, Parson Braun
Drake Current: Fox, Hans, King Good, Childer
Emily Diab: Clever Alice, Annaliese, Sonorous Goose, Alder
Hailey Forbis: Yohna, Gretchen, Malinda, Simple Goose
Jacklynn Haughn: Narrator 2
Nicole Hedges: Narrator 1
Elizabeth Meek: Sexton White, Timberly, Soulful Goose, Maleen
Elyse Mielke: Lizilia, Liesl, Crying Princess Esmerelda
Alec Pursell: Joringel, Fritz, Simpleton
Jayla Quartullo: Elvina, Gertrude, Annika
Ilse Reisert: Jorinda’s Mother, Elsa, Serioso Goose, Olga
Ryley Grace Youngs: Jorinda, Brunhilda, Odd Person

photos - DRACULA - Actor's Youth Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs through October 29th, CLICK HERE

photos: Lisa Webb / Southwest Shots Photography

Friday, October 21, 2016

reviews - THE SOUND OF MUSIC - National Tour: ASU Gammage

Ben Davis and Kerstin Anderson
Photo by Matthew Murphy
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 October 23rd.

"There’s something that happens near the beginning of the new national touring production of The Sound of Music, now performing at ASU Gammage until October 23, and it immediately tells you that this is not business as usual. It’s during the first few minutes when the nuns of the Nonnberg Abbey gather for the Preludum. There they are, standing in line, singing, and waiting for Mother Abbess (Melody Betts) to enter. ...As Mother Abbess reaches the space where Maria should be, she stops, checks the empty space and does a double-take. And that’s the moment; that second or two of brief comedic business that tells you everything that follows in this production is going to be slightly different than what came prepared for a surprise. Director Jack O’Brien has done something quite remarkable with this new revival. With new inflection and a new delivery, dialog heard spoken many times before suddenly sounds completely different, and considerably more humorous. It’s as if a new shot of theatrical adrenaline has been administered. ...It’s fresh. And so it is with almost every other element in this hugely entertaining new production....
Anderson plays Maria in a way vastly different from Mary Martin’s original Maria, or even that of Julie Andrews. ...Within moments of meeting the children, there’s a bond established that feels completely authentic. Plus, her voice is a pleasure. Even the captain feels as though he’s received a new lease on life. Captain von Trapp was always in danger of being portrayed as a stern plank of wood, a character that changes only somewhat once he realizes he’s fallen in love with the governess, but as played by Ben Davis, even though that sternness is initially evident, you can see the warmth of a real person emerging at an earlier moment than usually portrayed. ... " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"From the Oscar winning film to countless local productions, the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music is one that almost everyone has seen, most likely numerous times. Yet the current national tour provides the opportunity to experience this classic musical almost like it is a brand new show. Chalk that up to a cast and creative team that are firing on all cylinders to instill this production with a heightened sense of spontaneity that results in a fresh and joyous experience.
The Sound of Music follows the story of postulant Maria as she serves as a governess for a naval captain's seven children in Austria once it seems a religious life isn't in her future. The Captain and Maria find themselves falling in love just as the Nazi regime is about to invade Austria....
Director Jack O'Brien is to be commended for bringing a fresh take to this familiar story. His leads bring an impulsiveness to their characters that makes them seem real, honest and natural. His staging is fluid and almost cinematic at times as he expertly uses Douglas W. Schmidt's large and lush scenic design to paint some beautiful stage pictures and swiftly move us from one scene to the next. ...Kerstin Anderson's Maria is both human and humorous. Anderson is stunning in her portrayal of the many layers of Maria. ...Throughout, her every action is natural, with some of the most famous lines delivered in a way that makes them seem like they are being heard for the first time. Anderson has a superb singing voice which soars on many of the score's best known songs. As the Captain, Ben Davis is adept at showing how this stern man softens once Maria comes into his life. He has a stellar voice with deep and rich tones and he and Anderson form a passionate duo. Melody Betts brings a realism and earthiness to Mother Abbess. Her warmth and strong personality nicely balance the strong and softer sides of this powerful woman, and her delivery of "Climb Every Mountain" soars....The Sound of Music is a classic show. With a first rate cast and excellent direction that masterfully combine to instill a freshness into the familiar story, the national tour is an almost perfect production of one of the best loved musicals of all time. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"In 1959 when “The Sound of Music’s” stage version premiered on Broadway, critics slammed the sentimental show that starred a too-old Mary Martin as Maria, the young postulant turned governess to Captain Von Trapp’s motherless brood of seven children.  Family audiences loved the cloying story and, as younger replacement stars took over from Martin, the show accumulated a respectable 1,443 performance run. ...“The Sound of Music’s” stage versions dried up as people focused on the superior movie.  ...The revised stage version remains popular because audiences expect the movie....It doesn’t have an especially good Maria in Kerstin Anderson who doesn’t deliver anything approaching Julie Andrews’ enchanting film performance.  It has an undistinguished and often disappointing supporting cast, and the awkwardly moving physical production fails to capture Salzburg’s beauty.  Even award-winning Broadway director Jack O’Brien struggles with the nearly three hour show producing a plodding tale loaded with mediocrity and with no new zest or surprises.... " --Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

photos - THE MERCHANT OF VENICE - Southwest Shakespeare Company

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through October 29th

photos by Tom McCoy

review - THE PRICE - Theatre Artists Studio

Steven Mastroieni and Walt Pedano
photo by Mark Gluckman
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 October 30th.

"...Arthur Miller's...1968 drama “The Price,”...falls short of masterpiece status, though it starts out with some promising American Gothic intrigue. Victor Franz (Walt Pedano), a good-guy cop who keeps his head down, is looking to sell a houseful of furniture inherited from his father. T...What really keeps this production humming, though — in the first half, anyway — is Alan Austin’s charmingly infuriating turn as an old Jewish appraiser who prefers friendly philosophizing to getting down to business ...Unfortunately, the speed-bump rhythm of the narrative is much less enjoyable after the arrival of Victor’s brother (Steven Mastroieni), a successful surgeon who chose career over family loyalty. From there the play devolves into an interminable series of wrenching revelations..Miller ignores the cardinal rule of writing, “Show, don’t say.” His as if they’re recounting the fruits of decades of psychoanalysis, and that does not a compelling drama make...." - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

cast announcement - A VERY HAIRY JAVELINA HOLIDAY - Childsplay

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 19th to December 24th

Chelsea Soto as Josefina
Rudy Ramirez as Juan
Vinny Chavez as José
Rhetta Mykeal as Angelina
Jon Gentry as Caruso
Katie McFadzen as Coyote.

Director:  Dwayne Hartford
Music Director:  Todd Hulet
Choregrapher:  Molly Lajoie
Scenic Design:  Holly Windingstad
Costume/Wig Design:  D. Daniel Hollingshead
Lighting Design:  Paul Black
Sound Design:  Christopher Neumeyer
Stage Manager:  Sarah G. Chanis

review - ALIEN: A PUPPET SHOW - All Puppet Players

the "cast" of Alien: A Puppet Show
photo courtesy All Puppet Players
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 October 29th.

"All Puppet Players’ chief provocateur, performer and playwright Shaun Michael McNamara, has his shtick down pat, turning iconic films into irreverent, often R-rated farces...“Alien: A Puppet Show,” is packed with pop-culture references...But it doesn’t take an encyclopedic knowledge of movies to enjoy a loud-mouthed cat popping off dirty jokes or the delightfully low-budget “special effects” that are All Puppet Players’ trademark..."Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

photos - SOUTH PACIFIC - Spotlight Youth Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production which runs November 6th 

photos by Memory Layne Photography

Thursday, October 20, 2016

IDA - Orange Theatre & Scottsdale Community College - October 27, 28 & 29


Inspired by Modernist Novel, Downtown Phoenix Performance Group Creates New Work in Innovative Student-Professional Collaboration

Orange Theatre will present “Ida”–a new play with live music based on Gertrude Stein’s book of the same name–at the historic Synagogue Beth Hebrew in downtown Phoenix on October 27, 28, and 29 at 8pm.

Like the cubist novel that inspired it, “Ida” centers on a woman who is well known for being well known. Director Matthew Watkins explains, “Ida is never her own person. That’s how she survives. Both as a woman and as a celebrity she constantly has to sell herself. To really sell herself she has to be whatever those around her wish her to be. Throughout her life she is kept one step away from knowing who she really is. My guess is this will ring true to many in the audience.”

This new work is the result of a unique collaboration between Orange Theatre and Scottsdale Community College’s nationally recognized School of Film + Theatre. This is the first time SCC has invited professional guest artists to stage an original co-production with students in their Theatre Arts program. The goal of the project was to give students the experience of creating high-quality, technologically-sophisticated, contemporary work from scratch.

For two months, Orange’s team has been working with students, teaching skills and leading them through a process to transform Stein’s words into a piece of their own. Together, the ensemble has developed an exciting play that draws upon Stein’s book and their own personal experiences with its themes.

Six student actors will take the stage alongside two professional performers. They will be joined by a live band led by Mario Yniguez of the band Harrison Fjord. This highly choreographic piece features movement co-created by Watkins and Molly W. Schenck and sound and video design by Stephen Christensen. The scenic designer is Sabrina Reed, and David Barker contributes fight choreography.

Downtown Phoenix audiences who have been eagerly awaiting Orange Theatre’s latest offering will be able to see the show in their own backyard come the end of the month. After an initial run at SCC, “Ida” will transfer to Synagogue Beth Hebrew, a beautiful historic venue located at 333 Portland St. in Phoenix. Performances will take place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (October 27-29) at 8pm.

Tickets for the downtown shows are pay-what-you-can at the door (cash and cards accepted) or $20 for advanced reservations at The show will run approximately 70 minutes. Street parking is available near the venue, and the nearest light rail stop (Central and Roosevelt) is within a short walking distance.

In recognition of the extraordinary educational potential of this partnership, Scottsdale Community College recently won a Lifelong Learning Arts Engagement Grant of $2500 to help fund the project from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which receives support from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Orange Theatre has also launched a fundraising campaign to support some of the additional costs associated with offering this unique educational opportunity at a community college. Donors who give at least $50 can receive a reserved front-row seat at the show.

ticket discount - LOVE LETTERS - Compass Players

Compass Players is offering a great ticket offer for all remaining performances of Love Letters this weekend at the Peoria Center for the Arts.

Tickets are only $14 plus a $3 service fee!

CALL the Theater Works Box Office at 
623-815-7930 (M-F / 10am - 4pm) and give the promo code LETTERS16 to get your tickets today!

cast announcement - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs December 1st to December 31st 

George Bailey: Brian Grudzinski
Mary Bailey: Erica Parrish
Mr. Potter: Jim Coates
Joseph: Brandon Sibetang
Clarence: Tom Endicott
Uncle Billy: Robert Bledsoe
Pa Bailey / Martini / Tom: Scott Evans
Ma Bailey / Mrs. Thompson: TBD
Harry Bailey / Sam Wainwright: Brady Anderson
Mr. Gower / Mr. Welch / Ed: Therin Dastrup
Ernie / Charlie: Danny Gonsowski
Bert / Suitor 2 / Randall: Deryl Wayne
Violet / Ruth / Mrs. Davis: Mary Plante
Annie / Mrs. Hatch: Corine Hawkins
Tilly / Francis: Maddie Kinzie
Tollkeeper / Henry / Teller: Christopher Dozier
Young George / Pete: Pierce Nielsen
Young Mary / Bailey Child : Chandni Shah
Dr. Campbell / Woman on Porch / Ida: Kim Huenecke
Nick /  Man / Suitor 1 / Stage Manager: Frank Aaron
Carter (The Bank Examiner) / Lawyer / Passerby: Paul Gibson
Bailey Children: Hasley and Brailey McDaniel
Zuzu: TBD

Director: Cheryl Schaar,

reviews - THE MERCHANT OF VENICE - Southwest Shakespeare Company

the cast of Merchant of Venice
photo: Matt Chesin

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 October 29th.

REVIEW COMING SOON -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

" “The Merchant of Venice” is one of William Shakespeare’s most controversial plays. Southwest Shakespeare Company’s production proves it is as timeless as it is contentious....The play has been set in pretty much every era and time period imaginable over the past 500 years; Southwest Shakespeare Company sets theirs in the U.S. during the late 1920s, presumably just prior to the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that helped trigger the Great Depression. ...Performances and perceptions of “The Merchant of Venice,” particularly of the character Shylock, have varied and morphed according to current cultures over the past 500 years, and it’s no surprise that Southwest Shakespeare Company keeps Shylock a complicated character, simultaneously a sympathetic figure and a villain....Actor Mike Traylor gives a superb performance as Shylock, with a bent-over posture in a suit slightly too large for him that makes him seem small ...and a multicultural accent that sounded simultaneously like a Jewish person from New York, a Hispanic man, and an Arab – which somehow worked quite well...there is hardly a wholly admirable character in all of “The Merchant of Venice,” save for perhaps Portia, played with aplomb by a black-bobbed, flapper-looking Alison Campbell. But the performances are great across the board, from the portrayals of Bassanio’s friends as zoot suited wise guys to David Dickinson’s flamboyant performances as Launcelot Gobbo, the Prince of Morocco, and the Prince of Aragon. ...The cast and director Kent Burnham season the production with subliminal symbols...given the potent and poignant closing scene, which was not in Shakespeare’s original play but which elevates Southwest Shakespeare Company’s production to “must-see” status, regardless of how many times you’ve read or seen “The Merchant of Venice” already. That’s all we’ll say about that. You really should see it for yourself. When watching a play that’s been around for half a millennium, audience members may ask themselves if there’s anything new or different a company could bring to the table. Southwest Shakespeare Company’s production of “The Merchant of Venice” is a resounding “yes.”" --Niki D'Andrea, Phoenix Magazine (click here to read the complete review)

"...director Kent Burnham’s attempt to balance the play’s comedic aspects with its endemic anti-Semitism shows just how difficult a needle “The Merchant of Venice” is to thread for modern audiences....Burnham has re-set the play at the tail end of the Roaring Twenties in New York City...Far more problematic is the premise that the law might stand behind a legal document that has one party consent to being murdered by the other....Like most contemporary directors, Burnham attempts to deal with the anti-Semitic premise by underlining, rather than glossing over, the bigotry of the times. .. But he also aims to have his cake and eat it too by playing up the comedy, which undermines his attempts to grapple with the play’s disturbing content.....the quality of acting here varies widely. Kyle Sorrell is endearingly sincere as Bassanio, Antonio’s bosom buddy and the eventual winner of Portia’s hand in marriage. And Keath David Hall is a certified scene stealer as Gratiano, Bassanio’s earthy sidekick. Traylor’s Shylock, on the other hand, does this production no favors. He makes a sincere attempt at humanizing the character, but his faux Eastern European accent unfortunately comes off as yet another caricature, and his overacted pathos fails to bring Shylock to life... " Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

ticket discount - THE WORLD FAMOUS EDWARDS TWINS - October 26th

After selling out their performances in town last year, The World Famous Edwards Twins are back- but for one performance only!

And they've got a last minute ticket offer!

Get $20 tickets with the code "Streisand".

That's a discount of over half off (originally $60)!

CLICK HERE to order your tickets today!