Friday, October 20, 2017

WEEK AT A GLANCE: October 16 - October 22

photos - THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS - Desert Stages Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 19th

photos by Renee Ashlock

photos - THE NETHER - ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through October 22nd

photos by Tim Trumble, courtesy of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

reviews - MAN OF LA MANCHA - Arizona Broadway Theatre

Geoff Belliston, Jessica Medoff, James Rio, and Andy Meyers
photo by Scott Samplin
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 11th.

".Based on the novel by Miguel de Cervantes, and incorporating Cervantes himself into the story, the classic musical Man of La Mancha is receiving a solid production from Arizona Broadway Theatre. ...features a talented cast led by Phoenix favorite James Rio as Cervantes and rich creative elements which are exceptional. Dale Wasserman's touching, moving, and slightly comical book incorporates Cervantes as the main character who is imprisoned during the Spanish Inquisition. While he is waiting to be tried, he must defend his prized manuscript in a mock trial conducted by his fellow prisoners, which takes place in the dungeon where they are all being held. Cervantes woos the inmates by telling the story of Don Quixote, the aging "mad" knight who travels with his squire Sancho and believes he has found the woman of his dreams, Dulcinea, in the kitchen wench Aldonza....features a lush, melodic score...which sounds excellent at ABT under James May's taut music direction...Wasserman's book, which is a bit convoluted,... features a touching message of hope and understanding..Director Joseph Martinez sticks fairly close to the style of many other productions of this show I've seen...and his cast throw themselves into the performance of these iconic, beloved characters. James Rio's Cervantes is full of warmth, care and understanding for his fellow inmates. ....Jessica Medoff is very good as Aldonza. She creates a woman who is full of passion and fire. ...ABT favorite Andy Meyers is charming and full of life as the fun-loving devoted servant who will do anything for Cervantes. ...Martinez's direction is fluid and he evokes good performances from his large cast and also ensures the play within the play aspect is never lost....The excellent set design by Kara Thomson features stone turrets and an elevated staircase...Lottie Dixon's costumes...feature multiple fabrics and styles and rich details. William Kirkham's lighting is stunning ...Arizona Broadway Theatre continues to present beautiful productions of classic musicals. Their Man of La Mancha features a talented cast and effective direction and creative elements. While the musical is a slightly funny adventure tale, it also has at its core a deep message about hope and compassion. It may be fifty years old, and Cervantes' novel was written five hundred years ago, but those simple messages are ones that still resonate today and come through beautifully in ABT's lovely production. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...The wonderful thing about Man of La Mancha is that it truly is piece of great theatre and incorporates all the elements that make imaginative theatre great. ...After the opening sound of a terrific scene-setting trumpet fanfare, courtesy of John Eth in conductor James May’s equally terrific seven-piece orchestra, the Arizona Broadway Theatre’s plush red curtain rises upon scenic designer Kara Thomson’s handsome looking set, the kind so full of detail that once revealed you can’t help but want to explore all of its nooks and realize that what you’re about to see is a re-designed version of the musical, one that doesn’t require so much of your imagination, your willing suspension of disbelief, or too many lighting changes to transport you to other locations, the set does all the work for you. As directed by Joseph Martinez, when James Rio’s Cervantes takes charge and casts his characters from the available prisoners, he explains what is needed of them, but he’s really talking directly to us, breaking that fourth wall, relating events to the ABT audience when he should be directing everything to the cast...Perhaps the difference to this particular approach will be lost on those new to the production, but like the set that doesn’t fully reflect the show’s original intention, neither does talking to the audience reflect Dale Wasserman’s original writing.....Rio nicely captures that elderly Don Quixote look ... His singing voice serves the songs well....but his speaking voice, though strong with clarity, lacks the emotional energy the part often requires... Jessica Medoff...makes a handsome Escalante/Aldonza. Her fiery delivery when performing in the play-within-the play captures exactly what Aldonza’s character is..." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"...Today, in times that strain our idealism, MAN OF LA MANCHA offers a welcome emotional uplift ...In Arizona Broadway Theatre's spirited production of the musical, James Rio is the force providing that uplift, fulfilling Wasserman's vision...Rio embodies the duality that defines Cervantes-Don Quixote....Rio, with a rich baritone voice, is soulful, delivering a Cervantes that is erudite and pragmatic and a Quixote that is starry-eyed, vulnerable, and determined to save the day ~ at whatever cost....With his trusty sidekick Sancho Panza (Andy Meyers playing the perfect foil), Quixote sallies forth into danger and fateful romance (visualizing the salty and sassy barmaid Aldonza as the saintly Dulcinea (Jessica Medoff). Kara Thomson's grand scale recreation of a foreboding dungeon demands an equally robust production. While the pacing of the show lags at times and the choreography falters, the overall effect of Joseph Martinez's direction is a stirring reminder of what may be possible when we dare to reach for the stars on behalf of a heavenly cause..." Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

Studio 3 Performing Arts presents PARENTING IN THE SPOTLIGHT - November 18

Celebrity Child Acting Coach, Denise Simon, Launches New Book:
Parenting In the Spotlight: How to Raise a Child Star
Without Screwing Them Up

FREE book talk and signing
With purchase of book
Saturday, November 18
4:15 – 5:30 pm
Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy
511 W. Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert, AZ

Renowned NYC acting coach & former talent manager to hundreds of kids including: Noah Schnapp & Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things)
Scarlett Johansson, Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, Scrubs’ Judy Reyes and Lacey Chabert
brings her expertise to parents raising kids on stage or on set

New York, NY – June 26, 2017 — Renowned child acting coach, Denise Simon, has coached some of the most talented and award-winning kids in film, TV, and Broadway, and is now bringing her expertise to help guide parents though the entertainment industry with her new book, Parenting in the Spotlight: How to Raise a Child Star Without Screwing Them Up (Thomas Noble Books). Simon, who has 30+ years of experience working with child actors and their parents, shares many helpful tips and practical advice, as well as life lessons to help parents support their child to reap the greatest enjoyment and benefits from acting.

“The media likes to hype the stories of child stars who struggled or crumbled under the pressure. However, in my thirty years of experience in this business, I have seen just the opposite. The vast majority of child actors I have known grew into accomplished, successful adults — and a lot of that is thanks to their parents,” said Simon.

Here is what people are saying about the book:

“In terms of genuine understanding of not only the craft, but the business, you won’t get any better than Denise Simon.” - Judy Reyes, Scrubs, Devious Minds

“I am thrilled to have a helpful suggestion to give to the parents who approach me about their children.  I know firsthand of Denise’s kindness and talent, and think this book will be an invaluable tool in navigating an often difficult journey.” - Meg Simon, VP Casting, Warner Bros. Television

“The advice and life lessons in this book are extremely helpful.  This is a must-read for parents with a child performer. - Karine Schnapp, mother of Noah Schnapp of Stranger Things

Parenting in the Spotlight: How to Raise a Child Star Without Screwing Them Up, takes parents through the journey of child acting – from evaluating a child’s passion meter, to the ins and outs of the industry, getting representation, tips for auditions, and coping with rejection. The book also guides parents through their role, the teen years, and preparing for college auditions.
About Denise Simon: Denise Simon is a renowned child acting coach, who is recommended by New York’s top agents, managers and casting directors for her ability to coach young actors without them looking coached. A veteran of the industry as an actress, teacher, director, casting director and personal talent manager, Denise has coached hundreds of children and young adults, privately and on-set, who appear regularly on Broadway, TV and film. Denise is a columnist for and is a member of the New York SAG-AFTRA Young Performers Committee. Learn more at

Thursday, October 19, 2017

audition notice - A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL - Actor's Youth Theatre - October 21

Join Actor's Youth Theatre THIS SATURDAY for auditions for the beloved classic holiday tale, A Christmas Story, The Musical.

With music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the musical duo behind Dear Evan Hansen, this musical rave reviews on its Broadway run.The delightfully versatile score ranges from gentle ballads to show-stopping full-ensemble numbers. A Christmas Story, The Musical brings an exciting new dimension to those who love the movie and will certainly stand on its own for those who haven't.

CLICK HERE to sign up for an audition slot!

photos - PIRATES: A LOVE STORY - State 48 Theatre Company

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through October 28th

photos by Lisa Webb / Southwest Shots Photography

ticket discount - 2 for 1 tickets for THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, ABRIDGED - Fountain Hills Theater


SPECIAL 2-for-1! Call, or use code "241shake." You don't have to love Shakespeare to love this live show! This Wayne's World-meets-Shakespeare experience is a hilarious adventure!

Just 15 minutes east of Scottsdale, in Fountain Hills.

CLICK HERE to order your tickets now!

review - THE THREE MUSKETEERS - Southwest Shakespeare Company

Spencer Dooley, Keath Hall, Aaron Blanco, Shelby Daeffler, and Andy Cahoon
photo by Patrick Walsh
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 28th.

".Alexandre Dumas' classic 1844 action tale "The Three Musketeers" got a slightly comical update in the 2004 stage adaptation from playwright Ken Ludwig. Southwest Shakespeare Company fills the stage of the Mesa Arts Center with exceptional, non-stop swordplay, and their talented cast create rich and identifiable roles in this fun and frilly production....Ludwig is well known for his hilarious scripts for the Tony Award winning musical Crazy for You and his Tony-nominated Lend Me a Tenor. While audiences familiar with those shows may be expecting his Three Musketeers to reach the same heights of comic hilarity those two popular shows achieved, he strangely keeps most of the humor at a minimum and follows Dumas' action-themed story fairly closely, though with some nice added characters and touches. The best addition he makes is to add a sister for D'Artagnan, a feisty tomboy who is also a gifted swordswoman and factors nicely into the plot. Director Jesse James Kamps has assembled a cast who throw themselves into their roles with a gleeful passion...and he keeps the action-centric plot fairly focused. As D'Artagnan, Andy Cahoon is a charming, eager and ambitious lad ...Spencer Dooley, Keath Hall, and Aaron Blanco form a fun, frolicking and fearsome trio of friends who just happen to also be the famous musketeers. Blanco also choreographed the exceptional fight sequences which are varied, robust, and well executed by the large cast....Tiana Torrilhon's large set includes some lovely stone arches and curved steps that are beautifully lit by Daniel Davisson to evoke the different times of day and locations in the plot. I just wish that some of the large static set had elements that moved, such as having the stairs change position to form a different stage image, which would better transform into the numerous locations in the plot. The costumes by Jessica Florez are superb and include various fabrics with touches of velvet and embroidery. ...Full of courage, bravery and plenty of swashbuckling vigor, The Three Musketeers isn't quite as broadly comical as Ludwig's other plays, which could prove a bit of a disappointment for any fans of his more famous farces. However, with a passionate cast, sumptuous creative elements, and some stunning fight choreography, Southwest Shakespeare's production makes for a highly entertaining and incredibly fun adventure. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

audition notice - NO, NO NANETTE - Hale Centre Theatre - November 4

Hale Centre Theatre will hold auditions for No, No, Nanette, playing February 15, 2018 – March 31, 2018. The show is produced by David and Corrin Dietlein, directed by Cambrian James, music directed by Liz Spencer, choreographed by Cambrian James, and casting directors David and Corrin Dietlein. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday nights, with 3:00 PM Friday and Saturday matinees. All ethnicities are encouraged to audition.

No, No Nanette is a lighthearted romp showcasing the charming music of Vincent Youmans. The wacky story involves three couples sharing a cottage in Atlantic City in the midst of a blackmail scheme, with plenty of deception, romantic mishaps, and comical misunderstandings. The score includes two of the best-known songs in musical theatre – “Tea for Two” and “I Want to Be Happy” – as well as “I’ve Confessed To The Breeze,” “You Can Dance With Any Girl” and “Take a Little One-Step.”

Audition Information: Saturday, November 4th at 10:00 AM
Be prepared to sing 16 bars of music.
Bring your own sheet music; an accompanist will be provided.
The casting directors use Casting Manager during the casting process. Please post your head shot and resume to your Casting Manager profile.

Call Backs
Call backs for No, No, Nanette will be held Saturday, November 11th at 10:00 AM (at the Hale Theatre) with the first read through scheduled for Monday, January 2nd at 7:00 PM.

Audition Location 
Auditions will be held at the theater located at the Hale Theatre at 50 West Page Avenue in Gilbert, Arizona 85233.

How to make an appointment
You can sign up for appointments by going to

Each adult actor 16 years of age and older will receive a payment of $25.00 per performance. Actors will be given a flat rate rehearsal pay of $150.00.

Other Notes
Runtime: Approximately 2 hours. Auditions are by appointment only. Any questions may be emailed to


JIMMY SMITH: (45-65; Male; low C to high A) A warm, loveable, hard working and successful Bible publisher. He cannot resist helping distressed women.

NANETTE: (18-25; Female; low bB to high B) The Smiths' niece, in love with Tom but wants to "taste the Roaring Twenties" before she settles down.

SUE SMITH: (45-65; Female; low G to high Bb) Jimmy's plain, loyal, frugal, suspicious and strict wife. Must tap dance.

BILLY EARLY: (25-45; Male; low bB to F#) Jimmy's friend and lawyer - flashy. Must dance.

LUCILLE EARLY: (25-40; Female; low bB to F) Billy's wife - a glamorous cosmopolitan whose main hobby is shopping. Sue's best friend. Must dance.

TOM TRAINER: (18-25; Male; low B to high #F) Lucille's nephew and Billy's law clerk. He is straight-laced, possessive and in love with Nanette. He has to soft shoe in 'Tea for Two.'

PAULINE: (35-50; Female; E to high A) The Smith's overworked maid. Good comedic timing.

FLORA LATHAM: (30-40; Female; low C to Eb) A busty, widowed greedy woman whom receives money from Jimmy.

BETTY BROWN: (20-32; Female; low C to high F) A young, pretty, greedy girl that Jimmy met at the railway station who receives money from Jimmy.

WINNIE WINSLOW: (18-32; Female; low C to high F) A young, pretty, greedy girl with literary ambitions whom receives money from Jimmy.

ENSEMBLE: (20-30) Chorus who sing and dance.Including tap.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stage Left Production's 2018 Season!

The Last Romance
A Romantic Comedy
by Joe DiPietro

January 26th-28th 2018

A crush can make anyone feel young again—even a widower named Ralph. On an ordinary day in a routine life, Ralph decides to take a different path on his daily walk—one that leads him to an unexpected second chance at love.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
A Drama
by Tennessee Williams

March 24th-31st 2018

In a plantation house, a family celebrates the sixty-fifth birthday of Big Daddy, as they sentimentally dub him. The mood is somber, despite the festivities, because a number of evils poison the gaiety: greed, sins of the past and desperate, clawing hopes for the future spar with one another as the knowledge that Big Daddy is dying slowly makes the rounds.

Things My Mother Taught Me
A Comedy
by Katherine DiSavino

May 11th-20th 2018

Olivia and Gabe are moving into their first apartment together, halfway across the country from their parents, so imagine their surprise when everyone shows up to help them. Funny and touching, this one will make you laugh out loud and fall in love all over again.

Five Women Wearing The Same Dress
A Comedy
by Alan Ball

August 17th-26th 2018

During an ostentatious wedding reception at a Knoxville, Tennessee, estate, five reluctant, identically clad bridesmaids hide out in an upstairs bedroom, each with her own reason to avoid the proceedings below. As the afternoon wears on, these five very different women joyously discover a common bond in this wickedly funny, irreverent, and touching celebration of the women's spirit.

The Great Gatsby
A Drama
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Adapted for the stage by Simon Levy

September 28th-October 7th 2018

Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan. Nick Carraway, a young newcomer to Long Island, is drawn into their world of obsession, greed and danger. The breathtaking glamour and decadent excess of the Jazz Age come to the stage in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel.

Miracle on 34th Street
A Comedy-Drama
Based upon the 20th Century Fox motion picture
"Miracle on 34th Street"
Adapted for the stage by Mountain Community Theater from the novel by Valentine Davies

December 14th-16th 2018

By chance, Kris Kringle, an old man , gets a job working as Santa for Macy's. Is he just a man with a holiday complex? Or is he the real deal?

audition notice - VERDICT - Desert Stages Theatre - November 19

Directed by Virginia Olivieri

Karl Hendryk, a brilliant professor who, with his wife and her cousin, have fled persecution in their homeland to find themselves ensconced in London. The play concerns itself with the relationships the professor has with the women in his life. His wife, Anya, who is suffering from a progressively debilitating disease, her cousin and caregiver, Lisa, and Helen Rollander, a spoiled student who takes up private lessons with the professor.

Audition Date & Time:
Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 7:00pm

Monday November 20th, 2017 at 7:00pm

Cold reads from the script. Please be familiar with the play.
Head shot and resume required.

Register at

Lester Cole/Sergeant Pearce: M 20's-30's
Mrs. Roper: F 40's-60's
Lisa Koletzky: F 30's-40's (think Marion Crane)
Professor Karl Hendryk: M 40's-60's
Dr. Stoner: M 50's-60's
Anya Hendryk: F 40's-50's
Helen Rollander: F 20's
Sir William Rollander/Inspector Ogden: 40's-60's

Holly meets Esther at Hale Theatre

Lily Nelson and Holly Payne
photo courtesy Hale Centre Theatre
by Jennifer Haaland

While actor Holly Payne was busy reinventing Judy Garland's 1944 MGM role of Esther from the sweetly sentimental Meet Me in St. Louis musical at Hale Centre Theatre, it seems Esther was surreptitiously reinventing Holly.  Payne shared her leading lady experiences with PHX Stages on the dawn of the production's charmingly successful opening night.

"Esther has truly been a little challenge for me because I myself am an introvert. I don't really get out much," Payne said, "but Esther is a huge extrovert, really active. She loves parties. She wants to make sure everyone is having a good time."

As St. Louis buzzes with preparations for the 1904 World's Fair, Esther is one of the Smith family's four sisters in the romantic comedy.  The plot bounces forward primarily by way of Esther being "head over heels for the boy next door," John, according to Payne.  The musical birthed unforgettable tunes into America's psyche, including "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

"Now I hear that song a little differently," said Payne of the unforgettable Christmas carol. "It's more beautiful, has more meaning, because Esther is using the words to try and comfort her sister...and herself. [She's assuring them both that] as long as they are together, they can be happy anywhere."

Movie fans might be interested to know that, while all of the wonderful Garland tunes are present in Hale's production, the spotlight shines more evenly on the entire cast. Payne said that each of the primary characters have musical numbers of their own.

"In the stage play the story just makes so much more sense, and you get to fall in love with all of the characters," Payne said.

She described how welcoming Meet Me in St Louis is in the way that it "takes you back to a simpler time."  The simpler time included stunning fashions that yield absolutely "gorgeous costumes" on Hale's theatre-in-the-round stage. By Payne's descriptions, it's a lot to fall in love with.

"I fell in love with my character because she has a lot of confidence, and" it turns out, Payne said, "she's made me a lot more confident. Esther has changed me because I've just grown right along with the character."

cast announcement - NUNCRACKERS: THE NUNSENSE CHRISTMAS MUSICAL - Desert Stages Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs from December 1st to December 24th

Sister Mary Regina (Reverend Mother) - Lynn Golden
Sister Mary Hubert - Sydney Davis
Sister Robert Anne - Sarah Golden
Sister Mary Paul (aka Amnesia) - Emma Nowicki
Sister Mary Leo - Grace Darling
Father Virgil Manly Trott - Rob Dominguez

The kids:
Brielle Quintana
Constanca Langer
Petra Milan Danek
Kennedy Frakes
Bridget Zatarga-Fronstin

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

audition notice - JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH - CYT Phoenix - November 3 & 4

cast announcement - DISNEY'S NEWSIES - Phoenix Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs from November 15th to December 31st

Jack: James Gish*
Katherine: Emilie Doering
Pulitzer: Rusty Ferracane
Davey: Cooper Hallstrom
Medda: Chanel Bragg
Crutchie: Brandon Brown
Delancey Brother 1/Newsie: Sam Primack
Delancey Brother 2/Newsie: Skyler Bean*
Dance Ensemble: Aidan Lutton
Dance Ensemble: Alexander Richardson
Dance Ensemble: Anthony Gabriel
Dance Ensemble (Dance Captain): Brant Michaels*
Nun: Caelan Creaser
Dance Ensemble: Cole Newburg
Nun: Cydney Trent*
Dance Ensemble: Danny Hammond
Dance Ensemble: Darren McArthur
Dance Ensemble: Eddie Olmo II
Les/Dance Ensemble: Joey Dean
Dance Ensemble: John Batchan
Swing/Pit Singer: Jonny Ramirez
Dance Ensemble: Logan Scott Mitchell*
Dance Ensemble: Matthew Dean
Ensemble: Phillip Neil Arran
Nun: Riley Glick
Ensemble: Terry Gadaire
Dance Ensemble: Wesley Barnes

*member, Actors' Equity Association

cast announcement - SEE HOW THEY RUN - Hale Centre Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs from December 30th to February 10th

Reverend Lionel Toop: Jacob Goodman
Penelope Toop: Alexis Harris
Corporal Clive Winton: Vinny Chavez
Ida, the Maid: Lindsay Hope
Miss Skillon: Ami Porter
The Intruder: Matthew Harris
The Bishop of Lax: Darryl Poenisch
Reverend Arthur Humphrey: Justin Howell
Sergeant Towers: Eric Mitchell

promo photos - BUILDING THE WALL - iTheatre Collaborative

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

Phillip Herrington (l) & DeAngelus Grisby

photos courtesy iTheatre Collaborative

THE HALLOWEEN TREE - ASU Lyric Opera Theatre - October 29th

Join us for a reading of a work in progress, aptly timed for Halloween. Traveling across space and time, from Egypt to Mexico, from prehistory to modern day, a group of children undertake an epic journey to find their friend Pipkin, who has mysteriously disappeared on Halloween night. Through their search, the children learn about the cultural and historical traditions that have led to the celebration of Halloween today. In collaboration with the ASU Chamber Singers. Appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Music by Theo Popov; libretto by Tony Asaro; based on the novel by Ray Bradbury, commission by American Lyric Theater; Lawrence Edelson, producing artistic director; developed under the auspices of the Composer Librettist Development Program.

Sun 10/29 - 6pm
ASU Kerr Cultural Center, Scottsdale, AZ

For information or tickets call ASU Kerr Center Box Office at 480-596-2660

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, and to purchase tickets

Monday, October 16, 2017

WEEK AT A GLANCE - October 16 - October 22

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





Ghostlight Theatre 
October 26 - November 5, 2017

Zao Theatre
October 27 - November 11, 2017

Black Theatre Troupe 
October 27 - November 12, 2017

Theater Works 
October 27 - November 12, 2017

Valley Youth Theatre
October 28 - November 19, 2017

ASU Gammage 
October 31-November 5, 2017

Davisson Entertainment 
October 31 – November 5, 2017

Starlight Community Theater 
November 3 & 4, 2017

Brelby Theatre Company
November 3 - November 11, 2017

Mesa Community College 
November 3 - 11, 2017

Paradise Valley Community College 
November 3 - 12, 2017

Mesa Encore Theatre 
November 3 - November 19, 2017

Fountain Hills Theater
November 3 - 19, 2017

Westbrook Village Players
November 4 - 12, 2017