Monday, September 25, 2017

WEEK AT A GLANCE: September 25 - October 1

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

CLOSING:





STORY THEATRE
Mesa Community College Theatre and Film Arts
October 6 - 14, 2017


THE WOMAN IN BLACK 
Mesa Encore Theatre 
October 6 - 22, 2017

FRANKENSTEIN HAS NO LEGS 
All Puppet Players 
October 6 - 28, 2017

DEPEND ON ME
Brelby Theatre Company
October 6 - October 28, 2017

HAIRSPRAY 
Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre 
October 6 - November 05, 2017

THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Desert Foothills Theater 
October 7-15, 2017

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
Hale Centre Theatre
October 12, 2017 - November 25, 2017

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU 
Starlight Community Theater 
October 13 - 22, 2017

TARTUFFE
Grand Canyon University
October 13 - 22, 2017

THE NETHER 
ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre 
October 13 - 22, 2017

THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Southwest Shakespeare Company
October 13 - 28, 2017

FRANKENSTEIN 
Theater Works 
October 13 - 29, 2017

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ABRIDGED
Fountain Hills Theater
October 13 - 29, 2017

SWITZERLAND 
Theatre Artists Studio
October 13 – November 5, 2017

Changing it up with Brandi Bigley at Black Theatre Troupe

Noah McNeil and Brandi Bigley
photo by Laura Durant
by Jennifer Haaland

When is a washing machine not a washing machine?  Black Theatre Troupe reveals the answer and so many more important changes in their current musical production of Caroline or Change.  Brandi Bigley, who plays Rose, visited with Phx Stages about some of those changes.

Caroline or Change had a brief run on Broadway in 2004 and focused on the transformations that literal pocket change can make in the lives of those who jingle it. Namely, Caroline, is a black woman working as a maid, doing the laundry, for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana.  That Jewish family has recently suffered a death, and Rose arrives in the aftermath.

"My character, Rose, is trying to assimilate into a family she's not accustomed to. She's been a 'daddy's girl' from the Upper West Side. She seems to marry this guy more as a favor than out of love," said Bigley. "Mostly, it's really important to her to make everyone like her. She's overwhelmed but wants to be a good new wife and mother. So she focuses on making this one little change..."

Rose's attempt to make her stepson Noah more responsible directly affects Caroline, who is allowed to keep any change she finds in Noah's pockets. Blurring the line between man (no, woman) and machine, inanimate objects like the washer and dryer are played by humans as the plot develops.

"Caroline's job is in the basement and the washer and dryer and radio all have human counterparts down there," Bigley said. "They are sort of narrating her thoughts. The washer sings. The dryer is this devilish, ominous voice inside her head. My favorite basement machine is the radio. It is played by these three actresses who are sort of The Supremes. They have tight, tight harmonies and glamorous costumes."

From blues to klezmer to gospel to jazz, Caroline's score changes up the music to reflect the characters' heritage and lives.  Beyond blending Jewish and African American sound, the numbers reveal character changes that don't get verbalized.

"Rose is a pretty uptight, closed character. But the rhythm of the music usually shows her mood. Even if her words or lyrics don't announce it, you can hear it in the score, how worried and nervous she is," Bigley said.

For Black Theatre Troupe, changing the theatre's physical space to accommodate a live 'pit' has been a fantastic puzzle to solve.  According to Bigley, the company has solved it creatively.

"There's a challenge in that we do have live music, an orchestra for the show,  which I love," said Bigley. "But there's no pit at this theatre, so the live music is being piped in from a different room in the building."

Bigley noted that she "fell in love with this show...by just listening to the cast recording." Bigley, with Caroline or Change at Black Theatre Troupe is harnessing the power to transform, and inviting us to share in it.



audition notice - Additional individuals needed for CABARET - Fountain Hills Theater

from our friends at Fountain Hills Theater:

We are seeking additional talented individuals for our upcoming production of CABARET!

We are seeking strong dancers (male and female) ages 18-35 who can sing. Rehearsals begin September 30th. Productions dates November 3rd through the 19th.

If you missed out on the opportunity to be part of our phenomenal production of CHICAGO, but want to be part of another Kander & Ebb favorite, email Producer Leah Klein at klein.leah12@yahoo.com or Director Peter Hill at Peter@fhtaz.org.

promo photos - THE SECRET GARDEN - Musical Theatre of Anthem

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs from September 28 - October 8



photos by Michele Celentano

cast announcement - THE WOMAN IN BLACK - Davisson Entertainment

David Dickinson and Greg Lutz
photo by Reg Madison Photography
Arthur Kipps: Greg Lutz
The Actor: David Dickinson

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs October 31 - November 5

Desert Foothills Theater's ANNIE adoption event with Halo Animal Rescue - October 7



From our friends at DFT:

As part of our upcoming production of the classic musical Annie, Desert Foothills Theater in proud
partnership with HALO Animal Rescue announces Annie’s  “A New Tomorrow."

HALO will join The Foothills Community Foundation and Desert Foothills Theater on October 7th in welcoming the public to this special adoption event where kids and adults alike will have the opportunity to be just like Annie and provide a forever home to a dog in need.

WHERE: FOOTHILLS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION HOLLAND COMMUNITY CENTER
34250 N. 60TH STREET, BLDG. B
SCOTTSDALE, AZ 85266

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2017
10AM TO 1PM

Enjoy live performances by the cast of DFT's upcoming production of Annie as well as gourmet dog biscuits for both dogs and humans provided by My Sweet Blessings Bakery.

For more information please visit: http://www.dftheater.org/annies-a-new-tomorrow

promo photos - SOUTH PACIFIC - Almost Famous Theatre Company

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs from September 28 to October 1







photos courtesy Almost Famous Theatre Company

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Presenters announced for the 2017 ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence



YOUTH CEREMONY

Supporting Actress and Actor – Play & Musical: Holly Chavet & Kaylee Kasper -Acting Zone

Scholarship Presentation: Flynnan Janisse

Performance: CATS - Limelight: Meribeth Reeves -ariZoni Board

Lighting and Scenic Design: Jonathan Nilson- Musical Theatre of Anthem

Costume Design and Hair & Makeup Design: Connor Brigola & Shayna Padjen -Limelight Performing Arts

In Memoriam: Richard Powers-Hardt - ariZoni Board

Performance: Les Miserables - Theater Works Youth Works: MaryLou Stephens -ariZoni Board

Sound and Property Design: Iris Lochner & Kaitlyn Hohl -Fountain Hills Theater

Choreographer and Music Director: Lily Castle & Gabe Ozaki - Desert Foothills Theater

Original Script & Original Music Composition: Devon Policci & Phoenix Cyphert -Spotlight Youth Theatre

Performance: Dracula Actor's Youth Theatre - Kandyce Hughes - ariZoni Board

Artistic Specialization: Helene Benigno - Ghostlight Theatre

Actress and Actor in a Major Role – Play & Musical: Steve Hilderbrandt & Mary Farrington-Lorch - Theater Works

Performance:  American Idiot   Spotlight Youth Theatre - Gil Benbrook - ariZoni Board

Director – Play & Director – Musical: Savoy Graca & William Rippenkroeger - Starlight Community Theater

Overall Production - Play & Musical: Calvin Mugge & Kendra Matthews -East Valley Children's Theatre

Closing: Rob Stuart - ariZoni Board


ADULT CEREMONY


Supporting Actress and Actor – Play: Maren Macarelli & Elaine EE Moe -Scottsdale Community College

Supporting Actress and Actor –Musical: Eric Thurnbeck & Will Hightower - Stray Cat Theatre

Guest Actor in a Play: Brett Aiken - Theater Works

Performance: Avenue Q - Scottsdale Community College: MaryLou Stephens - ariZoni Board

Distinguished Service Award: Chris Hamby - Theater Works

Lighting and Scenic Design: Gil Benbrook -ariZoni Board

Costume Design and Hair & Makeup Design: Jennafer Sanker - All Puppet Players

In Memoriam: Richard Powers-Hardt ariZoni Board

Performance: Thoroughly Modern Millie - Hale Centre Theatre: Heidi-Liz Johnson Hale Centre Theatre

Director – Play & Director – Musical: Shari Watts & Shannon Phelps - Fountain Hills Theater

Sound and Property Design: Pat Drapac - Starlight Community Theater
Raquel Jarvill Starlight

Choreographer and Music Director: Mickey Bryce & Peter Cunniff - Zao Theatre

Stage Management Award: Pam Pershing & Suze St. John - Mesa Encore Theatre

Original Script & Original Music Composition: Kevin Dressler & Kara Thomson -Mesa Communty College

Performance:  Nunsense - Ghostlight Theatre & Desert Foothills Theatre: Meribeth Reeves - Desert Foothills Theater / ariZoni Board

Artistic Specialization: Duane Daniels - Space 55

Actress and Actor in a Major Role – Play & Actress and Actor in a Major Role – Musical:  Devon Mahon & Chelsea Jauregui - Brelby Theatre Company

Outstanding Contribution: Katie McFadzen

Performance: Shrek the Musical: Andy Newman & Xandra Gunnel -Queen Creek Performing Arts Center

Overall Production - Play & Overall Production - Musical:  TA Burrows & Christina Robinson - Desert Foothills Theatere

Closing: Rob Stuart - ariZoni Board


The 2017 ariZoni Awards ceremonies are Monday September 25th, Youth Celebration at 5:30 and Adult Celebration at 8:00 - Tickets are on sale now. Click here for more information.

Pulling Strings with Billy in CHICAGO

Chris Fidler
photo by Candy Thornton/Easel Photography
by Jennifer Haaland

Mesa Encore Theatre's (MET's) current production of the musical Chicago features actor Chris Fidler as the suave puppet-master and lawyer Billy Flynn.  Fidler, in suit and tie form, chatted with PHX Stages at the Mesa Arts Center a few minutes before the show last week.

"The story of Chicago--just like every other experience in Billy's life--is about Billy. Everything is for him... the murderesses, the reporters... only exist to contribute to what's happening in his life," said Fidler about the famous show that celebrates wonton crime with songs like "All That Jazz" and "Cell Block Tango."

Contrary to Billy's warped egocentrism, most would say the plot revolves around Velma and Roxie, two imprisoned murderesses in the 1920s who, true to similar documented cases of the day, were acquitted. If an accused female knew which strings to pull in the system, she won both fame and her freedom. The piece is a satire about sensationalism that existed in journalism at the time.

"It's scary that this story is as relevant as ever," Fidler said. "It's about the unreasonable power that our news sources have, whether or not what they report is actually true."

Discussing how the cast in Mesa sizzles with sultry jazz dance and music, he indicated the kind of flash and twisted fun that results. Fidler further described one of his favorite departures from traditional presentations of Chicago that the MET creative team chose to take.

"We have embraced Bob Fosse's vision at every opportunity, but also added a different element to the number 'We Both Reached for the Gun.' Rather than being a ventriloquist, Billy in our production is a marionette master. I love that angle and it's pageantry. It demonstrates the kind of manipulation Billy is best at."

Those velvety red strings also allow actress Kara Marzulo, an accomplished dancer, the liberty of some great puppet choreography as Roxie, rather than confining her to a seated position. There's so much more fluff and swagger that Billy promotes, too.  Fidler concludes on a humble note, saying he's excited for the nightly audience reaction to a character that was a stretch for him to play.

"Just this week I finally locked in on who my personal Billy is. I actually heard his voice in my head--the tone and inflections--and suddenly knew exactly who he is. He's not like any character I've ever played."

Locked and loaded, Fidler aims to string the audience along on a wild, depraved ride through Mesa Encore Theatre's Chicago.

CLICK HERE for more information on CHICAGO at Mesa Encore Theatre, which runs through September 24th

Friday, September 22, 2017

photos - HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH - Phoenix Theatre / A/C Theatre Company

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 12th











photos by Reg Madison Photography

cast announcement - ANNIE - Desert Foothills Theater



Katerina Anderson.................................................................................. July
Sienna Armstrong.............................................................................. Orphan
Gabby Astrowsky.............................................................................. Orphan
Dorry Bailes....................................................................................... Orphan
Kat Bailes........................................................................................... Sophie
Bronte Bowling............................................................ Annette/Boylan Sister
Scott Chamoff........................................................................ Drake/Bundles
Stella Chamoff..................................................................................... Tessie
Abigail Fontes.......................................................................... Boylan Sister
Avery Gunderson................................................................................... Kate
Lori Hamilton Smith...................................................................... Ensemble
Lilly Hamilton Smith......................................................................... Orphan
Scout-Leigh Holland............................................................................ Molly
Allyson Igielski..................................................................... Miss Hannigan
McKenzie Jessen............................................................................ Ensemble
Peyton Jones............................................................... Manservant/Ensemble
Andrew Lipman................................................................................ Rooster
Erin McFeely........................................................................... Lily St. Regis
Megan McCrory.......................................................... Cecille/Boylan Sister
Drea Metzger....................................................................................... Duffy
Steve Morgan................................................................................. Warbucks
Nora Palermo....................................................................................... Annie
Steve Palermo........................................................................ Hull/Ensemble
William Paynter.............................................................. President Roosevelt
Jonathan Perry Brown............................................... Lt. Ward/Ickes/Wacky
Tira Poole........................................................................................ Ensemble
Josephine Raia.................................................................................... Orphan
Lila Robbins....................................................................................... Orphan
Christina Robinson........................................................................ Mrs. Pugh
Phyllis Strupp.............................................................................. Apple seller
Peter Strupp................................................ Morganthau/Masked Announcer
Lisa Upper..................................................................................... Mrs. Greer
IsabellaVasela-Prendergast................................................................. Pepper

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs from November 10 - 19

photos - KISS AND TELL - Hale Centre Theatre


















photos by Nick Woodward-Shaw; Lighting by Jeff A. Davis