Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Arizona Broadway Theatre announces plans to resume programming beginning January 2021

from our friends at Arizona Broadway Theatre:

Arizona Broadway Theatre shuttered its doors nearly 5 months ago as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following CDC recommendations and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's Executive Order restricting large gatherings within the state of Arizona, the curtain came down on the company’s new production of Chicago a mere two days after opening, resulting in hundreds of employee layoffs and the indefinite postponement of all theatre and educational programming.

Since then, ABT’s Executive Leadership Team has been working diligently to determine a path forward that will give audiences some idea of when the theatre can reopen safely. "Based on recent national industry projections including Broadway and the Actor’s Union, all prudent indicators point to a January 2021 reopening,” said Kiel Klaphake, Executive Producer/CEO at ABT. "But most importantly, we are committed to reopening with protocols and procedures in place that address the health and safety of our patrons, employees, and volunteers.”

Chicago will be the first full production to return to the ABT stage. “Everything is ready. The set is still there, the costumes are hanging on the racks and the talent is standing by…we can’t wait to breathe life back into this long awaited show.” said Cassandra Klaphake, Artistic Producer at ABT. Along with the return of Mainstage musical theatre productions, plans for additional Fall interim programming are in development.

These programs include outdoor performance opportunities for family and senior audiences as well as tentative plans for larger outdoor productions to be staged in the West Valley. “People need entertainment, they need the arts, they need something to look forward to,” said Cassandra Klaphake. “Since it is not safe yet to gather indoors, we are working hard to find creative ways to bring ABT out of the theatre.” Future announcements regarding these programs as well as a 2021 show schedule will be forthcoming on the theatre's website and social media platforms in the weeks to follow.

“Although the thought of reopening is tremendously exciting, we have a long road ahead of us to get to January, as the costs to maintain our facility are substantial,” said Kiel Klaphake. ABT’s ticket sales account for 90 percent of their operational budget, and with no revenue coming in since March, the financial stress is significant. In recent weeks, ABT leadership and City of Peoria staff have had numerous conversations regarding the potential devastation that a continued shutdown will have on the cherished Peoria non-profit theatre company and event destination. ABT is optimistic about the City’s willingness to uphold their commitment to local arts by playing a pivotal role to mitigate the catastrophic economic impact of COVID-19 on the Peoria small business. “The arts add to the exceptional quality of life that we know and love in Peoria, support our mental and general well being, and highlight the unique characteristics of our residents and our community,” said Mayor Cathy Carlat back in June of this year. “Our city is not complete without a strong representation of the arts."

Prior to the postponement, Arizona Broadway Theatre was the largest producer of musical theatre in the state with robust educational programs and additional entertainment offerings. “I want our community to know this is only an intermission. We will survive," said Kiel Klaphake. "The overwhelming support of our patrons, friends and fans - both locally and from across the country - has been incredible. As one longtime patron recently said to me...'we were with you in 2005 when you had to open the first show in a tent and we're going to be with you now...be it in a tent, in a parking lot, or wherever you can make the magic happen. The virus is not your fault. We will do what it takes...for however long it takes...because we love you.' I cannot thank our community enough for sticking with us. The show will go on!"


Monday, August 10, 2020

Valley Youth Theatre to Go Global with Virtual Telethon Featuring 132 Former Cast Members from The Past 32 Years


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) has replaced their annual fundraising gala with an eight-hour virtual telethon, The VYTal Affair-athon, to be streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and www.vyt.com. It takes place Saturday, August 22, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm with a goal to raise $250,000 to ensure the nonprofit theatre can continue offering digital engagement for young performers, throughout the current crisis, and reopen with its signature fee-free acting structure and low-cost ticket pricing, once it is safe to do so.

Like all other arts organizations, VYT has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, having to cancel their last two shows of the 31st season and first two shows of the 32nd season – so far. They’ve also had to cancel their in-person performing arts camps and classes or replace them with significantly smaller online versions. Their 26th annual fundraising gala, VYTal Affair, was also cancelled to accommodate social distancing and gathering size limitations, since it typically includes live entertainment, live and silent auctions, cocktails and donated food from Valley restaurants.

In an effort to help the theatre raise money and give children the opportunity to perform, owners of a local full-service marketing company, Two:Second Media, owned by VYT Parents Chris and Candace Weir, offered to produce a virtual telethon for VYT at no charge. The theatre recognized it as a way to replace VYTal Affair with something no other local company has done, an eight-hour Jerry-Lewis-style telethon featuring live and recorded performances by VYTKids, from around the world.

Stated VYT Producing Artistic Directory, Bobb Cooper, “I believe VYT has always been at the right place at the right time and that we can always find the silver lining in anything that might come our way, including this pandemic. Because of the kindness, goodness and wholesomeness of what we do, wonderful opportunities seem to present themselves to us. Because we were able to positively impact the life of their child, these wonderful people offered to give us something we never dreamed of.”

Due to social distancing, most of the telethon will have been pre-recorded. It will also include live Zoom interviews with alumni, original songs written specifically for the event, virtual cast reunions, multi-track numbers and a few surprise guests. Each hour will be virtually hosted by a local Phoenix celebrity.

Committed so far are Yetta Gibson, Gina Salazar Hook, John Hook, Cory McClosky and Brad Perry.

VYTal Affair is not only VYT’s largest annual fundraiser, it also introduces all attendees to local young performers and the high-quality, professional productions that VYT presents, every season. This year’s virtual format has the potential to reach a global audience, creating a first-time opportunity for young  performers to receive exposure outside of Phoenix, since VYT’s performances aren’t permitted to be recorded or televised.

Said Cooper, “For the first time ever, we will be able to showcase the incredible talent Phoenix has to offer, to people around the world. We have performers from the age of nine to seasoned professionals who were in our shows in 1989. They include attorneys, police officers, professional cheerleaders and drag queens, Broadway performers, TV stars and even Academy Award winners. I’m really looking forward to the applause we won’t hear, but will be able to read in the comments, later.”

When asked what it’s been like working with former cast members, he replied, “I’ve shed so many tears of joy. Although I try to keep in contact, it’s been great reconnecting with folks from the past few decades. This has brought them many of them back to our theatre - and back to Phoenix.” He added, “We sent everyone a survey asking them what VYT has meant in their lives and what it helped them learn, enjoy or overcome. Their responses have literally overwhelmed us. To hear the ways our theatre impacted their lives has been extraordinary. It’s the fuel that gets me through every day and why we’re going above and beyond to create something this town has never seen!”

Sponsors committed to date include Sanderson Lincoln and Clairvoyant, at the Choreographer level. At the Cast level are APS, Freeport-McMoRan, Valley Toyota Dealers, The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation, Sherman and Howard, Lorna Pederson, KPMG, Hope and Jay Ozer, Gammage and Burnham, Edward Jones, Carstons Foundation and BOK Financial.

For information about sponsoring, donating or providing an in-kind gift to the telethon, go to www.vyt.com.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Desert Foothills Theater offering Week Day "IN SESSION" School Assistance Program and After School Arts Program, CANVAS, STAGE & SONG

SCHOOL IS "IN SESSION"at Desert Foothills Theater

Mondays - Fridays, 8:30 am - 3:00 pm, Begins Aug. 10 (8:00 am dropoff available.)

$200 per week- Register for each week separately

Holland Center

Attention Parents! The Desert Foothills Theater's "In Session" program provides a safe and educational environment for grade school through high school students to complete their distance-learning school work with peers. Experienced, licensed teachers proficient in online-learning platforms along with trusted DFT staff will be on-site daily to assist students in completing their school-assigned work. 

Each day will include an exercise warm-up, social breaks, and games. Safety protocols are observed to allow students to learn and have fun while staying safe and healthy. Inquire about scholarships at dfteducation@azfcf.org.


CANVAS, STAGE & SONG- After School Arts Program & Performance

Mondays- Thursdays, 3:30 - 5:30 pm, Begins Aug. 10  

Holland Center

Desert Foothills Theater proudly presents "Canvas, Stage & Song", an after-school arts education program. Students will enjoy a two-hours in-person class each day with working professional artists in the Valley. In a fun-filled, encouraging environment, young artists are immersed in singing, acting, improvisation, dance, painting, drawing, and more!

Families will be invited to attend a performance and enjoy a display of art on the last Thursday of each month. This four-week class includes 32 hours of training in visual and performing arts and allows students to create together in a safe, healthy environment.

Desert Foothills Theater and the Holland Center staff are committed to observing recommended safety precautions for all students. Inquire about scholarships at dfteducation@azfcf.org


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Act One Youth Theatre announces auditions on August 20th for two virtual shows, VIRTUALLY EVER AFTER and THE VIRTUAL FAMILY


(Ages 6-13)


Auditions Aug 20 6:00pm-7:15pm

Virtual performances presented online Oct 2, 2020 6:00pm

!!! Please note; a Zoom Meetings capable device is required to participate.

$100 participation fee  $50 for each additional child. Scholarships are available.


In this magical collection of short fairy tale scenes you'll get to see familiar fairy tale characters, from Big Bad Wolf and Little Red to Goldilocks and Baby Bear and Prince Charming and even a few of the classic princesses,

These original scenes are as fresh as they are funny!  Best of all, the characters are all communicating via their phones or other devices!

Delightful humor for the whole family, this show is sure to end happily-ever-after, even if the fractured fairy tales don’t!

               -Presented by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama https://www.pioneerdrama.com

To sign up to audition please go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0844AEAF22A7FF2-virtual

For more information including character descriptions, a sample of the script and misc audition/rehearsal information please visit our website




 (Ages 10-18)


Auditions Aug 20 7:00pm-8:00pm

Virtual performances presented online Oct 2, 2020 7:00pm

!!! Please note; a Zoom Meetings capable device is required to participate.

$100 participation fee  $50 for each additional child. Scholarships are available.


Meet the Virtuals — Dad, Mom, Son, Daughter, Grandma, plus a cat named Kitten and a kitten named Cat.  Part Griswalds, part Jetsons, they’re just an ordinary family living in extraordinary times. A slew of technological advances, electronic home assistants, and computerized appliances, including Bobert the vacuum and FAB, the Fitness Assistant Bot, are meant to make life easier and bring the Virtuals together, but somehow they wind up more disconnected than before! 

Maybe technological advances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be?

Just watching Dad “interview” toothbrushes online leaves one to wonder if the Virtual family can survive the challenges of the real world.  Good thing he has all his Dad jokes to guide him, even if nobody else finds them funny! 

This family already only communicates digitally, always in different rooms of their house.

But will a strange robot virus lead to self-imposed social distancing?  Find out during this wonderful 60-minute play full of humor and heart.

               -Presented by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama https://www.pioneerdrama.com

To sign up to audition please go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0844AEAF22A7FF2-virtual

For more information including character descriptions, a sample of the script and misc audition/rehearsal information please visit our website


Theatre Artists Studio presents a live reading of PLUCK THE DAY, Monday August 10

from our friends at Theatre Artists Studio:

Join us on Monday, August 10th at 7pm for another FIRST LOOK on ZOOM and FB Live! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8628882702

This week we are reading Kirt Shineman’s PLUCK THE DAY

Welcome to the prestigious world of Master Sommeliers. An impressive group of wine experts, who passed an exam with one of the lowest success rates in the world. Clarity wants to be part of the group. But when the Court of Master Sommeliers revokes their licenses because of a cheating scandal, Clarity’s dream is corked. She and her husband, Parker, lose their new apartment; Ke loses his visa, and Cy is demoted to a waiter. Clarity’s mother-in-law, Sandrine, jumps to the rescue and readies them for the re-exam. All the while Clarity searches for the cheater. A drunk-on-life comedy about lies, loves, and sour-grapes.

Friday, August 7, 2020

TheaterWorks to present CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER - A New and Safe, Live Theater Experience

Clara Bentz as "The White Rabbit"
Photo by Josiah Duka Photography 

from our friends at TheaterWorks:

TheaterWorks has reinvented how you, the audience member, can experience live theater, developing an entirely new theatrical production in Arizona. CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER is an immersive, multi-sensory, intimate theater production where audience members literally walk into and through the world of Alice in Wonderland. 

Every theater, rehearsal space and hallway in the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts has been transformed into Wonderland. Up to 10 ten audience members per performance will experience Wonderland as Alice would, flowing through the rooms to discover scenes, encounter inhabitants and immerse themselves in a new way to experience theater through the story of Alice in Wonderland.

This 100-minute immersive theater production and multi-disciplinary arts experience showcases visual art, music, puppetry, dance, theater and multi-media design.

Multiple performances take place Thursday - Sunday beginning September 10. Tickets go on sale August 10. Advance ticket purchases are required for this one-of-a-kind adventure.

“This pause in normal programming has forced our organization to pivot and innovate. We took this opportunity to try something revolutionary and different,” said TheaterWorks Managing Director Cate Hinkle. “We are offering a new way to experience live theater and still be safe. CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER also provides a new entry point into theater for people who might not have been drawn to the traditional theater model.”

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, the City of Peoria Arts Commission, APS and the West Valley Art Museum.

Tickets to CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER range from $48 - $36. Ticket price includes one drink in The Caterpillar Den. The production takes place at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts (10580 N. 83rd Drive Peoria, AZ 85345) September 10 – October 18. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Box Office at (623) 815-7930 or visit www.curiousertheater.org.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Cast announced for the Virtual Theatre of Arizona's workshop production of ADversaries

The Virtual Theatre of Arizona presents a workshop production of ADversaries, a new play by local playwright Bray Lawrence and directed by Dayna RenĂ©e Donovan. ADversaries is the story of James, a new ad agent, who must navigate through the perils of creating commercials and learning art when he is paired with a famous shock artist named Thom. 

Thom/Basquiat - joobs
James - Avery Jones
Margaret - Ryan L. Jenkins
Abby - Bridget Russell
Kansas/Walter - Adonis Gonzalez
Charlie - Thomas Russell
Isaac/Warhol - Duncan Bruce

Fountain Hills Theater's BROADWAY QUARANTINE CABARET returns on August 8!

from our friends at Fountain Hills Theater:

On Saturday August 8th, Fountain Hills Theater's Broadway Quarantine Cabaret is back!

The guests from Ep. 1 are here to welcome us back online! BRITT POWELL, SAVANNAH ALFRED and KATHLEEN BERGER!

After a short hiatus Fountain Hills Theater is back with new LIVE Episodes of the Broadway Quarantine Cabaret! Our special guest for Ep. #19 is FHT Artistic Director PETER J HILL who is here to talk about our extended closure, and the future of FHT. Our musical guests are all BQC favorites who are back for more fun, music and chat!  The star of last seasons big hit show Mamma Mia - Britt Powell, award winning singer/actress Savannah Alfred, and long-time FHT favorite Kathleen Berger!

Join FHT Executive Director Michael Wallot, our staff, and many talented Valley performers for an hour of music, fun and memories - LIVE Every Saturday at 7:30pm P.S.T.! We may still be social distancing, but that doesn't mean we can't have some fun!   Get in on all the fun and comment and interact with our guests during the live stream on YouTube or on Facebook LIVE! Check us out at facebook.com/Fountainhillstheater or bit.ly/fhtYOUTUBE

Please support FHT  with a donation- as we are still closed to the public until we hope to re-open after 8 months in November 2020. Go to www.fhtaz.org and make a tax-deductible donation NOW! Thanks for your support

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Desert Foothills announces auditions for DISNEY'S THE LION KING, JR on August 15

Desert Foothills Theater is proud to announce - auditions and the opening of the first show in the 2020-21 season with the LIVE performance of Lion King, Jr.! 

Great care will be taken by the DFT staff to assure that actors and audience members will be kept safe and healthy through auditions, the rehearsal process, and at the performance. We are beyond excited to get back on stage. We have missed you!

AUDITIONS: Saturday, Aug.15, 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

PERFORMANCE: Sept. 18 - 27- Sat. & Sun. 7:00 pm & Sun.

Tickets on sale soon!