Saturday, January 20, 2018

WEEK AT A GLANCE: January 15 - January 21

SONGS FROM MY CLOSET - Kerr Cultural Center - January 28, 2018

An evening of unheard songs and unseen musicals by Colleen Porter brought to you by beloved valley artists and top valley musicians. Also part of the International Women's Voices Day, this is chance to support a female musical theatre composer while taking a fast ride through three new musicals!

review - LIFE COULD BE A DREAM - Hale Centre Theatre

Micah Jondel DeShazer, Kale Burr, Angela Kriese, Vinny Chavez, and Danny Karapetian
Photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw
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 April 17th.

"Roger Bean can pretty much be given the title of "King of the Jukebox Musical." The creator of the hit revue The Marvelous Wonderettes, along with its numerous sequels, Bean has also crafted over half a dozen other shows that feature familiar tunes from the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Hale Centre Theatre is currently presenting one of his latest creations, Life Could Be a Dream, and though it isn't quite on the same level as Wonderettes... it still makes for a fun, charming and heartwarming journey back in time with a cast who deliver two dozen well-known tunes with an infectious glee....Hale's cast features five performers who all have numerous previous credits appearing on the Hale stage. Vinny Chavez, Kale Burr and Danny Karapetian make a winning threesome as the school friends Denny, Eugene and Wally, respectively, while Micah Jondel DeShazer does well as the quiet loner Skip and Angela Kriese is charming as Lois. All five create unique individuals while providing a good mix of vocal contributions from solos to harmonies that blend beautifully under Lincoln Wright's astute music direction....Cambrian James' direction and choreography infuse the entire production with a wealth of fun moments, with plenty of humor and always changing dance moves that feature synchronized period moves delivered well by the cast. ...It may be a lightweight musical but it still results in a fun trip down memory lane that is filled with laughs and over two dozen tunes of yesteryear. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Can HAMILTON live up to the hype at ASU Gammage?

the national tour cast of Hamilton
photo by Joan Marcus

see what Kerry Lengel, of the Arizona Republic, had to say concerning if Hamilton can live up to the hype it's generated....

"...Sooner or later, everyone gets disappointed by hype. For me, as a theater critic, the epic letdown was “Les Misérables” — but that’s an argument for another day. The Broadway blockbuster du jour is “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop portrait of America’s founding fathers, which is coming to Tempe’s ASU Gammage for a four-week run starting Jan. 30...does it live up to the hype? In a word, yes....(CLICK HERE to read Kerry Lengel's full story)

photos - JERSEY BOYS - National Tour: Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 23rd to January 28th

photos by Joan Marcus

cast announcement - BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY - Fountain Hills Theater

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs from January 26th to February 11th


photos - AGATHA CHRISTIE'S VERDICT - Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through March 4th


photos by Renee Ashlock

Thursday, January 18, 2018

CHITA RIVERA & TOMMY TUNE - Arizona MusicFest - January 26, 2018

from our friends at AZ Music Fest:

Chita Rivera & Tommy Tune - Just in Time
Friday, January 26, 2018 07:30 PM
Highlands Church

Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune—two of Broadway’s most celebrated legends—join together for an extraordinary concert event.  With a combined 12 Tony Awards to their credit, this stellar duo will perform an evening showcasing the artistry, history and celebrity that have made them iconic stars of the Great White Way and beyond.

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!

reviews - SHOW BOAT - Arizona Broadway Theatre

Jamie Parnell and Brittany Santos (center) and Cast
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 February 10th.

"When Show Boat premiered in 1927 it was hailed as a landmark musical of the time, as it was one of the first shows to successfully combine both comedy and drama with a story that featured a wide range of characters, including parts played by both white and African-American actors. ...focused on such serious topics as racism, addiction and abandonment....was almost like the Hamilton of its time in that it completely changed the way the musical art form was and would ever be again....With a cast who expertly embody their characters and whose voices deliver some stunning vocals on the show's many classic songs, Arizona Broadway Theatre presents a slightly scaled down and edited version of this groundbreaking show, providing a a beautiful production of this rarely produced American musical classic..." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

" 1927, when... Show Boat opened on Broadway, the course of the American musical theatre was changed forever. ...There’s a timeless quality to the score that makes each of the songs as deeply affecting...Throughout, there are fine renditions of the classics....There are cuts to what you may have seen before – the ensemble is understandably the second half feels extremely fragmented;.. but the Show Boat you’ll see on the wide ABT stage remains hugely entertaining; a production bursting with energy and color, performed by a cast full of rich, harmonious voices ..." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

Brelby Theatre Company forms Non Profit Organization

from our friends at Brelby:

The Brelby Foundation is a new non-profit organization founded in Glendale to help promote the arts and promote community outreach through theatre in Arizona. The foundation is hosting their initial fundraising drive now through the end of the month to raise money for artists stipends and theatre maintenance.

The organization fulfills its mission of artistic and community outreach by supporting the Brelby Theatre Company, a local community theatre in its tenth season of showcasing new and original works in the state. For the past ten years, the Brelby Theatre Company has been known for creating original and provocative works and giving new artists a platform to shine. Showing right now is their Second Annual Night of Shorts, a show featuring six original one-act plays written by, directed by, and starring local artists. Putting on these original works is just one example of the dedication Brelby Theatre Company shows towards ensuring all artists in the Valley have a safe space to create and thrive. The Brelby Foundation was created this year to maintain the theatre and promote community and education in the arts by supporting events such as the Night of Shorts and others.

In order to do this, the first fundraising drive of the foundation is occuring now through the month of January. Information can be found at, where you can read a letter from the board and find payment details. Any money raised will go towards paying local artists and writers stipends to ensure they can continue creating works they are passionate about, maintaining the theatre so art is accessible to more patrons, and promoting community outreach events such as public performances. For more information, contact Devan Orr, Secretary at, or visit

Childsplay's Academy Classes start January 27th!

cast announcement - DECIDED - Musical Theatre of Anthem

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs from March 1st to March 4th

Deja: Alexis Rosenbaum
Mad Deja: Tatum Sosnowksi
Scared Deja: Ashley Bragg
Whatever Deja: Jadyn Momeyer
Young Deja: Hannah Kring
Preston: Parker Gates
Liana: McKenna Carlson
Grant: Garrett Hale
Brinley: Ellie Kunnari
Jack: Jayden Hawley
Gracelyn: Marlee Trent
Emma: Ava Mitchell
April: Julia Hughes
Miles: Jack Maplethorpe
Sadie: Morgan Goldberg
Liam: Brody Serafin
Quinn: Hannah Baldwin
Remi: Bailey Hall
Sheri Snap: Lizzie Bonifasi
Shawna Snap: Lexi Woods
Sarah Snap: Sydnee Pelchat
Skyla Snap: Marissa Myers
Sophie Snap: Abby Chazan
Sibyl Snap: Kaitlyn Temple
Mom: Carrie Klofach
Dad: Matt Newhard
Mrs. Belanger: Julie Baldwin

review - ERMA BOMBECK: AT WIT'S END - Fountain Hills Theater

Cathy Dresbach
photo by Carly Weekley
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 January 28th.

"...Erma Bombeck was a household name and the voice of reason for housewives and homemakers across the country....uncanny ability to write in her syndicated columns and books what people across America were thinking. Fountain Hills Theater presents the Valley premiere...which features...Cathy Dresbach, as Bombeck. While the one act play may be slight, Dresbach's wry delivery and ability to breath life into the somewhat disjointed script results in a fun romp through the past...does a fairly good job of painting the backstory to how Bombeck became a success while folding in many of her funny lines and quotable quips. But there aren't a lot of layers or much substance in the show, which barely runs over an hour. ...What's also missing is any drama or a more in-depth account of the trials and tribulations she went through to become as successful as she did. ...Director Ben Tyler and Dresbach do a good job bringing a liveliness to this slightly static show. ...Dresbach is a gifted comic and knows how to deliver some of Bombeck's most famous lines to get laughs.... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)