Tuesday, November 13, 2018

WEEK AT A GLANCE: November 12 - November 18

reviews - THE CAKE - Stray Cat Theatre

Megan Holcomb, Jodie Weiss, and Racquel McKenzie
photo by John Groseclose
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 24th.

"...a perfect study of a topical issue with characters that are richly layered and realistic...Stray Cat Theatre presents the Arizona premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's 2017 play in an excellent production, full of rich, natural and poignant performances, that will most likely challenge you and give you food for thought and new understanding of people who have different beliefs and values than you. The plot focuses on Della, the owner of a bakery in North Carolina who follows the scripture like she follows her recipes—by the book. ...Della's world is about to encounter a major hiccup and an unsurmountable obstacle when Jen, the daughter of Della's now deceased best friend whom she loves like a daughter, asks her to make the cake for her upcoming wedding. Della is ecstatic at the news. The only issue? Jen is marrying a woman, which doesn't align with Della's literal reading of the Bible....while there is plenty of drama and ugliness in the piece, there is also a lot of comedy and beauty. Brunstetter paints fully three-dimensional characters who, under Katie McFadzen's succinct direction, are brought vividly to life by a superb cast for this production...Jodie Weiss is exceptional at portraying this lovable, conflicted woman who shows just how difficult it is for someone to change. Brunstetter has crafted a soulful woman who, while she may at first be perceived to be a bigot and simpleminded, we clearly see from her many layers that she is far from either....Megan Holcomb and Racquel McKenzie are equally as good as Jen and Macy. ...As the world and culture changes around us, Bekah Brunstetter's The Cake is a relevant play that expertly challenges our ideas and beliefs." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...an incisive and deeply empathetic perspective on love and acceptance, the marriages of true minds, and the unspoken impediments to their fulfillment. ...rises to perfection in Stray Cat Theatre's current production, baked with exacting precision and balance by director Katie McFadzen, and seasoned with outstanding performances by Jodie Weiss, Megan Holcomb, Racquel McKenzie, and Christopher Haines....The wisdom of Brunstetter's work is to transform the impasse between old friends into breakthroughs of perception and ultimately alterations in attitude. The result are riveting moments of poignancy, tempered with humor and tears....one tremendous theatrical dessert......." Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

promo photos - THE GIVER - Musical Theatre of Anthem

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 29-December 2

photos by Michele Celentano

cast announcement - PETER PAN, JR - Pinnacle Creative Arts

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 25-27

Tinker Bell: Jamie Greaves
Wendy: Brynn VanNewkirk
John: Keira Jakobsen
Michael: Charlie Pettee
Mr Darling: Peyton Jones
Mrs Darling: Nikelle Lander
Peter Pan: Katerina Anderson
Hook: Shyla Gowda
Smee: Madeline Jones
Chief Tiger Bamboo: Manvik Malreddy
Tiger Lily: Drea Metzger
Nana: Marley Johnson-Ordonez
Crocodile: Drea Metzger

Lead Fairies:
Silver Mist: Alyssa Jakobsen
Iradessa: Elsie Thompson
Rosetta: Victoria Reiter
Fawn: Tori Jakobsen
Lyria: Sydney Stoneberg
Vidia: Jaiden Rinta

Lead Lost Boy:
Cubby: Gabriella Batt
Skunk: Sofia Posner
Hop: Caprice Warren
Fox: Annaliese Saunders
Raccoon Twins: Nathan and Jonah Thompson

Lead Pirates:
Skottish Jukes: Teagan Allison
Cockney Flint: Nicole Greaves
Mean Murphy: Anela Wailani
Simpleminded Noodler: Manvik Malreddy
Clubfoot Cookson: Makayla Voeller
Sweet Skylights: Marlee Williams

Lead Mermaids
Aquata: Scarlett Warren
Adella: Annaliese Saunders
Arista: Marley Johnson-Ordonez
Allana: Jordana Saunders

Lead Indians:
Brave Pine: Anela Wailani
Brave Oak: Teagan Allison
Brave Shrub: Nicole Greaves

Indian Tappers / Dance Ensemble
Teagan Allison
Nicole Greaves
Nikelle Lander
Marlee Williams
Anela Wailani
Madeline Jones
Katerina Anderson (as Peter)
Drea Metzger (as Tiger Lily)

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 25-27

Digital Lottery for DEAR EVAN HANSEN at ASU Gammage announced

from our friends at ASU Gammage:

DEAR EVAN HANSEN has launched its First North American Tour and is coming to ASU Gammage November 27 – December 2, 2018.  DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the fastest-selling Broadway show in ASU Gammage history and with limited availability, the tour has announced that DEAR EVAN HANSEN will host a digital ticket lottery offering fans the chance to purchase a limited number of $25 tickets available per performance.

The digital lottery will begin accepting entries 48 hours prior to the first performance in each tour city and will be accepted until 9:00am local time the day before the performance. Fans who have been selected will be notified daily via email and can then purchase up to two (2) tickets at $25 each. The ticket lottery will continue on a rolling basis for every performance in the engagement. All entrants are encouraged to follow DEAR EVAN HANSEN on Instagram (@dearevanhansen), Twitter (@dearevanhansen) and Facebook (@DearEvanHansen) for additional lottery news and information.

Entrants must be 18 years or older. A valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the name used to enter is required for pickup. Seat locations awarded by the lottery are subject to availability. Additional details and times will be announced in each tour city by the local theatre box office prior to the engagement. Additional lottery requirements can be found at www.luckyseat.com/dearevanhansen.

The winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, DEAR EVAN HANSEN features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy®, Tony® and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

Monday, November 12, 2018

review - MARY POPPINS - Mesa Encore Theatre

Hector Coris, Nicholas Gunnell, Heidi-Liz Johnson, Samantha Gibbons, Elliot Noah Thompson, and Cast
Photo by Stephanie 'Tippi' Hart-Dragonfly Studio Photography
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 18th.

"Mesa Encore Theatre's production of Mary Poppins is, to use a phrase that P. L. Travers' iconic literary character uses to refer to herself, "practically perfect." MET has found perfect leads and with lively direction and effective creative elements the end result is a perfectly wonderful, crowd pleasing and joyous affair....Heidi-Liz Johnson wonderfully gets across Mary's perfect combination of strictness and good intentions with undercurrents of fun and love. ...Johnson's voice excels on every song she sings with bright, beautiful notes. Nicholas Gunnell is joyful and spirited with plenty of charm and a playful mischievousness as Mary's chimney sweep friend Bert..Gunnell's strong and clear signing voice, limber limbs, and wink in his eye instill the role with a jolt of vibrancy and theatricality. MET has included a flying component in the show, which adds a few magical moments for Johnson as well as a fun bit for Gunnell in "Step in Time" ..Samantha Gibbons and Elliot Noah Thompson deliver spirited portrayals of two rambunctious, fun-loving and adorable kids...Tom Mangum and Danielle Hale are equally good as their parents....Director David Chorley does an exceptional job. He adds many original comic bits throughout that add pops of humor while always making sure the seriousness of the story is never lost...Full of exuberant moments, a terrific cast who create memorable characters, lively musical segments, and superb direction, Mesa Encore Theatre's Mary Poppins is a beautiful production of a beloved classic......... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

WEEK AT A GLANCE: November 12-November 18

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


promo photos - MARY POPPINS, JR - Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs November 16-December 23

photos by Renee Ashlock

photos - ELF, JR. - TheaterWorks' Youth Works

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 18

photos by Carly Weekly Photography

Sunday, November 11, 2018

photos - COUNTRY BLUE SALOON - Space 55

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 18

photos courtesy Space 55

audition notice - THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE - Fountain Hill Theater's Youth Theater - December 10, 11

Music and Lyrics by Book by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman - Additional Material by Jay Reiss

December 10, 11, at 5:45 pm, and possible call backs on the 12th, 2018

Fountain Hills Theater, 11445 N Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

Call to register for audition:(480)837-9661x3

There is a $50.00 participation fee for all cast members.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is spelled W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L and follows six awkward adolescents  through their daunting and hilarious championship quest. As they navigate the tournament’s pressures, the eccentric coterie finds a new sense of belonging.  Along the way, they learn that there is more to life than winning a trophy.

Auditioners should prepare:
- 16 bars of an upbeat song or ballad that best shows off their voice
- Bring sheet music in appropriate key or edited karaoke track in proper key
and queued to desired start
- 1-2 minute monologue
- Dress to move for dance audition
- Headshot and resume if available
- List of possible rehearsal conflicts

Auditioners should register by going to www.fhtaz.org/youth-auditions

For The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we are casting male and female actors ages 12-19 for the following parts:

Chip Tolentino
An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment.

Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere (Schwartzy)
Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and will be back next year.

Leaf Coneybear
The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance.

William Barfee
A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous "Magic Foot" method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive.

Marcy Park
The ultimate over-achiever, Marcy has never been given another option. She comes from a family where excellence is expected and so simply produced. A parochial school student, she assumes God, too, expects perfection. She sees herself as a mass of problems but she keeps them to herself. Having moved often because of her parents' work, she knows she can beat the local competition. Her many talents include piano, dance, martial arts, baton twirling, and/or whatever special gifts you can find in your casting pool.

Olive Ostrovsky
A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and shyly blossoms.

Rona Lisa Peretti
The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward.

Douglas Panch
The Vice Principle. Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in "a better place" now, thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.

Mitch Mahoney
The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better.

Carl Dad
Schwarzy's main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy's fathers.

Dan Dad
The more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy's fathers.

Jesus Christ
Deity invoked by a speller in need.

Leaf’s Mom, Dad, and Siblings
All more academically gifted than Leaf, they are even more surprised than he is by his success.

Olive's Dad
A fantasy version of Olive's dad coming to the bee from work..

Olive's Mom
A fantasy version of Olive's mom at her Ashram in India.

photos - THE CRUMPLE ZONE - Nearly Naked Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 17th

photos by Laura Durant

photos - THE BEAUX' STRATEGEM - Paradise Valley Community College

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through November 18th

photos by Taylor McMurray