Friday, September 18, 2020

The Phoenix Theatre Company presents The Great American Songbook: A Tribute to Phoenix’s Arts Community


from our friends at The Phoenix Theatre Company:

Live performing arts organizations, artists and patrons alike are eagerly awaiting the day they can gather for in-person events. Some local venues plan to reopen as soon as Fall 2020, while others have moved programming 100% online. As The Phoenix Theatre Company develops plans for digital content and outdoor performances later this year, the theatre company is graciously offering a free digital performance to its patrons, in collaboration with local favorite We3, it’s The Great American Songbook.


“Our faithful patrons are the reason we remain hopeful we’ll be back together soon for live performance,” says Karla Frederick, director of production at The Phoenix Theatre Company. “To thank our patrons, we’re collaborating with three of the Valley’s finest musicians for an evening of healing, joy and comfort.”


We3 is a Phoenix-based, all-female trio with pianist Nicole Pesce, vocalist Renee Grant Patrick and violinist Suzanne Lansford. The Great American Songbook encapsulates the work of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter and more, giving viewers the opportunity to rediscover the most influential composers of jazz and showtune music.


“Music is something we need now more than ever—it uplifts, inspires and builds empathy,” says Nicole Pesce, pianist of We3. “This set list is meant to give us a sense of comfort. We’re celebrating these iconic composers. And even more so, it’s a reason for us to come together and enjoy the music we all know and love. ”


The Great American Songbook is a free digital event streaming live September 18 at 7:30PM. Once guests RSVP, The Phoenix Theatre Company will email attendees a streaming link. To learn more and to book a free ticket, visit To download this news release and photos visit


Thursday, September 17, 2020

State 48 Theatre Company presents ROMEO AND JULIET, September 18-20

State 48 Theatre Company is premiering Romeo & Juliet beginning this Friday  The show will be presented as a three-part mini series and will air at 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 18-20). 

  • State 48 Theatre company presents a new twist on the classic tale of Romeo & Juliet - now set in the Old West! 
  • Join the all-ages cast in Verona, AZ, for an Old West tale of tragedy. Tybalt is a flashy cowboy, the Prince is the long-suffering sheriff, Mercutio is a whip-wielding, hard-drinking, cattle driver - she has a tangled relationship with more than one of the eligible bachelors in this town defined by which family you work for or call kin. 
  • Do Romeo and Juliet stand a chance in a town where the local preacher is also the saloon keeper and everybody carries a gun on their hip?
  • “Romeo & Juliet” will be presented online as a high-quality video and streamed as a three-part mini-series at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18, 19 and 20. It will include a live Zoom talk-back with performers each evening.
  • You can purchase a “virtual ticket” (to receive a link and watch the live stream) at or via Venmo @State-48-Theatre. Individuals: $15; families: $40. 
  • The show will be broadcast at (no login required). Viewers also can download the Twitch app on a mobile device (login required) or watch the show on Apple TV or Chromecast. (We recommend logging in 15 minutes early to troubleshoot any tech issues.)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Desert Foothills Theater announces their 2020 / 2021 Season!


from our friends at Desert Foothills Theater:

Desert Foothills Theater is pleased to announce our 2020-21 Season!

Desert Foothills Theater is ready for a SAFE and wonderful return to the stage. DFT takes its mission to heart in these challenging times.

Safety precautions include smaller audience sizes, safe distance seating, face masks, and a thorough theater-cleaning before each performance.

Our storytellers are excited to take you on journeys filled with music, dance, and adventure. We have missed you!

The majority of shows for the 2020-21 season will be performed at the beautiful

Holland Center in Scottsdale.
34250 N. 60th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85266

Our seasoned patrons will know that this venue move is a change from previous years. The Desert Foothills Theater staff determined that this venue not only gives us the opportunity to recover from the challenges of recent times but also open with a FULL new season. Because the Holland Center is also the home of the DFT offices, this move allows our team to insure that the theater and premises are clean, safe, and ready for a wonderful and healthy theater season! 

Tickets are on sale now

You can purchase online, call, or visit the box office. Tickets this season are all General Admission Seating. Watch for add-on opportunities for early seating and pre-show VIP experiences to include a reception and priority seating. 

Ticket Packages

This season, patrons are offered the opportunity to purchase a special ticket package.

Purchase a ticket to your choice of FIVE shows for the price of FOUR.

Package price: 5 shows- $100 ($25 savings)

Receive Early Seating- Each show this year will be sold as General Admission tickets. Package ticket holders will receive early seating and our heartfelt gratitude for your support!

Call the Box Office to purchase your ticket package! Your Box Office Crew will be happy to help. (480) 488-1981. Ask for Carole or Ginny.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Laughing Pig Theatre Seeks Submissions for "The Most Awkward Talent Show"

from our friends at Laughing Pig Theatre:

We’ve all got weird skills that we never get to show off. Or maybe weird skills that we SHOULDN’T get to show off. Laughing Pig Theatre wants to celebrate your quirks with The Most Awkward Talent Show, a virtual showcase of the things we don’t often get to share.

Participants of all ages are welcome!  Showcase any talent you feel fits the description of “awkward” whether it’s something odd you do well or something at which you are spectacularly mediocre.  Winners will receive gift certificates for our favorite Phoenix businesses!

Deadline for submission is SEPTEMBER 15. Please upload a video of your talent to YouTube or Vimeo and use the attached form to submit the link.

Starting on SEPTEMBER 22, entries will be shared on social media two at a time every two days in head-to-head matches. The entry with the most interaction will advance. The top-rated videos at the end of the competition will receive a gift card to a local business.

Entries should be:
1) Your own work
2) No longer than three minutes
3) If previously recorded, must be within the last five years
4) Exercising proper judgement regarding inappropriate content (adult language generally ok)

Email for questions

Friday, September 11, 2020

Arizona Broadway Theatre announces FALL INTERIM PROGRAMMING beginning mid-October 2020!

Recognizing the ongoing public health challenges due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, ABT today announced plans to begin limited-occupancy in-person Fall Interim Programming beginning mid-October 2020. Programming will take place on the theatre's Mainstage and in the smaller Encore Room. All events will adhere to current reopening guidelines as set forth by the Arizona Department of Health Services and Centers For Disease Control (CDC).

Included in these exciting new offerings will be a series of programs tailored to family and senior audiences. October, November and December dates and times for the upcoming programming will be announced on Monday, September 14, 2020 via the ABT website ( and on all ABT social media platforms.


ABT Broadway Concert Series* 

A Celebration of Song! Join us as we pay homage to the most beloved melodies of Broadway, Hollywood and the Holidays. This Mainstage series features the extraordinary vocal talent of esteemed ABT Stars of the past, present and future! Concert themes include Music of the Night: A Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Hooray for Hollywood: A Salute to the Movie Musical and Home for the Holidays: Celebrating the Spirit of the Season!

TAD Management Concert Series* 

Building on our 10+ year partnership, TAD Management and ABT are again coming together to bring eight incredible tribute acts to the ABT stage. Upcoming concerts include Piano Man: Generations featuring Terry & Nick Davies, Voyager: A Tribute to Journey, One of These Nights: The Eagles Tribute, Nick Adams & The Stones: A Tribute to The Rolling Stones, A Tribute to Whitney & Aretha starring Chelsea Lockhart, Garth LIVE: A Tribute to Garth Brooks, December '63: A Tribute to the original Jersey Boys as well as a to-be-announced TAD Holiday Extravaganza concert!
Broadway BINGO!* 
(Encore Room)

Join us for fun and games, and something completely NEW! What could be better than Broadway AND Bingo! This unpredictable, interactive cabaret-style event, hosted by ABT’s very own Kurtis Overby, is the coolest game in town. With the song list determined by the numbers called, you could win the chance to pick your favorite Broadway Hits to be performed by our special local guest stars! Come play for fun and fabulous prizes! Each “show” will be completely unique, and chock-full of (physical-distanced) comedy and camaraderie.

The "UNPLUGGED" Concert Series* 
(Encore Room)

Get up close and personal (safely). This distinctive concert series showcases outstanding local musicians in the intimacy of ABT’s Encore Room. Nationally recognized artists will include Piano-composer phenom and Valley favorite Nicole Pesce, Jared Mancuso & Nick Gallardo with an "unplugged" tribute to Buddy Holly & Ritchie Valens, and ABT's own Resident Music Director Josh Condon and his equally talented better-half Lexy Condon with an intimate cabaret-style tribute to the holidays!

Midweek Movie Musicals* 
(Encore Room)

Everybody loves a matinee! Hosted by David Appleford, award-winning Valley film and theatre critic, these special screenings of classic movie musicals are a perfect way to spend the afternoon. October through December showings will include Singin' in the Rain, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Paint Your Wagon, Meet Me in St. Louis, and of course, Irving Berlin's classic White Christmas!

Murder Mystery Series* 
(Encore Room)

ABT is excited to welcome back to the Encore Room our friends from the long-running Murder & A Meal Mystery Theatre. Murder & A Meal has been serving-up heaping platefuls of belly-laughs in the Valley of the Sun since 2005. A fully-interactive entertainment experience, Murder & A Meal is set in an intimate (yet COVID-conscious) environment where audience members become part of the action. Participants will enjoy a 3-course meal re-imagined to meet with current health & safety protocols. Shows to include CLUE and MURDER ON THE MOVIE SET (show descriptions and menus will be posted on


Based on recent national industry projections including Broadway and the Actor’s Union, all prudent indicators point to January 2021 for a full reopening of ABT and the return of fully-produced musical productions. Having closed only two days after its March 13, 2020 opening night, ABT's production of Chicago will be the first full production to return to the ABT stage. Announcements regarding future Mainstage productions, along with alternative ticketing options, will be announced in the weeks to follow.


ABT will be following all existing Executive Orders and Government & CDC recommendations with regard to additional sanitation, physical-distancing protocols, and local mask ordinances. Masks will be REQUIRED when attending ABT. Additional information and FAQs will be posted to on Monday, September 14.

*Programming dates subject to change

Phoenix College announces Auditions for their virtual production of 14

"Caution Economic Refugees" by jonathan mcintosh

Auditions for 14 by José Casas

Phoenix College will be holding auditions for their virtual production of this ethnodrama set against the backdrop of the U.S.-Mexico border.

14 was inspired by the true-life event in May 2001 in which a smuggler abandoned 30 Mexicans crossing the desert near Yuma, AZ, resulting in 14 deaths due to dehydration. The play is an ethnographic exploration of immigration in the United States, in particular, coming from the perspectives of people living on the Arizona (U.S.) border with Mexico. It is a fictionalized series of monologues based on playwright interviews and public accounts of Arizonans and Mexicans and their different attitudes toward the contemporary issues of not only immigration but also race and public policy.

Casting 16 multicultural performers

Auditions and rehearsals will be held online using a virtual platform from mid-September - early November. In November we will be filming at various locations and at Phoenix College in the Black Box Theatre. Health and safety precautions will be followed throughout all aspects of the production.
Auditions will be scheduled virtually in 15-minute increments on Thursday, September 17 from 4:00 pm - 9:30 pm and Friday, September 18 from 4:00 pm - 9:30 pm (with the last scheduled appointment at 9:15 pm on both days). Callbacks will be held on Saturday, September 19 from 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm.

If you would like to schedule an audition please email the director, Christina Marín, at

When you make an appointment you will receive a cutting from the script to prepare.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Reimagining Theatre in the World of COVID: An Immersive Journey to Wonderland in Theater Works' CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

Lauren Hardcastle as The Queen of Hearts
Photo by Josiah Duka Photography

by Gil Benbrook, Phoenix Regional Reporter

After having been closed for close to six months due to the COVID pandemic, theatre heads have been trying to find the right way and the correct time to reopen and start shows up again, now that cases are decreasing in certain areas. But how do you reopen and bring live theatre back to life while also ensuring your audiences and cast members are safe?

Chris Hamby, Theater Works' Artistic Director, and a group of actors and designers have devised an original production that not only provides a new and different theatrical experience but also one that adheres to strict CDC and state safety guidelines. Curiouser and Curiouser, an immersive theatrical venture that brings the characters of Lewis Carroll's 1865 children's novel "Alice in Wonderland" vividly to life while also enveloping an audience into the colorful, crazy and wild world of Wonderland, opens this week and runs through October 18.

Hamby and a small group of designers and actors who have worked on many past Theater Works shows devised Curiouser from a series of brainstorming sessions that started where they were told "the sky's the limit" to let their imaginations soar. They then brought in additional actors and expanded the creative team to further refine the story, characters, and creative aspects to provide an experience that enfolds a small audience of 10 or less at a time into the world of the story, but always with safety aspects in mind. The small audience allows for everyone, including the actors, to socially distance from each other and face masks are also required to be worn.

Talking to Desert Foothills Theater's Terry Temple about the Decision to Start Live Theatre Back Up with their upcoming production of DISNEY'S THE LION KING, JR

Terry Temple

by Gil Benbrook

As COVID cases across the country continue to decline, theatre leaders are having to make hard decisions on whether or not to resume live performances. On one hand it's understandable with this virus still out there and the date for a vaccine still unknown how some people may feel it's too early to start performances back up, even with a long list of safety measures in place. 

However, when I asked Desert Foothills Theater's Managing Director Terry Temple some questions about their decision to present their production of Disney's The Lion King, JR for a two weekend run from September 18-27, he said there were many factors that went into moving forward and reopening with this show, including the need for people, and kids especially, to get back to some sense of normalcy. 

Temple just took over at DFT last season, and only oversaw a few productions before everything shut down. Below Temple provides more detail to my questions about their production, the safety issue they've put in place as well as a few details about his plans for their upcoming 2020/2021 season.

What were some of the questions and concerns that led to your decision to present Lion King, Jr. as one of the first live shows in town since everything shut down last March?

Terry Temple: "Our decision process was led by the parents of our community and our desire to serve them. Over the summer we had a number of inquiries from parents asking if DFT was offering anything in person for their children. They used terms and phrases like 'desperate', 'My child is withdrawing/falling back', 'depressed.'  We managed to safely pull off a couple of small, in-person experiences successfully which only made the demand to get back to some 'theater' normalcy only greater."

What safety measures will you have in place for the performances?  

"During the rehearsal process we are doing everything you might expect: Temperature checks, sanitizer, masks always, distancing as much as possible. Additionally, we are limiting audience size, offering streaming performances when allowed, and actors will wear face shields that will also be incorporated into the costume design using feathers, fur, etc."

What comments have you heard from parents of DFT kids over the last few months about their concerns, both pro and con, in presenting live shows?

"From our community, our parents and actors we have only heard positive things.  They have been so generous in expressing their gratitude.  Parents are profoundly concerned with the mental and emotional health of the children and I, along with my theater team, thought it was time to step up.  We have, however, received a few rather snarky, indirect and rather judgmental comments out there from members of the theater community on social media.   If they had reached out to me directly I would just tell them that Covid and all its negative effects go well beyond just the physical.  We are beginning to understand the challenges and serious issues that arise from the isolation these kids have experienced these past 5 months."

What was the turnout for your auditions like?

"The response was overwhelming with audition turnout being the largest of any show here in the past two years.  We exceeded our audition signups and had several video auditions as well.  From the feedback I'm getting I believe this trend will continue. "

I know you are planning to announce your 2020/2021 season soon, which will be your first full season after being announced as DFT's new Managing Director last December. Any information you can let us know at this time about your plans for the season or what went into picking the shows?

"We are days away from announcing our season!  We are just waiting on the rights to one more show so that we can announce the season in its entirety. I am so excited about these shows.  There is something for everyone... children, teens, adults of all ages.   It is the most ambitious season DFT has offered in quire some time.  Stay tuned."

Scottsdale Musical Theater presents BEST OF BROADWAY, a live stream concert, September 12 & 13

SMTC is producing a Live Streaming concert featuring a full evening of some of the best songs from some of Broadway’s Best Shows. With the coronavirus pandemic shuttering all performance venues and leaving live theater audiences with no outlets to enjoy their favorite Broadway musicals, SMTC is hoping in a small way to fill that void with this live streamed event: “Best of Broadway: Hit Songs from Hit Musicals”. The concert will be streamed on Saturday, September 12th @ 8pm PT and on Sunday, September 13th @ 7pm PT.
Our live stream concert will feature the vocal talents of Addam Donada, Amy Faithe, Matt Newhard, Ryan Parker and Alexus Poulette. All five performers have been seen in many SMTC productions as well as in numerous other productions and venues around the valley. SMTC Musical Director Joni Van Rossum will be at the keyboards. We will be filming at a local Phoenix area venue and all video production will be handled by Gotham Arts HD.
And to add to the fun, SMTC is making the entire evening a trivia challenge. As people watch the concert from the comfort of their own homes, they can keep track of the title of each song and the show it's from, and then email us back with their answers. The first twenty-five people from each night who name all the songs and shows correctly will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
Streaming times are Saturday, September 12th @ 8pm PT and on Sunday, September 13th @ 7pm PT.
Virtual Tickets are on sale for $15 and can be purchased at Once purchased, an email will automatically sent out providing the viewing link for the specified date and time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Fountain Hills Theater presents BROADWAY JUKEBOX – DRIVE-IN STYLE!, September 18-October 10

Fri. & Sat. at 7:30pm

No Two Shows are Ever the Same!


Join us as we take a new spin on Peter J. Hill’s award-winning “Jukebox” shows – the DRIVE-IN has returned! $45 per car.

When no two shows are ever the same, it can be – to put it mildly – a challenge. As exciting for the performers as it is for the audience, a great part of the show takes place backstage out of the audience’s sight. Broadway Jukebox requires an amazing cast of actors whose versatility is put to the test each night as they adapt to the demands of each evening’s audience. During the half hour before curtain, the cast mingles with the audience, and collects their jukebox selections for the evening. Those selections are then carried backstage where the choices are quickly tallied and the most requested songs are compiled. With the help of the staff, songs are frantically put in dramatic and comedic order, divided by style, duets and ensemble numbers and then with literally only minutes to go until curtain, the final list is copied on to a giant whiteboard which is posted backstage, just in time for the cast to make their first entrance!

PLEASE NOTE: All possible precautions are being implemented to ensure patrons safety.

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE or call 480.837.9661 x3 and leave a message–we will phone you back. Groups discounts available.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Creating Wonderland - Talking to the Designers and Devisers of TheaterWorks' CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

Clara Bentz as The White Rabbit in TheaterWorks' Curiouser and Curiouser
photo by Josiah Duka Photography

by Gil Benbrook

Taking a familiar fantasy story such as Alice in Wonderland and adapting it for the stage takes a wide range of talent and a number of collaborators, including people to devise the story and design all of the creative elements. 

When you also add in the element of having the production be an immersive theatrical experience, where audiences aren't seated in a traditional theatre venue but instead move from room to room throughout a performing arts center with the story unfolding in the rooms along the way, and you also have to factor in safety measures due to COVID that adhere to strict CDC and State guidelines, you have a whole new set of potential obstacles but also open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Last week we spoke to TheaterWorks' Artistic Director Chris Hamby, about their production of Curiouser and Curiouser, their immersive retelling of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland that opens this week and run through October 18th, and today we speak to some of the shows' designers and devisers to discuss the difficulties they encountered in bringing this imaginative theatrical fantasy to life.

Clara Bentz, Assistant Deviser

How familiar were you with the story of Alice in Wonderland before starting to work on this project?

"I’d read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland once as a kid, and I remember being absolutely frustrated with the lack of coherent plot. Coming back to it as an adult, I think actually had a better appreciation for the charming nonsense of it all. I’ve definitely always loved at least the aesthetics of Alice in Wonderland; the classic Disney cartoon played in our house often growing up, in high school I was excited about the Tim Burton movie coming out, and my friends and I had also found a romance book series very loosely inspired by the story that we were obsessed with in typical teenage fashion. The world of Wonderland has captured imaginations all over the world for more than a century. I think that’s one of my favorite things about the adventures of Alice, it’s an enduring story that resonates with so many people in so many different ways. Returning to the source material to prepare for Curiouser and Curiouser was exciting, and approaching the text with theatre in mind felt like reading it with fresh eyes. "

What type of research went into your creative aspects of the show?

"Reading both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll were the first order of business. I love source material. I read each one twice: once to enjoy it and the second time to highlight, take notes, and generally pilfer the text for our favorite bits. I also watched several movies and clips from other shows/plays/ballets to take a sort of 'what worked/what didn’t' stock. Chris (Hamby) also had us do some additional research on world building and devising interactive theatre. He probably had found 5 hours of different documentary videos and got several copies of the book Creating Worlds: How to Make Immersive Theatre by Jason Warren to be passed around the creative team. Learning about the life of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carol) and the real life Alice Liddell was also really interesting, but none of that actually made it into anything you’ll see in Curiouser and Curiouser. I had an acting professor tell me 'it’s always better to overpack for a trip than show up unprepared, and that’s the mindset you should have when prepping for a show,' and I definitely try to 'overpack' on research. Finally, as we got into the bulk of rehearsals and the script was getting set, I found myself returning more and more to the books, especially the chapters that my character, the White Rabbit, was in. It’s nice when research comes full circle, and it affirming to think that I’ve always kept the source material close. What’s the point of doing a show inspired by Wonderland if you don’t keep the original Wonderland at its heart?"

What element did you find the most difficult or the most challenging and what did you have to do to overcome that obstacle?

"This might sound like boasting, but I think one of our biggest challenges on Curiouser and Curiouser was too many good ideas. This team is incredibly talented and wildly creative. I don’t think Chris was quite aware of the monster he created by saying 'the sky’s the limit' in our initial production meeting. What you’ll see is really only a sliver of the original ideas tossed around. Digger Feeney and Jenny Abeyta blew our minds with every design and art piece they presented, and Ryan Terry discovered so many cool things technology could do for the show. There were several different, novel-length, insanely complicated options for the plot. But eventually you have to think about very un-Wonderland things, like budget, deadlines, man power, and CDC guidelines. But the limits to what we could do were a blessing in disguise, they created rules and structure. Ashley Gennaro and I spent a week or two making charts and timelines and maps and running around the building trying to figure out the best way to get people through the theater in a timely manner, while still giving the cast and crew time to reset and sanitize each space before the arrival of the next audience. With that we could figure out what rooms were the priority, how much time we had in each, what needed to happen, and what we could live without. So when you join us in Wonderland, and explore each space —don’t get me wrong each space is amazing— keep in mind there’s still piles of scribbles and sketches of more things that could have been."

What has been the most exciting part of this process for you?  

"Seeing it come together, hands down! Every rehearsal, every new set piece, every new technical cue is so validating. This is a crazy idea. We are quite literally all mad here. And to have a crazy idea that works? Amazing. It’s definitely not easy. Blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this production and still will as we move through tech week and previews. This show has a lot of moving pieces, it has to run like clockwork, there’s still some fine tuning to be done. Theatre is always a living, breathing animal, but this show is another beast entirely. Probably closer to a behemoth or eldritch god. When I first started on this project in May, it didn’t feel quite real, but I watched a run last night. It’s very real. We may be mad, but that’s perfect for Wonderland. I hope you can join us, and don’t be late!"

Jenny Abeyta, Props Designer

How familiar were you with the story of Alice in Wonderland before starting to work on this project?

"I had seen a few different versions of Alice in Wonderland in movie form but was unfamiliar with the books until the project started. I would read along as we designed the different rooms. But I still have a lot of nostalgia towards the story and aesthetic because of a game I played as a kid with the Alice theme. "

What type of research went into your creative aspects of the show?

"As we were coming up with the early sketches for the show, I was able to pull some inspiration from the fine artists I studied in college, having focused on installation art. The accumulation pieces of Yayoi Kusama and Tara Donovan, and of course the fantastic work of the collective behind Meow Wolf. "

What element did you find the most difficult or the most challenging and what did you have to do to overcome that obstacle? 

"The biggest challenge was that every space presented a brand new set of problems for us to face. Each room required a different approach and the use of different materials. In a way, you have to drop everything you know about the room that came before and start fresh in the next space. However, by taking this approach, we’ve been able to make spaces feel unique, with vastly different ambiance. You really feel like you’re entering a different world every time you walk through a doorway. "

What has been the most exciting part of this process for you?   

"I’ve been a property designer for a long time so the most exciting part of this was being able to start without a script or a prop list. It was a ‘world built first’ approach that really let the designers go nuts with what we wanted Wonderland to look like. The early brainstorming sessions were incredibly fun and sometimes we got a little carried away, but it’s been an amazing experience to work with such a dedicated team who all wanted to make such a fun world for our actors and audience members to play in." 

Heather “Digger” Feeney, Technical Director and Scenic Designer

How familiar were you with the story of Alice in Wonderland before starting to work on this project?

"Alice in Wonderland has always had a special place in my heart from the time I first read the books in junior high.  We did a production of Alice in Wonderland in high school shortly after reading the books, and the infatuation more or less took off from there.  I was particularly drawn to Tenniel's illustration, and would copy his style in many mediums."
What type of research went into your creative aspects of the show?

"To begin researching, I re-read the books with my 6 year old son.  I then brought suggestions to Chris Hamby about which locations could exist in which spaces, and once we honed in on a general look and feel for each, we lost ourselves in other artists' interpretations of the work.  There is so much great content revolving around the original stories, it made it fun to stretch our creative muscles and make each space distinct.  I also spent a good amount of time researching Art Installations, since this show demands a vastly different design and build that is traditional to theater."
What element did you find the most difficult or the most challenging and what did you have to do to overcome that obstacle?

"I would say the most challenging element was outfitting our non-traditional theater spaces, particularly because they were already set up to be something different.  I found it took much more time to imagine an environment around pre-existing counters and cabinets, or problem solving installations when there were no existing points to secure to.  It took a great deal of planning to respect the building as it is intended so it is not as difficult to restore when it is time to close the production."
What has been the most exciting part of this process for you?  

"The most exciting part of this process for me has been the ability to come in to work every day and be creative with a solid team of artists.  There is often a good amount of problem-solving that goes into a theatrical production, but this has blown it out of the water.  I was very fortunate to work with a team of people that greatly improved upon my contribution to the project, which I think is clear from the outcome."

Hahnna Christianson as Caterpillar in TheaterWorks' Curiouser and Curiouser
photo by Josiah Duka Photography

Elizabeth Peterson, Costumer Designer

How familiar were you with the story of Alice in Wonderland before starting to work on this project?

"Alice in Wonderland has been a part of my life since I can remember. Not only was the Disney movie a favorite at our house but Lewis Carroll’s books were also always spotlighted on the bookcase. I fondly remember exploring the stories with my sister! Also another fun thing is that I grew up with vintage Alice in Wonderland curtains in our bedroom and a tall mid-century 'cheshire' cat statue that would eerily smile at me every night. Honestly I remember both making me feel uneasy when I was younger, but because of my history with these images all Alice in Wonderland visuals bring back a feeling of home. (If only I still had that cool vintage curtain fabric! ) " 

What type of research went into your creative aspects of the show?

"Because I was already so familiar with the show and have done it many times in a more Disney style, as well as the fact that Alice in general has been done so many times, it was crucial that I rediscovered the show in a different light. I wanted the costumes to be unique, different, maybe something new for the audience. So I started with some inspirational concept words Circus, Gothic, Military, Burlesque, and Masquerade and researched images in these styles. By doing so I was able to find a unique style for these costumes that will hopefully be fun for the audience!"

What element did you find the most difficult or the most challenging and what did you have to do to overcome that obstacle?

"I think the most difficult obstacle was having to costume all of the actors during Covid. My first thought when I was beginning my work was 'how can I do this with minimal actor contact.' The first thing I did differently was use virtual meetings to take the measurements. They were possibly less precise but close enough. Then to avoid longer fittings and the need to tailor the costume to a perfect fit,  I chose to use elastic wherever possible. Overall it has worked out really well and between this and all of the other safety measures the theater has enforced, it has been a very safe and healthy experience."

What has been the most exciting part of this process for you?  

"The most exciting part of this process for me was the ability to create these costumes for more of a personal experience. Sometimes in the theater because of the distance from the stage to the audience, the small details are often eliminated as they are not necessary. But with this immersive show the details have become my favorite thing! These were already my favorite group of characters but after creating these new fun looks it has reinvigorated my love for Alice in Wonderland."

DeAndrea Vaughn, Hair and Makeup Designer

How familiar were you with the story of Alice in Wonderland before starting to work on this project?

"I grew up watching the Disney version and still enjoy watching it to this day.  However, I didn't read the book until I was an adult, as I'm sure is the case for a number of people. I'm hoping the performances will spurn peoples' interest to pick up the book to become familiar with the story and appreciate both the story and the production even more. "

What type of research went into your creative aspects of the show?

"There were several pieces I designed that I have never created before this production. I went through a lot of research for sewing, hat making, mask making, how to make rabbit ears, crowns, etc. to try to find the best way of creating these pieces that wouldn't hinder the actor or weigh them down. I also researched hairstyles from the 18th century and added elements of whimsy to try to keep an old world feel to certain characters, but still have them look as if they belong at home in Wonderland. "

What element did you find the most difficult or the most challenging and what did you have to do to overcome that obstacle?

"I try to challenge myself with each new production I am a part of to step out of my comfort zone and do something I have never done before. For Curiouser & Curiouser I tried my hand at mask making. I had to overcome working with new materials and tools and so I experienced several frustrating set backs in the process. I reached out to fellow special effects artists and took part in some online tutorials from a film studio which really helped me create the masks for the White Rabbit character. "

What has been the most exciting part of this process for you?  

"The most exciting part of this process is seeing the actors' excitement when they finally get to have their whole look come together. Watching them transform into their characters and how they utilize the pieces I created for them to evolve their characters even further is always a very rewarding feeling for me." 

The Silver Star Theater seeks a Male and Female Vocalist for their 2020/2021 Season of The Rhythm Cats

The Silver Star Theater is seeking a male and a female vocalist for the 2020-21 Season of the Rhythm Cats Show. The Rhythm Cats Show is comprised of a group of versatile musicians, all singers and instrumentalists. They produce and perform a total of many different concerts, with music in a wide array of genres including big band & swing, 50's-70's Rock & Roll, Country, Broadway show tunes, etc.  These are paid positions.  The Silver Star Theater prohibits discrimination and engages in policies of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) designed to promote a positive model of inclusion.

Character Breakdown

Male Vocalist 
Range:  Tenor

Female Vocalist 
Range: Mezzo-Soprano

Both male and female singers must have advanced training in classical and contemporary singing.  Need to be able to perform a wide array of genres including big band & swing, Country, 50’s-70’s Rock & Roll, Broadway show tunes, etc.  Ability to play one or more musical instruments is a plus, but not required. Sight reading and improvisational skills are a plus. Comedic skills a plus.

Audition Location/Dates/Times
Silver Star Theater, 5247 E. Brown Road, Mesa, AZ  85205 (SE Corner of Brown and Higley Roads)
Wednesday, September 16 from 4 to 8 PM
Thursday, September 17 from 3 to 7 PM

Contract Timeline:  October 12, 2020 through April 30, 2021

What To Prepare

Please prepare two contrasting songs (32 bars minimum or whole song) that demonstrate your full vocal range and stage presence abilities.  Bring sheet music; an accompanist will be provided. Please do not bring a CD/iPod or sing a cappella.

Head Shot & Resume Required
Bring or Send as Email Attachment or Links

Auditions By Appointment
Please contact Mark Kleinman, General Manager to schedule a time:  602-538-3172 or
Email:  Mark Kleinman,

CYT Phoenix announces cast for CHARLOTTE'S WEB

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs October 23-25 

Wilbur - Lexi Smith
Charlotte - Elise Carpenter
Fern - Ariana Latvaaho
Templeton - Riley Cottrell
Goose - Hannah Cilliers
Gander - Marisa Shepherd
Sheep - Madeline Sage
Lamb - Audrey Church
John Arable - Jacob Currie
Martha Arable - Megan Messmer
Avery - Tolan Cottrell
Homer Zuckerman - Mason Shepherd
Edith Zuckerman - Rachel Main
Lurvy - Makenzie Latvaaho
Bat - Cece Campbell
Owl - Aleksandra Currie
Reporter - Bella Hayward
Photographer - Aubrey Fox
Uncle - Madeline Sage
Announcer at Fair - Bria Lindblade
Joy - Ella Cupo
Aranea - Hannah Lindblade
Nellie - Nicole Cook
Ensemble (12) - Marley Johnson-Ordonez, Beckett Cottrell, Madison Silva, Mackenzie Silva, Olivia Woldeab, Bella Hayward, Bria Lindblade, Hannah Lindblade, Nicole Cook,  Ella Cupo, Aubrey Fox, Cece Campbell, Aleksandra Currie

Monday, September 7, 2020

Starlight Community Theater presents DRACULA - October 23-November 1, 2020

The mysterious Count Dracula has gone to England where he is living on a large estate next to an insane asylum run by the incredibly naive Dr. Seward. The others that make up the cast of this thriller include Professor Van Helsing who must convince Dr. Seward that Count Dracula is a vampire; Renfield, a fly-eating lunatic who serves the Count (once too often); beautiful Lucy Westenra, who has an uncanny resemblance to a girl Count Dracula loved over a hundred years ago; Charles, the Westenra family butler whose poor eyesight saves him from being hypnotized; as well as three female vampires!

In this time of uncertainty, we are planning to officially open our 2020-21 Season with DRACULA written by John Mattera, based on the story by Bram Stoker!  The production is directed by Ric Alpers. While we intend for an 8 performance run in our theater, the location and or performance dates could change depending on the course of the pandemic.  

CLICK HERE for more information, and to purchase tickets when available


Count Dracula....... Joshua Hengst

Professor Van Helsing... Elizabeth K. Spencer

Dr. Seward... Christina Clodt Robinson

Lucy Westerna.... Nicky Thompson

Mina Murray... Megan Gardner

Jonathan Harker/Arthur Holmwood... Rudy Bogojevich

Martha Westerna... Susan Gibson

Henrietta Westerna... Lynn Medlin Golden

Charles... Scott Sims

Renfield... Bear Golden

Ensemble... Alex Fausett, Isabel Ramirez, McKenzie Jessen, Sofia Hoover

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Fountain Hills Theater announces Auditions for the musical 4 ON THE FLOOR

Auditions for 4 ON THE FLOOR 

Book by Peter J. Hill

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

WHEN: By video submission before Sept 20th

HOW: Send your video audition to Peter J. Hill at 

Fountain Hills Theater announces auditions for the musical 4 on the Floor.

Four auto mechanics in 1969 want to become a rock and roll band, but all they know is cars, chrome and chicks!  They say sing what you know!  While the boys spend their days repairing and singing about cars and dreaming about their calendar girls, this high energy tribute musical features some of the best rock and roll car songs of all time including 409, Hey, Little Cobra, Hot Rod Lincoln, Little Old Lady from Pasadena and many, many more.  

4 on the Floor is directed by Peter J. Hill, choreographed by Noel Irick and musically directed by Jennifer Adams.   

4 on the Floor will play Nov 8 – 22, 2020.

This will be the first indoor production at the Fountain Hills Theater since the pandemic closed its doors in March.  The theater will practice social distancing seating.  If indoor seating is still difficult or prohibited, the show will move to the outdoor stage and will be presented as part of our drive-in live theater programming.

Please send a video audition to  Please present a song in the style of the show that best features your voice and range. Include your resume. If you play a rock and roll instrument, please include that as well.  Video auditions must be presented by Sunday, Sept. 20.  Socially responsible rehearsals will begin Sept. 26.

Casting for:  
ED:  (Age 50+)  Ed is the gruff, weathered owner of the garage where the boys work.  He is Jack’s father and also acts as a stern surrogate father to the other boys.  Funny in a crotchety way.

JACK  (Age 18-30)  Jack is the all-American boy.  The de facto leader of the band.  He is a friendly peacemaker who keeps the boys in line.

SAL:  (Age 18-30)  Sal is the Italian would be gangster.  He can be a trouble-maker, but he’s loyal and fun-loving.

FREDDIE  (16-25)  Freddie is the youngest and most naïve of the boys.  Loyal like a puppy, Freddie is often over enthusiastic.

CLIFTON:  (18-30)  African-American.  Clifton is the quiet, strong presence with a subtle sense of humor.  His quiet, no nonsense demeanor comes from living as a black man in 1969.

THE CALENDAR GIRLS:  (18-30)  The boys dreams girls who appear often - sometimes as the pages of the mechanic’s calendars come to life, sometimes as back up singers and sometimes as mechanics and strong women themselves.

Stage Left Productions announces their 2020 Fall Line-up!

Stage Left has been working diligently to work out the proper way to open our doors and we are happy to announce our fall line up!  

Tickets now on sale!

Wednesdays-Saturdays 7pm
Sundays 2pm
**Our Halloween performance Saturday October 31st will be at 2pm instead of 7pm**
This one-woman play written by Theresa Rebeck focuses on Haley, a small town girl with 600 pairs of shoes who moves to Manhattan, goes on a string of increasingly unsatisfying dates, falls in with the Romanian gangsters and finds love with out doing hard time! This is a thoroughly charming  and shyly sweet comedy that you are sure not to miss!
Tickets are $25.00 Reserved Seating
Running Time: Approx 1 hour and 15 minutes with no intermission
**This show does contain some adult language**


Stage Left Jr. and Home School will be performing in this socially distant comedy!
A casting director has one day to find the leads for a community theater production of Romeo and Juliet. But what seems like a simple task proves impossible when the pool of actors includes extreme method actors, performers who just don't know what to do with their hands, and one particular girl  who may or may not think she's a cat.
Running Time: Approx 45 Mins 

DECEMBER 2nd-20th
Wednesdays-Saturdays 7pm
Sundays 2pm
WHO'S HOLIDAY! Is a wildly funny and heartfelt adults-only comedy that tells the story of Cindy Lou Who as she recalls that Christmas Eve she first met the Grinch and the twisted turn of events her life has now taken.

You saw her last when she was just two
Celebrate the holidays with Cindy Lou Who
Pull up a seat and fill up your cup
'Cause your favorite little Who is all grown up.

Tickets are $25.00 Reserved Seating
Running Time: Approx 1 hour and 20 minutes with no intermission
**This show is for mature audiences only. **


CLICK HERE for more information and to purchase tickets

Tickets can be purchased online 24/7 OR over the phone Mondays-Wednesdays 9a-1p
In order for Stage Left to open, we have taken the following safety measures regarding Covid-19.
  •  Our seating has been reduced to 30.
  •  Our Lobby will open at the same time as house allowing our patrons to find their seat quickly and safely.
  • All patrons and staff will be required to wear a mask inside the facility and for the duration of the performance. If you do not have a mask stage left will provide you with one.
  •  Hand Sanitizer will be readily available in the lobby and restrooms.
  •  All high touch services will be cleaned before, during, and after every performance.
  • There will be no concessions with the exception of bottled water.
  • All tickets must be purchased online or over the phone. Tickets will not be available at the door and all in person ticket sales have been temporarily  suspended until at least January of 2021.
  • The first few shows presented at Stage Left will consist of 1 person plays with no intermission. This is for the protection of our amazing actors.
  • At the end of the performance Patrons will be excused row by row to allow for proper social distancing.
  • We will ask each patron to remove their own trash.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Laughing Pig Theatre presents Virtual Masterclass Workshop Series

Laughing Pig Theatre has begun a virtual MASTERCLASS workshop series that is starting this month. 

We would love if you could join us for these workshops. All of our workshops are pay-what-you-can with a suggested $10 donation and are led by local experts in their field.

Communicating Through Improv with Pheobe Kozinet on September 12th at 11:00am-11:45am

Stand-up for Beginners (2-parts) with Trejon Dunkley on September 26th at 11:00am-11:30pm AND October 3rd at 11:00am-11:30pm

To sign up:
If you are interested in leading a workshop with Laughing Pig Theatre, you can submit an application here (we pay our teaching artists $50 per 30 min class): 

You can also learn more about Laughing Pig Theatre at our website:

Virtual Theatre of Arizona presents DEAD STOCK, Friday, September 4th

Join the Virtual Theatre of Arizona for Dead Stock by Brandon Riley, directed by Bray Lawrence this Friday, September 4th at 7pm, LIVE on our Facebook page:

Synopsis: Taking place in Memphis, Tennessee in the last week of 2009, a group of friends must decide the direction of their lives after the announcement of the closing of Deborah’s: a historic department store. Told in two acts, this play is a character study that explores the friendship between three characters: Jeremy - a gay man who is grieving over his partner's death, Joy - a pregnant woman who must decide whether to return home or stay with her boyfriend, and Mark - a man whose identity is connected to his job. All three of them are helped by Clara - a vital 80- year-old retiree who drives a motorcycle. Dead Stock explores the themes of connection, race, friendship, and the process of letting go. 

Adonis Gonzalez as Mark Pennywell
Shelby Daeffler as Joy Young
Larissa Brewington as Clara Jones
Lamar Overton as Jeremy Conger

Grand Canyon University to live stream their opening night of COMEDY OF ERRORS, on Wednesday, September 30

 Wednesday, Sept. 30th, 8pm

Opening Night of Comedy of Errors at Grand Canyon University's outdoor stage

Live Streamed!

Please share!!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Pinnacle Creative Arts presents CLUE, September 11-13, 2020

Based on the 1985 film based on the popular board game, this comedy begins at a dinner party hosted by Mr. Boddy, where he admits to blackmailing his visitors.

These guests (who have been given aliases) are:
Miss Scarlet
Prof. Plum
Mrs. Peacock
Mr. Green
Col. Mustard
Mrs. White
When Boddy turns up murdered, all become suspects.
Together they must figure out… whodunnit!  

Performing September 11-13, 2020 @ 
Fuse Box (home of State 48 Theatre Company)
943 S Gilbert Rd #202
Mesa, AZ 85204

Buy Tickets HERE

Seating will allow for social distancing, and cleaning measures will be amped up.

2 of our 4 performances will also be live streamed!

Link to purchase streaming tickets:

Southwest Shakespeare Company's Virtual Classics LIVE! presents PERICLES PRINCE OF TYRE, Saturday September 5

Join Southwest Shakespeare Online Saturday, September 5th at 6:30pm via Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube
Forget "Netflix and chill"...try an evening with Will!
John Way - Pericles
Bonnie Beaus Romnie - Diana/Gower
Brian Gill - Helicanus/3rd Fisherman/ 3rd Pirate
Jake Hart - Simonides/LeoninE
 Rainbow Dickerson - Dionyza
Sawyer Edwards - Knight 1 / Cleon
Isabel Pask - Thaisa
Erin Dillon - Marina/Sailor on ship
Mathew Zimmerer - Antiacus/1st fisherman/
1st sailor on ship/Pander
 Ryan Jenkins - Antiochus daughter/Ceremon / Pirate /
Tyrian Sailor
Deshik Vansadia - 1st Lord of Pentapolis/Messanger/
Servant (Ephesus) / Lysimachus
 Toby Tropper - 3rd Lord Pentapolis/ Sailor on Ship/
Bawd / Mytilene Sailor
 Seth Scott- Tyre Attendant /2nd fisherman/
Escanes/ Bolt
Clay Sanderson - Thalliart/2nd Lord Pentapolis/
1st Gent (Ephesus)
King Hang - Lord / Knight 3/ 2nd Gent (Ephesus)/ 2nd Pirate
Ariana Gibeault - Lord 2 (Tyre)/ Knight 2/ Lychordia / Philemon / Pirate
 Gustavo Flores - Lord 1 (Tyer)/ Marshal/ 2nd Sailor on Ship/ 1st Pirate
New Video on our Patreon Page: 

Exclusive Interview with Southwest Shakespeare Company's Advisory Board Member and Fashionista, Oscar de las Salas! 

Behind-the-Scene Content only for our Patreon members. Become a member today for as little as $5 a month and help keep the Arts alive!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Theatre Artists Studio announces Fall 2020 Online Classes!

from our friends at Theater Artists Studio:

Join us for TWO exciting classes beginning in September: Shakespeare's Bits & Pieces and Pulitzer Prize Play Discussion & Prompts Writing Workshop. Both are FREE for Members of Theatre Artists Studio and only $125 for Non-Members.

Shakespeare's Bits and Pieces
Instructor: ALAN AUSTIN
Tuesdays from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
September 8 - October 27, 2020

A quick unconventional look at five of Shakespeare’s plays and how they reflect the Age and what keeps them popular.

Mr. Austin has his M.A. in Elizabethan Theatre from New Castle University and has been an international teacher for 44 years.  He is also a playwright, actor, director, producer and poet.
Plays to be Discussed:
September 8 - RICHARD III  (Shakespeare’s first success and why it succeeded)
September 15 - TWELFTH NIGHT (A look at religious propaganda, what Elizabethan audiences found funny and why some Puritans left for the colonies)
September 22 - Interactive discussion of both previous plays
September 29 - HAMLET (Shakespeare’s politics, the influence of the Court and how Shakespeare supported the status quo)
October 6 - OTHELLO (Race and prejudice in a different age)
October 13 - Interactive discussion of both previous plays
October 20 - THE TEMPEST (The end of magic and dawn of reason)
October 27 - Interactive Discussion: Class Summary and Conclusions
All scripts are available on line. Please read each play prior to its discussion date.


Studio Members (Artistic & Sustaining) - please register by email with "SHAKESPEARE" in the subject line. Include your full name and contact info in the body of the email:

NON Members/General Public - please pre-pay online. Once you have paid the registration fee, you will receive a link to join the Zoom class.

Pulitzer Prize Play Discussion & Prompts Writing Workshop

Wednesdays from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
September 9 - October 14, 2020

In this six-week-course with Prof. Kirt Shineman (MFA - ASU; MA- Emerson College), we will read selected Pulitzer Prize-winning plays - including the recent plays  Fairview, The Cost of Living, Sweat, and Hamilton - outside of class. We will use the reading as a springboard for conversation, and ideas in the plays will prompt writing exercises for writing monologues and short scenes for the class. You will have an opportunity to both write and share in each class session.
The plays are published and available online and in local bookshops. In addition, you can find them on electronic readers like Kindle. We prefer you attend each class and not just discussions around the plays you like best. The six plays we will discuss (listed below) include 2 Musicals and 4 Plays:

2019 Fairview, by Jackie Sibblies Drury - A hard-hitting drama that examines race in a highly conceptual, layered structure, ultimately bringing audiences into the actors’ community to face deep-seated prejudices. 

2018 Cost of Living, by Martyna Majok - An honest, original work that invites audiences to examine diverse perceptions of privilege and human connection through two pairs of mismatched individuals: a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver. 

2017 Sweat, by Lynn Nottage - For a nuanced yet powerful drama that reminds audiences of the stacked deck still facing workers searching for the American dream. 

2016 Hamilton, by Lin-Manuel Miranda - A landmark American musical about the gifted and self-destructive founding father whose story becomes both contemporary and irresistible. 

2013 Disgraced, by Ayad Akhtar - A moving play that depicts a successful corporate lawyer painfully forced to consider why he has for so long camouflaged his Pakistani Muslim heritage.

2010 Next to Normal, by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey - A powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals.


Studio Members (Artistic & Sustaining) - please register by email with "PULITZER" in the subject line. Include your full name and contact info in the body of the email:

NON Members/General Public - please pre-pay online. Once you have paid the registration fee, you will receive an invitation link to the Zoom class.

CLICK HERE for more information

DISNEY'S THE LION KING, JR - Desert Foothills Theater - September 18-27, 2020


Disney's The Lion King, JR tells the story of the epic adventures of a curious cub named Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king. To claim his rightful place on the throne and save his beloved Pridelands, Simba must find his inner strength and confront his wicked Uncle Scar

Please note: Since seating at all performances is limited to allow for social distancing, Opening Night, Friday, Sept. 18 is reserved for cast parents only.

This coming season, you will see smaller audiences to allow for safe distancing and required mask-wearing. Safety precautions are also in place for auditions and rehearsals to ensure actor's protection.

We are committed to remaining updated on local health mandates and to finding a way to bring our actors and audiences home to DFT safely. 

General Admission tickets $15

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets

Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 7:00pm

Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 2:00pm

Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 7:00pm

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 7:00pm

Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 2:00pm


Grace Allen- Rafiki
Carson Doan- Simba
Brady Molitor- Young Simba
Adrian Bahnerth- Mufasa
Annie Kopp- Zazu
Bella Quinn- Scar
Alaina Lish- Nala
Delaney Flowers- Young Nala
Ashlynn Carter- Shenzi
Zeke Luckey- Banzai
Samantha King- Ed
Hannah Lopez- Timon
Elliott Walker- Pumbaa
Grace Killingbeck- Sarabi
Kate Gramenz- Sarafina

Victoria Reiter, Grace Cantelme, Alexandria Crow- Lionesses
Addison Brackley, Gracie Parkinson, Lilie Rea, Sammy Ryan- Giraffes, Elephants, Birds
Shane Macris, Jalen Phillips, Blake Walker, Hayden Shields- Baboons
Hannah Hampton, Hannah DeMeo- Gazelles

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Into the Rabbit Hole with Chris Hamby: Talking to one of the creators of TheaterWorks' CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

Chris Hamby
by Gil Benbrook

While live, in-person theatre performances across the Valley, and the entire nation, are virtually in an indefinite holding pattern, TheaterWorks' Artistic Director Chris Hamby has found a way to present live performances through a reinvention that combines safety with theatricality.

With multiple performances each night, and running September 10-October 18, Curiouser and Curiouser is a brand new take on the classic story of Alice in Wonderland where audiences will find themselves immersed in the fantasy world of Wonderland. This multi-sensory, intimate production will use every theatre, hallway and rehearsal area at TheaterWorks' home - the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts - and combine puppetry, theatre, dance, music and multi-media. Up to only 10 audience members per performance will find themselves following Alice's footsteps as they move in small groups throughout the world of Wonderland and encountering the colorful characters and discovering the classic moment in this beloved story.

Hamby took a few moments to sit down and answer some questions about how this 100-minute immersive arts experience came to be and how safety was always of most importance in creating this new way to experience live theater.

How did the decision to produce this type of show come about?

"After it became clear that we would not be returning to operations as normal any time soon, we started dreaming. We saw this time as an opportunity, a chance to do something. We did an asset inventory and the two things that rose to the top of that list were; an incredible facility and a huge roster of amazing artists. After talking through what it would look like to combine those things without a rulebook, the traditional theatre rules went out the window and an immersive production began to germinate. We have been presented with the challenge of pausing what we traditionally do and have turned it into an opportunity to do something different."

What made you decide to choose the story of Alice in Wonderland as the basis for this show? 

"We landed on Alice in Wonderland quickly because we needed something that could work without a linear plotline. Alice can work in almost any order you place the events. The Alice stories seemed to not only resonate with a huge demographic of ages it allowed us to explore creating a “world” that we could travel to and through. As an artistic director, I was also drawn to the story and the possibilities it presented. I, along with these amazing artists, could really sink my teeth into Wonderland."

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

Were there any other titles that you were thinking about before you landed on Alice, or was it the first story that immediately came to mind? 

"The initial immersive idea was to use a pirate theme and then we discussed Treasure Island. However, that idea severely limited us in that the story had to be told in a very specific order; Inn, to Ship, to Island. We wanted something that could eventually have multiple entry points into the story should we ever want to explore that avenue."

What can people expect from this immersive experience and how does it differ from a traditionally staged play?  

"Audiences should expect to have an 'experience'. The performances are happening all around you, sometimes you are asked to participate. In our creation, the audience is literally the missing character  - they experience Wonderland from the perspective of Alice. You do not sit in the dark and have a passive engagement. Audience members are actively engaged in the story, physically moving throughout 13 spaces in a full sensory experience of sight, sound, even taste. Curiouser & Curiouser is theatrical event, art installation and escape room all in one. "

I know there are many individuals listed who devised the show. What did that process look like and were there any issues that came up that you had to work around with so many people involved in the creative process? 

"We followed the process model used by Jim Henson and Brian Froud where we created our “world” first and then began to lay a narrative on top. Devising sessions began with a small group of designers and actors where we had all blue sky possibilities available to us and then we slowly narrowed and refined the narrative. We then invited a larger pool of designers and actors to join and see what unfolded in between the lines from their various perspectives. Our only real issue was having too many great ideas and no way to use them all. That was the hardest part. It can feel disappointing when you have a solid idea and it gets jettisoned for one reason or another."

I have to imagine that safety protocols were first and foremost in your mind - what can you tell us that went into determining what made the most sense for this type of show while also adhering to current COVID safety guidelines? 

"Our plan from the beginning was to have a piece that we could share with a small number of audience members. We have created something that allows the audience to socially distance from each other, the actors and where the actors can safely social distance from one another. It’s quite a dance at times but we feel we have created something that is safe and socially responsible in these times. Safety has been at the forefront of all decision making. We had to re-think everything we would normally do but we feel we have created something that we can confidently present in a safe and responsible way."

What has been the most exciting part of this process for you? 

"Honestly the transformations of untraditional spaces has been very exciting. How do you turn a hallway into a performance space? How do you create an experience for one audience person? Can we make the lobby windows a canvas? These are not the questions we are usually asking ourselves. The team on this project has brought their A-game and have found ways around every challenge. I’ve always felt blessed to be surrounded by amazing creatives and maybe now more than ever I know that the TheaterWorks team can do anything. "