Sunday, May 31, 2015

photos - ANGELS IN AMERICA - Nearly Naked Theatre

For more information on this production, that runs June 5th to June 20th, click here

Vickie Hall and Thomas Hicks

Drew Swaine

Thomas Hicks and Vickie Hall

Vickie Hall and Thomas Hicks

Drew Swaine and Raheem De'Angelo

Brandi Bigley and Drew Swaine

Photos: Laura Durant

Saturday, May 30, 2015

additional performances added - YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

Additional performances have just been announced for You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Don Bluth Front Row Theatre.

The show will now run from July 17th through August 8th.

Show dates:
July 17,18,24,25,31

Aug- 1,7,8

With Matinees  at 2pm on July 25th and Aug 1

Click here for more information about this production, including the cast list.

Friday, May 29, 2015

photos - DISNEY'S THE ARISTOCATS KIDS - Fountain Hills Theater

For more information on this production, that runs through June 7th, click here

 photos by Patty Torrilhon

reviews - A CHORUS LINE - Mesa Encore Theatre

Audrey Sullivan and Jean-Paoul Clemente (right side) 
and Cast
Photo: Ryan Roberts
highlights from local critic's reviews - (click link at bottom of the review highlights to read their complete reviews)

"A Chorus Line is one of the most well-known and beloved musicals of all time..that requires a large, multi-talented cast who can act, sing, and dance their asses off. Mesa Encore Theatre's production of this classic musical is quite good, with a cast that delivers and the end result is a winning production of a musical that still resonates today, forty years after it first premiered.... portrays an audition set in 1975 for the dancing chorus of a Broadway show. The people auditioning are mainly veteran dancers in their 20s through early 30s. The show ends with Zach, the director/choreographer, picking the eight dancers who will be in his show....But before the eight are picked, Zach asks the dancers to talk about their lives...What the dancers reveal about their lives has a universality to it and that is why I believe the show is still meaningful today—in some way, each of us has something in common with at least one, if not many of the dancers on the stage...The production at Mesa Encore Theatre is a little rough around the edges in terms of the cast, who are relatively young; a few just graduated high school and one talented cast member is only 14....A Chorus Line is a show about people who've lived and have learned life lessons along the way, which is kind of hard to fully get across if you're only 18....But these shortcomings are never enough to be a detriment to the overall enjoyment of the production....Jean-Paoul Clemente is Zach, the director/choreographer. While Clemente pulls off the look and demeanor of a slightly egotistic creative type, some of his line readings lack determination as does his brief dancing with the cast. Fortunately, he is very good in his two dialogue-heavy dramatic scenes, one with Zach's former lover Cassie, and the other with the somewhat introverted and shy Paul. Alan Khoutakoun as Paul has the show's best dramatic moment when he talks about realizing he is gay, finding himself, and about his father finally calling him "my son."...Khoutakoun is excellent, giving the monologue an exceptional delivery and making that moment in the show both beautiful and heartbreaking. Audrey Sullivan has the right amount of determination as Cassie...though her big solo dance number seems to lack a little sizzle. Fortunately, her dramatic confrontation with Zach more than compensates for the less than stellar "Music and the Mirror" number, with both Sullivan and Clemente excellent in this confrontational scene....Jacqui Notorio is superb as Sheila...Her sassy, biting line delivery and knowing glances let us know exactly what she's been through in her life...As Diana Morales, Megan Rose projects a clear sense of determination and understanding in her story and song about the acting teacher who underestimated her skills, "Nothing," as well as very nice vocals in her solo part of "What I Did for Love." Riane Roberts is a hoot as Val, the girl who realized a little plastic surgery was what was needed in order to improve her job prospects....Peter J. Hill's direction is clear, providing fluid transitions throughout as well as expert acting from the majority of the cast. Noel Irick's choreography is only somewhat similar to Bennett's original dance steps, but with some nice added original touches that really work...A Chorus Line is about the passion one has for something, which is a feeling everyone can relate to. MET's production, with just a few very small quibbles, is moving, touching, buoyant, and joyful. Although the cast is on the young side, the end result is a success, as the roughness and young age of some of the actors is offset by the sheer energy, excitement, and talent they all display." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Mesa Encore Theatre (MET) is closing out their musical theatre season with A Chorus Line,...The local cast opened strong Friday night, embodying the show's theme that regardless of how polished and homogenous a stellar dance corps appears, it is without fail comprised of individuals greater than the resulting cookie cutter sum line....The ensemble idea served MET's cast well. Each actor's individual strengths surfaced as the show opened with "I Hope I Get It," designed to introduce that the story revolves around a cast of characters who are auditioning for roles as dancing chorus members in a Broadway show. By the end of the number, the varied crew had demonstrated a critical show piece: the choral sound and blend was rock solid..Kudos to Director Peter J. Hill, Musical Director Debra Jo Davey...Though the storyline portrays a dance audition, standout voices were apparent early on. Alan Khoutakoun's voice as Paul stole hearts with his first solo line in the first number, and when Kim Cooper-Schmidt as Maggie joined the "At the Ballet" trio, the beautiful strength of her voice was impossible to ignore. Corey Gimlin's (Al's) full range was also notable, particularly as a cute contrast to Al's tone deaf wife Kristine in "Sing."...Of course, in a dance show, the cast better be able to dance. MET's ensemble had feet flying in beautiful synchronicity for a good share of Friday's performance. Again, as individuals, several dancers were particularly bright. ... Cassie needs to have a unique flare and unrivaled grace onstage, and Audrey Sullivan did. Her dancing in "The Music and the Mirror" was excellent. Alan Khoutakoun (Paul) was perhaps even more notable in the dance numbers than he was as a vocalist in the first number, which was pretty extraordinary....the acting in MET's production had some particularly fine moments...Megan Rose as Diana created a wonderful empathy in "Nothing." The lovely irony in Cassie's monologue about her being the "girl who can't act" is that it took some healthy chops on actress Sullivan's part to pull it off. Cassie's complex, impassioned interaction with director Zach (Jean-Paoul Clemente) was moving as well.... Khoutakoun's monologue about Paul's covert background as a cross-dressing dancer and his strained family relations was chilling. ...A Chorus Line is a show that gets under the skin and deep into the lives of auditioners in the theatre world. Done right, like MET's current production, it emphasizes the multiple singular sensations necessary to become 'One.'" - Jennifer Haaland, (click here to read the complete review)

For more information on this production, that runs through June 7th, click here

Thursday, May 28, 2015

PHX Stages just hit 2,000 followers on Facebook!

If you haven't yet "liked" us on Facebook, just click here, "like" us and you'll get all of our postings in your daily Facebook feed!

audition notice for youth and young adult performers - GYPSY - Scottsdale Musical Theater Company - June 8

Audition Dates/Times:    
Newsboys/Newsgirls –
Monday, June 8th @ 5:00pm

Farmboys –
Monday, June 8th @ 6:00pm

Location -                              
Conservatory of Dance
13637 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
(on the southeast corner of Tatum and Thunderbird)

You will need to email or call to reserve an audition spot. Email or call at 602-909-4215

Audition Requirements - 

Newsboys/Newsgirls and Farmboys will all have to dance starting at the times listed above. Please wear shoes that you can move in. No hard soled heels will be allowed. You will sing following the dance call.

Please have one song prepared, not to exceed 32 bars. No cds or acapella singing will be allowed, an accompanist will be provided. Please do not sing anything from the show. For Farmboys, you may also be asked to do a monologue, not to exceed 1 minute, so please have one prepared just in case.

Performance Dates -          
August 20th – 23rd

Rehearsals start -                
Early July and will be on Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. All rehearsals will be held at Conservatory of Dance. Not all roles will be required at all rehearsals. There will be a rehearsal schedule available at auditions to check potential conflicts.

Director/Choreographer: David Hock
Musical Director/Conductor: Kevin Hayward
Stage Manager: Karen Carvelli

Character Breakdown -

Farmboys - Boys Rose has added to the act. They are June and Louise's only form of friendship. They end up leaving the act when June leaves as well. Must be strong dancers and singers. Acting ability is a must.
Vocal Range: Various
Age Range: Late teens to Early 20s, but need to be able to also look like teenage boys.

Newsboys/Newsgirls - 3 children that Rose picks up along the way that are in the act with Baby June and Baby Louise. All need to be able to sing and be able to do intermediate/advance dance steps.
Age Range: 8-11

cast announced - OLIVER! - Phoenix Symphony Orchestra/Phoenix Theatre - May 29 - 31

Oliver Twist: Vincent Jacovo
Fagin: D. Scott Withers
Nancy: Yolanda London

Artful Dodger: Asher Angel
Bill Sykes: Chris Eriksen
Mr. Sowerberry, Dr. Grimwig: Toby Yatso
Mr. Bumble, Dr. Gray: David Simmons
Bet, Ensemble: Kat Bailes
Widow Corney, Ensemble: Johanna Carlisle
Mrs. Sowerberry: Kate E Cook
Old Sally, Mrs. Bedwin: Cydney Trent
Noah Claypote, Ensemble: Nic Bryan
Charlotte, Ensemble: Claire Flatz

Ensemble: Jonathan Furedy, Titus Kautz, Ryan Kleinman, Chad McCluskey

Fagin’s Gang, Workhouse Boys: Katie Brown, Katie Calderone, Kameron Conchrane, Riley Glick, Nico Lanese, Kendall Luther, Nick Pauley, TJ Rossi, Katie Tuchi, Andy Wissink

For more information on this production, that runs May 29- 31, click here.

YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre - July 10 - August 8, 2015

The Don Bluth Front Row Theatre proudly presents-


Directed Gary L Caswell


Chad Campbell as Charlie Brown
Stephanie Vlasich as Lucy Van Pelt
Jessica Graham as Sally Brown
Steven Meythaler as Schroeder
Gary Caswell as Linus Van Pelt
Brent Graham as Snoopy

This is a Very special added production to our 2015 season. Please come see a great show and help support a GREAT theater.

Charles Schulz’s beloved comic comes to life in Clark Gesner’s classic musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The whole gang is here: bossy Lucy is hopelessly in love with piano prodigy Schroeder who doesn’t give her the time of day, perfectionist Sally is still mocking blanket-toting Linus, Snoopy is in the doghouse, and “blockhead,” himself, Charlie Brown, is in rare form. Brief vignettes span the months from Valentine’s Day to Beethoven Day, from wild optimism to utter despair. In this revised version, with additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and dialogue by Michael Mayer, the sweet, joyful innocence of the Peanuts gang is maintained, but a fresh insouciance and playfulness is revealed. The new script features two new songs, particularly funny dialogue, and new, catchy orchestrations. Whether you’re keen to fly with the Red Baron, moon over the Moonlight Sonata, or just do your best to find “Happiness,” You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a crowd-pleasing classic.

July 10, 11, 17,18,24,25,31 and Aug 1, 7, 8

For Tickets call the box office at 480-314-0841 or visit our website at

The cast of Desert Stages' WILLY WONKA, JR will be at the Barnes and Noble in Scottsdale on Saturday to read and sing

From our friends at Desert Stages:

Join us this Saturday at 11am at the Barnes & Noble at 90th Street and Shea to see some of our cast read the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and sing a song from the show!

This is a FREE event! Bring the whole family! See you then!

For information on Willy Wonka, Jr., playing at Desert Stages through June 21st, click here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

reviews - DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID - Arizona Broadway Theatre

Cassandra Norville Klaphake
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

 "...Arizona Broadway Theatre’s colorful and expansive musical version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid...entering the ABT building is not unlike entering a Disney theatre in one of the theme parks.  The lobby is decorated with undersea backdrops, netting, and articles retrieved from sunken ships, and in one particularly nice design, as you hand your ticket over, it’s as if you’ve stepped into a small, undersea labyrinth, populated by theatre ushers...As for the show itself, the version now licensed for regional theatres is not quite the one that played on Broadway...With some changes from the film that might have proved too challenging, or perhaps simply too busy for the stage, Prince Eric (Patton Chandler with perfectly appropriate boyish good looks) doesn’t fall overboard or become rescued by Ariel (a totally engaging Jill-Christine Wiley), there are no shark chases, and the evil Ursula (Cassandra Norville Klaphake relishing every moment of her cartoon villainy) doesn’t grow to grotesque proportions during the climactic confrontation, though in one neat effect, her octopus-like tentacles become monstrously huge, enveloping King Triton ( a commanding Mark DiConzo) and keeping him prisoner within her grasp...Technically, ABT does great things.  With wires and good use of Paul A. Black’s scenic and lighting design, the theatrical illusion of being undersea is nicely achieved...Under the leadership of music director Mark 4Man, the band is...creating the impression of a full blown orchestra, while Kurtis W. Overby’s choreography and staging brings the two big numbers, Under The Sea and Kiss The Girl to memorable life....Coupled with the colorful, imaginative costumes of sea horses, jelly fish, snails and various other undersea creatures, Under the Sea, lead by the excellent voice of Aaron Ronelle’s Sebastian the crab...the illusion of some aquatic, crowd-pleasing Mardi Gras is achieved...Director Kiel Klaphake’s stage direction is assured for most of the production, though given Doug Wright’s new theatrical book, even Kiel can’t make the climactic conflicts work as well as they should...The Little Mermaid...will have youngsters leaving the theatre with thoughts of mermaids, prince and princesses and all kinds of magical looking creatures swimming in their heads, kicking off the family summer in grand, theatrical’ll feel as though you’ve spent the day in the Magic Kingdom but at ABT prices, and from a child’s perspective, no theatre in town can beat value like that." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

Jill-Christine Wiley
"...The Little Mermaid...bowed on Broadway 2008. Arizona Broadway Theatre is presenting the Arizona professional premiere of the musical in a big, splashy, colorful production with a talented cast and impressive creative elements....includes all of the toe-tapping film songs plus about ten new ones, with lyrics for the new songs by Glenn Slater, some of which are quite good. ...ABT's production is a family focused one, with director Kiel Klaphake joined by his wife Cassandra Norville Klaphake as Ursula and their two sons (along with two other boys) alternating in the role of Flounder. All do well with their respective contributions, especially Cassandra, who seems to relish with glee the part of the evil witch with the evil ways. Her big, brassy, and powerful voice knocks Ursula's songs to the back of the auditorium and beyond. She's having a blast playing this part and the audience on opening night appeared to have just as much fun watching her....As Ariel, Jill-Christine Wiley is very good, giving the part lovely shades of wonder, confusion, and excitement which combine to make Ariel's level of fascination with the human world realistic. She also has a lovely voice, adding plenty of warmth to her songs...Klaphake's direction allows for the fun, bright, and comical moments to be enjoyable, yet also allows for the more serious parts of the musical that deal with parental fears of losing their child to have resonance. He also never lets the more dark moments in the show that deal with Ursula ever approach true evil, making the show very family friendly. Kurtis W. Overby's choreography never stops in providing varied and inventive movement, creating numerous showstoppers, several of which include about a dozen youth ensemble members. Creative elements are full of color...beautiful costume designs, which include some stunning Day-Glo fish designs for "Under the Sea." Paul A. Black's set and lighting designs feature lovely coral reefs and also multiple shades of aquamarine, which combine to portray magical and beautiful underwater imagery. ...While the stage version of The Little Mermaid is a fairly by the numbers re-telling of the animated film, and some of the new songs written for the stage version pale in comparison to the film songs, it is still a fun, engaging show. With a powerhouse comical performance from Norville Klaphake as Ursula and a sweet and engaging one from Wiley as Ariel, and featuring clear direction and colorful, imaginative creative designs, the Arizona Broadway Theatre production is a family friendly gem." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...Disney's "The Little Mermaid"...Arizona Broadway Theatre's splashy new version...highly recommended for little girls who love the movie...The excellent cast is led by Jill-Christine Wiley...In her overflowing red wig, Wiley is fetching and winsome as Ariel, the half-fish princess who falls in love with a human. Her pure soprano sounds great in such numbers as "Part of Your World," which is all the more impressive considering she spends a fair amount of the show strapped to cables that let her "swim" through the air....The best songs come from the 1989 movie, including "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl," both led by Aaron Ronelle as Sebastian, the charmingly crabby crab with a Caribbean accent. Another standout is Cassandra Norville Klaphake...who makes a deliciously witchy Ursula,...For the stage adaptation, which opened on Broadway in 2008, composer Alan Menken added several new numbers, few of which have the poppy appeal of the movie tunes...The material may be spotty, but Arizona Broadway's production, directed by Kiel handsomely done with fun flying effects...." -Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

"...The Little on stage at Arizona Broadway Theatre in a resplendent and enchanting production, directed by Kiel Klaphake,...Ariel (Jill-Christine Wiley), the youngest daughter of Triton, the king of the sea (Mark DiConzo), is infatuated with the world above...One stormy day, she saves a prince (Patton Chandler) from drowning and falls tail over heels in love with him...Ariel's aunt Ursula (Lynzee Jaye Paul 4man), banished by Triton for practicing witchcraft, sees an opportunity for revenge and lures Ariel into a deal. In exchange for Ariel's voice, she will transform her niece into a human and give her three days to be kissed by Eric. If Ariel succeeds, she will become a human forever; if she fails, she will lose her soul to Ursula....Ms. Wiley is radiant as Ariel, capturing the vulnerability and hopefulness of her character. Ms. Foreman, however, knocks the ball out of the park as Ursula ~ menacing, brash, snarky, and sassy. She has attitude and style and a powerful voice to match. Standing in for Cassandra Klaphake, this understudy demonstrates a quality of talent that demands greater exposure ...Sandwiched between the sweet innocence of Ariel and the sinister ambition of Ursula is a veritable smorgasbord of colorful characters, all played with panache and joyous wit.There's the marvelous Aaron Ronelle as Sebastian the hip Jamaican crab, charged by Triton to safeguard Ariel. Mr. Ronelle's presence brightens the stage and makes Under the Sea one of the show's more vibrant and memorable moments....Greg Kalafatas who does a knock-your-socks-off performance as Chef Louis...Paul Black's set and lighting create for all these characters an enchanting and magical illusion of a deep sea empire....ABT's staging of The Little Mermaid is a winner and needs to be on every family's entertainment schedule." -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

cast announcement - ANATOMY OF A HUG - The Bridge Initiative

The Bridge Initiative's inaugural mounting is the world premiere of New York playwright Kat Ramsburg's Anatomy of a Hug.

The cast will feature Allison Sell, Melvina Jones, Toni Jourdan and Phil Weaver-Stoesz.

The production will be directed by Amanda Noel Trombley.

The design team includes Kara Thomson, who will design the set, and costume designer Mallory Maria Prucha.  Media elements are by Daniel Fine. The lighting and sound designers are students Cameron Bennett and Ryan Lee Kirkpatrick.

Anatomy of a Hug explores what happens when a convict (Jourdan) receives Compassionate Release from her prison sentence into her daughter Amelia (Sell)'s care.  A lifetime of living vicariously through her beloved TV characters doesn't prepare Amelia for the actual drama of her mother's return or the advances of a charming co-worker (Weaver-Stoesz).  The ticking clock of her mother's illness means Amelia must decide if her fictional life is safer than the possibility of her own story.

Performances on Friday, June 19th at 7:30PM; Saturday, June 20th at 2:30 & 7:30PM; and Sunday, June 21st at 2:30PM.  Ramsburg is flying in from New York for the premiere and will participate in a talkback after the Saturday evening performance.

Tickets ($15 / $10 for students/seniors; press passes available) can be purchased at

A conversation with Nick Cartell from the National tour of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Nick Cartell
by Gil Benbrook

Actor and singer Nick Cartell moved to Phoenix when he was just six months old and went on to appear in dozens of productions across the Valley. He appeared in shows at Valley Youth Theatre, sang with the Phoenix Boys Choir, was a solo artist with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and his performance in Light in the Piazza at Phoenix Theatre earned him an ariZoni award. 

While he left Arizona a few years ago, and performed on Broadway in both the original musical Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson and the recent revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, he's back in Arizona now in the touring production of Phantom of the Opera, that starts performances tonight at ASU/Gammage in Tempe.

Phantom is Nick's National Tour debut and while he appears in the ensemble of the show, and serves as the production's fight captain, he also understudies the romantic lead Raoul and will be performing that role for the last five performances of the Tempe run of the show.

While Nick is a busy guy, he sat down to answer our questions for PHX Stages readers...

Chris Mann as The Phantom and Katie Travis as Christine DaaƩ
Photo: Matthew Murphy
How long have you been on the Phantom tour?

I have been with this tour since the very beginning, going on almost a year and a half now. We started rehearsals in October 2013.

As the understudy for Raoul, how often have you gone on in the part?

I have been on 15 and a half times- once I had to perform the second act of the show as Raoul. Unfortunately the usual actor in the role became ill during the first act and could not continue so I had to step in. That's why you always have to be prepared to go on at any time because you just never know.

There has been a lot of buzz about how this tour has new direction, sets and choreography. What can you tell us about how this production compares to the original one that people might have seen before?

This spectacular new production of Phantom is beautiful. What audiences can expect to see is a visual treat with the same score and music that they know and love, along with the beautiful costumes designed by Tony award-winning Maria Bjornson, but with a completely different look inside the Paris Opera House. Our director, Laurence Connor, really wanted to delve into the backstage grittiness and bring that into the forefront so the audience can really see who the Phantom was and where he was coming from. There have been a lot of technological advances in the last 30 years since the production originally premiered in London and so we're able to bring those advances into the production now in new and exciting ways and it really is such a spectacular new version - audiences are going to love it.

The show is the longest running show on Broadway and has also run for almost 30 years in London. Why do you think Phantom has struck such a chord with audiences?

I think it has to do first and foremost with the score and the music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. And secondly with the love story and about a man that falls in love with this young woman because of her voice and along with the music, creates this world that audiences get captured in. It's really a testament to the original story that Gaston Leroux wrote and one that obviously has stood the test of time.
The Company performs "Masquerade"
Photo: Alastair Muir 

When was the first time you saw a production of the show?

The first time I saw production of The Phantom of the Opera was when I was 13 years old at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, and it was the first time the show played Arizona, so it was very exciting for me.

What is your favorite part of the show?

My favorite part of the show, I have to say, is the final lair. It's the final confrontation between the Phantom, Christine and Raoul. I love the music, I love the acting and I love the story telling that goes on in the last 15 minutes of the show every night.

As this is your first National Tour, how does that compare to doing a show that only plays in one city and one theatre?

Our shortest sit down is two weeks, and it's fun because we get to experience each city's greatest hits. Normally we're playing in downtown areas and in areas where there's more nightlife and restaurants so we get a sense of the flavor of a new place. But being on the road can be difficult because you are living out of a suitcase, which is the major difference between tour life and doing a show that plays for an extended period at one venue.

Storm Lineberger as Raoul
Photo: Matthew Murphy
You appeared on Broadway in another Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway where you also understudied the main roles, how difficult is it to appear in a show while understudying other parts?

There are many different pros and cons to being an understudy. While I'm very grateful for the opportunities I've had to understudy, I hope at some point in my career to step out of understudying and into principal roles. Having said that, I actually have found that I am very good at it; I have a brain that can compartmentalize and focus on another character along with doing my other track. There are sometimes difficulties that come with being an understudy, such as when things change in rehearsal for the principal cast and you don't always  get those notes. But when you are given the chance to step up, you feel valued and sometimes you help save the day.

Do you still have family in Phoenix?

Yes I still have family in Phoenix and I'm so excited to get to play my home town. My parents, aunts, uncles and cousins all live in the area, plus a ton of friends and colleagues, so it's going to really feel like a homecoming for me stepping on stage for the first time and performing this beautiful show.

Will this be your first time appearing on the Gammage stage?

The last time that I was on the Gammage stage was about six months ago when I did a press event for Phantom to announce that it was coming to Gammage, and before that it was when I walked across the stage and accepted my diploma from Arizona State University. It's so exciting to come home.

For more information on The Phantom of the Opera, playing at ASU/Gammage through June 7th, click here.

photos - HONK!, JR - Spotlight Youth Theatre

for more information on this production, that runs from May 29th to June 14th, click here.

photos: Deb Czajkowski and Kelly Swope

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

reviews - ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS - Phoenix Theatre

Ron May and Joseph Kremer
(photo: Erin Evangeline Photography)
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

 "One Man, Two Guvnors, now playing at Phoenix Theatre, is hilarious....isn’t simply a typical British farce based on an Italian play, it’s a celebration of all Brit music hall comedy, the kind that inspired Benny Hill, the Carry On team and Brian Rix....The manic plot is not an easy sell, but basically, as the title suggests, Francis Henshall (Ron May) is a servant employed by two men.  One, a gangster, the other, a criminal, and both in hiding, away from the madding crowd of London.  Francis is hungry, literally and figuratively, and takes on the double duty of serving two men hoping it will eventually lead to a full meal.  It’s the manic energy of doing his best to keep the two guv’nors apart that keeps the play rolling until everyone collapses from sheer exhaustion by the final bow.... Bean’s script incorporates such continual, rapid fire witty dialog among the visual gags – burnt iron marks on two white shirts is side-splitting – that audiences are treated to the best of all comedic worlds...There’s also improvisation when Ron May enlists the help of audience members to help him on stage ..The play’s biggest laugh – and it’s a genuine gut buster – just before the intermission evolves out of yet more audience participation, but to explain further would be criminal.   See it for yourself....The sizeable cast all bring that abundance of energy needed to make the show work as they race around while trying to keep out of each other’s the center of it all is Ron May recreating the role that made James Corden the toast of both London and New York, and it’s perfect casting. ...May brings a different kind of energy to the role of the servant; it’s one fueled by nerves.  With eyes that constantly dart from left to right, a brow that continually needs wiping and a face that can neither relax nor smile, May looks like an overweight ball of stress; you can see his mind never stops.
...The play suffers from a weaker second half that can’t quite reach the giddy heights of the first, plus there’s a danger amongst the mayhem as things begin to wrap that it may at any moment all fall apart.  But somehow it doesn’t.  After watching the cleverness of One Man, Two Guvnors, a regular British farce with all its banging doors, its PG-rated sexual innuendo, the mistaken identities and the trouser-dropping will no longer seem enough." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors is a very funny mash up of British music hall comedy, a variety show, and a farce. Phoenix Theatre is presenting the Phoenix regional premiere, with Ron May giving a hilarious performance as the "one man." May's entire supporting cast is also having a blast and this production is a laugh riot filled with many side-splitting moments as well as a few fun musical numbers....That play focuses on a harlequin who gets into comical situations while working for two is a criminal in hiding, the other a local gangster who just recently killed a man. ...Francis Henshall, believing he has hit the jackpot by having two jobs at the same time, relishes his new found wealth. But with his constant cravings for food and women always on his mind, he unfortunately can't keep the two jobs straight. He also has to ensure that his two bosses never meet, which adds plenty of farcical situations and slapstick comedy bits. Needless to say, hilarity ensues...with the results including mistaken identity, pratfalls, secret identities, and the character of Henshall constantly breaking the fourth wall and interacting with the audience members—a few of whom find themselves up on stage. Bean has crafted some great gag moments that provide May plenty of opportunities to show his comic abilities....May is the star here and he is a comic genius. He gives it his all and flings himself about the stage, attempting to avert disaster at every possible turn, while at the same time also having a sweet engagement with the audience. May doesn't oversell the comedy, instead giving many of the comedic lines a soft delivery, which actually works better and makes the humor more organic. He expertly interacts with the other actors playing various oddball characters, provides plenty of funny bits with his many interactions with the audience, and perfectly gets the humor in the many gags he takes part in. He also comes across as a very lovable harlequin, which provides some heart to the whole affair. I saw James Corden play the part on Broadway, and May is just as good as Corden was....May and the entire cast instill their characters with comical traits and throw themselves into the roles with equal abandonment. They also have to elicit an improvisational feel to their parts, even though some of the improv is meticulously scripted, and they all deliver in spades....Director Pasha Yamotahari keeps the lunacy going at a fever pitch and has crafted, along with Bean, some very inspired moments. ...With multiple laugh out loud moments and a fun cast led by a superb performance by Ron May, Phoenix Theatre's One Man, Two Guvnors is definitely the funniest show in town." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Slapstick, fat jokes and flatulence never looked so smart as they do in One Man, Two Guvnors, a farce so old-fashioned it feels fresh....The play's local premiere, at Phoenix Theatre, stars Ron May as Francis Henshall, a portly, perpetually confused bloke working as henchman and handservant to two crime bosses — neither of them particularly intimidating — in the seaside town of Brighton...May... is a gifted comic actor who brings an endearing nervous energy to the stage. And Guvnors demands every ounce of that energy, whether it's the carefully choreographed pratfalls or the quick-witted improvisations as Francis breaks the proverbial fourth wall to chat up the audience. ..May keeps the laughs rolling..Directed by Pasha Yamotahari, this production features fine-tuned comic turns by the entire cast.." - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

"Hurrah for performers who take big risks, who dare to extend themselves beyond their comfort zones, and deliver big time on their dare. Hurrah, therefore, for Ron Phoenix Theatre's production of Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors, scales new heights with a laugh out loud and shining portrayal of a modern times harlequin....Mr. May is an unadulterated hoot as Francis Henshall, a seemingly shiftless and oft-times bewildered chap with a seemingly insatiable hunger for both food (in the name of gluttony) and cash (in the name of love) who shifts into high gear to satisfy both by becoming the manservant to two men, each of whom is unwittingly and unknowingly interconnected to the other and unaware that they share Francis's services....Mr. May navigates through this madcap scenario like Looney Tunes' Tasmanian devil, periodically engaging the audience in his quest for food and on-stage assistance. May's physicality and improvisational smarts are fully and richly on display as are the rich talents of the marvelous ensemble that Mr. Yamotahari has assembled....There is so much in this work that reminds one of the golden days of vaudeville or the pranks and pratfalls of a Buster Keaton or a Lou Costello or even the tongue twister phrases that Johnny Carson articulated on late night TV. There's an absolutely delightful exposition on the attributes of monozygotic twins. There's the prescient, if not overly optimistic, forecasting about what life and politics might be like some twenty years after...Clever stuff indeed ~ all the way through this gloriously funny production, complemented by Nick Mozak's splendid set design and Cari Sue Smith's well-tailored costumes....One Man, Two Guvnors continues its rollicking run on the Mainstage Theatre at Phoenix Theatre through June 14th." -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

audition notice - BLACK NATIVITY- Black Theatre Troupe - June 8th

from our friends at BTT and Durant Communications:

Playwright or Screenwriter: Langston Hughes
Director: Walter Belcher
Music Director: Jennifer Robinson
Choreographer: Kenyata White-Allen

Audition Dates and Times:
Monday, June 8th,
Dance Call 6pm – 7:30pm
Vocal Call 7:45pm – 9pm
Callback Dates and Times: TBD

Rehearsals Begin: 11/03/2015
Performance Dates: 12/04/2015 – 12/20/2015

This legendary holiday event, has become a classic retelling of the birth or Christ, through passionate modern dance, rich language and story telling, as well as powerful gospel music. Written by Langston Hughes and originally choreographed by Alvin Ailey, the afro-centric style of theatre brings new life, new meaning, and new understanding to the spirit of Christmas

Character Breakdown
Seeking male and female dancers with strong ballet, modern, and jazz dance experience.
Seeking male and female vocalist with strong gospel, and r&b style.

What To Prepare
Dancers should arrive by 5:50 pm, stretched and dressed to dance.
Vocalist should arrive by 7:30 pm, with traditional Christmas song for audition. (no tracks)

Audition Details
Black Theatre Troupe
1333 E Washington St
Phoenix, Arizona 85034

Be aware of light rail tracks. Our theatre is located on the south side (left side) of the light rail tracks as you head west on Washington.

Appointment Contact
Walter Belcher

review - THE WIZARD OF OZ - Hale Centre Theatre

Vinny Chavez, Jesse Thomas Foster, Geoffrey Goorin, 
Jessie Jo Pauley and Teddy
Photo: Nick Woodward- Shaw /Hale Centre Theatre
highlights from Gil's review at Talkin' Broadway- (click link at bottom of review highlights to read complete review)

"...With five productions of The Wizard of Oz playing across Phoenix this month, there is no shortage of theatrical Ozs to feast upon and, even with a few shortcomings, Hale Centre Theatre's production, that just opened, is bright, bold and colorful and grounded with a seamless performance from Jessie Jo Pauley as Dorothy....Though there are a couple of missteps along the journey, in typical Hale fashion, they pull out all stops with this production. With imaginative costumes from Corrin Dietlein and Mary Atkinson and vibrant lighting from Jeff A. Davis, the Hale stage comes alive with pops of color and creativity. Director and choreographer Cambrian James has crafted some fun dances and most of his cast deliver winning performances without being carbon copies of the iconic film portrayals....Jessie Jo Pauley is stunning as Dorothy. She exhibits a wide range of emotions with ease, from pensive to headstrong, passionate, fearful and optimistic. At just 16, Pauley not only brings the right combination of sweet sincerity and teenage angst to the role, but also has a warm, bright singing voice that, when combined with her dedicated portrayal, allows Dorothy's songs to have an emotional connection. It is a superb performance....As the trio of friends that Dorothy meets, Jesse Thomas Foster, Vinny Chavez, and Geoffrey Goorin are all quite good as the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion, respectively...As Miss Gulch and the Wicked Witch, Heidi-Liz Johnson is going for a slightly more comical and less evil take on both of the characters, portraying them basically as just two very mean people...Johnson is fine with what she does, I just would have preferred a more seriously evil take that is more at counterpoint to the more comical characters in the show....James' direction is quite good. He also has come up with several varied dances, including a high energy "Jitterbug" number, as well as some fun synchronized movement for the crows who taunt the Scarecrow. ..Also, while James' direction and the creative elements are mostly impressive, the decision to have an abridged ending to the show is a bit of a let-down, especially since—SPOILER ALERT—we never are told that the entire journey was a dream...While I realize this change means that none of the heavily costumed actors have to attempt to change back to their Kansas counterparts in what is a very short amount of time, it also somewhat minimizes the meaning of the story and Dorothy's realization that the people in Kansas are what really makes up her home....However, with the exception of the abridged ending and a couple of performances, Hale's production of The Wizard of Oz is still very charming. With colorful creative elements, it beautifully brings one of the most loved movies ever made to the stage in a vivid production with a superb performance from Pauley as Dorothy and is another success from director/choreographer James." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

For more information on this production, that runs through July 3rd, click here

Monday, May 25, 2015

WEEK AT A GLANCE: May 25 - 31

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

And Click Here for a complete day by day calendar of what shows are playing.


Desert Foothills Theater
May 29

Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and Phoenix Theatre
May 29 - 31, 2015


Don Bluth Front Row Theatre
May 7 - May 30, 2015

All Puppet Players
May 15 - 30, 2015


May 27- June 7, 2015

Spotlight Youth Theatre
May 29th to June 14th, 2015

Fountain Hills Theater
May 29 - June 7, 2015


Mesa Encore Theatre
May 22 - June 7, 2015

Phoenix Theatre
May 20 to June 14, 2015

Desert Stages Theatre
May 22 - June 21, 2015

Arizona Broadway Theatre
May 22 - June 21, 2015

Don Bluth Front Row Theatre
May 19 - July 3, 2015

Hale Centre Theatre
May 21 - July 3, 2015

audition notice - POSEIDON'S REGRET & THE TEMPEST - Brelby Theatre Company - June 13 & 14

Auditions for Brelby's fall productions, Poseidon's Regret & The Tempest.

June 13&14 from 9am-11am

Email to secure an audition slot.

Brelby Theatre Company
6835 N 58th Ave, Glendale, Arizona 85301

Poseidon's Regret
By John Perovich
Directed by Carolyn McBurney

Rehearses: June 27, July 12-Aug 12 (Mon-Thurs evenings)
Performs: Aug 13-15 @ 7:30pm, Aug 15-16 @ 2:00pm

Eli’s father left him and his mother when he was a baby. 35 years later, having already lost his mother, Eli learns of his father’s identity (a successful children’s author) when he inherits his cabin in a Maine lobstering town. Eli hopes to simply sell the property, but when he reluctantly begins reading his father’s stories of sailors, sea monsters, and the notorious Captain Japipidy Jones, Eli takes to the seven seas for revenge against the man who abandoned him so many years ago.


The Tempest
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Amanda & Dan Trombley

Rehearses: Aug 16-Sept 24 (Sun-Wed)
Sept 25-26, Oct 2-3, 9-10, 15-16 @ 7:30pm
Sept 26-27, Oct 4, 10-11, 17 @ 2:00pm

Prospero, Duke of Milan, usurped and exiled by his own brother, holds sway over an enchanted island. He is comforted by his daughter Miranda and served by his spirit Ariel and his deformed slave Caliban. When Prospero raises a storm to wreck this perfidious brother and his confederates on the island, his long contemplated revenge at last seems within reach.

Imbued with a spirit of magic and the supernatural, The Tempest is Shakespeare’s late great masterpiece of forgiveness, generosity and enlightenment.

audition notice - UP IN THE AIR- the Musical! - Skilderverse Productions - May 27

from our friends at Skildervers Productios and Durant Communications:

Director: Jamie E Maletz

Compensation: No Pay
Rehearsals Begin: 06/26/2015
Performance Dates: 08/14/2015 – 08/16/2015

There are certain types of people that you will always find on an airplane. The lady with the screaming baby. The surly flight attendant. The large, smelly people you inevitably get stuck sitting between. And they all have their own stories. What starts out as an ordinary flight takes 12 people on an extraordinary journey that turns their lives upside down in this musical comedy. This is a staged reading performance (with potential opportunity for full-scale performances).

Character Breakdown


JENNY (soprano): A very unfortunate and long-suffering young woman, who is currently having the worst month of her life.

TANYA (mezzo): Easily irritable, clever and blunt. She does not care about being pleasant or likeable, and she enjoys messing with people’s heads. She is on a business trip.

RYAN (tenor): A slightly overdramatic daydreamer who is lucky enough to be seated next to Claire, and quickly becomes convinced that she is his soul mate.

HANK (Baritone): A grumpy, smelly, middle-aged man. Hank and Irene are the classic stereotypical old married couple. They sleep in separate beds, they bicker constantly, and they have completely forgotten why they were ever in love in the first place.

IRENE (mezzo): A bitter, fat, middle-aged woman. Hank and Irene are the classic stereotypical old married couple. They sleep in separate beds, they bicker constantly, and they have completely forgotten why they were ever in love in the first place.

SYDNEY (soprano): A gentle and sweet flight attendant. She is not the sharpest tool in the box, but she’s pretty, so she’s everyone’s favorite.

ENSEMBLE MEMBERS: Other passengers on the airplane. Fun back-up singing opportunities. Maracas may or may not be included.

Additional Info

Skilderverse Productions is about doing theatre for the love of theatre. Our focus is on showcasing original new material & celebrating the arts and the way they give people a place to belong and a chance to shine. We believe that anyone who wants to be involved in theatre should be included.

What To Prepare

16-32 bars of a song from the musical theatre genre. Be prepared for cold reads from the script.

Call For Crew

STAGE MANAGER- You will be loved and appreciated and frequently brought coffee and/or treats. We promise.

Appointment Contact
Jamie Maletz

Audition Dates and Times:
May 27th @ 6-10pm. Call or email to schedule time slot.
Callback Dates and Times:

Third Avenue Palms (private residence)
3633 North 3rd Avenue #2051
Phoenix, Arizona 85013

We are across the street from the Phoenix College Nursing building. Call or text Jamie at 781-733-3345 for the gate code to get into the complex.

photos - A CHORUS LINE - Mesa Encore Theatre

For more information on this production, that runs through June 7th, click here.

on the right, Audrey Sullivan as Cassie and Jean-Paoul Clemente as Zach

Megan Rose as Diana and the cast sing "What I Did For Love"

Audrey Sullivan as Cassie

Audrey Sullivan as Cassie

Audrey Sullivan as Cassie

Photos by Ryan Roberts