Monday, November 30, 2015

WEEK AT A GLANCE: November 30 - December 6

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.






Musical Theatre of Anthem
December 3 - 13, 2015

East Valley Children's Theatre
December 3 - 13, 2015

Hale Centre Theatre 
December 3 - December 24, 2015

Valley Youth Theatre
December 4 - 23, 2015

Black Theatre Troupe
December 4 - 20, 2015

Stray Cat Theatre
December 4 - December 20, 2015

Fountain Hills Theater
December 4 – 20, 2015

Fountain Hills Theater
December 4 - 20, 2015

Starlight Community Theater
December 4 - 13, 2015

Brelby Theatre Company
December 4 - December 19, 2015

Spotlight Youth Theatre
December 4 - December 20, 2015

Studio 3 Performing Arts
December 4 - 13, 2015

Theater Works
December 4 - 20, 2015

Mesa Community College
December 4 - 12, 2015

All Puppet Players
December 4 - 19, 2015


Theatre Artists Studio
November 27 - December 13, 2015

Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre 
November 13 - December 20, 2015

Arizona Broadway Theatre
November 27 - December 24, 2015

November 15 - December 27, 2015

Phoenix Theatre 
November 18, 2015 - December 27, 2015

Don Bluth Front Row Theatre 
November 19 - December 30, 2015

Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre
November 6, 2015 - January 10, 2016

Actor's Youth Theatre 
December 10 - 19, 2015

Arizona Theatre Company
December 10 - 26, 2015

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
December 11-20, 2015

Childsplay's Cyber Monday Special

from our friends at Childsplay:

TODAY ONLY! Use promo code "CYBERMONDAY" and receive $5 off each ticket (excluding price level 2)!

Available online & over the phone 480.350.2822 (ext.2).

CLICK HERE to order online

reviews - A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Arizona Broadway Theatre

James Rio and Jamie Parnell
Photo Courtesy of Arizona Broadway Theatre /
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through December 27th.

"... A Christmas Carol: The Musical... under the direction of Joseph Martinez..a brazen, yuletide extravaganza, a dazzling variation of a grandstanding, seasonal Variety show where the songs, the dancing and all the eye-popping special effects with twinkly lights are used in service to tell a ghost story of Christmas. Beginning with the atmospheric sounds of clanging chimes, ABT’s plush, Christmas red curtains rise, revealing Paul Bridgeman’s town square set design of a picture-book, snowy London, adapted for ABT by Michaela Lynne Stein.  The whole look has a similar feel and appearance of a European holiday Pantomime ...This production doesn’t reflect Dickens, but what it does is take that familiar story of ghosts and redemption, removes the cold, bleak, biting atmosphere of an unforgiving London and presents it with bright, sparkling colors, songs, and large scale dance sequences played out to a picturesque, nostalgic Victorian backdrop that never really was.  A Christmas Carol: The Musical may have little to do with Dickens, but it has everything to do with showbiz.... James Rio as Ebenezer Scrooge...makes an effectively imposing figure of a neatly-dressed miser, plus he sings well... Richard Koons plays the jovial Ghost of Christmas Present as if Santa himself had arrived...while best and most amusing of all is Renee Kathleen Koher as the Ghost of Christmas Past, played not so much like the androgynous man-child of the book but as an excitable Grecian Goddess finding fun at every turn...Technical credits are, as expected, of a high order.  Amanda Gran must have worked overtime on the wigs, Mark 4Man’s six-member band sounds like a full-rounded orchestra, while Kurtis W. Overby’s lively choreography fills the wide stage and makes the dance at Fezziwigs’s ball appear like the grandest of all affairs in London.  Tim Monson’s lighting coupled with Will Pickens’ sound are used to maximum effect throughout, particularly when Jacob Marley (Michael O’Brien under ghostly makeup and buried in chains) rises out of the ground like a smoky, Las Vegas magic trick and brings all those other ghosts out of the woodwork to haunt Scrooge with the humorous song and dance number Link by Link....If you’re a Dickens purist, then this is not your show, but it was never meant to be.  It’s a song and dance holiday extravaganza with Dickens as a starting point...." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

From one-person shows to full blown musicals, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" has spawned dozens of different theatrical adaptations...Arizona Broadway Theatre's production of the 1994 musical adaptation of the tale is full of life and emotion that gets to the heart of the timeless tale of redemption.  Dickens' tale of the miserly and selfish businessman Scrooge shows how visits from four ghosts, including his former business partner Marley, help him see the mistakes of his past and better understand the less fortunate people around him, especially his employee Bob Cratchit and Cratchit's young crippled son Tiny Tim. ...Conceived by Madison Square Garden in 1994 as competition for Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular,...this adaptation, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and a book by Ahrens and Mike Ockrent, sticks close to Dickens' original story structure, incorporating many direct lines of dialogue from Dickens' novel.... But there is also plenty of razzle dazzle added in, with elaborate dance sequences, in order to turn it into a full blown Broadway-style musical...while it is mainly through sung, with virtually non-stop music throughout and very few moments between songs for applause, it still manages to effectively incorporate all of the major characters and plot points from the book. ...Menken and Ahren's score is top notch, with interwoven melodies, themes and songs, several of which are reprised later at appropriate moments....Ahren and Ockrent's book includes several comic moments that help balance, but never overpower, the emotional story of Scrooge's journey to redemption. ...ABT's creative aspects and cast are just about perfect, with James Rio giving a fine performance as the heartless Scrooge....Director Joseph Martinez does a very good job of staging the almost always moving scenes with a grace that allows the important moments to land. Kurtis W. Overby provides a decent amount of well thought out choreography throughout and the two work together seamlessly to ensure that the many large group numbers never seem muddy.... The exquisite costume designs by Martha Clarke, with additional designs by Lottie Dixon and Amanda Gran's wig designs, create some stunning effects most especially for Marley, his fellow ghosts, and the stone angels in the cemetery scene. Since the score is virtually non-stop, having a great music director is key and Mark 4Man provides his usual superb direction. ...There have been many adaptations of A Christmas Carol, yet I doubt any achieve the result of this musical version, which wisely adds humor and several showstopping songs to elevate the tale of Scrooge in to a big, brassy Broadway musical. While purists may have a problem with some of the changes, it is definitely an entertaining and memorable musical version of Dickens' story. With impressive creative elements that include some great special effects, a wonderful cast that does justice to Dickens' characters, and clear, well thought out direction and choreography, ABT's A Christmas Carol is a wonderful presentation of this magical adaptation of the beloved story and the perfect kick-off to the holiday season."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

All Puppet Players' Cyber Monday 2015 Special

All Puppet Players Cyber Monday sale gets you 50% off VIP tickets to Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!

Use code SANTA (mind the ALL CAPS) at you can get 50% off of our VIP tickets for Santa Claus Conquers the Martians which opens this week.

This deal only lasts until 6pm today!

You can get VIP tickets at a 50% discounted rate. VIP tickets come with VIP seating, happy hour pricing at the bar, and a gift bag.

photos - A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Arizona Broadway Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs through December 24th, CLICK HERE

photos courtesy Arizona Broadway Theatre /


Many theatre companies in the Valley participate in Giving Tuesday. GivingTuesday is an unprecedented global movement of generosity. For the third year in a row, Razoo is inviting individuals to pariticipate by donating to their favorite nonprofits from across America to help them raise funds for the world-changing causes that matter to you and your favorite charitable organizations.

CLICK HERE to support Actor's Youth Theatre during Giving Tuesday!
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Displaying Giving Tuesday image for PHX Stages.png
Displaying Giving Tuesday image for PHX Stages.png
CLICK HERE to support Arizona Broadway Theatre

CLICK HERE to support Brelby Theatre Company

Brelby has big plans to expand their reach in the West Valley through the production of new works by local playwrights and the development of their educational offerings, and you can be a part of that progress.

CLICK HERE to support Childsplay

CLICK HERE to support Musical Theatre of Anthem

Everyone who donates a minimum of $5 to MTA today will be put into a drawing for your choice of tickets to MTA's Annie Jr. or Holiday Show. Multiple sets of tickets will be given away and winners will be notified on Wednesday, December 2nd.

CLICK HERE to donate to Spotlight Youth Theatre


CLICK  HERE to support Theater Works

CLICK HERE to support Valley Youth Theatre

Saturday, November 28, 2015

reviews - A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD - Childsplay

Jon Gentry and Dwayne Hartford
photo: Tim Trumble
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through December 27th.

"Based on a series of children stories by Arnold Lobel and adapted by Willie Reale, as the title suggests, Childplay’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad isn’t one adventure, it’s a collection of gentle, innocent stories written as seasonal events, starting with spring and ending shortly after Christmas once our two heroes have enjoyed Christmas Eve together and prepare for hibernation....The strength of Childsplay..., is its ability to mix classy entertainment while inspiring discussion of its themes.  For Frog and Toad, it’s the theme of friendship.  These characters, as different as they are from each other – Toad can be a little cranky while Frog wants only the best for his friend – have an affection for each other’s company that due to the energy and that overall sense of comic timing and professional delivery of both (Jon) Gentry and (Dwayne) Hartford, the charm feels genuine, illustrated through the things they say and do, even if there’s the occasional conflict....Technical credits are of Childsplay’s continuous high standard.  Jeff Thompson’s scenic design where elements are either lowered from above or slide on from either side are consistently eye-catching, imaginative and effective; Karen Ann Ledger’s colorful costumes are full of delights and surprises, supported by D. Daniel Hollingshead’s makeup and often amusing hair designs, while Anthony Runfola’s projection adds a dazzling big screen effect of giant, twirling snowflakes as winter approaches.  Molly Lajoie’s choreography based on the original steps of Phoenix Theatre’s Michael Barnard has that same sense of simple but highly effective charm, while Alan Ruch’s musical guidance brings out the best of voices from all the cast, backed by the recorded score from Christopher Neumeyer’s crisp sound.Children will be entranced, but there’s something special about this musical for adults to consider..... " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"The many benefits of having a very good friend are at the heart of A Year with Frog and Toad. Based on the popular children's books by Arnold Lobel, the musical follows one year in the lives of best friends Frog and Toad as they perform daily chores and do various things together to enjoy the seasons. Childsplay's production of this family friendly show is full of vibrant characters and colorful creative elements that result in a winning fun-filled production with humor and heart. Using several of the stories from Nobel's books, along with a few of their own, brothers Robert and Willie Reale adapted Nobel's books into an upbeat, two act children's musical, but one that adults will enjoy as well. ...Robert Reale's varied score includes several toe-tapping numbers and even a sweet ballad. ...Frog and Toad are written as a typical comic duo, with Frog being the straight man and Toad the comical sidekick. Dwayne Hartford and Jon Gentry play up those aspects of their roles beautifully with Gentry very funny as the worrisome, impatient, and insecure Toad and Hartford downright charming as his sensible, best friend Frog. The two play off each other very well. Since there are only three other actors in the cast, it could be perceived as a relatively small show, but those three portray numerous other creatures that inhabit Frog and Toad's forest world. And they all portray them very well, with Yolanda London especially sassy as several characters, David Jones is a hoot as the slow moving snail, and Christiann Thijm sweet as the baby Frog....Director David Saar provides a good balance for the piece, ensuring that the serious moments land but also playing up some of the comical moments. In doing so he makes sure the children in the audience will never get too restless, as there is almost always something fun or silly happening on stage. Choreographer Molly Lajoie does a lovely job of recreating the steps originally designed by Michael Barnard, and the fun, varied, and syncopated steps are well danced by the cast. Creative elements are top notch and colorful...Everyone knows what it's like to have a best friend, someone who you share things with, occasionally get upset with, but trust through thick and then. The beauty of both Lobel's original books and this musical adaptation is that they clearly show the bond that two friends have along with the fun and little things that make those friendships work...."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

audition notice - MISCAST CABARET - Desert Stages Theatre - December 5 & 6

Ever dreamed of playing Ariel, but you end up cast as Ursula? Do you see yourself as a Delta Nu, and get cast as a Frat boy?

Miscast Cabaret is your chance to sing the song you'll never get cast to sing. Whether you're too old, the wrong "type", or even the wrong gender, we want you to showcase your talent and play the part you've dreamed of.

Auditions are Dec. 5th from 4pm-6pm and on Dec 6th at 6pm. Please come with a prepared miscast piece. Piece must be close to performance ready. All rehearsals will be for timing, and learning group numbers. Auditioners must be able to attend all rehearsals.

Rehearsals: Dec. 12 & 19 approximately 8:00am-11:00am
Show debuts Dec. 20 at 7pm

Friday, November 27, 2015

An interview with the dog trainer from A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL...

The Examiner's Jennifer Haaland spoke to the Doug Terranova, the man who trains the two hounds in the National Tour of A Christmas Story, the Musical.....

"Two alleged bird-snatching burglars are prowling the Arizona State (ASU) campus this holiday week. Slobbery, unapologetic and thoroughly lovable, Hoss and Stella play the role of The Bumpus Hounds, Ralphie's Old Man's nemeses in the beloved Christmas movie turned Broadway musical, "A Christmas Story." The Bloodhound duo and their handler, Doug Terranova, yesterday gave Examiner some time before their backstage call at ASU Gammage.

"They make two passes across the stage and eventually ruin Christmas dinner," chuckled Terranova, though his description was a humble understatement compared to last night's bounding and frolicking that the audience lapped up with laughter and applause....." CLICK HERE to read the rest of Jennifer's interview....

A Christmas Story, the Musical runs through Sunday, November 29th at ASU/Gammage, CLICK HERE for more information about this production.