Friday, September 30, 2016

audition notice - GOOD 'N' PLENTY - Mesa Community College - October 11 & 12

by Jeffrey Hatcher
directed by Ron May​.

WHEN:    Oct. 11th, 4:00 - 8:00PM
                Oct. 12th, 4:00 - 5:00PM

Callbacks: Oct. 12th 5:00-7:00PM

-Come prepared with two contrasting monologues.

-If you have a headshot and resume, please bring it.

-CLICK HERE to reserve your audition timeslot

WHERE: MCC Theatre - Room TH-2

QUESTIONS please Contact: Director, Ron May @

**Please come a few minutes early to complete your audition paperwork.

video preview - A LITTLE PRINCESS - East Valley Children's Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs through October 9th, CLICK HERE

photos - H.M.S. PINAFORE - ASU Lyric Opera Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs to October 2nd, CLICK HERE

Photos by Tim Trumble

PHX Stages Q/A: Gary Zaro

the cast of Noises Off at Paradise Valley Community College
photo courtesy PVCC

The classic comical farce Noises Off opens tonight at Paradise Valley Community College and director Gary Zaro found a moment during final rehearsals to sit down and answer the PHX Stages Q/A:

Name:  Gary Zaro

Where you were born and or raised:  San Jose, CA
Day job:  Professor of Humanities and Theatre at Paradise Valley Community College.

First show you ever saw:  Hamlet

Moment you knew you wanted to perform/direct for a living:  After seeing a production of Cyrano de Bergerac at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

The one performance you attended that you will never forget:  Revival of Camelot starring Richard Burton as King Arthur.

First stage kiss:  In a production of Lysistrata in college.

Best stage experience you’ve had so far acting?  Playing Silvio in The Servant of Two Masters.

Trish Sewell, Grant Zaro, Mark Kleinman, Rachel Brown, Chris McClymonds,
Ryan Kleinman, and Kelly Hutchison
in The Secret Garden - PVCC 2008
photo: Brian Hermann

Best stage experience you’ve had so far directing?:  The Secret Garden at PVCC.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?    The cast is very hard working and they are a lot of fun to work with.

Most challenging role you have played onstage?  The Dancing Waiter in Company.  I’m not a dancer!

Most challenging show you’ve directed?:  Noises Off

What made you go into directing after originally being an actor?  It seemed like a logical progression from acting and it was required in grad school.  Once I started teaching theatre it was the natural step to take.

What was the first show you directed and what did you learn from it that you still use today?  I was assistant director for a production of Loose Ends and I learned that a director, while the final decision maker, has to listen, watch, and be flexible to ideas and change.  I also learned you have to be a pretty good psychologist.

Leading role you've been dying to play:  Cyrano de Bergerac

Show you are dying to direct:  The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar, adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig

Guilty pleasure show you’d love to direct:  The 39 Steps

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:  I always stretch and do a lot of vocal warm-ups including tongue twisters.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:  The seat of my pants ripped out during a show, and I had to do sword fight as well as the rest of the act like that listening to the audience in the front row commenting on my ripped pants and the color of my underwear.
Worst costume ever:  
 It was in a college production of Lysistrata.  There was barely anything to my costume and we performed in an outdoor amphitheater in northern California so it was quite chilly!  That also introduced me to the fact that there is no modesty in theatre.

Best costume ever:      
 I played Harcourt in The Country Wife – gotta love Restoration comedies and their opulent costumes!

Your go to audition monologue/song: These days my only acting is in commercials and those auditions are all improvs.

Worst audition experience:  I forgot the lyrics to the song I was auditioning with and the other auditioners shouted them to me from the house.

Lisa Sanchez, Desiree Baumer, Laura Hardwick, Kent Welborn, Toby Gerst, Valerie Kline,
Gretchen Gesell, Jessica Graeber, and Jessica Weber
in A Midsummer Night's Dream - PVCC 2007
photo: Brian Hermann
If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be?    Elvis Presley and Sir Laurence Olivier (not together, of course!).  

Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with or directed:
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly

Your personal acting idols: Richard Burton and Cary Grant
Favorite play(s):  Leading Ladies, Lend Me a Tenor, Rumors, Twelfth Night, and You Can’t Take It With You
Favorite musical(s):  Les Miserables, Camelot, Chicago, and The Secret Garden

Favorite showtune(s) of all time:  Anything from Les Mis or Chicago

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:  An LP of The Monkees

Last good book you read:  Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre  and  SEAL Target Geronimo by Chuck Pfarrer

Must-see TV show(s): Just about any college football game.

Last good movie you saw:  13 Hours

Favorite movie:  Departures

Music/book/movie that makes you cry:  Music: Bring Him Home from Les Mis;  Book: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand;  Movie:  Fort Bliss

Favorite restaurant in the Valley:  Flo’s
Ric Alpers, Brienna Horacek, Kolten Ledesma, Michael Workman, Siobhan Eagen, Jacob Nalley,
Danielle Plaso, Bennie Martin (the 3-legged dog in a tutu), and Bruce Klefstad
in You Can't Take It With You - PVCC 2013
photo: Tiffany Marie

Favorite cities:  Seattle, Juneau, London, Rome, Venice, North Lake Tahoe, and Durango

Sports teams you root for:  Oakland Raiders, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Arizona Cardinals

Something about you that might surprise people:  I play ice hockey

Special skills:  Fencing

Career you would want if not a performer/director:  Pilot    

Worst non-theatre job you've had:  Outside sales

Best non-theatre job you've had:  Teaching

Three things you can't live without:  Coffee, chocolate, and movies
Words of advice for aspiring performers:  It’s not about you, it’s about the audience.

CLICK HERE for more information and to buy tickets for Noises Off at PVCC, which runs through October 9th

Thursday, September 29, 2016

cast announcement - A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Hale Centre Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs December 1st to December 24th, CLICK HERE


Mark: Kleinman: Ebenezer Scrooge
Matt  Harris: Marley/Old Joe
Stephen Serna: Fred
Ben Mason: Bob Cratchit
Brandi Bigley: Mrs. Cratchit
Halle Mason: Martha Cratchit/Fezziwig Party
Austin Porter: Peter Cratchit/Sled Boy
Jocelyn Kleinman: Belinda Cratchit
Jackson Clark: Doug Cratchit/Boy Scrooge/Beggar Boy/Boy in Courtyard
Katie Calderone: Carol Cratchit/Little Fan/Sled/Want
Kylan Chait: Tiny Tim/Ignorance
Heidi Liz Johnson: Past/Laundress/Soloist
Mark Hackmann: Present/Businessman/Poulterer
Malcolm Hooper: Future/Backstage
Harold LeBoyer: Mr. Fezziwig/Undertaker
Carrie Klofach: Mrs. Fezziwig
Kelton White: Young Scrooge/Narrator
Bronson Todd: Dick Wilkins/Ensemble
Amanda Rahaman: Fred's Wife/Ensemble
Aaron Ford: Charles/Ensemble/Charity/Business
Angela Kriese: Belle/Narrator/Christina
Bjorn Eriksson: Topper/Charity/Business/Jenkins/ Coalman
Tatum Weight: Topper's Girl/Ensemble
Brian Hanna: Robert
Grace Napoletano: Victoria/Ensemble
Kinsey Peotter: Charwoman/Narrator


Cory McCloskey: Ebenezer Scrooge
Raymond Barcelo: Marley/Old Joe
Benjamin Harris: Fred
Bryan Stewart: Bob Cratchit
Brandi Bigley: Mrs. Cratchit
Abby Stewart: Martha Cratchit/Fezziwig Party
Adam Lundgreen: Peter Cratchit/Sled Boy
Emily Woodward-Shaw: Belinda Cratchit
Eric Lundgreen: Doug Cratchit/Boy Scrooge/Beggar Boy/Boy in Courtyard
Olivia Woodward-Shaw: Carol Cratchit/Little Fan/Sled/Want
Charlie Hall: Tiny Tim/Ignorance
Brittni Miner: Past/Laundress/Soloist
James Melita: Present/Businessman​/​Poulterer
Malcolm Hooper: Future/Backstage
Justin Howell: Mr. Fezziwig/Undertaker
Christie Roam-Wright: Mrs. Fezziwig
Kale Burr: Young Scrooge/Narrator
Allan Dewitt: Dick Wilkins/Ensemble
Cami Anglemyer: Fred's Wife/Ensemble
Stephen Serna: Charles/Ensemble//Charity​/​Business
Phoebe Koyabe: Belle/Narrator/Christina
Jacob Goodman: Topper/Charity/Business/Jenkins/ Coalman
Lauren Scoville: Topper's Girl/Ensemble
Porter Solomon: Robert
Ariana Lucius: Victoria/Ensemble
Janis Webb: Charwoman/Narrator

promo photos - LOST IN YONKERS - Desert Stages Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs October 7th to November 11th, CLICK HERE

photos: Wade Moran / Moran Imaging

cast announcement - VERONICA'S ROOM - iTheatre Collaborative

CLICK HERE for information on this production which runs October 14th to October 29th 

Alaina Beauloye as The Woman
C.D. Macaulay as The Man
Makala Close as The Girl
Kyle Hartwick as The Young Man

Director: Charles St. Clair
Set Design: Chris W. Haines
Lighting Design: TJ Heath

audition notice - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre - October 17 & 18

It’s a Wonderful Life
Film by Frank Capra, Adapted for stage by Don Bluth
Directed by Cheryl Schaar

Audition dates : Monday Oct. 17th 6-9
                              Tuesday Oct 18th 6-9

Callbacks if necessary Saturday Oct 22nd 10am

Auditions to be held at the Don Bluth Front Row Theatre
Located at 8670 E. Shea Blvd. Suite 103 Scottsdale Az 85260 (N. E. corner of the Pima Crossing Shopping Center).

All roles are available

What to prepare:   Audition will be cold reads from the script
What to bring:    Head shot and resume.
Pay: Stipend

To book your audition time, please call Cheryl Schaar at 480-707-8273 or email

Rehearsals begin Monday Oct. 24th.
The show runs Dec. 1st to Dec 30th. A total of 17-18 performances.

photos - A LITTLE PRINCESS - East Valley Children's Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs September 29th to October 9th, CLICK HERE

photos: Kathie McMahon / East Valley Children's Theatre

promo photo - THE MERCHANT OF VENICE - Southwest Shakespeare Company

for more information on this production, which runs October 14th to October 29th, CLICK HERE

photo: Matt Chesin

video preview - H. M. S. PINAFORE - ASU Lyric Opera Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs September 29th to October 2nd, CLICK HERE

promo photos - NOISES OFF - Theater Works

for more information on this production, which runs October 7th to October 23rd, CLICK HERE

Bruce Laks, Amy Garland, David Chorley, Toni Jourdan, Janine Colletti and Dylan Kim

photos: Moran Imaging

cast announcement - 12 ANGRY JURORS - Starlight Community Theate

for more information on this production, which runs October 6 to October 9, CLICK HERE

Foreman: Elizabeth Marcus
Juror 2: Jordyn Fischer
Juror 3: Tucker Luadtke
Juror 4: Caleb Ormord
Juror 5: Amelia Luadtke
Juror 6: Harleigh Irizarry
Juror 7: Cambria Cascio Maynard
Juror 8: William Rippenkroeger
Juror 9: Falin Ossipinsky
Juror 10: Hailey Forbis
Juror 11: Caden Johnston
Juror 12: Justin Carey
Guard/Clerk/Swing: Karolina Galopin
Judge/Swing: Grace Ormord

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

cast announcement - DISNEY THE LION KING EXPERIENCE, JR. - Actor's Youth Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production which runs November 10th to November 19th

Rafiki – Lauren Horsley
Mufasa – Jorian Chait
Sarabi/Lioness/Ensemble – Annalise Decker
Zazu – Adam Miller
Scar – Tiffany Ticlo
Young Simba – Adrian Cortez
Simba – Brandon Trudelle
Young Nala – Ava Saba
Nala – Kalei Cotecson
Sarafina/Lioness/Featured Bird/Ensemble – Italia Jahmeek
Banzai – Grant Miner
Shenzi – Taylor Peel
Ed – Will Horsley
Timon – Carter Giannetti
Pumbaa – Zoey Miller

Lioness/Zebra/Ensemble – Kinley Hess
Lioness/Antelope/Ensemble – Aijah Harper, Emma Nielsen, MaryJane Savage, Laura Flood
Lioness/Featured Bird/Ensemble – Alexa Stuart, Remington Rathbun
Lioness/Bird/Ensemble – Shaylee Flanagan
Hyena/Zebra/Ensemble – DJ Coon, Gisele Galbasini
Hyena/Giraffe/Ensemble – Kobi Hough, Shay Smith
Hyena/Ram/Ensemble – Logan Eberhard, Kylan Chait, William Miner, Josh Fowler
Hyena/Bird/Ensemble – Camylle Palmer, Charissa Moulton, Katrina Sapakie
Hyena/Wildebeest/Ensemble – Charlie Hall, Harrison Miller

Grant Rankin
Hayden Moulton
Sienna Galbasini
Caitlyn Miller
Kayla Simms

audition notice - ANYTHING YOU HEAR AND ONLY HALF OF WHAT YOU SEE-Stray Cat Theatre

by Ron Hunting
directed by Louis Farber

Sunday, October 2nd, 12pm-4pm (yes, that's this COMING sunday!)
Callbacks likely Tuesday, October 4th at 6pm

Childsplay Campus of Imagination and Wonder
900 S. Mitchell Dr. Tempe, Arizona 85281

6 M, 1 F

PHIL: Male, age 25-40, a hired gun somehow associated to a mysterious organization. A blunt instrument who specializes in “wet work”, fear and intimidation. Also, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
STEVE: Male, age 25-40, a lieutenant in the mysterious organization. Higher up on the totem pole than PHIL and more of a thinker. A man unafraid to do what is necessary, but also considerate of the circumstances and consequences associated with his particular line of work.
GEORGE: Male, age 35-60, a mailman who saw something he shouldn’t have. A kind man and a true friend who finds himself in a situation that is way over his head.
STAN: Male, age 35-60, a mailman and a citizen of this country and fully aware he’s entitled to certain unalienable rights as a Federal employee. The kind of guy to unnecessarily mansplain issues in a tense situation out of a misguided sense of self preservation.
TOM: Male, age 35-60, a mailman with a quick wit and acerbic tongue. A man who speaks his mind and doesn’t sugar coat things, which is refreshing and honest, but not always helpful.
JERRY: Male, age 35-45, an anxious accountant with the know-how and skill-set to do things like set up a Swiss bank account. He’s intelligent, rational and lives with his Jewish mother.
JACKIE: Female, age 20-40, the right hand of the leader of the mysterious organization. She is uncompromising, confident and wields authority with austerity.

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.
Sides will be sent when your audition appointment is scheduled.
Be sure to provide ALL of the information requested.

3. GENERAL TIME YOU WOULD LIKE TO SCHEDULE YOUR AUDITION. (We will do our best to accommodate these requests.)

There is a small stipend for all actors cast.

by Ron Hunting
directed by Louis Farber
Performing at Tempe Center for the Arts
November 25 – December 10, 2016

An exciting new pitch-black comedy.
Recently filmed as a local feature titled POSTMARKED, and written by Valley playwright Ron Hunting; Stray Cat is thrilled to mount the World Premiere production of the original play - a comically dark, taut new thriller. While making his appointed rounds, mailman George Ruth witnesses a murder. He thinks it’s a drug deal gone bad. Boy is he ever wrong. Think the unpredictability of Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs) meets the dark undercurrents of Martin McDonagh (The Pillowman) meets the edgy narrative style of David Mamet (American Buffalo) and you have some idea of what to expect from this hilarious, trenchant new work.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

reviews - JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK - Childsplay

Tommy Strawser, Rudy Ramirez, Kate Hass, Debra K. Strevens, and Jamie Sandomire
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 October 16th.

"...Junie B has a problem. Someone at school has stolen her black furry mittens which were made out of lots of furry fur, and Junie B is calling 911....based on two of Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones children’s book series, Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook ...(gives) the kindergartner not one but two valuable life lessons to ponder as she grows closer to being an “almost six year-old.”...the ever ebullient Junie B (Kate Haas) introduces us to some of her fellow classmates, including Grace (Racquel McKenzie) who possesses Junie’s favorite type of hair (it’s “automatically curly”), and Lucille (Jamie Sandomire) who happens to be the richest girl in the school (not including tax).  Then there’s the boys; Meanie Jim (Tommy Strawser) and Ricardo (Rudy Ramirez), plus the teacher in charge of Room Nine known only as Mrs. (Debra K. Stevens who also directs). ...With careful attention to detail and clearly a huge amount of affection for Barbara Park’s characters, playwright Gregory has combined two individual plots and weaved them into one. Junie’s on-going dilemma of what should always be the right thing to do now requires double the effort.  ...the new boy in town, Handsome Warren (Vinny Chavez). Junie kind of likes him and wants to make her best impression when he’s around, but Handsome Warren is not so sure about Junie, especially when she comes across as such a “nutball.” Missing mittens and a handsome new guy who thinks she’s odd?  The conflicts of kindergarten life just keep growing.... the real fun is observing the approach professional adult actors have when playing five year-olds.  ..Katie Haas has such a gloriously fun time as Junie B and plays it with all the conviction of a confused five year-old you can’t help but play along with her.
..." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"Kindergartner Junie B. Jones isn’t having a very good day. Not only has someone stolen her brand new fluffy mittens but Warren, the new boy in her school, doesn’t seem to want to be her boyfriend. Fortunately for us, Junie’s horrible predicament makes for a richly entertaining play full of life lessons for children of all ages. Childsplay presents the world premiere of Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook, based on two “Junie B.” books by Barbara Park, which proves to be another success for this company as it celebrates the start of its 40th season....While the focus of the piece is mainly on Junie B.’s search for her missing mittens, (Allison) Gregory does a good job in providing plenty of humor to the piece, both for children and adults, as well as ensuring that Junie learns from her experiences. The inclusion of the issues of right and wrong in dealing with what to do when you find something that doesn’t belong to you as well as how to interact with kids who are new to your school to make sure they feel included are simple yet incredibly effective lessons for younger children to learn.  Director Debra K. Stevens and her superb cast do an exceptional job in making us believe that these adult actors are all kindergartners. Kate Haas is simply sensational as Junie B. She is virtually on stage for the entire show and her energy level never falters. She perfectly gets across the rambunctious nature of this young girl in a realistic way. Anyone who has ever been around an inquisitive kindergartner will immediately identify, and find a lot of humor, with Haas’ superb portrayal....Vinny Chavez is Warren, the handsome new boy that Junie falls for, and he gets some very good moments where he poignantly shows the loneliness that a new kid can feel when his family moves into a new school district. Stevens plays Junie B.’s teacher and mother in a touching but firm and effective way....Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook shows how simple little things like losing one’s mittens can become what seem like gigantic issues for a child. But it also proves that when you be yourself and do the right thing it can make what seems something giant actually be something very small. And you might be able to make a new friend in the process as well. With an excellent performance from Kate Hass and a well written and well-paced adaptation from Allison Gregory, Childsplay’s production starts off their 40th season in a very winning way. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Small things loom large in a child’s eyes, and that’s a truth captured beautifully in...“Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook” ...Junie...played with rambunctious charm by Kate Haas... also explores the challenge of making friends as Junie and her gal pals vie for the attention of the new kid in school, Handsome Warren (Vinny Chavez), who turns out to have troubles of his own...." Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

audition notice - DEADLY HOUSEWIVES - Murder and a Meal Dinner Theatre - October 1

Deadly Housewives
Production Company: Murder and a Meal Dinner Theater

Director: Eric Olsen

Compensation: Stipend Pay

Experience the disruption of that seemingly ignorant bliss lived by those lovely ladies residing on Hysteria Lane as the trio of “housewives” – Summer, Chastity and Janet – uncover the murder of their dear neighbor, who is murdered in her own basement! The girls are in need of so much help, they’re… well, desperate! They’re going to need more than the police to uncover this mystery; they’re going to need YOU!

Character Breakdown
Summer – Female (20-35) Desperately Horny Divorcee
Janet – Female (20-35) Desperately Frustrated mother of five
Chastity – Female (20-35) Desperately Perfect Housewife

What To Prepare
Cold read from script

Audition Details

Orange Tree Golf Resort
10601 N 56th St
Scottdale, Arizona 85254

1.5 blocks north of Shea on East side of 56th streeet

Headshots/Resume Optional
By Appointment: Phone or Email
Appointment Contact
(480) 220-9947

Audition Dates and Times:
Oct 1 – Noon to 4pm
Callback Dates and Times:

Primary Contact:
Eric Olsen
(602) 380-5228

preview videos - GHOST, THE MUSICAL - Brelby Theatre Company

for more information on this production, which runs September 30th to October 15th, CLICK HERE

promo photos - SEUSSICAL, THE MUSICAL - Desert Stages Theatre

for more information on this production, which runs September 30th to October 30th, CLICK HERE

photos by Wade Moran / Moran Imaging

audition notice - THE JIMMY JENKINS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL! - Ghostlight Theatre - October 9

The Jimmy Jenkins Christmas Special!

Auditions:  Oct 9th at 5pm

Rehearsals: October 23-November 30

Performances: December 1-December 11

Set in 1949 New York City, the Jimmy Jenkins Christmas Special is an old-fashioned musical comedy in the vein of Singing in the Rain or Holiday Inn.

Jimmy and the rest of the Jimmy Jenkins Variety Hour are about to take a long-awaited holiday hiatus, when the network tells Jimmy his show is to be cancelled! Thinking quickly, Jimmy convinces the VP to let them put on their Christmas Special. The only problem: they don't have a Christmas Special! Jimmy has to frantically put together a last-minute special in an effort to save his show and the jobs of his cast and crew. Filled to the brim with favorite Christmas songs, this show is bound to be a holiday hit!

Character Breakdown:

Jimmy Jenkins - Lead Role. 25-45, Baritone. The host of the Jimmy Jenkins Variety Hour, high-strung but with his heart in the right place. A comedic showman onstage who has to keep everything from falling apart offstage.

Melody Margaret Jones - Lead Role. 18-25, Mezzo Soprano. An Oklahoma farm girl who dreams of being a performer. A bus ride to New York City leaves her a small fish in a very big pond.

Gloria - Lead Role. 20-50, Soprano. A New York singer and longtime cast member of the Jimmy Jenkins Variety Hour who thinks the world revolves around her. Not shy about her (unrequited) love for Jimmy.

Sam - Lead Role. 18-40, Baritone. Jimmy's stage manager and right hand man, who is normally behind the scenes but is forced to fill in as a performer to keep the show alive.

Karl Blankengruber - 30-50, Non singing role. The network Vice President of Programming, who has it in his mind to cancel Jimmy's show, leaving room in the schedule for more "modern" fare.

Ensemble - Any Age/Voice Type. The cast and crew of the Jimmy Jenkins Variety Hour

Contact Daniel Tenney at for more information

reviews - LIBERACE! - Phoenix Theatre

Jeff Kennedy
photo: Reg Madison Photography
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 9th.

"...In the one-man, biographical musical Liberace!...composer, arranger, producer and all-round musical talent, Jeff Kennedy, plays the excessively flamboyant entertainer as a man returned from above to perform for one last time. Liberace died in 1987, something the character acknowledges from the outset.  “I’m dead,” he cheerfully declares with the broadest of customary grins, and explains why he’s back.  His role as entertainer in heaven is redundant; everyone around him is already happy.  So he’s returned to do what he does best, and that’s to entertain the rest of us with the story of his life, and as often the case, what you thought you knew about Mr. Showmanship is only the tip of the iceberg.  “Tonight we deal with the truth,” he announces....While playwright Brent Hazelton keeps Liberace’s overall demeanor upbeat and even playful...the play will occasionally turn to darker, more upsetting moments ...The play entertains though remains ultimately lightweight, relying more on great piano playing, which is something this Michael Barnard directed, Phoenix Theatre production has. The facts between the music can’t fail to interest, but they’re highlights that move swiftly from one short anecdote to another with only the more revealing, dramatic moments of sad, self-reflection left to give the show its depth.  It’s more like skimming through a Wikipedia report online than reading a full in-depth autobiography.  Jeff Kennedy is a better musician than an actor, but with the help of Kelly Yurko’s wig design and Connie Furr-Solomon’s costumes, Jeff helps us suspend disbelief with a change of accent and a fun delivery of Liberace’s winks, smiles, nervous giggles and laughs.  It’s not an impression, and Jeff would never convince as a professional Liberace impersonator in Las Vegas, but within the confines of a theatrical setting, the illusion is set, and Jeff Kennedy’s piano playing is...glorious. " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"...(in) Liberace!, the one man show that just opened at Phoenix Theatre, he has come back from the grave to spread some joy and tell his life story. While it is a fun show, with a very good performance from Jeff Kennedy as Liberace, it is far from perfect. The very slight conceit is that Liberace has returned from heaven, since everyone is always happy there, to bring some happiness to us earthlings, who obviously need it, and to also reveal some truths about his misunderstood past. Structured as an informative autobiographical overview of his life, with over a dozen musical pieces interspersed throughout, the show reveals a decent amount of interesting information about Liberace's early life as well as a few poignant moments about his later years. While it isn't all rosy and doesn't skirt some of the negative moments in his past, it does come across more as a CliffsNotes version of this famous entertainer's life than an in depth analysis. There is also a strange unevenness in the tone of the piece...(due to) the slim concept...(and the fact that) there isn't much information that couldn't be gleaned from a quick Google search. The second issue has to do with the strange interludes when he goes off on a tangent and is about to disclose some personal moment from his past. Instead of revealing anything, he stops mid-sentence and looks up to the heavens as if God is telling him not to get off the topic....Also, while the script does touch upon the gay rumors that Liberace never truly touches upon why Liberace hid his homosexuality and even lied about it under oath during the trial. ...Michael Barnard's skilled direction helps in ensuring the shifts in tone aren't that rocky and that the show remains as entertaining as possible.... Jeff very good at portraying the various sides of Liberace....While in real life Kennedy doesn't look much like Liberace, an impressive wig, makeup, and some superb costumes (Connie Furr-Solomon’s designs are knock-outs) plus a slightly high pitched voice give an appropriate impression of the famous entertainer. ...While it isn't perfect, what Liberace! does get across extremely well is how talented the entertainer was, and how desperate he was for love. It also does a good job of showing that Liberace was simply too insecure to admit the truth about who he was in order to get that love from one man; he instead had to find a way to get that love from his fans. However, being an incredibly successful closeted gay man in the 1950s must have been extremely difficult and there are many details that are glossed over, as Liberace did in his life. With Kennedy's superb performance, Phoenix Theatre's production results in a charming and entertaining show. It's just too bad that Liberace! leaves so many questions unanswered. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...“Liberace”...finds playwright Brent Hazelton explaining the details about Mr. Showmanship’s convoluted life with an emphasis on his upbringing and the complexities of producing his famous nightclub entertainment....for those with limited exposure to Liberace, the show drags with its exhaustive detail but bland retelling of his legend.  Several problems are inherent in the script and the limited physical production only hints at the excesses of Liberace’s performances.  Even gifted Michael Barnard’s direction is plagued by the show’s uninspired story....Turns out that Liberace’s bland life as a young Milwaukee prodigy doesn’t create much interest. ...There are a few outlandish costumes that give a taste of Liberace’s visual allure but nothing about the production splashes like the entertainer did.  The script only hints here and there about the scandals and innuendo that plagued Liberace’s private life as it impacted his professional stature.  ... “Liberace” is a glossed over biography that eschews the huge challenges the entertainer faced....If you saw and remember Liberace, this insipid life story doesn’t much recommend attending the show. " --Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

"Liberace...was anything but subtle, and the same can be said for Phoenix Theatre’s salute to Mr. Showmanship. Jeff Kennedy...plays “the man behind the grand” ...and if he is not quite as virtuosic with the classical repertoire as his character was, he does a wonderful job portraying Liberace’s wry humor and lust for life as he chats up the audience and relives the entertainer’s journey from parochial Wisconsin to Las Vegas and the world stage. ...In the spirit of light entertainment, “Liberace!” skips the gory details, but it does make sure to hit you upside the head with as much pathos as it can muster...." Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Desert Stages Theatre's SEUSSICAL Barnes & Noble Storytime - October 8

DST announces their next Story Time Event for Seussical at Barnes & Noble on Saturday Oct 8th at 11am.

Featured cast members will be dressed up and that famous Cat in The Hat will be reading his story. The cast members will also perform a musical number as well as do a meet and greet with the kids!

There will also be a chance to win 2 free tickets to see a performance of Seussical!

No purchase necessary!

CLICK HERE for more information on Seussical, the Musical, at Desert Stages from September 30th to October 30th