Saturday, March 31, 2018

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN IN CONCERT - Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre - Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2018

Screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Songs by Arthur Freed Nacio and Herb Brown
Based on the film by special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc.

One of the top 25 movie musicals of all time (American Film Institute), SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN marked the pinnacle of the golden age of Hollywood musicals.  The story of silent screen star Don Lockwood, who's having trouble with leading lady Lina Lamont until he meets the adorable, talented Kathy Selden, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN  introduced the world to the iconic title song, plus "Make Em Laugh," "You Are My Lucky Star," "Good Morning' and a host of others. A full on-stage orchestra, silent era costumes and talented cast bring this American treasure to life on the Orpheum stage, where the movie just might have played Phoenix back in the early 50s!

Filled with every memorable moment from the film and a downpour of unforgettable songs, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN: In Concert is a guaranteed hit for even the youngest musical theatre fanatic in your family.

Friday, November 30, 2018: 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 1, 2018: 2 p.m.
Saturday, December 1, 2018: 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 2, 2018: 1 p.m.
Sunday, December 2, 2018: 6:30 p.m.

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL - Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre - January 25 - 27, 2019

Book by Heather Hach; Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture

A wonderfully fun musical based on the adored movie, LEGALLY BLONDE – The Musical, follows the transformation of California girl Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in self-discovery at Harvard Law School.

This action-packed musical explodes on the stage with memorable scenes and lovable characters including the ever-successful Bend and Snap and Elle’s favorite companion, Bruiser the chihuahua!

Equipped with LED technology, fresh inventive design, and snazzy modern scenery, this show is perfect for lightening everyone’s mood and bringing joy.

Harvard's beloved blonde takes the stage by pink storm in this fun, upbeat story of self-discovery.

Friday, January 25, 2019: 8 p.m.
Saturday, January 26, 2019: 2 p.m.
Saturday, January 26, 2019: 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 27, 2019: 1 p.m.
Sunday, January 27, 2019: 6:30 p.m.

EVITA - Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre - March 1 - 3, 2019

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Time Rice

Follow the rise of ambitious Eva Peron as she becomes the beloved iconic Argentinian First Lady, worshiped by many.

From the geniuses behind JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, EVITA captures musical gold with its Grammy® Award-winning score. EVITA combines Latin music, pop, jazz and musical theatre styles that have captivated audiences for more than 40 years.

Friday, March 1, 2019: 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 2, 2019: 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 2, 2019: 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 3, 2019: 1 p.m.
Sunday, March 3, 2019: 6:30 p.m.

CHICAGO - Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre - March 29-April 2, 2019

Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb

In 2014, CHICAGO became the longest-running American musical on Broadway. Winner of six Tony Awards®, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy Award® and the coveted Academy Award® for Best Picture, CHICAGO holds its place as one of the greatest musicals in history. CHICAGO’S jazz-inspired choreography continues to wow audiences across the country and the world.

Chicago has everything that makes musical theater great. Enjoy one show-stopper after the next in this longest-running American musical on Broadway.

CHICAGO is recommended for mature audiences.

Friday, March 29, 2018: 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 30, 2018: 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 30, 2018: 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 31, 2018: 1 p.m.
Sunday, March 31, 2018: 6:30 p.m.
Monday, April 1, 2018: 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2, 2018: 7:30 p.m

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

audition notice - Season General Auditions - Southwest Shakespeare Company - April 14 & 15

Southwest Shakespeare Company
2018-2019 General Auditions

Saturday, April 14, 2018 and Sunday, April 15, 2018

10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Lunch 1-2pm.

At 55 E. Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85201


2018/2019 Repertory Season & Educational Tours


Actors, Actor/Singers, Actor/Musicians for both principal and ensemble roles in our upcoming 2018/2019 Season. See breakdown for details.


One-minute Classical monologues. 1 one-minute contemporary monologue OR 1 one-minute demonstration of musical skills or song.

Please bring 2 copies of a headshot and resume with you.


Producing Artistic Directors Quinn Mattfeld and Betsy Mugavero, Associate Artistic Director Patrick Walsh, k-12 Education Directors Breona Conrad and Joshua Murphy.


Fall Season begins rehearsal in September. Shows open October 19, 2018 and run until November 18. Spring Season begins rehearsal in January 2019. Shows open February 22-March 17, 2019. Educational Tours run in conjunction with school semesters, rehearsing in August, touring throughout the state in Sept-Dec & Jan-May.


Southwest Shakespeare Company contracts prohibit discrimination. We are committed to diversity and aim to engage in a policy of equal employment opportunity designed to promote a positive model of inclusion. As such, SSC encourages performers of all ethnicities, gender identities, and ages, as well as performers with disabilities, to attend every audition.



All roles available.



All other roles available.



All other roles available.


Petruchio- CAST


All other roles available.


All roles available.

Seeking 6 actor ensemble to play all the parts.

Target Audience: Middle & High School


All roles available.

Seeking 4 actor ensemble to play all the parts.

Target Audience: Elementary & Middle School

Location: 55 E Main St., Mesa AZ, 85201

promo photos - FORBIDDEN BROADWAY - Mesa Encore Theatre

photos by Galya Smith Photography

Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music Abridged - ASU Gammage - April 7, 2018

A highly immersive and outrageously entertaining crash course in the 240 years (and counting) of the history of American culture and dysfunction. Told from the perspective of groups whose stories are often forgotten, the show highlights various musical styles and artistic voices ranging from murder ballads to disco, Walt Whitman to David Bowie and beyond.

Saturday, April 7

Tickets $20

photos by Teddy Wolff

Friday, March 30, 2018

photos - IN THE HEIGHTS - Desert Foothills Theater

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through April 15th

photos by Jeremy Andorfer of Vangelis Productions

audition notice - A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, KIDS - Fountain Hills Youth Theater - April 2 & 3

Follow two great friends – the cheerful, popular Frog, and the rather grumpy Toad – through four fun-filled seasons. Waking from hibernation, Frog and Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding and learn life lessons along the way. Throughout the year, two best friends celebrate and rejoice in the differences that make them unique and special.

Directed by : Ross Collins
Musically Directed by: Jay Melberg
Choreographed by: Jenny Iverson

Audition Dates: Monday, April 2nd and Tuesday, April 3rd at 5:45pm
Callbacks: Wednesday, April 4th if needed

Production dates: Friday, June 1st - 17th

**Call To Register (480) 837-9661 x3**

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

Frog: friendly, confidant, positive and caring.
Toad: serious, self-conscious yet an oddly charismatic.
Turtle: a "rabble-rouser", loves to tease Toad in fun!
Mouse: always able to ask all the right questions.
Lizard: definitely the most confused.
The Birds: communicate the passage of time
The Moles: Choral ensemble
The Squirrels: the mischievous ensemble

From Passion Project, to "Can’t Miss Theater", a sit down with theater and film star Jeanna Michaels, co-founder of Compass Players

by Monica Sampson

When I first saw Compass Players' world premiere comedy West Palm Prime, I was struck by the professionalism of the acting and its interesting script.

But beyond those elements, according to Jeanna Michaels, Compass Players' producing artistic director, it scores high on what she refers to as her "personal litmus test of quality work." Michaels adds she measures that level of engagement "when you can't hear people moving in their seats for the two hours of the play."

Michaels isn't new to theater. As well as being one of the co-founders of Compass Players, the West Valley's newest theater group, she's an actress, director, and producer too. Michaels is well regarded for her stage and screen work, most notably known for her soap opera days, Michael's has been in everything from Dallas, Knight RiderMatlock, and The Young and the Restless, just to name a few. Now, Michaels can be seen in the Valley, staring as the lead actress and director for West Palm Prime, a quirky, and lovable original comedy that follows the lives of two older people living together in an active retirement community in Florida.

"I knew I'd always have stories to tell, and talent to back it up" said Michaels, during her conversation with PHX Stages.

The Compass Players show, West Palm Prime has received positive audience feedback, and it's not the first Compass Players show to be highly acclaimed; however, what makes this such an impressive feat, is that Compass Players are only in their second season of performing. This success can be attested to leading actress, and theater entrepreneur, Michaels.

Jeanna Michales in Compass Players' West Palm Prime
photo by Barbara Whittaker
Michaels' desire to start Compass Players happened after she moved from L.A. to Surprise, Arizona. “Most of the older people out here play softball, they hike, or play cards, but it didn't really seem like there was a big theater community in the West Valley. I realized if people were hesitant to drive to Phoenix or Scottsdale for dinner, it would take a lot to get them to go see a two hour play” said Michaels, and that’s where her vision began, for a Westside-based theater company, with performances currently in Peoria at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts.

Although the Compass Players’ latest show targets an older audience and stars mostly retirees Michaels wanted to emphases that the Compass Players, aren't an “old folks theater” but a theater whose target audience is people of all ages who like good theatre.

Michaels says this mindset makes a difference when deciding what shows should make up a future season, she wants her audience to know they are being thought of in the creative process. Saying that, art is a two way street, a collaboration between the community, and the artists.

“When we look for plays,” says Michaels “ we look for three main components to make sure our audience is engaged, and entwined the whole time”
Megan Holcomb and Jeanna Michales in Compass Players' Agnes of God
photos courtesy Compass Players

Michaels broke down those comments to a successful season as:

1. A good story
2. Interesting Characters
3. Motivation

Most notably, motivation she said, is because a story can be well written, with fascinating characters, but unless an audience feels the motivation to root for or against a character, they don’t want to invest in the process, and for Michaels she’s all about audience investment.

As we spoke, Michaels confessed a long term goal is to see the Compass Players succeed as a destination theater, modeled after Ashland Oregon, or the Guthrie, she wants people to plan trips, and outings around seeing a Compass Players Show. Although ambitious, this isn't a hard feat for Michaels who trained under Stella Adler, and has experience running theaters in L.A. like the Road Theater, a former passion project of hers.

Now that zest for theater is getting sprinkled on Arizona and Michaels couldn’t be happier, and her audience seems to agree. Michaels told the story about a retired older man, who like the
majority of his peers in Sun City, spends most of his time playing softball, and would never come see a play. But the Compass Players works changed his mind. Michaels said that he came up to her after a show saying, “I never thought I’d see a play in my life, and now I can’t miss your pieces.”

In the final moments of the interview, Michaels stressed the significance of art and why she believes there is the need for more theater in the West Valley communities by saying, “Art is what makes a community, it's the finishing touches that a community needs."

For more information on West Palm Prime, which runs through this weekend, and Compass Players CLICK HERE.

review - SPIN - Brelby Theatre Company

Melody Chrispen (far right) and Cast
photo by Shelby Maticic
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 April 14th.

"Anyone who has ever been a member of a group of people that spends a lot of time together knows that these close relationships can quickly evolve into a surrogate family who collectively experience both the highs and lows of life. With realistic dialogue and characters that represent a diverse group of individuals, Shelby Maticic's drama, Spin, playing in a world premiere production at Brelby Theatre through April 14th, features a solid cast who throw themselves (literally and figuratively) into this story of a family that is formed by a group of female roller derby skaters who bond together as they face good times and bad.... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

PHX Stages Q/A: Rich Rose

Rich Rose
By Gil Benbrook

Born in Brooklyn, yet having lived in the Phoenix area now for almost 40 years, Rich Rose performed in numerous plays when he was a teenager. After a hiatus from acting he found himself on the boards again after his
daughter's Allie's passion for musical theater brought her, and him, to Desert Stages Theatre.

He is currently appearing in the comedy 6 RMS RIV VU at Desert Stages, which runs through April 8th, after appearing in Camp Rock last summer.

Rose says that DST is his daughter’s home away from home, and he quickly found himself as a board member of the organization, where he is helping DST off stage in running and helping to build and expand the organization in their new home inside the Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Rose sat down in between his daytime consulting job and his nighttime spent on the stage in DST's Actor's Cafe to answer the PHX Stages Q/A:

Name: Rich Rose

Where you were born and or raised:  Brooklyn, New York

What brought you to Arizona?   I was a senior in college and it was a very cold winter. I was going to school and living in Rhode Island at the time. It was during winter break and I had to go to my father’s office to pick something up on New Year’s Day. The office was on a hill and the wind was strong off the water and I slipped on the black ice and fell on my rear end. I swore at that point that when I graduated I would go to a warm climate. I sent out resumes my last semester in college, set up interviews during spring break and wound up in Phoenix.
What your parents did for a living:  My father was an Engineer for a Defense Contracting firm, my mother was a stay at home mom

Siblings:   1 Brother - Bruce 

Family/Children: Wife Meryl, daughter Allie (15 ½ and has been doing musical theater actively since she was 9)
Day job/part time job: Self Employed Business Consultant – I work with clients all over the country that are facing money problems and help them either fix their problems or liquidate in a manner that allows the business owner to walk away with some money to go on from the business loss either into a new career or a new business

First show you ever saw:  Grease on Broadway when it first came out – guess I’m showing my age

Moment you knew you wanted to become a performer: Any time I am on the stage and hear the audience laughing at one of my lines

The one performance you attended that you will never forget: Going to Book of Morman with  my daughter when she was about 12 or 13 and bumping into people I knew who kept on looking at me as to was I really sure I wanted to have my daughter seeing the show. As a theater parent my censorship senses have become very lenient.

First stage kiss:  in Mary Poppins when I was 6 years old

Rich Rose in Camp Rock
photo courtesy Desert Stages Theatre
Best stage experience you’ve had so far acting?  Camp Rock at Desert Stages Theatre – it was a youth production with some adults in it. I just really enjoyed seeing how much the teens in the cast loved being in the show and enjoyed their roles so much and I got a kick out of interacting with them – and actually took on the role on and off stage, of being the camp owner with them trying to save my camp. My daughter was in it with me which of course was a plus and although I already knew many of the teens in the cast – I really got to know some of them a lot better. This experience truly demonstrated for me why being on stage and being part of a cast is such importance experience for youth to learn how to navigate thru life and be better human beings. It also opened my eyes as to the magic that can be made in an intergenerational show.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?  Being able to bring to life building superintendents I knew growing up in NYC in the 1960’s

Most challenging role you have played onstage? This show as Eddie the superintendent in 6 Rms Riv Vu. I am perhaps the most unhandy person I know and on stage I’ve got to keep fixing the doorknob to move the show along – it is a new experience every show as to whether or not the doorknob will work

What was the first show you performed in and what did you learn from it that you still use today? Mary Poppins as Michael Banks – I was too young to really appreciate the experience

Leading role you've been dying to play: Pseudolus in Forum – he runs the show and was always able to keep one step ahead no matter what happens. Also Professor Harold Hill in Music Man – again was always able to keep one step ahead and he could sing and lead a parade.
Leading role of the opposite sex you wish you could play:   Mary Poppins – she could do it all – sing, dance, fly, make magic things happen

Guilty pleasure show you’d love to perform in: Avenue Q – I laugh all the time at it

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:  Try to visualize myself as the character I’m playing
Worst costume ever:    Have always liked my costumes – never had an outlandish or strange one I had to wear

Best costume ever:  None stand out – I just like to be comfortable onstage   

Your go to audition monologue/song: Unfortunately I am an awful singer so any song I sing has to be one where I can almost talk thru the song – like Kids from Bye Bye Birdie or Everybody Ought To Have A Maid from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Worst audition experience: Having to sing (You’re) Timeless To Me in a callback for Hairspray and being completely unprepared as I had no intention of trying out for Wilbur Turnblad – I was just looking for a small role like Mr. Pinky where I didn’t think I needed to sing.

If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be?  The Rat Pack performing together 

Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with: Frank Sinatra – could do it all and look good at it when he was doing it

Your personal acting idols:  Tom Hanks – brings it all to any role he is in 

Current/recent show other than one of your own you have been recommending
to friends:   Come From Away – saw it on Broadway last year and just thought it was a great all around show that made you feel good and was enjoyable

Favorite play(s):   Glengarry Glen Ross, Odd Couple, Brighton Beach Memoirs, 12 Angry Men
Favorite musical(s):    Guys & Dolls and Bye Bye Birdie
Some favorite modern plays/musicals: Come From Away, Book of Morman, Something Rotten, Chicago, Avenue Q

Favorite showtune(s) of all time: Comedy Tonight (Forum), Hello Dolly, Footloose, Guys & Dolls,

Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone? 1960’s to early 1970’s music

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:  Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band   

Last good book you read:   The Whistler by John Grisham –I’m always a sucker for a John Grisham book

Rich Rose in 6 RMS RIV VU at Desert Stages Theatre
photo by Renee Ashlock
Guilty pleasure binge watching tv show: Law & Order

Last good movie you saw:  The Big Sick

Favorite movie: Almost Famous – no particular reason, I just like it

Music/book/movie that makes you cry: Marley & Me – sorry I have a soft spot for dogs

Favorite restaurant in the Valley: Don & Charlie’s

Favorite cities:  New York City – still feels like my hometown even though I haven’t lived there in over 40 years

Sports teams you root for: New York Yankees

Something about you that might surprise people: I wished I could sing & dance

Special skills:  Keep people calm when they are upset   

Career you would want if not a performer:   Making business deals     

Worst non-theatre job you've had: Waiter - yuck

Best non-theatre job you've had:  Camp Counselor

Three things you can't live without: My wife & daughter, inner peace, sense of humor
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Put yourself out there – continue to hone your craft and recognize you are always learning

What you love most about theatre in Phoenix: The fact there is so much theater out here and so many choices. You always have a show to see if you want

And, the “Inside the Actors Studio” 10 questions:
1. What is your favorite word?  Calm

2. What is your least favorite word? Anxiety

3. What turns you on?  When a deal comes together

4. What turns you off? Lack of common sense and when people lie to me

5. What sound do you love? Ocean Waves

6. What sound do you hate? People screaming at each other

7. What is your favorite curse word? No fucking way

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Mediator

9. What profession would you not like to do? Any kind of manual labor

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Enjoy an eternity of inner peace and calmness

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Southwest Shakespeare Company's 2018 / 2019 Season!

Mesa Arts Center Season:

Pericles: Prince of Tyre
October 26 - November 10, 2018

A deadly riddle, a shipwreck, a tournament of Knights, an evil Queen, Gods and
Goddesses, murder, betrayal, redemption, another shipwreck! Shakespeare’s
epic-romantic adventure Pericles, The Prince of Tyre was one of the most popular of his
time but is rarely produced in ours. It’s the story of a man who has it all, loses
everything, and fights his way back to life for love and family.

October 26 - November 10, 2018

Just in time for Halloween and on its 200th birthday, we bring to life a new adaptation of
Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel about how Victor Frankenstein, in his obsessive
quest to overcome death, destroys his own life. This theatrically unique staging employs
13 actors to reanimate the infamous gothic tale of the man who makes a monster in a
world that makes monsters of men.

As You Like It
February 22 - March 9, 2019

One of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, As You Like It bursts at the seams with
life and music as the great heroine of the story, Rosalind, leads a cavalcade of comic
characters into the Forest of Arden. Shepherds, Clowns, Lovers, and Fools people
Shakespeare’s romantic landscape and fill it with wit, joy, and lots of laughter!

The Taming of the Shrew
February 22 - March 9, 2019

Shakespeare’s hilarious and challenging comedy about two opposites who attract, pits
Katherine “the Shrew” against her would-be husband, the swaggering swain, Petruchio
in this ultimate battle of the sexes! He wants her money, she wants nothing to do with
him, neither expected to fall in love. Our new vision of this classic work will star
Southwest Shakespeare Co’s real-life husband-and-wife artistic directors, Quinn and
Betsy, in the lead roles!


Death of Kings: Seize the Crown
March 2019

This adaptation of 8 of Shakespeare's history plays concentrates the bloody civil war
between the houses of Lancaster and York, both vying the English throne, into one
evening of thrilling, theatrical battle. Adapter and Director, Irwin Appel and his troupe of
actors from UC Santa Barbara bring new life and a new vision of these classic plays to
the Southwest Shakespeare Company.

Harlem Shakespeare Festival’s All Female Othello
April 2019

Debra Ann Byrd, the founder and Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival
leads and all female cast as the title role in Othello, the Moor of Venice . This unique
vision of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays about jealousy, intrigue, and betrayal
is brought to the stages of Scottsdale as you’ve never seen it before. Do not miss this
once-in-a-lifetime production, straight from New York City.


Julius Caesar

As part of our continuing mission of bringing classical theatre to the community through
education, Southwest Shakespeare Company is taking one of the Bard’s most enduring
tragedies, Julius Caesar , right out from the headlines and into the schools. This timeless
cautionary tale of political intrigue and violent societal upheaval is, like its author, “not of
an age but for all time.” A highly condensed, fast-paced, roller-coaster through Rome’s
crumbling Democracy, Julius Caesar warns us all about what can happen to a people,
when their nation falls into the wrong hands.

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

Fountain Hills Theater presents a one-night only performance of THE SPERM OF TEN MEN - April 9

Fountain Hills Theater welcomes Ben Tyler for a his special, one-night-only, one-man show, “The Sperm of Ten Men,” on their Mainstage Too!.

When your brother asks if you could lend a hand in starting his family, how could you say no? Ben Tyler said yes! This is the true story of the adventures of a sperm donor in the latter days of the 20th Century.

“The Sperm of Ten Men” has played for the two biggest Solo Show festivals in the country. United Solo in New York City, and Solofest 2018 at the Whitefire Theatre in Los Angeles.

Ben Tyler is a native Arizonan who has been a part of the Valley theatre scene for many years. Most recently he directed the very successful production of, At Wit’s End for Fountain Hills Theater.

This is his true life story of how far we will go to help our families.

April 9th, 2018 at 7:30pm

Individual Tickets $22
Group rates available for 10+. Veteran, Active Duty, and Senior Discounts.

Fountain Hills Theater
11445 N Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ
Reservations: (480) 837-9661 x3 Visa/MC/Amex/Discover

"Tremendous, funny, smart and candid. I LOVED it" — Pat Powers

“The Sperm of Ten Men” is written, produced, and performed by Ben Tyler.

photos - STUCK MOVING UP - Ghostlight Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs April 5 - 15

photos courtesy Ghostlight Theatre