Friday, August 31, 2018

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES - BLK BOX PHX - October 31-November 11, 2018

by Ray Bradbury
Directed by Elaine ‘EE’ Moe

Two boys become lured to a mysterious carnival that passes through their town. Soon they discover the diabolical truths behind the funhouse mirror maze and the eerie cast of characters. The boys fight to save their Town from this sinister carnival that threatens to destroy it.

Produced by special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday - 7:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday - 3:00 PM

Voice of Ray Bradbury + Lightning Rod Salesman + Barker............................ Joe Kearns
Mr. Halloway................................................................................................................. Greg Lutz
Mrs. Halloway + T/PTC.......................................................................................... Tess Jenkins
Will Halloway..................................................................................................... Charlie Rabago
Jim Nightshade..................................................................................................... Noah Weaver
Jim’s Mom + T/PTC.............................................................................................Tyneckia Lewis
Mr. Dark............................................................................................................... David Dickinson
Miss Foley + T/PTC......................................................................................... Jamie Hendricks
Tetley + T/PTC..................................................................................................... Carter Palumbo
Crosetti + T/PTC................................................................................................. Joshua Chang
Cooger + Electrico + Ensemble.........................................................................Norjir Nishida
Dust Witch + PTC.................................................................................................... Debra Lyman
Ice Woman + T/PTC.......................................................................................... Alison Marshall
Robert + Young Cooger + T/PTC...................................................................... Shayla Forero
Policeman + T/PTC....................................................................................... Shaphan Seiders
Girl + T/PTC........................................................................................................... Gracie Palmer
Gypsy Fortune Teller + Ensemble........................................................................ Alicia Torres
Miss Foley Shadow + T/PTC......................................................................... Tessa Geelhood

T/PTC= Townsperson / Pandemonium Theatre Circus Member

All shows will be held at Phoenix Theatre’s Judith Hardes Theatre, located at 100 E. McDowell Rd.,
Phoenix, AZ 85004.

For tickets and information, when available, call the Phoenix Theatre Box Office at 602-734-5734 or visit

S#!TFACED SHAKESPEARE - BLK BOX PHX - November 30-December 31, 2018

Adaptions by Angelica Howland
Directed by David Barker

“S#!faced Shakespeare”, combines the literary academics of Shakespeare with the maniacal tomfoolery of a totally smashed cast member!

Audiences get to pick the play and which actor they would like to see stumble through Shakespeare, after imbibing a few shots of whiskey!

There will be a special performance/party on New Year’s Eve.

*For mature audiences due to adult language and situations.

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday - 7:30PM
Friday and Saturday - 8PM and 10PM
Sunday - 5PM and 7PM

All shows will be held at Phoenix Theatre’s Judith Hardes Theatre, located at 100 E. McDowell Rd.,
Phoenix, AZ 85004.

For tickets and information, when available, call the Phoenix Theatre Box Office at 602-734-5734 or visit

I AM MY OWN WIFE - BL BOX PHX - March 7-March 16, 2019

by Doug Wright

This Pulitzer and Tony award-winning show, written by Doug Wright, is based on a true story about an East German transgender woman, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf.

The play is a vivid portrait of a unique person whose ability to endure and survive the Nazi onslaught and the repressive East German regime, is a fascinating and stirring tale. Plays

Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday - 7:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday - 3:00 PM
Sunday - 7:00 PM

All shows will be held at Phoenix Theatre’s Judith Hardes Theatre, located at 100 E. McDowell Rd.,
Phoenix, AZ 85004.

For tickets and information, when available, call the Phoenix Theatre Box Office at 602-734-5734 or visit

reviews - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL - Hale Centre Theatre

Austin Delp and Rochelle Barton
photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw
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 6th.

"Based on Baroness Orczy's classic novel, the musical adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel sure makes for a rip-roaring good time. Hale Centre Theatre's crowd-pleasing production features impeccable creative elements and three leads who are more than up to the task of creating captivating characters entangled in the romantic triangle at the center of the story which is also full of secret identities, intrigue, swashbuckling adventure, and an abundance of humor....The musical has music by Frank Wildhorn and a book and lyrics by Nan Knighton. Both of the writers provide plenty of romance, comedy and excitement, though the show does rely a bit too much on power ballads that almost threaten to get in the way of its fun, fast and upbeat nature. ...Austin Delp, Rochelle Barton, and Bryan Stewart form the formidable trio of Percy, Marguerite and Chauvelin, and they are all excellent, delivering touching, engaging, and extremely likable performances.....once (Delp) dons the guise of the Pimpernel, and plays up the foppish persona that Percy uses to throw anyone off his scent, he delivers a truly winning, hilarious, and charismatic performance. ...As Marguerite, Rochelle Barton delivers a rich, nuanced performance of a woman who isn't quite sure why the man she married has changed so much. ...Barton also sings like an angel, with every one of her solos and vocal contributions exceptional. Bryan Stewart is commanding, strong and menacing as the determined Chauvelin. His deep, gravelly voice combined with his instilling the part with an obsessive nature work well to deliver an engaging performance of this man who is infatuated both with catching the Pimpernel and reclaiming Marguerite for his own...Director Cambrian James delivers another winning production. His choreography is full of style and period-perfect steps, danced exceptionally well by the cast who also deliver performances that perfectly balance the comedy, adventure and romance in the show....Dani Everts' costumes, which are a non-stop parade of deep colors, varied materials, and lavish embellishments, are simply stunning, ..The Scarlet Pimpernel is a rousing musical comedy adventure that's infused with humor, intrigue and romance. Hale Centre Theatre's production has a winning cast, with an engaging performance from Austin Delp, impeccable creative aspects, and sure-footed direction and choreography, resulting in a rousing, winning, comically rich, crowd-pleasing good time........ " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

COMING SOON -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"...two and a half hours of spirited story-telling, featuring a bravura performance by Austin Delp as Sir Percy. Delp is fantastic. He acts with flair, flourish, confidence, and impeccable timing. ...Percy has returned to England with his French wife, Marguerite St. Just (a poised and vocally rich Rochelle Barton), whom, sad to say, he subsequently assumes to be in cahoots with the dark overlord of The Terror, Citizen Chauvelin (Bryan Stewart, demonic and Javert-ish in pride and tenacity). ..Nathan Spector, Cameron Rollins, Avery Jones, Danny Karapetian, Hunter Cuison, Benjamin Harris are spectacular as Percy's merry accomplices....a string of show-stopping, rib-tickling moments. ...The solid performances of this worthy cast are complemented by an extraordinary convergence of technical and production effects....(Cambrian) James has delivered another memorable hit. "Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

photos - INTO THE WOODS, JR. - Spotlight Youth Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through September 16

photos by Joanne Wastchak

THE ANTIPODES - Stray Cat Theatre - September 7–22, 2018

By Annie Baker

at Tempe Center for the Arts
Directed by Ron May

The Wrap – 11 Best Theatre Productions of 2017 Time Out New York – 10 Best Theatre Productions 2017

A play about people telling stories about people telling stories.

Following the successes of her Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flick and her haunting and enigmatic John, Stray Cat is thrilled to once again bring the latest work by in-house favorite playwright Annie Baker. An unnamed conference room. A group of creators on an intense and intensely surreal brainstorming session for unspecified purposes. All we know is that these people are being asked to keep coming up with stories - the more personal the better - in the hopes that something will jell and move their project – whatever that may be - forward. “Annie Baker’s in-all-ways fabulous new play about professional fabulators in pursuit of the ultimate yarn…(is) endlessly fascinating…The Antipodes is also deeply funny…” – The New York Times

Friday, September 7, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, September 8, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, September 9, 2018 - 2:00 PM
Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 7:00 PM
Friday, September 14, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, September 16, 2018 - 2:00 PM
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 7:00 PM
Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 7:00 PM
Friday, September 21, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 8:00 PM

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

THE CAKE - Stray Cat Theatre - November 9–24, 2018

By Bekah Brunstetter

at Tempe Center for the Arts
Directed by Katie McFadzen

Sometimes a cake isn’t just a cake.

Jen lives in New York but has always dreamed of getting married in her small North Carolina hometown, so she heads down south with her partner to ask Della, her late mother's best friend, to do the honors of making the wedding cake at her bakery. Della's cakes are legendary ­ even earning her a spot as a contestant on the "Great American Baking Show." She is overjoyed at Jen's request ­ until she realizes there's not just one bride, but two, forcing her to re-examine some of her deeply-held beliefs, as well as her own marriage. Food, faith, and family loyalty take center stage in a paradigm-shifting comedy sure to leave you hungry for more. "I laughed, I cried, I learned, I loved.…Bekah Brunstetter has written that rarity among LGBT-themed plays, one that might actually inspire baby steps towards mutual understanding.” – StageScene LA

Friday, November 9, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, November 11, 2018 - 2:00 PM
Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 7:00 PM
Friday, November 16, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, November 18, 2018 - 2:00 PM
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 7:00 PM
Friday, November 23, 2018 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 2:00 PM
Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 8:00 PM

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

TWO MILE HOLLOW - Stray Cat Theatre - January 18–February 2, 2019

By Leah Nanoko Winkler

at Tempe Center for the Arts
Directed by Louis Farber

An unapologetic and savage new comedy.

When the Donnellys gather to divide their belongings after the sale of their oceanfront mansion, both metaphorical and literal storms start brewing. As this completely messy Caucasian family comes together with their POC personal assistant, Charlotte, some really, really complicated and totally unique secrets are revealed while white wine spills. TWO MILE HOLLOW explores the age old genre of plays about affluent white families retreating to their waterfront homes to battle it out with brutality, awe and compassion. Only this time, precisely none of the white characters are played by white actors. “…blistering…unrelentingly hilarious.” – Chicago Tribune

Friday, January 18, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, January 19, 2019 -8:00 PM
Sunday, January 20, 2019 - 2:00 PM
Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 7:00 PM
Friday, January 25, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2019 - 2:00 PM
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 7:00 PM
Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 7:00 PM
Friday, February 1, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 2, 2019 - 8:00 PM

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

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN - Stray Cat Theatre - April 12–May 4, 2019

By Jack Thorne
Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist

at Tempe Center for the Arts

Directed by Ron May

Blood wedding.

The body of a teenager is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last - revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day. Eli is the young girl who has just moved in next door. She doesn't go to school and never leaves the house by day. Sensing in each other a kindred spirit, the two become devoted friends. What Oskar doesn't know is that Eli has been a teenager for a very…very long time. Jack Thorne's (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) visceral adaptation of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is an enchanting, brutal vampire myth and coming-of-age love story, adapted from the best-selling novel and award-winning film. "Let the Right One In will wring your heart while scaring the mortal stuffing out of you..." - The New York Times

Friday, April 12, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 2:00 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 7:00 PM
Friday, April 19, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, April 20, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, April 21, 2019 - 2:00 PM
Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 7:00 PM
Friday, April 26, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, April 28, 2019 - 2:00 PM
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 7:00 PM
Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 7:00 PM
Friday, May 3, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, May 4, 2019 - 8:00 PM

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

cast announcement - THE BAD SEED - Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs October 19-November 18

Rhoda: Anora Biggs
Christine: Virginia Olivieri
Leroy: Robert Peters
Monica: Janis Webb
Emory: J Kevin Tallent
Tasker: Mark Burkett
Bravo: Matthew Carey
Mrs. Daigle: Erica Connell
Miss Fern: Debra Watt
Mr. Daigle Bill Bennett
Kenneth: TBD

Thursday, August 30, 2018

review - ALTAR BOYZ - Arizona Broadway Theatre

Tyler Greggory, Joe Ogren, Sam Primack, Joseph DePietro, and Kirk Sobject
Photo by Scott Samplin
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 September 16th.

"With a name like Altar Boyz, you might think this musical is either a love letter to religion or possibly a condemnation of the Christian faith. The good news is that it's neither. Instead, it's a lovable, upbeat musical which centers on a Christian boy band that is universally appealing, whether you are religious or not. It pokes fun at religion, and boy bands, but also has a sweet tone, some infectious tunes with soaring blended vocals, and a book and characters that are full of humor and heart. Altar Boyz displays some really good messages about the power of friendship and helping out your fellow man. Arizona Broadway Theatre's smartly directed and tightly choreographed production features five actors who deliver the required near non-stop dance moves and soaring vocals of the show while also creating characters that are entirely lovable. The show's theatrical conceit is that we are at the final concert of the Christian boy band group the Altar Boyz as they end their national "Raise the Praise" tour. They are in Peoria, Arizona, to help cleanse our souls through their funky fresh beats and hip hop moves. However, the boys end up learning a lot about themselves and each other on their mission to save the residents of Peoria....Through Seth Tucker's direction, the cast create realistic portrayals even though they are all basically classic boy band archetypes. ...His staging flows seamlessly with Lynzee 4man's choreography, which is a constant mix of ever-changing steps and moves that both perfectly emulate and make fun of the classic '90s boy band moves. ...All five cast members provide strong vocals, expert dance moves, and fine comedic skills...ABT's production of Altar Boyz is a crowd-pleaser, full of energy, bright and brisk dance routines, sharp parody, plenty of irreverent humor, and a cast and band that deliver. You don't have to be Christian, or religious, or have been in a boy band, to enjoy it and, while it might be a slight show, it sure is a lot of fun........ " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"While the small-scale production is no theatrical ground-breaker and Del Aguila’s book lacks any bite or sharp edge to its humor – if anything, for a show that satirizes Christian rock, the jokes are surprisingly gentle and occasionally a little too obvious with almost nothing to offend a thin-skinned religious soul – there’s still much to make you laugh, or at the very least, raise a smile."  -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

The World Goes Round - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - October 11–27, 2018

The World Goes Round 
The Songs of Kander and Ebb

Stage 2
October 11–27, 2018

Filled with humor, romance, drama and nonstop melody, The World Goes ‘Round is a musical celebration of life and the enduring human spirit that keeps us all going. From Cabaret to Chicago, the nonstop hit parade features unforgettable gems, including “Mr. Cellophane,” “My Coloring Book,” “All That Jazz,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Money, Money,” “Maybe This Time,” “Cabaret” and “New York, New York,” seamlessly interwoven into a passionate, harmonious, up-tempo evening of musical theater.

Woman 1 – Savannah Alfred
Woman 2 – Victoria Fairclough
Woman 3 – Kathleen Berger
Man 1 – Patrick Russo
Man 2 – Michael Paul

Director – Michael Wallot, Associate Director/Choreographer – Tracey Mitchem, Music Director – Joshua Condon

Thursday, Oct. 11, 7:30 pm.
Friday, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 18, 7:30 pm.
Friday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 25, 7:30 pm.
Friday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two-Woman Show - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - October 27, 2018

Vicki Lawrence and Mama:
A Two-Woman Show - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - 
Virginia G. Piper Theater
October 27, 2018 - 8:00 pm

Plucked out of obscurity when she was a high school senior, Vicki Lawrence went on to become a member of the now-legendary cast of the The Carol Burnett Show. During the show’s seventh season, the Emmy Award-winning Lawrence created her most endearing character, Thelma Harper, aka “Mama,” who has attained almost cult-like status.

The multi-talented entertainer is mostly known for her TV and theater acting and her comedic talents, but she also earned a gold record for the 1973 hit “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” In this show that blends stand-up comedy and music, Lawrence will take the stage first, followed by “Mama,” who will opine about real life. “Where Mama is concerned, expect the unexpected,” Lawrence says. “We’re creating new material with a more modern and cutting edge.”

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Jessie Mueller - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - November 17, 2018

Mark Cortale Presents Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Jessie Mueller  
Featuring Seth Rudetsky as Pianist and Host

Virginia G. Piper Theater

November 17, 2018 8:00 pm

Mark Cortale’s Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts series showcases some of Broadway’s brightest stars in the Center’s intimate Virginia G. Piper Theater. Hosted by multi-talented pianist and comedian Seth Rudetsky, these cabaret-style concerts mix popular song with candid showbiz stories.

Jessie Mueller won a 2014 Tony Award for “Best Actress in a Musical” for her portrayal of singer-songwriter Carole King in Beautiful: The Carol King Musical. She originated the lead role of Jenna in the musical Waitress on Broadway and starred as Julie Jordan in the Broadway revival of Carousel in 2018.

The Illinois native is the daughter of actors Jill and Roger Mueller, and her brothers, Andrew and Matt, and sister, Abby, also are well-known theater actors.

Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s On Broadway as well as the host of Seth Speaks on SiriusXM Stars. He has played piano for more than a dozen Broadway shows, including Ragtime, Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera, among many others.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

The Capitol Steps Make America Grin Again - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - November 23-24, 2018

The Capitol Steps
Make America Grin Again 

Virginia G. Piper Theater
Friday, November 23, 2018, 8:00 pm
Saturday, November 24, 2018, 5:00 pm
and 8:00 pm

Returning for their annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage to Scottsdale, The Capitol Steps plan to bring down the House … and Senate … with their unique blend of sharp political satire set to popular music. The irreverent D.C.-based troupe, with 38 albums to its credit, pokes fun at all sides of the issues, from left to right, with fresh, up-to-the-minute material inspired by the latest headlines, scandals and more.

The Steps will share songs and skits from their latest album, Make America Grin Again, and their performances will include political satire set to some of your favorite tunes, along with possible “guest appearances” by many of your favorite (or least-favorite, as the case may be) politicians.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Matthew Morrison - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - December 1, 2018

Scottsdale Arts Gala 2018 featuring
Matthew Morrison 

December 1, 2018 5:00 pm

Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Morrison headlines the annual Scottsdale Arts Gala.

Morrison starred on Broadway as J.M Barrie musical Finding Neverland, a musical that follows the relationship between Barrie and the Davies family, who became the author’s inspiration for the creation of Peter Pan. Morrison received two Drama Desk nominations for his role, and won the category of “Favorite Actor in a Musical” in the Audience Awards.

The multi-talent performer also appeared in a continuing role on the CBS television hit show The Good Wife, where he played U.S. Attorney Conor Fox through the series finale. Other television credits include guest star roles in seasons 13 and 14 of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, and a starring role as director of the glee club in Fox’s musical-comedy show Glee, which received the Golden Globe award for “Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical” in 2010 and 2011.

Morrison studied musical theater, vocal performance and dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He made his debut on Broadway in Footloose but his big break came when he was cast as heartthrob Link Larkin in the hit Hairspray. Morrison was later nominated for a Tony Award for his role in The Light in the Piazza, and received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Musical” for 10 Million Miles. He also starred in the Tony-winning revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater in New York.

With friend and colleague Zach McDuffie, Morrison launched Sherpapa in 2017. The lifestyle and retail company provides heirloom-quality goods and collections for new dads, that encourage shared experiences and family adventure.

About the gala: Guests should expect the unexpected — an evening of cutting-edge, immersive art experiences, a sophisticated culinary presentation, an auction filled with unique objects and adventures and an awe-inspiring live performance. Guests also will witness an exclusive preview of a re-imagined Scottsdale Arts campus, including improvements to the Dayton Fowler Grafman Atrium, Stage 2 and more.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Sister's Christmas Catechism The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - December 7–16, 2018

Sister's Christmas Catechism
The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold - 
Starring Patti Hannon

Stage 2
December 7–16, 2018

Friday, Dec. 7, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 14, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 15, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m.

In an unusually jolly mood, Sister, the tart-tongued, ruler-wielding nun, teaches her students the story of the Nativity and asks for their help to solve the greatest Christmas caper ever: Who swiped the gold that those three wise men gave to Baby Jesus? Using the latest forensic technology and her uncanny ability to detect guilt, Sister creates an unforgettable living Nativity with her students to expose the culprit.

Each performance is unique and will appeal to people of all ages and faiths.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - December 10, 2018

Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant

Virginia G. Piper Theater
December 10, 2018 7:30 pm

Tony Award-winner Alan Cumming returns to the Center on Dec. 10 with a new show Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant, a collection of musings on his 10 years as a U.S. citizen, growing older and what it feels like to be an immigrant in today’s America.

Perhaps best known for his Tony Award-winning performance as the emcee in Cabaret and as political operative Eli Gold on seven TV seasons of The Good Wife, Cumming also wrote a New York Times No. 1 bestselling memoir, Not My Father’s Son, and has earned more than 40 humanitarian awards for various civil rights, sex education and social justice causes.

In 2015 he premiered his cabaret show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs at the legendary Cafe Carlyle in New York City.  The show was described by the New York Times as an “emotional firestorm” and has since toured all over the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Sutton Foster - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - December 14, 2018

Mark Cortale Presents Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Sutton Foster  
Featuring Seth Rudetsky as Pianist and Host

Virginia G. Piper Theater
December 14, 2018 8:00 pm

Mark Cortale’s Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts series showcases some of Broadway’s brightest stars in the Center’s intimate Virginia G. Piper Theater. Hosted by multi-talented pianist and comedian Seth Rudetsky, these cabaret-style concerts mix popular song with candid showbiz stories.

Multi-talented, two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster is one of Broadway’s most charismatic and popular leading ladies. Currently starring in the critically acclaimed TV Land series Younger, Foster landed the title role of the New Group’s 50th anniversary revival of Sweet Charity. She won Tony Awards in the Lead Actress — Musical category for Anything Goes (2011) in the role of Reno Sweeney and as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002). Besides Younger, Foster’s TV credits include Law & Order: SVU, Flight of the Conchords, Bunheads and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. In 2014, Foster made her feature film debut in Phil Alden Robinson’s The Angriest Man in Brooklyn and has toured the county with her hit solo concert. She has also graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s, Lincoln Center and many others.

Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s On Broadway as well as the host of Seth Speaks on SiriusXM Stars. He has played piano for more than a dozen Broadway shows, including Ragtime, Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera, among many others.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Rob Kapilow - What Makes it Great? “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the year”: Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - December 16, 2018

Rob Kapilow - What Makes it Great? ®
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the year”: Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, 3 p.m.
Virginia G. Piper Theater

Composer and musician Rob Kapilow, along with veteran Broadway vocalists and a superb local youth choir, tell remarkable, largely unknown stories behind some of the world’s best-known Christmas songs.

Where would the Christmas season be without songs like “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” and, of course, “White Christmas”? Surprisingly, all of these songs were written by Jewish songwriters trying to assimilate and become part of America’s melting pot.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Assisted Living: The Musical - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - January 10-13, 2019

Assisted Living: The Musical®  
Stage 2
January 10-13, 2019

Thursday, Jan. 10, 7:00 pm
Friday, Jan. 11, 7:00 pm
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm
Sunday, Jan. 13,  2:00 p.m.

From early retirement right up to the pulling of the plug, 21st century seniors are partying like it’s 1969! Imagine: no work, no pregnancy and a full array of Medicare-subsidized pharmaceuticals. They are partying at Pelican Roost, the full-service retirement community that is home to the 18 different characters played by the show’s two actors in this 75-minute, hilarious, vaudeville-esque musical revue. Each of the colorful characters is living his or her life in the moment, and to the max.

Created by Rick Compton and Betsy Bennett — who also star in the production — Assisted Living: The Musical® begins as the show’s host couple enters heaven, suspecting their son pulled the plug to get his hands on Dad’s vintage Corvette. They don’t seem to mind. Instead, the couple fondly remembers Pelican Roost, where the various characters sing and dance, revel and kvetch, celebrate and bloviate their way through later life.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Audra McDonald - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - January 19, 2019

Mark Cortale Presents Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Audra McDonald  
Featuring Seth Rudetsky as Pianist and Host

Virginia G. Piper Theater
January 19, 2019 8:00 pm

Mark Cortale’s Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts series showcases some of Broadway’s brightest stars in the Center’s intimate Virginia G. Piper Theater. Hosted by multi-talented pianist and comedian Seth Rudetsky, these cabaret-style concerts mix popular song with candid showbiz stories.

Audra McDonald is a powerhouse performer with a breadth of versatility as both a singer and an actress. She has won six Tony Awards, two Grammys and an Emmy, and in 2015 was honored by President Barack Obama with a National Medal of Arts — the highest U.S. honor for achievement in the arts. When she won her sixth Tony in 2014 for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, the Juilliard School graduate made Broadway history as the award’s most decorated performer. She has made numerous appearances in films and on television, as well as concert and opera stages, and records on Nonesuch Records.

Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s On Broadway as well as the host of Seth Speaks on SiriusXM Stars. He has played piano for more than a dozen Broadway shows, including Ragtime, Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera, among many others.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Gavin Creel - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - March 8, 2019

Mark Cortale Presents Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Gavin Creel 
Featuring Seth Rudetsky as Pianist and Host

Virginia G. Piper Theater
March 8, 2019 8:00 pm

He won a 2017 Tony® Award for his portrayal of Cornelius Hackl in “Hello, Dolly!” opposite Bette Midler on Broadway. Now Broadway actor and singer Gavin Creel will be performing with Seth Rudetsky at 8 p.m. Friday, March 8, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

The evening will feature Creel in concert and conversation with Rudetsky, who hosts the show as music director and pianist. These two irrepressible friends will shoot the breeze, dish the dirt and raise the roof with performances of a host of classic Broadway songs as part of the series “Mark Cortale's Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts” at the Center’s Virginia G. Piper Theater.

This performance replaces an appearance by Jeremy Jordan, who canceled due to a scheduling conflict.

Creel won a Tony® Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Cornelius Hackl in the 2017 Broadway production of “Hello, Dolly!” The role also earned him a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Additionally, he earned Tony® Award nominations for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (2002) and “Hair” (2009).

Variety called Creel “quite the catch” and The Washington Post hailed Creel as “a gorgeously sung Cornelius” for his role as Cornelius Hackl role in “Hello, Dolly!”

Creel also has a growing resume with additional credits, including Elder Price in “The Book of Mormon” (2014 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical) and Stephen Kodaly in “She Loves Me.” He has appeared on TV in ABC's "Eloise at the Plaza" and "Eloise at Christmastime" opposite Julie Andrews. His albums are “Goodtimenation,” “Quiet,” and “Get Out.” He is a native of Findlay, Ohio, and is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

Seth Rudetsky was born in the town of North Woodmere on Long Island, New York, and graduated with a degree in piano performance from Oberlin College in 1988. He then launched a career as pit pianist for such shows as “Ragtime,” “Les Misérables” and “Phantom of the Opera.” He found a knack for commentary and expanded his career to include arts broadcast journalism, with two shows on Sirius XM that feature interviews with major Broadway stars and deconstructions of major musicals: “Seth's Big Fat Broadway” and “Seth Speaks.” He also writes the Onstage & Backstage column for Playbill magazine, and is a composer, with the score for the musical “Disaster!” to his credit.

In June of 2016, Rudetsky and his husband, James Wesley, co-produced a recording of "What The World Needs Now" with Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Carole King and Audra McDonald. The song went to No. 1 on iTunes and has raised more than $100,000 to benefit the Orlando nightclub shooting victims. On Inauguration Day 2017, the couple started “Concert For America,” an evening of entertainment with stars of film, television, music, comedy and Broadway, raising funds for five national organizations working to protect civil rights.

$89 ($81 for members) / $69 / $59

Presenting Series Sponsors: Linda and Sherman Saperstein
Signature Sponsor: Susan Rollins and Paul Garry

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Wiesenthal - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - March 14, 2019


Virginia G. Piper Theater
March 14, 2019 7:30 pm

Written by and starring Tom Dugan, he reprises the title role for this production of the one-man play. Filled with hope, humanity and humor, Wiesenthal is the riveting true story of the “Jewish James Bond,” who brought more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice.

Simon Wiesenthal was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things. A Holocaust survivor, he devoted his life to hunting Nazis from the end of World War II until his retirement in 2003, just two years before he died at 96. Intelligent, funny, flawed and noble, Wiesenthal was a universal hero. His dedication and tenacity over the decades is honored in this 90-minute, one-act play, which gives equal weight to his wisdom and wit during his long, purposeful life.


CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Max Raabe & Palast Orchester - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - March 16, 2019

Max Raabe & Palast Orchester 
Dream a Little Dream Tour 2019

Saturday, March 16, 2019, 8 p.m.
Virginia G. Piper Theater

The Palast Orchester was founded in 1986 by Max Raabe and a group of fellow music students who six years later found themselves on the German charts with their song “Kein Schwein ruft mich an” (“Nobody Cares to Ever Give Me a Call”). The Berlin-based band pays tribute to the high style and musical glory of the 1920s and 1930s.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Rob Kapilow: What Makes It Great? Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Richard Rodgers - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - March 31, 2019

Rob Kapilow: What Makes It Great?
Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Richard Rodgers 
With Broadway veterans Sally Wilfert and Michael Winther

Virginia G. Piper Theater
March 31, 2019 3:00 pm

The extraordinary career of Richard Rodgers covered more than six decades and produced musical theater gems including “My Funny Valentine” from Babes in Arms and “If I Loved You” from Carousel. During all of these years, Rodgers wrote with only two men — Larry Hart and Oscar Hammerstein, collaborations that defined Rodgers’ creative life.

Rob Kapilow and Broadway veterans Sally Wilfert and Michael Winther explore some of the most famous musical theater songs ever written to help listeners understand what makes the music of Rodgers and Hart and Rodgers and Hammerstein great.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

Lea Salonga - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts - May 17, 2019

Lea Salonga
Virginia G. Piper Theater
May 17, 2019 8:00 pm

Possessing a powerful voice and perfect pitch, Lea Salonga is a singer and actress best known for her Tony Award-winning role in Miss Saigon. She also has won the Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards for her work in musical theater. In her 37-year career, Salonga has toured the world performing sold-out concerts at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Singapore’s Esplanade (twice), Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (twice), Hong Kong Cultural Center (multiple times), Carnegie Hall in New York, and in various venues in Vancouver and other North American cities.

She was the first artist to sell out two shows at Brigham Young University’s deJong Concert Hall in Provo, Utah, since The King’s Singers in 2009, and fans of all ages recognize Salonga’s voice as that of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Fa Mulan in Mulan and Mulan II.

CLICK HERE for more information on this event, and to purchase tickets

review - RING ROUND THE MOON - Grand Canyon University

Christina McSheffrey and Brandon Brown
photo by 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 September 2nd.

"Jean Anouilh's romantic comedy Ring Round the Moon, adapted by Christopher Fry, is receiving a sumptuous production from Grand Canyon University. The frantic plot and a cast who throw themselves into the fun and frenzied characters, including a superb performance from Brandon Brown as the twin brothers at the center of the piece, make for a humorous, sweet and pleasurable experience..The play is set in the garden conservatory of Madame Desmortes' French chateau where a ball is about to take place. Desmortes has two twin nephews, Hugo and Frederic, who couldn't be more different. Frederic is engaged to Diana, a heartless heiress, so Hugo invites the poor but beautiful ballerina Isabelle to the ball and dresses her up in an attempt to draw Frederic to her and away from Diana. However, Isabelle's mother has come along for the journey and when she sees Madame Desmortes' companion Capulet and recognizes her as a girl she grew up with, she tells her of the plan. Also, Isabelle is more drawn to Hugo than Frederic. Will Hugo's scheme be spoiled? ..Director Michael Kary gets rich comical performances from his cast with none ever crossing too far over into delivering broad caricatures of these mostly comical archetypes. He instills not only big doses of comedy and romance into his staging but also plenty of dance and movement in his upbeat and fun scene changes. Brandon Brown does exceedingly well as both Hugo and Frederic. As Hugo, Brown is brave, bold and fearless, while as Frederic, he is shy, sensitive and innocent. The fact the Brown has to constantly shift between the two parts, sometimes within a few seconds, and that he creates two very different characters, is a huge achievement. Christina McSheffrey is equally as good as Isabelle. ...William H. Symington's set evokes a richly detailed, marble-floored conservatory full of exotic plants while Nola Yergen's costumes are stunning. The lighting from Claude Pensis is sumptuous as are Christen McGrath's hair and make-up designs. Full of both cynicism and sentimentality, Ring Round the Moon is a fun play that include a heightened mix of farce and romance as well as a comedy of manners. Grand Canyon University's production is infused with style and wit and a cast who deliver on the many fun, almost farcical, moments........ " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

Fountain Hills seeks a Stage Manager for their production of STEEL MAGNOLIAS

Fountain Hills Theater is looking for a Stage Manager for our upcoming production of Steel Magnolias. 

Auditions are Sept 4th and 5th. 

Rehearsals begin on Sept 8th and show runs from 10/12 - 10/28, with a possible extension through 11/4. 

Position is paid. 

Please submit resume/experience to Peter Hill at and Leah Klein @

audition notice - CASH ON DELIVERY - Hale Centre Theatre - September 15

Hale Centre Theatre will hold auditions for Cash on Delivery , playing December 31, 2018 – February 9, 2019. The show is produced by David and Corrin Dietlein, directed by Cambrian James and casting directors David and Corrin Dietlein. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday nights, with Friday and Saturday matinees at 3pm. All ethnicities are encouraged to audition.

2019 Actor Pay Scale Beginning Jan 1, 2019
Eric Swan - Lead: $75 per performance / $375-$450 a week*
All other roles: $50 per performance / $250-$300 a week*

Actors in lead roles will receive an estimated payment of $2625.00 All other adult actors will receive a an estimated payment of $1750.00 for the run of the show. Actors will receive free meals between matinee and evening performances and six complimentary tickets.

*Estimated payment may differ if performances are added or removed.


Cash on Delivery is quite possibly the funniest show we have ever produced! The story revolves
around the hysterical antics of a man who discovers a loophole in the welfare system - much to the
chagrin of his neighbors. A big surprise ending makes this show a delight from start to finish. Make
your reservations today and “cash in” on the funniest show in town!

Audition Information: Saturday, September 15th at 10:00 AM
● The audition will consist of side readings. Sides will be provided. Please prepare 1 side to read.
● Please be familiar with the play.
● Read the breakdowns and bring your best characters to the audition.
● Dancing or singing will not be required at the audition.
● The casting directors use Casting Manager during the casting process. Please post your
headshot and resume to your Casting Manager profile.

Call Backs
Call backs for Cash on Delivery will be held Saturday, September 22nd at 10:00 AM with the first read through scheduled for Monday, November 12th at 7:00 PM .

Audition Location
Auditions will be held at the theater located at 50 West Page Avenue in Gilbert.

How to make an appointment
You can sign up for appointments at

Other Notes
Runtime: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. Auditions are by appointment only. Any questions
may be emailed to

ERIC SWAN : (LEAD; Male; 30-50) Married to Linda, worked for the electric company, must be bigger physically than his Uncle George. All Ethnicities.

LINDA SWAN : (Supporting; Female; 30-50) Eric’s wife, stressed, knows something is wrong with her husband, must look older than her boarder, Norman. All Ethnicities.

NORMAN MacDONALD : (Supporting; Male; 20-39) The Swan’s boarder, sick with a cold, generally a simple, happy person, works at a shoe shop, is engaged, and is getting married in 3 days to his fiancé, Brenda Dixon. All Ethnicities.

MR. JENKINS : (Supporting; Male; 40-69) Works for Social Security, thinks he’s sharp and on top of all office procedures, but he is easily duped by Eric and Norman when he decides to visit the Swan’s to investigate some Social Security irregularities. All Ethnicities.

UNCLE GEORGE SWAN : (Supporting; Male; 40-59) Eric’s uncle, a “clean up” man at the local
hospital and wears a hospital porter’s uniform, needs to be able to impersonate a woman, must be
small enough for Eric & Norman to lift him upside down. All Ethnicities.

SALLY CHESSINGTON : (Supporting; Female; 20-29) A young, welfare family crisis worker that
comes to the Swans to help with bereavement issues when a fictitious Social Security recipient dies.
All Ethnicities.

MR. FORBRIGHT : (Supporting; Male; 30-69) An undertaker who arrives at the Swan household
when he is informed that a fictitious Social Security recipient has died. All Ethnicities.

DR. CHAPMAN : (Supporting; Male; 30-59) A counselor that accompanies Linda Chapman to the
Swan’s to perform an intervention with Eric because Linda is convinced that her husband Eric is a
cross-dresser after she discovers women’s clothing in the house. All Ethnicities.

MS. COWPER : (Supporting; Female; 40-69) A strict, hard-nosed taskmaster from the Social Security office that comes to the Swan’s because she fears that Mr. Jenkins is not doing a thorough job of investigating into Social Security irregularities. All Ethnicities.

MISS BRENDA DIXON : (Supporting; Female; 20-39) Norman’s unsuspecting fiancée that enters the Swan household only to find Norman in less than marrying condition due to his having been conned into impersonating fictitious Social Security recipients for Eric. All Ethnicities.

reviews - ROSE AND WALSH - Theatre Artists Studio

Jason Isaak, Tom Koelbel, and Marney Austin
Photo by Bill Phillips

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 September 2nd.

"...Neil Simon's Rose and Walsh, his last produced play... focuses on two writers who suffer hindrances, including blindness and death, in completing their latest works. Unfortunately, Simon's play also suffers from shortcomings and obstacles in an unfocused plot and is never truly successful. But even a less effective Simon play with some deficiencies still has some redeeming qualities, as does Theater Artists Studio's respectable production....Simon's plot is all over the place. It starts to go in one direction, shifts gears, turns from comical to sad, and leaves many intriguing plot points unresolved....It could have been an intriguing drama about a woman coming to the realization that it's finally time to let go of her past and her ties to her deceased lover and how she spends her last two weeks with him, or even a comedy about a woman and her ghostly lover employing a "ghost" writer to help finish a novel. Or, it could have been a poignant drama that focuses on the strains that art and the drive for success and the choices one makes, good or bad, put on familial relations. Simon brings all of these elements into his piece yet just as soon as you think the piece is going in one direction, it abruptly shifts gears into another and leaves all of these potential plots unfinished. ...Fortunately, the piece does include interesting characters, some funny lines, and a truly hilarious sequence..a throwback to some of Simon's well composed earlier comedies...Theatre Artists Studio's cast is fine under Deborah Lee Hall's direction...Rose and Walsh starts out as a comical ghost story but tries to also be a poignant drama of ageism and the strain that the drive for success takes on relationships. Theatre Artists Studio's production is successful in navigating through these changes in tone and plot but, unfortunately, Simon's shifts are too abrupt and too many plot devices are left unfinished to be a truly successful comedy. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"ROSE AND WALSH is the last play written by Neil Simon...a simmering but unsteady and almost trite rumination on love and loss and legacy. Last, but not the best in a long line of semi-autobiographical works that parallel Simon's stages of life....wades in shallow waters, uplifted only by periodic flashes of Simonesque one-liner brilliance ...In its current staging, Theatre Artists Studio's season opener, directed by Deborah Lee Hall, the potential I referred to earlier is unfulfilled....How do you let go of the one you love? How do you let go of the memory? How do you survive? There's enough here, in these questions, to produce a memorable balance of belly laughs and tears. That is, as long as the chemistry between the characters is convincing and the story line demonstrates clarity of direction. Alas, the script is tired and tiresome. The director's pacing of the play does not help, weighed down further by too much gravity in the featured performances...."Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

ariZoni "red carpet host" submission deadline extended!

The ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence are seeking red carpet hosts for the night of their celebration and if you missed the submission deadline, you're in luck!

The new deadline is 5pm, tomorrow, Thursday August 30th.

They are looking for outgoing, fun, positive, charismatic hosts to be featured on their Facebook Live feed as preshow entertainment while this year's Zoni nominees walk the red carpet.

(They will be selecting a winning host entry in both the adult and youth categories)

To be considered, email a video submission to that tells why you should be the 'Zoni Red Carpet Host' by 5pm on August 30th. (It's recommended keeping the videos 2 minutes or less in length).

The ariZoni board will select the Top 5 entries in both the Adult and Youth categories.

Then...the audience decides. They'll be uploading the videos on the ariZoni Facebook page on August 31st, and the video(s) with the most reactions by 5pm on September 7th will be selected as the hosts.

cast announcement - REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES - Mesa Encore Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs October 5-21

Yubicela Brito as Ana Garcia
Liliana Espinoza as Estela Garcia
Jennifer Salazar Lowe as Carmen Garcia
Erzsébet Szabó as Pancha
Cné Serrano as Rosali

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

DEAR EVAN HANSEN Fastest Show to Sell Out in ASU Gammage History

The company of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway
Photo by Matthew Murphy 2018
from our friends at ASU Gammage:

ASU Gammage announced today that the Tony Award-winning musical set a new record for fastest sellout of a show at the historic Frank Lloyd Wright theater by selling out of all available tickets during the show’s fan presale, leaving no tickets for the general public onsale.

Demand for DEAR EVAN HANSEN and the Broadway season at ASU Gammage reached new levels this year and the show sold out in less than an hour of ASU Gammage and DEAR EVAN HANSEN fan presales.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN will have a lottery in conjunction with the show’s run Nov. 27 – Dec. 2. Details will be announced closer to the engagement.

“This is the first for ASU Gammage as we’re sold out before going on sale.” says Colleen Jennings-
Roggensack, Executive Director of ASU Gammage and ASU Vice President for Cultural Affairs. “The demand for Broadway tickets is bigger than ever and after selling out season tickets two years in a row we knew DEAR EVAN HANSEN would be the hottest ticket in town.”


The winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy®, Tony® and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

Declared “One of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history” by the Washington Post’s Peter Marks, Dear Evan Hansen opened at the Music Box Theatre to rave reviews on December 4, 2016, where it’s broken all box office records and struck a chord with critics and audiences alike.
In addition to winning six Tony awards, Dear Evan Hansen has won numerous other awards, including the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Musical Production and for the off-Broadway production, two Obie Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and two Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Helen Hayes Awards. The show’s original cast recently won a Daytime Emmy Award for “Best Musical Performance on a Daytime Talk Show” for their April 2017 performance of “You Will Be Found” on NBC’s “Today Show,” only the second Broadway show in history to win that category.
The Grammy Award-winning Original Broadway Cast Recording of Dear Evan Hansen, produced by
Atlantic Records, was released in February 2017, making an extraordinary debut on the Billboard 200
and entering the chart at #8 – the highest charting debut position for an original cast album since 1961 – and went on to win the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

A special edition coffee table book authored by Levenson, Pasek and Paul, Dear Evan Hansen: through the window (Grand Central Publishing / Melcher) is now available, offering an in-depth, all-access look at the musical, including never-before-seen production photos and cast portraits, behind-the-scenes stories, and a fully annotated script by the authors.

In addition to the touring production and the record-breaking Broadway production, Dear Evan Hansen will launch its first international production in Canada, in March 2019 at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Dear Evan Hansen features scenic design by David Korins, projection design by Peter Nigrini, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, and hair design by David Brian Brown. Music supervision, orchestrations and additional arrangements are by Alex Lacamoire. Ben Cohn is the Associate Music Supervisor. Vocal arrangements and additional arrangements are by Justin Paul. Danny Mefford is the choreographer. U.S. Casting by Tara Rubin Casting/Lindsay Levine. Adrienne Campbell-Holt, Sash Bischoff and Adam Quinn are the Associate Directors. Judith Schoenfeld is the Production Supervisor.

The touring production of Dear Evan Hansen is produced by Stacey Mindich. The co-producers are
Mickey Liddell, Hunter Arnold, Caiola Productions, Double Gemini Productions, Fakston Productions, Roy Furman, Harris Karma Productions, On Your Marks Group, Darren Bagert, Roger & William Berlind, Bob Boyett, Colin Callender, Caitlin Clements, Freddy DeMann, Dante Di Loreto, Bonnie & Kenneth Feld, FickStern Productions, Eric & Marsi Gardiner, Robert Greenblatt, Jere Harris and Darren DeVerna, The John Gore Organization, Mike Kriak, David Mirvish, Eva Price, Zeilinger Productions, Adam Zotovich,

Ambassador Theatre Group, Independent Presenters Network, and the Shubert Organization, in
association with Arena Stage, Molly Smith and Edgar Dobie, and Second Stage Theatre, Carole Rothman, and Casey Reitz. Wendy Orshan and Jeffrey M. Wilson are Executive Producers.

For more information, please visit

the 2018 ariZoni nominees react to being nominated!

by Gil Benbrook

PHX Stages reached out to dozens of 2018 Zoni nominees, shortly after they learned that they were nominated for the Valley's biggest theatre award, to find out where they were when they heard the news about being nominated and their reaction to what their nomination means to them.

The 2018 ariZoni Awards ceremony is Monday September 17th - Tickets are on sale now. CLICK HERE to order your tickets now and for more information.

CLICK HERE for a complete list of 2018 ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence nominees

Robert Andrews 
Scenic Design, Play, ASU School of Film, Theatre and Dance - Six Stories Tall (with Antonio Hernandez)

"I was playing some board games with my friends when I saw the live stream on Facebook. They announced scenic design first so that came as a huge surprise. Then I heard T.A. say my name along with my co-designer Antonio for our work on Six Stories Tall at ASU. Antonio thought I was kidding when I said we were nominated, but I wasn't. I was shocked that our work was recognized by the community because it was the most fun show I had co-designed and the fact that we had been working on it for about 6 months was such a rewarding feeling. When I heard our name I got very excited and wanted to tell everyone there, but I was told to keep it down because I didn't want to wake up my friends 8 month old son."

Puneet Bajwa
Actress in a Supporting Role - Space 55 -  Night of the Chicken

"My husband and I were out playing pool when I got a message from a friend congratulating me on the nomination. Since, I am a first-time nominee I wasn't expecting this or even waiting for the list to be published. Hence, my first reaction was being confused and in disbelief. My husband went to the ariZoni website and did not see my name on it. They still had the 2017 nominee list on it. Hence, I casually dismissed the news thinking it may have been a mistake. Next, I get an email from another friend. That's when I go online to read posts about the nominations and finally see the 2018 nominations on the PHX Stages website. That is when a feeling of happiness, gratitude and excitement sunk in and we went ahead to order another one-two-three round of drinks. "

Jasmine Bassham (with Sam Primack) in Spotlight Youth Theatre's Jesus Christ Superstar
photo by Josh Globke
Jasmine Bassham
Actress in a Major Role- Youth Musical - Spotlight Youth Theatre - Jesus Christ Superstar
Actress in a Supporting Role- Youth Musical - Spotlight Youth Theatre - Cabaret

"When I heard about my Zoni nominations I was sitting in my kitchen listening to the facebook live stream of the readings. My dad and step mom were right by my side. When I heard Thea say my name I was so excited because it had been my first time ever being nominated for a Zoni! The kind of recognition that comes from just being nominated is so honoring. It is amazing that the AriZonis recognize all of the hard work these young actors and actresses put into their characters and their shows and I am so thankful for it."

Gary Caswell
Actor in a Supporting Role- Play - Almost Famous Theatre Company - Ken Ludwig's Lend Me A Tenor

"When I heard I was nominated AriZoni Award, I was sitting on my sofa doing what I do best- WATCHING TV- I'm a very proud couch potato. (When I'm not in a show) My GF and I were on episode 2 of The Sinner when I checked my phone to take a look at the nominee's. Loved seeing all my theatre friends nominated. Then, to my surprise, I saw my name- Best Supporting Actor in a play- Almost Famous Theatre company- Lend Me a Tenor- Gary Caswell. VERY COOL. This was a great show with a super cast and a great director. I'm very proud of this nomination. This is my 6th nomination and I proudly hang my three Arizoni Awards (two for acting and one for directing) in my home for all to see."

Caelan Creaser
Actress in a Major Role- Musical - ASU Music Theatre and Opera - Legally Blonde

"I was at home, resting, since Mondays are my day off from doing “Catch Me If You Can” at Arizona Broadway Theatre! I was just as shocked as when I was nominated last year for Millie at Hale Theatre! Both Millie and Elle Woods have been dream roles of mine for years now and I am just so thrilled that two of my favorite roles have been recognized by the Zoni’s last year and now this year! Both of those shows hold such a special place in my heart because of the theatres I performed them at, and the cast mates and creative teams that made it all possible!!

It was such a wonderful welcome to Arizona to be acknowledged as Best Actress for Millie last year, and I am just as grateful to be nominated for Best Actress again this year! Congrats to all the other theatres and nominees this year! Let’s go AriZoni’s 2018!!"

Shelby Daeffler (with Aaron Blanco) in Hale Centre Theatre's The Importance of Being Earnest
photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw

Shelby Daeffler
Actress in a Major Role- Play - Hale Centre Theatre - The Importance of Being Earnest
Actress in a Major Role- Musical - Mesa Encore Theatre - Disney's Beauty and the Beast

"I have never been nominated for a Zoni before now, so to receive two, let alone one, was truly unanticipated! I was actually in public on a belated birthday-date when I found out, but I was alone at the moment waiting for my boyfriend to return so I had to keep my celebration momentarily contained (as best I could, at least) until I could share with him. But for those minutes that felt like hours, I was very much fighting to hide the fact that my heart had fluttered up to my throat to do a little celebration dance of its own. With a sudden influx of notifications, the news came from dear friends, which is all the more appropriate because it was dear friends, old and new, who helped bring magic to these show-experiences. I found out about each nomination in what I assume was real-time as they were announced, because I heard about one, which was news enough for me, and shortly after, still reeling, about the other…I believe it was at this point that I finally had to take a seat somewhere… With every update came more shock, gratitude, and delight, and even more blushing to my face, I’m sure. I never expected, though hoped, to receive a nomination in the handful of years I’ve been performing in Arizona theatre, but to have the immense love, time, and effort put into my craft and into the shaping of the experiences that I so deeply value recognized in such a way is a feeling I will always cherish. I could never possibly hope to articulate all the ways these shows have been important to me both as an artist and human, and I am utterly amazed and thankful that someone else apparently seems to like them too."

Allan Dewitt
Actor in a Major Role- Play - Hale Centre Theatre - Kiss and Tell

"When I heard the news that I had made it, I was back at my apartment after a day of doing shows and was EXHAUSTED. I was watching the live stream and was particularly stressful about this one. I didn’t have much of a chance to do any shows in Arizona because I moved recently to Utah so I only had one or two shows under my belt for these nominations. Although because I had been nominated before, I felt like I had a chance with one show in particular. I actually SCREAMED in my apartment when I heard my nomination. It was so loud my roommates were running in asking if I was okay! Grateful to be a part of this amazing awards ceremony once again!"

Rob Dominguez
Actor in a Supporting Role, Adult Musical - MCC PAC Musical Productions -  How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

"I was relaxing on the couch, as one does after a long day's work. I knew the Zoni readings were happening soon, but I had forgotten that it was happening that particular night. I received a message from my buddy Brett saying "Congrats on your Zoni nomination!". I was very excited, because I really loved playing Bud Frump in MCC's "How To Succeed..." and also because I've never been nominated before. But while I was excited to be nominated, I tried not to be too outwardly excited, as my very pregnant (re: emotional) wife contributed a lot of choreography work this season and I hadn't seen the whole list, I had only heard about mine. When we found out she was also nominated for choreographing the same show, I was finally able to jump up and down without fear of repercussion. Obviously no one is doing community theatre just to be nominated for awards, but it is very nice to receive external validation for your art. We are both very grateful. The only downside to the whole thing, is now I can't keep putting "Zero-time AriZoni Nominee Rob Dominguez" in my show bios anymore. "

Kay Gray
Hair and Make-Up Design, Grand Canyon Ethington's Theatre - The Good Doctor

"My husband sent me the link to the nomination list yesterday while I was at my new job.  I was excited and posted as soon as my work day was done! This is my 7th nomination. I have won four times and each time is as nerve wracking as the one before! It is a fun experience and it is awesome to hear you name called if you win! But truly, as corny as it sounds, it is an honor to be nominated and I am happy to be a part of this experience!!!"

Samantha Hanna (center) and the cast of Stray Cat Theatre's Kiss
photo by John Groseclose
Samantha Hanna
Actress in a Supporting Role- Play - Stray Cat Theatre - Kiss

"Acting is my happy place, a place where I can let go, create, impact others, and grow each and every experience. It holds a very special place in my heart so I don’t take anything for granted when it comes to this field and being nominated for the third year in a row for the AriZoni’s has truly been so meaningful to me and one I am nothing but thankful for. Each time I had found out about my nomination I was around one of my family members, which always makes it special because they are supportive of my craft and always happy to hear my achievements. I was lucky enough my first year in 2016 to win Best Actress in a Major Role for Three Sisters. It is an honor to be nominated again especially for Kiss with Stray Cat Theatre because the show meant a great deal to me as an artist for the message it held. I’m grateful to Stray Cat for allowing me into their playground and to Ron May for pushing me and allowing me to grow and learn. I’m grateful to the AriZoni’s for taking time to recognize all the incredible talent Arizona has to offer in the theatre world and bringing us together to celebrate a craft that is to most of us, what we live and breathe for."

Antonio Hernandez
Scenic Design, Play, ASU School of Film, Theatre and Dance - Six Stories Tall (with Robert Andrews)

"I had just gotten home from work, right before the nominations were going to be read. I had planned on watching the live feed of it from my home since I have never seen it before and thought it would be interesting.

It was 5 til and I decided to close my eyes for a minute before it starts. I ended up waking up an hour and a half later to see a text from Robert, my co-designer, saying we've been nominated for Scenic Design. I was so confused and thought he was yanking my chain. So I go online to do some investigating and I see him posting about our nomination. So I que up the video of the nomination reading because I needed solid proof. Lo and behold we are the first category and our name was called. I was in shock, still in shock actually. This is my first time being nominated and it was the last thing I was expecting. Then I find out The Compass, was nominated for Best Overall Production. I  was even more shocked now because the two productions that I was the Scenic Designer for ASU are both being nominated for awards."

Shandi Ilyse
Actress in a Supporting Role- Play - TheaterWorks - A Christmas Carol

"I was curled up on the couch watching my favorite scandalous period piece, Harlots, when my best friend and local Arizona actress, Clara Bentz, texted me to let me know that I was nominated. This is my first time being nominated for any performance I've done, and my response was honestly complete and utter shock. I might have responded to Clara's text and called her a liar. I didn't fully believer her until I found the list of nominations online, and I am still pretty humbled and speechless to be considered nearly a week since. "

Ashley Jackson
Actress in a Supporting Role- Musical - Hale Centre Theatre - Big Fish

"There are absolutely no words that can describe the feeling I had when I heard my name called
as a nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. This year I watched the nomination
reading online while on the phone with my parents who reside in Detroit, MI. My reaction
when I heard my name was a pause (wondering if I really heard my name) and then a scream of
excitement!! My parents where just as excited and told me how proud they were of me.  This is my first nomination for an AriZoni Award. Being nominated for this role means so much to me. Around this time last year I reentered the musical world with excitement, determination, and some fears. Playing The Witch in Big Fish was beyond life changing for me as she taught me
the strength in facing my fears. It is an honor to be recognized for my work and I am truly grateful for this moment in time.

'The ones who face their fears lead the most interesting lives' - The Witch

Kelli James in TheaterWorks' Gypsy
photo by John Groseclose
Kelli James
Guest Actor - TheaterWorks - Gypsy

"I was in Iowa directing a Broadway Advantage intensive and concert when I read about my Zoni nomination. I was sitting on my bed in my childhood bedroom at my Parent's house. This is the room where I did all my dreaming, listening to Broadway recordings and taking bows to an imaginary audience. It seemed like a perfect full circle moment to me as I gazed out that same little window wondering about my future in the arts. When I moved to Arizona 16 years ago I wasn't certain I would ever do theatre again but I have been fortunate to do five shows and have been nominated for them all, including Beauty and The Beast, Follies, Les Miserables and now Gypsy. I won best director for Les Mis and that was another perfect full circle moment for me, having done the Broadway production. I also one for choreography for You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. I have never won as an actress but that doesn't seem to matter. It's about the recognition and the work, it always has been for 43 glorious years. I'm grateful and overjoyed to be considered part of such an elite group of actors in this category. I have so much respect for all of them. The Gypsy nomination was especially sweet considering it was a dream role for me and I prayed I would do the role of Rose justice. Thank you Zoni Awards for this honor!"

Carrie Ellen Jones, left (with Bella Tindall)
in Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre's Agatha Christie Verdict
photo by Renee Ashlock

Carrie Ellen Jones
Actress in a Major Role, Adult Play - Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre - Agatha Christie Verdict

When the Zoni nominations were being read, I was just busy being mom!

After getting kids off to bed I snuck off to run errands ALONE! As I left the post office around 9:00pm (Bless the person who invented those 24 hour kiosks!!) I got a Messenger ding from Peter Cunniff, my Verdict cast mate, congratulating me on my Zoni nomination...

I didn't really know how audiences would perceive Agatha Christie's Lisa or my attempts to portray her layers so it was extra surprising and exciting.

The goal for me, as an actor, will forever be to tell a great story, create an escape and/or challenge a person's heart. It probably sounds cheesy, but it's true. The privilege of being cast in these endeavors is always a win for me. Having my work honored by a group of my peers??  -- well that is a majorly flattering extra bonus!

This is my fifth individual Zoni nomination.  Heidi Carpenter, whom many AZ theatre people (including me!) know and love, once tagged me the Susan Lucci of the ariZonis, but, if it's all the same ya'll, I'd like to hold off on that as an official moniker until like number 12, okay??

 In all seriousness, I have been fortunate to work with several winners and nominees in this female category over the past several years and knowing the caliber of their work adds to the honor of any nomination - plaque or no plaque! See you September 17th!

Tina Khalil
Choreography - TheaterWorks - Seussical

""I had just gotten home from work and turned on Facebook Live.  They were reading a category or two before mine.  Then I heard my name. I was very excited to have been nominated along side our director Brett Aiken. We both worked very hard on creating a fun and exciting show together.   We both decided we were going to be at every rehearsal together -whether it was blocking or choreography.  We wanted our show to flow and not have beginnings or endings of numbers and scenes.   Seussical has always been one of my favorite shows.When I had played Mayzie years ago, Brett was the technical director at MET at that time.  So it was awesome to work with Brett on this show again.  This is my first choreography nomination.  I usually only choreograph summer camps for MBL and Co. This upcoming summer will be my 20th year with them. After some convincing from Brett and his wife, Emily,  I decided to take on the challenge and choreograph these talented adults and kids.   I have also been nominated for two straight plays (Schmulnik's Waltz with Arizona Jewish Theatre Company and Lend Me a Tenor with Hale Center Theatre) and one musical (Bye Bye Birdie with Mesa Encore Theatre).  Nope...never won!  But that doesn't matter to me.  Just being recognized is awesome enough. "

Drew MacCallum
Youth Actress In A Major Role, Play - Limelight Performing Arts - The Sparrow

"I was actually in my living room and my friend Gillian Elliot called, saying I was nominated and congratulated me! I was completely floored to have been included in this huge thing people have been talking to me about for so long. This is my first nomination for a Zoni, and to have been nominated for Emily Book in the Sparrow was just incredible as that role is very close to my heart. I just won my first NYA for this role as well and I'm still in absolute shock to be recognized for simply doing what I love, and beyond excited to see what happens!"

Grace Napoletano
Actress in a Supporting Role- Youth Musical - Desert Foothills Youth Theater - The Addams Family

"I had just finished a long week and weekend of technical rehearsals for Tuck Everlasting, the show I was in and I got home and me and my mom decided to put up my curtains in my room that we had been putting off and while that was happening I realized that the Zonis were being announced so I went on the live stream to try and find my category and I had missed it so I essentially had to wait until the entire live stream was finished to rewind and find my category!! This is my first time being nominated for a Zoni and I am incredibly overjoyed. When I went back on the video and found out me and my mom just did a little party dance around my room and then finished putting up the curtains in my bedroom. Now I have a better memory of putting up my curtains other than me and my poor mother trying to figure out how to use a power drill."

CJ O'Hara
Musical Direction - Mesa Encore Theatre -  Disney's Beauty and the Beast
& Zao Theatre -  Ragtime, The Musical

"My fiancee and I were attending the Zoni readings at Phoenix Theatre when we heard I had been nominated for musical direction for Beauty and the Beast and Ragtime. I was very excited and also quite elated that all the hard work put into the show was being recognized. I love Beauty and the Beast and it was a show I take great pride in musically. As for Ragtime, I had waited 20 years to musically direct the show and I am honored that I got nominated. "

Paul Pedersen
Director, Youth Play - TheaterWorks' Youth Works - The Little Prince
Director, Youth Musical - TheaterWorks' Youth Works -Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Choreographer, Youth Musical - TheaterWorks' Youth Works - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

"Thanks to travel associated with my fulltime career, this is the 2nd year in a row that I have been out out town for the reading of the nominiations. That being said, I was in a hotel room in Parssipany, NJ watching T.A. & Thea reading the nominees over Facebook Live when I heard my name called on Monday evening.

Although I have yet to win a coveted Zoni award, this year I received my 9th, 10th, and 11th nominations and two of them are particularly special to me. The two I'm referring to are my first two nominations in the Director category. The first is for "The Little Prince" at Theater Works. I've loved this story for many years and this show was not only my directorial debut, but also a true passion project for me. The 2nd is a shared nomination with my better half, Chris Hamby for our direction of "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at Theater Works. This is another show that is close to my heart and the fact that I got to direct it with my favorite guy, makes the nomination that much more meaningful.

While I don't think anyone should ever rely on nominations or awards to qualify their art, it is always an honor and a joy to have my work recognized alongside so many talented individuals from our community."

Kathleen Richards
Actress in a Supporting Role, Musical - Mesa Encore Theatre - Beauty and the Beast

"I’m new(ish) to AZ. We moved to Gilbert during the summer of 2016 from Maryland. I was at rehearsal for Scarlet Pimpernel at Hale Center Theatre when my husband texted me to tell me. I’ve worked in various levels of theater for over 20 years — and I’ve never been nominated for an award. I’m floored, flattered and thrilled to get this nomination. And especially for a role that was so near and dear to my heart!! Mesa Encore Theatre opened the door for me to return to performing after a long hiatus. And I’m so grateful to have tackled this show with them and this cast. And I’m so thankful for this recognition!"

Anson Romney
Actor in a Major Role, Youth Play - Spotlight Youth Theatre - Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

"When I first learned about my Zoni Nomination, I was sitting in a car with my girlfriend listening to the live stream of the readings on Facebook. It was shocking but really cool when I heard my name read. I dont want awards to dictate my love for creating art, but getting recognized for all the hard work I put in to portraying Romeo was very cool. This is my first nomination, and I made it a goal at the beginning of this season to get a Zoni nomination. I'm very excited that I attained my goal! It's all thanks to my amazing parents, mentors, friends, cast members, and directors!"

Patrick Russo in Fountain Hills Theater's Fools
photo by Carly Weekley
Patrick Russo
Actor in a Major Role- Play - Fountain Hills Theater - Fools

"I was in Frys buying supplies to make a birthday cake for one of my employees when Chad Campbell texted me with congratulations on my nomination for Fools.  Being the first non musical I have ever done, I was really surprised.  It's such an honor to be recognized for the work we do.  I have to be honest, I had a hard time with this role.  I asked the director to replace me twice.  But since the Director, Michael Wallot, had faith in me once we had an audience I fell into the character and really enjoyed doing the show.  I have been nominated in the past for my roles as Carmen Gia in The Producers, Not Dead Fred in Spamalot and won a Zoni for my role as Zaza in La Cage Aux Folles, all at Fountain Hills Theater.  I would like to thank the Zoni board for this nomination."

Diane Senffner
Artistic Specialization - Stray Cat Theatre - Hand to God 

I was at rehearsal for Zao Theater's Elephant Man and Sharon Shaffer was reading off nominations for Zao's Ragtime.  I really wasn't interested because dialect coaches have only been nominated once before in all the years there has been a category for it - which includes a hodge-podge of other unrelated things - like this year, puppeteering.  I retreated to my phone to try not to think about nominations and I saw a message from several folks that I had been nominated for dialect coaching Hand to God at Stray Cat Theatre.  I was truly surprised. Dialect coaching, accent coaching is an odd duck that actually fits into tech AND performance categories, but it's often taken for granted. I am regularly mentioned in reviews for my dialect design and the actor's efforts, have been thanked in Zoni nominations and speeches, but my type of coach is rarely recognized by the theatre community..  The reality is, certain character's whole persona can be built upon the accent and the prosody (stress, rhythm and intonation of speech).  It's wise for a director to have the actor perform the script as the author heard it in his or her head, as therein lies humor, sarcasm, drama and pathos that may be missed without a suitable dialect. Some directors believe that accents are 'distracting' to the audience and audience members complain they can't be understood. What I believe is that audience members don't understand bad dialects and accents and that is the real issue at hand, especially with British accents - Americans are certainly used to hearing them, but lack an understanding of the text when it's performed poorly.  I could not be MORE happy to be recognized for this show or more pleased to have worked with a director and a cast as talented as this one. And I'm pretty sure I'll never watch another Joel Osteen video again as long as I live :) "

Aaron Sheckler
Scenic Design - Stray Cat Theatre - Kiss
Scenic Design - Stray Cat Theatre - Mercury

"I was sitting on my couch, eating cinnamon rolls when I found out about being nominated. I was scrolling through Facebook, while watching an episode of Succession, when I saw my name on the Stray Cat page. These were my first nominations and I couldn't be more thrilled to share them with the whole team at Stray Cat. Kiss and Mercury specifically, were two shows that I had to jump into with hesitation. I had to commit to the text and create two unfamiliar worlds that the audience could relate to, without giving away too much of the story. Very few companies come along that challenge you like that. "

Natalie Shields
Actress in a Supporting Role - Grand Canyon University's Ethington Theatre - Tartuffe

"I recently graduated from GCU and moved across the country to work for Disney in Orlando, so I didn’t have any idea when the Zoni nominations came out! I got a message from a friend asking if I was going to fly back for the ceremony, but I wasn’t able to. When I asked who was nominated, he just sent the list - and I was so happy to see all of my friends nominated that I read over my name without reacting! I had already scrolled down when I said, “Wait a minute...” and saw that my name was on the list of nominees for Supporting Actress! Moliere’s Tartuffe at GCU was such an extraordinary project, like nothing I had ever been a part of before. The entire show was designed by students and they created some of the most visually stunning work I’ve ever seen. Being a part of that cast was beyond incredible, and I don’t need a Zoni to tell me the experience was once in a lifetime. Of course, a Zoni would be nice too!"

Annabelle Skala (right) with Jordan Sagy and Samantha Timothy in Limelight Performing Arts' Sideshow
photo by Rob Padjen

Annabelle Skala
Actress in a Major Role- Youth Musical - Limelight Performing Arts - Sideshow

"This is the first Zoni I’ve ever been nominated for. In fact, before last I had never been in a show that was adjudicated at all. So I was so so so excited to hear my name! I was on face time with my mom, who was screaming so I had to tell her the rest of the category’s nominees (haha)
I almost didn’t audition for Side Show, but after I listened to the music I fell in love with the soundtrack and with the story. I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to play Daisy. It’s an unusual role that not many people get the opportunity to attempt. I worked the hardest I’d ever worked for this role, and to see it all pay off is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. (Shoutout to my “twin” Sam, who made this role so fun to learn and play!) "

Harmon Swartz
Actor in a Major Role- Play - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre - It's A Wonderful Life

"So, this is my second nomination... I was nominated for Gomez (in Addams Family) before... I have to admit... It was, IS quite flattering. In theater or any performance there is always the element of self doubt. You question your performance, your expression, you critique your work, missed lines, missed inflection.... But then.... You get the response... The "thank you, you were wonderful" comments... You hear the audience respond to your moments, the pauses... You feel the weight in the room... And you know... This is why we do this... To change a moment in someone's life... To move people.... To be nominated, recognized for THAT, by your peers, and your audience...  that is the reward."

Tiana Torrilhon
Scenic Design - Youth - TheaterWorks’ YouthWorks - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

"I was finishing up a long day of work for Camelback Resorts on a remodeling job when the messages and social media tags about my Zoni nomination this year started to roll in. It was a welcome surprise after a big work day! Personally, I feel that one of the most important parts of theatre is the sense of community and our desire to support one another. This is what the Zoni’s represent to me; a strong theatre community coming together once a year to recognize how hard we all work for our craft. To be included in their list of nominees is beyond flattering as I find myself nominated amongst some very talented colleagues. I’ve received nominations twice before, though it was years ago before my time in LA; I received a nom for my work on Southwest Shakespeare’s “Merry Wives of Windsor” (2008) and was also nominated for my very first set design ever: "The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”(2003)  with Fountain Hills Youth Theatre. Getting a nomination this year is the best welcome-back into the AZ theatre fam that I could think of!"

Michael Wallot
Director of a Play - Fountain Hills Theatre - Fools

"I had planned to go to the nomination ceremony but couldn’t make it last minute. I got a Facebook message on my phone from my producer congratulating me on my nomination. I responded to her “for what?!” I quickly discovered it was for directing FOOLS at Fountain Hills Theater. I was shocked!  I have been a director for over 25 years and have worked all over the country. When I moved to the Valley 2 years ago, I sent out my resume to many theaters. A few responded “no thanks, we use the same directors all the time.” Most never responded. So I decided to audition for a couple of shows and get to know the producers. Peter J. Hill at FHT cast me in Chicago, and soon after asked me to direct FOOLS. So this is my first time directing in AZ, and I was thrilled to be nominated for directing this odd little Neil Simon piece. Comedy directors often get overlooked for more dramatic works. I’ve directed hundreds of shows, and won numerous awards in other cities, but this ariZoni nomination means so much to me! Now somebody HIRE ME, I’m an ariZoni nominee!"

Kayleah Wilson
Actress in a Major Role- Youth Musical - Actor's Youth Theatre - Anything Goes

"I actually heard about my nomination from a friend. I was at home and she sent me a message congratulating me, and I was kind of confused for a second. I had never been nominated let alone considered for the Zonis, so I found a list of the nominees and I’m pretty sure I read it like 13 times before actually believing my name was on it. This is my first ZONI nomination for my personal hard work, and it is all kinds of exciting, terrifying, rewarding, and humbling. I had to learn how to tap dance from scratch for this role, and most people don’t even realize how much work I had to put into the character and the dancing  behind the scenes, so even being a nominee means so much to me; the fact that people do see my hard work paying off and appreciating what we do on the stage. It’s what I love to do, and I am so honored to see other people enjoying it as well."

Elyse Wolf (right) with Louis Farber in Stray Cat Theatre's / Phoenix Theatre's Hand to God
photo by John Groseclose

Elyse Wolf
Guest Actor - Stray Cat Theatre -  Hand To God

"When I found out about my Zoni nomination I was where I usually am on a Monday evening, on my couch, vodka martini in hand, bearing witness to the savvy and resourceful detective skills of Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU. That show has always been my old school,  "go to" , guilty pleasure at the end of a stressful work day. The mindless, dulcet tones of Ice-T arresting a child molester gently lulling me into my end of day slumber.......but I digress.

I have been a part of the Arizona theatre community for a few years now, performing mostly at Phoenix Theatre. This year, I had the distinct pleasure of working with Stray Cat Theatre in their Co-Production with PT of Hand to God. I could not be prouder of this production. From the cast, to the designers, to the crew, to the dialect coaching, to the fight choreography and, of course, to our illustrious director Ron May............. this production was a dream!!!!!

I was aware that the Zoni nominations were being announced Monday evening and I was absolutely certain that our little skit would be recognized in some way, but I didn't think that I personally would be recognized as a Guest Equity artist. I didn't know that there would be a category for that.  I started getting kind texts and Facebook messages alerting me of not only my nomination for my performance, but of the numerous other nominations for our production of Hand to God, including Best Overall Production.

Needless to say, I am honored and thrilled to be nominated for a Zoni and even more proud of Hand to God. I am really looking forward to celebrating the evening with my Hand to God family and honoring all of the other Actors, Designers, Directors, Choreographers, Musical Directors and Artistic Specialists who have been nominated and continue to produce amazing, challenging, spectacular theatre here in Arizona. Wishing everyone a wonderful Zoni celebration filled with love, laughter and, as one critic in town said I was a magnet for, plenty of 'man pleasures.' Congrats to everyone!"

Olivia Woodward-Shaw in Limelight's The Lion King JR.
photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw
Olivia Woodward-Shaw
Actress in a Supporting Role, Youth Musical - Limelight Performing Arts -  The Lion King, JR.

"Homework is never the most exciting thing ever, I think we can all agree on this. However, on Monday August 6, this turned out not to be the case.  I knew that the AriZoni nominations were being announced that night, and broadcast live on Facebook, so I decided to watch this for fun as I was finishing my homework in my bedroom. Never in a million years would I imagine that I would get nominated this time. When they started to list the names of Supporting Actress in a Youth Musical, I started to listen a little harder, hoping that one of my hardworking friends' names would be read out. As I was packing up my school binders, I heard my own name being announced! I instantly started crying with joy. What an honor! I ran downstairs to tell my family, and they were excited and surprised too. I am so incredibly grateful to be nominated for a second time and such surprises reinforce the passion I have for performance and theatre. By definition, the nomination meant that someone was moved by the show that we all worked so hard to perfect. I think that's why we all do it!"