Friday, June 26, 2020

The Phoenix Theatre Company presents a staged reading of LUNCH AT AUDREY'S on June 28

The Phoenix Theatre Company presents a reading of the world premiere play Lunch at Audrey's by Jarlath Barsanti-Jacobs. The reading will be streamed on YouTube Live on Sunday June 28th at 7pm for free. (Visit The reading will be directed by Karla Koskinen, and will feature Claire Brownell as Audrey Hepburn, as well as Maria Amorocho, Maren Mascarelli, Pasha Yamotahari, and Toby Yatso.

The play, which was developed at The Phoenix Theatre Company's Festival of New American Theatre, will receive its world premiere as part of the 20/21 season. Lunch at Audrey's follows Audrey Hepburn, as she waits on pins and needles for a doctor's call to confirm the viability of her third attempt at motherhood. Her day is complicated by worrisome calls from her husband and her mother with mounting pressure from her agent to play Holly Golightly (a call girl!). Playwright Jarlath Barsanti-Jacobs lovingly imagines a day in the life of one of cinema's most enduring icons. 

" New Work Development is still thriving in the age of quarantine here at The Phoenix Theatre Company,” says Robert Kolby Harper, Associate Artistic Director. "The method has had to change but we are thrilled to be able to redirect our efforts back to what we do best: developing new American Theatre. Our shows may be on pause but the work continues.” 

Jarlath Barsanti-Jacobs continues, “Writing this play has been such a labor of love. A reading is such a special opportunity to welcome a community into the development process.”

The reading of Lunch at Audrey’s marks an addition to a busy summer of digital content at The Phoenix Theatre Company. Offerings include a regular interview series with Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard called Behind the Curtain, summer programming (Summer of Dance Live and Next Stages), and benefit concerts (UNITE: A Benefit for Black Lives Matter and An Evening with Friends).

Desert Stages Summer Camp Continues After A Sold Out First Session! Session 2 begins Monday June 29th, 2020

Desert Stages Theatre (DST) will be hosting the second session of their three session Summer Camp beginning on Monday June 29th, 2020 and coming off of a SOLD OUT first session. The theme for session 2 is Gerry Cullity’s Cinderella and will be held at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, the new location for DST’s 2020 Summer Camp. Children ages 6 -12 are encouraged to participate in DST’s annual summer camp where they will receive hands-on theatrical training in a non-competitive, fun environment.

DST is going to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of each child with strict COVID-19 structures in place including staggering check-in and check-out times, checking all participants’ temperature upon arrival, conducting verbal health screenings of each participant, requiring all campers to wear masks upon arrival and all staff to wear masks for the duration of the camp session, ensuring all campers and staff maintain a six foot physical distance from each other, frequently disinfecting common areas and requiring routine hand washing and sanitizing throughout the day. Please visit for more information.

For this year’s Summer Camp, DST has partnered with The Scottsdale Plaza Resort (SPR), located at Scottsdale Road and Indian Bend Road in Scottsdale, AZ. The resort offers a gateway to a unique and authentic desert experience in Arizona. SPR is offering some incredible staycation specials including resort credit and waived resort fees. Mention Desert Stages Theatre when booking. For more info visit

To register please visit Registration prices are $415 per child for the first session, $390 for a second child or second session.

Session 2, Gerry Cullity’s Cinderella is sponsored by Infinity Insurance Partners.

Infinity Insurance Partners secures the best insurance package for your business or personal needs beginning with planning. To learn more visit If you are interested in sponsoring Session 3 of Summer Camp please contact Ellen Versen at

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence Board along with the United Colours of Arizona Theatre presents the Arizona Theatre Community Town Hall, June 29

Join the ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence Board along with the United Colours of Arizona Theatre (UCAT) on Monday June 29th at 7:00pm for a virtual town hall / public forum to discuss current issues that are impacting BIPOC actors in town.

The goal of this meeting is to facilitate community discussion and then work together to create an action plan for enacting meaningful change within our arts community.

The forum will be moderated and will be broadcast to the ariZoni Awards of Theatre Excellence Facebook page for our community to join in the conversation.

The Virtual Theatre of Arizona presents DON QUIXOTE DE LA MANCHA , June 26

The Virtual Theatre of Arizona presents Don Quixote de la Mancha by Maria Ruiz de Burton, directed by Chris R. Chávez, LIVE on our facebook page ( on Friday June 26th at 7pm.

Narrator- Stephanie "Tippi" Hart

Don Quixote de la Mancha- Justin Hosten

Sancho Panza- Osiris Cuen

Carrasco; 1st Old Man- Diego Fernando Salinas

Curate; 2nd Old Man- Jesus "JD" Diaz

Niece; 2nd girl; 2nd maid; Dueñas; Nymph; Teresa Panza- Cné Serrano

Housekeeper; 3rd Girl; 3rd maid; Dueñas; Duchess- Luz Navarro

Innkeeper's Daughter; Sanchica Panza; Milkmaid; 1st maid; Dueñas; Secretary- Alejandra Luna

1st Convict; A Villager; Montesinos; Duke; Steward; 1st man- Danny A. Bennett

Genisillo; Servant; City Marshall; Man; Figure (Death); Squire; 3rd Convict- Michael Rodriguez

Innkeeper; Officer; Peasant; Guide; Country Man; Merlin- Mateo Hernandez

Maritornes; Dueña Doña Rodriguez; Countess Trifaldi- Erzsébet Szabó

Tailor; Doctor; Devil; 2nd Convict- Silvestre Becerra

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Fountain Hills Theater announces their updated 2020 / 2021 Season!

Fountain Hills Theater publicly announced their 2020-21 Season on March 1st at their annual gala, Broadway in the Hills. Since that time, there have been many challenges to the theatrical entertainment world. As a safety measure, the upcoming season has been slightly revamped with smaller cast shows. Fountain Hills Theater promises to return to bringing you the large cast musicals you have come to expect from them, in an upcoming season. There are a total of 15 knockout titles, including 10 musicals and 5 plays for its Mainstage, Mainstage Too! and Youth Theaters. For Season Tickets, please go to their website at, call the Box Office at 480-837-9661 x3 or email Discounted 2020-21 Season Ticket packages are on sale now (for as low as $99!). Single Tickets for the new season go on sale July 10, 2020.


Book and Lyrics by Tom Jones, Music by Harvey Schmidt
Sept 4 – 27, 2020

Try to Remember!

The longest running musical in history comes to our stage and tells the simple and endearing story about a boy, a girl, two fathers, and a love that grows with each season. You’ll remember when love was so tender.

The Fantasticks is presented through special arrangement with Musical Theater International (MTI). All authorized theater materials are also presented by MTI.

By Ira Levin
October 16 – Nov. 1, 2020

Deadly Games

Cunningly clever and comically twisted, Deathtrap is a murder mystery masterpiece that is so wickedly good…it’s to die for!

Deathtrap is presented through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.


By Rupert Holmes
Nov. 6 -22, 2020

A Trip to Comedy Heaven Spend a hilarious, heart-warming evening in the company of the world’s favorite and funniest comedian, George Burns, in this Broadway hit. George is in limbo, unable to join his beloved wife, Gracie, until he gives the performance of his life for God.

Say Goodnight, Gracie is presented through special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing

Written and Arranged by JR McAlexander
December 4 – 20, 2020

A Heart-Warming Christmas Gift!

This joyous and touching variety show will become a special part of your holiday tradition with all the merriment of the season including a delightful visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus!

A Holly Jolly Christmas is presented through special arrangement with Showtune Productions

Book, Music and Lyrics by Dennis T. Giaconi
January 29 – February 21, 2021

Disney meets Bridesmaids!

Poisoned apples. Glass slippers. Who needs ’em?! Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the hilarious hit musical that is anything but Grimm. Forget the princesses you think you know. When these royal renegades toss off their tiaras, this hilariously subversive, not-for-the-kiddies musical cleverly reveals what really happened ‘ever after’!

Disenchanted is presented through special arrangement with Broadway Licensing.

By David Lindsay-Abaire
March 12 – April 4, 2021

A Tale of Two Bitties!

At a Senior Living Facility, cantankerous Abby is forced to share her quarters with infuriatingly chipper new-arrival Marilyn. Something's gotta give! Starring the Grande Dames of valley theater, Noel Irick and Barbara McBain.

Ripcord is presented through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.

The Nunsense Vegas Revue
By Dan Goggin
April 23 – May 16, 2021

Habit Forming Hilarity

The “Little Sisters of Hoboken” are back! The Sisters are performing at the Pump Room in the Mystique Motor Lodge for a show proving what happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas!

Nunsensations is presented through special arrangement with Tams-Witmark, a Concord Theatricals Company.

ON MAINSTAGE TOO! in 2020-21

By Ben Tyler
November 6 – 22, 2020

Barry Goldwater

Playwright Ben Tyler, provides a funny and touching glimpse into the life of a true renaissance man. Merchant, aviator, photographer, politician and founder of the modern conservative movement.

By Ted Swindley
January 8 – 31, 2021

Sweet Dreams

This heartfelt revue tells the story of the country legend’s unlikely friendship with a fan. Featuring a wealth of Cline’s hits such as “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall To Pieces,” and “Crazy.”

Always, Patsy Cline is presented through special arrangement with Ted Swindley Productions.

By Peter J. Hill
May 14 – June 6, 2021

How the West was Fun! This world premier musical comedy by the award-winning Artistic Director of The Fountain Hills Theater, Peter J. Hill is the hilarious tale of Buzzard Basin, the ideal western town plagued by a coward who refuses to live up to the ‘Code of the West’. Filled with traditional cowboy songs and outlandish characters, a visit to Buzzard Basin is sure to leave you kickin’ up your boot heels.


Based on the comic strip ‘Peanuts’ by Charles M. Schulz, Book, Music and Lyrics by Clark Gesner, Additional Dialogue by Michael Mayer, Additional music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
September 18 - October 4, 2020

Good Grief!

Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang explore life’s great questions, struggle with homework, sing songs, swoon over their crushes and celebrate the joys of friendship.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is presented through special arrangement with Tams-Witmark, a Concord Theatricals company.

By Allison Gregory
December 4 – 20, 2020

P.S. So Does May!

This first grader is super-excited about the Holiday Sing-along and Secret Santa. Too bad tattle-tale May is ruining all of Junie B’s fun!

Junie B in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells is presented through special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.

Adapted by Kristin Lawrence
February 19 – March 7, 2021

Save a Place in Your Heart

Live laugh, love and cry with Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth as they go through the many trials and tribulations that have made this story a classic.

Little Women is presented through special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing

Conceived and Originally Directed by John-Michael Tebelak, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
April 2 – 18, 2021

A Miracle of a Musical! An eclectic blend of songs by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked), ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, are employed as the story of Jesus' life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus' messages of kindness, tolerance and love come vibrantly to life.

Godspell, presented through special arrangement with Musical Theater International (MTI). All authorized theater materials are also presented by MTI.

Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Music adapted & arranged and Additional Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke. Book and Additional Lyrics by Cheryl Davis, Based on the stories of A.A. Milne and the Disney Animated feature film
June 4 – 20, 2021

Hip, Hip, Pooh-Ray!

A delightful musical based on the beloved A.A. Milne characters and the Disney film that features the favorite Pooh songs as well as new hits by the composers of Frozen

Winnie the Pooh, Jr. is presented through special arrangement with Musical Theater International (MTI). All authorized theater materials are also presented by MTI.

Fountain Hills Theater is committed to the safety of their patrons, staff, and performers. They will be closely following CDC safety recommendations, as well as local guidelines, due to COVID-19. Reduced seating with physical distancing measures will be implemented inside theaters for, at least, the first part of the season. Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the facility, and the wearing of face masks inside the facilities, for staff and patrons, is currently mandated by Maricopa County. Please check the website for evolving guidelines as the season progresses. Mainstage and Mainstage Too! performances at Fountain Hills Theater are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30PM and Sundays at 2PM. Youth performances are Fridays, Saturdays at 7:00PM and Sundays at 2PM. All performances are at Fountain Hills Theater at 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd. (The Corner of Saguaro and Rand). Tickets are available online, or through the theater Box Office at (480) 837-9661 x3. Current box office hours are 12:00 PM-3:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday) and one hour before any performance. For more information, please visit

Fountain Hills Theater is located at 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268. Phone: 480.837.9661. Fax: 480.837.5972. The Box Office is open Tues.- Sat. 12pm-5pm (closed Sun. and Mon.). The website is

Southwest Shakespeare Company presents a Virtual Live Reading of the new play LADY BALTHASAR, Saturday, June 27

Join Southwest Shakespeare Company Live Online Saturday, June 27th at 6:30pm (PDT)  via ZOOM AND FACEBOOK

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Award Winning Director and Founding Artistic Director of American Shakespeare Center, Jim Warren is currently in rehearsal with Southwest Shakespeare Company to present Lady Balthasar a new play by Ginna Hoben this Saturday, June 27 @ 6:30 pm PDT  (7:30 MDT (8:30 CDT - 9:30 EDT) ZOOM audiences worldwide.
The title is a satirical jab at how very many of Shakespeare’s secondary characters are called Balthasar. “Knowing Southwest Shakespeare shares my interest in developing the next generation of ‘Shakespeares’, I approached them with the idea of reading Lady Balthasar”, said Warren. The playwright, Ginna Hoben, is one of Warren’s favorite actors who has performed on ASC stage and touring shows. Hoben is having great success with her semi-autobiographical solo show, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, which Warren directed and helped develop for its world-premiere and 7-year holiday run at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Virginia.  “When I was asked to direct a Shakespeare play for SW Shakes I suggested Lady Balthasar because it’s a brilliant companion piece for Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, recently done by SW Shakes; it comically chronicles Portia and Nerissa’s venture into the legal profession” said Warren. “All the characters named Balthasar appear in this play along with a few other famous Shakespeare creations to add to the hi-jinx. It’s an extremely funny and poignant look at Shakespeare’s strong female leads, it’s written in contemporary language, and it contains quotes from several other Shakespeare plays.”
Lady Balthasar is a terrific piece for Hoben the playwright, who will also be playing the lead character, Portia supported by two very strong actors from Southwest Shakespeare stages, Betsy Mugavero and Alison Campbell. The entire cast volunteers from among the nation’s best. The recording will kept in the Education Library at Southwest Shakespeare for use in schools and community groups who may be unable to see live performances until the pandemic is contained.
Warren has produced and cast over 280 shows. Lady Balthasar is cast from past productions all over the country. The company is hoping for another global audience. Over 4,000 devices logged-in to see SW Shakespeare’s’ The Merchant of Venice.

DIRECTOR: Jim Warren 
PORTIA: Ginna Hoben
NERISSA: Betsy Mugavero
MERCH BALTH: Sheffield Chastain
DICK: Dan Matisa
RJ BALTH: John Way
ROS: Jessika Williams
VI: Alison Campbell
ADO BALTH: Greg Phelps
MARGARET: Tamiko Steele

Questions? Please email Stacey Walston @

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Quarantine Q/A: JAMES D. GISH

James D. Gish (right) with Kennedy Caughell in Beautiful, the Carole King Musical
photo by Joan Marcus

by Gil Benbrook

Our series of "Quarantine" interviews, which focus on individuals involved in the Phoenix theatre community and their reaction to the impact of COVID and our stay at home mandate, continues today with a conversation with Arizona native, actor James D. Gish. 

Gish has played numerous lead roles at theatres in town, including as Jack in Newsies, Tony in West Side Story and as Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys at the Phoenix Theatre Company, and is currently appearing as Gerry Goffin in the national tour of Beautful, the Carole King Musical.

COVID-19 has affected us all in many ways. The theatre community has been harshly impacted with show closures and postponements. We hope this series of daily interviews will be a way to provide some personal insight to what people are doing during this period of time while highlighting familiar individuals from the theatre community in town.

Please note that this interview happened in late May before the protests and the recent large increase in COVID cases in Arizona.

Was there a show you were in or involved with or preparing for when the stay at home order started?

"I remember joking with the cast of Beautiful the night before to drink it all in in case we got cancelled the next day. Turns out we got the news in Texas the next day. We were bussing into a hotel when one of us had a friend who’s ticket got cancelled for that evening. That’s how we learned our venues were dropping like flies on March 13th, and within a few hours they were already arranging our flights home."

How have you been personally impacted by our current situation?

"It’s strange to lose your entire industry in addition to your job. It’s strange to be sitting at home when I was acclimated to traveling 3 times a week, but I’m finding ways to stay busy."

How has your daily routine changed?

"I’m enjoying more regularity day by day than I have in a long time. It’s been a while since the last time I was able to wake up and make a cup of coffee before starting my day!"

James D. Gish and the cast of Newsies
The Phoenix Theatre Company
photo by Reg Madison Photography

What do you feel will be different when theater restarts?

"Small shows will inherit Broadway. Less cast, less crew, smaller productions with shorter runs that operate under cheaper tickets from smaller audiences. I think tours will get back to normal much sooner, but I anticipate lots of half-empty theatres and strict backstage rules for a long time. Shows will be restaged so there’s less physical contact between actors."

When do you think that’ll happen?

"The million dollar question! The theatre websites say September, but the grapevine says January or March for New York theatre. Here’s hoping some change allows it to happen sooner, but this is going to be a drawn out and arduous process."

What have you been doing to stay creative during this time?

"I consider myself lucky that I have a passion for writing in addition to performing. I’ve written a couple of young adult fantasy novels that I’m starting to market and pitch to agencies and such, and that’s been very exciting in its own right."

Any binge tv shows you’ve watched?

"Aside from Tiger King, really only That 70s Show with my girlfriend Jessie Jo. We don’t watch a ton of tv- can’t seem to sit still long enough!"

Any new hobbies you’ve taken on?

"I’ve been helping revamp my parents’ bar during the shutdown, so I suppose you could say I’m an amateur painter and even more amateur carpenter these days."

How has this experience changed you?

"It’s taught the harsh but necessarily lesson that nothing is permanent or guaranteed. I find myself relishing in the small joys in life recently because with everything we’ve lost, we still have so much to be thankful for and you never know if the world could be upended again."

What is the one thing you’re most looking forward to now that Arizona and most states have lifted the stay at home order?

"To be frank, I’ll be staying home and being careful as much as I can, but I’m looking forward to small businesses being able to make money again. I’ll continue to do lots of takeout and roadside product pick ups to support them over the coming months!"

James D. Gish and Jessie Jo Pauley perform "Love is an Open Door":

Space 55 Seeks Original Scripts from BIPOC Playwrights for their Upcoming Season

from our friends at Space 55:

It’s time for Space 55 to announce its landmark 15th season, and we want you to be a part of it!

Space 55 is seeking original scripts from our friends in the Arizona BIPOC community to be considered for the upcoming 2020-2021 mainstage season. If you are a BIPOC playwright and have an original show that you would like to be considered for production, we want to read it! All stories are welcome; there are no restrictions on content, scope, or subject matter. Our only requirement: the play must be a full-length script (60+ minutes long when performed), or a combination of one-acts (totaling 60+ minutes when performed).

Scripts are due by July 3rd, 2020. Please send all submissions and questions to Artistic Director BJ Garrett ( Submissions will be fully read and considered by our diverse and inclusive ensemble, and the selected script will be announced with the remainder of our season on July 24th, 2020!

Formed in 2006 by Shawna Franks, Space 55 Theatre Ensemble is dedicated to developing new, under-represented and innovative theatre, and presenting it at an affordable price in a relaxed, casual environment. In addition to its own original productions, the Space 55 performance venue hosts a wide variety of live entertainment by diverse performers, including improvisational comedy, music and other special events. Space 55 a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 

Spotlight Youth Theatre announces their 2020 Spotlight Youth Theatre Playfest Competition

It's Time to Tell Your Story
(From A Distance...)

The Spotlight Playfest Competition is for young adult playwrights (ages 16-22) to create a one-act (short) play for young actors. 

Every writer who enters will receive custom feedback from dramatists at SYT about the strengths of their play and challenges to work on.

Three winners will receive $100 and a chance for your play to be produced at SYT!

Submissions are due by July 10th, 2020.

See all details on the Spotlight website HERE.

Monday, June 22, 2020


Alyssa Chiarello
by Gil Benbrook

Our series of "Quarantine" interviews, which focus on individuals involved in the Phoenix theatre community and their reaction to Arizona's stay at home mandate and the recent protests to fight racial injustice, continues today with a conversation with Valley actress Alyssa Chiarello.

The COVID-19 virus and the protests for racial equality in support of #blacklivesmatter  have affected us all in many ways. The theatre community has been harshly impacted with show closures and postponements. We hope this series of interviews will be a way to provide some personal insight into what people are doing during this period of time while highlighting familiar individuals from the theatre community in town.

Was there a show you were in or involved with or preparing for when the stay at home order started?  

"I was two weeks away from starting rehearsals for The Rocky Horror Show with the Phoenix Theatre Company where I was playing the role of Janet and I had a performance of Brock Pro Entertainment's Brockway Concert that was canceled/postponed. "

How have you been personally impacted by both COVID and the stay at home order in March as well as the current situation with the protests fighting for racial justice and #blacklivesmatter? 

"I am a caregiver for my father so COVID has impacted me personally because I have to be more cautious and conscious than most so I can continue to be there for him without endangering him. In regards to the current racial justice situation, it unfortunately is not just current it's been ongoing. It's current now because it's just now being brought to significant attention. It makes me proud the way we as a community of human beings have come together to peacefully protest and stand by each other to fight for each other regardless of race. In regards to #blacklivesmatter and as a Mexican-American woman who has seen prejudice directly affect my family, I wish people would truly take the time to listen and take initiative of what positive action they can take rather than argue so much on social media."

How has your daily routine changed? 

"My daily routine has changed significantly in the sense that everything is much more relaxed. I wouldn't say things have slowed down as far as what needs to get done, but there isn't a rush to get anywhere at a specific time. My schedule used to be, wake up, go to the gym, see my family, then go to the theatre. I had become used to having a more regimented schedule so I almost didn't know where to start creating a new schedule. "

What do you feel will be different when theater restarts? 

"I feel that some people may be understandably hesitant, and there will be some social distant regulations. However, I think overall the big difference will be the exhilarated buzz from the actors and the patrons. Every theatre lover, whether patron or performer, are missing it on deeper levels than they imagined. Some people are realizing now just how much they depended on it since it's been taken away. Live theatre is a beautiful outlet that connects people to each other and themselves in new inspiring ways and in ways that they maybe forgot. "

When do you think that’ll happen? 

"I am hoping that it will happen by Fall or Winter of this year."

What have you been doing to stay creative during this time? 

"I'm very excited about an upcoming Latina concert I am working on with Brock Pro Entertainment where I'll be leading the vocals of the best hits of Gloria Estefan, Selena, Shakira, and Jennifer Lopez with choreography by Nick Flores. I've also set up an at-home studio in my house to do some free-lance music recordings and to start working on some projects of my own as well. "

Alyssa Chiarello in Evita 
The Phoenix Theatre Company
photo by Erin Evangeline Photography

Any binge tv shows you’ve watched? 

"Oh absolutely! My top 3 binge watching consists of Ozark, Family Matters, and catching up on Supernatural."

Any new hobbies you’ve taken on? 

"I love reading, but I didn't always have time for it with my schedule prior to this. So I am catching up on books I've been wanting to read, re-reading some favorites, and working on projects around the house I have been wanting to get done. "

How has the experiences of the past three months changed you? 

"I thought myself to already be pretty self-sufficient (especially after living in New York) but I've found a new level of self-sufficiency/independence that makes me feel more proud and able. "

What is the one thing you’re most looking forward to now that Arizona and most states have lifted the stay at home order? 

"I am most looking forward to seeing and hugging all of my family and friends. I have a large family but we haven't been able to all gather together like we normally would since this has happened. I also have some really amazing friends in my life who are family to me and I have missed seeing them so much."

TheaterWorks Adds Adult Dance Fever Sessions

Adult SummerWorks Sessions Added!
It's Time to Dance!

Adult Dance Fever classes will be held 5:00pm – 6:30pm. Classes are limited to 10 participants. $15 per class per participant.

A week devoted to musical theater dance choreography. Take one or all four classes! Each day a fully choreographed number from a Broadway musical will be taught. Our instructor this week will be award-winning choreographer, Paul Pedersen. Sessions are filling up fast! Enroll now!

Monday, June 29 CHICAGO

Tuesday, June 30 KINKY BOOTS

Wednesday, July 1 GUYS AND DOLLS

Thursday, July 2 ALADDIN

Visit SummerWorks Online for more details and see what other classes we are offering this summer! All SummerWorks classes will be held via ZOOM. Deadline to register is the Friday prior to the start of the class. Zoom information and link will be emailed within 24 hours prior to the class start time. If a class is full, please contact our Box Office at 623-815-7930 or at to be put on the class waiting list.

Arizona Native Chanel Bragg Named Associate Artistic Director at Arizona Theatre Company

from our friends at Arizona Theatre Company;

Arizona native Chanel Bragg, an artist and passionate advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, has been named Associate Artistic Director at Arizona Theatre Company.

A graduate of Northern Arizona University and Cortez High School, Bragg is a producer, director, teaching artist and performer whose mission is to open doors and shatter stereotypes for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and women in Arizona.

“My career, and life, was changed by the opportunity to be an Associate Artistic Director at a leading LORT theatre, so I have always wanted to provide that opportunity for someone else. For me that person is Chanel Bragg,” said ATC Artistic Director Sean Daniels.  “Also, it’s time for theaters to start hiring and promoting the immense talent that lives in their own towns.”

Bragg, who holds a Master of Arts degree with an emphasis in Innovative Leadership from Western International University, has worked with a range of Arizona fine arts institutions and is a three-time AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence recipient.  Among the organizations for which she has collaborated are ATC in The Music Man and Cabaret, Black Theatre Troupe, The Phoenix Symphony, Free Arts for Abused Children, Phoenix Theatre, Stray Cat Theatre, Childsplay, Arizona Broadway Theatre, TheaterWorks, Spotlight Youth Theatre and Desert Stages.

“I have spent my career carrying the belief that our Arizona theater community rivals any place in the universe and now I’ve been given the illustrious platform to prove it,” she said.

Bragg also is co-founder of the Soul of Broadway, an AriZoni award winner, producer of The Alexander Project Tribute Band with Live Nation, founder of United Colours of AZ Theatre and a supporting vocalist in the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra.

“I am inspired by the work Chanel does – onstage and off – her dedication to her community and the joy she brings to every project,” Daniels said. “We are a better organization, and I will be a better Artistic Director, for having her unquestioned work ethic, high level of artistry, fierce passion for equity and inclusion and her truly remarkable and delightful sense of humor helping to lead the way. Though these are unprecedented and sometimes overwhelmingly challenging times, the future remains bright for ATC – especially with hires like this.”

For more information about Arizona Theatre Company, visit

Friday, June 19, 2020

Arizona Theatre Company's Hang & Focus Live with Sean Daniels today to feature playwright Joanie Drago and Oscar De la salas

Today at 4 pm, Hang & Focus Live with Sean Daniels will feature Joanie Drago (Playwright, HOT PINK OR READY TO BLOW) and Oscar De las salas (Community Organizer). 

This conversation will be co-hosted by Development Operations Manager Carley Elizabeth Preston.

Watch it Live on the ATC Facebook Page - HERE

Information about Joanie Drago: I’m a Brooklyn-based trans playwright and performer, who makes comedies and tragedies about sex, death, and the occult. My work has been produced or developed by Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Lark, Pig Iron, The ANT Fest at Ars Nova, The HOT! Festival at Dixon place, and the Process Theatre Co., among others. I’m also a writer/performer with Upright Citizens Brigade’s Characters Welcome!

Information about Oscar De las salas: For more than two decades, Oscar De las salas has designed and directed projects in the world of design, being recognized for his contributions to the international world of style, as a respected fashion producer, style critic, writer and creative director. A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, South America, Oscar started his studies to follow his passion for design at the Universidad Piloto de Colombia in Bogota, where he graduated as a architect.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Phoenix Theatre Company presents "UNITE: A Benefit for Black Lives Matter" on June 26

from our friends at The Phoenix Theatre Company:

The brutal violence committed against the Black community and the increased burden placed on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals as the result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have led to a pivotal moment in history. In solidarity with the Black community, The Phoenix Theatre Company will host an online showcase of Black artists called UNITE: A Benefit for Black Lives Matter.

“We unequivocally affirm that Black lives matter,” says Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard.“ The violence against Black people must stop. We have a tremendous amount of power and responsibility to lift up the voices of Black artists and to provide a platform for diversity and inclusion. The arts inspire empathy and create change.”

“Black artists bring a tremendous amount of value to the arts in Phoenix. We’re more than just characters on stage. We are members of your community,” says Chanel Bragg, director of UNITE and Phoenix-based performer (most recently in Cabaret at Arizona Theatre Company and Kinky Boots at The Phoenix Theatre Company). “I challenge arts organizations to confront racial biases and to have meaningful dialogues with the Black community. The journey of doing better begins with close self-examination. It will be uncomfortable, and that’s actually a good thing.”

The Phoenix Theatre Company is also committing to changes at the structural level. “In the coming days we are convening a group of staff, board members, and community artists to undertake a new comprehensive strategic planning process,” says Managing Director Vincent VanVleet. “Integral to that process is a re-envisioned equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) program, as well as a deeper commitment to the BIPOC community.”

UNITE: A Benefit for Black Lives Matter will be streamed live on The Phoenix Theatre Company’s YouTube channel June 26 at 7:00pm. Tickets are available in a pay-what-you-can format at All proceeds will benefit Black Lives Matter of Phoenix Metro, an organization committed to healing and strengthen a community that has faced generations of trauma. To learn more visit

Copperstate Productions Announces the Return of BROADWAY JUKEBOX, at Fountain Hills Theater, July 10-August 16

Copperstate Productions is pleased to announce the return of Broadway Jukebox, the world’s first and
only interactive Broadway musical.

When no two shows are ever the same, it can be - to put it mildly - a challenge. As exciting for the
performers as it is for the audience, a great part of the show takes place backstage out of the audience’s sight. Broadway Jukebox requires an amazing cast of actors whose versatility is put to the test each night as they adapt to the demands of each evening’s audience. During the half hour before curtain, the cast mingles with the audience, and collects their jukebox selections for the evening. Those selections are then carried backstage where the choices are quickly tallied and the most requested songs are compiled. With the help of the staff, songs are frantically put in dramatic and comedic order, divided by style, duets and ensemble numbers and then with literally only minutes to go until curtain, the final list is copied on to a giant whiteboard which is posted backstage, just in time for the cast to make their first entrance!

Broadway Jukebox returns to Fountain Hills after several successful productions throughout the Valley.
Created in 1999 by Valley veteran Peter J. Hill, Broadway Jukebox was awarded Best Production by the AriZoni Awards and recognized as Outstanding Production of the year by The Mesa Tribune and The Arizona Republic.

PLEASE NOTE: All possible precautions are being implemented to ensure patrons safety including
disinfecting all public surfaces before each performance, limiting ticket sales to less than 50% capacity, requiring cooperative seating and encouraging social distancing.

Broadway Jukebox is produced by Copperstate Productions, created and directed by Peter J. Hill,
choreographed by Noel Irick and musically directed and accompanied by Jay Melberg. Broadway Jukebox stars Lacey Dixon, Victoria Fairclough, Alex Gonzalez, Noel Irick, Michael Wallot and Kyle Webb.

Broadway Jukebox is a great way to spend an evening with family, friends or co-workers. Plays July 10 – Aug 16, 2020 in the Mainstage venue of Fountain Hills Theater. Performances are Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30PM and Sundays at 2PM. Individual tickets are $33.00 for Adults and $18.00 for children 17 and under and students with IDs.

All performances are at Fountain Hills Theater at 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd. (The Corner of Saguaro and
Rand). Tickets are available through the Box Office at (480) 837-9661 x3 and at our website at

Limited Box Office hours are 12pm-3pm Tuesday through Saturday. 

Created by Peter J. Hill
July 10 – Aug 16, 2020
Fridays & Saturdays 7:30 pm, Sundays 2:00 pm
Mainstage at Fountain Hills Theater
11445 N Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
Reservations:(480)837-9661 x3 Visa/MC/Amex/Discover or visit
Individual Adult Tickets $33, Children 17 and under and students with ID $18.
Veteran, Active Duty, Senior discounts and Group rates available

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Southwest Shakespeare Company presents a virtual reading of HENRY IV, PART II, this Saturday, June 20

When Broadway star, Patrick Page, stepped out of Hadestown because of Theater closure - and stepped into a Southwest Shakespeare (SSC) live online performance of The Merchant of Venice, the company’s viewership quadrupled. “Over 3000 people tuned in to see the all-star cast of Merchant. “Happily we have managed to hold on to them” said Producing Director Stacey Walston. “The nature of these productions is that we are flying by the seat of our pants - any number of technical disasters can happen at any moment - but miraculously we are producing really excellent theater in cyber space, and people are coming in droves.”

This Saturday at 6:30pm (PDT), 7:30 (MDT), 8:30 (CDT), 9:30 (EDT) Actors from Arizona and from all across the country take the virtual stage to bring you two of Shakespeare’s most beloved characters: Falstaff, played by local actor Ben Tyler and Prince Hal, played by native son John Way in Henry lV, Part 2. Other local artists include Beau Heckman, Bonnie Beus Romney, Ian Christianson, Harold Dixon, and Seth Scott. 

Directed by Carnegie Mellon legend, Ingrid Sonnichsen, and  supported by many of the nation’s best trained Shakespeareans,  this will be a live action thrill a minute show.

Join Southwest Shakespeare Company Live Online Saturday, June 20th at 6:30pm (PDT) via ZOOM AND FACEBOOK

Please click the link below to join the webinar: 
Meet The Cast!
KING HENRY IV: Jack Hickey
LADY PERCY: Allison Ferebee
HASTINGS/WART: Trevor Clarida 
WARRICK: Beau Heckman 
BARDOLPH - Brian Gill

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

ASU Gammage announces updates to their 2020 / 2021 Season

from our friends at ASU Gammage:
The ASU Gammage team continues to work diligently with our partners to navigate the challenges of scheduling shows. There are many difficulties in getting touring Broadway shows running again. Due to those challenges a few of our upcoming performances are changing:

▪️ HADESTOWN has postponed the launch of its national tour and will no longer be part of our 2020–2021 Broadway season. HADESTOWN will play Tempe in 2022.

▪️ THE BANDS VISIT has been re-dated to July 20–25, 2021.
▪️ The September 1–6, 2020 engagement of MEAN GIRLS has been postponed and re-dated to August 31–September 5, 2021. This show will now be a part of our 8-show 2020–2021 Broadway Season Package.

The 2020–2021 ASU Gammage Desert Financial Broadway Across America- Arizona season:

Subscriber week is October 13–18, 2020

December 1–6, 2020

February 9–14, 2021

March 16–21, 2021

April 8–25, 2021

June 8–13, 2021

July 20–25, 2021

August 31–September 5, 2021

Season Option: JERSEY BOYS
May 21-23, 2021

MEAN GIRLS ticket holders and 2020–2021 Season Subscribers will receive an email about about these changes.

If you had tickets to the September 1–6, 2020 MEAN GIRLS engagement you will be automatically refunded the value you paid for your tickets to the original point of purchase. If you are currently on a payment plan for the 2020–2021 season, we will apply the refund amount to the total remaining balance of your payment plan.

We are looking forward to the day when we see each other again at the theater.

We thank you for your support and understanding as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation.

East Valley Children's Theatre's COME TO THE CABARET annual cabaret fundraiser goes virtual, tonight, June 16

from our friends at East Valley Children's Theatre:

EVCT Invites You To "Come to the Cabaret" on June 16 at 7pm

This year our Annual Cabaret is slated to be one of the best ever!  And you can view it from your own home.

We are going virtual, but with the same great talented EVCT former and current performers ready to strut their stuff just for you.

To register just follow THIS LINK 

Space is limited, so one link per household would be great so more people can attend.  Make it a family evening of great entertainment.

In lieu of ticket sales we are giving all of you the opportunity to donate to EVCT.  All proceeds go to support the great programs at the theatre. CLICK HERE to donate!

See you all at our Annual Cabaret June 16 at 7 pm!

For additional information call 480-756-3828.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Desert Stages Theatres presents TECHNIQUE TUESDAY with James D. Gish

from our friends at Desert Stages Theatre:

Do you have TEEN ACTORS?!

Are they ready to take their auditions to another level and stand out among the rest?
From Broadway's 𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐮𝐥: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 and 𝐋𝐞𝐬 𝐌𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐬, James D. Gish is back in the valley and teaching a Master Class that will build their skills to master that audition!

This Master Class will emphasize audition techniques to help each actor investigate, select, and prepare audition material appropriate to the individual and the audition call. 

The class includes exercises in handling audition material, learning to look at auditions from the casting director’s point of view, and understanding the business aspects and requirements of a musical theatre audition.

DATE & TIME: Tuesdays – June 16th, June 23rd and June 30th | 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
COST: $50 per class or $125 for all 3 classes


LOCATION: Desert Stages Theatre

Class size is limited to 10 participants
***Participants bring a book of songs and/or monologues you know.


Friday, June 12, 2020

All Puppet Players to stream their production of A FISTFUL OF PUPPETS, tonight at 8pm

Watch it live on the All Puppet Players' Facebook page HERE, tonight at 8pm

Southwest Shakespeare Company presents a virtual TREASURE ISLAND, Saturday, June 13

Join Southwest Shakespeare Company Live on Saturday, June 13th at 6:30pm via ZOOM!
Please click the link below to join the webinar:                                                       

Director: Kelly Nicole
Jim Hawkins: Dayna Renee Donovan
Mrs. Hawkins: Maren Maclean
Dr. Livesey: Tim Shawver
Squire Trelawney: Megan Lindsay 
Captain Smollett: Phillip Herrington
Ben Gunn/Blind Pew: Matthew Zimmerer
Capt. Bill Bones/O’Brien: Amie Bjorklund
Old Kate: Heather Telfer Jubie
Black Dog: Seth Scott
Israel Hands: Christina McSheffrey
Long John Silver: Beau Heckman
Dirk: Bethany Baca
Narrator: Victor Yang 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Phoenix Theatre Company's AN EVENING WITH FRIENDS featured Broadway and National Tour performers

by Gil Benbook

As stages in theatre companies across the country are dark, many have turned their focus to presenting online interviews, cabaret concerts, readings and recordings of their past productions to help brings arts to people who have been stuck in their homes. The Phoenix Theatre Company recently pulled together five theatre performers who appeared in dozens of shows on their stages and who have all gone on to appear in Broadway and National Tours of hit musicals for their "An Evening with Friends" virtual event.

This virtual interview and performance featured 16 songs plus in-depth, personal interviews with each of the performers led by Phoenix Theatre's Producing Artistic Director, Michael Barnard. The five individuals included Nick Cartell, Kathy Fitzgerald, James Gish, Brittney Mack and Sam Primack. Mack, Gish and Cartell all earned their Actors' Equity cards from their work at Phoenix Theatre.

Sam Primack was just 9 years old when he played Young Guido in Nine at Phoenix Theatre and he later went on to star as Ralphie in A Christmas Story and was also in Gypsy and Newsies. In addition to appearing in those shows at Phoenix Theatre, he's appeared in dozens of shows in the Valley and made his Broadway debut as the understudy for numerous roles in Dear Evan Hansen. Primack, who was a 2017 Jimmy Award finalist, was appearing as the alternate Evan Hansen in the touring production of that show when theatres across the company went dark. For this special virtual event, he sang a gorgeous version of "For Forever" from Dear Evan Hansen and the simple and beautiful but also moving song "Just One Person" which is from the musical Snoopy and has also been performed by the Muppets on "The Muppet Show."

Britney Mack has appeared in numerous Phoenix Theatre productions, including Ain't Misbehavin, Avenue Q (which she appeared in two separate productions), Memphis, All Night Strut, Beehive, and Little Shop of Horrors.  She said she is currently on a "slight pause" from co-starring in the new musical Six on Broadway, where she made her Broadway debut. That show was set to open on the night that Broadway shut down. She sang a fun and upbeat take on "Keeping Out of Mischief" from Ain't Misbehavin, and thanked her ability to have the stamina to do Six from her experience working on Beehive at Phoenix Theatre. Her performance of "River Deep, Mountain High" from that show was full of fire. 

James D. Gish has been in ten shows at Phoenix Theatre, including appearing in ensemble roles in several shows as well as lead roles in Newsies, Jersey Boys, and West Side Story. His performance of "Something's Coming" from that hit show was powerful and moving. He made his national touring debut in the ensemble of the recent tour of Les Misérables, and was appearing as Gerry Goffin in the national tour of Beautiful, the Carole King Musical when COVID shut shows across the country down. He delivered a fun take on the comical song that he said was his "ode to the coronavirus" - "Kick Your Ass" from The Toxic Avenger, which was his first show at Phoenix Theatre where he understudied the lead role.

Gish said that Barnard coached him through scenes for his audition for Beautiful and Gish told a story about his audition when he left right after a show at Phoenix Theatre, flew out that night on the red eye from Phoenix for New York City, had his audition the morning he arrived in New York City, then got on a plane from JFK to Phoenix and arrived in time to do the show the next night. 

Nick Cartell's first show at Phoenix Theatre was in the 2000 production of Man of La Mancha, and he has gone on to appear in Something's Afoot and The Light in the Piazza and play Jack in Into the Woods, and Marius in Les Misérables, and even worked in the Phoenix Theatre box office and house managed. He made his Broadway debut as a swing in the 2011 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar where he had to learn over a dozen different roles and during the interview portion, he spoke about how he made his Broadway debut in the role of Judas. He sang soaring and stirring renditions of both "Out There" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and "Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables, which he said is "an exercise in selfless love." Cartell mentioned that his mother had passed away from ovarian cancer shortly before his final callback for Jean Valjean and that now that he's a father whenever he sings "Bring Him Home" it has a whole new meaning to him. 

Michael Barnard said that he's known Kathy Fitzgerald for many years. She appeared in Chapter Two at Phoenix Theatre in the 1990s, and was in Marvin's Room, and played Mama Rose in Gypsy (with Sam Primack as one of the newsboys) Fitzgerald was back at Phoenix Theatre earlier this year where she was making her directorial debut with Something Rotten, which ran for one performance before everything shut down. Fitzgerald has appeared in numerous Broadway shows, including The Producers, and her performance of "That Old Black Magic"- the song she sang at her audition for Mel Brooks for that show, was comic gold. She also delivered a fun and upbeat take on "Little Girls" from Annie, a show and role she's played in the past.

The last portion of the show featured songs that each performer chose as one they believe speaks to them specifically for the events of today, including Primack's "Let it Be," Mack's "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," Gish's "Roads," Fitzgerald's "And the World Goes Round" and "Cartell's "This is the Moment." The final song was an updated take from Barnard of "I'm Still There" from Follies, that focuses on the 100th anniversary of Phoenix Theatre and that ended this special concert and interview event on a high note with Fitzgerald adding, "we have to stay strong. The world needs us. The world needs art and the world needs laughter."

The Virtual Theatre of Arizona announces the virtual cast for LYSISTRATA, which airs Friday, June 12

The Virtual Theatre of Arizona presents Lysistrata, directed by Katie Farrell, this Friday June 12th at 7pm. 

Live at

Lysistrata: Erin E Natseway
Calonice: Jisun Myung
Myrrhine: Sarah Perkins
Chorus of Old Men: Evan Welsh
Chorus of Womxn: Hugo Crick-Furman
Lampito: Rachel Carranza
Magistrate: Victor Yang
Cinesias: Phil Weaver-Stoesz
Female Ensemble: Pina
Male Ensemble: Diego Sutcliffe

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Quarantine Q/A: SCOTT HYDER

Scott Hyder
by Gil Benbrook

Our series of "Quarantine" interviews, which focus on individuals involved in the Phoenix theatre community and their reaction to Arizona's stay at home mandate and the recent protests to fight racial injustice, continues today with a conversation with Valley actor Scott Hyder.

The COVID-19 virus and the protests for racial equality in support of #blacklivesmatter  have affected us all in many ways. The theatre community has been harshly impacted with show closures and postponements. We hope this series of interviews will be a way to provide some personal insight into what people are doing during this period of time while highlighting familiar individuals from the theatre community in town.

Was there a show you were in or involved with or preparing for when the stay at home order started?

"I was in tech for All My Sons at Stage Left Productions. The shutdown happened a few days before we were supposed to open."

How have you been personally impacted by our current situation?

"I am fortunate to be able to work easily from home. My family and I are healthy, knock on wood. I am having a hard time not being able to perform. Before the pandemic, my nights were busy with rehearsals and performances. Now, I have too much time to think, watch too much cable news, and eat more than I should (although I am back on my diet for the time being). It is very easy to become isolated and anti-social when you don’t get out of the house."

How has your daily routine changed?

"The most significant changes are not participating in theater and getting together in-person with friends. Ironically, I would always complain about my long commute to and from rehearsal. What I would give to have that commute again."

What do you feel will be different when theater restarts?

"I’m not a theater operations expert. My gut tells me that there will be anxiety for a while, both from audience members and performers. Things will start slowly. There may be more cabarets or smaller shows that are cost-efficient and allow for social distancing with smaller audiences. There may be more outdoor performances.

Until there is a vaccine or medicine that prevents serious escalation of the disease, willing audiences and performers will have risk. The key is being educated and taking precautions, so you can make a calculated risk. The frustrating thing is that if testing and tracing would just become readily available, we would be able to make that calculation with more confidence."

When do you think that’ll happen?

"That’s the million dollar question. I think it will depend on when there are some clear guidelines to minimize the transmission of this virus between cast and crew (i.e., safety guidelines from Actors’ Equity). It comes down to when audiences are willing to come out. Maybe October or November? If we see an escalation of cases within the next couple of months, I can’t see how theaters can reopen until next year."

Scott Hyder and Michael Stewart in The Producers - Fountain Hills Theater
photo by Stephanie "Tippi" Hart

What have you been doing to stay creative during this time?

"I recently performed in Radio Free Europa for Space 55. The theater initially slated it to be its final show. The play focuses on a late-night radio show host and involves a series of telephone calls and interviews. The author Ashley Naftule cleverly adapted his play into a virtual show. All of the actors read their scenes via Zoom. It was presented live on YouTube every weekend, with amazing illustrations and sound effects. The viewer never sees the actors, only hears them. I hope people tuned in to see it. It was free, but donations to Space 55 are appreciated. It closed on June 7th and I believe the plans are for one of the performances to be available permanently to view.

Any binge tv shows you’ve watched?

"I’ve been watching a lot of older shows, for some reason. There is a craving for nostalgia during stressful times. I watched Defending Jacob and The Morning Show on Apple TV. I wasted a couple of evenings of my life that I’ll never get back watching Tiger King. "

 Any new hobbies you’ve taken on?

"Not really. I've been doing more things around the house. Believe it or not, I find peace doing mundane things around the house that I should have done a year ago. I always spent my time memorizing lines and going to rehearsal. I am bored out of my mind without doing theater."

Scott Hyder and the cast of Follies
photo by Wade Moran
How has this experience changed you?

"I realize how much I took for granted, particularly the opportunity to perform. I took it for granted that many of the theaters with whom I customarily perform would always be there, ready to welcome me whenever I was itching to get on stage. This tragedy has made me realize how fragile that infrastructure is. We all need to support the theaters and their staff in any way that we can.

In addition, watching these protesters for the last two weeks has been a much-needed wake-up call for me. They are fighting against racism and injustice, and they are wearing masks doing it. I was reading how several New York City theaters have opened their lobbies to provide a safe space for protesters. Some theater lobbies have offered protesters bathrooms, water, and a place to rest. The protesters’ determination inspires me, and I need to get off my butt and try to help any way I can."

What is the one thing you’re most looking forward to now that Arizona and most states have lifted the stay at home order?

"Even though it's already been lifted, I am still staying home other than going to the grocery store or Target occasionally. When the worst is behind us, and I feel more relaxed about getting out, I look forward to seeing and talking with friends again, joking around, and interacting person-to-person."

Take Advantage of Desert Stages Theatre's partnership with Scottsdale Plaza Resort for Upgrades on Summer Reservation Specials

from our friends at Desert Stages Theatre:

How about enjoying a gorgeous resort with beautiful pools, a relaxing spa, and delicious restaurants while your kids are having the time of their lives in our summer camp?

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort is offering some incredible summer specials with discounted nightly rates, resort credit, waived resort fees, and more!  

Mention 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐭 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐫𝐞 when making your reservation for any of their Summer Specials and get upgraded to a suite!

🌡To learn about their Health & Safety Program please visit

Summer Camp Session 1 is filling up! Register your child today HERE and make this a summer to remember!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Quarantine Q/A: VAIBU MOHAN

Vaibu Mohan
by Gil Benbrook

Our series of "Quarantine" interviews, which focus on individuals involved in the Phoenix theatre community and their reaction to Arizona's stay at home mandate and the recent protests to fight racial injustice, continues today with a conversation with ASU graduate and Valley actress and playwright Vaibu Mohan.

The COVID-19 virus and the protests for racial equality in support of #blacklivesmatter  have affected us all in many ways. The theatre community has been harshly impacted with show closures and postponements. We hope this series of interviews will be a way to provide some personal insight into what people are doing during this period of time while highlighting familiar individuals from the theatre community in town.

Was there a show you were in or involved with or preparing for when the stay at home order started?

"I was preparing for the next set for the musical I wrote with Mario Yniguez, Adi-Antham. We had finished two readings for act one when I went to New York to interview for grad school and ASU showcase. When I saw Broadway shut down, I knew that our little show would face the same fate. I think that is the thing that hurt the most since I had been working on this show for almost two years and this was its first full length public reading. The good people at A/C Theatre had been kind enough to give us a platform and it is so rare that two young writers are afforded that opportunity, especially two writers of color. I was so excited to get to tell this story. My story. The story of an Indian-American family. And I have wept and mourned over it and hope it gets its moment in the sun soon. "

How have you been personally impacted by our current situation?

"As small and simple as it sounds, I did not get my senior year glory days. I did not get to walk across a stage and accept a diploma. I did not get to have Phoenix showcase with my wonderful cohort. I did not get to have my last night on Mill that would fade into a haze of tequila and euphoria. All I got and the entire class of 2020 got was waking up on a Monday morning with a cup of tea and clicking on a slide with my name on it. It was definitely disheartening that graduation just came and went with our pomp and circumstance (the song and the sentiment). We tried to make the most of it with Zoom happy hour and socially distant picnics but it is never the same."

How has your daily routine changed?

"The daily routine has become a never-ending battle between me and my laptop. Zoom fatigue is real and we all need to acknowledge that because I was taking classes online and I felt like there was a 100 pound weight on my head after I was done. It has been exhausting. However, I am finding comfort in the fact that my parents and I are all doing the work-from-home shtick and we can experience it together. The transition has been smooth but painful. Now that school is over, I’ve been focusing on giving myself dedicated writing time to develop some new projects and go back to old ones. This quarantine has forced me to get creative in the ways i work when I do not have creative contact with other humans and really have to pull inspiration out of myself. "

What do you feel will be different when theater restarts?

"I feel that we will never create theatre the same way even when we find a vaccine. This experience has created such a specific shared trauma in our community that I hope we finally create and present work that is meaningful to us and challenges people. The post World War II landscape made way for the Golden Age and I hope we find another one that pushes the art form and the industry forward. I also hope that there is a change in the way we do business and the people who decide how we do business. Many black artists are releasing statements right now about how they have been treated in the industry and I applaud them for speaking out. It is important for everyone to understand how we are complicit in profiting off of non-white stories and bodies but do not treat the artists with respect and dignity. The shutdown has become the Great Equalizer. No one can ignore us now and I hope they continue to listen when we are together again. "

When do you think that’ll happen?

"I think that theatre will be back in some form by the end of the year or the beginning of 2021. I know that producers and theatre owners are wary about being the first to open because it would be disastrous for them to be the cause of a flare up in COVID cases. However, Broadway is not the be all-end all of theatre making. Innovation is going to happen on the regional level in smaller houses and the higher levels of theatre are going to have to take notes based on what we do in this time. I think that outdoor theatre spaces are going to have a renaissance. I think that the virtual theatre experience is going to continue in some new and interesting hybrid way. Radio plays are even having a moment! Regardless of what happens, we have some of the greatest creative minds in the world. We’ll figure it out and it will be magnificent. "

Vaibu Mohan in Into the Woods - Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre
photo by Heather Butcher Photography

What have you been doing to stay creative during this time?

"I’m not going to lie, creativity has slowed since the lockdown. I’m the kind of artist who feeds off of the creative energy of others and it has been so difficult to be ripped from that. I’ve begun writing a play which takes place completely on Zoom and hopefully get it to reading stage so I can see some old friends again. I am doubling down on learning during this time and refining my skills as an instrumentalist because that’s something that satisfies me but doesn’t make my brain hurt as much. I’ve been working on some readings of new works which has been very interesting but I love all new works processes and that has been incredibly inspiring to be a part of. "

Any binge tv shows you’ve watched?

"What HAVEN’T I been watching!! I’ve been rewatching West Wing and it is truly Aaron Sorkin at his best. If you’re looking for a political TV show which will actually make you want to do something, this is the one for you. I just finished watching Space Force on Netflix and I would also highly recommend that. "

Vaibu Mohan and Kathlynn Rodin in
The Light in the Piazza - ASU Music Theatre and Opera
photo by Tim Trumble
Any new hobbies you’ve taken on?

"I cook and bake constantly now. My home is never without a baked good and my parents both love and hate me for it! "

How has this experience changed you?

"This experience has made me very angry and very motivated. It is insane and incredible that we are essentially reliving 1963 now. We have seen people go back into space and protests about racial inequity in the streets. Meanwhile there are people who still think that the pandemic is not a big deal or-even worse- a hoax. In the midst of all the chaos, I have been investigating my own complicity in the perpetuation of racism within the theatre. I have grown up and worked in the Arizona theatre community my whole life and recently I’ve been reflecting back on that. There have been multiple instances where I have either experienced racism or micro aggressions or seen my colleagues experience it and done nothing. I am angry at myself for not speaking up for myself out of fear. The Arizona theatre community needs to do better because regional theatre is important and visible. They have national reputations and have the unique opportunity to actually create a culture of upholding people of color not just as actors, but in their creative teams as well. In my time in Arizona, I have worked with one choreographer of color, one costumer of color, no directors of color and no producers of color. They exist and they are hungry for opportunity and it costs theatre institutions nothing to hire them and gain a new perspective in the process. I fear I may have veered from the question but I think this is something I need to say before I move away from Arizona for the first time in my life. I love this community with my whole heart and I want to see it thrive and flourish. "

What is the one thing you’re most looking forward to now that Arizona and most states have lifted the stay at home order?

"I’m looking forward to continuing my personal stay-at-home. This is the first time since I began college I’ve been able to be at home and just spend time with my parents. I know that I am not going to be living with them for much longer so I’m soaking it up while I can. I will continue to approach with caution in public spaces and lead with compassion. In the meantime, you can find me with a strong cup of tea and my copy of Finishing The Hat. "