Sunday, January 31, 2021

review - OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS - Hale Centre Theatre

Dyana Carroll and David Michael Paul
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 February 23

"...Over the River and Through the Woods...a clever, funny, and quite moving drama with a few surprises in its plot. Hale Centre Theatre's production features clear direction, beautiful creative aspects, and a gifted cast who instill their characters with plenty of realism and an abundance of charm. The plot centers on Nick Cristano, a young professional in his 20s who lives and works in the New York City area. Both sets of his Italian grandparents live close to each other across the Hudson river in Hoboken... Nick is the only family his four grandparents see on a regular basis. When Nick is offered a promotion that would force him to move thousands of miles away to Seattle...the four set in motion a plan they hope will keep Nick in town....while the title and setup may make you think you're in for a laugh-out-loud comedy, and there are several really funny parts, there is plenty of drama and a number of moving moments in the script that elevate this beyond a lighthearted play. Tim Dietlein's direction is smart and appropriately not heavy handed...David Michael Paul is very good as Nick...As his maternal pair, (of grandparents) Frank and Aida Gianelli, who host the weekly Sunday family meals, Dyana Carroll and Jim Roehr get the most stage time and they bring an abundance of passion to their roles. Carroll is the emotional center of the piece and her performance is exceptional....(the play) may on one hand be humorous, sentimental, poignant, nostalgic and charming, but it is also the heartwarming and very moving story of a passionate family and the universal theme that, as one character clearly puts it, "what matters is family."..."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

Friday, January 29, 2021

Mesa Encore Theatre seeks Director/Show proposals for their 2021/2022 Season

Mesa Encore Theatre is seeking proposals for shows for the 2021-2022 season.  

We invite directors/creative teams to propose shows by filling out the proposal form at 

Directors and creative teams do receive a stipend for their work.   

MET is committed to diversity and inclusion.  We will consider candidates regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age (candidates must be at least 18 years of age at time of appointment), or veteran status, and encourage anyone who is interested to apply.
This year, we seek to build a strong season to welcome artists and patrons back after the global pandemic.  Strong applications will be budget conscious, draw large audiences, include diverse casts/creative teams, and meet our target demographics. 

Please feel free to contact us via Facebook or e-mail Dawn Rendell at with any questions. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Procopio Matin Productions presents the world premiere of Leading Ladies: a New Musical streaming February 26, 2021 - March 14, 2021

Procopio Matin Productions presents the world premiere of Leading Ladies: a New Musical 

February 26 - March 14 
Fridays/Saturdays @7pm (MST) Sundays @2pm (MST)

Lights up; Hollywood is at the height of its movie-musical legacy in 1957. A studio embarking on its first musical is faced with the horrifying fact that their leading lady, Charlotte Finley, can’t sing… and they can’t fire her. Given the opportunity to dub, young singer Ella Lark takes a chance on change by stepping back from her commitment of managing her parents’ bar and instead pursuing her own dreams in Hollywood. Yet despite developing a surprising friendship with Charlotte, Ella becomes increasingly aware of the deceitful implications of her role, as she cannot tell Charlotte she’ll be singing for her. It’s Ella’s decision to pursue her dream that brings her a series of choices that ask her: is she willing to risk the relationships with those she comes to care for most to make it to the top?

Leading Ladies: a new musical Original Workshop Production:

Sara R. Matin - Director/Producer

Anthony James Procopio - Music Director/Producer/Keyboard 1

Cassie Miller as Ella Lark

Teddy Ladley as Levi Herman

Jonice Bernard as Charlotte Finley

Tychiko as Rick Meyers

Thomas Smith as Phil Lark

J.R. Momeyer as Robert Finley and Alfredo Chaz

Savannah Gambell as Devin Davis

Alex Bellanti-Diehl as Ensemble

Aydan Bruce as Ensemble

Lorin Phillips as Ensemble

Briana Sieminski as Ensemble

Amanda Stone - Assistant Music Director/Keyboard 2

Nic Peters - Drums

Deanna Rusnock - Electric Bass

Anna Cortabitarte - Stage Manager

Sophia Matin - Assistant Stage Manager/Assistant Videographer/Prop Master

Cassady Alberico -  Videographer/Video Editor

Alejo Gordillo - Audio Engineer/Audio Mixer

Jay LaBenne - Audio Technician

Tickets on sale here:

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Arizona Broadway Theatre accepting video audition submissions for their upcoming productions of BEEHIVE, NUNSENSE, GODSPELL (youth cast 16-19), LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and THE SPITFIRE GRILL

Arizona Broadway Theatre is accepting video submissions from LOCAL* artists/performers for the following roles in our upcoming reimagined season.  Please take specific note of the audition submission details, dates, and character breakdowns.

All rehearsals and performances will be in-person and on location at Arizona Broadway Theatre.  Please note ABT’s normal rehearsal schedule (daytime rehearsals) will be revamped.  Most rehearsals will take place late afternoon into the evenings, although weekend and tech rehearsals may include morning and/or early afternoon rehearsals.

All initial auditions are through video submission ONLY.  To be considered for any of the available roles, the following materials, must be submitted/emailed to no later than February 6, 2021.  Late submissions will not be considered.  When emailing the submission, please make sure to include your first and last name ONLY in the subject line.

Callbacks will be in-person and on location at Arizona Broadway Theatre.  Callback dates and times will be emailed to participants chosen to receive a callback.

Materials to be submitted

Most recent Headshot (pdf format only)
Updated Resume (pdf format only)
Contact Information Form
Click HERE to download or go to http//​
Video Link **(See details of what is needed within the video below)

NOTE:  The video link must contain the following materials two contrasting vocal selections and one upbeat, comedic monologue.  Please find tracks for the two contrasting vocal selections. Acapella vocal submissions will NOT be considered.  If you have any questions about how to create the video, please refer to THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO.

*LOCAL ACTORS ONLY. No housing, per diem, transportation, or any other form of renumeration for anyone not within commuting distance.

(Rehearsals begin on or around March 5, 2021, and the production runs through April 18, 2021.)

Wanda (female-identifying; 18 and older; any race/ethnicity considered) – A strong actress and singer. She carries the bulk of the dialogue and narration throughout the revue. She is a leader – strong, powerful, and engaging. She must have the ability to interact comfortably with the audience.

Jasmine (female-identifying; 18 and older; black women only considered for the role) – She portrays Diana Ross of the Supremes and the lead singer of the Chiffons, Judy Craig. Sings songs “One Fine Day,” “Where Did Our Love Go?” “Come See About Me,” and others.

Laura (female-identifying; 18 and older; any race/ethnicity considered) – Portrays Janis Joplin, Lulu, and others. Sings songs “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “To Sir With Love,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Try,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” and others.

Allison (female-identifying; 18 and older; any race/ethnicity considered) – Of the six actresses, Alison has the most lyrical warm voice. She sings songs “Downtown,” “Where the Boys Are,” “Society’s Child,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” and others.

Pattie (female-identifying; 18 and older; any race/ethnicity considered) – Sings the songs “It’s My Party,” “You Don’t Know Me,” “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “A Natural Woman,” and others.

Gina (female-identifying; 18 and older; black women only considered for the role) – Portrays Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, and the lead singer of the Starlets. Sings songs “I Sold My Heart to a Junkman,” “A Fool in Love,” “Proud Mary,” “Respect,” and others.

(Rehearsals begin on or around April 5, 2021, and the production runs through May 16, 2021.)

Sister Mary Regina (Mother Superior) (female-identifying; age range 45-55; Mezzo-Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – Mother Superior.  The head of the convent, she is respected greatly by the sisters.  While she is strict, she has a hard time keeping the craziness of the convent at bay.  She keeps her guard up in front of the nuns but has an extroverted side.  The part requires some very physical humor.

Sister Mary Hubert (Mistress of Novices) (female-identifying; age range 35-45; Mezzo-Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – Hubert is in charge of novices but fancies herself a Mother Superior and is in constant competition with Mary Regina. She exudes maternal wisdom to novices but also likes to let loose.

Sister Robert Anne (female-identifying; age range 25-35; Mezzo-Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – Once a child delinquent herself, this rough, tough nun is a jokester and constantly challenging authority. She speaks with a thick Brooklyn accent and constantly displays her lack of refinement.

Sister Mary Amnesia (female-identifying; age range 25-40; Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – As the name suggests, she has lost her memory and does not know who she is except that she is a nun. She is spacey and incoherent, often slipping into displays inappropriate for a nun, and has a puppet alter ego named Sister Mary Annette (ventriloquism and puppet experience are a plus but not required.) Must be able to sing in classical and country styles.

Sister Mary Leo (female-identifying; age range 18-25; Mezzo-Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – Leo is the novice nun, still learning the way and coming to terms with her decision to give up “civilian” life. She is a ballerina and displays her talents through much of the show. She is also easily swayed to join in mischief. Must be able to dance on pointe.

(Rehearsals begin on or around May 3, 2021, and the production runs through June 13, 2021.)

All submissions must be from performers between the ages of 16-19. 

Anna Maria (female-identifying; ages 16-19; Alto; all races/ethnicities considered) – A bit of a tomboy, but basically open and sweet. Perhaps the youngest of the group. She is the first of the group to commit to following Jesus in the song “Day by Day.”

Celisse (female-identifying; ages 16-19; Mezzo-Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – The female equivalent of the class clown. Goofy and a cut-up. In the 2012 Broadway revival, she played several instruments, including conga, ukulele, and guitar. She sings “Learn Your Lessons Well.”

George (male-identifying; ages 16-19; Tenor; all races/ethnicities considered) – The comedian, the class clown. The guy who can do a hundred voices and imitations. He sings “Light of the World.”

Jesus (male-identifying; ages 16-19; Tenor; all races/ethnicities considered) – Must be the most charismatic individual in the cast. High energy, charming, funny, gentle but with strength. He is the sort of person others instinctively follow.

John the Baptist/Judas (male-identifying; ages 16-19; Baritone; all races/ethnicities considered) – He has attributes of both Biblical figures. He is both Jesus’ lieutenant and most ardent disciple and the doubter who begins to question and rebel. Like Jesus, he is also charismatic, but in more of an overt revolutionary way. Usually played by someone handsome and masculine, with an undertone of sexuality. He is the most “serious” and intellectual of the group, though, as with all the actors, he must still possess a good sense of physical comedy. He sings “Prepare Ye,” “All For the Best,” and “On the Willows.”

Lindsay (female-identifying; ages 16-19; Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – The confident one, the show-off. The first one to volunteer, sometimes she jumps in before she really understands what’s going on. She sings “Bless the Lord.”

Morgan (female-identifying; ages 16-19; Alto; all races/ethnicities considered) – Sassy and slightly cynical, the most urban of the group. Also the “sexy” one, but her sexiness contains a large element of put-on, in the manner of Mae West or Madonna. She sings “Turn Back, O Man.”

Nick (male-identifying; ages 16-19; Tenor; all races/ethnicities considered) – Very high energy. Impish and playful. In the original, he played several musical instruments, including concertina, recorder, and guitar. He sings “We Beseech Thee.”

Telly (male-identifying; ages 16-19; Tenor; all races/ethnicities considered) – Not the brightest in the bunch, he is a little slow on the uptake. But there is a great sweetness and innocence about him. Because he sings “All Good Gifts,” he must be a very good singer.

Uzo (female-identifying; ages 16-19; Alto; all races/ethnicities considered) – The shy one. Sometimes a little slow to get things, but when she does, she commits all the way. Has an “earth mother” kind of warmth to her. She sings “By My Side.”

Ensemble roles may be added at the director’s discretion.

(Rehearsals begin on or around May 31, 2021, and the production runs through July 11, 2021.)

All roles are open and will be considered based on the characters from the nationally acclaimed television show. Gilligan, The Skipper, The Professor, Mary Ann, Ginger, Thurston (The Millionaire), Lovey (His Wife), and a character of The Alien are all roles available.  All roles must be strong comedic actors, strong vocalists, and must be able to move.

(Rehearsals begin on or around June 28, 2021, and the production runs through August 8, 2021.)

Seymour (male-identifying; age range 25-35; vocal range A2-G4; all races/ethnicities considered) – An insecure, put-upon, florists’ clerk who becomes the hero of the story; above all, he is a sweet, genuine, well-meaning man who is taken for granted because of his clumsy ways and poor social skills.

Audrey (female-identifying; age range 25-35; vocal range G#3-D5; all races/ethnicities considered) – The bleached-blond secret love of Seymour’s life, also employed at the shop; she has a damaged sense of self-worth and no education; she is vulnerable to a fault.

Crystal, Chiffon, Ronnette (female-identifying; age range 18-35; vocal range three-part tight harmony, Ab3-F5; black women only will be considered) – Strong harmony singers with good movement skills to perform tight choreographed movement; these three female “street urchins” function as participants in the action (when they have dialogue) and a Greek chorus commenting and narrating the action (when they sing); they’re young, hip, smart, and the only people in the cast who really know what’s going on, with a “we know something you don’t” attitude.

Mr. Mushnik (male-identifying; age range 45-55; vocal range G2-G4; all races/ethnicities considered) – Middle-aged, old enough to “adopt” Seymour as his son; strong character actor with some singing; Seymour’s boss and father figure; he owns a failure of a run-down East Side florist shop; under a gruff and blustery exterior he cares about Audrey and Seymour; a good man at heart, but overcome by the temptations of wealth.

Orin (The Dentist) track (male-identifying; age range 25-35; vocal range G2-G4; all races/ethnicities considered) – Audrey’s handsome, dentist boyfriend, he is narcissistic, arrogant, and abusive to Audrey; in spite of all this, he is a charmer in a “bad boy” kind of way; must have a comic edge without going to caricature. This actor may also play other minor roles such as Radio Announcer, Mr. Bernstein, Mrs. Luce, Skip Snip, and Patrick Martin.

Audrey II – The Plant (18 and older; all races/ethnicities considered) – A non-speaking puppeteer (experience a plus but not mandatory) who manipulates various stages of the plant as it gets bigger; the role requires someone with physical acting skills to portray character and emotion purely through movement, and stamina to operate the large, heavy final puppet.

Audrey II – The Voice (male-identifying; open age; strong character singer; vocal range G2-G4; all races/ethnicities considered) – Rock, rhythm and blues style; a sweet-talking, street-smart, rhythm and blues version of the devil; provided by an actor on an offstage microphone, lip-syncing to the movements of the puppets; his voice is a cross between Otis Redding, Barry White, and Wolfman Jack.

(Rehearsals begin on or around July 26, 2021, and the production runs through September 5, 2021)

Percy Talbott (female-identifying; Mezzo-Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – Percy is pretty, if a bit rough-edged. Her face declares the strength of her youth and a sadness beyond her years. She carries a terrible secret.

Hannah Ferguson (female-identifying; Alto; all races/ethnicities considered) – About seventy years old, Hannah is the owner of the Spitfire Grill. She is a tough-skinned and flinty old bird with a short, no-nonsense manner bordering on the bitter. She can also be very tender-hearted and fiercely loyal. She has a secret of her own to protect.

Shelby Thorpe (female-identifying; Soprano; all races/ethnicities considered) – In her mid-thirties, Shelby is a plain, soft-faced creature with a shy, almost ethereal manner. She is the wife of Caleb Thorpe. Once her trust is gained, she also is a very loyal friend.

Caleb Thorpe (male-identifying; baritone; all races/ethnicities considered) – In his early forties and the out-of-work foreman of the now-defunct stone quarry, Caleb is a frustrated man clinging to the past and the authority he once had. He bitterly opposes change.

Sheriff Joe Sutter (male-identifying; tenor; all races/ethnicities considered) – In his mid to late twenties, Joe is a young, small-town policeman with a restless nature and a genuine desire to escape Gilead.

Effy Crayneck (female-identifying; Alto; all races/ethnicities considered) – In her fifties, Effy is postmistress and the town busybody. She is a woman with narrow eyes and a sour tongue. There’s little to gossip about in a town so small, but when there is, she is the source.

The Visitor/Eli (male-identifying; all races/ethnicities considered) – In his mid-forties and a mysterious figure who never speaks, the visitor has powerful eyes and a very strong sense of his body.

THE WIZARD OF OZ - Limelight Performing Arts - February 6-14, 2021

We're (finally) Off to see the Wizard!

Come join Limelight Performing Arts in this timeless classic in a new, safe and exciting outdoor setting.

Limelight Performing Arts is proud to finally get to present their production for The Wizard of Oz, which was originally scheduled for March & April of 2020. (I think we all know how that turned out.) Our actors came out of hiatus more excited than ever to bring you their talents and we can't wait for you to see the show.

The Wizard of Oz runs from February 6th through February 14th with shows Saturdays at 11:45, 2:45 & 6:15 and shows Sundays at 1:45 & 3:00. 

All of the shows will be held outdoors with social distancing at the Superstition Springs Mall Amphitheater just below The Cheesecake Factory.

We are in the process of assigning seating to ticket-holders from last year, but we are hopeful to be able to open up more seating soon. To get on the waiting list for what is sure to be 10 sold out shows, go HERE to request tickets. As soon as more tickets become available, we will contact you on a first summited, first served basis to complete your purchase. 

Enjoy the show! 

Monday, January 25, 2021

WEEK AT A GLANCE: January 25-January 31

 Click on any show title to get more information on that production






TEA FOR THREE: LADY BIRD, PAT, & BETTY - Stage Left Productions - February 3-28, 2021

A Drama/Comedy by Eric H. Weinberger and Elaine Bromka

February 3-28 2021

Directed by Cody Dull

Cindy Covington as Lady Bird Johnson
Debra Lyman as Pat Nixon
Kandyce Hughes as Betty Ford

What is it like for a woman when her husband becomes the president of the United States—and she is suddenly thrust into the spotlight? This witty, sly and deeply moving script explores the hopes, fears and loves of Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford. In three scenes taking place in the family quarters of the White House just prior to the end of living there as the wife of a president, each of the women confides alone to the audience. Secrets are spilled about their early years, their husbands' rise to power, their romances with the men, their unique paths as wives in the White House, and their feelings about imminent retirement. Lady Bird Johnson, while preparing a tea for Pat Nixon, defends her husband's quirks but finally admits to herself, "Politics is his oxygen." Mrs. Nixon, drinking tea alone in her room on the eve of her husband's resignation, works on her mail, picks at her food and guardedly recalls happier times before exploding in anger about Watergate and the political world. Betty Ford is discovered reading a TIME magazine in her bathrobe. Forestalling preparations for tea with Rosalyn Carter, Betty lightheartedly recalls past escapades, but eventually admits to being quite lost about life after the White House. Defiantly pushing back the fear, she sails out the door to meet Mrs. Carter. Each of the three portraits becomes intimate, by degrees, as the women wrestle with what Pat Nixon called "the hardest unpaid job in the world."​

Tickets are $28.00 Reserved Seating​

Wednesday February 3  7:00pm
Thursday February 4  7:00pm
Friday February 5    7:00pm
Saturday February 6  7:00pm
Sunday February 7  2:00pm
Wednesday February 10  7:00pm
Thursday February 11  7:00pm
Friday February 12  7:00pm
Saturday February 13  7:00pm
Sunday February 14  2:00pm
Wednesday February 17  7:00pm
Thursday February 18  7:00pm
Friday February 19  7:00pm
Saturday February 20  7:00pm
Sunday February 21  2:00pm
Wednesday February 24  7:00pm
Thursday February 25  7:00pm
Friday February 26  7:00pm
Saturday February 27  7:00
Sunday February 28  2:00pm

WALKIN' THE LINE - Arizona Broadway Theatre - January 29 - February 21, 2021

Relive the amazing songs of Johnny Cash in this electrifying tribute to the Man in Black. Hear all of Johnny’s biggest hits, like "Folsom Prison Blues", "Ring of Fire", "A Boy Named Sue", "Walk the Line", and many more accompanied by a live Country band. This show features Scott Moreau, who starred as Johnny Cash in the National Tour of the Broadway smash hit Million Dollar Quartet. Come see this Country legend live and in person!

“There is something about the voice of actor Scott Moreau that is mesmerizing.  Forget the fact that when he sings he sounds so much like Johnny Cash that if you close your eyes you would swear it was the man himself.  But it’s when he speaks that you come under the spell, lulled by a rich, sonorous tone that makes you feel like you’re in a special, intimate space with, in this case, one of the great country singer-songwriters of all time.  Moreau’s voice lures you into Ring Of Fire, and he could not be more convincing in the lead role, which he plays with aplomb and confidence.” ~ J.P. Faber, Coral Gables Magazine

Casting Call for short film CERBERUS AT THE GATES OF HELL

Calling AZ Actors! 'Cerberus at The Gates of Hell' is currently casting for 2 main roles & EXTRA's. [Main roles are PAID!]

Contact - – to sign up for the casting call

(note we hope to hold all casting online until our final casting decisions).

To register:
1) please email us with your full name, age, contact email, phone number, and headshot. Registration deadline is Jan. 24th (deadline extended for submissions from Northern Arizona)
2) If chosen for the Casting call you will receive an email with script sides attached, please respond to this email with a video of yourself reading from the sides.
3) If you pass this round of casting, we will schedule you for a callback meeting via zoom on Jan. 28th. Please be sure to have some availability for a 30min meeting
4) Our final cast decisions will be announced the evening of Jan. 30th via email.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

WEEK AT A GLANCE: January 18-January 24, 2021

Click on any show title to get more information on that production






photos - BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY - Copperstate Productions at Fountain Hills Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 22- February 7

photos by Patty Torrilhon

Friday, January 15, 2021

ELLA ENCHANGED - CYT Phoenix - Feburary 4-7, 2021


Not all gifts are what you expect...

Ella of Frell is given the ”gift” of obedience by Lucinda, her misguided Fairy Godmother, and is forced to do anything people command her. On her adventure to rid herself of the curse, she must outwit ogres, sidestep giants, befriend a prince, survive her step-family, and ultimately find the power to be her true self.  This musical for the whole family features hilarious characters, delightful music and a story full of surprises.

Directed by ariZoni Award-winner Bertha Cortes
Music Directed by Andres Marrufo
Choreography by Blair Semon

Book & Lyrics by Karen Zacarías
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
Based on the Newberry Honor book by Gail Carson Levine
By special arrangement with Miramax

Thursday, Feb 4th @ 7:00pm
Friday, Feb 5th @ 7:00pm
Saturday, Feb 6th @ 2:00pm
Saturday, Feb 6th @ 7:00pm
Sunday, Feb 7th @ 1:30pm

Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center
33606 N 60th St
Scottsdale, AZ 85266

Thursday, January 14, 2021

review - JANE EYRE, THE MUSICAL - MCC Musical Productions

Austin Stuart and Jessie Jo Pauley
photo by Melody Stuart

by Gil Benbrook

Charlotte Bronte's classic novel "Jane Eyre" has been adapted into dozens of films, TV mini-series and movies so it's somewhat surprising that it took more than 150 years after the novel was published in 1847 before a musical adaptation based on Bronte's work would make it to Broadway. With a book by John Caird and a score by Paul Gordon, the stage musical is a faithful retelling of Bronte's novel, infused with a range of emotions and rich characters. MCC PAC Musical Productions is streaming their filmed stage production of this beautiful and haunting musical and it has lush creative elements and a talented cast, led by Jessie Jo Pauley as Jane and Austin Stuart as Rochester.

Bronte's plot is fairly simple. Jane is a plain yet defiant orphan who takes a job as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where Edward Rochester is the master of the house. Although Rochester is a temperamental and somewhat troubled soul, the two become friends and develop trust and a deep bond with each other, and ultimately fall in love, even though they also have personalities that sometimes clash. However, Rochester has a terrible secret in his past that threatens their love and the possibility of their future, just as it's about to begin. 

Caird's book is brisk yet manages to touch upon the key plot points in Bronte's novel while also using dialogue that is true to the 19th century origins of the book, though some of the plot elements are rushed and could benefit from a bit more clarity. The score by Gordon packs over three dozen songs into the almost through-sung musical, though many are fairly short. Still, the songs are rich and luxurious, with plot and character specific lyrics and there is also an abundance of lush underscoring throughout.

Tregoney Shepherd grew up in Arizona before appearing in National tours and on Broadway and recently took over the role of Artistic Director for Mesa Community College's Musical Theatre department. This is her first production directing since taking over leadership of the department at MCC and her direction is crisp and astute. She makes great use of the expansive MCC PAC stage and ensures her cast all create fairly realistic characters. 

Jessie Jo Pauley and Austin Stuart are simply glorious as Jane and Rochester. Both have rich, refined singing voices that soar on their many songs in the show. Pauley manages to deliver a sophisticated yet subtle portrayal of this beloved character while also allowing us to understand the pain this young woman has faced and the joy she feels once she begins to fall in love with Rochester. Stuart's depiction of this fractured, rash and reckless man is also, appropriately, emotionally complex. 

Due to the briskness of the show's book, many of the supporting characters are only in a scene or two yet the majority of the MCC cast manages to achieve performances that avoid cliché. Hallie Wright is quite touching as the young Jane and Gillian Ficarra is lovely as Helen Burns, the young girl Jane befriends in the orphanage. When the older Jane begins to work at Thornfield Hall, Emily Noxon and Ada Larsen are quite good, as the housekeeper and Adele, the ward of Rochester, respectively, as is Haley McHardy as the woman engaged to Rochester.

The set design by Chris Dane Burk is expansive, with moving pieces that work well to delineate the various locales in the story. Sharon Jones' costumes are gorgeous and period perfect and Melody Stuart's makeup is quite good, including her design in the second act for a character who suffers a tragedy. Jeff A. Davis' lighting is stunning and gorgeous with the excellent use of shadows to elicit the gothic nature of the story. Darin Shryock's music direction achieves warm vocals and lovely harmonies from the large cast. While there isn't a lot of choreography in the show, Cullen Law's contributions are welcome.

While there may be some shortcomings in the book of Jane Eyre, the Musical, due to some moments feeling rushed and some secondary characters disappearing almost as swiftly as they appear, it still manages to be a successful theatrical adaptation of Bronte's beloved novel. MCC Musical Theatre's production is infused with romance and gothic tones, with a cast, direction and creative elements that ensure the heart and emotion of Bronte's novel are never forgotten. 

In accordance with state and local guidelines, MCC's production was filmed with the actors wearing face shields with no physical audience present

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY - Copperstate Productions at Fountain Hills Theater - January 22 - February 28, 2021

Written by Alan James 
Presented by Special arrangement with Buddy Worldwide Limited 

Before The Beatles.  Before The Stones.  There was Buddy!

Copperstate Productions is proud to announce the return of the musical Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story.  Presented in 2017, Buddy shattered Fountain Hills Theater box office records and now returns to the outdoor stage as a part of our continuing socially distanced theater productions.

Buddy tells the story in words and music of the last few years of Buddy Holly’s life. We see how he and his childhood high-school friends, the Crickets, turn country music upside down and create a unique style of sound which some called ‘the devil’s music’. We see Buddy’s frustrations at Decca Records, his skill as a songwriter and composer when recording and experimenting with Norman Petty, the excitement he and America felt when “That’ll Be The Day” went to #1, and his naïve determination to be the first white act to play the Apollo. Later we meet Maria Elena, his future wife, and witness his whirlwind romance. Then we are taken on his ill-fated ‘Winter Dance Party’ Tour of 1959. Finally, we are the audience at the Surf Ballroom, Clear Lake, Iowa, where Buddy’s final performance with Ritchie Valens (“La Bamba”) and ‘Big Bopper’ J.P. Richardson (Chantilly Lace”) is recreated, and what in theatre must be one of the most exciting musical concerts of all-time! Features such timeless hits as “Peggy Sue”, “Not Fade Away”, “True Loves Way:, “Everyday” and “Raining in my Heart”.

Buddy: Tom Mangum
Joe B. Mauldin (Double Bass): Stephan Hettinger
Jerry Allison (Drummer): Dave Lopez
4th Cricket (Lead Guitarist): Thomas Oliver
Hi Pockets Duncan/Ensemble: Alex Gonzalez
Norman Petty: Peter J. Hill
Vi Petty/Ensemble/Hayrider: Leah Klein
The Big Bopper/Producer: Bill Bennett
Ritchie Valens/1st Engineer/Ensemble: Julian Mendoza
2nd Engineer/Apollo DJ/clearlake MC: Peter J. Hill
Apollo Performer/Ensemble/Hayrider: Cheryl Banks
Maria Elena/Ensemble: Sydney Lover
Band Leader/Reporter: Jay Melberg
Trumpet/Apollo Announcer: Lance Wilson
Trombone/Apollo Performer: Javone Patton

Buddy is produced by Copperstate Productions, directed by Peter J. Hill, musically directed by Jay Melberg and choreographed by Noel Irick.  

The Fountain Hills Outdoor Theater is comfortable, convenient and safe.  The theater features 15 heated ‘stations’, seating up to 6 patrons per station.  Each station is reserved for a single party and no party will be seated with any other patrons.  Each station is 8 feet from any other station and is provided with a large patio space heater for comfort on chilly nights.   Masks will be required for all attendees and staff. Patrons may also request one of 8 stage viewable parking spots which allow them to remain in their cars or sit outside their cars and ‘tailgate’ All patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance for a “contact-free” experience while you’re at the show. Seating is limited. FHT’s outdoor stage is provided by and sponsored by Kern Entertainment.  

 All performances are at Fountain Hills Outdoor Theater 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd. (The Corner of Saguaro and Rand). Tickets are available through the Theater Box Office at (480) 837-9661 x3 or at  Box Office Hours are 12:00PM-5:00 PM Tuesday through Saturdays. For additional information not contained in this press release, please call Fountain Hills Theater (480) 837-9661.

  1. Jan 22 – Feb. 28, 2021
Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm

Reservations:(480) 837-9661x3 or

Adult Tickets $35, Children 17 and under $18. Group rates available.

Copperstate Productions and Fountain Hills Theater are 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. 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. 

Brelby Theatre Company releases their very first web series, 12 DAYS

from our friends at Brelby Theatre Company:

Brelby's new film branch, Brelby Productions, has been steadily releasing sketch comedy shorts, an original monologue series, and even several episodes of Brelby artists reading bedtime stories for our tiniest fans. Perhaps what we're most proud of, is producing our very first web series, 12 Days.

12 Days is available for viewing online in two locations:

1) Become a subscriber for access to all of our current and upcoming content at
2) To rent our web series on demand visit:

We're looking forward to releasing more filmed content in 2021, and continuing to work towards a time when performing in person together is safe once again.

photos - JANE EYRE, THE MUSICAL - MCC PAC Musical Productions

 CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which streams January 14-17

photos by Melody Stuart