Tuesday, August 31, 2021

review - THE ADDAMS FAMILY - Hale Centre Theatre

Mychal Leverage and Amanda Valenzuela
photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw

highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 2

There are four planned productions of (The Addams Family) in Phoenix this season alone, but I don't know if any can top the excellent production at Hale Centre Theatre which has sublime creative aspects, perfect direction, and a top-notch cast who get big laughs from their kooky characters while also ensuring the love the characters display and the warm emotions in the story ring true...Director Cambrian James has delivered a superb production. His choreography is inventive, upbeat and winning, and his direction makes sure that every joke gets big laughs and that the warmth of the story comes across realistically. Lincoln Wright's music direction achieves rich sounds from the entire cast ...The inventiveness in Hale's excellent creative elements is apparent as soon as you enter the theatre, with Brian Daily's rich set design already visible: several of the surrounding walls of the in-the-round theatre are dressed to resemble walls of the Addams' house...Mychal Leverage and Amanda Valenzuela are excellent as Gomez and Morticia. The chemistry they have together is natural and they both have perfect comic timing. Leverage does a wonderful job portraying Gomez as the devoted husband and caring father. His performance of "Happy/Sad" is heartbreaking, warm, and quite moving. His playful sense of humor gets big laughs from the audience and his singing voice is clear and rich. Valenzuela is equally good as Morticia, with a perfect combination of assuredness and mystery but also doubt once Morticia starts to think her husband is hiding something from her..."   -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

Vendor Booth Spaces available for this year's 2021 ariZoni Awards All Theatre/ Valley Wide Free Celebration on September 26

from our friends at the Zoni Awards:

Are you a vendor catering to the theatre community in town, or someone who makes goods or products you'd like to sell during a free outdoor event? We have a few spaces remaining for Vendors for the 2021 ariZoni Theatre Celebration, which will be held on Sunday Sept 26th from 4 - 9pm in the Scottsdale Center for the Arts Courtyard located at 7380 E 2nd St.  

We are very excited about this year's event which is free and open to the public and which will feature outdoor activities, musical performances, a DJ and food trucks and we anticipate a high turnout from people across the valley.  

Cost for a vendor booth space is just $50 plus a raffle prize valued at a minimum of $50. Electricity available for $25.  

Vendors get more information and apply here: https://forms.gle/FDra4GTb2zYdmkVz5

Almost Famous Theatre Company's 2021 / 2022 Season!

Mamma Mia!
September 10-12, 2021

Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Young Adult Production
November 12-14, 2021

Cash on Delivery
February 11-14, 2022

Disney's High School Musical
Young Adult Production
March 11-13

The Sound of Music
May 6-8, 2022

All productions will be at Kroc Performing Arts Center
1375 East Broadway Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85040

Auditions will be held in early January for 2022 productions.

THE TRAIL TO OREGON - Chandler Youth Theatre - September 25, 2021 - October 3, 2021

*CYT Company Show*

Join our All-American family as they journey down the The Trail to Oregon! The Trail to Oregon is an original musical produced by Starkid Productions and was performed in Chicago in the summer of 2014. It is also the most historically accurate musical portraying the Oregon Trail to date; featuring 12 educational songs, a set precisely replicating the trail's landscape, and appearances from famous historical figures, such as: Henry McDoon, Cletus Jones, and Cornwallis.

Saturday, Sept 25 - 4pm
Sunday, Sept 26 - 6pm
Saturday, October 2 - 4pm 
Sunday, October 3 - 2pm & 6pm

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

INTO THE WOODS - Chandler Youth Theatre - October 7, 2021 - October 10, 2021

Ages 12-18
Auditions: Monday, August 9, 2021
Rehearsals: Monday/Wednesday 4:30p-6:30p 

Thursday, October 7, 2021-Sunday, October 10, 2021

The story follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King's Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone's wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

INTO THE WOODS, JR.- Chandler Youth Theatre - October 21, 2021 - October 24, 2021

Ages 6-12
Auditions: Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Rehearsals: Tuesday/Thursday 4:30p-6:30p 

Thursday, October 21, 2021-Sunday, October 24, 2021

Be careful what you wish for, as Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s cockeyed fairytale comes to life in this adaptation of their groundbreaking, Tony Award-winning musical.  Into the Woods JR. features all of your favorite characters — Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and his beanstalk) and the Witch — in this lyrically rich retelling of classic Brothers Grimm fables. The musical centers on a baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King's festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse, and wind up changed forever.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

[TITLE OF SHOW] - Chandler Youth Theatre - November 4, 2021 - November 7, 2021

*CYT Company Show*

Thursday, November 4, 2021-Sunday, November 7, 2021

Jeff and Hunter, two struggling writers, hear about a new musical theatre festival. However, the deadline for submissions is a mere three weeks away. With nothing to lose, the pair decides to try to create something new with the help of their friends Susan, Heidi and Larry on the eighty-eights. With the cast in place, Jeff and Hunter begin a conversation about what to write about. Eventually, Jeff suggests they write about what to write about. They make a pact to write up until the festival's deadline and dream about the show changing their lives. [title of show] -- taken from the space on the festival's application form which asks for the "[title of show]" -- follows Hunter and Jeff and their friends on their journey through the gauntlet of creative self-expression. In the span of 90 minutes they write and perform their show at the festival and learn lessons about themselves as people, friends and artists. [title of show] is, above all, a love letter to the musical theatre -- a uniquely American art form -- and to the joy of collaboration.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

ALL TOGETHER NOW! - Chandler Youth Theatre - November 12, 2021 - November 14, 2021

*CYT Company Show*

Friday, November 12, 2021-Sunday, November 14, 2021

CYT will be participating in MTI's All Together Now! - A Global Event Celebrating Local Theatre, an opportunity for schools and theatres around the world to locally produce and perform an exclusive musical revue featuring songs from MTI's beloved shows. The revue contains 15 musical numbers from beloved composers such as Howard Ashman, Jason Robert Brown, Jonathan Larson, Alan Menken, Tim Minchin, Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, and many more.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

CYT will be participating in MTI's All Together Now! - A Global Event Celebrating Local Theatre, an opportunity for schools and theatres around the world to locally produce and perform an exclusive musical revue featuring songs from MTI's beloved shows. The revue contains 15 musical numbers from beloved composers such as Howard Ashman, Jason Robert Brown, Jonathan Larson, Alan Menken, Tim Minchin, Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, and many more.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

FROZEN JR. - Chandler Youth Theatre - December 9, 2021 - December 12, 2021

Ages 6-12
Auditions: Monday, October 25, 2021
Rehearsals: Monday/Wednesday 4:30p-6:30p

Thursday, December 9, 2021-Sunday, December 12, 2021

The enchanting modern classic from Disney is ready for your Broadway Junior stars! Frozen JR. is based on the 2018 Broadway musical, and brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life, onstage. The show features all of the memorable songs from the animated film, with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production. A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen JR. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen JR. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

FROZEN JR. - Chandler Youth Theatre - December 16, 2021 - December 19, 2021

Ages 12-18
Auditions: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Rehearsals: Tuesday/Thursday 4:30p-6:30p & Saturday 2p-5p

Thursday, December 16, 2021-Sunday, December 19, 2021

The enchanting modern classic from Disney is ready for your Broadway Junior stars! Frozen JR. is based on the 2018 Broadway musical, and brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life, onstage. The show features all of the memorable songs from the animated film, with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production. A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen JR. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen JR. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

THE LIGHTNING THIEF: THE PERCY JACKSON MUSICAL - Chandler Youth Theatre - March 3, 2022 - March 5, 2022

*CYT Company Show*

Thursday, January 27, 2022-Sunday, January 30, 2022

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy has ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN - Chandler Youth Theatre - March 10, 2022 - March 13, 2022

*CYT Company Show*

Thursday, March 10, 2022-Sunday, March 13, 2022

Happiness is great musical theatre! With charm, wit, and heart, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown explores life through the eyes of Charlie Brown and his friends in the Peanuts gang. This revue of songs and vignettes, based on the beloved Charles Schulz comic strip, is the ideal first show for those who would like to do a musical. Musical numbers include "My Blanket and Me," "The Kite," "The Baseball Game," "Little Known Facts," "Suppertime," and "Happiness." Guaranteed to please audiences of all ages!

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

GREASE - Chandler Youth Theatre - March 31, 2022 - April 3, 2022

Ages 12-18
Auditions: Monday, January 10, 2022
Callbacks: Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Rehearsals: Monday/Wednesday 4:30p-6:30p

Thursday, March 31, 2022-Sunday, April 3, 2022

Here is Rydell High's senior class of 1959: duck-tailed, hot-rodding "Burger Palace Boys" and their gum-snapping, hip-shaking "Pink Ladies" in bobby sox and pedal pushers, evoking the look and sound of the 1950s in this rollicking musical. Head "greaser" Danny Zuko and new (good) girl Sandy Dumbrowski try to relive the high romance of their "Summer Nights" as the rest of the gang sings and dances its way through such songs as "Greased Lightnin'," "It's Raining on Prom Night," "Alone at the Drive-In Movie" recalling the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley that became the soundtrack of a generation. An eight-year run on Broadway and two subsequent revivals, along with innumerable school and community productions place Grease among the world's most popular musicals.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, JR. - Chandler Youth Theatre - March 3, 2022 - March 6, 2022

Ages 6-12
Auditions: Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Rehearsals: Tuesday/Thursday 4:30p-6:30p

Thursday, March 3, 2022-Sunday, March 6, 2022

Based on one of Roald Dahl’s most poignantly quirky stories, Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach JR. is a brand new take on this "masterpeach" of a tale.  Featuring a wickedly tuneful score and a witty and charming book, this adventurous musical about courage and self-discovery is destined to be a classic. When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that grows a tremendous peach, rolls into the ocean and launches a journey of enormous proportions. James befriends a collection of singing insects that ride the giant piece of fruit across the ocean, facing hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements along the way.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

A CHORUS LINE - Chandler Youth Theatre - May 12, 2022 - May 15, 2022

*CYT Company Show*

Thursday, May 12, 2022-Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Chorus Line is a stunning concept musical capturing the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition. Exploring the inner lives and bittersweet ambitions of professional Broadway performers, the show features one powerhouse number after another. Memorable musical numbers include "What I Did for Love, "One," "I Can Do That," "At the Ballet," "The Music and the Mirror," and "I Hope I Get It." A brilliantly complex fusion of song, dance, and compellingly authentic drama, A Chorus Line was instantly recognized as a classic.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA - Chandler Youth Theatre - June 23, 2022 - June 26, 2022

Ages 6-18
Auditions: Monday, April 25, 2022
Rehearsals: Monday/Wednesday 4:30p-6:30p

Thursday, June 23, 2022-Sunday, June 26, 2022

The timeless enchantment of a magical fairy tale is reborn with the Rodgers & Hammerstein hallmarks of originality, charm and elegance. Originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was the most widely viewed program in the history of the medium. Its recreation in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren was no less successful in transporting a new generation to the miraculous kingdom of dreams-come-true, and so was a second remake in 1997, which starred Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother. As adapted for the stage, with great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity, this enthralling fairy tale still warms the hearts of children and adults alike.

(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL - Chandler Youth Theatre - August 4, 2022 - August 7, 2022

Ages 13-18
Auditions: Tuesday, May 24
Callbacks: Thursday, May 26
Rehearsals: Tuesday/Thursday 4:30p-6:30p

Thursday, August 4, 2022-Sunday, August 7, 2022

The stakes are higher than ever in this dynamic stage musical, as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage. The power of optimism really can save the world! The SpongeBob Musical is based on the beloved animated series created by Stephen Hillenburg and features a book by Kyle Jarrow, with original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alexander Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., and songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley. Additional lyrics are by Jonathan Coulton, with additional music by Tom Kitt. The musical production was conceived by Tina Landau.


(480) 433-3087
Chandler Youth Theatre
250 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225

Monday, August 30, 2021

cast announced for THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940 at Grand Canyon University

EDDIE MCCUEN: David Loewen
HELSA WENZEL: Maddie Burgess
KEN DE LA MAIZE: Nick Philips
BERNICE ROTH: Gloria Hartung

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Cast announced for OUR DEAR DEAD DRUG LORD at Stray Cat Theatre

PIPE (upper L) - Shawnee Fierros Casas Richberger
SQUEEZE (upper R) - Jazmyne Plantillas
KIT (lower L) - Angel Sicairos
ZOOM (lower R) - Jasmyn Gade

Auditions for A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at Mesa Encore Theatre announced for September 5 & 8

MET is seeking seasoned strong actor/singers and dancers with great comedic skills and timing for their fall production A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM!  


FORUM is directed by award-winning director PATRICK WALSH, choreographed by Broadway veteran GINA VICTOR with musical direction by MET's Resident Musical Director, MICHAEL SNYDER! 

Sign up for an audition slot now at this link http://castingmanager.com/audition/info/yD9KraLbCUwaa0z

Saturday, August 28, 2021

cast announced for CARRIE THE MUSICAL at Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre

Carrie White - Lauren Youngstedt
Margaret White - Kathleen Berger
Miss Gardner - Jennifer Adams
Mr. Stephens - Henry Male
Sue Snell - Miranda Bellows
Chris Hargensen - Tawny Audi
Tommy Ross - Dalton John
Billy Nolan - Evan Kaushesh
Frieda - Ashley Bragg
Norma - Katelyn Karcher
Helen - Kennedy Czyz
George - Bailey Gorman
Stokes - Ian Gray
Freddy - Sebastian Stallone
Ensemble - Paoula Castellanos, Paige Schmella, Sydney Wolfert

CARRIE THE MUSICAL, directed by Chris Chavez, opens at Desert Stages Theatre on Friday, October 22, and runs through Sunday, October 31. Tickets are $25 per person, on sale NOW at https://bit.ly/DSTCarrie

Talking to Elyse Wolf and Jodie Weiss, two of the strong women from Phoenix Theatre Company's STEEL MAGNOLIAS

Jodie Weiss (back left) and Elyse Wolf (front right)
with Emily Mohney (front left) and Michelle Chin (back right)
photo by Reg Madison Photography

by Gil Benbrook

Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias is a beloved, popular play that has been been making audiences experience laughter through tears for over 30 years. While many may be more familiar with the highly successful film adaptation that starred Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine and Daryl Hannah, what some may not know is that Harling's piece is actually based on his family and people he knew growing up in a small town in the south. 

The Phoenix Theatre Company's current production of the comedy/drama stars six local actresses, many of whom, like the women in the play, have been friends for years or worked together before and that familiarity they have with each other translates to the fierce friendships of the women in the play. 

Two of the actresses in Phoenix Theatre's production, Elyse Wolf who plays M'Lynn Eatenton, and Jodie Weiss who plays Truvy Jones, sat down to answer some questions about their characters, this production, and the lasting impact of Harling's play. 

What can you tell us about the character you play?

Elyse Wolf:  "I play M'Lynn Eatenton. She is an upper middle class working mother of three. I think the main character trait of M'Lynn's is control and strength. Having raised a very sick child, I think M'lynn prides herself on preparedness and is confident in her ability to 'take care' of everyone she loves."

Jodie Weiss: "Truvy LOVES romance- she craves romance . . . she has no romance in her life. Her husband has been out of work for a very long time and is depressed and has low self-worth which has affected his 'romance' drive. Truvy is a caretaker. She is conflict averse and consequently uses humor to deflect and diffuse tension. She is a loyal friend and loves her ladies."

Steel Magnolias first premiered Off-Broadway in 1987 and was adapted into the highly successful 1989 film. What do you think makes this play still relevant today, over 30 years later?

Wolf: "The themes of this play are so universal. This is a play about the deep bonds of friendship and human connection. No one can do life alone, we need to be listened to, laughed with, hugged, made fun of and supported by our friends and loved ones. I think we get that now this year more than ever. "

Weiss: "Now, more than ever, we need to know who our community is, who the pals that we can rely on are - who will help us through the very tough times and who will help us laugh and enjoy the fabulous times. That's what this show is about at its core."

Having been immortalized by a group of famous actresses in the hit film, how do you bring a fresh take to a character played by someone as well-known as Sally Field or Dolly Parton in the movie version?

Wolf: "It's a bit daunting actually. Sally Field is an icon and one of my all-time favorites! As an actress, I find that whatever role you play has to be based on you as a person. I am playing my own truth under M'lynn's circumstances. As much as I enjoy the film, I have tried to stay away from it through this whole process so I can really dive into my own feelings within the world of the play. .I am trying to make the role my own, but in the end, I hope you like me, you really like me."

Weiss: "Everyone who plays Truvy brings their life experiences to their portrayal. Dolly brought hers, I bring mine - many of which are VERY close to Truvy's. Whether or not it's 'fresh' - who knows. But it's different and it's genuine."

Many of the actresses in this production have appeared together in either other Phoenix Theatre shows, or in shows at other theatres in town. I have to imagine those close friendships helped to portray the incredibly close characters in this production, but what was the most difficult thing you found in creating your role?

Wolf: "I have had the great pleasure of working with Michelle Chin and Patti Suarez before. I knew Maria Amorocho and Jodie Weiss and had seen and loved their work on stage. Ms. Emily Mohney was the only one I did not know. She and I had a little pre-rehearsal get together at my place and it was lovely from the get go. I have to say, we all just kind of fell in love with each other from day one. There is nothing more powerful than sharing yourself and the stage with strong, talented, sassy women. This cast has that in spades! I think the most challenging part of creating M'Lynn for me was the last scene. I can't imagine there is anyone on the planet who hasn't seen either the film or stage version of this piece, but in case there is, that is all I will say. "

Weiss: "For me one of the biggest challenges was to discover the role anew. I've played Truvy before, but I wanted to rediscover who she is, what makes her tick, why she is the way she is.  That was fun - and the amazing actresses in this show really helped in that process and shaped Truvy for me."

Jodie Weiss and Elyse Wolf
with Patti Suarez
photo by Reg Madison Photography

The 6 women in this play are incredibly strong but also incredibly vulnerable. Is there one character that you most identify with, and why? 

Wolf: "Honestly, I think I identify most with my own character, M'Lynn. I find her sense of self control and confidence with insecurity and vulnerability hidden on the inside very much like myself. "

Weiss: "Well, unfortunately, my father passed away during the first week of rehearsals, so I have had a deep connection to M'Lynn's character and journey."

This production not only has an all-female cast, but also a female director, lighting designer, costume designer and crew. What has that experience been like?

Wolf: "AMAZING! In the words of my favorite podcast, True Crime Obsessed, 'Let the women do the work!' "

Weiss: "The experience has been absolutely a dream! Seriously. As well as all the amazingly positive energy in the room - the support for each other is stunning. When my father passed - these women did exactly what the characters do in the play - they gathered around me and held me up with love and support for whatever I needed. They are all so very loving, humorous and special."

Steel Magnolias is a comedy/drama that focuses on a group of mothers, wives and best friends. Elyse, you've played several mothers, wives or best friends in past Phoenix Theatre productions, including Calendar Girls, Hand to God, Mamma Mia! and Fun Home, all of which also have moments of comedy and drama. Your character M'Lynn has a powerhouse monologue toward the end of the play that perfectly combines the heart and humor in the show. How difficult is it to walk the fine line between comedy and drama in this play, and do you think any of the past characters you've played in the shows I mentioned could have been friends with M'Lynn if they happened to live in Chinquapin?

Wolf: "First off, I love me some good comedy and some good drama equally. When they are combined into one piece, it is magical. I mean, think about it. Humor often is the first place we go when we are hurting and want some comfort or distraction. I think that is the crutch we use as humans. But also, we all relish in humor. It feeds our souls and comforts our hearts. It can be a fine line, but it is a familiar fine line. I don't think M'Lynn would have been friends with any of the other characters I have played LOL!"

Jodie, your character owns and runs the hair salon that is the setting for the play and throughout the show we see you wash, dry and style hair on stage. Did you have any experience in that, or did you have to learn how to "do" hair? And what are some of the technical hurdles you face in not only having to do that in front of a live audience but timing the completion of the hair styles to coincide with the appropriate moments and lines in the script?

Weiss: "I styled wigs during graduate school in California and I cut my kids, and mom, and sisters' hair - I’ve also played the role before - so, I’m fairly comfortable around hair styling - that being said - I learned a LOT this time from the incomparable Terre Steed, our make up/hair designer for this show.)"

There are so many famous lines from the play. Which one is your favorite and why?

Wolf: "My favorite line is Truvy's. 'Louie brought his girlfriend home for Thanksgiving. The nicest thing I can say about her is all her tattoos are spelled correctly.' Love it! Don't know why, just do!"

Weiss: " 'Time marches on- and eventually you realize it's marching right across yer face'! My current feelings!"

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing Steel Magnolias at Phoenix Theatre?

Wolf: "We are stronger together than alone. "

Weiss: "I hope they realize that they are not alone when tragedy strikes. That they have a community to reach out to. That there is still love in the world."

Friday, August 27, 2021

WEEK AT A GLANCE: August 23 - August 29, 2021

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




State 48 Theatre's Junior Show Choir group RUMBLE begins in September

Rumble is a junior show choir group (ages 6-10) for younger and beginning level singers and movers! Rumble members will learn the basics of vocal training, harmonizing, blending, movement, and performing! Students will get to experience a variety of song styles and dance while growing their performing skills!

This is a 1-hour class that meets weekly on Thursdays from 4-5pm at the Lumos Arts Academy campus, running September 2021-May 2022. Students will have an opportunity to perform at theatre showcases as well as select community events and fundraisers! Tuition is $40/month.

Lumos Arts Academy campus
2055 S Power Rd
Mesa, AZ  85209

Arizona Theatre Matters' 10th Anniversary 2021 / 2022 Season!


from our friends at Arizona Theatre Matters:

Arizona Theatre Matters today announced the launch of their 10th Anniversary Season on the heels of the unqualified success of the When Churchyards Yawn reading at the Potentialist Workshop for the world-renowned ARTOWN festival.

“We had a full house,” said playwright and ATM Artistic Director, Jeanmarie Simpson. “It was great fun,” she continued, “opening up to live audiences again - being together in a room, sharing the story, feeling the laughter and visceral response, engaging afterwards in discussion and food and drink. The experience of gathering around original art making is one I bet we’ll never again take for granted.”

The non-profit company performs in both Arizona and Nevada and is now making all programming universally accessible via their YouTube channel. 

ATM’s 2021/22 season is a celebration of the aesthetic imprint of Arizona Theatre Matters. Each play is written or adapted by ATM’s founding artistic director, Jeanmarie Simpson, and each production serves as a testament to the resilience of the company. 

“This last year has taught us all how lucky we are to be a part of one another’s lives,” Simpson said, “and, most especially, a part of yours.”


by Jeanmarie Simpson

Drenching rain pummels Nimipuu County as Helen, an idealistic middle-aged American History educator, sits alone in her kitchen recovering from a double mastectomy and looking at a pile of bills and an employment termination letter. What makes more sense than suicide? Newly retired social worker and rookie crisis hotline volunteer, AJ sits alone in the office desperate to save Helen from herself. As Helen slips between the worlds after eating a huge assortment of pills, Elizabeth “Betsy” Pennington greets Helen and takes her on a journey designed to convince her to return and invent a new kind of educational model. Pineapple and Other Options braids the stories of three women into a – literally – constructive theatrical experience.

by Jeanmarie Simpson

All the dead Hamlet characters have graduated from Limbo to Purgatory. Seems there’s been a bit of a backlog. Hamlet Senior is ancient and over it. Polonius is befuddled, as ever. Rosencrantz feels like a nitwit, Guildenstern blames Rosencrantz. Ophelia is innocent and furious, Gertrude is spitting mad. Claudius is contrite to the point that you want to smack him. When Churchyards Yawn asks the question – will all these fatally flawed characters ever make it to Heaven?

KIDS CAMP – ages 5-17
by WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

 A shipload of sentimental pirates, gaggles of giggling maidens, and a band of bumbling policemen bring fun and sparkle to one of the most charmingly silly operettas ever to grace the stage. Frederic, our hero, is bound by duty and must abandon his newfound love, Mabel, to join the pirate trade. Alas and alack! Must he truly lose Mabel, or can he find a way out of this frivolous conundrum?

Season Tickets include reserved seating, complimentary refreshments including cocktails and meetings with the company. Full season pass $100 ADULTS $75 Students. 

All others Pay What You Can at the door, and bring a non-perishable food item for St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Discount Ticket Offer for OUTSIDE MULLINGAR at Stage Left Productions

Stage Left is offering $8.00 off with promo code IRELAND for their upcoming production of Outside Mullingar

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Digital Lottery for HAMILTON at ASU Gammage Opens this Friday!

from our friends at ASU Gammage:

There are still great seats available to see HAMILTON at ASU Gammage.

But you can also try your luck on a lottery ticket for $10 #HAM4HAM – get it? Hamilton $10bill for a seat to Hamilton! 
Producer Jeffery Seller and ASU Gammage announce a digital lottery for HAMILTON tickets will begin in conjunction with the show’s first performance September 8.  A limited number of tickets will be available for every performance for $10 each.  The lottery will first open at 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 27, and will close at 12:00 p.m. Thursday, September 2 for tickets to performances September 8 - 16.  Subsequent digital lotteries will begin on each Friday and close the following Thursday for the upcoming week’s performances.


·       Use the official app for HAMILTON, now available for all iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store (http://hamiltonmusical.com/app).

·       You can also visit http://hamiltonmusical.com/lottery to register.

·       The lottery will open at 10:00 AM every Friday and will close for entry at 12:00 PM the next Thursday prior to the following week’s performances.

·       Winner and non-winner notifications will be sent between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM every Thursday for the upcoming week’s performances via email and mobile push notification.  Winners will have two hours to claim and pay for their ticket(s). 

·       Lottery entrants can share about the show on their Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram accounts to gain additional lottery entries per platform.     

·       No purchase or payment necessary to enter or participate.

·       Each winning entrant may purchase up to two (2) tickets. 

·       Only one entry per person. Repeat entries and disposable email addresses will be discarded.

·       Lottery tickets may be picked up at will call beginning 2 hours prior to the performance with a valid photo ID. Lottery tickets void if resold.

·       All times listed are in the local time zone. 


Patrons must be 18 years or older and have a valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the name used to enter. Tickets are non-transferable. Ticket limits and prices displayed are at the sole discretion of the show and are subject to change without notice.

Lottery prices are not valid on prior purchases. Lottery ticket offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. All sales final - no refunds or exchanges.  Lottery may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. A purchase will not improve the chances of winning.

Tickets for HAMILTON are currently on sale.  Patrons are advised to check the official HAMILTON channels and asugammage.com  for late release seats which may become available at short notice.

HAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now.  Featuring​ a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, HAMILTON has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre—a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education. 

With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography. It has won Tony​®​, Grammy​®​, and Olivier Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and an unprecedented special citation from the Kennedy Center Honors.

Auditions for MISS DEMEANOR: THE MUSICAL COMEDY BEAUTY CONTEST at Fountain Hills Youth Theater announced for August 28 & 30

Auditions for casting of 2-6 males and 10 females, ages 12-19 for the new original musical by award-winning playwright, Peter J. Hill, “Miss Demeanor: The Musical Comedy Beauty Contest”  

Saturday, August 28 at 10am, and Monday, August 30 at 5:45pm.
Possible callbacks on Monday August 30 at 6:45pm 

Fountain Hills Theater, 11445 N Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ
Go to our website: www.fhtaz.org/auditions, sign up, download and fill out the audition packet, and bring it to your audition. Video auditions accepted no later than Thursday, August 26th at 12pm. Email link to ross@fhtaz.org
Fountain Hills Youth Theater is proud to announce auditions for their opening show of the 2021-2022 season, “Miss Demeanor: The Musical Comedy Beauty Contest.” This fun, silly and toe-tapping musical spoofs beauty pageants and plays on the silly stereotypes that enter these events. Presented by the fictional Demeanor Hair Care Company, (the company so rare that’s there to dare to care for your hair.) the questionable contestants vie in beauty, pose and talent categories to win the ‘coveted’ title of Miss Demeanor. Hosted by Slick von Greasy, it is soon discovered that one of the contestants is sabotaging the pageant. Who could it be?

 “Miss Demeanor: The Musical Comedy Beauty Contest” is an original musical comedy by award-winning playwright Peter J. Hill.   “Miss Demeanor: The Musical Comedy Beauty Contest” will be produced by Marcie Rozalsky, directed by Ross Collins, musically directed by Jay Melberg, and choreographed by Noël Irick.  

“Miss Demeanor: The Musical Comedy Beauty Contest” will be auditioning for 10 Female and 4 Male roles ages 12-19 (one male role will play both genders). All roles are featured.

“Miss Demeanor: The Musical Comedy Beauty Contest” auditions will be held at 10 AM Saturday, August 28th, and 5:45 PM Monday, August 30th, 2021.  Auditions will be held at the theater located at 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills. Video auditions will be accepted no later than Thursday, August 26th at 12PM. All video auditioners must be available to attend call backs on Monday, August 30th.  Send a link to your video to: ross@fhtaz.org

Auditioners should prepare a 1-2 minute comedic monologue and a cut from an upbeat Broadway-style song (24-36 bars or one minute in length) for auditions. Sheet music or background track is fine.

Please bring any connectors needed (dongles, adapters, etc.) for your playback device.  Please also be prepared to share a 45 second sample of any additional silly or otherwise “talent” you may have, example: juggling, acrobatics, musical instrument, etc. Please bring completed audition form (found on website), resume and headshot or school photo, and list of conflicts Aug. 31 – Oct. 10, 2021. All auditioners should dress to move.

Casting for:
Beauty Pageant Contestants: All have good hearts but are determined to win for their own reasons!
Hillary (Female) – Stereotypical beauty pageant contestant
Stephanie (Female) – Stereotypical beauty pageant contestant
Bambi (Female) – Stereotypical beauty pageant contestant
Connie (Female) – Stereotypical beauty pageant contestant
Babs (Female) – Stereotypical beauty pageant contestant
Dabs (Female) – Stereotypical beauty pageant contestant
Sally Jo (Female) – Stereotypical beauty pageant contestant
Slick Von Greasy – Pageant M.C. (Males – will also play a Female)
Edward – Stephanie’s father (Male): Stephanie's father. Determined she win, whatever the cost!
Mother Magnolia (Female) – Sally Jo’s mother
Mama (Female) – Hillary’s mother
Miss Edna – Pageant coordinator (Female): A tired and harried pageant coordinator!
Stage Managers (Male/Female) – Up to 3 roles
Pageant Judges (Male/Female) – Up to 3 roles

 “Miss Demeanor: The Musical Comedy Beauty Contest” will play Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM from October 1- October 10, 2021 (with the possible addition of matinees on Saturdays).  Rehearsals will start Tuesday, August 31st at 6PM. Rehearsals will be held at the theater. The rehearsal schedule is in the audition packet on the web site, at www.fhtaz.org.

For additional information not contained in this press release please call Fountain Hills Theater at (480) 837-9661 ext 3, or refer to the audition packet found at: www.fhtaz.org

cast announced for CAMELOT at The Phoenix Theatre Company

* Courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors & stage managers in the US.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Video Auditions for THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre now being accepted through September 3

Casting actors of all ages for DST's Holiday Mainstage production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Directed by Trisha Ditsworth 

ACCEPTING VIDEO AUDITIONS – Now through Friday, Sep 3

No roles have been pre-cast. Actors of all races, ethnicities, sizes, abilities, and genders (conforming and non-conforming) are highly encouraged to audition.

CALLBACKS:  Saturday, Sep 11, and Sunday, Sep 12
ORIENTATION: Monday, Sep 27, 6:30 pm
REHEARSALS begin Monday, Sep 27.  A complete schedule will be provided at our first rehearsal.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Flagstaff Music Theatre and Theatrikos Announce Vaccination and Mask Requirement for Audiences

from our friends at Theatrikos:

The Board of Directors of both Theatrikos Theatre Company and Flagstaff Music Theatre approved mandates requiring that all patrons who attend shows, and the cast and crew and staff and volunteers who create them, will be required to show proof of vaccine upon admission to the two Flagstaff theatres.  (Patrons may alternately show proof of a negative covid test with the prior 72 hours.) 

Theatrikos and Flagstaff Music Theatre join Orpheum and a dozen other independent venues in Arizona in making this united decision.  For FMT and Theatrikos, the policy goes into effect on September 30, preview night of Theatrikos’ next show I Hate Hamlet. 

Under the policy, patrons will need to be fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine in order to attend a show and must show proof of vaccination upon entry into the theatre. “Fully vaccinated” means the performance date must be at least 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose covid-19 vaccine, or at least 14 days after a single-dose covid-19 vaccine.  Those who are unable to be vaccinated, such as children under 12 or those who are immunocompromised, may show a negative covid test that has been received within 72 hours of the show.

On July 30, Broadway League made the same decision for all Broadway theartres.  Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League said, “Vaccination has proven the most effective way to stay healthy and reduce transmission.”  Theatrikos and FMT are following Broadway’s lead.

“With the recent spike in coronavirus due to the delta variant, this vaccine mandate is the best way for arts organizations like Flagstaff Music Theatre, Theatrikos and Orpheum to move forward safely,” said Kathleen Leatherwood, President of FMT.

“Together with Theatrikos and a dozen independent venues throughout Arizona, starting with any events after September 20, Orpheum will start requiring proof of vaccines for all audiences.  It’s the best way to continue to provide great entertainment and keep our Flagstaff home safe,” said Susan Walter, General Manager of the Orpheum.

“With these safety protocols in place and recognizing the high vaccination rates among Flagstaff theatre audiences, Theatrikos continues to make safety our priority,” said Terri Brenneman, President of Theatrikos Board of Directors.  “As we gradually reopen, Theatrikos, Orpheum and Flagstaff Music Theatre are all committed to keeping our cast and crew and audience as safe as possible in these tumultuous times. We’re eager to welcome our many patrons and fans back to the magic of live theatre.”

“In theatre we live by the adage, ‘The show must go on.’  But more importantly than that is the health and welfare of our Flagstaff community,” said Theatrikos Safety Coordinator Issi Rayner-Fried.  “As a public venue, we take our responsibility to our community very seriously.” 

Theatrikos has maintained a mask mandate and social distancing for all shows since partially reopening last month.  For both Theatrikos and FMT, the mask mandate and 3’ social distancing, one empty seat between groups, will both remain in place.  Crew and patrons of both theatre companies wear masks at all times—throughout the entire performance.  Cast wears masks during all rehearsals and whenever they are back stage. Cast only removes their masks when on stage performing.  Concessions will remain closed so there is no need to remove the mask. 

The vaccine and mask mandate remains in effect during Flagstaff Music Theatre’s October music review and at least until the November 7 closing of TheatriKids Zombie Prom performance workshop.  The policy will be reevaluated by both organizations on an ongoing basis. 

Theatrikos and FMT’s websites and tickets will have a notice that reads as follows, “By purchasing tickets for this show, I confirm that at the time of the show I have been fully vaccinated against covid-19 (14 days past final vaccination shot), and will provide proof of vaccination prior to entering Doris Harper-White Playhouse.  We advise you to arrive at the theatre a few minutes earlier than usual to account for this check-in process.”

Performances of Theatrikos’ anti-Shakespeare comedy I Hate Hamlet are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinees at 2 pm, October 1—17, 2021.  The usual opening reception has been cancelled due to safety protocols.  Tickets can be purchased online at Theatrikos.com; by calling 928 774 1662; or by visiting the theatre’s box office, which is open from noon to 6 pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and two hours prior to each performance.

Flagstaff Music Theatre will be presenting a 25th anniversary revue the weekend of October 22.  The revue will take audience members on a musical journey from FMT’s beginnings in light opera, through their 2019 hit production, Mamma Mia!. Artists from FMT’s 25 year history will present classics from Pirates of Penzance, Fiddler on the Roof and Oklahoma!, along with more contemporary fare from Legally Blonde, Reefer Madness and Mamma Mia!—and everything in between. Tickets on sale soon.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Rachel Lynett Wins 2021 Arizona Theatre Company National Latinx Playwrights Award for BLACK MEXICAN

from our friends at Arizona Theatre Company:

Rachel Lynett, a playwright, producer, and teaching artist, has won Arizona Theatre Company’s 2021 National Latinx Playwrights Award for Black Mexican. Set against current questions of inclusion and representation, Lynett’s play compels audiences to also ask: Who defines identity?

Lynett, the recipient of the 2021 Yale Drama Prize for the play Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (You Too August Wilson), will receive $1,000 and a workshop of Black Mexican at Arizona Theatre Company. Lynett lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Black Mexican explores who gets to be a part of Latinidad. While Valery fights to prove Ximena isn't Cuban, Alia has given up fighting that she is Latine. Meanwhile, as Zoe attempts to defend her wife, Ximena, she learns more and more about her own unconscious bias. As the women in Black Mexican discover the truth about their natal identities, they must confront their own internal biases that created an environment where a white woman could pass herself off as Cuban, but a Belizean would be shut down for identifying as Latine.  

Arizona Theatre Company Resident Playwright Elaine Romero, reflecting on Lynett’s play, said: 

“In September 2020, Jessica A. Krug published an article on Medium that set the academic world afire. In “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies,” she revealed she had crafted her academic life and position at George Washington University around an assumed identity of being Afro-Latina. This fueled an existing conversation around anti-blackness the Latine theatre community was having with itself that had erupted around growing global conversations about race. Rachel Lynett’s passionate exploration of the true breadth of Latine identity, Black Mexican, places itself at the center of these urgent conversations, and came into the NLPA on the heels of this social change. False assumed identities might be easy to understand, but to rewire our country’s consciousness about what it means to be Afro-Latine requires a deep artistic exploration, such as Lynett’s. It stems from the truth of wanting to own one’s Latine roots in a world that does not have the imagination to see beyond black and white. It is my sincere hope that theatres will aggressively program Black Mexican for its relentless unveiling of so many truths and the corresponding conversations Lynett’s powerful play will ignite.” 

Here is a link to Krug’s piece.  

Established in 1995, the National Latinx Playwrights Award is unique in both its longevity and prescience:  previous recipients include Kristoffer Diaz (prior to being a Pulitzer Prize nominee), Marisela Treviño Orta (before being a Pen Center USA Literary Award recipient), Caridad Svich (before her 2021 Obie Award), Carolos Murillo (just before he was a Jerome Fellow), Octavio Solis (before an NEA Fellowship), Karen Zacarías (before becoming a Helen Hayes Award recipient), and Luis Alfaro, who went on to receive a MacArthur Fellowship (a “genius” grant). Of the past 26 recipients, only two have not yet gone on to productions across the United States and around the world. There are few other awards in the United States that capture the breadth and depth of the Latine experience those past winners have represented, Romero noted. ATC’s long history of recognizing Latine voices is echoed in its embrace of new work that does not neatly comport to genre, form, or subject.   

Arizona Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director Chanel Bragg observed, “It is a privilege and an honor to be on the selection committee to choose this year’s recipient of the National Latinx Playwrights Award. We received several notable submissions. However, Black Mexican was a clear stand out. One of our core values here at Arizona Theatre Company is the importance of conversation. Rachel Lynett’s thought-provoking piece examines the struggle of antiblackness within Latinidad. Black Mexican is not only topical to the moment, but pertinent to enforcing a much-needed dialogue in relation to antiblackness today.” 

Lynett’s works have been featured at San Diego REP (where Black Mexican will be given a reading as part of their Latinx New Play Festival in September), Magic Theatre, Mirrorbox Theatre, Laboratory Theatre of Florida, Barrington Stage Company, Theatre Lab, Theatre Prometheus, Florida Studio Theatre, Laughing Pig Theatre Company, Capital Repertory Theatre, Teatro Espejo, the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival, TheatreSquared, Equity Library Theatre-Chicago, Talk Back Theatre, American Stage Theatre Company, Indiana University (Bloomington), Edgewood College, and Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Their plays Last Night and HE DID IT made the 2020 Kilroy’s List. Rachel Lynett is the Artistic Director of Rachel Lynett Theatre Company and Executive Director of Page by Page. 

On Friday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m., Arizona Theatre Company’s weekly Facebook Live program Hang & Focus Live (www.facebook.org/arizonatheatrecompany) featured interviews with Lynett, Romero, and Eliana Pipes, the 2020 National Latinx Playwrights Award winner, whose play Dream Hou$e will receive its world premiere and productions this year at Long Wharf Theatre (CT), Alliance Theatre (GA), and Baltimore Center Stage (MD). 

For highlights from the episode, visit https://vimeo.com/589597702/a14b3a484d