Thursday, September 30, 2021

Cast Announced for A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at Mesa Encore Theatre

Hector Coris (Pseudolus)
Kevin Purcell (Hysterium)
Wayne Peck (Marcus Lycus)
Logan Holmes (Hero)
Gracie Gamble (Philia)
Kathi Osborne (Domina)
Matt McDonald (Miles Gloriosus)
Darryl Poenisch (Senex)
Daniel Marburger (Erronius)

The Proteans will be played by Eric Vanegas, Hans Keller, Daniel Campbell, and Michael Luciano with Alexandra Palmatier, Deborah Lee Hall, Hannah Brudnock, Lily Whipple, Isabella Quinn, and Jacquie Notorio as Courtesans. 

Directed by Patrick Walsh
Musical Direction by Michael Snyder
Choreography by Gina Victor

Talking to Playwright Beau Heckman about his World Premiere Play LEGENDS OF: THE WEREWOLF

Beau Heckman

by Gil Benbrook

Beau Heckman has graced many stages in town, including in shows for Childsplay, the Phoenix Theatre Company, and Theatre Works, but Southwest Shakespeare Company is where he's made his local home, having appeared in lead and supporting roles in over a dozen productions there. He's also designed props for numerous SSC shows and recently made his directorial debut for one of their virtual shows.

Now Heckman makes his playwrighting debut, also at Southwest Shakespeare Company, with Legends Of: The Werewolf, a loving homage to the TV series In Search of... that ran for five years in the late 1970s to early 1980s and was devoted to investigating mysterious phenomena such as UFOs and Bigfoot along with other unexplained phenomena.  

In final rehearsals and tech prep for the show, Heckman sat down to answer a few questions on how the play came to be.

Since this is a world premiere play, what would you say that Legends Of: The Werewolf is about?

Heckman: "It’s a love poem to Syfy documentaries shows like In Search Of..., Ancient Aliens and many of the history channel programs."

How did the idea for the play come to be?

"It began over coffee. I can’t remember how the conversation led to this, but I happened to mention that there is a shared werewolf myth that extends around the globe. I guess it sounded interesting, because before I knew it I was being challenged to write a play. And that voice in my head that immediately says no, no, we could never do anything like that, was silent for once."

When did you start writing it, and how does the final version compare to your original idea for the piece?

"I began writing this in late February or early spring of 2021. The final version is more or less what the original concept always was except for a brief trip to the Darkside when I thought the play needed to be moodier. That was going nowhere so I quickly jumped back to the original concept and infused my love for Sci-fi documentary series."

How did the rehearsal process impact the play? 

"It was interesting getting it up on its feet. That helped to infuse a lot of life into the stories that are told throughout this play. It was also a challenge, as we were building this from the ground up and create that TV set for Legends Of."

Since this is the first play you've written, what difficulties did you encounter while writing it?

"What difficulties? I think… All of them. I had these ancient stories, but you can go onto YouTube and see all of them. I wanted to make mine different and tell my own story at the same time, and setting it in both the 1970s and today."

You're both acting in the show and the playwright. Did you write the play with the plan that you'd be playing Professor Edward Halsingland, the host of the TV show in the play, or did the decision to be in the show come about after it was written?
"Part of the challenge was it was a one-man show for myself. Although I don’t see why it couldn’t be played by anyone."

The play centers around a paranormal TV show - are you a fan of those types of shows, and was there any specific type of research around paranormal activities and/or werewolves you did while writing the piece?

"I’ve always love those shows! Watching In Search Of as a kid in the 70s really had an impact on me. Amelia Earhart, Easter island, Pompeii… I still watch those shows today, but I’m a little bit more of a skeptic."

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing Legends Of: The Werewolf at Southwest Shakespeare Company?

"I hope the audience goes away feeling like they were just on a ride at Disneyland, and happen to learn something along the way."

photos courtesy Southwest Shakespeare Company

photos - THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE - ASU Music Theatre and Opera

photos by Reg Madison Photography

WEEK AT A GLANCE: September 28 - October 3, 2021

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






review - CAMELOT - The Phoenix Theatre Company

Kate Cook, Toby Yatso, James D. Gish (center), and cast
photo by Reg Madison Photography
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 24

"Toward the end of the classic musical Camelot, which tells the story of King Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, and the formation of the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur desperately hopes that his story will be remembered, so he enlists a young boy he meets to promise to pass his story on. That sense of storytelling in the show inspired playwright David Lee to take a fresh look at this beloved musical to see if it could be told by a smaller cast of actors as if they were around a campfire telling the story with the focus squarely on the central relationship triangle of Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot. The Phoenix Theatre Company presents the local premiere of this new adaptation of the musical which features a gifted cast of eight actors (most of whom play multiple roles with ease), assured direction, and impressive creative elements, resulting in a gorgeous, charming, and ultimately moving production...."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The ariZoni Theatre Awards announce Raffle for $2,000 in Theatre Tickets!

Don't miss out on your chance to enter to win one or more of the remaining amazing prizes from the 2021 Zoni Celebration! 

Total value of remaining items is over $2,000! 
Contest ends this Friday, October 1 at noon

Prizes include: 
-Phoenix Theatre Company - 6 pack of tickets ($365 value)
-Stage Left Productions - 2 season tickets for all of their 2022 shows ($280 value)
-a family 4 pack of tickets to Queen Creek Performing Arts Center
-2 tickets to any Spotlight Youth Theatre show this season
-2 tickets to any Stray Cat Theatre production this season
-2 tickets to Zao Theatre
and many more!

Auditions for Spanish-Speaking Child Actors for Arizona Opera's production of EL MILAGRO DEL RECUERDO announced for October 17 & 24

On October 17 & 24, Arizona Opera will hold auditions for child actors to cast four speaking (non-singing) roles in a production of a new holiday opera EL MILAGRO DEL RECUERDO by Javier Martínez and Leonard Foglia.  The opera is scheduled to play for five performances at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix, and The Temple of Music and Art in Tucson, in December 2021.

Auditioning children should be fluent Spanish speakers, and must be at least 12 years of age and have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

The roles are as follows: Rafael – boy
                                        Araceli – girl
                                         Silvio -- boy
                                         Young Laurentino – boy

All interested candidates should have late afternoon/evening and weekend availability during the rehearsal period in Phoenix of November 13– December 1, 2021 and be available for all performances as follows: 

Phoenix - December 3, 4, 5mat
Tucson - December 10 (technical brush-up rehearsal), December 11, 12mat 

Child actors will be paid an honorarium, plus provided hotel accommodations in Tucson for the final performance weekend.

Auditions are scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 17, 2021, and Sunday, October 24, 2021 at the Arizona Opera Center, 1636 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix 85004.

To officially register for the auditions, please complete and submit the registration document at

For questions, contact Zack Hayhurst at

reviews - CHICAGO - Arizona Broadway Theatre

Tiffany Sparks and Liz Fallon
photo by Scott Samplin
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 30

"When COVID shut down live theatre productions around the world in March of 2020, Arizona Broadway Theatre's production of Chicago had only played a few performances. ABT vowed they'd bring that production back—it has just opened their 2021 season. With an exceptional cast, sublime creative aspects, confident direction, and sensational choreography, it was well worth the wait....Kurtis Overby's direction is assured and clear. His choreography is fun and upbeat and features period steps as well as some of the signature Bob Fosse and Ann Reinking choreography...Every single cast member shines....Chicago at Arizona Broadway Theatre is sexy, funny, and simply superb. Any fan of this musical is in for a treat..."   -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...a production that sizzles with pizzazz and features vibrant and scintillating performances by Tiffany Sparks as Velma and Liz Fallon as Roxie Hart,...Kudos to director/choreographer Kurtis Overby for capturing the energy and tensions of the story and creating a full, energetic, and well-rounded staging of the show. Likewise, to Michael Ursua and his nine-piece band for their brassy jazzy accompaniment....Liz Fallon is superb as Roxie, a vibrant song-and-dance presence, bringing vitality and flair to her role...Tiffany Sparks lives up to her surname, embodying her role as Velma with just the right mix of sass and vulnerability...."  - Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Three-Time Emmy Winner Bradley Whitford Plays Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Orpheum Theatre

from our friends at American Theatre Guild / Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre:

Three-time Emmy® winner Bradley Whitford (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The West Wing,” Get Out, The Post) will play the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in the magical new interpretation of Charles Dickens’ timeless story, A Christmas Carol

Adapted by Tony Award winner Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and originally directed and conceived by Tony Award winner Matthew Warchus (Matilda), A Christmas Carol comes to the Orpheum Theatre from Nov. 18–21, 2021. 

Single tickets start at $35.25 and are available at Group ticket savings for 10+ are available by contacting


Thursday, November 18, 2021 8 p.m.
Friday, November 19, 2021 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 20, 2021 2 p.m.
Saturday, November 20, 2021 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 21, 2021 1 p.m.
Sunday, November 21, 2021 6:30 p.m.

Bradley Whitford can currently be seen in the fourth season of Hulu’s acclaimed series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in his Emmy Award-winning role of Commander Joseph Lawrence. He is known for his work in the Academy Award®-nominated films Get Out and The Post and will soon be seen in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tick, tick… BOOM! He is currently filming Rosaline with Kaitlyn Dever and executive produced the documentary, Not Going Quietly, which is currently in select theaters. Whitford is represented by ICM Partners and Greenlight Management.

“Like so many of us, this time of enforced isolation has left me starving for the communal experience of the live theatre. I can’t imagine a more thrilling moment than stepping onto the stage in this spectacular new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” said Bradley Whitford. “Come. Join us. Celebrate. And spoiler alert: God bless us. Every one!”

A holiday masterpiece for all ages, A Christmas Carol opened on Broadway to rave reviews on November 20, 2019, following critically acclaimed runs at The Old Vic, London. Breaking several box office records at the Lyceum Theatre, the production was nominated for five 2020 Tony Awards and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Adaptation. A Christmas Carol will return to The Old Vic for its fourth season this year. In addition to this production, a second U.S. production of A Christmas Carol will play San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre this holiday season.

This timeless – and timely – tale of isolation and redemption welcomes theatergoers into an immersive experience that is brimming with Christmas spirit. The production features dazzling staging, moving storytelling, and 12 of the most cherished Christmas carols, including “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” and “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.”

The Hollywood Reporter

A Christmas Carol features scenic and costume design by Tony Award winner Rob Howell; lighting design by Tony Award winner Hugh Vanstone; sound design by Tony Award nominee Simon Baker; music, orchestrations, and arrangements by Tony Award nominee Christopher Nightingale; music direction by Remy Kurs; casting by Jim Carnahan, CSA and Jason Thinger; and movement by Lizzi Gee. This production is directed by Thomas Caruso. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

A Christmas Carol is produced by Tom Smedes, Heather Shields, Nathan Gehan, Jamison Scott, Catherine Schreiber, Peter Stern, Xin Wen, Cornice Productions, Jack Lane, Instone Productions, Nancy Gibbs/Joseph Longthorne, Mark Lonow & JoAnne Astrow, J. Scott & Sylvia G Bechtel, Walport Productions, Alexandra Weinstein & Tobi Pilavin Weinstein, Propaganda Productions/42nd.Club, Beth Lenke/Wolfstone Productions, Tanninger Entertainment, CHK Productions/ Louise H. Beard & Seriff Productions, Mark Lippman, Fiona Howe Rudin/Sammy Lopez, David Lambert/Shawn Arani, Brian Mutert & Derek Perrigo/Gary & Reenie Heath, and Terry Schnuck/Joel t Newman, with Associate Producer Chase Thomas.

Please Note: and are the only official sources for tickets to all shows in the BROADWAY IS BACK AT THE ORPHEUM THEATRE SERIES. If you purchase tickets through another source, you may pay inflated prices and your tickets will not be guaranteed

THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE - ASU Music Theatre and Opera - September 30 - October 3, 2021

Music and lyrics by William Finn
Book by Rachel Sheinkin

Conceived by Rebecca Feldman
Directed and choreographed by Seth Tucker
Music direction by Kevin White (‘22)

Laugh-out-loud funny and effortlessly endearing, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” has charmed its way into Broadway history as a modern classic. A quirky group of mid-pubescent spellers compete for the championship title – six spellers enter, one speller leaves. At least the losers get a juice box! Experience the dramatic ups and downs on the wild ride to first place. With an engaging, tuneful score by William Finn and a sweet, H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S book by Rachel Sheinkin, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” causes audiences to fall in love, both with the show itself and its “perspicacious,” “jocular” and “effervescent” spellers.

Content warning: Suitable for audiences age 12 and up.

Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 2, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3, 2 p.m.
Evelyn Smith Music Theatre

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets

RONA: Aydan Bruce
OLIVE: Jonice Bernard
LOGAINNE: Lina Forero
MARCY: Liuyi Jiang
CHIP: Leo Gallegos
LEAF: Wesley Bradstreet
BARFEE: Teddy Ladley
MITCH: Chris Elliott
PANCH: Seth Morton

Matthew Dodaro (Barfee/Panch/Leaf)
Jessica Lester (Rona/Logainne)
Sophia Marino (Olive/Marcy)
Matthew Villar (Chip/Mitch)

ALMOST MAINE - Greasepaint Youth Theatre - October 1 - 3, 2021

Welcome to Almost, Maine, a place that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States. It’s almost in Canada. And it’s not quite a town, because its residents never got around to getting organized. So it almost doesn’t exist. One cold, clear, winter night, as the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, the residents of Almost, Maine, find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend—almost—in this delightful midwinter night’s dream.

The first PLAY of the Fall season to be produced on the Courtyard stage is Almost, Maine.

Almost, Maine is a play by John Cariani, comprising nine short plays that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine.

This play will be performed on our Outdoor Courtyard Stage

Starring: Bijan Atri, Nora Palermo, Sophie Perlstein, Gwen Selfridge, Declan Skaggs, Prescott Smidt, Noah Sucoto, Sydney Vance

Director: Joycelin Jacobs-Schwartz

Friday October 1, 2021 - 07:00 PM
Saturday October 2, 2021 - 07:00 PM
Sunday October 3, 2021 - 07:00 PM

Ticket Prices: $20
Box Office: 480-949-7529
The Historic Stagebrush Theatre, 7020 East 2nd St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251