Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Video Audition Submissions due by December 2 for THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at Limelight Performing Arts

The Play that Goes Wrong! 

Audition Videos Due December 2
Callbacks December 4

Rehearsals Begin January 11

Performances February 25-March 5. 2023

The Phoenix Theatre Company debuts a new concert series with THE MERRIEST with Trisha Ditsworth and Matravius Avent this December

The Phoenix Theatre Company Launches Concert Series with Jazzy Holiday Experience

The Phoenix Theatre Company debuts a new concert series this December with The Merriest. Valley favorites Trisha Ditsworth and Matravius Avent take to the stage for an enchanting evening of show tunes, standards, and holiday surprises. The Merriest limited engagement runs Dec. 15, 2022 - Dec. 18, 2022 and Dec. 20, 2022 - Dec. 23, 2022 at the Hormel Theatre for 8 shows only. 

The Merriest includes timeless favorites such as "It Had To Be You," " My Favorite Things," "The Man With The Bag," and "Cool Yule." Phoenix audiences will be charmed by this one-of-a-kind jazzy holiday showcase. "We absolutely love performing together and we hope audiences will leave humming and tapping their toes," said Trisha. "We have added dance elements into our show for a splash of fun, some tapping, and Fred and Ginger style movement that we choreograph ourselves."

Married couple Matravius Avent and Trisha Ditsworth are Phoenix-based artists and veterans of The Phoenix Theatre Company stage with over 20 shows between them. Favorites include Memphis, where the couple met for the first time, Something Rotten, My Way, Mary Poppins, Rent, Camelot, The Toxic Avenger, and The Sound of Music. Both artists have been lucky to travel the US and abroad performing in places such as Japan, Singapore, Europe and the Caribbean via cruise ships, tours and concerts. 

When not performing, Trisha enjoys teaching private voice and acting lessons, directing, and painting. 

This year has been incredibly special for the couple as they welcomed their son Lennox into the world.

Tickets for The Merriest limited engagement are on sale now. To purchase, call (602) 254-2151 or visit www.phoenixtheatre.com.

This is the first of four scheduled concert performances with the rest scheduled throughout 2023.

*Denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers

Auditions for ALICE IN WONDERLAND at Stalight Community Youth Theater announced for December 3

This brand-new musical version of the timeless classic takes you down the rabbit hole with the ever-curious Alice to a land of zany adventures where nothing is as it seems. The White Rabbit, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, the Mock Turtle, the mysterious Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, and all your favorites from Lewis Carroll’s beloved books make this a magical, tuneful, and over-the-top entertaining musical for the whole family!

Directed by Josh Hengst & Christina Clodt

We will be casting as a YOUTH show (7-18)

COVID PROTOCOLS - Starlight Community Theater strongly encourages all actors, production team, and staff to be fully vaccinated. Starlight reserves the right to adapt the Covid Protocol to protect the health of our volunteers and patrons.


Sign up for one 30-minute slot for Saturday, December 3, 2022.  These auditions will be in person in small groups at Starlight Community Theater. 
Please prepare to sing 16-32 bars of a vocal selection in the style of the show. Accompanist will not be provided, please bring a recorded back ground track without vocals.

Fill-out the audition registration form at:  https://forms.gle/HxbtdshyqLMXkTk27

Please send your theater resume & headshot (optional) to: info@starlightcommunitytheater.com
CALLBACKS - Callbacks by invitation will be held at the theater from 9am-12pm on Sunday, December 4.  Vocal selections will be provided prior to callbacks and may also include cold reads from the script.  Not getting a callback does not mean you are not being considered.

REHEARSALS - A draft rehearsal calendar is attached. Please make sure all known conflicts are listed in relation to the calendar. These are all possible rehearsals, and you may not be called for every rehearsal. NO CONFLICTS accepted for tech week and performances. New conflicts will not be accepted after casting decisions have been made.

PERFORMANCES -ALICE IN WONDERLAND will perform February 17-26, 2023 live in person at Starlight Community Theater, 1611 W. Whispering Wind Dr. Suite #9, Phoenix, AZ 85085.  

CHARACTERS -  Actors may be cast in multiple roles

Alice                       Alice’s Mother

Loreena                  Alice’s sister

 The Mad Hatter      The Queen of Hearts

The White Rabbit     The King of Hearts

The Doormouse       The Knave of Hearts

The March Hare       The Mock Turtle

The Dodo Bird         The Cheshire Cat

Tweedle Dee           Tweedle Dum

The Caterpillar

Ensemble Roles:  Tap-Dancing Cards, Rose Painters, Pop-Up Flowers, Caucus Race Animals, additional ensemble chorus and dancers TBD

Auditions for MUMBLETY PEG at Fountain Hills Youth Theatre announced for December 11 & 12

Mumblety Peg
Written by Ross Collins
Music by Miciah Dodge
Lyrics by Ross Collins and Miciah Dodge

Sunday, December 11 at 11:00 am
& Monday, December 12 at 6:00 pm

February 17 – 26, 2023
Performances Friday, Saturday at 7:00pm and Sunday at 2pm

An Original Youth Theater Musical in the Youth Theater
Our 2022 YABOY Production
(Young Actors Benefitting Other Youth)
Parental Guidance Suggested

CASTING FOR (Ages 10-19)
This production is rated PG. Parental guidance is suggested when signing your child/teen up for audition.

Your first look at MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at Theatrikos Theatre Company

photos courtesy Theatrikos Theatre Company

Cast announced for A WINNIE-THE-POOH CHRISTMAS TAIL at Valley Youth Theatre

WINNIE-THE-POOH                         Xander Zeeb (Mesa)
PIGLET                                                  Parker Pitt (Phoenix)
EEYORE                                                 Kylan Chait (Guadalupe)
TIGGER                                                 Jeremy Wood (Anthem)
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN                      Oliver Christie (Phoenix)
RABBIT                                                 Slye Leone (Phoenix)
OWL                                                      Vivian Nichols (Phoenix)
KANGA                                                 Lucy Glow• (Phoenix)
ROO                                                       Cora Hancock• (Phoenix)
BOBA THE BEAR                               Claire Calihan•  (Phoenix)
WINTER THE FOX                              Ellie Evans (Phoenix)
GIGI THE GOPHER                            Jacquelyn Fuchs (Glendale)
BRUCE THE BADGER                        Hudson Hubble• (Phoenix)

• Indicates they are making their VYT Mainstage debut!


Talking to director Chris Chávez about LA RUTA at Stray Cat Theatre

Chris Chávez

by Gil Benbrook

Chris Chávez has directed both plays and musicals at theatres across the valley and this season he's set to tackle three shows that touch upon some serious topics - this winter he'll direct the Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning Angels in America and he'll follow that in the spring with another Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning show, the musical Next to Normal. This week he directs a more recent show, La Ruta, at Stray Cat Theatre, which opens on Friday and runs through December 17. 

Chávez has directed plays in the past that also focus on serious subjects and issues; he directed the musical Carrie, which deals with the impact of bullying, and previously directed Next to Normal, the musical that centers on mental illness.

During final rehearsals of the show, Chávez sat down to answer some questions about La Ruta.
La Ruta is a relatively new play, having debuted in 2018, and Stray Cat Theatre is presenting the local premiere. Since most people haven't seen it or don't know the piece, what would you tell them the play is about?  
Chris Chávez: "La Ruta is a play about six strong and resilient Mexican women and the continuous struggle to protect themselves and their loved ones from the 'invisible monster' who threatens their daily lives."

Why do you think what La Ruta focuses on is an important subject that people should know about?

"La Ruta focuses on the important topic of the Juaréz femicides that have been occurring in that city and along the U.S./Mexican border for at least the past 30 years, if not longer.  This is a topic that when you tell people about it, they either have never heard of it, or are not aware of the magnitude of the issues and their impact on the Mexican people.  Since these femicides have been occurring it always has appeared to be an 'them' vs 'us' problem.  People have turned a blind eye for far too long to do nothing about these issues.  That is only ONE reason that this piece is important."

 Why did you want to direct this play?

"After Straycat announced that they would be presenting an all BIPOC season with all BIPOC directors, I was overjoyed.  Then, Ron May (AD) approached me about directing a play in their season.  My first thought was to direct a play that honors my people, but also has a message.  I proposed a play that went up at Steppenwolf Theatre prior to the pandemic called, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter also by Isaac Gómez (and based on an amazing YA novel of the same name by Erika Sanchez). Ron checked and unfortunately the rights were not available at that time (I’m still putting it out in the universe that I will direct that play one day) so he asked if I had heard of this playwright's other play, La Ruta.  I read the play and was immediately sold.  It was a script that had everything I wanted: powerful characters, beautiful story telling, a powerful social justice component, and most of all a play with an all Latiné cast. "

Like the playwright Isaac Gómez, who lived in the area the play is set in but said he wasn't aware of the incidents until he was in high school, I had no awareness of the subject. How familiar with the incidents were you?

"As an immature college student I crossed the Juȧrez border when I was around 19 or 20 to go to the clubs when I was not legally able to do so in the U.S.  Obviously a very unwise decision considering what I know now.  The years following that 'trip' and with the internet becoming a household luxury, I started to hear more and more about the atrocities across the border.  But what I was reading and watching was often through a U.S. lens, which often sensationalized the issues or worse, minimalized them.  Since that time I have made it a point to educate myself further on the subject."

I know Gómez did a lot of research in writing the play, what type of research did you do to prepare yourself to direct the play?

"When it was decided that La Ruta was the play I would be directing, I immediately surrounded myself with as much media as I could on the subject in order to get different perspectives of these immense situations.  I listened to podcasts, I read (many) books, I read articles, I watched a lot of documentaries.  So to say that my summer was dedicated to my research of the subject in this show, is an understatement.  A bonus of doing so much research on the subject is that I was able to connect with a local author, Stella Pope Duarte, who wrote a novel called If I Die in Juárez, which uses the femicides as a plot point and background for the novel.  She was gracious enough to speak to our cast about her own personal experiences with the novel and in Juárez.  If anyone wants recommendations on where to start research, I have a list."

Chris Chávez and the cast of La Ruta

What was the audition process like and what were some of the obstacles you encountered in being a male director where this is a play that features an all female cast and focuses on female empowerment?

"The audition process for La Ruta was not much different than it is with most productions.  Once the announcement was made we had one initial round of auditions, then a round of callbacks.  All in all, from audition to casting, it took 3 days.  Regarding being the only male in the room (my AD and SM are also Latina), it has been an absolute pleasure and honor.  I think the most difficult “obstacles” that come with being in such a unique position, is the external rumblings you hear about how others perceive these choices.  The same happened when I directed another powerhouse Latina play, Real Women Have Curves, a few years ago.  People were worried that a male could not fill the shoes of the director about a play about women.  I will say what I said then, I was raised by a slew of strong and powerful women, and they have made me the man I am today.  So to direct these types of play is a tribute to them and in doing so I hope to honor them.  Additionally, for La Ruta, I also knew as a male I would not always “get it right”, so I made the request that my Assistant Director be female and now have the incomparable Luz Navarro by my side to provide her perspective when I’m not sure or I’m stuck."

Tell us how music plays a part in this play.

"La Ruta is a play with incidental music and NOT a musical.  The difference is in a musical, you have musical/dance numbers that are part of/advance the plot, while in a play with incidental music, the music is used to enhance the mood, make some sort of commentary, underscore scenes, and so on.  In La Ruta, the music is used to make a lot of political commentary.  One of the most important is that all the songs within the show are songs that were originally composed and sung by men.  La Ruta uses the musical numbers here to take back the power and the meaning of the songs and put it under the female lens, further supporting the theme of antipatriarchy and female empowerment.  When you come to see the show, in the program you will find notes that I wrote that provide context for each song within La Ruta."

La Ruta sounds like a very intense drama, as it focuses on the disappearances, murders, human trafficking and sexual violence surroundig these female workers, but is there any hope for these women - many of whom are mothers desperately searching for news of their daughtters - or positive aspects you're taken from the play?

"To put it bluntly, no.  No, there is no hope for these women or a lot of women who are in similar circumstances.  These women are victims of circumstance.  It is not their fault that they are poor, brown, and have no other choice but to work tirelessly, for pennies a day, just for survival.  That is why this play is important.  More people need to know about this epidemic and it must be stopped.  Regarding the positive aspects of this play, I say and will always say, women are powerful and resilient on their own, and more so in numbers.  It is such an inspiration to see, despite the threats and push back they get, that many women fight on the daily (sometimes to the death) to make us all aware of the unending issues.  It is also an inspiration to work with such an amazing cast of powerful women baring their souls to ensure the stories of the women of Juárez are never forgotten."

For this season, Stray Cat Theatre is featuring all BIPOC focused plays directed by local BIPOC directors. What can you tell us why inclusiveness and diversity are important to the local theatre community?

"Since I started directing I have made in my personal mission to do most of my work with theatres that are not simply virtue-signaling, but are actually making good on their words (diversity/anti-racist statemets) and actually making attempts to create more inclusive and diverse spaces.  Locally in theatre the two biggest issues as it relates to diversity and inclusion that I have observed is the lack of diversity in leadership/boards and theatres choosing to produce “diverse” productions, but not tell our stories.  I use the old adage, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig’ to make a point.  What I mean is you can put on all the Annie’s, Oklahoma’s, and Our Town’s as you want with a diverse cast, but at the end of the day, these are still white stories.  I want to see more shows like Fences, Yellowface, La Ruta and so on to be produced.  Theatres always ask how they can get more diversity within their organization.  The first step is by inviting us (BIPOC individuals) to the table, trusting us, and most of all telling OUR stories.  I am not a gatekeeper and I do not have all the answers, but what I do have is the experiences of a 45 year old queer, Chicano, man and that alone should speak for something."

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing La Ruta at Stray Cat Theatre?

"To date, this has been the most important piece of theatre I have directed.  It is an awareness piece, but it is far more than that, it is a piece of hope and inspiration.  With this play I hope audiences walk away with an awareness in their mind and a fire in their heart to fight for this cause long after this show is forgotten.  With La Ruta, it has been my personal mission to ensure that through this production the missing and murdered women of Juȧrez will not be forgotten.  Not now.  Not ever."

GALATEA - B3 Theatre - December 8-17, 2022

by John Lyly, adapted by Sabrina Rose Bivens

Set in the far future after humanity has collapsed, rebuilt itself, and gone to the stars, Galatea is the story of two women, dressed as men, who fall in love with each other, and the Roman gods who seek to use them as pawns.  Part sci-fi B-movie and part celebration of gender fluidity, this uproarious comedy by John Lyly is adapted for modern audiences by Sabrina Rose Bivens.

Two desperate fathers send their only daughters into the surrounding woods, disguised as boys, to avoid a seemingly inevitable fate of being eaten by a monster. Cupid, insulted by one of Diana's nymphs, concocts an outlandish scheme to slight them all and prove love is virtuous. In spite of a shipwreck deterring their original plans, three brothers in competition for their inheritance choose to continue their apprenticeships in the strange new land. All these separate lives are slowly woven together as Cupid ties his love-knots to a dangerous and hilarious end. No one is safe from love or spite.

Church of the Epiphany, Tempe
December 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17

Tickets are limited, and available at:

With special thanks to the City of Tempe for their generous grant.

Review Highlights: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE MUSICAL - Arizona Broadway Theatre

Renée Kathleen Koher, Jamie Michael Parnell, Cassie Miller, and Trevor Squiers
Photo by Alexxis Grant, Timeless Present Photos

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 December 29

"Since being published more than 175 years ago, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has spawned hundreds of film, TV, and theatrical adaptations. The timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited on Christmas by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, is clearly beloved, and Arizona Broadway Theatre's production of the 1994 musical adaptation is well cast, smartly directed, and a highly entertaining and memorable musical version of Dickens' story....The score, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens is stellar. ...Jamie Michael Parnell is excellent as the heartless Scrooge...Kurtis Overby's direction is smart and his staging is exceptional, as is the set design by Christian Fleming...Probably just about everyone knows how A Christmas Carol ends, but the popularity of Dickens' tale proves that it never gets old. Arizona Broadway Theatre's production of the family-friendly musical adaptation isn't just highly entertaining, big, colorful and bold; it's also full of life and beautifully gets to the heart of this classic tale and the emotional story of Scrooge's journey to redemption." - Gil Benbrook, TalkinBroadway.com (click here to read the complete review)

Review Highlights: THE CHILDREN at Theatre Artists Studio

Judith Eisenberg, Tom Noga, and Judy Lebeau
Photo by Mark Gluckman

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 December 11

"Lucy Kirkwood's The Children focuses on the aftermath of a nuclear disaster and how it personally impacts three individuals. It's a smartly written and intriguing play and Theatre Artists Studio is presenting the local premiere of the drama in a chilling production with a gifted trio of actors and solid direction...Kirkwood's dialogue is sharp and her pacing exceptional as she slowly reveals information about each of these complex characters...There is also an eerie uncertainty that constantly looms overhead, from the first scene when the lights come up to reveal Rose with a large spot of blood on her face to the unsettling conclusion, that will keep you guessing until the end....Judy Rollings' direction achieves strong and clear performances from her cast that are natural and infused with emotion...a smart, thought-provoking play about the need for individuals to accept their responsibilities and to make hard decisions. It's well worth seeing and may haunt you for hours or even days after seeing it." 
- Gil Benbrook, TalkinBroadway.com (click here to read the complete review)

Monday, November 28, 2022

Auditions announced for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE at Arizona Theatre Matters

from our friends at Arizona Theatre Matters:

Who wants to do the wildly successful play, Shakespeare In Love in April and May of 2023? We're in the Valley of the Sun and are putting together a radically inclusive cast and crew. 

Send us an email with a resume and photo if you'd like to read for a role, direct, design something, stage manage, do the social media stuff, etc. It's a major bonus if you speak ASL.

This live production (16 performances) is a benefit for Arizona Theatre Matters' YouTube channel. We have more than 10,000 subscribers and all of our content must be ASL-interpreted and audio-described. Every donation to the project will go directly to interpreter and describer fees. Made possible by grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Rehearsals begin Saturday April 1. Show dates are Fridays through Sundays May 5 - 28. 

Roles in the play:

WEEK AT A GLANCE: November 28-December 4, 2022

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