Sunday, April 30, 2023

Review Highlights: FAIRVIEW - Stray Cat Theatre

Lydia Corbin, Aija Tuffentsamer, and Dayna Donovan
Photo by John Groseclose

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 May 6

"America is obsessed with racism. That statement is something you'll hear stated in Jackie Sibblies Drury's Pulitzer Prize winning play Fairview. While the negative impact of racism is something most white people don't have to personally deal with, Drury focuses her play in a specific way to speak directly to the white people in the audience to ask them questions about how their actions possibly influence the negative treatment of Black people. Stray Cat Theatre presents the local premiere in a fairly solid production of this interesting but somewhat messy and overstuffed play. Because of that, you may walk out thinking that Fairview isn't a well-written play or one where all of the ideas Drury throws out don't exactly stick, but it's also a play you will most likely be thinking about, discussing, and debating about for days after seeing it. I know I am"  - Gil Benbrook, (click here to read the complete review)

Friday, April 28, 2023

Your first look at RUNAWAYS at Spotlight Youth Theatre

photos by Robert Waller

Valley Youth Theatre Announces Mark Stoddard As New Associate Artistic Director

Valley Youth Theatre is excited to welcome Mark Stoddard as the Associate Artistic Director of Valley Youth Theatre. Stoddard brings over 20 years in theatre education experience to VYT, most recently as the Theatre Director and Instructor at Xavier College Preparatory.  

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a talented artist and help him springboard the future of Valley Youth Theatre,” said Valley Youth Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, Bobb Cooper.

Stoddard’s hiring is part of a planned strategic restructuring of the theatre by the staff and the Board of Directors to ensure the nonprofit’s long-term viability. Stoddard will begin in August, 2023 and will ultimately transition to Valley Youth Theatre’s Artistic Director when Cooper, VYT’s Producing Artistic Director of over 27 years, retires from his position.

Cooper will transition to an advisory role, focusing on securing a permanent home for Valley Youth Theatre and fostering an endowment to make sure VYT continues to be the impactful organization it has been over the past 34 years.

Said Stoddard, “I love seeing young people develop their self-confidence, critical thinking skills, imagination, creativity, social empathy, and sense of belonging through theatre. I am excited to join the amazing Valley Youth Theatre team to create magical moments for young Arizona artists and audiences.”

Stoddard received his Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Susquehanna University and received a master’s degree in educational Theater in 2005 from New York University. As a Theater educator, Mark has taught and mentored thousands of students at various educational organizations including Xavier College Preparatory, Paradise Valley Community College, Glendale Community College, and Dream City Arts. He will begin at Valley Youth Theatre in August.

Established in 1989, Valley Youth Theatre’s mission is to inspire young people to be the best they can be through a variety of performing arts opportunities. Along with their 6 annual mainstage performances, VYT offers eight-week Fall, Winter and Spring performing arts classes, as well as Spring Break and Summer Camps. VYT’s ongoing community programs include Literacy and the Arts, Sponsor-a-Seat and The Nigel Ross Scholarship Fund as well as their annual fundraising event, VYTal Affair, in August.

For more information on Valley Youth Theatre, visit

Auditions for Young Performers (ages 8-12) for THE WIZARD OF OZ at Arizona Broadway Theatre announced for May 4

Arizona Broadway Theatre will be holding auditions for YOUNG PERFORMERS (Ages 8 – 12) on Thursday, May 4, 2023, from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., for the following roles in its upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz. Rehearsals begin around May 27, 2023, and the production runs from June 16 – July 23
MUNCHKINS – mysterious inhabitants of Oz, who help Dorothy find her way toward the Emerald City. Must be shorter than 60”.
If you are interested in auditioning, please email to register for an audition slot and get additional details.
Young Performers should bring with them a headshot (or recent photo) and a resume (if available) but will not need to prepare anything else in advance. They will be taught a selection of music and movement at the audition.
Audition Date and Time:          Thursday, May 4, 2023 from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Audition location:                     Arizona Broadway Theatre Lobby & Rehearsal Hall
                                                  7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria, AZ  85382
Questions? Please contact Stephen Hohendorf, Education Director at 623.374.6518 or by email at

Your first look at THE ROOMMATE at Theatre Artists Studio

photos by Bill Phillips

Your first look at THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL at Musical Theatre of Anthem

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Buy 1 Get 1 Ticket Offer for THE ROOMATE at Theatre Artists Studio

Cast announced for DISNEY'S THE LION KING, JR at TheaterWorks

Rafiki: Reagan Arseneault
Mufasa: Israel Campbell
Sarabi: Mimi Aguilar
Zazu: Charlotte Mikalsky
Scar: JR Riddle
Young Simba Zeke Wooden
Simba: Liam Garrett
Young Nala: Zara Sego
Nala: Valerie Winch
Sarafina: Kendall Fugatt
Banzai: Owen Striker
Shenzi: Kinley Stratton
Ed: Wybie Torres
Timon: AJ Riddle
Pumbaa: Janella Beaver
Lioness: Madelynn McBee
Lioness: Lilly-Ellen Gober
Lioness: Justis Schneider
Ensemble, Zebra, Wildebeest: Madison Lind
Ensemble, Zebra, Wildebeest: Story Difillipantonio
Ensemble, Giraffe, Wildebeest: Makena White
Ensemble, Giraffe, Wildebeest: Bailey Striker
Ensemble, Antelope, Wildebeest: Hailey Black
Ensemble, Antelope, Wildebeest: Theo McComb
Ensemble, Crocodile, Hyena:  Priest Rivera
Ensemble, Crocodile, Hyena: Isabela Gomez
Ensemble, Ostrich, Hyena:  Mariana Lewis
Ensemble, Ostrich, Hyena: Hadley Harper
Ensemble, Monkey, Hyena: Greyson McClurg
Ensemble, Monkey, Hyena: Samantha Martinez-Eisenhauer

Your first look at THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Fountain Hills Theater

photos by Patty Torrilhon

Cast announced for SEUSSICAL at CYT Phoenix

The Cat in the Hat - John S. Terpin
Jojo - Audrey Church
Horton the Elephant - Tolan Cottrell
Gertrude Mcfuzz - Eva Britton
Mayzie Labird - Riley Cottrell
The Sour Kangaroo - Ayla Faith Grieser
Mr. Mayor - Haven Dailey
Mrs. Mayor - Hannah Lindblade
General Genghis Khan Schmitz - Dillon Fifield

The Wickersham Brothers
Josh Swedler
Joshua Humphrey
Juliette Forsberg
Pepper Porter

Yurtle The Turtle - Andon Wright

Bird Girls
Ariana Latvaaho
Elise Carpenter
Grace Huff
Julia Norden

Vlad the Vulture - Vernon Ensor
Baby Kangaroo - Amber Byars
The Grinch - Josiah Elliott

Jr. Bird Girls
Annaliese Saunders
Katelyn Fifield
Nicole Cook
NIna Steffen

Who Ensemble
Abigail Bradley
Annika Bergquist
Beckett Cottrell
Charlie Bradley
Charlotte Lam
Claire Cottrell
Dakota Terpin
Delia Schumaker
Dexter Perrien
Eden Gibb
Isaiah Ham
Jordana Saunders
Josiah Elliott
Mackenzie Ham
Malachi Terpin
Mila Tlapek
Sadie Bradley
Sadie Schumaker
Samantha Breeden
Sophia Casselman

Jungle Ensemble
Abby Huff
Andon Wright
Anne Martin
Audra Schrock
Ava Gadoury
Bella Hayward
Chloe Boonzaayer
Eirwen Batt
Faith MacGregor
Hadessah Dailey
India Starks
Josslyn Smith
Karolyn Martin
Katie Wasylenko
Leena Sprague
Mackenzie Silva
Madison Silva
Marley Johnson Ordonez
Susannah Schrock
Sydney Ham
Tucker Terpin
Vernon Ensor

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Save on tickets for DISNEY'S NEWSIES at TheaterWorks!

Get $5 off tickets for Newsies at TheaterWorks!

Use the code PSNEWSIES for $5 off Newsies tickets.

Please note this is only valid for the following performances: 7/15 (eve), 7/20 (eve), 7/22 (mat).

link for the code: 

Auditions for SOMETHING'S AFOOT at Hale Centre Theatre announced for May 13

On May 13, Hale Centre Theatre will hold auditions for Something's Afoot, playing August 25th - October 7th, 2023. 

The show is directed and choreographed by Cambrian James with music direction by Dr. Cathy Hauan. 

Performances are Wednesday – Saturday evenings, with Saturday matinee performances, and select Friday matinee performances at 4 PM. 

Call backs for Something's Afoot will be held Saturday, June 3rd with the first rehearsal scheduled for Monday, July 10th at 7:00 PM.

Auditions Open to All
Auditions are open to all and we extend an invitation for all races and ethnicities to submit. Posted ages are guidelines only.

Hale Centre Theatre - Arizona
50 W Page Avenue, Gilbert, AZ 85223

Audition: May 13, 2023
Callback: Jun 3, 2023
First Rehearsal: Jul 10, 2023
Payment Type: Paid
Union Type: Non-Union
Payment: Actors will be paid $60 per performance via check every two weeks with a $10 gas stipend for every attended rehearsal.

Video submissions are due by May 13th at 12 PM. Important: when submitting your video audition select the "Video Appointment" box on the sign up page.

A zany, entertaining musical that takes a satirical poke at Agatha Christie mysteries and musical styles of the English music hall of the ’30s. Ten people are stranded in an isolated English country house during a raging thunderstorm. One by one they’re picked off by cleverly fiendish devices. As the bodies pile up in the library, the survivors frantically race to uncover the identity and motivation of the cunning culprit.

Music & Lyrics by: James McDonald, David Vos, Robert Gerlach and Ed Linderman ; Book by: James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach

Playing Dates
Aug 25, 2023 - Oct 7, 2023

Cast announced for LOVING LIVES at Starlight Community Theater

Loving Lives is a DOUBLE CAST comedy, with two different takes on the same script


John: Shane Marcis
May: Meredith Arends
Abigail: Maya McElhaney
Walter: Markus Rosendalh
Rosie: Avery Ryberg
Jack: Ghost Bravo
Bibsy: Kate Donick
Donna: Juni Champion
Trixie: Sophia Konopka
Blanche/Denise: Della Beougher
Phillis: Kiki Hooper


John: William Buckley
Mac: Scott Sims
Abigail: Veronica Joy Harris
Walter: Tony Spencer
Rosie: Karly Way Schauwecker
Jack: Cody Bro
Bibsy: Cindy Covington
Donna: Riley Andrews
Trixie: TBD
Blanche: Anna Badley
Denise: Sherry Humphries
Phillis: Kiki Hooper

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

EMMA A POP MUSICAL - Limelight Performing Arts - May 4, 2023-May 13, 2023

Emma, a senior at Highbury Prep, is certain she knows what’s best for her classmates’ love lives, and is determined to find the perfect boyfriend for shy sophomore Harriet by the end of the school year. But will Emma’s relentless matchmaking get in the way of finding her own happiness? Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, this sparkling new musical features the hit songs of legendary girl groups and iconic female singers from The Supremes to Katy Perry. Girl power has never sounded so good!

The show runs  5/4/23 - 5/13/23  at Studio 3 Art Space.
        511 W. Guadalupe Rd. St. 12
        Gilbert, AZ 85233

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2, JR. - Limelight Performing Arts - May 5, 2023-May, 20, 2023

The gang is back for an action-packed summer extravaganza as Troy, Gabriella and the rest of the Wildcats finish junior year and blast onto the summer scene in Disney’s High School Musical 2 JR, based on Disney Channel’s blockbuster TV movie. At the Lava Springs Country Club, popular girl, Sharpay, reigns supreme while the Wildcats get to work — literally! Featuring every ounce of the light-hearted fun that made High School Musical a household name, this buoyant sequel follows our East High favorites as they face the realities of the adult world and begin to grow up. Friendships are tested, summer romances go haywire and the meaning of success is redefined. Rockin’ songs and action-packed dance numbers will make this a hit show! Jump into the pool with the Wildcats as you swim along with this crowd-pleasing, fun-filled charmer!

The show runs  5/5/23 - 5/20/23  at Studio 3 Art Space.
        511 W. Guadalupe Rd. St. 12
        Gilbert, AZ 85233

Talking to Lynn Golden who plays beloved sitcom star Vivian Vance in SIDEKICKED at Scottsdale Desert Stages

by Gil Benbrook

The beloved, classic TV sitcom "I Love Lucy" ran for six seasons and made household names of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as the married couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Also featured in the series were the comic sidekicks Vivian Vance and William Crowley who played the neighbors of Lucy and Ricky. Together, Ball and Vance would get into a series of comic hijinks over the course of the series' 180 episodes that are still remembered to this day.

In Kim Powers' powerful, one person play Sidekicked, which is set in Vance's dressing room on the night of the show's final taping, Vivan Vance takes center stage to get some things off her chest and to set the record straight. Will she be forever only known as Ethel Mertz? As Lucy's sidekick? She also proclaims, “I’m tired of being second banana.  I wanna be first banana.”

Desert Stages presents the local premiere of this 2019 play featuring Lynn Golden as Vance.

Golden is an award-winning Valley actress with 45 years of stage experience, including having appeared in dozens of shows across the Valley. She recently won an ariZoni Award for appearing in another play at Desert Stages, Agatha Christie's Spider's Web, and returns to DST under director Dan Ashlock, Jr., who also directed her in Spider's Web

Golden took a break between final rehearsals of the show to answer some questions about the play, what it's like playing this famous woman, and what roles she hopes she's most identified with.

For someone who isn’t aware of Sidekicked, what would you tell them it’s about?

Golden: "The show is set on the evening of the taping of the last episode of “I Love Lucy”.  Vivian Vance is the actress who played Ethel Mertz, Lucy Ricardo’s neighbor and best friend.  An established stage actress and singer, Viv faces a number of dilemmas with how she will deal with life “post-Lucy”.  She invites her therapist to her dressing room to share her memories, hopes and fears, especially her fear of being just a tv sidekick forever."

How familiar with Vivian Vance were you before you auditioned?

"I knew as much as everyone else did about her - she was blonde, funny, a faithful friend, and took a back seat to Lucille Ball.  What I didn’t know was much about her personal life - her youth in Kansas and New Mexico, her religious zealot mother, her philandering father, her love life, her stage credits and her USO tour experiences.  She was such a tortured, talented artist.  Both Dan Ashlock, my director, and I have immersed ourselves in a world of 1950s sitcoms and Hollywood.  We laugh a lot in rehearsal.  We tear up sometimes, too.  I think Vivian would have appreciated the process."

What kind of research have you done for the role?

"Oh, gosh.  Needless to say there’s plenty of video to watch...even though as a child I watched episodes of “I Love Lucy” on a regular basis.  As a character actress, I have always been drawn to comediennes, so Lucy and Viv are like old friends to me.  I’ve read the few books in print about Vivian Vance.  I’ve also googled every name, show and song mentioned in the show, to at least picture them…and help put an ear worm in my head!"

What do you most and least identify with Vance?

"Like Viv, I love to entertain, love to hear laughter, stir emotions.  I try to emulate her style and mannerisms, but in this show more than mimicking her I want folks to understand who she really was through her words.  Where Viv and I differ most is probably husbands.  She was married four times.  I’ve been married to my husband for nearly 29 years, and I am pretty sure I’m going to be a “one and done”! "

What is your favorite moment in the show and why is it your favorite?

"Acting like Lucy, Bill Frawley (Fred Mertz) and Desi Arnaz (Ricky Ricardo) has been the most challenging and fun.  Honestly, though, every time Vivian says something sassy, I love her more.  But, my favorite moment is at the top of the show when we hear audio of an interview Vivian did with Mike Douglas.  Hearing her actual relaxed voice, her honest response to his questions…I feel like she’s there with me, holding my hand backstage.  I love her voice so much."

Vance feared she’d be typecast as her character Ethel Mertz in the show. Which characters that you’ve played would you be most feared or most happy to be typecast as and why?

"Well, its known around town that I play a LOT of nuns…and I’m not a Catholic, but convincingly portray one well, apparently!  I’m so grateful for those shows, but I look forward to doing more “out of the habit”.  I will always love going for a laugh…its my favorite thing onstage.  In this show I get to do it all…sing, a little dance, comedy, drama, storytelling…I’d love to do more of all it it in the future."

I Love Lucy premiered over 70 years ago. Why do you think a show about one of its stars is still relevant today?

"I think audiences still don’t always see the human side of actors, especially ones we have cemented as certain characters in our memory.  This show pulls back the curtain on someone we all thought we knew.  And it returns an audience to a time when some things - divorce, mental health, rivalry - weren’t talked about openly like it is today.   So our modern audience can see how Vivian fought her demons and found hope."

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing Sidekicked at Desert Stages?

"Seeing how incredible Vivian Vance was.  How hard she worked, how loving and faithful a friend and co-star she was.  How she longed to make an impact in an audience’s lives and be memorable.  Everybody “loved Lucy”.  Now I hope they will love Viv, too.  I know I sure do."

More Audition Slots added for Limelight Performing Arts' Summer shows - LES MISERABLES, OLIVER, MATILDA, and MEAN GIRLS on May 7


More audition slots have been added!

Matilda (June 15-18 at Studio 3 Artspace Theater)
Mean Girls High School Edition (June 22-July 1 at Studio 3 Artspace Theater)
Les Miserables School Edition (August 5-14 at the Mesa Arts Center)
Oliver Jr (August 4-13 at the Mesa Arts Center)

Auditions at Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy
511 W Guadalupe Rd Suite 12
Gilbert, AZ 85233

Your first look at NEWSIES, JR at Inspire Theatre Company