On Hollywood’s Biggest Night, ‘Oscar at the Oscars’ Affair Provides Funding for Performing Arts Nonprofit

Oscar De la salas, one of the hosts of the VYT “Oscar at the Oscars” event.

Phoenix is about to get its own taste of the red-carpet treatment. Valley Youth Theatre (VYT), a local nonprofit focused on teaching kids the performing arts, will host an exclusive “Oscars at the Oscars” Academy Award viewing party complete with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, glamorous attire and other fanfare. Attendees can compete in “Best Dressed” and other awards categories, take a stroll down the red carpet and celebrate the standouts of the silver screen while enjoying all the glitz and glamour the night has to offer.

Launched four years ago, when Valley native and VYT alum Emma Stone scored an Academy Award for her performance in La La Land, this event helps generate funds for the youth theater, enabling more young performers to hone their skills, fee-free.

Billie Jo Herberger, Oscar De las salas and VYT host the event, with on-site catering provided by VYT alum, Chef Tommy D’Ambrosio, who owns Aioli Gourmet Burgers and earned a “Chopped Champion” nod on The Food Network in January of 2019.

‘Oscar at the Oscars’ will be held Sunday, Feb. 9. Red Carpet begins at 4:30 pm; awards at 6pm, at Scottsdale Waterfront Towers, 7181 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale. Tickets are $200 per person; available at https://www.vyt.com/support/2020-oscar-at-the-oscars-viewing-party-feb-9th or by calling Jackie at 602.253.8188, Ext. 304.

2019–20 CITYSunTimes Performing Arts Season Preview

Another spectacular season of dance, music and live theater is just around the corner in the Greater Phoenix area! Performers from around Arizona and all over the world will populate our world-class venues, offering extraordinary entertainment to audiences young and old…and everyone in between. Here is a just a sampling of the outstanding events coming to a stage near you this season. | CST

Arizona Broadway Theatre
www.azbroadway.org; 623.776.8400

Oct. 11 – Nov. 19: Sweeney Todd
Nov. 22 – Dec. 29: Elf the Musical
Jan. 24 – Feb. 28: La Cage aux Folles
March 13 – April 19: Chicago
May 1–24: Bonnie & Clyde
June 5 – July 3: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
July 24 – Aug. 22: Flashdance the Musical
Sept. 11 – Oct. 4: Happy Day

The Hot Sardines

Arizona Musicfest Festival
www.azmusicfest.org; 480.422.8449

Arizona Musicfest’s 2019–20 Festival season includes 27 performances from Nov. 8 through March 13. Festival highlights include Grammy award winner Michael Bolton; multi-talented entertainer Vanessa Williams; country star Sara Evans; TV, stage and screen celebrity Tony Danza; Musicfest favorites Chris Botti and Michael Feinstein; plus, holiday concerts featuring The 5 Browns and New York Voices. Ensembles coming to the Musicfest stage include the legendary John Pizzarelli Trio, The Hot Sardines, Back to Bacharach, as well as Under the Streetlamp.

Riders of the Purple Sage; Photo: Tim Trumble

Arizona Opera
www.azopera.org; 602.266.7464

Sept. 27–29: Shining Brow
Nov. 8–10: Fellow Travelers
Jan. 24–26: La Bohème
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1: Riders of the Purple Sage
April 3–5: Ariadne auf Naxos, comedy becomes divine

Arizona Theatre Company
www.arizonatheatre.org; 602.256.6995

Oct. 3–20: The Royale
Nov. 14 – Dec. 1: Silent Sky
Jan. 4–26: Cabaret
Feb. 13 – March 1: “Master Harold”… and the Boys
April 2–19: The Legend of Georgia McBride
May 14–31: Women in Jeopardy

Lila Coogan (Anya) and the company of the National Tour of Anastasia; Photo: Evan Zimmerman, Murphy Made

ASU Gammage
www.asugammage.com; 480.965.3434

Sept. 24–29: Miss Saigon
Oct. 29 – Nov. 3: Anastasia
Nov. 15–17: Blue Man Group
Jan. 7–12: Summer
Jan. 28 – Feb. 2: Fiddler on the Roof
Feb. 21–23: Beautiful
March 3–8: Once on This Island
April 21–26: Mean Girls
May 26–31: Come From Away
June 17 – July 12: The Lion King

A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Photo: Tim Fuller

Ballet Arizona
http://balletaz.org; 602.381.1096

Sept. 26–29: Director’s Choice
Oct. 24–27: Napoli
Dec. 13–24: The Nutcracker
Feb. 13–16: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
May 7–10: All Balanchine
May 19 – June 6: An Evening at Desert Botanical Garden

Black Theatre Troupe
www.blacktheatretroupe.org; 602.258.8129

Sept. 13–29: Blues in the Night
Oct. 25 – Nov. 10: Breakfast with Mugabe
Dec. 6–22: Black Nativity
Feb. 7–23: Trouble in Mind
March 27 – April 12: Sistas — The Musical

Center Dance Ensemble
www.centerdance.com; 602.252.8497

Oct. 17–20: A Haunting We Will Go: A Tribute to Frances Smith Cohen
Dec. 7–22: Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen

Ella Enchanted; Photo: Tim Trumble

Childsplay
www.childsplayaz.org; 480.921.5700

Sept. 8 – Oct. 13: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Nov. 2–24: Chato’s Kitchen
Dec. 7–29: Ella Enchanted: The Musical
Jan. 26 – March 8: Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a Play!”
April 18 – May 17: Suzette Who Set to Sea

Desert Foothills Theater
www.dftheater.org; 480.488.1981

Sept. 27 – Oct. 6: Pirates of Penzance, Jr.
Nov. 8–24: Annie Get Your Gun
Jan. 17–26: And Then There Were None
Feb. 14–23: Honk Jr.
March 27 – April 5: Steel Magnolias
April 17–19: Fair Game
May 8–17: Godspell

Fountain Hills Theater — Mainstage
www.fhtaz.org; 480.837.9661

Sept 6–22: Mamma Mia
Oct. 18 – Nov. 3: Agnes of God
Dec. 6–22: A Christmas Carol — The Musical
Jan. 24 – Feb. 9: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
March 6–22: Footlight Frenzy
April 17 – May 3: The Million Dollar Quartet

Herberger Theater Center
www.herbergertheater.org; 602.252.8497

In addition to being home to six resident companies (Arizona Broadway Theatre, Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company, Center Dance Ensemble, Childsplay Theatre, and iTheatre Collaborative), the Center hosts many other local and touring companies, arts education and outreach programs and its Art Gallery. Don’t miss the 10th annual Festival of the Arts Oct. 26. The free event celebrates the arts in the community with performances by more than 25 arts organizations featuring dance, live music, children’s activities, aerial performances, pet adoptions, food, craft beer and wine tasting and more. Proceeds benefit the Herberger Theater’s Youth Outreach Programs.

Southern Avenue; Photo: David McClister

Musical Instrument Museum
www.mim.org; 480.478.6000

The MIM Music Theater’s fall concert series includes more than 50 concerts from September through December, spanning multiple musical genres from across the globe, some performing at MIM for the first time. Artists kicking off the season this month include Kawehi, Greg Laswell, Lúnasa, Southern Avenue, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Lucibela, Paula Cole and Pokey LaFarge.

Musical Theatre of Anthem
www.musicaltheatreofanthem.org; 623.336.6001

Sept. 19–22: Frozen Jr.
Sept. 26–29: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Dec. 5–15: Little Mermaid Jr.
Feb. 20 – March 8: The Wizard of Oz
April 30 – May 3: Children of Eden
May 7-9: Cinderella Kids
June 8–20: Annie Jr.

North Valley Symphony Orchestra
www.northvalleysymphony.org; 623.980.4628

Oct. 19: A Scandinavian Tour
December (TBA): Christmas Pops
March (TBA): Women in Music
May (TBA): Across America

Paradise Valley Community College Center for the Performing Arts
www.paradisevalley.edu/cpa; 602.787.7738

This fully professional theater and multi-use facility houses student productions, touring acts and educational programs — from film festivals and student directed one-act plays to concert series, chamber ensembles and faculty jazz concerts. Visit the website for a complete list of upcoming events.

Phoenix Chorale
www.phoenixchorale.org; 602.253.2224

Oct. 18–20: Lux Aeterna
Dec. 13–17: A Chorale Christmas
Feb. 28 – March 1: Cosmos
April 24–26: Birth & Rebirth

Phoenix Symphony
www.phoenixsymphony.org; 602.495.1999

Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz kicks off the 2019–20 season Sept. 20–22 with a celebration of the life and works of Ludwig van Beethoven in honor of his 250th birthday with one of the most famous opening phrases in all of music, the fateful Fifth Symphony.

ProMusica Arizona Chorale and Orchestra
www.pmaz.org; 623.326.5172

Nov. 2–3: Celebrate America
Dec. 14–15: Joy to All the World
April 4–5: Latin Spice
May 16–17: Baroque to Bluegrass

Rising Youth Theatre
www.risingyouththeatre.org

March 2020: Light Rail Plays
June 2020: Face to Face

Kalli Sparish & Haydehn Tuipulotu take on the roles of the Vampire Queen and King in the 2019 production of A Vampire Tale; Photo: Angel Castro

Scorpius Dance Theatre
www.scorpiusdance.com; 602.254.2151

Oct. 3–12: A Vampire Tale
Feb. 7­–8: Animal
April 23–25: 20 Year Anniversary Showcase

Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org; 480.499.8587

The 2019–20 season is jam-packed with legends of world music, acclaimed dance companies, renowned classical musicians, returning favorites and more. A few noteworthy performances are Rufus Wainwright’s Oh Solo Wainwright performance, Mary Chapin Carpenter & Shawn Colvin, DIAVOLO, Jane Lynch and Karen Flannery, internationally known violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, West Coast dance sensation Jacob Jonas the Company, Broadway veteran Patti LuPone and the Villalobos Brothers with Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles.

Scottsdale Community College Performing Arts
www.scottsdalecc.edu/calendars; 480.423.6000

The Scottsdale Community College Musical Theater season includes First Date, Nov. 8–16, and Once Upon a Mattress, April 2–11. In addition, SCC Theatre will present its fall production Oct. 18–26. And don’t miss this season’s performances by Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Cello Ensemble, Concert Band, Choir, the SCC Orchestra and more.

Southwest Shakespeare Company 
www.swshakespeare.org; 480.435.6868

Sept. 20–29: Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII
Oct. 25 – Nov. 9: Macbeth
Oct. 25 – Nov. 9: The Mystery of Irma Vep
Dec. 20–22: The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged)
Jan. 24 – Feb. 2: Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, & Louisa
Feb. 21 – March 7: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Feb. 21 – March 7: Richard the Second
April 9–25: Hudson: A Historical Musical

Kinky Boots

The Phoenix Theatre Company
www.phoenixtheatre.com; 602.254.2151

Arizona’s first and oldest arts institution is celebrating 100 years with a full slate of shows that have significance to The Phoenix Theatre Company’s past, present and future. Loaded with blockbusters, crowd favorites and a new world premiere musical, the 100th season reflects The Phoenix Theatre Company’s commitment to Broadway-caliber entertainment, inspiring hope and understanding through the arts, and promoting new voices in theater.

Thru Oct. 13: Kinky Boots
Oct. 9 – Nov. 10: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Nov. 13 – Dec. 29: The Sound of Music
Dec. 18 – Feb. 16: Million Dollar Quartet
Jan. 29 – Feb. 23: Americano!
Feb. 26 – April 12: Sondheim on Sondheim
Feb. 28 – March 15: Festival of New American Theatre
March 18 – April 19: Something Rotten!
April 15 – June 7: The Rocky Horror Show
May 20 – June 28: Hair

Theatre Artists Studio
www.thestudiophx.org; 602.765.0120

Sept. 27 – Oct. 20: Rathmines Road
Nov. 22 – Dec. 15: The Trip to Bountiful
Jan. 17 – Feb. 9: The Christians
Mar. 13 – Apr. 5: Pound
May 1–24: By the Water
June 11–21: New Summer Short

Valley Youth Theatre
www.vyt.com; 602.253.8188

Oct. 11–27: They Chose Me
Dec. 6–23: A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail
Feb. 7–23: The Princess and the Pea
April 3–19: Dear Edwina
June 12–28: Peter Pan


Fiddler on the Roof comes to ASU Gammage Jan. 28 – Feb. 2.
Photo: Joan Marcus

VYT Thirtieth Anniversary Season Continues with THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE

Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) opens the only play of its 30th anniversary season, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Friday, Feb. 8, 7pm, at Valley Youth Theatre. In addition to opening night, public performances include Saturdays and Sundays, Feb. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24 at noon and 3pm. The theater is located at 525 North First Street, in Downtown Phoenix, and ticket prices are $20.

The story is based on the book by author Kate DiCamillo and was adapted for the stage by Childsplay’s artistic director, Dwayne Hartford.

According to VYT’s producing artistic director, Bobb Cooper, “The reason I selected The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane begins with the high esteem and honor I have for Childsplay, in Tempe. It is an incredible organization and I’ve always been impressed with their amazing artists and leaders. Dwayne Hartford, whom I’ve known and admired since 1999, is one of these amazing artists. In 2016, Dwayne went from an accomplished actor and stepped into the highest leadership role for Childsplay as their artistic director. Dwayne took this wonderful story and beautifully adapted it for the stage. It takes a lot to survive and thrive in the theater industry. So, watching his journey from actor to playwright to the artistic director he is today has been witnessing a miraculous journey, much like Edward Tulane’s.”

This is the Arizona directorial debut of VYT’s new director of Education & Outreach, Carolyn Marie Wright, former manager of Education & Community Engagement at Geffen Playhouse and adjunct faculty at Moorpark College in Theatre Arts. She has regularly performed with The Second City Hollywood, Humanity Play Project and Looseleaf Theatre Company. Her training includes The Second City, The Groundlings, Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Yale (BA), NYU (MA) and UCLA (MFA).

“It is a delight and an honor be a part of the creative team in my role as director for The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” said Wright. “This magical story tells the tale of a self-absorbed china doll rabbit who encounters new friends on an unexpected adventure and learns how to love and care for others along the way. Now, more than ever, this message is needed in our world.”

This production features 15 local actors, ages 10–16. Edward Tulane is portrayed by 11-time VYT alum Andy Wissink, of Paradise Valley. Andy, a triplet, attends Brophy College Preparatory where he is an officer in drama club, a member of Red & White Club and active in musical theater. Kate Williams, who plays Abilene, is 10 and in fourth grade. She recently appeared in VYT’s Annie as Molly.

East Valley cast members include Alex Flores, of Tempe; Emily Jacoby, of Gilbert; Prescott Smidt, of Mesa; Jessica Wastchak, of Chandler; and Asher Stubbs and Micah Wade of Ahwatukee. Other cast members include Goodyear’s Faith Wheelington; Olivia Medina lives in Peoria; Petra Danek lives in Scottsdale; and Matthew Syms, of Paradise Valley. Rounding out the cast are Jordan Baker, Kate Brink and Ian Gray, all of Phoenix.

Produced by Cooper, the musical score is by Kyle Sorrell, set design is by Dori Brown and costume and makeup design are by VYT’s resident costume designer, Karol Cooper. Sound design is by Brian Honsberger, lighting is designed by Bret Reese and the production stage manager is Joycelin Jacobs-Schwartz.

There is also an all-youth crew: Niki Brown, assistant stage manager, and Riley Thornton, deck crew.

Sponsored by Clairvoyant, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane takes the audience on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hobo camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we’re shown a true miracle: even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love, again.

This season marks the 30th anniversary for VYT and their schedule of five musicals and one play includes three Arizona premieres. Eight-week Fall, Winter and Spring performing arts classes are also offered, as are Spring Break and Summer Camps. The theater’s ongoing community programs include Literacy and the Arts, Sponsor-a-Seat and The Nigel Ross Scholarship Fund as well as their annual fundraising events, Oscar at The Oscars, in February, the VYTee Golf Classic, in May, and the VYTal (Valley Youth Theater Applauds Leadership) Affair, in August.

For more information on Valley Youth Theatre, visit www.vyt.com.

Pick Up A Newspaper…

AND WIN TICKETS To See THE WIZ!

Pick up this month’s issue of CITYSunTimes, fill out a short survey and two lucky readers will win a family four-pack of tickets to “ease on down the road” and see this high-energy 1970’s musical at the Herberger Theater Center in June.

Valley Youth Theatre Holds Auditions

Freckleface Strawberry is coming to VYTAuditions for the Arizona premiere of Freckleface Strawberry The Musical and the classic “super soul musical” The Wiz are being held on January 9 and 10 at 3:30pm at Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) at 525 North First Street on the southeast corner of First and Fillmore in Downtown Phoenix. Actors only need to attend one audition date.

There is no fee to participate in VYT’s main stage productions, and if cast, each actor will earn a stipend of $300 toward secondary education through VYT’s  scholarship program. No other local youth theatre offers such a program.

Freckleface Strawberry runs April 6-22, 2012 at VYT and The Wiz runs June 8-24 at the Herberger Theater Center.

For more information about auditions, call 602.253.8188, Extension 4, or visit vyt.com/on-stage/auditions.aspx.

Freckleface Strawberry is coming to VYT

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