2020–21 Performing Arts Season Preview

This season will be one like no other for Valley performing arts organizations. As seasons ended abruptly across the state this spring, companies had to quickly adapt. Theaters were shuttered, employees were furloughed. Many fall seasons were reinvented while others were postponed and some, sadly, canceled entirely. Over the summer, theaters developed alternative programming — something that will continue to carry them to spring of 2021 when, hopefully, live and in-person theater can continue on a broad scale.

In the meantime, arts organizations are looking to Valley residents to help them weather the storm by subscribing to upcoming seasons, making donations if able and engaging with them on social media as they keep the ghost light burning until patrons can return. | CST


ABT’s production of Chicago

Arizona Broadway Theatre
www.azbroadway.org; 623.776.8400

“Everything is ready. The set is still there, the costumes are hanging on the racks and the talent is standing by…we can’t wait to breathe life back into this long awaited show.”

Cassandra Klaphake, artistic producer

Chicago, which closed early in March,will be the first full production to return to the ABT stage — set for January 2021. Outdoor performances and other additional interim programming are in development for the fall.

Arizona Musicfest
www.azmusicfest.org; 480.422.8449

Although its plans for a special celebratory season of performances had to be altered, Arizona Musicfest is undaunted and will kick off its 30th anniversary season in 2021 with Ray on My Mind, Jan. 12.

“Musicfest looks forward to safely reuniting our community as we celebrate our resilience and strengthen our resolve to bring the joy of music to all. Something which we believe is now more vital than ever before.”

Allan Naplan, executive and producing director

Arizona Opera
www.azopera.org; 602.266.7464

Arizona Opera is replacing its planned in-theater productions for the 2020–21 season with alternative programs that can be more safely enjoyed by a larger audience. The reimagined season will offer live, outdoor, socially distanced performances, combined with a collection of digital offerings. Programming kicks off Oct. 2 with its Studio Spotlight Series. On the horizon, the film adaptation of The Copper Queen, set in 1910 Bisbee, this is Arizona Opera’s second world premiere commission and its first foray into sharing the art form more broadly through a streamed, motion picture format.

Arizona Theatre Company
www.arizonatheatre.org; 602.256.6995

ATC has designed a diverse, multi-layered approach to the season, with imaginative ways to stay connected with and entertain audiences, leading to a safe return to Mainstage productions in January 2021. ATC kicks off the first half of its season with digital programming beginning in September with Slow Food, Somewhere Over The Border, Covenant, The Realness and more. The six show mainstage productions will run through November 2021: My 80 Year Old Boyfriend; Pru Payne; Nina Simone: Four Women; Women in Jeopardy!; how to make an American Son; and The Legend of Georgia McBride.

Company, The Band’s Visit North American Tour. Photo: Matthew Murphy

ASU Gammage
www.asugammage.com; 480.965.3434

ASU Gammage will present digital performance programming in September and October in preparation for a return to live, in-person theater in 2021.

Feb. 9–14: My Fair Lady
March 16–21: Tootsie
April 8–25: Disney’s Frozen
May 21–23: Jersey Boys
June 8–13: To Kill a Mockingbird
July 20–25: The Band’s Visit
Aug. 31 – Sept. 5: Mean Girls

Ballet Arizona
www.balletaz.org; 602.381.1096

“We are counting on our return to Desert Botanical Garden in May 2021 to present the much-anticipated world premiere of The Four Seasons.”

Samantha Turner, executive director

The company announced a departure from its previously planned 35th anniversary fall season of main-stage performances. A more digitally focused season is planned, including Inspire, a mixed-rep production scheduled for late October, and Nutcracker Suite, a re-imagined virtual version of the holiday classic set to air in mid-December.

Black Nativity 2019; Photo: Laura Durant

Black Theatre Troupe
www.blacktheatretroupe.org; 602.258.8129

“In 1970 the Black Theatre Troupe was born as a result of the same energy that is sweeping across the nation today. We have always been here to give voice to the Black experience. And we will continue to do so.”

David Hemphill, executive director

The Black Theatre Troupe’s 2020–21 season, Telling Our Stories, will mark the 50th year the company has celebrated and illuminated the Black experience. The season will include Sistas: The Musical, Sunset Baby, Black Nativity, A Soldier’s Play and Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Childsplay
www.childsplayaz.org; 480.921.5700

Childsplay is currently offering classes for ages 4–15 with professional theater artists crafting engaging, participatory and dynamic online drama instruction. The organization also creates fun family activities and creative projects to try online every week. También en español.

Desert Foothills Theater
www.dftheater.org; 480.488.1981

DFT will kick off the season at the Holland Community Center with its production of Disney’s The Lion King, Jr., Sept. 18–27. Keep an eye on the website for exciting fall season announcements.

Don Bluth Front Row Theater
www.donbluthfrontrowtheatre.com; 480.314.0841

Jan. 14 – Feb. 27: Drinking Habits
March 11 – April 24: Sleuth
May 13 – June 26: The Curious Savage
Sept./Oct.: Camelot
Nov./Dec.: It’s A Wonderful Life

Herberger Theater Center
www.herbergertheater.org
602.252.8497

Herberger Theater Center is home to six resident companies — Arizona Broadway Theatre, Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company, Center Dance Ensemble, Childsplay Theatre and iTheatre Collaborative — and hosts other local and touring companies, arts education and outreach programs and its Art Gallery. Herberger plans to once again celebrate the arts in the community at its Festival of the Arts, Nov. 7. This year, a hybrid festival, re-imagined with live performances on an outdoor stage, virtual performances, artist demonstrations and vendor market.

Musical Instrument Museum
www.mim.org; 480.478.6000

Dustbowl Revival; Photo: Shervin Lainez

The MIM reopened to the public in August with new safety precautions in place. While live concerts have not yet resumed, look for acts such as Dustbowl Revival when the concert hall reopens.

In addition, September is Educator Appreciation Month at MIM. Prekindergarten through 12th-grade educators, school and district administrators, principals, registered student teachers and homeschool educators will receive free general museum admission.

Junie B. Jones; Photo: Michele Celentano

Musical Theatre of Anthem
www.musicaltheatreofanthem.org; 623.336.6001

Sept. 17–20: Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.
Nov. 12–15: Junie B. Jones, Jr.
Dec. 3–6: Our Town
March 25–28: Disney’s Aladdin Kids
April 8–18: Godspell
April 29 – May 8: 13
June 17–19: School House Rock Live, Jr.

North Valley Symphony Orchestra
www.northvalleysymphony.org; 623.980.4628

NVSO is considering a variety of creative options for the fall season. The organization says it looks forward to sharing that information soon, but, in the meantime, hopes to engage with audiences through its social media platforms.

Phoenix Chorale
www.phoenixchorale.org; 602.253.2224

The Chorale’s April 2020 concert, Birth & Rebirth, was postponed March 18. Now, the concert is expected to open the 2020–21 season, Oct. 16–18. Keep an eye on the website for additional season announcements.

Phoenix Symphony
www.phoenixsymphony.org; 602.495.1999

“As stewards of this historic and beloved institution, our mission and responsibility centers on preserving our future and reuniting in Symphony Hall to celebrate our 75th Anniversary in the fall of 2021.”

Suzanne Wilson, president and CEO

In mid-August, the Symphony announced the cancellation of its 2020–21 season.

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

Enjoy a livestreamed and in-person concert, “A Musical Kaleidoscope,” featuring musical talent in small ensembles and solo performances, Nov. 8. Also, kicking off in September, weekly online choral and instrumental instruction will be available.

Rising Youth Theatre
www.risingyouththeatre.org

The theater assures audiences that “Creativity is not canceled!” Visit their website to check out the “virtual learning space” for K–12 learners. Click “Resources.”

Kalli Sparish & Haydehn Tuipulotu in the 2019 production of A Vampire Tale; Photo: Angel Castro

Scorpius Dance Theatre
www.scorpiusdance.com; 602.254.2151

Celebrating 20 years in the Valley, Scorpius Dance Theatre combines the motifs of humor, drama and both organic and technical movement to form a very distinct brand of dance theater and aerial arts.

Artist Seth Rudetsky in Times Square

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

“All we have to offer this season will help you reconnect to your life and your community.”

Abbey Messmer, programming director

The Center has curated an exciting 2020–21 season — it will be a season of reconnecting, of meeting friends for a performance and connecting to celebrated artists, local creatives, fan favorites and new discoveries. Noteworthy performances are Marc Cohn, Broadway stars in The Seth Rudetsky Concert Series, Mavis Staples, Gil Shaham, KODO, René Marie Quintet and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, to name a few

Southwest Shakespeare Company 
www.swshakespeare.org; 480.435.6868

Southwest Shakespeare Company’s 27th season kickoff dates have not been announced yet, but the company has an excellent line-up of both contemporary and timeless classics coming to audiences soon.

Becoming Othello: A Black Girls Journey
Mabel Madness
All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain
Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
An Iliad
The Tempest
Manahatta

The Phoenix Theatre Company
www.phoenixtheatre.com; 602.254.2151

“To deliver you the best season we can, we are actively preparing for a combination of outdoor live shows and original streaming content featuring local artists. We anticipate announcing shows in October. At that time you would be able to choose your package and select your seats. Once we can be assured of the safety of our audiences, artists, and staff we will be ready to resume indoor programming on our stages —currently scheduled for Summer 2021.”

—phoenixtheatre.com

Theatre Artists Studio
www.thestudiophx.org; 602.765.0120

Current offerings include “EarPlays,” re-imagined vintage radio productions in a variety of genres recorded on stage at Theatre Artists Studio and featuring its artistic members. Coming soon: original “radio plays” from the Studio playwrights, presented via podcast.

Valley Youth Theatre
www.vyt.com; 602.253.8188

Dec. 4–23: A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail
Feb. 5–21: Sleeping Beauty
April 2–18: Junie B. Jones — The Musical
June 11–27: Peter Pan


To further support the arts in Arizona, and the spaces in which they take place, learn about the National Independent Venue Association’s efforts to #SAVEOURSTAGES at saveourstages.com.

NOTE: All performance dates included in the September 2020 print issue were current at publication time. Information has been updated here, but dates/shows are subject to change. For updated information on shows and ticketing, visit the organization’s website.

Hear more from Arizona Theatre Company and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in our September North Valley cover story; and from Desert Foothills Theater in our September Carefree/Cave Creek cover story.

Valley Youth Theatre to Go Global with Virtual Telethon

VYTal Affair-athon event will feature 132 former cast members from the past 32 years

“I believe VYT has always been at the right place at the right time and that we can always find the silver lining in anything that might come our way, including this pandemic.” —Bobb Cooper, producing artistic director, Valley Youth Theatre

This month, Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) is adjusting to the times and will replace its annual fundraising gala with an eight-hour virtual telethon, The VYTal Affair-athon, to be streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and vyt.com.

The event takes place Saturday, Aug. 22, from 10am to 6pm, with a goal of raising $250,000 to ensure the nonprofit theater can continue offering digital engagement for young performers, throughout the current crisis, and reopen with its signature fee-free acting structure and low-cost ticket pricing, once it is safe to do so.

Like other arts organizations, VYT says that it has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, having to cancel its last two shows of the 31st season and first two shows of the 32nd season — so far. They’ve also had to cancel in-person performing arts camps and classes or replace them with significantly smaller online versions. Their 26th annual fundraising gala, VYTal Affair, was also canceled to accommodate social distancing and gathering size limitations, since it typically includes live entertainment, live and silent auctions, cocktails and donated food from Valley restaurants.

In an effort to help the theater raise money and give children the opportunity to perform, owners of a local full-service marketing company, Two:Second Media, owned by VYT parents Chris and Candace Weir, offered to produce a virtual telethon at no charge. The theater recognized it as a way to replace VYTal Affair with something no other local company has done, an eight-hour Jerry-Lewis-style telethon featuring live and recorded performances by VYTKids, from around the world.

“I believe VYT has always been at the right place at the right time and that we can always find the silver lining in anything that might come our way, including this pandemic,” said VYT’s producing artistic director, Bobb Cooper. “Because of the kindness, goodness and wholesomeness of what we do, wonderful opportunities seem to present themselves to us. Because we were able to positively impact the life of their child, these wonderful people offered to give us something we never dreamed of.”

Due to social distancing, most of the telethon will be pre-recorded. It will also include live Zoom interviews with alumni, original songs written specifically for the event, virtual cast reunions, multi-track numbers and a few surprise guests. Each hour will be virtually hosted by a local Phoenix celebrity. Committed so far are Yetta Gibson, Gina Salazar Hook, John Hook, Cory McCloskey and Brad Perry.

VYTal Affair is not only the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, it also introduces attendees to local young performers and the high-quality, professional productions that it presents, every season. This year’s virtual format has the potential to reach a global audience, creating a first-time opportunity for young performers to receive exposure outside of Phoenix, since VYT’s performances aren’t permitted to be recorded or televised.

“For the first time ever, we will be able to showcase the incredible talent Phoenix has to offer, to people around the world,” added Cooper. “We have performers from the age of nine to seasoned professionals who were in our shows in 1989. They include attorneys, police officers, professional cheerleaders and drag queens, Broadway performers, TV stars and even Academy Award winners. I’m really looking forward to the applause we won’t hear, but will be able to read in the comments, later.”

“I’ve shed so many tears of joy,” Cooper said about working with former cast members. “Although I try to keep in contact, it’s been great reconnecting with folks from the past few decades. This has brought them many of them back to our theatre — and back to Phoenix.”

“We sent everyone a survey asking them what VYT has meant in their lives and what it helped them learn, enjoy or overcome. Their responses have literally overwhelmed us. To hear the ways our theatre impacted their lives has been extraordinary. It’s the fuel that gets me through every day and why we’re going above and beyond to create something this town has never seen!”

Sponsors committed to date include Sanderson Lincoln and Clairvoyant, at the Choreographer level. At the Cast level are APS, Freeport-McMoRan, Valley Toyota Dealers, The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation, Sherman and Howard, Lorna Pederson, KPMG, Hope and Jay Ozer, Gammage and Burnham, Edward Jones, Carstens Foundation and BOK Financial.

For information about sponsoring, donating or providing an in-kind gift to the telethon, go to vyt.com.

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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