Tag Archives: Mesa Community College

Make some waves

Tile mural at the San Diego International Airport in California

The Phoenix Art Museum presents “Make Waves!” for teens who like to “mix, mingle and create” Fri, March 2 at 6:30pm. Youth who attend can create their own beach-ware accessories, hear sounds of the ocean and view sea-inspired garments during opening night for the museum’s newest fashion show, “The Sea.”

Mesa Community College Act I Musical Productions performs the musical “Rent” featuring book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson through Thurs, March 8 at Theatre Outback.

The Phoenix Municipal Art Collection has more than 1,000 works of art that’ll be featured in rotating exhibits in the newly renovated Gallery @ City Hall. Folks can get their first glimpse Fri, March 2, between 10am and 2pm — when the city unveils “Place: Images of the West,” which includes 23 paintings, photographs and prints from 21 artists inspired by western landscapes.

Scottsdale Community College opens its “13th Annual Spring Painting Exhibition” featuring more than 20 artists Fri, March 2. View the exhibition in the SCC art building Mon-Fri 8am-4pm or Sat 9am-3pm.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents the musical “Little Women” March 2-9 at the Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler. It’s based on the book by Louisa May Alcott, and features book by Allan Knee, music by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein.

AZ Musicfest 2012 presents “From A to Z — Abba to Les Miz — Broadway’s Best” Sat, March 3 (a March 2 performance is sold out) at Scottsdale First Assembly. Nat Chandler and Teri Dale Hansen will be singing works from “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Rent,” “Spamalot” and “Wicked.”

Scorpius Dance Theatre is looking ahead to their next performance of “A Vampire Tale” at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival this fall, raising funds for the trip through an all-day dance class marathon Sat, March 3 from 11am to 8pm. They’re offering hour-long master classes in ballet, modern technique, salsa/cha cha, centemporary jazz, burlesque and hip hop.

Tempe Center for the Arts presents a “Walk-in Artist Workshop” Sat, March 3. The “Plein Air Family Workshop with Ellen Waggener” takes place from noon to 4pm in the Gallery — where families can also enjoy an “Arizona Landscapes” exhibition.

The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and the Seventh Street Merchants Association unveil new artwork and poetry Sat, March 3 at 1:15pm during the “Melrose on Seventh Avenue Street Fair” (11am-5pm) in Phoenix. The works comprise series 8 of the “Seventh Street Streetscape.”

Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe presents a “Meet and Greet Booksigning” with Roxanna Green Sat, March 3 at 5pm. Green authored “As Good As She Imagined: The Redeeming Story of the Angel of Tucson, Christina-Taylor Green” after losing her daughter last January in the Tucson tragedy and now heads a foundation that bears her daughter’s name.

Arizona State University in Tempe holds an Arizona SciTech Festival event dubbed “Night of the Open Door” Sat, March 3 from 5-9pm. The Piper Writers House hosts author readings/book signings that night with Conrad Storad (author of more than 40 science and nature books for children and young adults) and Stephen J. Pyne (author of nearly two dozen books who specializes in history of the environment, exploration and fire).

Never fear if you’re over 21 but still eager to make waves. You can hit opening night for the “Phoenix Fringe Festival” Fri, March 2 — with offerings that include performance by Dulce Dance Company, a choreopoem presented by BlackPoet Ventures, a trio of short plays from Actors Alchemy and more.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to find additional events for families featured in the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine online calendar. Always check with venues before attending to confirm event details.

Coming up: Five freebies for families

Dancing with the students

Enjoy dance at Scottsdale Community College on Dec 2 & 3

As a new “Dancing with the Stars” champion enjoys that shiny disco ball trophy, dancers closer to home will be working just as hard for a less visible reward — readying for upcoming performances featuring “dancing with the students.”

Lest all you DWTS viewers suffer in coming weeks from the absence of opportunities to watch live dance performance, I’ve put together a roundup of Valley dance productions featuring local dance students, faculty and alumni.

Scottsdale Community College presents “Grace, Power and Force” Dec. 2 & 3 at 8pm. The production is a collaboration of the three resident dance companies at SCC. Instinct Dancecorps will perform works by SCC faculty member Angela Rosenkrans and guest choreographers Mike Esperanza, Chad Michael Hall and Keith Johnson. The SCC Moving Company will perform works by faculty members Angela Rosenkrans and Lisa Thorngren, and guest artist Ann Reinking. Scottsdale Arizona Jazz Ensemble will perform works by faculty member Jennifer McKusick and guest choreographer Annie Kim. Tickets are not sold prior to the night of the show. However, reservations can be made by calling (480) 423-6600 or emailing karryn.allen@sccmail.maricopa.edu. Tickets are $5-$10.

Enjoy student, faculty and guest artist dance at Paradise Valley Community College Dec 2 & 3

Paradise Valley Community College presents their “2011 Fall Dance Showcase” Dec. 2 & 3 at 7:30pm. The production features choreography and performance by PVCC students, faculty and guest artists. Tickets are $6-12.

The School of Dance at Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts presents “Emerging Artists II” Dec. 2-4 at the ASU Dance Lab. The performance features new works by MFA candidates Ashlee Ramsey and Whitney Waugh “based on original research into audience interaction, social perception, and how we engage with the moving body and the stories it tells.” Tickets are $8-$16.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents a “Student Dance Showcase” Dec. 9 & 10 at 8pm. It features dance students performing dances choreographed by current students. Tickets are $5.

Mesa Community College presents a “2011 Dance Classes Showcase” Dec. 9 at 7pm. Tickets are $3 (scholarship donation).

Glendale Community College presents its “Faculty/Alumni Dance Performance 2011” Dec. 9-11 (times vary). Must be age 5 + to attend. Tickets are free.

Enjoy dance at Glendale Community College Dec. 9-11

I know it’s just not the same without all those tasteful outfits, classy judges, sophisticated tunes and original dance moves, but you’ll be okay. And local dancers will feel like champions thanks for your enthusiasm and applause. Disco ball be damned.

– Lynn

Note: If your college or university is presenting a dance performance this month or next, feel free to comment below to let our readers know. Always check details before attending.

Coming up: Creating holiday dance memories, “Parade tales,” Thanksgiving week in NYC, Giving thanks for…

Christmas concerts

Normally we follow a strict “no talk of Christmas until after Thanksgiving” rule at our house. It’s a reflection of the philosophy we embrace year round — First, give thanks.

But I discovered, while researching Christmas concert options, that several are fast approaching — and decided to run with the Christmas music vibe a bit early this year.

The Phoenix Children's Chorus performs Dec 3 in Higley

The Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix presents “An Irish Christmas” with song, dance and more Nov. 27. www.azirish.org.

The Phoenix Symphony presents “Holiday Pops” Dec. 2-4 and “Family Holiday Concert” Dec. 3 at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Valley Youth Theatre performers are taking part in the pops concert. www.phoenixsymphony.org.

Mesa Arts Center presents a Heritage Academy Performing Arts Dept. holiday concert Dec. 2, the “Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour” Dec. 14 and “Holiday Pops: Salt River Brass” Dec. 18. www.mesaartscenter.com.

The Phoenix Children’s Chorus presents “Start the Season with Song” Dec. 3 at Higley Center for the Performing Arts. www.higleyarts.org.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents a “Christmas Concert” Dec. 4 at Velda Rose United Methodist Church. www.cgc.maricopa.edu.

The Orpheus Male Chorus presents “Holidays with Orpheus” Dec. 4, 11 and 13 at various Valley locations. www.orpheus.org.

The Sonoran Desert Chorale presents “Passage of Joy! Noel!” Dec. 10 (Mesa) and 11 (Paradise Valley). www.sonorandesertchorale.com.

Center Dance Ensemble presents “Spirit of the Season” with Jeffrey Hatrick and Nicole Pesce Dec. 12 at the Herberger Theater Center. www.herbergertheater.org.

The Blind Boys of Alabma perform Dec 10 in Scottsdale

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents “Go Tell It On The Mountain: The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show” Dec. 10 and “Big Voodoo Daddy’s Wild and Swinging Holiday Party” Dec. 21.  ww.scottsdaleperformingarts.com.

Rosie’s House presents their “Holiday Concert” Dec. 12 at Central United Methodist Church in Phoenix. www.rosieshouse.org.

Tempe Center for the Arts presents “Performance with a View: SaxMas Morning” featuring the ASU Saxophone Studio Dec. 13 and “Lakeshore Jazz Series: Phoenix Boys Choir Christmas Tour” Dec. 23. www.tempe.gov/tca.

Mesa Community College presents a “Songs of the Season” concert and reception Dec. 16 at MCC’s Red Mountain campus. www.mesacc.edu.

The Phoenix Boys Choir presents “Spirit of the Holidays” Dec. 16 at the Virginia G. Piper Performing Arts Center at Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix. www.boyschoir.org.

Actors Theatre of Phoenix performs a concert version of “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 24 at the Herberger Theater Center. www.actorstheatrephx.org.

Several Valley groups are performing at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix — click here to read a post featuring their holiday concert options.

If your Valley arts organization is presenting a Christmas concert not noted here, please comment below to let our readers know — thanks!

– Lynn

Note: For a comprehensive list of family events for the holiday season, check out the December issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine and click here to visit their online calendar.

Coming up: Holiday dance delights, Three nights in Bangkok, Circle time

Toga time?

Don’t be alarmed if you see students parading around in their togas near Theatre Outback, a performing arts venue at Mesa Community College, this weekend — or next.

They’re likely cast members from a mature-theme piece of musical theater called “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” which combines situations depicted in 2,000 year-old-plays by Plautus with vaudevillian comedy of more modern times.

Mesa Community College opens their production of "Forum" tonight

It’s being performed by MCC’s music department Oct. 20-29. “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” was originally produced on Broadway by Harold S. Prince. The classic piece of musical theater meets farce features book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, plus music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Seems a slave has been promised freedom in exchange for winning a young woman’s hand for his master — but nothing goes quite as planned. Along the way, audience members enjoy songs like “Comedy Tonight,” “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,” and “That Dirty Old Man.” You can take the teens, but leave younger ones at home.

The MCC production includes a cast of 18, many of whom have a long list of credits. The program lists Sue Anne Lucius as producer, Jere Van Patten as director and Cathy Hauan as music director/conductor. Also two choreographers — Frank Cava and Jennifer Cava.

The cast of MCC's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

The original Broadway production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” — which opened in 1962 — earned several Tony Awards, including best musical and best book. Broadway revivals were staged in 1972 and 1976. There’s also a 1962 musical film version featuring the original Broadway star, Zero Mostel, know to many as Tevye in the original “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” is performed infrequently in the Valley, so Sondheim fans and students of musical theater should seize this opportunity to experience the work. Sondheim served as lyricist for both “West Side Story” and “Gypsy.” He’s earned an Academy Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Also several Grammy Awards and Tony Awards.

Sondheim was both composer and lyricist for the musicals “Company,” “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Into the Woods” and more. Even those who fail to fawn over all things Sondheim should appreciate his contributions to the great American art form we call musical theater.

The cast of "Forum" presented by the music department at Mesa Community College

If you’ve never seen “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” attending the MCC production sounds like a fun way to up your musical theater I.Q. Just promise me you’ll leave toga time to the professionals.

– Lynn

Note: The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards solicit nominations each year from the general public and notable public figures, providing the opportunity to submit stories about teachers and professors who made a significant difference in their lives. Click here for details.

Coming up: Tevye tales, Fun finds at the Arizona Humanities Festival

From Lilly to Wiley

I should have taken a cot along to Tempe Center for the Arts on Sunday. I was there to see Childsplay’s production of “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” — and I’m returning this evening for the AriZoni Awards ceremony.

The ceremony features both a youth and adult portion. Though Childsplay performs for children, it’s not a youth theater — so I’ll be listening for their awards during the grown-up portion of the evening.

Several Childsplay artists act and direct throughout the community, so I’m accustomed to watching for them in both Childsplay productions and works by other companies.

Childsplay associate artist Debra K. Stevens, who performs the role of “Mom” in “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,” has been with the company since 1982 — but she’s directing a show that opens this week at Mesa Community College.

Mesa Community College presents Wiley and the Hairy Man later this week

It’s “Wiley and the Hairy Man,” a work performed (along with David Saar’s
“The Big Yellow Boat”) during Childsplay’s 1993-1994 season. My own theater baby Lizabeth was born in 1993. This is the first year I’ve attended the AriZoni Awards without her, and she’ll be missed.

When Childsplay performed “Wiley and the Hairy Man” it garnered all sorts of AriZoni Award nominations — best director and choreographer for Michael Barnard (artistic director for Phoenix Theatre), best actor for D. Scott Withers and more.

I’m hoping to see “Wiley and the Hairy Man” when it’s performed at MCC’s Theatre Outback Fri, Sept 23 (10 am and 7:30pm) or Sat, Sept 24 (2pm). They’re performing an original adaptation by Justin Taylor.

Mesa Community College describes “Wiley and the Hairy Man” as the gripping story of a young boy trying to overcome his greatest fear. It’s set in the swamps of the south, where Wiley prepares to confront the creature who took his father away. MCC notes that the work is heavily influenced by Gullah culture.

“Gullah culture” is a broad descriptor for the traditions, skills and beliefs brought to this country by enslaved Africans — many of whom, according to a 2003 PBS broadcast on the topic, came ashore along the coast of Southern Carolina.

The play is an intriguing gateway to conversations about cultural preservation and assimilation. A 2001 piece picked up by National Geographic notes that similar issues have faced “American Indians, Cajuns in Louisiana and highlanders in Appalachia.”

Mesa Community College plans school tours of the production for October and November. Also coming this fall is “Next Fall,” being presented by Actors Theatre at the Herberger Theater Center Oct 28-Nov 13.

Stevens performs the role of “Arlene” in the Geoffrey Nauffts work, which explores the collision of ideas wrought by an actual collision. If you want to find fascinating theater in the Valley, just start at Childsplay.

Then see where their fine actors lead you…

– Lynn

Note: You’ll find Childsplay at www.childsplayaz.org, Mesa Community College at www.mesacc.edu, Tempe Center for the Arts at www.tempe.gov/tca, Actors Theatre at www.atphx.org and the AriZoni Awards at www.arizoniawards.com.

Coming up: Highlights from the 2011 AriZoni Awards ceremony, “Mixing It Up” in Tempe, Chinese arts and culture

And the nominees are…

These youth came out to support Spotlight Youth Theatre, one of three Valley theater companies nominated for both best youth play and best youth musical

This year’s Tony Awards ceremony in NYC has come and gone, but Arizona theater folk (and those who love them) gathered Mon, Aug 1 to hear a reading of nominations for the 21st annual AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence.

The reading, held at Phoenix Theatre, was followed by an after-party at BLISS/ReBAR – described during ceremony remarks as “huge supporters of the arts.” The 2011 AriZoni Awards ceremony honoring excellence during the 2010/11 season takes place Sept 19 at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Mesa Community College supporters at the Monday event included (L to R) Sarah Stellpflug, Jacqui Stevenson, Tyler Pounds and Heather Fallon

The AriZoni Awards recognize the best professional, community and youth theater among participating theaters in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Most, but not all, Valley theaters take part.

The 2011 ceremony features one portion for youth theater companies (5:30-7:30pm) followed by another for other theater companies (8-10:30pm). Folks of all ages, theater geek or no, can attend.

Maggie McNeil (L) and Taylor Lawritson came out to support Theater Works, and sat in a front row gleefully clapping for each Theater Works nomination

The best seats in the house go to nominees, so get your tickets early once they go on sale to get the best possible view of the evening’s festivities. No swanky evening gowns are required but folks do tend to show up a bit on the dressy side.

Overall production-youth play nominations went to works by Actor’s Youth Theatre, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Fountain Hills Community Theater Youth Theater, Spotlight Youth Theatre and Theater Works Youth Works.

Overall production-youth musical nominations went to Actor’s Youth Theatre, DFT Gecko Teatro, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Greasepaint Youtheatre, Musical Theatre of Anthem and Spotlight Youth Theatre.

Ryan Smith (R), Natalie Kilker and Andrey Lull attended Monday night to support Fountain Hills Community Theater, which has nominations in several categories

I have a few nominations of my own. The “biggest single totally-out-of-nowhere yelp!” award for Monday evening is a tie between those rooting for Damon Evans of MoezArt Productions’ “Here We Sit” and those cheering for Ron May of Stray Cat Theatre’s “Learn to be Latina.”

The “most overjoyed as evidenced by non-stop gasps and giggles” award goes to the cheerful crowd from Actor’s Youth Theatre, whose “Les Miserables – School Edition” raked in a ton of nominations. I asked one of their young supporters if she’d counted the theater’s total number of nods for the evening, and she quickly quipped “thirty.” I’m not going to check her math but it sounds about right.

Trevor Bowler (L) was there to cheer on AYT with Dale, Chelsea and Jamie (R) Mortensen and others whose enthusiasm with each nomination was infectious

You can hit the AriZoni Awards website for a full list of official nominations in every category. Of course those of us who heard them read by Yolanda London, Robert Kolby Harper and Kurtis W. Overby — emcees for the September awards ceremony — had infinitely more fun.

Scholarship and community award nominations are being accepted through Aug 15. Click here to learn more. Just promise me, please, that you won’t nominate me for any “worst-dressed” awards.

– Lynn

Note: Nominees have been selected for this year’s Business in the Arts Awards, which recognize “outstanding achievements, collaborations and contributions to and for arts organizations in metro Phoenix.” Honorees will be announced at a breakfast event Wed, Aug 17. Table sponsorships, event tickets and raffle tickets are available at www.abcannualawardsbreakfast.org.

Coming up: Writers workshops, Valley acting studios, Ode to ensembles

Photo credit: Lynn Trimble

Pardon my Pygmalion

Here’s a little something for those of you seeking just the right name for your baby boy: Pygmalion. The word, which has Greek origins, means “King of Cyprus” — which rather reminds me of Sara Bareilles’ “King of Anything.”

For others, the name Pygmalion conjures thoughts of playwright George Bernard Shaw – whose play titled “Pygmalion” references a Greek myth recounted by Ovid in which a sculptor who loathes women falls in love with his own statue of a beautiful woman.

Most know a later version of this story — the one told in the 1956 musical “My Fair Lady,” which is based on Shaw’s 1912 work. It’s the tale of a commoner, Eliza Doolittle, who undergoes a phonetics makeover at the hands of professor Henry Higgins.

Theater League brings “My Fair Lady” to two Valley stages this season — Mesa Arts Center Jan 31-Feb 1, 2012 and the Orpheum in Phoenix Feb 16-19, 2012. It features book, music and lyrics by Lerner and Loewe. Think “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

In his preface to “Pygmalion,” Shaw disparages the language skills of his peers. “The English,” Shaw writes, “have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it.”

I suspect the Irish playwright, who lived from 1856 to 1950, would have plenty to say about most states deciding to drop cursive writing from the school curriculum. Blogging might take a beating as well.

Mesa Community College presents “Pygmalion” Jan 27-Feb 4, 2012 at Theatre Outback, located on the MCC campus. It’s one of four theater works in their “Theatre Arts and Film 2011-2012 Mainstage Season” — which includes some truly fascinating fare.

Those of you eager to experience Shaw’s work have another option as Desert Rose Theatre performs “The Dark Lady of the Sonnets” July 21-30 at St. Daniel the Prophet Catholic Church in Scottsdale. Each 7:30pm show is preceeded by a 7pm “pre-show chat” and followed by a “fun Q & A with the actors.”

Desert Rose offers this summary of the play: William Shakespeare is out on the town to meet his Dark Lady, the woman who inspired his sonnets. But a sleepwalking figure interupts his tryst. Who is this new, mysterious and fascinating woman with regal bearing? Could she end up his new muse?

Tickets for “The Dark Lady of the Sonnets” are just $10, and the fine folks at Brown Paper Tickets note a minimum age of 8 to attend. This production features Chris Michael Dennis, Diane Senffner, Kristina Rogers and Dave Edmunds.

George Bernard Shaw received the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature, and you can learn more about his work by visiting the Nobel Prize website. The Nobel Committee is currently reviewing productions nominated for the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

If you’re having twins, by the way, consider coupling the names Pygmalion and Hamlet. I owe that suggestion to my daughter Jennifer, though I think it might be a better choice for a pair of puppies you call “Pyg” and “Ham.”

– Lynn

Coming up: What would Robin Hood do?