Tag Archives: Michael Barnard

Monday, Monday

The house was full of baby boomers Sunday afternoon as Phoenix Theatre presented an updated version of the work they debuted in 2007 — a “nearly true story of the Mamas & Papas” dubbed “Dream a Little Dream.” It explores the intertwined and sometimes twisted personal and professional lives of four musicians — John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, Denny Doherty and Mama Cass. It’s directed and choreographed by Michael Barnard.

The work originated as a monologue performance by Doherty, first performed in Nova Scotia during 1996. It was directed by Paul Ledoux, who now shares the bookwriting credit with Doherty. Seeing Doherty’s take made me long for a version akin to the movie “Vantage Point” — which considers events from the perspectives of several folks close to the scene of a crime.

Explore the life and times of The Mamas & The Papas through May 27 at Phoenix Theatre

The Phoenix Theatre cast includes two actors from their previous production of “Dream a Little Dream” — Alisa Schiff-Warner (Mama Cass) and Michael Sample (John Phillips). Evan Siegel (Denny Doherty) and Tori Anderson (Michelle Phillips) are new to Phoenix Theatre. All four are members of Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the U.S.

Behind all the groovy tunes (and sometimes within them), there was plenty of “Sturm und Drang.” Sexual liaisons. Drug use. Lousy choices in matters big and small. It made me think the show should be required viewing for high schoolers who assume too often that all those hippie years were laced with magic rather than mayhem. The show’s final scenes are especially bittersweet, and touching even to those who already know how the story ends.

“Dream a Little Dream” features dozens of songs, so fans of The Mamas & The Papas get a good fix. My personal favorites during the show included “500 Miles” and “Monday, Monday.” Also “San Francisco,” sung by Sam Sherwood (Scott McKenzie) in front of vintage footage from the “City on the Bay” and “Dream a Little Dream” featuring soulful, bluesy vocals by Kimball.

Much of the show’s humor stems from vignettes with fellow famous folk like John Lennon (Sam Sherwood) and Ed Sullivan (Beau Heckman). Its greatest visual appeal is lighting (Mike Eddy) with a psychedelic vibe and costumes (Connie Furr-Soloman) equally lush in pattern and color. Dark set elements apparently painted to make a glow in the dark effect possible were a bit off-putting.

I’d have preferred a cleaner palette for the show’s other design elements — and wish the live band’s sound hadn’t been somewhat muted by its placement behind the show’s backdrop. Still, it’s a fun bit of musical theater meets memory lane. Haul out your go-go boots and all things fringe. Then take a spin back in time, grateful if you’re old enough to have both lived through and survived the ’60s.

– Lynn

Note: Phoenix Theatre performs “Dream a Little Dream” through May 27 — click here for show and ticket information. Click here to read more about the life and times of The Mamas & The Papas in a Vanity Fair piece titled “California Dreamgirl” by Sheila Weller .

Coming up: Mark Lewis talks Beatles tribute “RAIN”

The swing and I

Little did we know, when Lizabeth performed with Nick Cartell in "The King and I" more than a decade ago, that we'd one day witness his Broadway debut in "Jesus Christ Superstar," currently in previews at the Neil Simon Theatre

My daughter Lizabeth performed more than a decade ago in a Greasepaint Youtheatre production of “The King and I.” So did Nick Cartell, now a swing with the Broadway revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar” currently in previews at the Neil Simon Theatre. If an actor who performs the role of Jesus, Judas or Annas (or one of ten ensemble tracks) can’t go onstage for any reason, Cartell is among those ready to run with it.

Cartell graciously invited Lizabeth and I to join him for a bite to eat before Wednesday night’s show, and we were delighted that his wife Christie joined us as well. Seems they met several years ago while living in Japan. Cartell performed for Disney in Japan for three years, and Christie quips that she was “friends with lots of the princesses.” Each shines, but together they sparkle.

Cartell graciously answered all sorts of questions between bites of burger sans bun, raw veggies and cottage cheese. Best to be buff when working on Broadway, and this show in particular. Heaven forbid the call might come to don a loincloth when you’ve more flab than abs. Not something Cartell needs to fret, but his work ethic is admirable.

Stay in shape. Continue acting training. Seize opportunities to learn more. Honor fellow performers. Be grateful for the chance to do what you love. And remember those who helped along the way. For Cartell, it’s family, friends and a pair of Arizona directors — Bobb Cooper, producing artistic director for Valley Youth Theatre and Michael Barnard, artistic director for Phoenix Theatre.

We saw a preview performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” Wednesday night after Cartell made his way from burger to backstage, and he graciously treated us to a backstage tour after the show — where it became clear just how much gets accomplished in small pockets of space. Everyone we met who had anything at all to do with the show was incredibly generous in spirit.

We can’t share a formal review because “Jesus Christ Superstar” is still in previews, but I don’t see the harm in simply telling you that we both loved it big time. I’ve seen four different productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar” since my teens, and this is my favorite by far for all sorts of reasons I’ll happily share after reviewers have a chance to see the show post-previews and give their opinions. Lizabeth is already talking about seeing the show again, but I suppose it’ll be James’ turn to tag along next time.

Cartell’s on-stage time is relatively brief, but it’s delightful all the same. His heart is clearly in it — really in it. And his smile lights up the theater as cast members take their bows. When the Arizona heat feels too much to bear, just head for the bright lights of Broadway. Cartell will surely be there.

– Lynn

Note: I’ll be sharing more of Cartell’s journey to Broadway in future posts, plus his insights for young actors on things like training and auditioning — and his thoughts about trends in Broadway theater.

Coming up: NYC museum adventures, Building a better portrait

A “Gypsy” tale

I’ll never forget a pair of shows produced many years ago by Phoenix Theatre. One was “Into the Woods,” with a cast that included D. Scott Withers as the Baker — who’s now performing in the Phoenix Theatre production of “Gypsy.” The other was “Will Rogers Follies” — a show that’s long been my own personal “one to beat” in the world of splashy musical theater fare. Sunday’s matinee of “Gypsy” gave me that “Will Rogers Follies” feeling all over again, and I loved it.

I was hoping that Lizabeth, who’s been fortunate enough to study theater with Withers and perform in a production he directed, would be able to join me for “Gypsy” — but she’s spending spring break in NYC rehearsing for a Pace University production of “Our Lady of 121st Street.” So I invited a friend, whose arts and culture creds far outweigh my own, to come along.

She loved the costumes (Cari Sue Smith). I loved the lighting (Mike Eddy). Also music direction (Alan Ruch) and scenic design (Robert Kovach). We both loved the choreography (Mollie Lajoie), and agreed that the best number in the show is “All I Need Is the Girl,” performed by Peter Marinaro (Tulsa) — whose bio should sport one additional line: The cutie pants who can dance. My line, not hers. She waxes more poetic. I just wanna rhyme.

L to R: Kathy Fitzgerald (Rose) and Jenny Hintze (Louise) in "Gypsy" at Phoenix Theatre

Three other performers delivered especially strong performances, including Withers (Herbie) and Jenny Hintze (Louise). Also Kathy Fitzgerald, who performs the role of stage mother Rose. Lizabeth and I saw her last gig — the Broadway production of “Wicked” (Madame Morrible) — where she was the perfect embodiment of misguided mean. She brings the same beautiful bite to Rose, with singing chops a bit too grand for smaller stages. Her  “Some People” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” rival renditions by several Broadway greats.

People read Rose differently depending on their own life experiences. It’s hard to justify her selfish, hard-driving ways. Still I felt the emphathy Fitzgerald hoped to convey. Rose’s own childhood was ugly, and left her wounded in ways most of us can scarcely imagine. She wanted so desperately to be together instead of alone. To scratch out her own shot at fame while helping her daughters escape the life that’d carved “victim” across her heart.

Still, Rose modeled some important coping skills for her daughters — humor, hard work and undying optimism.” I can’t help wondering how much better any of us might have fared under similar circumstances. Michael Barnard’s direction is a kaleidescope of sorts — revealing complicated facets of characters where others might settle for simple stereotypes.

L to R: Kate Shein (June) and Kathy Fitzgerald (Rose) in "Gypsy" at Phoenix Theatre

It helps when you’re working with brilliant material. “Gypsy” features book by Arthur Laurents, music by Julie Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Consider it a “musical fable” suggested by the memoir of Gypsy Rose Lee, the oldest of two daughters the real-life Rose did her best to shove into show business as the craft of vaudeville was falling away to the craze of burlesque.

“Gypsy” feels especially relevant in a day and age that elevates stage mothers to reality show stardom. But there’s something more — the undercurrent of change within the theater biz itself, no less profound today than it was in Rose’s day. Consider, my friend suggested, the ways of Lady Gaga. What’s talent without terrific packaging? Once there was burlesque. Now we have branding.

Phoenix Theatre has long been the cornerstone of classic musical theater in the Valley, but it’s seamlessly transitioned in recent years to contemporary fare like last season’s “Avenue Q.” They’re presenting “Spring Awakening” with Nearly Naked Theatre in June, and opening the 2012/13 season with “Spamalot.”

This and other 2012/13 offerings were revealed in a short black and white film shown on a small screen in the theater before an orchestral medley of “Gypsy” tunes opened the show. They include “Defending the Caveman,” “S’Wonderful: The New Gershwin Musical” and “a reimagining” of “Our Town.” Also a new musical revue called “Love Makes the World Go Round” (“Gleeks” will dig it) — and a little something they can’t yet name but describe as “a menagerie of  crazies.” Don’t expect Tennessee Williams.

– Lynn

Note: The cast of “Gypsy” includes several talented young actors — another great reason to see the show. Phoenix Theatre performs “Gypsy” through April 1, and their “Cookie Theatre” production of “Charlotte’s Web” opens at Greasepaint Theatre in Scottsdale on April 14.

Coming up: Got scripts?

Once upon a stage mom

The mother of all stage mothers, “Mama Rose,” has been portrayed by plenty of legendary actresses in stage and screen versions of the musical “Gypsy.” Ethel Merman. Angela Lansbury. Bette Midler. Patti Lupone.

When “Gypsy” opens at Phoenix Theatre next month, Kathy Fitzgerald will perform the role. I’m eager to see it after enjoying Fitzerald’s truly exceptional performance as Madame Morrible in “Wicked” on Broadway last October with my daughter Lizabeth.

Fitzgerald has also performed in “9 to 5,” “The Producers,” and “Swinging on a Star” on Broadway — plus plenty of Off-Broadway and regional theater productions.

Before moving to Manhattan, where she lives with her husband and 12-year-old daughter Hope, Fitzgerald spent seven years performing on Valley stages. So working with Michael Barnard, who’s directing “Gypsy” at Phoenix Theatre, is nothing new.

Phoenix Theatre presents the musical "Gypsy" March 7-April 1

“Mama Rose” is often vilified for pushing her daughters Gypsy Rose Lee and June Havoc into show business. But Fitzgerald says she admires her “incredible drive and passion,” noting that she “pushed and pushed her girls” hoping to give them options not open to most women during the 1920s and 1930s.

“In some ways,” reflects Fitzgerald, “I respect her stength and tenacity.” Fitzgerald notes that “Mama Rose” did everything for her girls and was, in some ways, a pioneer. “Her life,” says Fitzgerald, “was way more tragic and flawed than it’s depicted in this musical.”

Today’s best known stage moms are another story. Fitzgerald says she has a hard time understanding why the mothers of Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” put their girls through so much melodrama. Seems the pay is poor for cable shows, though plenty of scenes may live on in digital world forever.

Fitzgerald says she’d “never want to be like” the moms who star on “Dance Moms” — whose nasty neuroses and futile fights typically take place in front of their kids. Having issues is one thing. Airing them in front of your children is another. Sharing them with millions of viewers is just plain creepy.

Daughter Hope is plenty busy with her academically rigorous school, according to Fitzgerald, who adds that neither she nor her husband would let Hope do the theater thing at this point. “There’s plenty of time for that later,” quips Fitzgerald.

Her own childhood was a bit different, however. “My dad ran a theater in L.A.,” says Fitzgerland, “and my mom was pretty pushy too.” Though her own mother died when she was just 15, Fitzgerald says “she knew that I was supposed to be an actor.”

Whether you’re a stage mother (in the best or worst sense of the word), or simply someone who enjoys watching others do the stage mother thing, seeing the musical “Gypsy” is a must.

“Gypsy” debuted on Broadway in 1959 featuring book by Arthur Laurents, music by Stephen Sondheim and lyrics by Jule Styne. It was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. It’s based on a memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee.

“Gypsy” is regarded by Fitzgerald and many others as “one of the best musicals of all time.” Its best-known songs include “Let Me Entertain You,” “Together Wherever We Go” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” The music, says Fitzgerald, “is genius.”

– Lynn

Coming up: Trends in marketing Broadway

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

Too good to be Q?

My neighbors must think it odd. Every day after I take my mail from the mailbox, I stop in my tracks to see what’s arrived. I probably did the same thing umpteen years ago, hoping Donny Osmond would actually reply to some of my fan mail. He never did, and so I’ve moved on. (Davy Jones and Bo Donaldson were no better.)

Nowadays I watch for announcements of upcoming music, dance and theater performances. I learned that lesson the hard way, seeing a poster of the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” featuring Osmond hanging on a wall of the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix only after it had come and gone.

I did a curbside happy dance when I opened a humble looking envelope from Phoenix Theatre the other day. It announced their 2010-2011 season—something not even posted on their website yet. Better yet—they told me I could share it with our readers right away, even though a certain show (a Tony Award winner for best new musical) won’t be ‘official’ until March.

I had an inkling a couple of months ago when a Phoenix Theatre 2010/2011 season survey hit my virtual mailbox—something I received because I’m on their e-list, the modern day version of a mailing list used to send news via e-mail instead of snail mail. The survey, something they’ve done for years, invites patrons to vote on possible shows for the coming season.

The surveys were also available in the programs patrons received when attending Phoenix Theatre productions earlier in the current season, and each survey included a place for respondents to provide their name and such (so stuffing the survey box wasn’t a problem).

Patrons were asked to select two choices in each of four categories, with combined results weighing heavily in the decision making process when it came time for artistic director Michael Barnard and his team at Phoenix Theatre to decide on the 2010-2011 season.

What would you have selected from the following options?

Large musicals: Hairspray, Nine, Damn Yankees, The Drowsy Chaperone, My Favorite Year, Annie, La Cage Aux Folles or The Mystery of Edwin Drood? Mid-season musicals: Avenue Q, Iron Curtain, Hats! The Musical, Working or Wildest? Intimate musicals/revues: The Marvelous Wonderettes, The Big Bang, No Way to Treat a Lady, Twisted TV or Pump Boys and Dinettes? Comedies: Unnecessary Farce, Noises Off, Boeing Boeing or The Wallace and Ladmo Show?

The survey also asked patrons which type of programming they enjoy seeing most at Phoenix Theatre—offering four choices to choose from: new Broadway musicals, classic Broadway musicals, comedies and world premiere musicals. The trend, according to Phoenix Theatre marketing director Brian Kunnari, is towards newer Broadway musicals rather than Broadway classics.

Hence the upcoming season will feature the following:

• “No Way to Treat a Lady”

• “Hairspray”

• “3 Redneck Tenors”

• “Noises Off”

• “Nine”

There’s also a little something almost too good to be true—something, I’m told, involving a Q.

I suspect there will be a happy dance or two Friday evening, Feb. 26th, when Phoenix Theatre takes to the Madison Event Center in downtown Phoenix for its “Phoenix Theatre LIVE” event featuring “song, dance, comedy, cocktails and supper club dining.”

If you’re free, you may want to don your “studio audience glam” and join the fun. Visit www.phoenixtheatre.com ASAP for details and ticket info.

If an evening with Phoenix Theatre sounds fun, imagine joining artistic director Michael Barnard in London this spring for “400 years of theatre in one week.” The deadline to register for this baby is drawing nigh, so check out the details right away if you might want to take part in this April 24th to May 1st adventure.

There’s a trip brochure at the Phoenix Theatre website, or you can contact Beth Reynolds at the theater for more information (602-889-5299 or e.reynolds@phoenixtheatre.com).

Travelers will enjoy three theatre productions, including “Love Never Dies,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to “Phantom of the Opera”—and excursions to sites every theater buff dreams of seeing (Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Globe Theatre and more).

Today, I fear, will bring a rather uneventful trip to the mailbox. Unless there’s news of a Valley stop for a national tour of “Next to Normal,” nothing’s likely to rival my excitement over all things Q…

–Lynn

Note: The “Broadway Across America” national touring production of “Avenue Q” comes to ASU Gammage in Tempe March 4th-9th. I’m attending opening night so look for a review of the show soon after. Better yet, find me and say “hello” at the show!

Update: It’s official! Phoenix Theatre’s 2010-2011 season includes “Avenue Q.” To enjoy adult puppet theater in the meantime, check out the adult puppet slams presented by Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix (www.azpuppets.org).

Once upon an audition…

It was around 1997. We lived up the street from the old Tower Plaza at 40th St. and E. Thomas Rd. With braided pigtails and all, Lizabeth and Jennifer did their first auditions (in a basement) for a Valley Youth Theatre production of The Sound of Music.

They weren’t cast, but no matter. The audition process itself was fun. It was about having new experiences, meeting new people, enjoying an afternoon together. Everyone involved in the audition process—from musical director to artistic director—was cheerful, professional and kind.

We all went together to see the show when it ran—I think it was at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. From set to costume and musical number to dramatic scene, it was truly memorable. Our girls never lamented not being cast. We felt happy for the kids who were chosen, and knew there was equal joy and importance in being in the audience.

That approach has served them well through the years for, like most children who audition, our daughters audition much more often than they are cast. From their earliest auditions we approached it very matter-of-factly, like shopping for shoes. A shoe might be stunning, but that doesn’t mean it will fit.

Directors are searching for the best match, not the best child. Not being chosen isn’t personal. It doesn’t mean you aren’t talented or smart. (This is a harder sell as kids get older, so set the right tone when they are tiny.)

During elementary school, both Jennifer and Lizabeth auditioned—and were cast—in productions with Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale. Jennifer was an angel and a gingerbread man (and another role that just isn’t on the tip of my pen at this point) in Greasepaint’s Hansel and Gretel, and a little girl who doted on Geppetto in Greasepaint’s Pinocchio.

I’ll never forget the small ceramic bowl and lid I painted—mottled brown like cinnamon with red and orange accents like candy buttons—for Jennifer. Or the myriad of angel wings I sprayed with glow in the dark paint. Or the costumes I helped to sew or mend. Or the treats we baked to decorate in the green room.

The shows were my introduction to building and painting sets—and I loved it. (Oddly enough, I’m returning to Stagebrush Theatre—home of Greasepaint Youtheatre—to paint the stage with fellow volunteers later today.) The last time I painted that stage Christopher was all of half my height and watching from the first row of seating as he peered up from his homework. (For all of us, I think, it feels good to be home.)

Flash forward to today, when Lizabeth is taking production studies at Arizona School for the Arts, getting training from pros in the skills I’ve merely muddled through with all these years. Fortunately, they still let me get my hands dirty now and then. Willing hands and a happy heart make many a theater manager merry.

Lizabeth is performing in Oliver! With Greasepaint Youthreatre this season (mention her name when you buy tickets and she might win the ‘top ticket sales by a cast member’ prize!). But she had a long spell of auditioning without being cast. She never gave up, and that’s what it’s all about.

Lizabeth was cast twice her first season with Greasepaint Youtheatre, but hasn’t performed with them since (until now). Those braided pigtails were just the right fit for Tom Sawyer, where we saw her sitting on the edge of the stage swingin’ her fishing pole as the show opened, then painting a white picket fence and playing hopscotch with friends in later scenes. During a church scene, she used to stomp her tiny character shoes on the floor as she clapped with conviction to the beat of a gospel tune. That one got to me every time.

Later she played one of many princesses in The King and I, gently weeping each time they did the scene where the king lay dying in his silk-draped bed. I ran into Lizabeth’s kindergarten (or was it first grade?) teacher at Childsplay’s “Bear Stage” event the other night. She’d been gracious enough to come to Lizabeth’s shows, and shared with me that she’s kept the programs Lizabeth “autographed” all those years ago. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but apparently Lizabeth suggested the teacher hold onto them so she could pull them out one day and reminisce after Lizabeth earned her Tony Award.

Through the years, Lizabeth has honed her auditioning skills. She’s improved at cold readings and vocal technique, and picked up more than a couple of dance steps (even choreographing a piece for ASA’s spring musical, Runaways, last year). Her resume has more credits, and her head shots are a bit less terrible than they used to be. (The subject is beautiful but the photo quality isn’t quite up there just yet.) Still, not every shoe fits. But she keeps trying them on. I love that about her.

Today Lizabeth learns about upcoming auditions from all sorts of places—friends who act, teachers who work in theater, theater company websites/e-bulletins and more. And she knows to expect a list each week of audition notices from Durant Communications, a theatrical publicity firm serving the metro Phoenix area (anyone can sign up to receive them).

The listings feature upcoming auditions for children and adults—for stage and film—plus opportunities for technical professionals. Just last week the Durant postings included auditions for everything from Phoenix Theatre outreach programs to a Valley fever improvisation troupe (plus the usual assortment of musicals and plays).

I’ll share a few of Lizabeth’s audition lessons learned in future blogs, as well as tips from Valley theater professionals. First up will be Bobb Cooper, producing artistic director for Valley Youth Theatre.

If your child or teen (ages 10 to 19) is eager to get out there and audition, check out the musical theatre audition workshop being offered Saturday, November 21st from 9am to noon at Phoenix Theatre in downtown Phoenix. (Yes—it too is located by my favorite foodie find—Arcadia Farms at the Phoenix Art Museum.)

The workshop is being taught by Michael Barnard, producing artistic director for Phoenix Theatre (along with Phoenix Theatre associate artist Toby Yatso), and three hours of instruction will run just $30. The workshop was more than half full the last time I spoke with Phoenix Theatre, so you need to call or e-mail right away if you want to get registered (Beth Cowan at 602-889-5293 or b.cowan@ phoenixtheatre.com).

Happy auditioning—and attending! I’ll see you at the theater.

–Lynn

Note: If you are a young actor or a theater professional with audition advice to share, please lend your expertise and insights in the comment section below. Success stories and horror stories (if you’re nice) are also welcome…