Tag Archives: Peoria Center for the Performing Arts

You had me at “cherry tree”

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There’s a small parking lot at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts that’s covered with yellow blossoms these days — dropped from the Palo Verde trees that bring a splash of color to the desert each spring. I’ve taken to imagining these trees are cherry blossoms, picturing them in pink instead of yellow, because I’m still learning to love the Arizona landscape — but cherry blossoms have always tugged at my heart.

I saw the season’s first cherry tree blossom inside the Brooklyn Botanic Garden earlier this month and get wistful for Washington, D.C. each time the cherry blossoms emerge. So when I learned that a new theater work titled “Sakura no Ne” (“Root of the Cherry Tree”) included footage of trees in bloom, I knew I had to see it. Folks who feel the same have just one more opportunity (April 22 at 2pm) to see the family-friendly production being performed at Theater Works in Peoria.

“Sakura no Ne” is part multi-media production, part performance art, part morality tale and part homage to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix (along with sister city Himeji in Japan). At times it has the feel of a fine work of theater for children. Other times it reads like a Japan-inspired version of “Riverdance” or “Stomp.” Everything about it is lovely, but it may need a bit more pruning as it evolves to reach wider audiences.

Children in the audience Saturday afternoon clearly loved the humor, drumming, martial arts component and digital projections. The 80-minute show also features diverse dance elements rarely scene on Valley stages. I chatted with a couple after the show, eager to see whether a storm scene filled with lightning and a fire-breathing serpent had scared their preschool-age son. “This is the first time he’s sat through an entire show,” they told me.

“Sakura no No” is the work of playwright Soji Kashiwagi (of Grateful Crane Ensemble) and music composer Scott Nagatani.  It’s directed by Dominik Rebilas. “Sakura no Ne” is produced by Yoshi Kumagai (who also serves as art director and fight choreographer) and Ken Koshio (who also serves as music director), sponsored by the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix and funded by a Sundome Performing Arts Association grant. Kumagai shared with me after the show that they’re hoping to present the work in additional Valley venues.

The show’s most dramatic element is drumming by Ken Koshio in the role of Ikazuchi (Thunder God). The cast also includes John Tang (Taro “Tama” Yamazajura), Urashima Taro, Old Man), Dale Nakagawa (Justin, Sea Turtle) and Sandy Harris (Haley, Sea Princess, Crane). Most delicate is Koshio’s title song, sung in Japanese and English with harmonica and guitar. I also enjoyed creations by Zarko Guerrero (mask and turtle outfit) and Derrick Suwaima Davis (crane feather outfit).

“Sakura no Ne” follows the adventures of two tween-age siblings — a boy rarely parted from his Nintendo and a girl attached to her cell phone. Think “I’m so bored” and “O-M-G.” They’re left one day at the Japanese Friendship Garden by parents hoping they’ll find a bit of bliss. But the pair finds something more — a renewed appreciation for nature, family and community. Even each other.

The simple storyline is punctuated by music, dance and martial arts performance. There’s traditional Japanese dance featuring Mari Kaneta (whose choreography and dance I enjoyed with daughter Lizabeth during the 1996 Arizona Opera production of “Madama Butterfly”), taiko drumming by Fushicho Daiko and Jakara, martial arts by a trio from Arizona Aikiko and dance by the ASU Japanese Student Association’s Soran Bushi Dancers. It all comes together in the service of a single message.

Only the cherry tree’s strong roots make its beautiful blossoms possible.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about “Strolling in Yukata” (taking place April 28 at the Japanese Friendship Garden) and here to learn about a new musical titled “Allegiance” (which explores the World War II experiences of a Japanese-American family).

Coming up: Another tree tale, Don’t cry for me Shakespeare?

Remembering Japan

I learned a bit of Japanese and followed the adventures of John Fulton in Japan last night after my daughter Jennifer invited me to watch an episode of one of her favorite television shows — the Discovery Channel’s “Must Love Cats.”

Turns out the episode featured all sorts of cat fare in Japan — including the story of a cat called Maneki Neko thought to bring good fortune, an island where cats exposed to radiation are cared for, and several cat cafes for cat-lovers who can’t enjoy cats in their own homes.

Knowing that it’s been a year since Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Jennifer remarked that “we have our 9/11 and Japan has its 3/11.” Those eager to show solidarity with the people of Japan have several options, including donations to assist with ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts.

Also attending a “Special Anniversary Remembrance Event” being presented today by the Japanese Culture Club of Arizona. The 2pm event features the screening of a film titled “The Tsunami and Cherry Blossom,” which was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award for short subject documentary.

This Arizona premiere screening takes place in the Arizona Historical Society’s Steele Auditorium, located at 1300 N College Ave. in Tempe. A charitable donation of $10 is suggested.

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix is accepting donations at its gift shop today to benefit earthquake and tnunami victims. It’s open from 10am to 3pm, and admission is $5. Upcoming events at the garden include the following:

March 23: Anime Night at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix — presented in partnership with the Himeji Sister Cities Committee

March 24: Taiko Experience 2012 with Fushicho Daiko Dojo (includes the opportunity to learn taiko with special ticket purchase)

March 31: Children’s Day (with Valley of the Sun Koi Club) at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix

April 13-22: “Sakura no Ne” production at Theatre Works/Peoria Center for the Performing Arts

April 28: Strolling in Yukata (traditional Japanese attire)

They’ll hold “The Spirit of the Garden Anime/Manga Contest” (all ages welcome, but no mature content allowed) in early May.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about the Phoenix Sister Cities Program that includes Himeji, Japan.

Coming up: Celebrating National Poetry Month

Ode to hairspray

Two theater companies present Hairspray on Valley stages this summer

Like most little girls, I spent lots of time imitating my mom. I’d try on her pumps and pearls — and sneak dabs of her blush or lipstick. Even wave a can of aerosol hairspray back and forth over my head until my hair looked like a helmet.

Hairspray movies were released in 1988 and 2007

I recall those moments, and growing up during the ’60s, each time I see the musical “Hairspray.” My mom never saw the show, but she would have loved it. It’s an anthem to teen girls who refuse to accept the status quo or let others determine their worth.

And it’s being performed this summer by two Valley theater groups — Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale and Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix. I love seeing the same work performed by different groups because it’s fun to compare their cast, set and costume choices.

No two productions are ever the same, and seeing multiple versions of a single show gives kids experience in making comparisons, plus analyzing similarities and differences — skills they’ll need for reading, writing, history, math, science and more.

The original cast recording features upbeat songs perfect for retro dance parties

The Desert Stages Theatre production, which runs through Aug 7, will be presented at their Scottsdale venue — which is near Scottsdale Fashion Square. The Valley Youth Theatre production runs Aug 12-28 at the Herberger Theater Center, near Arizona Center, in downtown Phoenix.

Because both are close to shopping and plenty of restaurants, you can take in a show and enjoy other attractions in the area. Still, there’s a downside. Neither is within easy walking distance of a place that’ll sell you hairspray.

For summer birthday parties or back-to-school get togethers, “Hairspray” makes a fun theme. Treat your child and some friends to one of the live productions of “Hairspray,” then get one or both “Hairspray” films for sleepover viewing.

Before there was Harry Potter, there was Hairspray

Find some pictures of Audrey Hepburn or other folks with big hair, and challenge party-goers to see how high their locks will go with a little teasing and hairspray. Then take photos of the results (promising never to post them online).

Encourage guests to dress in “Hairspray” era clothing and accessories. Think bobby socks, headbands and cardigan sweaters. Or take them to a thrift store to see who can find the most outrageous “Hairspray” look.

Let them dance to the “Hairspray” soundtrack or cast recording, eat foods that might have been served in 1962, or play board games from that era. Remind them that Tracy Turnblad never tweeted, and that Mrs. Von Tussle would have frowned (were her face not frozen) on using Facebook.

– Lynn

Note: Theater Works’ Youth Works performs “Hairspray” at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts Feb 3-19, 2012 and Mesa Encore Theatre performs “Hairspray” at Mesa Arts Center May 25-June 3, 2012.

Coming up: AriZoni nominations

Gilbert & Sullivan on Valley stages

Kids Alive at Theater Works in Peoria is performing H.M.S. PINAFORE by Gilbert & Sullivan May 17, 20 & 23

When I learned from Theater Works in Peoria that their “Kids Alive” program was readying to perform “H.M.S. Pinafore,” an operetta by the famed team of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, I went in search of Gilbert & Sullivan lore.

Soon I was exploring the “Learn About Opera” section of the Arizona Opera website — which has three nifty sections: 1) interactive games, 2) composers and 3) backstage pass. I clicked on composer bios and uncovered all sorts of gems about “G & S.” I also revisited the “Gilbert and Sullivan” chapter of Kathleen Krull’s “Lives of the Great Musicians.”

Gilbert and Sullivan created works that include “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Pirates of Penzance,” and “The Mikado” — and they were the darlings of 1880s theater in England. Their work is brisk and biting, but always good-natured and fun.

Theater Works’ “Kids Alive” performs “H.M.S. Pinafore” Tues, May 17 and Mon, May 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are just $5 at the door. They’ve also announced a “performance for special needs patrons” on Fri, May 20 at 10am, noting that “a donation of $2/person is requested.”

“Kids Alive,” a program of the company’s youth theater (“Youth Works”), is a “performing group of children that travel to different venues to entertain and inspire the community by singing, dancing and performing short plays.”

Both “Theater Works” and “Youth Works” perform at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, an intimate facility with several small theaters that enable them to present more than one work at any given time.

If you head to Theater Works June 10-12, you can see Yolanda London (a member of the acting company at Childsplay in Tempe) perform the role of Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” — presented by Theater Works and the Black Theatre Troupe of Phoenix. London is a nuanced, versatile actress who “brings it” every single time she’s on that stage.

The 2011/12 line-up for “Theater Works” includes “Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet,” “The King & I,” “Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” “The Dixie Swim Club,” “A Little Night Music” and “All Through the Night.”

Their 2011/12 “Youth Works” productions include “Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland,” “Hairspray,” and “Pinocchio.” Also for youth, three “Puppet Works” productions — “Trick or Treat!,” “Saving Santa” and “The Magical Adventures of Pinocchio.”

Reading about Gilbert & Sullivan is almost as fun as seeing their work performed on stage

If you discover, after seeing the “Kids Alive” production of “H.M.S. Pinafore,” that a single “Gilbert & Sullivan” offering isn’t enough for you, head to Chandler-Gilbert Community College next month for their production of “The Mikado” — which runs June 24-29 at the CGCC Performing Arts Center in Chandler.

The works of Gilbert & Sullivan are a fun introduction to the “operetta” genre — a sort of middle ground between musical theater and opera. Even if it’s not your thing, a bit of time spent with Gilbert & Sullivan will up your arts and culture I.Q. more than most things you can access with a mere remote control.

– Lynn

Note: To learn more about Gilbert & Sullivan, read Carolyn Williams’ new book titled “Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody” (part of the “Gender and Culture Series”). Or enjoy “The Fabulous Feud of Gilbert and Sullivan” by Jonah Winter (pictured above).

Coming up: Ten minute plays

Update: Eight, Arizona PBS will broadcast a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” from the Guthrie Theater Fri, Oct 14 at 9pm. It’s followed by an episode of “Arizona ArtsBeat” at 11:30pm.

From storybook to stage

Childsplay performs a a musical adaptation of P.B. Eastman’s “Go, Dog. Go!” at the Tempe Center for the Arts Jan 29-March 6

Telling and reading stories is one of the most enchanting parts of childhood. But today’s kids have additional options for enjoying their favorite tales — including movie and stage adaptations of classic and contemporary children’s books.

Consider the case of P.D. Eastman’s “Go, Dog. Go!” The book comes to life this weekend as Childsplay presents a preview at Tempe Center for the Arts.

I’m told the preview and opening night are already sold out, so don’t delay if you’re eager to take in the show.

Childsplay’s “Go, Dog. Go!”– recommended for ages 3 & up – is adapted by Steven Dietz and Allison Gregory, with music by Michael Koerner. 

It runs Jan 29-March 6, with 1pm and 4pm shows both Saturdays and Sundays. An ASL interpreted performance takes place at 1pm on Sun, Feb 27.

Take the kiddos to Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe Sat, Jan 22, at 10am if you’d like to enjoy some charming “Go, Dog. Go!” moments with Childsplay.

Changing Hands notes that children will be “exploring the world of story using dramatic play to guide kids through an exploration of scenes from P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog Go!” and promises that “They’ll even create some of their own!”

Another book for children was literally “on the go” last weekend as the cast of Cookie Company’s upcoming “Unstoppable Me!” took a bit of the show on the road — performing selections at Desert Ridge Marketplace.

The cast of Cookie Company's "Unstoppable Me!" performed last weekend at Desert Ridge Marketplace

Cookie Company is affiliated with Phoenix Theatre, which offers more mature fare in “No Way to Treat a Lady” through Jan 30.

“Unstoppable Me!” runs Jan 28-Feb 6 at Greasepaint Theatre in Scottsdale. It’s based on the book by Wayne W. Dyer with Kristina Tracy. It has the shortest run of the shows noted here so you have just a small window of opportunity to see it.

This iPhone "app" is proof that some stories have moved to both stage and super-small screen

Though “Unstoppable Me!” is best for K-grade 4 students, I’m eager to see is myself — having recently seen one of its cast members, Walter Belcher, offer a moving performance in the Black Theatre Troupe production of August Wilson’s “Fences.”

Many adult actors who perform brilliantly here in the Valley in works for children also can be seen in works for older audiences (by older, I mean no longer required to do homework).

I’m especially excited about seeing Childsplay’s Yolanda London appear in an Actors Theatre production titled “This” which opens at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix this Friday. And Kristen Drathman, a Valley actor frequently seen in Phoenix Theatre productions, performing in “Go, Dog. Go!”

Youth Works, which is part of Theater Works in Peoria, brings “James and the Giant Peach” to the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts Feb 3-20.

Enjoy "James and the Giant Peach" at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts next month

It’s based on the book by Roald Dahl — which recounts the adventures of James as he finds a way to escape from two odd aunts who take him in after his parents die in a tragic rhinocerous accident.

The adventures of "James and the Giant Peach" exist in book, stage and movie form

Theater Works presents “The Desperate Hours” on another stage Jan 28-Feb 13.

I’ve always been a fan of reading books before seeing them portrayed on stage or screen (whether big screen or handheld device).

Childen who read these stories before seeing them performed have a chance to imagine the setting and characters free of someone else’s images.

But once your child reads or listens to a book, there’s nothing more fun than seeing it come to life on stage. Unless, of course, you finish off an afternoon at the theater by cracking open another exciting book.

– Lynn

Note: Childsplay and Cookie Company productions feature adult actors performing family-friendly works, while Youth Works features young performers presenting family-friendly fare.

Coming up: Theater cats (no Andrew Lloyd Webber required), Musings on “mature content” theater as ASU Gammage presents a touring production of “Spring Awakening,” Valley veterans participate in a national arts contest, It’s a jungle (and farm) out there!

Photos provided by Childsplay (photo by Heather Hill features cast members from a previous run), Phoenix Theatre and Theater Works.

Art meets gala

It’s time to haul out those fancy pants — because a wonderful variety of Arizona arts organizations are readying for upcoming galas. Here’s a sneak peek at just a few of these special events…

Southwest Shakespeare Company is one of many arts organizations that'll present festive fundraisers during 2011

Theater Works of Peoria presents a “2011 Night at the Oscars Gala Weekend” Jan 14-15 at the Peoria Center for the Arts. Their “Youth Gala” — which features “a theatrical show, buffet-style dinner, karaoke, upbeat dance music and auctions” — takes place Fri, Jan 14. Their “Adult Gala” — featuring “Main Stage entertainment, silent and live auctions, gourmet dining and dancing” — takes place Sat, Jan 15.

Mesa Arts Center presents “An Evening of Musical Magic” Sat, Jan 29 — presented by the Mesa Arts Center Foundation. The event features a reception with hearty appetizers/beverages and a concert featuring local talents, plus a live auction and raffle.

Phoenix Theatre presents a “90th Anniversary Gala” Sat, Feb 5, at Phoenix Theatre. The event features cocktails, dinner, live music and “outstanding professional theatrical entertainment.”

Phoenix Art Museum presents “Carnivale!” Fri, Feb 11 — hosted by the “Museum’s Friends of European Art.” The event features “festive food with live music by Snake Eyes and a silent auction,” with all proceeds from the evening being used to “fund a new acquisition for the European Collection.” Cocktail attire is on you, but masks will be provided.

Watch your local museums for fun events that help raise needed support

Arizona Science Center presents “Galaxy 2011: Infinite Possibilities” Fri, Feb 11, at the Arizona Science Center. The event features cocktails, dinner, entertainment and more.

Southwest Shakespeare Company of Mesa presents “A Midwinter Night’s Dream Gala” Sat, Feb 19, at the Mesa Country Club. The event features dinner, silent and live auctions, live entertainment and a vintage photobooth. Tickets are available at a reduced price through Dec 31.

Arizona Opera presents “Opera Ball 2011 – The Devil Wears Opera” Sat, Feb 19, at The Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix. The event features cocktails, hor d’oeuvres and a four-course dinner — plus a silent auction and “surprise appearances by artists from the world of Opera and Broadway.”

Arts and cultural organizations like the Children's Museum of Phoenix present gala events with unique creativity and flair

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix presents “Night at the Museum: The Markets of Marrakesh” Sat, Feb 19, at the museum. The event — which is being presented by the “Friends of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix” — features “a fantastic bazaar of eclectic entertainment, fabulous food, live music & dancing, [and] raffle items.”

Stay tuned for news of fundraisers taking place during March 2011 and beyond — including special events for Ballet Arizona, Childsplay and many more.

And snag those babysitters before they get a better offer.

— Lynn

Note: As always, I invite you to drop me a line at rakstagemom@gmail.com if your arts and culture organization is presenting an event, exhibit or performance that you’d like to share with our readers.

Coming up: “Respect: A Musical Journey of Women” takes the stage at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix (through Feb 12, 2011).

Pumpkins & performing arts

Update: Head to Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale tonight (Sat, Oct 30) from 4:30-6pm for family-friendly Halloween festivities.  Enjoy “bounce house fun, pumpkin painting, face painting, cotton candy, tricks and treats” — plus a contest with prizes for the scariest and funniest costumes. Learn more at www.greasepaint.org.

Teen zombies. Halloween bunnies. Haunted houses. Perhaps even pumpkins will be spotted on stage as Halloween hits Valley theaters.

The Great Arizona Puppet Theater presents “Little Bunny’s Halloween” through Oct 31 at GAPT in Phoenix. GAPT describes it as “cute and funny” and says it’s perfect for preschoolers through second graders.

Scorpius Dance Theatre presents “A Vampire Tale” through Oct 23 at Phoenix Theatre’s Little Theatre. Valley holiday tradition features guest artists, new opening and opportunity for audience members to vote on the ending.

Theater Works Youth Theater presents “Killer Halloween” through Oct 30 at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. A killer is at large in a small town — but so are “teenagers rebellious in the face of evil.”

Creative Stages Youth Theatre presents “Theatre of Screams 2!!” Oct 22-31 at CSYT in Peoria. Six “new episodes of horror and hilarity” feature “spooky stories of suspense.”

Fountain Hills Community Theater presents “The Haunting of Hill House” Oct 29-14 at FHCT in Fountain Hills. A “small group of ‘psychically recpetive people are brought together in a brooding Victorian mansion.”

Happy Halloweening!

– Lynn

Note: If your venue or organization is presenting a Halloween theme arts event, please let our readers know with a brief comment below.

Coming up: Women playwrights

Fun with farce

I’m a relative rookie when it comes to the “farce” genre in theater — only recently enjoying my first live experience with the art thanks to Phoenix Theatre’s “Noises Off.” I hadn’t expected to enjoy the form, but now find myself becoming a bit of a farce fanatic.

Whether you’re a farce fan or merely farce-curious, this weekend presents a rare opportunity to enjoy farce at its finest — the Flaherty and Ahrens musical called “Lucky Stiff.” It’s a murder mystery based on the novel “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo.”

“Lucky Stiff” is being performed this weekend at Greasepaint Youtheatre (formerly Stagebrush Theatre) in Scottsdale by students from Arizona School for the Arts (ASA).

It’s a real high school musical, directed by Toby Yatso, an artist in residence with Phoenix Theatre who leads the ASA theatre arts team.

I’ll be there all weekend in true stage mom mode — hoofing tickets and hocking candy. My daughter Lizabeth has been hush hush about the show, so I’ve had to do a bit of my own research. Here’s what I know…

It’s the work of the award-winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, whose other collaborations include “Seussical” and “Ragtime.” It’s got a dog, a dead body and hidden diamonds — plus a wheelchair and a heart-shaped box with surprising contents.

There’s stiff competition in Valley theater this weekend as the Herberger Theater Center reopens to reveal remarkable renovations, The Black Theatre Troupe presents the Tony Award winning August Wilson play titled “Fences” and the Broadway touring production of “Young Frankenstein” plays at ASU Gammage.

“Lucky Stiff” is recommended for ages 12 and up, so that’ll make theater-going decisions easier for parents of preschoolers to preteens. Your choices are equally appealing as Childsplay presents “A Year With Frog and Toad” at Tempe Center for the Arts and Valley Youth Theater opens their production of “Pinkalicious” (both based on children’s literature).

I narrowly missed the opportunity to see “The Ice Pirates” presented by the Dobson Drama Club at Dobson High School in Mesa this weekend. I only learned of the show when I stumbled on a flyer while Jennifer and I were looking for a “STAND Up 4 Africa” event held there on Saturday.

It looks like I’ll have other opportunities — since Dobson High School has upcoming productions that include “Friday Night Live” (Dec 17) and “The Breakfast Club” (Jan, 2011). And I do hope other schools will drop me a line to let me know their offerings.

Attending school and community theater events featuring the Valley’s many talented youth is a truly enjoyable and economical way to experience theater productions you might not encounter at other venues — and to support youth in our community who engage in positive, creative activities in the face (and farce) of so many competing and crass alternatives.

– Lynn

Note: Click here or go to Brown Paper Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com to purchase tickets to “Lucky Stiff.” For a comprehensive listing of family-friendly theater and other activities, visit the online calendar for Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Next up at Greasepaint Youtheatre is their production of “The Wiz” directed by D. Scott Withers.

Coming up: A marathon of movie reviews, Monsters among us, Getting to know you: Gammage goers

Update: Soon after posting, I learned of another comedic piece coming to a Valley stage (this one is for mature audiences). It’s a “comedic vaudeville” work titled “Romantic Fools” being presented by Chandler-Gilbert Community College Oct 14-17. For tickets call 480-732-7343 or go online. Theater Works opens “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” also a comedy, on Oct 1 at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets call 623-815-7930 or go online.

What’s your weekend style?

Maybe you’re a fan of festivals. Or marvel at all things multicultural. Or believe that reading books is best of all.

Whatever your weekend style, there’s plenty to enjoy in Arizona this Labor Day weekend — including a rich variety of arts events and experiences.

Your style: Art adventures

“Epeolatry: The Worship of Words” at the ASU Step Gallery in Tempe. Sept 3 (noon-3pm; free). National multi-media group exhibition curated by Intermedia BFA candidate Bucky Miller.

First Friday” artwalk throughout more than 70 galleries, art-related spaces and other venues. Sept 3 (6pm-10pm; free). Trollies leave Phoenix Art Museum for those who prefer to ride between venues.

Your style: Festival fare

Red Rock Music Festival” at the Sedona Creative Life Center. Sept 3-5 (times vary; youth and 3-day discounts). Music from Bach, Vivaldi, Gershwin — and plenty of Latin jazz.

Fiesta Septiembre” at the Wickenberg Community Center. Sept 4 (11am-6pm; free). Photography exhibit, folk dancing, mariachi music, arts and crafts, and kids’ activities.

Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild Craft Festival” at the Pine Community Center. Sept 4 & 5 (times vary; free). 75 artist booths, raffle and kids’ activities.

Flagstaff Art in the Park Labor Day Show” at Wheeler Park. Sept. 4-6 (times vary; free). Arts and crafts, live music, kids’ activities.

Your style: Multicultural marvels

“Multi-media photographic art of Stacie Schimke” at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix. During “First Friday” hours. Free. Enjoy a traditional Irish meal by chef Frank Hand for just $10.

The Fine Art of Fine Print: Newspaper Sculpture and Costumes” at Galeria 147-Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center in Phoenix. During “First Friday” hours. Free. Enjoy exhibit opening plus live entertainment including music, dance, painting and spoken word poetry.

Your style: Museum musings

Sandcastle Summer Send Off” at the Phoenix Art Museum. Sept 3 (6pm-10pm; free). Features live music, sandcastles, cool drinks and ice cream — plus free general admission (including “Cezanne and American Modernism” exhibition).

“Free admission” to downtown Phoenix museums on the Artlink “First Friday” map. Sept 3 (6pm-10pm). Includes Heard Museum and Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

Your style: Saving solutions

Into the Woods” at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. Sept 3-5 (times vary). “Theater Works” is offering half-price adult tickets during Labor Day weekend.

The Foreigner” at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert. Sept 3-5 (times vary). Student tickets just $10 for opening weekend with “STU” code.

Your style: Creative writing connoisseur

“First Friday Poetry” at Changing Hands Bookstore. Sept 3 (7pm; free). ASU Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing event featuring Lois Roma-Deeley.

“Curiosity Day with Curious George” at Changing Hands Bookstore. Sept 4 (10am; free). Family event celebrates 70th birthday of monkey Curious George with costume storytime, video presentation, tasty treats and fun activities.

“The Pirate of Kindergarten” at Changing Hands Bookstore. Sept 4 (noon; free). Family event features award-winning children’s illustrator Lynne Avril (her 60 + picture books include the “Amelia Bedelia” stories).

“Club Read: Windblowne” at Changing Hands Bookstore. Sept 4 (2pm; free). Tween/teen event best for ages 8-12 includes free pizza, author chat via “Skype” and more

Whatever your style, you can always find family-friendly events listed online at www.raisingarizonakids.com.

–Lynn

Note: Please consult with venues before attending to confirm date/time, location, age range, price and such.

Coming up: A good knave is hard to find

Photo: www.rainbowweekend.org

“Little Red Riding Hood” lives!

Never fear, my dears… 

Contrary to what you may have read in yesterday’s post, “Little Red Riding Hood” is alive and well. She’ll soon appear on a West Valley stage for Theater Works’ “Into the Woods” opening in August. 

I find this thrilling for many reasons, not the least of which is my eagerness to feature images of other characters from fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm

“Into the Woods” is a creative take on the famed brothers’ fables in musical theater form–complete with music and lyrics by contemporary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, proud recipient of oodles of Tony Awards.

“Into the Woods” features the intertwined adventures of beloved characters such as Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack (of beanstalk fame) and many more.

The work “explores both the whimsy of wishing and the darker side of the forest.” It’s fun for all ages because it can be enjoyed, and interpreted, on so many levels. I find something new each time I see it. 

Fun-loving theater goers needn’t wait until August to get their fix… 

If your child is still searching for the right summer camp fit, consider the four remaining camps offered by Youth Works, which include: 

“Enchanted Forest” for ages 4-6. Three sessions: June 28-July 2, July 5-9, Aug 2-6. All 9am-noon. $150/session. 

“Build a Play Workshop” for ages 7 to high school. July 5-9, 9am-4pm, $150. 

“Honk! Junior The Musical” for ages 7 to high school. July 12-30, 9am-4pm, $450. 

“Monster Mash Inside Out Techie Workshop.” Aug 2-6, 9am-4pm, $150. 

If you’re a fan of cabaret-style entertainment, mark your calendar for two Theater Works cabarets taking place this summer.

Their “On The Air!” cabaret, being performed July 16-20, features a “live broadcast” over the fictional oldies station “KDOG.” Theater goers will enjoy 18 chart toppers originally sung by Connie Francis, Bobby Darin, The Platters, The Drifters, Elvis Presley and more—plus comedy routines including a reprise of Abbott & Costello’s famed “Who’s on First.”

Their Aug 13-15 cabaret theme has yet to be announced—so stay tuned to www.theaterworks.org for further details. Theater Works cabarets are presented at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts and include entertainment and appetizers for $29. Wine is available at additional cost, though this is hardly a concern of the “sippy cup” crowd. 

By now you may have surmised something noted by Theater Works executive director Jack Lytle, one of several eloquent speakers featured in a recent video from the City of Peoria…

“We have something,” says Lytle, “for everyone.” 

–Lynn 

Note: Theater Works has just announced that there are still scholarship opportunities for summer campers, and that discounts apply when your child attends more than one camp or you enroll siblings in their summer camps. Get details by visiting the Theater Works website or calling Robyn Allen at 623-815-1791, ext. 103. Also note that Theater Works recently posted a job opportunity in their youth theater program—details also available online.

Coming up: Summer movie reviews, Spotlight on CONDER/dance, Weekend arts picks

Fun FAQs: “Into the Woods” earned three Tony Awards in 1987–”Best Score” for Stephen Sondheim, “Best Book” for James Lapine and “Best Actress in a Musical” for Joanna Gleason (“Baker’s Wife”). Bernadette Peters, “The Witch” in both the 1987 Broadway premiere and the 1997 Broadway revival, will star at the Dec 4, 2010 ARTrageous event at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.