Tag Archives: season tickets

New season “sneak peeks”

Families can enjoy a taste of Broadway in Arizona this month as ASU Gammage in Tempe presents their 2011-2012 season preview event Mon, July 25 at 7:30pm. The event features a free “sneak peek” at the upcoming season — which includes classics like “West Side Story” and “South Pacific” plus newer works like ‘Million Dollar Quartet” and “American Idiot.”

ASU Gammage promises pre-event family activities in the ASU Gammage lobby, special guest appearances and free dessert after the preview event. The preview event will be your first opportunity to purchase mini-package subscriptions if you’d like to attend only some of the shows in this season’s line-up.

Tempe Center for the Arts presents their “TCA Fall Arts Kick-off” Fri, Aug 19 from 6-8pm. It features live music, artist demonstrations, gallery tours and more. Fall season information and special advance ticket pricing will be available.

Popular TCA programs include the Lakeshore Jazz Series, Performance With a View, Poetry in April, Songwriters’ Showcase, Sonoran Chamber Music Series, Tempe Symphony Orchestra and Walk-in Wednesday Open Mic Night.

Several “partner groups” perform at the TCA — including A Ludwig Dance Theatre, Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts, Arizona Wind Symphony, Childsplay, CONDER/dance, Desert Dance Theatre, Tempe Community Chorus, Tempe Live! Theater and Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

The last “sneak peek” event I attended was presented by Mesa Arts Center, which has a lovely complement of founding resident companies including Ballet Etudes, East Valley Children’s Theater, Mesa Encore Theater, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Sonoran Desert Chorale, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Symphony of the Southwest and Xico Inc.

I had a great time gathering information about diverse programs, meeting fascinating artists and chatting with fellow art lovers. The next MAC preview event is a three-day “Season Kick-Off Festival” taking place Sept 9-11.

Keep an eye on Valley venues like Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts because many hold fall or spring “preview” events that offer a taste of their dance, music and theater menus. Who doesn’t love a free nibble now and then?

– Lynn

Note: A “Fall for the Arts Festival” presented by Arizona Broadway Theatre and Leadership West Oct 8 from 10am-4pm will feature live performance by various arts groups, creative activities for children and more.

Coming up: Introducing kids to classical music, Disney musicals on Valley stages, Art promoting peace

Ode to season tickets

I love my season tickets. Through the years we’ve held season tickets for all sorts of performing arts companies — Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, Phoenix Symphony. And the Broadway series at ASU Gammage.

Get your season tickets early if you want the best seats

When my children were small, keeping track of tickets was tough. After years of rifling through every drawer in the house looking for tickets as showtimes loomed, and panic set in, I finally figured out that having season tickets allowed me to show up with my I.D. and get duplicate copies for the ones I’d sacrificed to the almighty dust bunnies.

True, it’s better not those lose those puppies in the first place. There’s nothing “green” about having to kill an extra set of trees because you can’t get your ticket act together. But life happens, and I love my season tickets for making it just a wee bit easier. I’d have missed some amazing performance art without them.

I’ve got season tickets on the brain after my most recent read of “Theatre,” the latest  book by director and playwright David Mamet — who suggests that having season tickets zaps the joy right out of theater-going. When your attendance is predetermined, he argues, you go of obligation instead of wonder. Using that theory, I suppose none of us would ever marry.

I’ve never felt guilted by a season ticket. If I don’t want to see something, it can sit in my drawer. But it’s there if I need it. Most of the time.

Mamet posits that the audience is supreme in the world of theater. Hard to argue with that since they pay the bills and sometimes offer actors reactions they can’t get performing for an empty house. Kill the fire in the belly of those who attend your shows at your own peril.

Mamet wants me to enjoy my theater, and seems to fret that having season tickets might lower my fun factor. But what happens when I’m sitting in my seat, prearranged or otherwise, is only one source of the delight I find in theater-going. I want to enjoy the show. But I also want to support the people who make my wonder happen. They’re perfectly capable of enjoying financial security without sacrificing creativity.

Season tickets are a great way to support your favorite arts organizations

On the selfish side, season tickets allow me to save money, to enjoy the same seats for every show in a given season and to learn before the rest of the world about special offers and opportunities. When the hottest Broadway show around comes to town, I want that first chance to buy tickets. I’m just sorry there isn’t a season package for Springsteen.

But they also help me spread the love. Season tickets are an up-front show of support for the theater companies I love (though now that I write about the arts I’m giving them up for the sake of not playing favorites).

Season tickets are handy when you’re in gift-fairy mode, and eager to find fun gifts of the experience rather than object variety. Being a season ticket holder makes it easier to get decent tickets for other folks, and tickets you’re not using are always appreciated by the people you share them with.

I’m going to miss my season tickets. But maybe, if I do enough spring cleaning, I’ll find all those old ones I had to replace at the box office. I can stare at them longingly, and hope the rest of you are out there giving season tickets for 2011/12 offerings a good home.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to read a review of David Mamet’s “Theatre”

Coming up: Art meets JFK, Phoenix Art Museum offerings, The fine art of Father’s Day, More new seasons

Valley actor and director ‘noises off’

Lizabeth came home from school on Thursday with an interesting “to do” list–gather info for a community service project, return borrowed books to her voice teacher, and pick a night to see “Noises Off” at Phoenix Theatre. Such is the life of a senior theater arts major.

"Noises Off" runs Aug 25-Sept 12 at Phoenix Theatre

It reminded me that “Noises Off” will open Phoenix Theatre’s 90th season this week–and that associate artistic director Robert Kolby Harper, who’ll appear in the fabulous farce, recently did some of his own ‘noising off’ as we discussed trends in musical theater.

“Musical theater has always reflected the temperament of the culture at hand,” observes Harper. The ’50s were a sort of golden era with a “happy, feel good focus.”

During the ’60s, “our thinking as a culture became less linear because of Vietnam.” As the ’70s ushered in new styles of popular music, Sondheim brought us the first “concept musical”–called “Company.”

"3 Redneck Tenors" runs Sept 29-Oct 17 at Phoenix Theatre

Today a good story isn’t enough, reflects Harper. A good musical must also consider “the human condition.”

“As our culture has grown up,” says Harper, “musical theater has gotten more thoughtful.”

Many of today’s musicals, such as “American Idiot,” are “used as instruments to get across a particular point of view.” Sometimes, notes Harper, the stories get a little bit boring.

"Hairspray" runs Nov 10-Dec 12 at Phoenix Theatre

Harper says he enjoyed seeing “American Idiot” in New York (“there was some amazing lighting”) although he confesses to wishing someone would just turn the music down a tad. (I hear you.)

So what of today’s musical theater landscape? “We have a little bit of everything,” reflects Harper. “Musical theater is becoming incredibly artistic because everybody is diversifying.” Think “Spring Awakening” and “[title of show].”

"No Way to Treat a Lady" runs Jan 12-30 at Phoenix Theatre

As we question ourselves more on issues like war and sexuality, we see those struggles reflected in works of musical theater. “The point of view of the underdog is more popular than it used to be,” adds Harper.

Another trend? The use of on-stage cameras, huge screens and other technology. It’s due in part, says Harper, to the growing influence of multi-media in all parts of American culture.

Musical theater is growing in popularity as it’s being developed by younger and younger artists, observes Harper.

He cites the musical “Rent” as an example–noting that it was “the first one in years that was a huge hit by an unknown.”

"Avenue Q" runs Feb 23-March 20 at Phoenix Theatre

“Now it happens all the time,” muses Harper. He describes “Avenue Q,” which Phoenix Theatre will present Feb 23-March 20 of next year, as a prime example.

Still, many seasoned musicals continue to attract new audiences. Harper recalls being struck by the incredibly long line of patrons waiting to see “The Phantom of the Opera” last time he hit New York.

“Lots of people still haven’t seen it,” notes Harper. “I don’t care if that’s all they see–because the point is that they tried it.”

I’m reminded of Lizabeth’s first trip to DC and NYC, during which fellow travelers were thrilled to see “Phantom” on Broadway while Lizabeth and a fellow student made their way to the Booth Theater to experience “Next to Normal.”

It’s all good, I suppose.

"Nine" runs April 13-May 8 at Phoenix Theatre

After all, reflects Harper, many Broadway visitors will return home to support their local community theaters.

Soon the Valley’s many theater companies (including Phoenix Theatre, Arizona’s oldest) will open their 2010-2011 seasons. They’ll offer everything from classic to contemporary, giving us all a bit of Broadway–and beyond.

To enjoy an insider’s look at Phoenix Theatre’s 90th season, and your own conversation with associate artistic director Robert Kolby Harper, you can enjoy “A Noises Off Tea” at The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix, featuring an exclusive opportunity to chat with Harper about his role in the comedic play “Noises Off” and more.

The event takes place at noon on Wed, Sept 1, and costs $35. Phoenix Theatre promises ‘no sardines, but a lovely English Tea.’ For reservations, call 602-468-0700.

Prepare those dialing fingers and pointed pinkies…

–Lynn

Note: You can double the fun by seeing Harper and others perform in “Noises Off” live at Phoenix Theatre and renting the 1992 film version of “Noises Off” starring Michael Caine and Carol Burnett (direction by Peter Bogdanovich). Other comedies coming soon to the Valley include “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (Mesa Arts Center, Aug 27-Sept 12) and “The Kitchen Witches” (Tempe Center for the Arts, Sept 17-Oct 3).

Coming soon: Focus on fall festivals, Music and dance with William Shakespeare, “Eat Pray Love”–museum style

Puppets for grown-ups?

Great Arizona Puppet Theater is well known for offering good clean fun for children. Little Red Riding Hood. Goldilocks. The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Rapunzel. But did you know it also offers adults-only puppet slams, perhaps best described as simply good fun?

If you’re 18 or older, head over to the puppet theater in Phoenix at 8pm tonight (Aug 6) or tomorrow (Aug 7) for “quirky edgy puppet shows by Arizona’s leading quirky edgy puppeteers.”

Younger puppet patrons can enjoy “Two Bad Mice” through Aug 22 (10am Wed-Fri, 10am and 2pm Sat, 2pm Sun)–and “Baby Bear Goes to School” opening Aug 25.

If your aim is escaping the Valley’s heat, you can hit the “2010 Prescott Film Festival” being held Aug 6-8 at Yavapai Performance Hall and various downtown locations.

Fare includes “innovative comedy, daring drama, thought provoking documentaries and a slate of Native American Films.

Music lovers can enjoy a free concert by The DelRayz on Aug 6 at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

Dance fans can enjoy a free “Night With the Artists” presented by Terpsicore Dance Company of Scottsdale on Aug 6 at the Madison Event Center in Phoenix. The event features a performance (8pm and 9:30pm) and the opportunity to meet many visual and performing artists (including an opera singer and metal sculptor).

“Dancing in the Heights,” which features dancers from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of America, takes place Aug 7 at 2pm at Tempe Center for the Arts–and benefits the Arizona Multiple Sclerosis Society.

If you’re a theater buff who also happens to be an Arizona Diamondback season ticket holder, you can take advantage of a special offer to see the Arizona Broadway Theatre production of the musical comedy titled “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” running through Sept 29.

Other theater options include “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa, Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun” or “The Little Mermaid” at Hale Centre Theatre and more.

For a bit of family-friendly cabaret-style fun, head over to Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale Aug 6 or 7 for a concert featuring songs from popular musicals sung by Valley favorites including Toby Yatso.

Visit the Raising Arizona Kids magazine online calendar for “on stage” and “on exhibit” listings featuring family-friendly performing arts and visual arts opportunities–and remember to check all those fun details like cost and age recommendations before you go.

If you know of something wonderful happening in the Valley or state this weekend with an arts focus and a family-friendly feel, feel free to share it with our readers in the comment section below.

Perhaps the finest art of all is sharing the arts with others…

–Lynn

Note: Hale has a limited number of $10 children’s tickets for “Annie Get Your Gun” performances before Aug 14–for phone/in-person orders only (no online discount available).

Coming up: News from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arizona theaters featuring performances by people with disabilities, Photos from the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Creative Stages Youth Theatre season preview