Tag Archives: Broadway Palm

Cinderella tales

Ballet Etudes performing Cinderella (Photos by Ron Sill of Pixelcraft Photography)

I came across a picture of my daughter Lizabeth next to a giant “Cinderella” poster a while back as we sat on the living room couch trolling through boxes of family photos. She was wearing a long pink floral dress and clutching a mouse we’d purchased as a show souvenir. She must have been about eight years old at the time.

We’ve seen several productions of “Cinderella” through the years. I’ve got another photo of Lizabeth sporting a pink “Cinderella” T-shirt from a long ago VYT production at the Herberger Theater Center — though none of Lizabeth’s friends will believe she’s ever worn pink without seeing these pictures for themselves.

Dancers from Ballet Etudes performing Cinderella in Chandler

Like the musical “Annie,” it’s got a story we just never seem to tire of, despite objections to its “a girl needs a prince to be happy” vibe. Maybe it’s all those singing birds and sewing animals.

Valley families can enjoy the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre production of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” in Mesa through Sat, Aug 6. The theater is offering special pricing for Thursday night performances of “Cinderella.” All seats for all ages are $18, and that price includes both dinner and the show.

Cinderella is a favorite with Ballet Etudes audiences

Part of the fun of seeing so many productions of “Cinderella” has been watching Lizabeth’s reactions to the show at various ages and stages. Even families who see the Broadway Palm production will enjoy revisiting the work when Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale presents “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” in March of 2012. Children can enjoy a tea party with “Cinderella” cast members before each Greasepaint matinee.

Ballet Arizona is taking the tale of “Cinderella” to a whole new level with their world premiere production this October at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Their “Cinderella,” choreographed by Ib Andersen, will feature the music of Sergei Prokofiev performed by the Phoenix Symphony. It’s part of their 2011-2012 “Fairytale Season,” which also includes “The Sleeping Beauty.”

The Ballet Etudes production of Cinderella returns to Chandler in May

Ballet Etudes performs “Cinderella” at Chandler Center for the Arts in May of 2012. Their production has long been an audience favorite, and I suspect they can even tie the “Cinderella” theme into the “ballerina birthday parties” offered at their Gilbert studio.

The Cinderella Affair gathers prom gowns for girls who aren't able to buy one of their own

If your children feel they’ve outgrown “Cinderella,” perhaps they’re old enough to help with “The Cinderella Affair,” an all-volunteer project in the East Valley that helps to make proms affordable and memorable for Phoenix area juniors and seniors by collecting and distributing gently-used formalwear.

Not everyone is born wearing glass slippers.

— Lynn

Note: All Ballet Etudes photos in this post taken by Ron Sill of Pixelcraft Photography. Click here to read a companion post featuring more fairy tales coming to Valley stages.

Coming up: Finding film in unexpected places, Arizona artwalks, Arizona actors meet NYC fringe, Who let the “Wolves” out?


Fun with fairy tales


Robyn Bydalek (Portio), Trisha Hart Ditsworth (Joy) and Kathi Osborn (Stepmother) in Cinderella at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa (Photo by Tim Trumble)

My oldest daughter, Jennifer, asked me an interesting question the other day — “I wonder if the adjective ‘grim’ came into use after the brothers Grimm wrote their stories?” We’d been discussing German fairy tales after I shared my discovery of some Grimm titles I’d never heard of before.

Adrienne Griffiths performs the role of Cinderella through August 6 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre (Photo by Tim Trumble)

I was excited to discover fairy tales titled “Hans My Hedgehog” and “The Hare and the Hedgehog” in the 1812 publication — “Children and Household Tales” — by brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Jennifer has a thing for hedgehogs and was delighted to learn they fare well in Grimm tales. She worried they might “be made into soup.”

Some pretty scary things occurred in those original tales, which were later pared down to a more child-friendly collection of 50 stories. Today they live on in books, movies, songs and more. Several Valley theater companies are presenting fairy tales, most by the brothers Grimm, during the 2011-2012 season.

Adrienne Griffiths and Robert Legge perform in Cinderella at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa (Photo by Tim Trumble)

For the little ones, Great Arizona Puppet Theater presents “Goldilocks” July 27-Aug 14 and “The Elves and the Shoemaker’ Nov 30-Dec 24. The famous folktale “The Little Red Hen,” likely of Russian origin, comes the GAPT in Phoenix Nov 9-27. It’s fun to pull this last one out when teens decide they want to have clean clothes and a full fridge without making friends with the washing machine or stove.

East Valley Children’s Theatre presents “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” a Grimm fairy tale originally titled “The Worn-out Dancing Shoes,” Sept 29-Oct 9 at the Mesa Arts Center. This adaptation was written by Claudia Haas.

Curtis Lunt is Pinocchio at Hale Theatre in Gilbert through Aug 20

Jennifer remembers a light blue-colored CD I bought the year she was home schooled. It contained fairy tale songs, including one about the twelve dancing princesses. Funny how our children remember these small details, especially when it seems at the time like they’re not paying all that much attention.

Some better known fairy tales are coming to Valley stages as well. “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” is being performed by Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa through Aug 6, and by Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale next year (March 3-April 1).

The Blue Fairy in the Hale Theatre production of Pinocchio has an intriguing hat collection

The youth theater at Fountain Hills Community Theatre presents “The Elves & the Shoemaker” Dec 2-18. The youth theater at Theater Works in Peoria presents “Pinocchio” March 9-25, 2012. Their Puppet Works folks will perform “The Magical Adventures of Pinocchio” each Saturday in March.

Hale Children’s Theatre in Gilbert is performing “Pinocchio” every Saturday through Aug 20. The show makes a great birthday party option because “each birthday boy or girl is presented with a special gift from the Blue Fairy on stage.”

The Hale Theatre production of Pinocchio features several young actors

East Valley Children’s Theatre presents “The Story of Hansel and Gretel” at Mesa Arts Center June 14-24, 2012. It’s one of my personal favorites because I recall Jennifer performing in “Hansel and Gretel” with Greasepaint Youtheatre during elementary school.

She was an angel, a gingerbread cookie and a young girl. It was the year I went to our local pottery painting studio to make her a star-shaped jewelry box in gingerbread cookie colors — and spent countless hours painting glow in the dark halos and colorful gingerbread suit buttons. She also performed in Greasepaint’s “Pinocchio” that season.

We take these experiences for granted when our children are younger, and it’s not always possible to know in the moment whether the things we’re sharing with them have much staying power. But after talking fairy tales with Jennifer the other day, I know that both the fairy tales — and all those years of parenting — will be with her for a lifetime.

— Lynn

Coming up: Musings on Hans Christian Andersen, The fine art of hedgehogs, Culture meets comics, Cinderella tales

Girl power!

Parents eager to introduce their daughters to “girl power” themes like “it’s okay to be smart” and “be your own person” have three especially fun choices in musical theater this season.

First up is “Dear Edwina, Jr.” featuring actors from the summer theater performance program at Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale. It follows the adventures of Edwina Spoonapple in Paw Paw, Michigan — who offers advice via “The Dear Edwina Show.” I’m told the production features an “advice-a-palooza extravaganza” and that tickets run just $5. “Dear Edwina, Jr.” is being performed Fri, July 29 at 7pm and Sat, July 30 at noon.

Next up is “Legally Blonde the Musical” presented by Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Though college student Elle Woods initially enrolls in law school only to get her man, she discovers along the way that she’s plenty happy doing her own thing. A national touring production of “Legally Blonde the Musical” was a huge hit during its ASU Gammage run in Tempe. This local production runs Oct 6-Nov 12 in Mesa.

Also coming in October is “Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer Live: Dora’s Pirate Adventure” — which features Dora the Explorer, her best friend “Boots the Monkey” and her cousin Diego as they search for “Treasure Island.” Nickelodeon’s “Dora” has been praised for being a smart and confident problem-solver who accomplishes great things with only “Boots” by her side. Valley Youth Theatre brings her to life Oct 7-23.

If you believe that kids model the attitudes and behaviors they see in others and want your daughters to experience life as capable and confident women, consider the role live theater can play in reinforcing these qualities.

— Lynn

Coming up: Dance meets imagination

New works at Phoenix Theatre

The kiddies have plenty of theater options this summer — including “Pinocchio” at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert (through Aug 20) and “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa (through Aug 6).

But sometimes grown-ups need a bit of their own theater time, complete with fresh original works they haven’t read to anyone at bedtime or seen a hundred times in cartoon form.

Phoenix Theatre presents its 14th Annual “New Works Festival” July 11-24 on their downtown Phoenix campus. Folks who attend can see four new works in the development stage, following them from first table read to staged reading.

“Tropical Heat” by Rich Ofloff recounts the clash between a fire-and-brimstone preacher and a good-time party girl. “Reykjavik” by Phillip Dawkins is “a twisted romantic comedy about finding your other half while keeping a firm grasp on your whole.” “The Penis Eulogy” by Daniel Cahill imagines a man with prostate cancer who learns that sex is a thing of the past. And “Dinner on the Inside” by Christian Krauspe has a group of blue-blooded couples hosting dinner for a new Congressman and his wife.

So basically you’ve got religion, sex and politics — all the things we’re told never to discuss in public. I like it. Folks who get the “VIP Pass” can attend the first table reads for each work (with cast, playwright, dramaturge and director) — as well as their staged readings. They even get a nifty T-shirt and VIP lanyard.

The VIP pass also gets you into other festival events, which include a playwrights forum, a “24 hour theater project” performance of several short works developed from start to finish in 24 hours or less, an ASU centennial project featuring works with Arizona themes written by diverse playwrights — and a VIP party.

There are other ticket options, and students can enjoy special pricing on the VIP pass. All the fine print, including detailed information on each play and playwright, is spelled out in Phoenix Theatre’s “New Works Festival” blog. But frankly, they had me at “Eulogy.”

— Lynn

Note: Once the AZ Centennial Plays (directed by Dan Schay) are developed, they’ll be presented at ASU (ASU Studio 133, FAC) Oct 21-30. Click here to find more theater works for families.

Coming up: Dancing with words, Happy birthday Paris!

Jennifer’s marching orders

THE MUSIC MAN marches onto a Mesa Arts Center stage on May 27

If you’ve ever parented a teen, you know that some days feel like an endless parade of marching orders. And you’re not the one giving them. You’re the one getting them.

So it was last week when Jennifer announced I needed to cover a certain musical theater production in one of my posts. Marching orders from Jennifer are nothing new, though typically they involve instructions for cooking or teen taxi runs.

Jennifer is about as interested in musical theater as I am in plane geometry. But she’d run into someone at ASU who got to telling her about auditions for an upcoming production of “The Music Man” — and she offered to pitch a post on the topic.

Clearly, Jennifer did a masterful job of trumpeting this tale of music meets con man — because you’re reading about it now. It wasn’t such a hard sell, really, since the work is a classic in the pantheon of American musical theater.

It even features that most quaint of characters in the digital age — a librarian who helps people find and read books the old-fashioned way. There’s a whole other post in there somewhere, but I’ll save that for another day.

“The Music Man” is being presented by Mesa Encore Theatre May 27-June 12 at the Mesa Arts Center, but folks who purchase their tickets between May 9 and May 18 can see the show for just $10 (Use the promo code “RIVERCITY” when ordering online or through the MAC box office).

Mesa Encore Theatre recently announced its 2011-2012 season — which features an eclectic mix of shows, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” one of my all-time favorites.

Other Mesa Encore Theatre offerings for 2011-2012 include “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” “Proof,” “A Christmas Story,” “TBA,” “Ragtime,” and “Hairspray.” I love this line-up, which feels like an overflowing buffet of all my favorite comfort foods with some spicy new dishes thrown into the mix.

Resident companies of Mesa Arts Center also include East Valley Children’s Theatre — which presents “The Adventures of Pinocchio” June 16-26. And Actor’s Youth Theatre brings “Les Miserables School Edition” to the MAC stage June 28-July 2.

Mesa is also home to Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre — which performs “Smoke on the Mountain” through May 14 and opens “Seussical” on May 18. “Seussical” is an energetic bundle of charm that features favorite Dr. Seuss characters playfully proferring pearls of wisdom for all ages.

Mesa Arts Center welcomes several touring Broadway productions each year. Upcoming Theater League shows coming to MAC include “The Wizard of Oz” (Dec 6 &7), “The Rat Pack is Back” (Jan 10 & 11, 2012), “My Fair Lady” (Jan 31 & Feb 1, 2012) and “Rock of Ages” (April 10 & 11, 2012).

Jennifer will be thrilled that I’ve shared news of “The Music Man” and other Mesa happenings, mostly because I’m now free to fix her a bowl of pasta — just the way she likes it. Though Jennifer moved from teen to young adult with her birthday in April, she still likes giving marching orders in the kitchen. And I’m still happy to take them.

— Lynn

Coming up: “Stage Mom” picks for the 2011/2012 season, Spotlight on Desert Stages, Celebrating “International Museum Day”

The fine art of New Year’s Eve

Watching television coverage of a giant apple a la disco ball drop in Times Square was never really my cup of tea, so I’m pleased to report that Arizona art-lovers have plenty of other options for celebrating New Year’s Eve this year.

Here’s a brief sampling of offerings, but remember to check your local performing arts venues, museums and galleries for additional festivities…

“Chicago” performed at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa. Includes production, champagne toast, party favors, dancing and an upscale buffet. Dinner 7pm/Curtain 9pm. $99 (before gratuity).

“From Venice with Love!” performed by the Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall in Phoenix. Features Loras John Schissel, conductor, and Anna-Lisa Hackett, soprano. Includes the works of seven composers, from Strauss to Sousa. $27-$83.

“New Year’s Eve Bash” at the Tempe Center for the Performing Arts. Features performance by Sherry Petta (jazz vocalist, pianist) with Doug Mann (guitar). Also includes dancing, heavy appetizers and no-host bar. Presented by Friends of TCA. 7:30pm-12:30am. Free parking. Fireworks at 1opm and midnight.

“Noon Year’s Eve” at the Phoenix Zoo. Features music, fun and games with Radio Disney. Includes tons of snow (with a special snow area for toddlers), a snowball target practice area, prize drawings and giveaways. 9am-Noon (event closes with a special cider toast for the kids). Free with regular Zoo admission.

“Zoppe: An Italian Family Circus Since 1842” performs on the West Lawn of the Chandler Center for the Arts. Includes a one-ring circus performance with a central story featuring acrobatics, equestrian showmanship, clowning and audience participation. Noon, 4pm and 7:30pm (evening show includes party favors). $20-$35.

Also be on the lookout for events celebrating New Year’s that take place sometime other than the night of Dec 31, 2010. Several child-centered activities are taking place during the day on or around New Year’s Eve. A few examples…

“Celebrate with SOUND!: Noisemakers for New Year’s Eve” at the Musical Instrument Museum (the MIM) in Phoenix. Parents and children work together to make three festive instruments perfect for ringing in the New Year. Includes short visits to MIM exhibits that’ll teach kids more about these instruments and their cultures of origin.

The workshop culminates with a “sound check” parade. Wed, Dec 29 10:30am-noon or 1:30-3pm. $15 per child (1 adult can attend free and bring up to three children) in the Experience Gallery classroom. Museum admission can be purchased for those wishing to experience the museum as well.

“Come Play Today!” at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Includes a “Noisemakers” art activity from 2-4pm. Free with museum admission. The museum presents “Winterfest” art activities in their Art Studio 10am-3pm Dec 26-31 — with various projects kids and parents can enjoy together.

This month, children continue to decorate a “Puppet Theater Barn” and paint a “Castle Playhouse.” Those who visit Dec 26-31 can help create a museum “Giving Tree,” based on Shel Silverstein’s book, composed of handprints with messages about ways to help others in the New Year — and make a “Dove of Peace” to nest in the tree.

Of course, plenty of partying takes place in Phoenix throughout the year — much of it meant to support good causes, like increasing the availability and accessibility of Arizona arts and culture.

So watch for a future post on upcoming galas that’ll raise your spirits — as well as critical funding for all that art, dance, music and theater we enjoy in the Valley of the Sun.

— Lynn

Note: If your arts organization has a New Year’s Eve event or 2011 gala fundraiser on the books, please drop me a line at rakstagemom@gmail.com so we can share the news with our readers.

Coming up: The Phoenix Metro as mobile museum

Weekend whimsy

There’s a little something for everyone when it comes to family arts and entertainment this weekend. Here’s a roundup by category–featuring everything from concerts and musicals to nature walks and museum exhibits–with a bit of whimsy thrown in just for fun…

From sweeping beauties to singing mermaids

Theater performances include “Cinderella: A Ragtime Musical” at Desert Stages in Scottsdale, “Grease” at Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, “The Little Mermaid” at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa, “Two Bad Mice” by Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix, “Into the Woods” at Theater Works in Peoria (featuring a fabulous raffle)

From choral auditions to singing with Elmo

Music events include “Phoenix Boys Choir auditions” at the Phoenix Boys Choir in Phoenix, “Andreas Klein” (piano) and “Rahim Alhaj” (Iraqi oud) at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, “Breakfast with Elmo” (including song and dance) at Family Time in Gilbert

From movies in the park to movies at the museum

Community movie events include “Movie Night at the Park” (“Hoot” plus lessons on burrowing owls) at Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Goodyear, “Dinner and a Movie” (“G-Force”) at Eddie’s House in Scottsdale, “Movies in the Ballpark” (“Cars”) at Goodyear Ballpark, “Kid’s Night Out Movie Night” (“Spirited Away”) at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa

From art walks to hands-on art projects

Art activities include “Downtown Chandler Art Walk” (art/entertainment), “Free Art Friday” (art projects/games) in Tempe, “Great Expectations and Dreams: Arizona Teens Speak Up” at ASU Downtown (to benefit PCH cancer/blood disorder patients)

From baseballs to carved dolls

Museum exhibits include “Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear” and “Solarville” at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience” and “Jump to Japan: Discovering Culture Through Popular Art” at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, “Therizinosaur: Mystery of the Sickle-Claw Dinosaur” at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa (adjacent to the Arizona Museum for Youth), “What Moves Us: Art of Transportation from the Permanent Collection” at the ASU Art Museum in Tempe, “Visions: Text Messages” at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, “Hopi Katsina Dolls: 100 Years of Carving” and “More Than Child’s Play: American Indian Dolls” at the Heard Museum in Phoenix

From flashlight tour to wildflower walk

Nature activities include “Wildflower Walk” at The Arboretum at Flagstaff, “Hummingbird Banding” (professionals band, onlookers watch) at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, “Summer Saturday Evenings” at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, “Silent Sunday” at South Mountain Park in Phoenix, “Flashlight Tours” at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

For additional details–including dates/times, fees/reservations, recommended ages and such–check with hosting venues. Additional information on many of these events/activities is also available through the online calendar for Raising Arizona Kids magazine.


Note: If you’re on the prowl for art-related books, music or movies, try your luck at the free “Bargain Book Sale” from 9am-4pm today at the North Valley Regional Library in Anthem.

Coming up: From lemons to lemonade, Multicultural performance art, Season openers from Valley theaters, ASU Libraries’ Child Drama Collection, All about art walks, More movie reviews

Graphics from Cafe Press. Click here to see their extensive selection of gift items in black, white and beyond.

Update: Thanks to Carley Conder for sharing the news that renowned choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen, freelance choreographer/teacher/dancer originally from Denmark, is in Arizona for a six day residency. To enjoy a free showing of Boye-Christensen’s new work set for CONDER/dance, attend a Sat, Aug 21, performance at ASU FAC122 (11:45am-noon).