Tag Archives: Chandler

The course of true love

Cast of the 2012 Utah Shakespeare Festival tour of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” Or so Lysander tells Hermia in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — the play chosen by the Utah Shakespeare Festival for its 2012 tour, which hits several Arizona venues in coming days.

Utah Shakespeare Festival 2012 touring production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

The 2012 touring production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is just 45 minutes long, and followed by a 15 minute post-show discussion with the actors. Schools can opt to add workshops in stage combat, performing Shakespeare’s text and character development through improvisation for an additional charge.

Four schools are part of the Arizona leg of this year’s tour — El Capitan School in Colorado City (Feb.21), Valley Vista High School in Surprise (Feb. 27), Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood (Feb. 29) and Winslow High School (March 1).

The touring company also performs twice this week for Valley students — at Higley Center for the Performing Arts (Feb. 23) and Chandler Center for the Arts (Feb.  24).

Utah Shakespeare Festival 2012 touring production of "A Midummer Night's Dream"

The Utah Shakespeare Festival touring production also makes its way to Nevada, Utah and Idaho this year. It’s a different production than the one performed during their 50th anniversary season in Cedar City, Utah — but features complete costumes, sets and theatrical lighting.

Utah Shakespeare Festival 2012 touring production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Also the most important element of any Shakespeare work — the words. Somehow they managed, during last year’s tour, to perform a truly compelling 45-minute version of “Macbeth.” So never fear that they’ll pull off a marvelous mini-“Midsummer.”

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2012 season, which features eight works including “Hamlet,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Les Miserables.” Click here to read their comprehensive study guide for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Coming up: Broadway rocks!

Photos courtesy of the Utah Shakespeare Festival


For the love of country

A work of art available in the museum shop at the Musical Instrument Museum

Hank Williams, Jr. made headlines this week for likening America’s president to one particular genocidal monster, an analogy that doesn’t do justice to the patriotism evident in so much of country music.

My daughter Jennifer, a cultural anthropology major at ASU, is a longtime fan of country music who’s introduced me to a smarter, kinder side of the genre long-affiliated with love of country and — at its best — love of fellow citizens.

Recently she pulled me aside to watch a videotaped performance from this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony. It featured Darius Rucker performing with 25 campers from the “ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp.”

They sang “Music from the Heart,” which songwriters Brett James and Chris Young composed with campers during the summer of 2010. “Lifting Lives” is the philanthropic arm of the ACM, which sponsored last summer’s camp.

The music camp has been hosted for six years by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Tennessee, which works to “facilitate discoveries and best practices that make positive differences in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families.”

It wasn’t the first time I’d spotted a country/Kennedy connection. Alan Jackson opened the Kennedy Center’s 9/11 memorial in Washington, D.C. with his song titled “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.”

Those of you seeking country music closer to home can look forward to several concerts coming to Valley stages this season. Vince Gill performs at the Mesa Arts Center on Oct. 23, and Josh Gracin performs with special guest Nick Nicholson at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 9.

Chandler Center for the Arts presents Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis on Feb. 4, 2012 and Marty Stuart on March 31, 2012. I hope someone gives me a call when Roseanne Cash comes to town.

The Musical Instrument Museum, already home to country western fare, says exhibits about Toby Keith and Buck Owens will go up later this month in the Artists Gallery

I was intrigued to see several country music-related exhibits being prepared during my last visit to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, and I’m told that Suzy Boggus will be performing at the MIM on March 23, 2012.

It’s always fun to explore country western-related artifacts at the MIM. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a genuine “Nudie suit” — named for the Russian-born American tailor who crafted rhinestone-studded garb for lots of country western superstars.

And it’s nice to know, in a day and age when some use their celebrity to pedal hate and intolerance, that others are using their own good fortune to enhance the lives of others.

— Lynn

Coming up: Art meets Americana, Spending time at the “Spitfire Grill”

Chandler tales

I’ve long suspected there was at least one cub reporter in my midst. Sure enough, my 17-year-old daughter Lizabeth is showing clear signs.

Before heading out to the Ostrich Festival in Chandler Sunday afternoon, Lizabeth asked if she could take my camera along. We gave the battery a quick charge and off she went — with a couple of goals in mind.

First, to meet a young actor from the Nickelodeon television show titled “iCarly” who was making a guest appearance at the event — a plan she wisely abandoned after seeing the line that appeared to be several blocks long.

Lizabeth did the mental math, and soon realized that waiting hours for a few seconds of time and a quickie autograph was a high investment/low yield enterprise.

Second, she wanted to get her fix of cute (and even not so cute) animals. Ostrich races. Pig races. And sea lions clever enough to avoid the racing gig altogether. Mission accomplished there — and more. Think goats, cattle, emus, sheep, water buffalo and yaks.

Lizabeth came home eager to share her photos (which I’ve assembled for the slide show below). Many evidence her offbeat sense of humor. The photos of signs and a recycling bin suggest she’s been either channeling or mocking me. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

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I was impressed by her keen reporting of the events — and her wit in recounting them. Knowing attention to detail is important to the journalism craft, I asked her what types of food were available at the festival. Her answer was simple and plenty accurate: “Fried.”

I was sorry I’d asked when Lizabeth offered further details. Hot dogs on a stick. Pizza on a stick. Fry bread. Funnel cakes. Snowcones. Catfish. Even ostrich burgers. “That,” she quipped, “must be what happens to the losers.”

Apparently the pig races were particularly amusing — largely because the pigs belonged to various groups with names like “Hollywood pigs,” “Rock & pop pigs,” “Country pigs,” and “Political pigs.”

Seems one of the “political pigs” (dubbed “John McPig”) had a hard time deciding which starting box to enter as his race drew near. I’m told he tried the boxes of each of his opponents before wandering off, only to be redirected by a race official to his designated stall.

But alas, there’s nothing artsy about an ostrich or pig race — so check out some of these cultural events coming soon to Chandler if they’re more your style:

Chandler-Gilbert Community College Performing Arts presents an original CGCC production titled “Get a Life” March 24-27 at the Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center.

The Chandler Symphony Orchestra presents a concert coupled with a food drive (as part of the 2011 Orchestras Feeding America program sponsored by the League of American Orchestras) March 27 at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

The East Valley Jewish Community Center (in partnership with the City of Chandler and Chandler Unified School District) presents a film titled “An Article of Hope” April 5 at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

The Chandler Children’s Choir presents “Summer Camp 2011” June 13-17 (for ages 6-16) at Tri-City Baptist Church in Chandler.

Enjoy your time in Chandler — and be thankful your kids have yet to come up with the idea of parent races.

— Lynn

Note: Watch the daily online calendar of events at www.raisingarizonakids.com for ongoing news of upcoming events with a family-focus in the Valley and throughout the state.

Coming up: Thoughts of Japan

Spring theater camp alert!

Broadway program at Scottsdale Studios

The little darlings will soon have extra time on their hands as teachers celebrate that age old tradition called “spring break.” So I say, why should parents have all the drama?

Plenty of Valley theater companies offer spring break camps and workshops full of all things acting, song and dance. Here’s a rundown of several options…

Chandler Center for the Performing Arts. Spring Glee Camp. Ages 8 & up. March 21-25. 9am-noon. $150.

Childsplay in Tempe. Spring Break Workshop. Musical Theatre: Jungle Book. Ages 8-14. March 14-18. 9am-4pm. $275.

Creative Stages Youth Theatre. Spring Break Camp. Ages 8-18. March 14-18. 9am-3pm. $150.

Scottsdale Glee. Musical Theatre Glee Camp. Ages 6-15. March 14-18. 9am-noon. $180.

Scottsdale Studios. Glee Camp. Ages 5-18. March 15-17 9am-4pm and March 18 4-8pm. $400.

Broadway Cabaret performance at Scottsdale Studios

Theatre Works Youth Works in Peoria. Spring Break Workshop. Ages 7-18. March 14-18. 9am-3pm. $199.

Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix. Spring Camp. Musical Theatre. Ages 7-15. March 8-12 and March 15-19. 9am-3pm. $275.

Call or visit the websites for these groups to learn more about specific offerings, and remember that they also offer summer options.

Ask about whether specific items of interest (such as T-shirts, lunches, before/after care, audio/video recordings, audition training, etc.) are available, and whether they are included or offered at extra cost. Also ask about sibling discounts.

Scottsdale Studios offers a Spring Glee Camp

Additional summer programs with a theater twist are offered by Camp Broadway (a program of ASU Gammage), Curtain Call (the youth theater company of Arizona Jewish Theatre Company), Imagine That! (a program of Paradise Valley United Methodist Church), Phoenix Theatre and others.

To learn more about diverse summer camp options for Valley children and teens, attend the free Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair this weekend — which features information on camps with themes ranging from sports to science.

Do your research now — and help your child make camp decisions on the sooner rather than the later side.  

Unless, of course, you need more drama in your life…

— Lynn

Note: If your local arts program (dance, music, theater, visual arts) offers a summer camp, feel free to send photos to rakstagemom@gmail.com for possible use in upcoming posts.

Coming up: From music major to English major, Broadway time travel, Diverse dance offerings

Photos courtesy of Scottsdale Studios

All the world’s a circus?

"The Magic Circus" by Mark Ryden

I chatted recently with one of the cast members of Greasepaint’s “The Wiz,” who reminded me he’s part of a local circus troupe called the Taylor Family Circus — recently featured in the June 2010 issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

I seem to find the circus arts here, there and everywhere these days. Just last month “Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi” performed at Chandler Center for the Performing Arts.

Your next opportunity to enjoy a large-scale circus production here in the Valley is just around the, well, ring. I’ve never heard of a three-corner circus — though nowadays I suppose anything is possible.

Cirque Dreams Illumination performs soon in the Valley

Cirque Dreams Illumination” takes to two Valley stages this month — Nov 9 & 10 at Mesa Arts Center and Nov 11-14 at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix. The show, presented by Theater League, combines three elements many parents will find strangely familiar.

There’s “urban acrobatics” — which reminds me of darting between clothing racks with a double stroller and a triple shot of espresso. There’s “dazzling choreography” — not unlike maneuvering your way into the shortest line at the grocery store. And there’s “brilliant illusions” — akin perhaps to believing we still fit into our prom and wedding dresses.

Expect leaping, balancing, flying and plenty of special effects — all set to an “original score of jazz, salsa, ballroom, pop and trendy beats from the streets.” This last one has me worried since most Arizonans think of street music as beeping their car horn.

The Zoppa family brings circus arts to Chandler

If you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy the winter holidays with family and friends, a trip to the circus might be just the thing. “Zoppe An Italian Family Circus Since 1842” performs at the Chandler Center for the Arts Dec 26- 31 and Jan 1-2 (2011).

AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Eddy Risch from Discovery Channel

Circus arts in the 21st century involve much more than many of us remember from our own childhood trips to the big top — when cotton candy and clown cars were enough to leave us bright-eyed and up way beyond bedtime with dreams of riding in the elephant parade.

Explore the wonders of circus arts behind the scenes on a new section of the PBS website — PBS Arts. It features information and entertainment of the dance, theater, visual art, film and music variety. There’s even a “Contribute Your Art” feature that lets folks contribute their own work.

Big Apple Circus of New York City

Tune to PBS tonight (Wed, Nov 3) for the start of a new series of six one hour episodes titled “Circus” — which features the Big Apple Circus of New York City, a nonprofit performing arts circus formed by two clowns “inspired by the intimacy of a one-ring show.”

It might feel a bit like a circus with all of today’s post-election reporting and rallying cries, but I’ll take the performance arts over political illusions any day of the week.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about circus history at www.circopedia.org.

Coming up: Hard love, big love and puppy love; Science and Shakespeare?; Herberger highlights; Playwrights from my past

Broadway, Bollywood and the Bard

My daughter mentioned hearing the other day that Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix would soon be opening its fall musical.

Because I’m always on the prowl for local high school theater productions, I did some homework and discovered that Xavier and Brophy Theatre will present “The Fiddler on the Roof” for just a few days — starting this evening.

They’ll perform the classic musical Oct 6, 7 and 9 and 7pm — with a 1:30pm matinee on the 9th (there’s no performance on Friday). Performances are being held at the Virginia G. Piper Performing Arts Center on the Xavier campus. Tickets are just $7.

“Fiddler on the Roof” first opened on Broadway in 1964, closing in 1972 after 3,242 performances. It’s set in 1905 Anatevka, a small town in Russia on the brink of the Russian Revolution. The town has a strong Jewish community but also several non-Jewish Russians who live alongside one another.

It’s a tale of tradition, prejudice, tolerance and change — critical issues facing contemporary society. And it’s the story of two parents seeking the best for their five daughters, which is one of many reasons I never tire of seeing it.

We took the whole family many years ago when the touring production came to ASU Gammage — and we had our own little fiddler, Lizabeth, in the family. Happily, it’ll return to ASU Gammage March 29-April 3, 2011.

In between the Xavier/Brophy and ASU Gammage productions, you can check out the 1971 film.

You also can enjoy a rare blend of Bollywood and the Bard as students from Highland High School perform Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” from Oct 28-30 at 7pm (in the school’s auditorium). Tickets are just $5.

It’s one of Shakepeare’s early comedies, and has a relatively uncomplicated plot that makes it accessible to younger audiences. And, it appears, “all the aplomb, color, flamboyance and energy” of the Bollywood style of Indian dance.

Each evening will feature a special performance by students of Kriti Dance in Chandler, a studio specializing in the Bollywood style of dance popularized by “the Hindi film industry that closely resembles Hollywood.”

Thanks to Kriti Dance for answering the call yesterday when the magazine shared my high school musical quest via Facebook and Twitter. If your high school is performing a musical this season that’s open to the public, please let me know.

Unless, of course, you’re blending the Bard and ballroom dance…


Note: Lizabeth also shared with me that Southern Utah University opened their 2010-2011 theatre arts and dance season last weekend with “Love’s Labour’s Lost” — which there’s still time to enjoy. It’s being performed Oct 8 & 9 at the Adams Shakespearean Theatre in Cedar City, Utah — one of our very favorite places on the planet!

Coming up: Film as a vehicle for education reform

Museum matters

On any given day, you’ll likely find a good 2.3 million of your fellow Americans marveling their way through one or more of the country’s 17,500 or so museums, according to the American Association of Museums

Stop monkeying around--let's celebrate International Museum Day!

If you’ve enjoyed a trip to the Phoenix Zoo lately, you can probably guess which type of museum wins the national popularity contest. It’s the perennial favorite of young and old alike: the zoo.

Second in popularity, according to the AAM’s “2006 Museum Financial Information Survey,” is the science/technology museum–something you’ve likely surmised if you’ve ever enjoyed a day at our own Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix.

Rounding out the top three are the country’s arboretums and botanical gardens–something we enjoy several of here in Arizona. Think Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix’s Papago Park. Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior. Even the Arboretum at Arizona State University in Tempe. 

Chidren’s/youth museums rank fourth, and again we enjoy several choices in Arizona–including the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

Fifth in overall popularity nationwide are natural history/anthropology museums. Arizona has the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, the Deer Valley Rock Art Center and many more. 

Surprisingly, art museums rank just sixth. You’d never know it based on the popularity of our own Phoenix Art Museum and the wealth of smaller art museums throughout the Valley and state–including the University of Arizona Museum of Art, the ASU Art Museum, the Shemer Arts Center and others.

Seventh in popularity are nature centers, like our own Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix–where families can enjoy

Who says museums are for the birds?

activities like animal encounters, bird walks and spring nature story times.

General museums rank eighth in popularity nationwide–followed by specialized museums, historic houses/sites and history museums. 

Arizona offers spectacular choices among specialized museums from the new Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix to the Bead Museum in Glendale. 

Historic houses and sites in Arizona include the Arizona Capitol Museum, the Rosson HouseMuseum at Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix and more. 

History museums abound in Arizona–including the following museums featuring the histories of local cities and towns: Cave Creek Museum, Chandler Museum, Gilbert Historical Museum, Mesa Historical Museum, Scottsdale Historical Museum and many others. 

You may have gathered by now that I’m looking at a “cheat sheet” of sorts in rattling off the names of these Arizona museums. It’s the “Museum Listed by Type” page on the Central Arizona Museum Association website. 

Jump on the CAMA website to learn about special offers and admission discounts available around the Valley in celebration of International Museum Day (May 18th is the special day, but museum specials vary so check individual museums for details). 

Hey--I can see lots of museums from way up here!

You’ll find savings and special promotions for museums such as the Arizona Military Museum, the Arizona Museum for Youth, the Deer Valley Rock Art Center, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Pueblo Grande Museum, the River of Time Museum, the Rosson House Museum, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Superstition Mountain Museum, Surprise Historical Society and the Bead Museum.

A few quick tips as you’re heading out the door to explore…

Call ahead to verify location, hours and admission pricing.

Be sure your child is well rested and has had plenty to eat/drink.

Take along a camera to capture museum memories.

Bring your ‘gift list’ for upcoming birthdays, graduations and other special occasions so you can hit the museum gift shop for unique gift items.

Most importantly, tell a friend what you see so they can enjoy the fun too! 


Note: I’ll have more to share tomorrow on why museums matter–culturally, economically and beyond. “On Exhibit” listings of exhibits and gallery showings around the Valley are always available online at the Raising Arizona Kids magazine online calendar.

 Coming up: Preview of “In the Heights” at ASU Gammage

Photos: Christopher Trimble (at the Phoenix Zoo)