Tag Archives: fountain hills community theater

Costumes take center stage

I’m not a fashion designer but an artist who works in fashion-an engineer of color and form — Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo

So begins a recent e-mail from the Phoenix Art Museum alerting olks to a Sept 17-Feb 12 exhibit of di Sant’ Angelo’s works spanning the late ’60s to the early ’90s.  The exhibit includes dozens of ensembles and accessories — plus “never-released, original footage of runway shows and interviews, photographs and sketch books.”

The Florence-born artist, raised in Argentina and Brazil, moved to New York City after a brief stint with Walt Disney Studios in California. The museum touts his “pioneering use of stretch fabrics,” though I doubt di Sant’ Angelo expected they’d one day find their way into “mom jeans” sold by big box retailers.

Jennifer, age 10, rocking her hippie Halloween costume. This year savvy girls will be dressed as Edith Head.

Folks with a fondness for fashion can head to the Herberger Theater Center Wed, Sept 28 for a 7pm “pay-what-you-wish” performance of “A Conversation with Edith Head,” an Actors Theatre production about the costume designer to the stars whose work spanned six decades and garnered eight Academy Awards.

“A Conversation with Edith Head” is the work of playwrights Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen. Claassen, managing artistic director for Invisible Theatre in Tucson, performs the role of Edith Head — a woman who worked on 1,131 films featuring the likes of Mae West, Audrey Hepburn, Bette David, Robert Redford and Paul Newman.

Those of you readying to sew those darling Halloween costumes for your children may be seeking simpler inspirations — from ghosts and goblins to fairy princesses and forest animals. Perhaps this rundown of Halloween theater offerings will inspire you to new heights.

    • Fountain Hills Theater Youth Theater presents “Legends in the Attic” Oct 7-23. www.fhtaz.org.
    • Creative Stage Youth Theatre presents “Doctor of the Dead” (a student written and directed work) Oct 27-30. www.csyt.org.
    • Grand Canyon University presents “Dracula” Oct 21-30. www.gcu.edu.
    • Great Arizona Puppet Theater presents “Little Bunny’s Halloween” Oct 5-30. www.azpuppets.org.
    • Scorpius Dance Theatre presents “Lisa Starry’s A Vampire Tale VIII” Oct 13-22 (plus Oct 27-Nov 1 in Whitby, England). www.scorpiusdance.com.
    • Theater Works Puppet Works presents “Trick or Treat! A Halloween Puppet Show” Oct 8-29. www.theaterworks.org.

Once those costumes are ready to roll, take them for a spin at the “Hallowe’en and Zombie Walk” being presented Sat, Oct 29 by Rosson House Museum at historic Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix (also home to the Arizona Science Center — and close to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix).

Lizabeth, age 8, doing her corpse bride thing. Early signs of an acting bent, perhaps?

The 2-10pm event — which benefits the Rosson House Museum — features live music, children’s activities, costume contests, historic Hallowe’en games, food court and more. The walk itself, a wonderful alternative to traditonal “trick or treat” jaunts, begins at 6pm.

With three kids in college now, my days of sewing Halloween costumes are long gone. But I never tire of seeing what other children, who clamor eagerly at my front door for candy, come up with.

Jennifer, by the way, is still rocking the hippie vibe today.

— Lynn

Note: “Pay-what-you-wish” tickets for “A Conversation with Edith Head” are limited. Visit the Actors Theatre website at www.atphx.org for details. Learn more about the show at www.edithhead.biz. Find the Phoenix Art Museum online at www.phxart.org. And learn more about Invisible Theatre Company in Tucson at www.invisibletheatre.com. Reach the Rosson House Museum at www.rossonhousemuseum.org.

Coming up: Audition tales


And the nominees are…

These youth came out to support Spotlight Youth Theatre, one of three Valley theater companies nominated for both best youth play and best youth musical

This year’s Tony Awards ceremony in NYC has come and gone, but Arizona theater folk (and those who love them) gathered Mon, Aug 1 to hear a reading of nominations for the 21st annual AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence.

The reading, held at Phoenix Theatre, was followed by an after-party at BLISS/ReBAR — described during ceremony remarks as “huge supporters of the arts.” The 2011 AriZoni Awards ceremony honoring excellence during the 2010/11 season takes place Sept 19 at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Mesa Community College supporters at the Monday event included (L to R) Sarah Stellpflug, Jacqui Stevenson, Tyler Pounds and Heather Fallon

The AriZoni Awards recognize the best professional, community and youth theater among participating theaters in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Most, but not all, Valley theaters take part.

The 2011 ceremony features one portion for youth theater companies (5:30-7:30pm) followed by another for other theater companies (8-10:30pm). Folks of all ages, theater geek or no, can attend.

Maggie McNeil (L) and Taylor Lawritson came out to support Theater Works, and sat in a front row gleefully clapping for each Theater Works nomination

The best seats in the house go to nominees, so get your tickets early once they go on sale to get the best possible view of the evening’s festivities. No swanky evening gowns are required but folks do tend to show up a bit on the dressy side.

Overall production-youth play nominations went to works by Actor’s Youth Theatre, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Fountain Hills Community Theater Youth Theater, Spotlight Youth Theatre and Theater Works Youth Works.

Overall production-youth musical nominations went to Actor’s Youth Theatre, DFT Gecko Teatro, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Greasepaint Youtheatre, Musical Theatre of Anthem and Spotlight Youth Theatre.

Ryan Smith (R), Natalie Kilker and Andrey Lull attended Monday night to support Fountain Hills Community Theater, which has nominations in several categories

I have a few nominations of my own. The “biggest single totally-out-of-nowhere yelp!” award for Monday evening is a tie between those rooting for Damon Evans of MoezArt Productions’ “Here We Sit” and those cheering for Ron May of Stray Cat Theatre’s “Learn to be Latina.”

The “most overjoyed as evidenced by non-stop gasps and giggles” award goes to the cheerful crowd from Actor’s Youth Theatre, whose “Les Miserables – School Edition” raked in a ton of nominations. I asked one of their young supporters if she’d counted the theater’s total number of nods for the evening, and she quickly quipped “thirty.” I’m not going to check her math but it sounds about right.

Trevor Bowler (L) was there to cheer on AYT with Dale, Chelsea and Jamie (R) Mortensen and others whose enthusiasm with each nomination was infectious

You can hit the AriZoni Awards website for a full list of official nominations in every category. Of course those of us who heard them read by Yolanda London, Robert Kolby Harper and Kurtis W. Overby — emcees for the September awards ceremony — had infinitely more fun.

Scholarship and community award nominations are being accepted through Aug 15. Click here to learn more. Just promise me, please, that you won’t nominate me for any “worst-dressed” awards.

— Lynn

Note: Nominees have been selected for this year’s Business in the Arts Awards, which recognize “outstanding achievements, collaborations and contributions to and for arts organizations in metro Phoenix.” Honorees will be announced at a breakfast event Wed, Aug 17. Table sponsorships, event tickets and raffle tickets are available at www.abcannualawardsbreakfast.org.

Coming up: Writers workshops, Valley acting studios, Ode to ensembles

Photo credit: Lynn Trimble

Last call for theater camps!

Comedy mask in stained glass window at the Scottsdale theater where Greasepaint Youtheatre camps are held

When I spoke recently with ASU dance major Echo Laney, I asked her to share a bit about the benefits of participating in theater camps. Laney participated in Camp Broadway at ASU Gammage several years ago, and describes it as a life-changing experience.

“Theater camp opens you to new experiences,” reflects Laney. It makes for “nice networking” and helps campers “discover who they are and what they can do.” Reflecting on her own time with Camp Broadway, Laney shares that theater camp “opens the mind” and fuels powerful dreams.

Tragedy mask in stained glass at the old Stagebrush Theater in Scottsdale

I learned the hard way many years ago that many Valley summer day camps start filling up as early as February, but I know plenty of parents have yet to sit down with their children or teens to firm up summer plans — despite the fact that some camps begin next week.

For those still exploring summer camp options, here’s a nifty list of Valley organizations offering theater camps — complete with links so you can easily learn more about your many options. Don’t delay, because in many cases this really is your last chance…

Actor’s Youth Theatre at www.actorsyouththeatre.org

Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre at www.azact.org

Arizona Broadway Theatre at www.azbroadway.org

Arizona Jewish Theatre Company at www.azjewishtheatre.org

Art and Sol Performing Arts Program at www.artandsolprogram.com

ASU Gammage at www.asugammage.com

Chandler Center for the Performing Arts at www.chandlercenter.org

Childsplay Theatre Company at www.childsplayaz.org

Christian Youth Theater at www.cytphoenix.org

Creative Stage Youth Theatre at www.csyt.org

Dearing Acting Studio at www.dearingstudio.com

Desert Stages Theatre at www.desertstages.org

Do Re Mi School for the Arts at www.doremischool.com

East Valley Children’s Theatre at www.evct.org

Fountain Hills Community Theater at www.fhct.org

Greasepaint Youtheatre at www.greasepaint.org

Kirk’s Studio for the Performing Arts at www.kirksstudio.com

Life’s a Stage Productions at www.lasacting.com

Mesa Arts Center at www.mesaartscenter.com

Musical Theatre of Anthem at www.musicaltheatreofanthem.org

Phoenix Center for the Arts at www.phoenixcenterforthearts.org

Phoenix Theatre at www.phoenixtheatre.com

Scottsdale Conservatory of the Performing Arts at www.scottsdaleconservatory.com

Scottsdale Glee at www.scottsdaleglee.org

Scottsdale Studios at www.gleecamps.com

Spotlight Youth Theatre at www.spotlightyouththeatre.org

Starlight Community Theater at www.starlightcommunitytheater.org

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy at www.studio3arts.com

Theater Works at www.theaterworks.org

Theatre Artists Studio at www.thestudiophx.org

Valley Youth Theatre at www.vyt.com

Voices: A Music & Arts Studio at www.voicesstudio.com

To learn more about theater and other camps, check out the “Summer Solutions” 2011 camp directory compiled by Mala Blomquist of Raising Arizona Kids.

If you know of another Valley organization offering summer theater camps, please comment below to let our readers know.


Note: Click here for links to camps that participated in the RAK Camp Fair 2011.

Coming up: Celebrating Father’s Day — arts and culture style!

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

Theater by and for youth

Enjoy a “Village of Idiots” without turning on cable news. Travel “Once Upon an Island” without leaving the desert. And ease on down the road with “The Wiz” without all that nasty road rage. It’s all coming soon to Valley stages…

Chris Disney, Devin Derr & Logan Barrett in "Winnie-the-Pooh" at Fountain Hills Community Theater

I’m heading out with Lizabeth this weekend to enjoy “Winnie-The-Pooh” performed by Fountain Hills Community Theater’s youth theater. It’s one of many shows being performed this weekend by youth and for youth (although adults who appreciate youth theater are always welcome too).

I always leave youth theater productions feeling inspired by the talent and hard work of the young actors and crew members (and their fearless adult leaders). Participating in youth theater fosters creativity, committment and collaboration — three things that serve our children well both on and off the stage.

Often it’s seeing that first live performance featuring young performers that inspires a child to give theater a try. If you’re eager to introduce your children or teens to community theater, you’ll have plenty to choose from in the coming weeks and months.

It's your last weekend to enjoy "The Emperor's New Clothes" by East Valley Children's Theatre in Mesa

This weekend is your last chance to see “The Emperor’s New Clothes” performed by East Valley Children’s Theatre at Mesa Arts Center. I saw the show last weekend and loved everything about it!

It’s also the final weekend for Creative Stages Youth Theatre’s production of “Some Kind of Wonderbread: Not a John Hughes Movie” — a Jim Gradillas peice described as a send-up of ’80s movies about the trials and tribulations of high school life.

VYT's "Pinkalicious" makes a fun birthday party outing

Valley Youth Theatre is having an incredible run with “Pinkalicious” — which has now been extended through Oct 31 at VYT in downtown Phoenix. It’s the tale of a little girl who takes her love of pink to the extreme, with some charming and funny results.

Asijah Adolph plays Dorothy in "The Wiz" opening soon at Greasepaint Youtheatre

“The Wiz,” performed by Greasepaint Youtheatre, opens next week for an Oct 22-31 run in Scottsdale. It features 32 young actors directed by D. Scott Withers, whose previous work with Greasepaint has earned several awards.

Samantha Pear, Maddie Lopez, Jade Schalk, Amaya Lim and Taylor Ellsworth (front) perform in MTA's "Once Upon an Island Jr." opening later this month

You’ll only have a small window of time to enjoy “Once Upon This Island Jr.” performed by Musical Theatre of Anthem — which runs just a few days (Oct 28-31). Children who attend the 3pm Halloween matinee of this Caribbean-theme adapatation of “The Little Mermaid” are invited to wear costumes and enjoy trick-or-treating with cast members.

Theater Works Youth Works, which performs at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, opens “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” on Nov 5. My daughter Lizabeth’s first community theater experience was performing in this show when it was presented a decade or so ago by Greasepaint.

I can still picture her hanging a fishing pole over the front of the stage, playing hop scotch, clapping along to a gospel tune, swiping a paintbrush across a white picket fence and crouching to make her way through a tunnel she found rather frightening at the time.

Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale presents Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” Nov 19 to Dec 19. See the touring production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” next week and you can enjoy comparing the two next month. (Garage sale fans can enjoy the “DST Grand Garage Sale” Fri, Oct 15 from 4-6pm and Sat, Oct 15 from 6am-noon.)

Come December you can enjoy “Village of Idiots,” a work based on several Jewish folk tales. It’s being performed by Curtain Call Youtheatre — which is affiliated with the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company — on Dec 11 and 12 only at the John Paul Theater at Phoenix College. (Watch for AJTC’s online auction coming Nov 1.)

Stay tuned to the daily online calendar from Raising Arizona Kids magazine to learn more about children’s activities on stage and off.

— Lynn

Note: If your school or community organization offers theater by and for youth, please stay in touch so I’ll have the scoop on your offerings as I’m preparing future posts.

Coming up: Community college arts offerings

What’s so funny?

With any luck at all, it’ll be my weekend.

Jeffrey Davey in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"

Back to school week hasn’t exactly been a jolly good time around here, so I’m feeling the need to overcorrect a bit. I started by getting tickets to two comedic works opening this weekend — one a play and the other a musical.

But don’t take my word for the funny part. Just check out the photos peppered throughout this post. They’re all from “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” being performed at Mesa Arts Center Aug 27 to Sept 12. (FYI: Mature content)

I’ll also be enjoying “Noises Off” at Phoenix Theatre, which also runs through Sept 12. It hardly seems fair to Sept. 13th.

So what else can you look forward to this weekend? Let’s start with today — Friday, Aug 27.

Chuck Caruso, Shandy Mortenson and Brett Aiken

Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa presents “Artful Tales” (free with paid museum admission), an interactive storytime with art activity, from 11am to noon (space is limited).

The Scottsdale Community College Art Department presents their “11th Annual Drawing Exhibit” starting Friday and running through Sept. 23. Today’s hours are 8am to 4pm (it’s free) — and exhibited works feature 17 “advanced artists of all ages” working primarily with charcoal.

Brittany Bradford in "Spelling Bee"

Spotlight Youth Theatre of Glendale presents “bROCKway!” — a “fusion of musical theatre and rock and roll” for one night only.

The Scottsdale Civic Center Library continues its “Where the Wild Things Are” exhibit (and activities) through Aug 31, so sail on over if Maurice Sendak is your vibe.

If social justice is your thing, head to Tempe for a free community movie night presented by Hoodlums Music and Movies and Changing Hands Bookstore. Tonight’s film is an Academy Award nominee for feature documentary called “Children Underground.”

Aya Nameth in "Spelling Bee"

In the free concert department, there’s an evening performance by guitarist and composer “Brad Richter” at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

Or you can hit the cool pines of Prescott for an Aug 27-29 “Prescott Jazz Summit” sponsored by Friends of Big Band Jazz. For weeks that even funny can’t fix, a trip to the forest is always in order.

But what of Saturday?

All the funny stuff is still there — but there’s more.

Chad Campbell in "Spelling Bee"

Head to the Phoenix Art Museum if you enjoy your films on the funny side. They’re presenting the silent film “Gold Rush” with Charlie Chaplin Aug 29 at 1pm.

It’s free and features an intro plus Q & A by Martha Strachan of Paradise Valley Community College, but space is limited.

Alexandra Ncube in "Spelling Bee"

For the kids, Phoenix Art Museum presents “PhxArtKids” Days from noon to 3pm for five to 12 year olds (with adult companions).

Kids can enjoy making prints, creating miniature paintings and listening to jazz music — and it’s all free with paid museum admission.

Music lovers can head to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix for the first installment of a MIM series honoring the bicentennial celebration of Mexican independence — which features “Son de Madera” performing the “rousing music” of Veracruz, Mexico.

Entire cast of "Spelling Bee"

Dance afficianados can waltz on over to Mesa Arts Center for “Debut” — a performance featuring three world premieres presented by Convergence Ballet Company.

Sunday’s offerings include a host of theater productions throughout the Valley — including “45 Minutes from Broadway” by Fountain Hills Community Theater, “Baby Bear Goes to School” by the Great Arizona Puppet Theater, “Cinderella: A Ragtime Musical” by Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre, “Grease” by Valley Youth Theatre, “Annie Get Your Gun” by Hale Centre Theatre  and “Into the Woods” by Theater Works (now scheduling “Tom Sawyer” auditions).

There’s always plenty to choose from in arts and entertainment — but this weekend my word is “funny.”

What’s yours?

— Lynn

Note: If your 12-18 year old might enjoy learning to knit (a form of fabric art), send him/her to the teen corner (with supplies, if you have them) at the Desert Broom Library in Phoenix. Their “Sit & Knit” event takes place Sat, Aug 28, from 1:30-3:30pm (registration not required).

Coming up: Lynn and Liz enjoy a sneak peek at the new film “Easy A” featuring Valley Youth Theatre alumna Emma Stone

AriZonis honor youth theater

2009-2010 AriZoni nominee "Little Women" at Musical Theatre of Anthem

I’ve never met a young actor who performs primarily to win theater awards. They’re more into the fun, the friendship, the focus on song and dance. But I know quite a few who are thrilled when their work is recognized with a nomination or award.

The AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence ceremony for the 2009-2010 season will be held Mon, Sept. 20–and recognize achievements within several categories: contracted musicals, contracted plays, non-contracted plays and musicals, youth and original works.

Here’s a brief sampling of this year’s youth nominees…

For overall production/youth play, nominees include serious works such as “The Laramie Project” and “The Diary of Anne Frank” to lighter fare such as “The Jungle Book” and “The Goats Gruff.”

Theaters with more than a single nominee in this category include East Valley Children’s Theatre and Fountain Hills Community Theater Youth Theater.

Multiple nominations for overall production/youth musical went to Spotlight Youth Theatre and Theater Works Youth Works.

Nominated titles include classics like “Oliver!” and “The Sound of Music” as well as a show you may never have heard of– “Captain Preston and the Pirate Scourge!”

2009-2010 AriZoni nominee Jackie Hammond provided musical direction for "The Wizard of Oz" at Musical Theatre of Anthem

Kenny Grossman was nominated for directing in both the youth play and youth musical categories. Other director nominees include Chanel Branham for a youth play with The Homestead Playhouse and Lori Towne for a youth musical with MCC Act II Youth Productions.

Musical direction nominees include ten different talents, while a single individual earned more than one nomination in several other categories–Jennifer Druxbury for choreography, Kenny Grossman and Dori Brown for scenic design, Barbara Jakucki and Renee Brown for costume design, and Cori Johnson for hair and make-up design.

Dori Brown earned three nominations for lighting design, while Kenny Grossman earned multiple nominations for both lighting design and sound design. Karen Rolston earned several nominations for sound design and property design.

2009-2010 AriZoni nominee Krissi Dines as Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" with Theater Works Youth Works

Six theaters are represented in the actress/major role/play category, and seven are represented in the actress/major role/musical category.

Half of the nominees for actor/major role/play category performed with East Valley Children’s Theatre, while multiple nominations for actor/major role/musical went to youth who’d worked with Spotlight Youth Theatre and Theater Works Youth Works.

Spotlight Youth Theatre leads the count for actress/supporting role/play nominations with three, and half of the 10 nominations for actress/supporting role/musical also worked with Spotlight.

Actor/supporting role/play nominees include Gustavo Huerra for work with Bennett Performing Arts Theatre and actor/supporting role musical nominees include Porter James for work with Actor’s Youth Theatre.

Guest actor/play nominations went to three individuals (for work on “The Field Trip,” “The Nutcracker: A Play” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”). Five of the nine guest actor/musical nominees worked with Musical Theatre of Anthem.

Nominations were also garnered by several other organizations (or actors/others affiliated with them)–including Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre and Starlight Community Theater.

We’d expect most of the nominees to attend the Sept. 20 ceremony, but what about others involved with youth theater?

My daughter Lizabeth learned–while attending the Utah Shakespearean Festival–that several peers she performed with last season in “Oliver!” and “The Laramie Project” were nominated, and seems just as happy to applaud their achievements as she would be were she the one nominated.

2009-2010 AriZoni nominee "Beauty and the Beast" at Theater Works Youth Works

I hope other young actors who weren’t nominated will do the same.

Even youth who didn’t perform in youth theater productions last season can have a great time attending the ceremony and watching kids their own age get recognized for their hard work and talent.

Who knows? The ceremony might even inspire more than a few children and teens who’ve never acted before to try their hand at live theater.

I suspect that for at least some of the evening’s nominees, the opportunity to inspire others to experience the thrill of performance art will be its own reward–with a win merely serving as icing on the cake.


Note: Stay tuned to www.arizoniawards.com for event details, ticket information and a full list of nominees in youth and other categories.

Coming up: Valley theaters recognized with 2010 National Youth Theatre awards (to be honored Sept 12 at a ceremony to be held at Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix), Lynn and Liz enjoy “Ramona and Beezus”

ALERT! ASU Gammage has issued the call for 2010-2011 “Gammage Goer” applications. Click here to learn more about the “Gammage Goer” program or to submit your application. I was honored to be chosen last year as a member of the program’s inaugural class before returning to the magazine to cover the arts–and it was a wonderful experience. Go for it–and good luck!