Tag Archives: Gilbert

Feelin’ girly

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I stumbled on several shops featuring fun and feminine fare during a recent trip to Art Intersection in Gilbert. They’ll open a new exhibit called “All Art Arizona 2012” tomorrow night, so it seems the perfect time to introduce you to a couple of their neighbors — the Pink Zebra Boutique and the Petite Party Studio.

The opening reception for “All Art Arizona 2012” takes place Sat, June 2 from 7-9pm. The juried exhibition, which “celebrates all forms of visual art” by Arizona artists, features sculpture, photography, painting, ceramics, mixed media, artist books, and more.

Remember when you’re in that neck of the woods, that there’s plenty of art to be found at Gallery 225 — also in the Gilbert’s Heritage District. All are just a short walk from Hale Centre Theatre, currently presenting both “Rapunzel” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Those of you inspired by all things crafty in the snapshots above should check out “Chicks Who Give a Hoot,” an eclectic blog by two lovely ladies well known in Valley theater circles — Sara Chambers and Dawn Rochelle Tucker.

Sometimes feelin’ girly is a good thing.

— Lynn

Coming up: Art meets archeology

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12


Hale Centre Theatre performs “Mockingbird”

L to R: Zoe Zamora (Scout Finch), Rob Stuart (Atticus Finch) and Dale Mortensen (Jeremy “Jem” Finch) perform in “To Kill a Mockingbird” through June 30 at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert

I headed out to Gilbert Saturday for a matinee performance of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which is being presented by Hale Centre Theatre through June 30. It’s directed by D. Scott Withers and stars Rob Stuart as Southern gentleman and lawyer Atticus Finch, who’s charged with defending a black man accused by a white woman of rape.

The setting is Maycomb, Alabama during 1935. Hale’s production is a Christopher Sergel adaptation of the Harper Lee novel published in 1960. The cast includes three young actors — Casey Pettyjohn (Dill), Dale Mortensen (Jeremy “Jem” Finch) and Zoe Zamora (Scout Finch). Each did a terrific job.

There’s much to love about the Hale Centre Theatre experience. The theater is located near several great eateries and arts destinations — and there’s a park across the street where children can run off steam. Hale also has a children’s theater, which presents “Rapunzel” through June 30.

The day I attended, the vibe was warm and friendly. There’s a concessions area with an old-time feel, and the fellow who staffed it Saturday wheeled a two-level cart onto center stage during intermission for folks who wanted a water or candy fix without moving far from their seats. The same spot was raffle central before the show started.

Four sections of seats surround a center stage at Hale Centre Theatre, and three small balconies serve as extended portions of the set. Actors sometimes enter and exit the stage from these areas, which is especially fun for folks who like to see them up close. For much of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a central set piece is a tire swing suspended from exposed beams above.

Before “To Kill a Mockingbird” began, David Dietlein (half of the owner/producer team that includes his wife Corrin Dietlein) unveiled the theater’s 2012-2013, noting that they’re honoring requests for more musicals by doubling their musical theater offerings. Think “The Secret Garden,” “Annie,” “Forever Plaid,” “South Pacific,” “Damn Yankees” and “Hairspray.”

They’ll perform “The Price of Freedom,” a musical tibute “dedicated to those who served in World War II and the loved ones they left behind” during Sept/Oct and the holiday musical “A Christmas Carol” during late Nov/Dec. Comedies for 2012-2013 include “The Hit” (an Arizona premiere by Mike Buckley), “The 39 Steps” and “The Man With The Pointed Toes” (billed by Hale as its “most popular show ever”).

Dietlein noted that folks who buy tickets for ten shows will save $10 per show, and that tickets for patrons ages 6 to 18 are always $10 each. I learned after the show, while talking with actors who greet folks via reception line in the lobby, that students from Mesa Preparatory Academy were in the audience on Saturday — having read the novel to prepare for seeing the work.

Parents who take children to see the show should be ready for questions about mature content, including references to rape and use of what we’ve come to call “the N-word.” Both have been cited by folks who’ve sought to ban Lee’s book, and folks eager to learn more about that fight can find resources through Banned Book Week, taking place Sept 30-Oct 6 this year.

I checked the interest level of various teens in the audience several times during Saturday’s performance. Many leaned forward, showing more interest in the play, during the courtroom scene that dominates the play’s second act. This was clearly the most compelling part of the production, and the most humorous piece as well.

Parents and teachers interested in learning more about Harper Lee and “To Kill a Mockingbird” can read the Utah Shakespeare Festival study guide and consult several PBS pieces available online. Click here for details on upcoming Hale Centre Theatre productions.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to read about a recent screening of the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the White House. Click here to learn about the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 51st season, which includes “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Coming up: Art meets Father’s Day, The secret life of paper

The fine art of bugs?

While traveling through Canada many years ago, I explored the Montreal Insectarium — where I learned that bugs can be beautiful. Big, but beautiful. Plus useful to people and the planet in all sorts of ways.

If bugs have a bad rap in your house, it might be time to get to know them better — starting with events, lectures and classes being offered by the Desert Botanical Garden as part of the “David Rogers’ Big Bugs” exhibit.

The exhibit features eleven giant bugs Rogers created from fallen or found wood, cut saplings, twigs, raw branches, twine, bark and other naturla materials. The sculptures weigh from 300-1,20o pounds and range from seven to 25 feet long.

Recently I toured the garden with my son Christopher, a college student who never lost his little boy fascination with bugs. You can enjoy the exhibit with your family through Jan 1, 2012.

Several garden features seem to mirror the materials used for Big Bugs…

This praying mantis greets visitors right after they enter the garden…

This laby beetle in one of several Big Bugs along the garden’s main trail…

Every piece of sculpture is accompanied by a sign with details about the work…

The daddy-longlegs looks like a friendy storybook character…

Compare the grasshopper’s legs to cactus and you’ll see something in common…

We were both most impressed by the spider and web hanging below…

The “Spider-Man” musical on Broadway has nothing on this giant arachnid…

Catch a glimpse of this damselfly both from the path and from the bridge…

Challenge your kids to find differences with the dragonfly below..

The giant assassin bug is hidden away along the wildflower trail…

Thanks to the fine folks at Chase and PetSmart for sponsoring Big Bugs…

We hit the gift shop to look at bug books, calendars, puppets and more…

If you’re both bug and film buff, check out the garden’s “Big Bug Movie Nights” — which start Sat, Oct 1 with “Antz.” Other featured films include “Charlotte’s Web,” “A Bug’s Life,” “The Fly” (1958 version), “Beetlejuice,” and “Arachnophobia.”

The garden clearly has bugs on the brain. Their “Music in the Garden Fall Concert Series” includes a Nov 4 “Get Back: A Tribute to the Beatles!” concert. They’re presenting a “Bug Brunch” Nov 5 & 6. Also classes and lectures to up your B.Q.

Those of you wishing to “be the bug” can don your bug mask or butterfly wings for the garden’s Sept 30 gala fundraiser titled “Moonlight Masquerade.” It’s an adults only evening, so leave the kiddos at home with a sitter who’s not afraid to crack open a bevy of bug books.

Think Eric Carle’s “The Grouchy Ladybug,” “The Very Busy Spider” or “The Very Quiet Cricket.” Throw in some colorful tissue paper, pom poms and pipe cleaners and they can get crafty while you’re tripping the light fanstastic.

“The Big Bug Circus” is also coming to town. The marionette show from the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix heads to Gilbert for two performances on Sat, Oct 8 at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts.

Clearly bugs have gone big time.

— Lynn

Note: Visit the Desert Botanical Garden online at www.dbg.org and David Rogers at www.big-bugs.com. Find Eric Carle at www.eric-carle.com, the Great Arizona Puppet Theater at www.azpuppets.org and Higley Center for the Performing Arts at www.higleycenter.com.

Coming up: For the love of Lilly!, Festivals with multicultural flair, VYT debuts “Dora the Explorer”

A trio of tributes

Detail of artwork by theater students at Arizona School for the Arts

Detail of artwork by theater students at Arizona School for the Arts

In Tempe Beach Park, a flag is flying for each person who perished in the attacks of September 11, 2001. So too in Battery Park, New York — where stripes on the flags have been replaced by the names of those killed, and people gathered Saturday morning to form a human chain of solidarity and remembrance.

Candlelight vigils in Scottsdale and countless cities throughout the world are honoring those lost, as well as those who remain. A beam from the World Trade Center is being installed at a Gilbert memorial, and a sculpture crafted of three sections of WTC buildings has been unveiled in London’s Battersea Park — a tribute to the 67 Britons lost that day.

Detail of Tiles for America exhibit in New York City

But it’s a trio of tributes, our country’s permanent memorials to 9/11, that most will visit in coming days, decades and beyond. One in Pennsylvania. One in New York. One in Washington, D.C.

I was particularly moved while watching a live C-SPAN broadcast of the dedication ceremony Saturday morning for the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, where the heroism of everyday Americans was honored by dignitaries, artists, family members and others.

Poet Robert Pinsky read two works — “Souvenir of the Ancient World” by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and “Incantation” by Czeslaw Milosz. The second was interrupted at our house by a call from the National Republican Party. The timing made my stomach turn.

Art from one of two Tiles for America exhibits in NYC

I heard an interview with George Packer, who has a piece titled “Coming Apart” in the Sept 12, 2011 issue of New Yorker magazine, on NPR today. He noted that two things he’d hoped might change about America in the aftermath of 9/11 are much the same. Our partisan politics and the growing gap between America’s rich and poor.

I hope our national 9/11 memorials will help to change that. Reminding us of what we have in common. Reminding us that every person matters. Reminding us to volunteer in service to others. Reminding us to be grateful.

During the “New York Says Thank You” documentary broadcast on local FOX affiliates Saturday evening, several people involved with the “I Will” campaign shared ways they’ll be honoring those directly affected by 9/11.

More street art from Tiles for America

Actor Mariska Hargitay plans to volunteer at her local domestic violence shelter. A teen girl says she’ll “clean up my room.” A middle-aged man plans to plant a tree at the Flight 93 National Memorial. And a woman about my age says simply, “I will forgive.”

The Friends of Flight 93 and the National Parks Service (which operates the Flight 93 National Memorial) are partnering with the Fred M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent’s College in Pennsylvania for an October event titled “9/11 Forum: Impact on Young Children.” And folks far and wide have started discussions about incorporating 9/11 into school curriculum materials.

My “I Will” is following the developments of the trio of tributes best known to Americans and sharing them with our readers, not just on 9/11 but throughout the year. But also the everyday stories of children, families, teachers, artists and others working to make September 12 and every day that follows a day of healing, humility and hope.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about the Flight 93 National Memorial at www.npca.org and www.honorflight93.org, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial at www.pentagonmemorial.org and the 9/11 Memorial in NYC at www.911memorial.org. All three appreciate gifts of time and money as they move forward honoring those affected by 9/11. Learn about “I Will” at www.911day.org.  Watch eight artists “talk about how that day and its aftermath have informed their work and lives” at www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/02/us/sept-11-reckoning/artists.html?ref=arts.

Coming up: A photo tour of memorials at Phoenix’s Wesley Bolin Plaza

9/11 meets Arizona arts and culture

This work by Sam Irving is one of several you can enjoy at exhibits at two Gilbert libraries this week (Photo courtesy of Gilbert Fire Department)

The town of Gilbert is preparing for Sunday’s dedication of a 9/11 memorial to feature an 8-foot long beam from the World Trade Center.

Recently they invited folks to submit photographs, paintings and drawings with a “Memory of Hope” theme. Selected works are on exhibit through 9/11 at the Southeast Regional and Perry High libraries. www.gilbertaz.gov/911memorial.

One of several works currently on exhibit at the Tucson Jewish Community Center

Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona has created a mixed media 9/11 memorial called “3,000 Souls” that’s being exhibited at the Tucson Jewish Community Center through Sept 26. ww.tucsonjcc.org/arts.

The ceramics program and fine arts department at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix (part of the Tempe Unified High School District) presents a 9/11 memorial Thurs, Sept 9 from 6-9pm (room 149).

The event features “students from dance and theatre,
choir, speech and band, a special slide and musical tribute, the
signing of victims’ names into a tribute vessel to be delivered to New
York in December, and fundraising for the WTC Health Hospital.” The event is free and open to the public. www.desertvista.schoolfusion.us.

Several 9/11-related items, including a huge “National Unity Flag” designed and created in Arizona, will be exhibited Sept 9-16 in the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts atrium.

A “9/11 Memorial Wall” with 2,996 full-color memorial cards featuring biographical information and photographs of 9/11 victims will be exhibited as well.

Scottsdale begins a “9/11 Day of Remembrance” program in the atrium at 1pm on Sun, Sept 11 with a reading of victims’ names.

Keynote speaker Ray Malone, a former New York police office and firefighter, follows in the Virginia G. Piper Theater at 6pm. The evening also includes performances of patriotic music by school bands and choral groups, as well as a candlelight vigil. www.scottsdaleaz.gov.

ProMusica performs with other Valley groups this weekend

ProMusica Arizona Chorale and Orchestra of Anthem will perform Mozart’s “Requiem” (a work being performed by groups throughout the country on 9/11) at two Valley churches on Sun, Sept 11. www.promusicaaz.org.

Mozart’s “Requiem” is also being performed at a “Remembrance and Renewal” concert at UA’s Centennial Hall in Tucson on Sun, Sept 11 at 3pm. It features the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Tucson Chamber Artists’ professional choir. www.uapresents.org.

The Damocles Trio, who met as doctoral students at The Juilliard School in NYC, will perform the “Requiem Trio” by Spanish composer Salvador Brotons (b.1959) at Tempe Center for the Arts at 2:30pm on Sun, Sept 11.

The work was “written especially for the group to commemorate the tragic terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.” The piece was first performed in Sept 11, 2004 in NYC.

Tempe officials note that “this concert will be linked to the Tempe Beach Park 9/11 Healing Field and other city commemoration events.” The concert also features the music of Dvorak and Villa Lobos. www.damoclestrio.com and www.friendsofTCA.org.

The Tucson Pops Orchestra, with guest conductor George Hanson, performs “Americana: Remember 9/11” Sun, Sept 11 at Reid Park in Tucson at 6:30pm. www.sept11tucson.org.

The National Unity Flag will hang in Scottsdale this weekend

Folks looking for additional 9/11 memorials and related events can check with local interfaith or religious groups, performing arts venues, universities or colleges, museums, local governments and community centers for local offerings.

If your Arizona organization is presenting a music, dance, theater or visual arts event in remembrance of 9/11, please comment below to let our readers know.

— Lynn

Note: Several 9/11 remembrance events will be televised, including a New York Philharmonic concert with Alan Gilbert conducting Mahler’s “Resurrection” (Sept 11 on PBS). Listen to KJZZ 91.5 all week for 9/11 memorial coverage (including 9 hours of live coverage on 9/11). www.kjzz.org. Watch the “9/11: 10 Years Later” concert live Thurs, Sept 8 and share your reflections with others at facebook.com/KennedyCenter by clicking on the 9/11 Livestream tab.

Coming up: Remembering 9/11 with literature and love

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

Fake lawyers and other bloodsuckers

First, note the word “fake.” I’m married to a lawyer, and a fine one at that. In fact, I married into a family full of them. Lawyers I can live with. Fake lawyers, not so much.

Now there's a bumper sticker you don't see every day!

So I was intrigued to learn about a fictional fellow named Jeremy Troy, the subject of a comedy by Jack Sharkey (please, no ‘lawyers are sharks’ jokes), coming to Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert as part of their recently unveiled “2011 season.”

Jeremy Troy has it all. He’s about to make partner at his law firm. He’s got a beautiful wife, lovely home and plenty of spending money. But he’s got no law degree, and the jig will be up if his secret is revealed. I can’t wait to watch the man squirm when the show comes to Hale Dec 31, 2010 to Feb 12, 2011.

But he’s not the only bloodsucker coming to Gilbert next season…

Poster ala playbillstore.com

Hale presents “Little Shop of Horrors” from the Ashman/Menken pairing so popular in Disney fare (July 15-Aug 27, 2011). It’s a musical tale about “a down-and-out skid row floral assistant who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving.”

Other 2011 offerings from Hale Centre Theatre include “Hello Dolly” (Feb 17-April 2), “Man With The Pointed Toes” (Feb 22-March 29), “Never Too Late” (April 7-May 21) and “Over the River and Through the Woods” (May 27-July 9).

Bloodsucking of a different sort comes to Anthem next season with the Starlight Community Theater production of “Dracula,” the perfect show for folks needing a frequent vampire fix.

For those of you who can’t wait that long, there’s the July 30 release this year of “Eclipse,” the third movie in the “Twilight saga” based on the books by Arizona mother and author Stephanie Meyer, which presents a rare (for a reason) opportunity to encounter a “newborn vampire.”

If your tastes are more tame, you’ll be delighted to know that Starlight’s 2010-2011 season opens with “Oklahoma!” There’s nothin’

Anyone for a trip down 'Memory Lane?'

creepy ’bout that except, perhaps, that the lead cowboy is named “Curly.”

“Oklahoma!” was the first musical written by composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. It’s based on a 1931 Lynn Riggs play titled “Green Grow the Lilacs” (itself based on a popular song by the same name). And it nearly inspired me to title this post “Surrey with the fangs on top.”

Starlight rounds out its 2010-2011 season with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (based on a story by early 20th century English author C.S. Lewis, who often used Christian or morality-related themes), “Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Bye Bye Birdie” (which recently completed its first revival run on Broadway).

Thanks to Hale Centre Theatre and Starlight Community Theater, Valley families will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy classic works, new works, musicals and comedies in the coming season.

As always, read print and online editions of “On Stage”–Raising Arizona Kids’ monthly listing of theater and other live performance events—for news of family-friendly theater, music, dance and more.

Truth be told, more than a few of us at RAK count lawyers among those we love. They all have real degrees and they’re all real good people.


Another treasure from playbillstore.com

Note: Remember that this evening’s Tony Awards party at ASU Gammage has been cancelled–so stay tuned to see the ceremony on that little box that occasionally brings us beautiful things.

Coming up: More new season announcements, ASU Gammage presents “In the Heights” (winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2008)