Tag Archives: Lunch Time Theater

Home sweet Herberger?

This weekend is your last chance to see ATC perform Lost in Yonkers

The recently renovated Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix has everything a devoted audience member could ask for — except for a place to sleep and shower.

It’s something I mention here only because I so often feel, after reviewing the wealth and diversity of arts offerings at the Herberger, that I might as well just live there. That way I could just pop in for everything on their calendar with ease.

Check out this sampling of April through July productions and you might just find yourself fighting me for that imaginary top bunk. I’ve noted them by genre here, but you’ll find a complete listing by date on the Herberger Theater Center website.

Circle Mirror Transformation is on my must-see list

Upcoming theater offerings include “Lost in Yonkers” presented by Arizona Theatre Company (through April 10), “Circle Mirror Transformation” presented by Actors Theatre (April 22-May 8), and “The Mystery of Irma Vep” presented by Arizona Theatre Company (May 5-22).

Families will be especially eager to learn that Valley Youth Theatre is closing its 2011-2012 season at the Herberger Theater Center with a performance of the classical musical “Annie” — a show that’s caused many a child to fall in love with musical theater and the performing arts. “Annie” opens June 10 and runs through June 26. I wonder if agented dogs are already jockeying for audition slots for the role of the lovable mutt “Sandy.”

Valley Youth Theatre presents theater the whole family can enjoy

In the dance department, there’s “Coppelia,” presented by the Yen-Li Chen Ballet School of Chandler. “Coppelia” has special appeal for children (and adults who appreciate the inherent irony in love and life). It’s a comical tale of an inventor who brings a large doll to life. Apparently the doll is so lifelike that the village hunk attempts to court her, while a real woman resorts to creative means to compete for his affections.

Center Dance Ensemble, the resident modern dance company of the Herberger Theater Center, presents “American Voices” April 23. It’s a celebration of National Poetry Month featuring new choreography set to the words of America’s great poets. I’m guessing no tweets have made the cut, but perhaps I shouldn’t rush to judgement.

Center Dance Ensemble couples dance with poetry

“American Voices” is also being performed at the Herberger Theater Center April 21 and 22 as part of the venue’s “Lunch Time Theater” series — which includes “Chicken Soup for Lunch” and “Wacky, Wickedly Wonderful Women” (both in June) as well.

The Ballet Academy of Arizona presents a narrated performance of “Peter Pan” featuring children ages 3-17 on May 15.

Scottsdale Ballet Foundation presents “An Evening of Ballet” at the Herberger Theater Center May 21 and 22 — featuring students from the Scottsdale School of Ballet performing “The Ballet Class,” “The Enchanted Room,” and “Paquita.”

An Evening of Ballet features the Scottsdale School of Ballet

Fans of improvisational theater can enjoy talent from around the country performing at the 10th annual “Phoenix Improv Festival” April 14-16. The festival opens Thursday night with an “AZ Showcase” featuring local talent from “Chaos Comedy” to “Valley Fever.”

A Saturday 4:30pm event described as “family friendly” includes performances by “EXiT 185,” “Grandma Hates Technology,” “Jester’Z,” and “Bare.” Mature audiences can watch for the “Light Rail Pirates” and “Dr. God” on Friday, and “Men in Shirts” and “Mail Order Bride” on Saturday. Performers from “Second City” in Chicago will also be in the house.

The Phoenix Improv Festival includes several family-friendly offerings

Those of you eager to experience the work of smaller or less traditional theater companies have plenty of choices at the Herberger Theater Center. Improbable Theatre Company performs “Funny As A Crutch” (short plays exploring the concept of disability with humor and sensitivity) May 3-12.

“The Return of…Jackie Fontaine’s Cavalcade of Celebrities, Super Spotlight Salute to the Troops” is being presented at the Herberger Theater Center by iTheatre Collaborative May 6-21. Other May productions include “It’s…Nothing Serious” presented by Class 6 Theatre.

Irma Vep better stay away from my bunny slippers!

Friendly People Productions presents “The Family Tree” June 21-30 at the Herberger Theater Center, and Theatre Artists Studio presents “With Friends Like These” July 12-21.

You can see why camping out at the Herberger Theater Center sounds so inviting. Knowing it’s also home to a lovely art gallery, swanky lounge and beautiful outdoor plaza only makes me love it more. If you see a woman holding a sleeping bag standing in bunny slippers near the box office one evening, don’t be alarmed. It’s probably just me asking whether my room is ready.

— Lynn

Coming up: Children’s dreams versus parents’ expectations


Dance detours

Dance delivers a delightful detour from dull or dreary days

We all need a little detour from daily life now and then — and dance can be a joyous distraction. Consider getting away from it all for a bit during the next several weeks as Valley dance companies and performing arts venues present all sorts of delightful dance events.

Ballet Arizona performs “Modern Masters” March 24-27 at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix. It features “Polyphonia” (Christopher Wheeldon), “Symphonie Classique” (Ib Andersen) and “Off Screen” (Alejandro Cerrudo). The latter is a Ballet Arizona premiere, and the Andersen work a world premiere.

Ballet Arizona describes “Polyphonia” as “a moody piece that infuses classic ballet steps with modern concepts” and notes that “Symphonie Classique” is Andersen’s first classical or “Tutu” ballet, which focuses on “the form and technique” of its dancers. “Off Screen” explores the emotions music evokes in movie goers — including “fear, drama, love and comedy.”

The Mark Morris Dance Group & Music Ensemble performs April 5 & 6 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — which notes that “Mark Morris has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and Baryshnikov and choreographed more than 100 works for American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and his own group of dancers.”

Their Scottsdale performance features “Italian Concerto” with music by Bach, as well as “Candleflowerdance” with music by Stravinsky — plus “Silouettes” (“a competitive and playful duet”), “Excursions” (music by Samuel Barber) and “Grand Duo” (“a tribal group piece inspired by Lou Harrison’s thrilling score”).

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange performs “The Matter of Origins” April 11 at ASU Gammage in Tempe. Lerman, a recipient of the MacArthur “genius” fellowship, will be leaving the company at the end of June to pursue independent projects — though she will continue her involvement as “Choreographer Emeritus” of the renamed “Dance Exchange.”

“The Matter of Origins” — which is being presented as part of the ongoing  “ASU Origins Project” — is described as “a performance, a conversation, a floor show, a quiz show and a chance to meet big minds.” Pre- and post-show activities are being held in the ASU Gammage lobby. Those who attend the “Phoenix Fringe Festival” can save $10 on “The Matter of Origins” by using the code “FRINGE.”

Center Dance Ensemble, the resident modern dance company of the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix, performs “American Voices” twice on April 23 — and during April 20 & 21 “Herberger Lunch Time Theater” events.

“American Voices” is Center Dance Ensemble’s “annual celebration of National Poetry Month with new choreography to the words of America’s greatest poets.” National Poetry Month (held each April) was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Its goals include bringing “poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways.”

Remember too, that spring recitals for various dance schools in the Valley are right around the corner. Buy tickets early and often if you’re keen on supporting the next generation of dancers. It’d be a shame to need a detour down the road only to discover they’ve all disappeared.

— Lynn

Note: If students from your dance company or school are performing a spring recital you’d like to share with our readers, please comment below to let them know. And feel free to send rehearsal photos to rakstagemom@gmail.com for possible inclusion in an upcoming post (please include name of photographer if available).

Coming up: Dance companies announce new seasons, Valley theater companies hold spring fundraisers, Art books for kids

Art for lunch?

There’s plenty of news about Arizona nightlife. But what of daytime arts offerings? Several Valley venues offer morning or afternoon performance art.

The ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale offers several daytime options.

“Coffee at Kerr” is an informal series of free performances and discussions with guest artists. Patrons are encouraged to bring a can of food or sealed personal item for the Vista Del Camino Food Bank. The next performance (Jan 5, 2011) features an “Introduction to Turandot” presented by Arizona Opera.

ASU Kerr co-presents “Tuesday Morning Music Concerts” with the ASU School of Music. The free concerts feature performances and commentary by  ASU faculty and graduate students. The ASU Student Jazz Combo performs Dec 7.

“Monday Morning Musicale” performances at ASU Kerr feature intimate chamber music — and are also free of charge. The next event takes place Dec 6.

The Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix has a “Lunch Time Theatre” program that showcases the work of young, emerging theater companies.

Each one-act play lasts 30-45 minutes — and patrons are free to bring their own lunch or pre-order a box lunch through the Herberger’s caterer.

In most cases, shows open their run with a Monday night preview with tickets at a reduced price (or free for actors who bring resume and headshot).

The next show, a seasonal cabaret titled “A Dreamers Holiday,” is sold out — so don’t delay if you’d like to see the first 2011 offering. It’s a one woman play about the first African American female correspondent to receive White House credentials.

Mesa Arts Center presents an “Out to Lunch Concert Series” and invites patrons to bring their own lunches to enjoy during these outdoor performances.

December concerts include jazz/pop by Kirsten (Dec 9) and jazz by Nuance Jazz Trio (Dec 16).

Phoenix Art Museum hosts film and musical performances, which are free or included with museum admission (depending on the event).

December films include an art world documentary titled “The Art of the Steal” and an Italian comedy titled “Swept Away” (in Italian, with English subtitles).

The Phoenix Art Museum presents the film “Waste Land” (English and Portugese with English subtitles) on Jan 16, and a “Music Inspiring Vision” performance on Jan 29 (featuring the photography of Brett Weston and the music of Bach).

These performances are typically free or very affordable, and feature artists you might not otherwise get to enjoy.

Consider daytime art offerings next time you’re meeting a friend for lunch, looking for something unique to enjoy with co-workers, needing a little time away from children during the day or just looking for ways to support some of our newer or smaller arts organizations.

— Lynn

Note: Please confirm all event details before attending — including date, time, location, ticketing policy, pricing, parking and such.

Coming up: Symphony in the schools; Christmas, cacti and candles