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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
Coming up: Children’s dreams versus parents’ expectations