Tag Archives: silent auction

“Mad Men” in Scottsdale?

Cast members of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" -- which is being performed through May 12 at Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale

Feeling snazzy? Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale might have a “snazziest dresser” award with your name on it. Seems they’re doing a special “Mad Men” promo this Fri, April 27, complete with after-party where they’ll be recognizing the person whose ’60s business attire best rocks the “Mad Men” vibe of AMC’s hit TV series. No martinis or cigarettes required.

Jimmy Shoffman as J. Pierrepont Finch and Mallory Briancesco as Rosemary in DST's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"

Just head to the box office in your best “Mad Men” garb come Friday night and get a ticket to that evening’s performance of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” — for just $15. Then stay for the post-show party to strut your ’60s stuff. I sometimes wish I’d been a young advertising exec in NYC, so any chance to play ad agency dress up is a good thing.

Desert Stages Theatre is performing “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” through May 12, which is happy news for those of us who can’t get to NYC to see the show on Broadway — where my daughter Lizabeth has already seen both Daniel Radcliffe and Darren Criss rock the role of J. Pierrepont Finch.

Jimmy Shoffman portrays Finch, a man whose rise from mailroom to executive status wreaks havoc on his moral compass and office love interest, in the Desert Stages Theatre production. His current counterpart on Broadway is Nick Jonas — so I suspect it’s just a matter of time before Lizabeth spends a third evening enjoying the show.

Cast of "Altar Boyz" at Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale

On another stage, Desert Stages Theatre is presenting “Altar Boyz” — a musical that imagines the final concert of five youth from Ohio hoping their Christian boy band can make it big in NYC.

Shows in the works for DST include “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Rent.” Also two versions of “The Odd Couple” — one with a male cast, with a female cast — which’ll be performed on alternating weekends.

In the meantime, they’ll hold their annual gala on Sat, May 5. The “Fiesta Fling” — taking place at the Scottsdale Hilton — features dinner, drinks, entertainment and a silent auction perfectly timed for folks eager to find Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. When you’ve got to shop, it’s nice to support a local arts organization in the process.

— Lynn

Note: Desert Stages Theatre offers theater classes and summer camps for youth — click here to learn more.

Coming up: Once upon a playwright, Images in motion

Update: Fans of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” can also see the musical during a 2012-2013 Greasepaint Youtheatre season that also includes “13,” “Sweeney Todd School Edition,” “Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.” and “Dear Edwina.” Click here for details. 5/1/12

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Between Oscars and Tonys

Get your fancy on for this year's Governor's Arts Awards, taking place March 27 at the lovely Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix

Those of you needing a bit of an awards show fix between the Oscars and the Tony Awards have a friend is Governor Jan Brewer, who’ll be hosting an annual awards event celebrating some of the best in Arizona arts and culture.

More than 80 nominations were submitted from 18 Arizona communities in six categories for the 31st annual Governor’s Arts Awards — being presented Tues, March 27 at the Herberger Theater Center.

The celebration begins at 5pm with a reception — complete with silent auction.  Honorees will be recognized at the “Oscar-style ceremony” at 7pm. An 8pm dessert reception follows. Yum.

The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

Since 1981, 144 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards.

Nominees by category are noted below, along with nominee hometowns.

Arts in Education ~ Organization

Arizona School for Arts, Phoenix; Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix; EPIK Dance Company, Phoenix; Grand Canyon Guitar Society, Flagstaff; Lovena Ohl Foundation, Scottsdale; Marshall Magnet Elementary School, Flagstaff; Morristown Elementary School, Morristown; Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix; Prescott College Visual Arts Program, Prescott; Scottsdale Artists School, Scottsdale; Sedona Arts Center, Sedona; Sonoran Glass Art Academy, Tucson; Southwest Shakespeare Company, Mesa; Superstition Review, Mesa; The Rise Project, Phoenix; UApresents, Tucson; Walnut Canyon Press, Scottsdale; West Valley Arts Council, Surprise.

Business

Adelante Healthcare, Phoenix; DMB Associates, Inc., Buckeye; General Growth Properties, Tucson; J.P. Morgan Chase, Phoenix; Southwest Ambulance, Mesa.

Community

Anthology, Mesa; Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, Prescott; Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg; Flagstaff City- Coconino County, Flagstaff; KXCI Community Radio, Tucson; New Carpa Theater Company, Phoenix; Public Art Program, Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Phoenix; United Cerebral Palsy of Arizona; University of Arizona Poetry Center, Tucson; Young Arts Arizona LTD, Phoenix.

Individual

Robert Breunig, Ph.D., Flagstaff; Nancy DeStefani, Mesa; Jody Drake, Prescott; Rebecca Dyer, Mesa; Linda Essig, Phoenix; Carmen de Novais Guerrero, Mesa; Kathy Hotchner, Scottsdale; Steve Jennings, Scottsdale; Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, Tempe; Dr. Larry Lang, Tucson; Amanda Kate Marques, Tucson; Fletcher McCusker, Tucson; Bill & Merry Nebeker, Prescott; Judy Phillips, Yuma; Julie Sasse, Tucson; Charles Spillar, Tucson; Aimee Stewart, Chandler; Nancy Wolter, Gilbert.

Artist

Charles Bruffy, Phoenix; Warren Cohen, Cave Creek; Bob Cooper, Phoenix; James L. Covarrubias, Tempe; Persephone Dimson, Scottsdale; Lawrence Enyart, FAIA, Phoenix; Eugene Grisby, Phoenix; Kristine Kollasch, Phoenix; William LeGoullon, Scottsdale; Gertrude Lopez, Phoenix; Patsy Lowery,
Phoenix; John Massaro, Phoenix; Ed Mell, Phoenix; Antonio Pasos, Phoenix; Brad Richter, Tucson; Jared Sakren, Scottsdale; Synde Heather Schinkel, Scottsdale; Louise Stidham Photography, Gilbert; Matthew Wiener, Phoenix.

Arts in Education ~ Individual

Linda Ahearn, Toscana Gallery, Tucson; Annica Benning, Walnut Canyon Press, Scottsdale; Mariana Carreras, Pima Community College, Tucson;.William Eaton, Roberto-Venn School of Luthery, Phoenix; Evelyn Holbrook, Desert Foothills Community Theatre, Cave Creek; Janet Klein, Kyrene District Art Educator, Tempe; Beth Lesard, Ph.D., Tempe; Barbara Nueske-Perez, Tesseract School, Phoenix; Claude Pensis, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix; Lesa Schuur, L. Thomas Heck Middle School, Avondale; Debra K. Stevens, Childsplay, Tempe.

The seventh annual Shelley Award also will be presented to an Arizona individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona. The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Ticket prices are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for non-members. Sponsorships are available. Recipients, by the way, are selected by an independent panel. But, duh. They’re all winners — as are those of us who reap the rewards of their hard work and dedication.

For information or reservations, visit www.governorsartsawards.org.

— Lynn

Coming up: Awards for young artists

Thespian crossing

The streets of Phoenix are overrun each fall by high school students who look like they just inherited the world’s largest candy store. Dressed in colorful garb, they chatter with wide-eyed excitement — thrilled to be out of the classroom and into the spotlight of Arizona’s Thespian Festival.

These Santa Rita High School students enjoyed the thespian marketplace on Friday

A teacher from Higley High School who had 28 teens in tow was the first to cross my path, pointing me to the right part of the massive Phoenix Convention Center — where I soon encountered all sorts of thespians dressed for the day’s “jungle theme.”

Students from Desert View High School doing the jungle theme proud

Linda Phillips, state director for the Arizona Thespians, gave me a warm welcome — then set me up with a nametag and such before I headed out to explore the exhibitor area.

These students from Notre Dame Preparatory High School rocked safari gear and dialect

I hit the silent auction area first, eager to see this year’s offerings — which include amazing autographed items (Playbills, posters and such), gift baskets and more. Proceeds benefit student scholarships and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Samples of amazing silent auction items at this year's Arizona Thespian Festival

Soon I was trading Shakepearean insults with a charming fellow from Dramatic Publishing, and talking with a lovely woman about some of their newer offerings — including “The Bully Plays.” I bought a couple of things and made my way to several vendor tables.

I said hello to the fine folks from Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, talked with Amanda Melby of Verve Studios about their relocation from downtown Phoenix to the Scottsdale Airpark, and chatted with a gentleman from Jester’Z Improv Comedy in Scottsdale.

Valley Youth Theatre was there to share news of their many programs and shows

Next I strolled through a hallway running past several rooms full of students taking classes in everything from singing for actors to theater lighting. A class titled “No Fear Ballroom Dancing” seemed the clear favorite Friday morning, with well over 100 students taking part.

This Friday morning ballroom dancing workshop was packed

More thespians crossed my path after workshops let out for lunch, and the convention center seemed a sea of t-shirts — all bearing the names of shows the students recently performed, from “The Yellow Boat” to “The Elephant Man.”

Sudents from Cienega High School in Vail gathered during lunch on Friday

Watch for future posts featuring thespian tales from this year’s festival. And watch as well for thespians crossing the road. They bring an amazing energy to the streets of downtown Phoenix, and I can’t wait for them to cross my path again as they start making their way to stages in Arizona and beyond.

— Lynn

Note: If I snapped your picture but didn’t include it here, there’s a good chance you’ll see it in a future post — so stay tuned for more thespian tales.

Coming up: Spotlight on spring musicals

Tea times three!

It’s been a while since I did the tea party thing with my children, who now range in age from 18 to 22. But recently I’ve learned of three tea parties that almost leave me wishing I could turn them very tiny again.

The Ballet Academy of Arizona is holding their “Fairy Godmother’s Tea Party” Sun, Sept 25 from 3-5pm in the Camelback Ballroom at the Phoenician Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. It features a high tea (with menus for children and adults), singing, dancing and a silent auction.

Also an appearance by the fairy godmother and a performance by “Jolly Roger” the magician, who’s entertained at several parties my own children once attended.

Ballet Etudes holds their Nutcracker Sweet Tea in November

Yet another charming tea takes place this fall as Ballet Etudes presents its “Nutcracker Sweet Tea” both Sat, Nov 12 (at 10am and 11:30am) at the Wright House Reception Hall in Mesa and Sat, Nov 19 (at 11am) at the Johnson Ranch Golf Course in Queen Creek.

The “Nutcracker Sweet Tea” invites those who attend to explore the “Land of Sweets,” enjoy a light luncheon buffet, decorate their own cookies and listen in on storytime. They’ll also experience a Ballet Etudes performance.

Scottsdale Ballet Foundation presents their “Nutcracker Sweets Tea” Sun, Dec 4 from 11:30am-2pm at the Phoenix Country Club ballroom.

Another delightful dance event takes place Sun, Sept 18 at 1pm. Storybook Ballet, the student ballet company of Dance Theater West in Phoenix, and children from the Professional Artist Series program at Free Arts of Arizona present “Wonderland” at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Free Arts of Arizona is dedicated to healing abused and homeless children through artistic expression, and Dance Theater West is one of many community partners who join them on the journey. RSVPs for this free event are requested by Wed, Sept 14 (602-258-8100 or info@freeartsaz.org).

Like many parents, I spend far too much time chasing espresso when I should be sipping tea instead. How lovely that Valley arts organizations give us opportunities to slow down and really linger over time with our little ones, who don’t stay little for long.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about these family-friendly tea parties at www.balletacademyofarizona.org, www.balletetudes.net and www.scottsdaleballetfoundation.org. Visit Dance Theater West at www.dancetheaterwest.com and Free Arts of Arizona at www.freeartsaz.org. Local resorts like The Ritz-Carlton, The Phoenician, and The Arizona Biltmore offer high tea. Check with Girly Girlz for girl-friendly tea parties (www.girly-girlz.com).

Coming up: Celebrating holidays arts and culture style

Film takes flight

Arizona Audubon shares tales of Pale Male at this year's Nature Film Festival in Scottsdale

I’ve got a serious case of bird envy. Turns out there’s a Red-tailed Hawk who thinks he’s got his own Fifth Avenue penthouse in NYC.

I’d be lucky to catch a cab on Fifth Avenue, let alone perch there long enough to ogle the passersby.

The bird, dubbed “Pale Male,” started “raising his young atop a Fifth Avenue high-rise” during the 1990s. Apparently it wasn’t enough for “Pale Male” to garner the attention of urban “birdwatchers, movie stars, poets, children, dogs, reporters and celebrities.”

He’s flying high on the prospect of fame, having already starred in one movie. Naturally it’s called “Pale Male.” But come Wed, June 15, he’ll be spotted near a Scottsdale high-rise as “The Legend of Pale Male” is screened at Harkins Camelview 5 Theatre — where I enjoyed seeing “The Beaver” with my daughter Lizabeth Monday afternoon.

The latest tale of “Pale Male” is one of two films being shown during Audubon Arizona’s “9th Annual Nature Film Festival & Silent Auction.” Don’t expect “Pale Male” to coast in for the event. He doesn’t do personal appearances.

Your family can read about Pale Male before enjoying the Nature Film Festival together

I wonder how he feels about sharing top billing with a bunch of hummingbirds. Their film, titled “Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air,” will also be shown that evening.

Sounds like a fun way to introduce kids to the magic of film festivals — especially if you couple the evening with reading about “Pale Male” or birds of other feathers.

The Audubon Arizona event kicks off at 5:30pm with a “picnic supper” and silent auction. Organizers promise “one-of-a-kind” items including “unique art, jewelry, restaurant certificates, sporting and cultural events.” Also “travel-themed packages, including local resort stay-cations and a thrilling African safari!” Films start at 7pm.

It’ll be quite a step up for me, since most of my animal time involves watching nature shows on PBS. Lately I’ve had great fun getting to know more about birds featured in the BBC “Wild Australasia” and “Wild Caribbean” series. (I remember my mom doing the same thing when she was my age.)

Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air from the PBS Nature series will also be shown

Seating for the film festival is limited, and RSVPs for advance admission are due no later than June 12.

Tickets are just $25 in advance and $30 at the door (if space is still available) — and include the two bird films, a picnic supper, popcorn and soda.

You can pop for a VIP ticket if you’d like to enjoy reserved seating and express auction check-out. VIP tickets are $100, and include a $75 donation to Audubon Arizona.

General admission and VIP tickets can be purchased through Valerie Ramos at 602-468-6470, ext. 103 or vramos@audubon.org. They’ll be held for you at the door. Unless, of course, part of the “Pale Male” entourage sweeps down to snatch them up for nesting material.

— Lynn

Note: Lizabeth and I both enjoyed “The Beaver,” but wouldn’t recommend it for children. It’s solid storytelling with fine acting and direction. Those who find its premise absurd don’t know the power of depression. Watch the credits carefully for a movie-related website with mental health resources.

Coming up: Arizona arts with a Tony Awards® twist?

The many faces of Childsplay

I’ll be donning my party clothes Friday night to join the fine folks of Childsplay for their “Childsplay Celebrates Its Greatest Hits Gala,” which kicks off at 6pm at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.

Memories of my last Childsplay shindig are still fresh. And fabulous. Think all the energy and fun of a Childsplay production for children translated into the realm of grown-ups — but with no less imagination and wonder.

Lillian Castillo with Childsplay associate artist D. Scott Withers, who appeared in HAIRSPRAY with Phoenix Theatre late last year (Photo: Laura Durant)

Lillian Castillo (L) and D. Scott Withers in a Phoenix Theatre photo by Laura Durant

I’ve had Childsplay on the brain lately because it seems that everywhere I turn I discover another Childsplay artist lending his or her talents to additional creative enterprises — from television commercials to musical theater productions in other parts of the country.

D. Scott Withers, who performed the role of “Edna Turnblad” in this season’s Phoenix Theatre production of “Hairspray,” has been reprising the role with Arkansas Repertory Theatre (along with Lillian Castillo, who plays “Tracy Turnblad”) in a production that runs through May 8.

Jon Gentry (L) and D. Scott Withers perform in a Childsplay production of A Year With Frog and Toad (Photo: Heather Hill)

Allison Couture, whose husband recently left the touring production of “Billy Elliot The Musical” to accept a role in “Jersey Boys” on Broadway, worked for a time with the children in the “Billy Elliot” cast. Both are now NYC-bound.

Israel Jimenez, who teaches at Arizona School for the Arts, is known to many as “the face of SRP.” You’ll see his mug in commercials and on billboards throughout the Valley. Jimenez teaches ballroom dance at a local Fred Astaire Dance Studio (swoon) and is readying to direct “Frida” for Teatro Bravo.

Kim Manning is currently performing the role of “Liliane La Fleur” in the musical “Nine” at Phoenix Theatre, which you can enjoy through May 8.

Molly Lajoie Plutnicki teaches dance at Mesa Arts Academy and also keeps busy choreographing various theater productions. She’s both director and choreographer for Greasepaint Youtheatre’s “Schoolhouse Rock,” opening Fri, May 6 at Stagebrush Theatre in Scottsdale.

Yolanda London in a Black Theatre Troupe photo by Laura Durant

Yolanda London is rehearsing for “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” a one-woman show about the life of singer Billie Holiday that Black Theatre Troupe of Phoenix opens May 13.

Todd Hulet recently staged a production of his original musical titled “The Wheels on the Bus” for Ovation! Musical Theatre Bainbridge in Washington.

Toby Yatso teaches at Arizona School for the Arts, and is nearly impossible to keep up with when it comes to acting, directing and other theater gigs throughout the Valley.

Yolanda London performs in the Childsplay production of Tomato Plant Girl (Photo: Heather Hill)

My soon to be 18-year-old daughter Lizabeth has trained with the talented artists of Childsplay for at least half her lifetime. She’s taken classes, attended summer camps, participated in the Childsplay conservatory program and more.

Childsplay has given her extraordinary opportunities to study with several of the Valley’s very finest theater talents — those noted above and many others. 

As we attend the “Childsplay Celebrates” gala Friday night, I’ll be celebrating not only the arts in education programs that’ll be funded with event proceeds, but the many gifts this theater company has bestowed on us.

— Lynn

Note: Click here  for “Childsplay Celebrates Its Greatest Hits Gala” event and ticketing information. The evening features cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, dinner and entertainment. (Bring your teacher, birthday and holiday gift lists to snag all sorts of fun finds at the auction.) Click here for a full roster of Childsplay company and staff (including associate artists, members of the acting company, teaching artists and others).

Coming: Valley museums celebrate “International Museum Day” with special events and discounts

Call for children’s artwork: I’m looking for photos, drawings, paintings and such with a garden theme for Friday’s post celebrating “National Public Gardens Day.” To submit your child’s work for possible use in the garden post, please send it to me at rakstagemom@gmail.com no later than 5pm Thurs, May 5 (include your child’s first name, age, city and your contact info too). Thanks!

Greasepaint musings

A jar of theatrical greasepaint created by Ross (Photo: http://www.cosmeticsandskin.com)

In times past, the term “greasepaint” referred to a specific type of stage make-up. I’m told it was a lard-based improvement of sorts over lead-based make-up once worn by theater folk.

Though today’s performers have better options, the term is still used by some to harken back with nostalgia to the early days of on-stage acting. And it was the name chosen back in 1984, when a new youth theater was formed in Scottsdale.

I was a newlywed at that point, still five years away from having my first child. So I didn’t experience my first Greasepaint Scottsdale Youtheatre performance until many years later.

I came across some old Greasepaint programs the other day, including one for an April 2000 performance of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” And another for an April 1999 performance of “Pinocchio.”

I spotted a familiar name in the “Pinocchio” cast list — Jennifer Trimble (performing the role of “Bella”). Her bio reads like this: “Jennifer is a 7-year-old 2nd grader at Desert View Learning Center. She studies dance and the piano, and is a member of the Phoenix Girls Chorus.”

The bio also notes her performance earlier that season in “Hansel and Gretel” with Greasepaint — which conjures memories of putting icing on gingerbread cookies with young cast members in the green room, spray painting angel wings with glow-in-the-dark colors, and adjusting Jennifer’s peasant blouse and cotton floral skirt.

I got to looking for other names too — like Katie Hart, Tyler Smalley and Amanda Glenn — knowing the three Greasepaint alumni will soon be joining current Greasepaint performers on stage at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center.

Sure enough, Smalley was there — along with siblings Krysten and Tanner. Back then, Tyler was a 12-year-old home-schooling 7th grader studying dance. He was already represented by the Ford/Robert Black Agency and had several Valley Youth Theatre and Greasepaint shows among his list of credits.

Tubes of greasepaint make-up from Max Factor (Photo: http://www.cosmeticsandskin.com)

There are plenty of reasons to attend the April 16 “Greasepaint for Tomorrow” event taking place this Saturday night at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale. Catching up with young adults who’ve acted with Greasepaint in years past should be especially fun.

“Greasepaint for Tomorrow” — scheduled from 6pm to 10 pm — features a reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres, a live performance titled “Broadway Heroes & Villains” directed by Kelli James, a silent auction and more.

“Broadway Heroes & Villains” includes selections from diverse musicals including “13,” “Billy Elliot,” “Hairspray,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Les Miserables,” “Mamma Mia,” “Spring Awakening,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Wicked.”

Producing director Maureen Dias-Watson, who heads the theater company now known as Greasepaint Youtheatre, promises more than 70 items for silent auction shoppers — including trips, gift certificates, theater tickets and more.

Think Fleming’s and Neiman Marcus. Sailing and skiing. Athlete and rock star memorabilia. Jewelry and art. Clever Mother’s Day and Father’s Day shoppers take note — because silent auctions present opportunities to snag good deals on unique fare. (The time for finding year-end teacher gifts is fast approaching too.)

You can learn more about Saturday’s “Greasepaint Youtheatre” fundraiser by visiting www.greasepaint.org — where you’ll also find information on their next show, an upcoming master class and summer theater camps for kids.

Folks who attend “Greasepaint for Tomorrow” will want to hang on to their programs — because you never know when the children and teens performing today on local stages might be listed down the road in programs from Broadway to London’s West End and beyond.

— Lynn

Note: To learn more about the history and uses of greasepaint, as well as other forms of cosmetics, visit www.cosmeticsandskin.com. The above photos are just a few of those featured on this website.

Coming up: “Jersey” girls, Pinky’s picks