Tag Archives: Tempe Center for the Arts

Feelin’ jazzy

The Musical Instrument Museum recently opened this exhibit of jazz instruments

Folks who favor feelin’ jazzy can head over to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix to enjoy a new exhibit featuring all things jazz. Located in the museum’s United States/Canada gallery, the exhibit features “some of jazz history’s most noteworthy instruments.” I’m told its one of the largest genre exhibits in the museum.

The new jazz exhibit includes approximately 20 instruments, many played by jazz greats. Also original, unreleased performance footage of Stanley Turrentine, Herbie Mann, Spyro Gyra, and others from Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. As a Smithsonian affiliate, the MIM was able to collaborate with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to display several loaned objects that’ll be on view through 2014.

Loaned objects featured in the new MIM exhibit include a cornet associated with Louis Armstrong, a clarinet played by Benny Goodman, a trumpet played by Harry James, a clarinet played by Artie Shaw and a trombone played by J. J. Johnson. Also a trumpet mouthpiece and mute used by Miles Davis, a guitar played by Charlie Christian, a drum set played by Lewis Nash and a guitar played by Pat Metheny.

Mesa Arts Center is premiering a new project by Metheny called the Pat Metheny Unity Band, noting that it’ll “feature some of the most sought after young musicians on the pop and jazz scene today.” Think Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez and Ben Williams — who’ll perform at MAC with Metheny on Sat, Sept. 29.

Early Jazz exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

A spin through the MIM makes for fun Father’s Day fare, so consider treating dad to an afternoon of jazz if that’s his vibe. While you’re there, buy him a lovely brunch at the MIM Café — and treat him to something jazz-inspired from the MIM Museum Store. Remember too that the MIM’s Music Theater presents concerts featuring jazz and other musical stylings.

While you’re exploring all things jazz, check out jazz offerings at other Valley venues — including those noted below:

  • Tempe Center for the Arts is home to the Lakeshore Jazz Series. Upcoming concerts include Lorraine Feather and Shelly Berg (Sept. 28), Turtle Island Quartet and Tierney Sutton (Oct. 27), and Denise Donatelli (Nov. 16).
  • Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts features several jazz concerts during its 2012-13 season — including Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio (Nov. 23), Chick Corea and Gary Burton (Jan. 18), the John Pizzarelli Quartet (Feb. 14), and McCoy Tyner and his quartet with special guest Joe Lovano (May 4).

Saxophone played by Illinois Jacquet, creator of Texas tenor style

Finally, another option for enjoying all things jazz on Father’s Day — the fourth annual “Father’s Day Big Band Dance” presented by Jazz in AZ. The event takes place Sun, June 17 from 3-7pm at The Scottsdale Plaze Resort — and features Dennis Rowland and the Extreme Decibel Big Band. Event proceeds benefit The Nash, a new Jazz in AZ nonprofit education and performance center located in downtown Phoenix.

Check with Jazz in AZ for additional jazz offerings throughout the state. Their website features links to folks specializing in jazz education, jazz for youth and more. And watch for jazz concerts at your local performing arts venues, schools and colleges. You don’t have to play jazz to dig it.

— Lynn

Coming up: Prescott welcomes bluegrass festival, Art meets antiques

Advertisements

Dance recital roundup

In dance world, December conjures images of “The Nutcracker.” But June is the month for dance recitals, and we’ve got plenty of them here in the Valley. If you’re looking for dance lessons for your child, there’s much to learn from attending the recitals of various dance studios.

Recitals are windows into what studios value. Is the atmosphere warm and welcoming? Is the studio teaching styles of dance your child enjoys? Do event materials convey professionalism? Do participating students and those who teach them demonstrate a love for dance?

Recitals can help you get a feel for which studios might be the best fit for your family. Pick some studios with a compatible vibe and single them out for more study. Explore their websites. Tour their studios. Talk with their directors. You’ll soon get a read on what feels best for your child.

Here’s a sampling of dance recitals in the Phoenix metro area, including two taking place this evening…

All About Dance presents “The Art of Dance” Thurs, May 31 at 6pm. Tempe Center for the Arts. $12-$15. www.allaboutdance-az.com.

Ballet Etudes School of Dance presents “Recital 2012” Thurs, May 31 at 7pm. Mesa Arts Center. $11. www.balletetudes.net.

Dance Studio 111 presents “The Story” Fri, June 1 and Sat, June 2 at 7pm. Chandler Center for the Arts. $18-$30. www.dancestudio111.com.

The School of Ballet Arizona presents “Spring Performance 2012” Sun, June 3 at 7pm. Symphony Hall in Phoenix. $34-$74.  www.balletaz.org.

Paula Carr Dance Academy presents “Road Trip Across America!” Sat, June 9 at 3:30pm. Mesa Arts Center. $15. www.pcda.info.

Plumb Performing Arts Center presents “Move 2012” Sat, June 9 at 10am, 2pm and 6pm. Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale. www.plumbperformingartscenter.com.

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy and Epik Dance present “Generation Pop” Sat, June 9 at 4pm. Mesa Arts Center. $15-$17. www.studio3arts.com and www.epikdanceco.org.

Dance West presents “Dancin’ in the Streets” Sun, June 10 at 4pm. Chandler Center to the Arts. $10-$16. www.tempedancewest.com.

Marilyn Bostic’s Ballet Centre presents “Marilyn Bostic’s Dance Centre Recital” Thurs, June 14 at 7pm. Chandler Center for the Arts. $16. balletcentre.tripod.com.

Classic Image Dance Co. presents “Greatest Hits Vol. 2” Fri, June 15 at 7pm. Mesa Arts Center. $20-$28. www.classicimagedance.com.

Dance Connection presents “The Dance Awards 2012” Sat, June 16 at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. Mesa Arts Center. www.danceconnectionaz.com.

Tempe Dance Academy presents “Dancing Through the Years: Dance Factory” Sat, June 16 at 2pm. $10-$16. Chandler Center for the Arts. www.tempedance.com.

Tempe Dance Academy presents “Dance Recital” Sat, June 16 at 7pm. Chandler Center for the Arts. $10-$16. www.tempedance.com.

Wagner Dance & Music presents “Toy Box” Sat, June 23 at 7pm. $14-$16. Chandler Center for the Arts. www.wagnerdanceandmusic.com.

Attending dance recitals is an excellent way to support both young artists and the professionals who teach them. After weeks and months of learning and rehearsing recital pieces, young dancers appreciate having large, supportive audiences. So go. Applaud generously. And make a child’s day.

— Lynn

Note: If you’ve got a dance recital in the Phoenix metro area that’s not listed here, please comment below to let our readers know. Always check event details before attending.

Coming up: The CW network premieres its six-week “Breaking Pointe” series

New plays for young audiences

Write Now recently issued the call for new plays for young audiences

Folks in the field of playwriting for youth are plenty familiar with the Bonderman Playwriting Festival for Youth, first conceived by founder Dorothy Webb in 1983. After Webb announced her retirement last year, Indiana Repertory Theatre (home of the Bonderman Festival since the mid-’90s) sought a new partner to help reimagine the festival.

Last May IRT and Childsplay met to begin work on transforming the Bonderman Festival into Write Now — a “biennial national competition and process-focused workshop” supporting the work of both emerging and established playwrights. Their collaboration is funded in part by a $100,000 award from the NYC-based Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The first Write Now gathering takes place March 14-17, 2013 in Tempe. The second takes place in Indianapolis during 2015.

IRT and Childsplay are collaborating to “advocate for playwrights and promote the development of new plays for young audiences.” Playwrights from across the country have until July 31 to submit their scripts for K-12 audiences to Write Now. Playwrights must be at least 18 years old when they submit their work, and only one submission per playwright will be accepted. Musicals will not be accepted for the 2013 contest.

At least four scripts will be selected by a panel of peers to participate in the full workshop process, which includes “a week on site at Childsplay with a development team, followed by a reading of the script at the Write Now gathering.” Semi-finalists will be invited to read excerpts of their scripts. Winners will be contacted in December.

Write Now gatherings are designed to engage playwrights, directors, actors, theater artists and others in the play development process. Producers, educators, students and theater practioners with a passion for new plays are invited to attend. The event features rehearsed readings of all finalist plays, excerpts of semi-finalist plays and an “experiential” artistic keynote.

Also “stimulating conversations about new pactices in the development of work for young audiences” and “a formal discussion of the development of a national new plays network for young audiences.” Registration fees are $150 (adults) and $135 (students) before Jan. 31, 2013 — and $175 (adults) and $160 (students) after.

There’s even a group rate on a limited number of rooms reserved by Childsplay at the Courtyard by Marriott Tempe Downtown, which is within walking distance of both Write Now venues — Childsplay’s Campus for Imagination and Wonder  and the Tempe Center for the Arts, where both local schools and community groups will participate as audience members.

So save the date, grab your pen and let the new works begin.

— Lynn

Note: Click here for details about submitting your work for consideration

Coming up: Art meets Mother’s Day, Once upon a dance competition, Festival spotlights women playwrights, One mother’s diary, Ode to Maurice Sendak

Once upon a party

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Though our daughter Jennifer turned 21 yesterday, she asked us to postpone her party until the semester wraps at ASU. But hey, since I’m the one who birthed her, I figured I deserved a party too and headed out for a quick spin of Childsplay’s 35th birthday shindig at Tempe Center for the Arts — where I heard lots of people rave about the lovely setting. Think outdoor fire. Lakeside walks. Illuminated art. And lots of fabulous people, some donning balloon hats crafted to look like ladybugs, mouse ears, green one-eyed monsters and more.

I happened on one of Jennifer’s elementary school classmates, Kaleena Newman, soon after I arrived. She’s currently touring with Childsplay’s “With Two Wings.” Newman and a fellow volunteer were charged with selling mystery bags of unknown goodies, which I managed to resist until later in the evening — when I chose the lone purple one. Picture me climbing a rock wall eating a mouthful of pastries and you’ll have a good sense of what I discovered inside. Something tells me Lizabeth will be rocking that first gift card.

I also ran into plenty of Childsplay actors, including D. Scott Withers, who donned a sort of Mardi Gras meets swami get-up as he passed out long strings of purple, green and gold beads. Also Jon Gentry, who looked so much more debonair than the day I saw him work the long ears in “Go, Dog. Go!”

I also chatted a bit with Debra K. Stevens about this weekend’s opening of “The Color of Stars.” Seems several school groups have already seen the show, and Stevens praised the students for making really astute observations and asking truly insightful questions. Finally, I talked Childsplay summer camp and life in general with Yolanda London. (I last saw London perform in “Rock the Presidents” — and yes, there is a CD for that.)

Naturally I took a spin around the room set up with all things silent auction. Think trips, jewelry, original art and more. Also lots of tickets and such donated by other theater companies and arts organizations. I left before the final bids were recorded so there’s no telling what I might be the proud owner of today. Maybe the single raffle ticket I bought from a young girl toting a basket and a big smile was a winner. But no matter — it’s all for a good cause.

The TCA lobby was filled with all sorts of whimsical carnival-style games, and a photo booth folks entered after dressing up in accessories like neon wigs stashed in a nearby cardboard box. Also passed hors d’oeuvres and drink stations — plus four ASU student playing upbeat jazz fare. I left before they broke out the cake, suspecting Jennifer would let me indulge in one of her birthday cupcakes back home.

While at the soiree, I introduced myself to Colin Ross of “Rock the Presidents” fame. He’s a charming lad who thought I deserved the respect of a “ma’am” when we met, but I’m at the age where “miss” sounds a million times better than “you just won the lottery.” Ross’ parents done good, but I’m still in recovery.

I decided to cut out while in the throws of a nasty cough left over from a recent bout of bronchitis. It’s hard to party when you’re feeling both ancient and sickly. Plus, I was eager to get home to my own birthday baby. Someone asked as I left whether Jennifer was excited about being old enough to drink. Not really, I said. But she does have a hankering to play a mean batch of bingo.

— Lynn

Note: Play passes are now available for Childsplay’s 2012/13 season, which includes the return of “Rock the Presidents” and “June B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.” Also “Recipe for Disaster” and “Boats” as well as two works based on books for youth — “The Giver” and “A Wrinkle in Time.” Plus a chance to “Occupy the Barnyard!” with “Click, Clack, Moo!”

Coming up: From barber shop to deep dark woods, Fun PBS finds, Musings of a musician mom

“The Color of Stars”

Playwright Dwayne Hartford grew up in a small rural town called Smithfield, Maine -- where red oak trees perfect for building warships were plentiful

A lone blue star hangs in a window on the set of Childsplay’s “The Color of Stars.” It signals that fact that there’s a family member at war. It’s the father of a boy who’s been sent to live with his grandparents on a small farm in Maine. His mother is one of many American women working to build battle ships. The setting is World War II, and fear is rampant — making life especially difficult for Japanese- and German-Americans.

I sat behind a grandmother and granddaughter during Sunday’s matinee performance of “The Color of Stars,” a work by playwright and actor Dwayne Hartford, who grew up in a small town full of trees prized as raw material for making minesweepers. It’s there that Hartford learned lessons reflected in the play. The value of hard work. The nature of sacrifice. The importance of integrity.

I chatted with the pair, who hail from Chandler, after the show. They were attending as part of a “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” program run by Duet, a non-profit organization founded by the Church of the Beatitudes. The granddaughter, a spunky redheaded teen named Veronica who loves writing horror fiction, told me the play was all about trust. Grandmother Roberta agreed and reflected on some of its other take-home messages. It’s better to ask than to assume, and wiser to smother a small fire than watch it burn out of control.

A fire sparked in the woods near the home Eddie shares with his grandparents mirrors the flames of fear fanned by those who assume all Germans, including a government worker sent to survey the area for trees, are Nazis. The lovely duo I chatted with shared that their own German heritage made the play feel especially poignant. I suspect “The Color of Stars,” directed by Graham Whitehead, will resonate best with those who’ve been on the receiving end of prejudice, those who’ve sent family members to war and those accustomed to small town life.

There’s much in “The Color of Stars” that mirrors my own childhood days spent visiting German grandparents in the tiny town of Tripp, South Dakota. Catching and gutting fish. Tending to corn crops. Doing farm chores like feeding the animals. Playing card games and Cribbage. Cast members share favorite memories of their own grandparents in “The Color or Stars” program, which also features several generations of Hartford family photos. (Seems Dwayne once rocked a big grin and some serious bangs.)

There’s a charming nostalgia to Hartford’s work, and a balanced take on the best and worst of what wartime does to families. It’s inspired me to dig out family photos I haven’t looked at in years. “The Color of Stars,” being performed through May 20 at Tempe Center for the Arts, is that rare piece of theater that spans the generations while strengthening the ties between them.

It’s also an eloquent window into wartime for students who tend to find the study of wars before the age of terrorism rather tedious. War has consequences. So do words. And everyday actions. “The Color of Stars” is a beautiful reminder that there’s strength in family, serenity in the night sky and something each of us must give to the community that sustains us.

— Lynn

Note: Childsplay is partnering with East Valley Blue Star Mothers to collect care package items for military members serving overseas. Audience members are invited to bring food or hygeine items when attending “The Color of Stars” — where they will be collected in the TCA lobby. Visit the Childsplay website for a list of requested items.

Coming up: Playwright profiles — starting with Dwayne Hartford of Childsplay

Update: Childsplay holds its 35th birthday bash Fri, April 27. Click here for details.

The dance party starts at…

I'm returning to the Brooklyn Museum in New York City Saturday night to enjoy a Keith Haring exhibit and dance party

“The dance party starts at 8pm.” The fine folks at the Brooklyn Museum were kind enough to share this little ditty with me after learning I’d be in town for the weekend. Seems they’re planning all sorts of frivolity for April’s Target First Saturday, which also features deejay Junior Vasquez.

Our daughter, Lizabeth, who lives in NYC, will no doubt shudder at the thought of mom hauling out the “Macarena” moves — but she doesn’t have to watch. She’ll be busy with fellow Pace performing arts students doing their “Our Lady of 121st Street” thing at the Lion Theatre, where it’s opening that same night.

I’m hoping to explore several museums during my quick turnaround trip to see Lizabeth perform, yet sad to be missing all the arts adventures taking place in the Valley this weekend — including the premiere of Childsplay’s “Tomás and the Library Lady” at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Julianne Moore's book inspired the "Freckleface" musical

Before heading out, I’m hitting opening night for Valley Youth Theatre’s production of “Freckleface Strawberry” — the show’s only run outside of NYC before it launches a national tour in 2013. Seems VYT’s producing artistic director Bobb Cooper was invited about a year and a half ago to see the original Off Broadway production of “Freckleface Strawberry” (now “Freckleface The Musical“) featuring VYT alumna Kimiko Glenn in the role of Emily.

“She connected me to the creative team,” recalls Cooper, “who agreed to let us be the first theatre company outside of New York to mount this show.” Tonight’s opening includes a “special audience appearance by Glenn,” who first performed with VYT as one of seven dwarves in a 2000 production of “Snow White.” Before her last VYT gig in 2006, performing the role of Demeter in “Cats,” Glenn earned two AriZoni Awards.

Last time I visited Lizabeth in NYC, we went to see Nick Cartell (who also graced the VYT stage) perform in a preview of “Jesus Christ Superstar” on Broadway — where he rocks the Jonah/Swing gig. It’s hard to believe that so many of these young actors are now grown and doing their thing in NYC, L.A., Arizona and beyond.

But harder still to imagine all those empty-nester stage parents with newfound free time whooping it up at dance parties…

— Lynn

Note: Read more about “Tomás and the Library Lady” in the April issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine, and click here to explore the magazine’s calendar of events for Arizona families. Folks who hit VYT’s “Freckleface” Sat, April 7 at 3:30pm, can enjoy a free Q & A with Kimiko Glenn (who originated the role of “Emily” in “Freckleface Strawberry” in NYC and toured with “Spring Awakening”) after the show. Details at www.vyt.com.

Coming up:  Trees and tolerance, A diorama tale

Lightning strikes

National Poetry Month strikes again in Arizona

Poet Eduardo C. Corral, a native of Casa Grande who holds degrees from Arizona State University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, will read from his recently released collection “Slow Lightning,” Tues, April 10 at the Piper Writers House on the ASU Tempe campus.

Slow Lightning,” Corral’s first collection of poems, was selected as winner of the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition — making Corral the first Latino to receive this honor. Next week’s reading, sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, is free and open to the public.

There’s plenty of poetry around these parts nowadays because April is National Poetry Month. Tempe Center for the Arts, for example, is presenting four “Tempe Poetry in April” events this month — featuring Josh Rathkamp (April 4), Jeannine Savard (April 11), Margaret Holley (April 18) and Sherwin Bitsui (April 25). These TCA events are free, so you’ve really no good reason not to give poetry a whirl.

Center Dance Ensemble presents two performances of “American Voices,” featuring new choreography coupled with words by great American poets, Sun, April 15 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. And PVCC Dance at Paradise Valley Community College presents “Kinetic Poetry” — a “collection of dances reflecting the inner voice of the artist” that features “the voices and movement of PVCC dance students and guest artists” — April 27 & 28.

Art Intersection in Gilbert presents “Haibun: The Poetry of Walking” with instructor Mark Haunschild April 7 & 14 — noting that haibun is a classical Japanese form of travel writing combining prose and poetry, first popularized by Matsuo Basho during the 17th century.

The Tucson Poetry Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with participating poets that include Eduardo C. Corral, Karyna McGlynn, Ander Monson and Patricia Smith. All are offering free writing workshops, and taking part in a two-hour panel, Sat, April 7 at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson.

The Poetry Center presents “Poetry Off the Page” April 9-May 31 — which they describe as a gathering of poets “for whom the stage and all of its demands, such as voice, projection, sound effects, lighting, body movement, acting, props and image, all help create a new syntactic breadth for the poetic voice.”

Seems participating poets will be “pressing into new territories in theatre and song and film, performing, in many cases, original never-seen-before work for the Poetry Center.” The center is also offering exhibits featuring poets working in the visual arts. Think Cecilia Vicuna, Danielle Vogel and Jeff Clark. While you’re there, check out “Artistexts,” curated by Johanna Drucker, too.

The Arizona Humanities Council presents “Sharing Words, Changing Worlds” Thurs, April 12 at Tempe Mission Palms. The keynote speaker for the free 6:30pm-8:30pm event is Pulitzer Prize Winner and Poet Laureate Rita Dove — who’ll share poems from her recent book “Sonata Mulattica,” about a young mulatto violinist’s encounters with Beethooven.

Event organizers note that Dove will “reveal how she came to be uniquely suited to the task of rescuing the mixed race violinist George Augustus Polgreen from the shadows of history, and how history comes alive through art.” Dove, who taught creative writing at ASU from 1981 to 1989, and has been honored by both President Clinton (National Humanities Medal) and President Obama (National Medal of Arts). She served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995.

Things are looking good at this point for a bill moving through the Arizona state legislature to create an Arizona Poet Laureate, according to Rusty Foley, executive director for Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts. Nothing’s a sure thing, of course, until the ink dries on a bill. But I like our chances, and there’s already good news to celebrate with the passage of a bill reauthorizing funding for the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

To find additonal poetry-related events in your area, check the calendars for your local libraries, museums and bookstores — plus performing arts venues and college/universities. Also the websites for organizations like the Arizona State Poetry Society and Arizona Authors Association.

Wanna trip out your kids? Just tell ’em you’re heading out with friends to play with words for a while. Then buy them a journal, watch for kid-friendly poetry programs in your community and inch them along towards the day they’ll be the ones making lightning.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to find family-friendly events any day of the year from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. If your April poetry event in Arizona isn’t listed above, you can comment below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Musings on “Dance Moms Miami,” Movie review: “Bully”