Tag Archives: Theatre Artists Studio

Art meets Mother’s Day

Treat mom to time and art from the heart this weekend

Lately my kids have taken to asking me, “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” But you can’t buy what I really want in a store — because it’s time. More time on the planet. More time with my children. More time to myself. Hence I’m happy to share several places moms can celebrate with their family or escape for a blissful bit of solitude.

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix is offering brunch in the Café at MIM, prize giveaways throughout the day and museum tours for Mother’s Day. Kids can make crafts for mom ($2/craft), treat mom to something special from the MIM Museum Store or take mom to an evening concert by jazz pianist Brad Mehldau.

Theatre Artists Studio in Scottsdale is presenting a free “Music & Musings for Mother’s Day” performance featuring popular Broadway tunes and touching stories about moms presented by five studio members with special guests (followed by a champagne reception). Reservations are recommended for the Sun, May 13 at 2pm event (and there’s special seating for “Spring for the Studio” donors of $100 or more).

Arizona Jewish Theatre Company’s Curtain Call performs “Annie Jr.” this weekend

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is offering free admission to moms and grandmothers who bring a child to the museum on Mother’s Day (they’ll be open from 9am-4pm and kids can make a fun craft for mom). And plenty of theater companies are doing family-friendly shows. Think “Annie Jr.” by Arizona Jewish Theatre Company’s Curtain Call youth theater — and more.

If you’re eager to avoid the Mother’s Day crowds, consider celebrating on Saturday with a stroll though one of Arizona’s many art districts. Folks in and around Gilbert can enjoy the “Emerge” exhibition at Art Intersection (open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm) — which features juried works by emerging photographic artists from Gilbert High School, Chandler-Gilbert Community College and ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Art Intersection is located in the Gilbert Heritage District near plenty of shops with fun fare for moms.

I snagged this flyer while checking out Scottsdale Civic Center Library renovations

Mothers Who Write/Mothers Who Read presents a free public reading by past and present participants in the “Mothers Who Write” workshop led by Amy Silverman of Phoenix New Times and Deborah Sussman of the ASU Art Museum. It’s taking place Sat, May 12 at 2pm at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (Stage 2), and sponsored by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. (Please note that some material is not suitable for children. Darn.)

When in doubt about what to give, let mom pick a little something from the gift shop at your favorite museum, performing arts venue or local business that supports the arts. For more family-friendly events and special Mother’s Day offerings with an arts twist, click here to explore the Raising Arizona Kids calendar online.

— Lynn

Note: Always check hours of operation before heading to your favorite venue

Coming up: Art meets wellness, Gilbert art adventures

Advertisements

Musings on “Mecca”

I headed out to Theatre Artists Studio near Paradise Valley Mall Saturday night for a play called “The Road to Mecca.” The Roundabout Theatre Company production of “The Road to Mecca” closed just last month, and cast member Jim Dale has been nominated for a Drama Desk award for best featured actor in a play. Before leaving, I leafed through the RTC play guide — a comprehensive treatment of the play’s themes, setting and such.

“The Road to Mecca” was written by Athol Fugard — a South African playwright, director, actor and novelist known for mixing art and politics — whose productions were “the first in the country to feature actors of different races together on stage.” Fugard received a Special Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s Tony Awards ceremony.

Debra Rich (L) and Judy Lebeau in "The Road to Mecca" at Theatre Artists Studio

The RTC play guide notes that “The Road to Mecca was inspired by the true life story of Helen Elizabeth Martins, the youngest of six children, born and raised in the small South African village of Nieu Bethesda in December 1897.” Seems she left the village for a time to teach, but returned to care for elderly parents — staying on even after they’d passed away.

“In her late 40s,” it notes, “with no overall plan and no artistic training, Martin began decorating the interior of her house.” Think walls covered in colorful crushed glass — plus various works featuring owl and sun face motifs. Later she created a yard full of sculptures — all facing east towards Mecca. Martin took her own life in 1976, but her house was restored and preserved thanks to Friends of the Owl House established in 1991.

L to R: Debra Rich, Don Erickson, Judy Lebeau

There’s a touch of Martin’s artistic impulse in the Theatre Artists Studio set designed, decorated and painted by Patti Suarez. A giant moon face painted on the floor. Brightly colored walls sparkling with glitter. Dolores D’Amore Goldsmith provided additional set decoration, and the end result is stunning — especially with shadows created by lighting designer Dale Nakagawa.

The set is strewn with candles, reflecting the play’s themes of darkness and illumination. But other themes abound — love and duty, adventure and habit, faith and religion, playfulness and maturity, creativity and conformity. Also trust, hypocrisy, friendship and freedom. If there’s a shortcoming in the work, it’s the attempt to pack too much into a single serving.

The play’s dialogue is dense, compact — though truly gripping only during the second half of the second act. It’s well acted at Theatre Artists Studio by Judy Lebeau (Miss Helen), Debra Rich (Elsa Barlow) and Don Erickson (Marius Byleveld) — though direction by Judy Rollings seems a tad too safe. Miss Helen feels frenetic rather than passionate, and I’m not sure I got a true picture of her complexity. I’d have enjoyed seeing her in the act of creating which was so essential to her existence and self-identity.

Debra Rich (L) and Judy Lebeau in "The Road to Mecca"

Before the play began, I spent some time enjoying works by studio artists exhibited in the theater lobby. Several mixed media works by Judy Lebeau and seven pieces by Debra Rich Gettleman — all woodburning, color washing and acrylic. Also several Mark Gluckman photographs and works of watercolor and ink by Barb McGuire. Keep them in mind when you’re on the prowl for original art.

Nowadays the studio is working to raise matching funds for a challenge grant and gearing up for a free Mother’s Day event called “Music & Musings for Mothers.” They’re presenting a little something called “Hot” in May and their annual 10-minute play festival, dubbed “New Summer Shorts,” in June. “The Road to Mecca” runs through May 6.

I’ll never make the pilgrimage to Mecca, but my journeys to Theatre Artists Studio feel plenty illuminating. Their work is funny, poignant, relevant and smart. Learn more at www.thestudiophx.org.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to read the RTC play guide, which includes information on Helen Martin, the Owl House and Apartheid in South Africa, as well as pre-show and post-show activities. Click here to explore the Apartheid Museum online.

Coming up: Debra Rich Gettleman talks playwriting, Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with arts and culture

Photos by Mark Gluckman

Update: Peter Kaczorowski is nominated for a 2012 Tony Award for lighting design of a play for “The Road to Mecca” on Broadway — click here for a list of this year’s nominees. 5/1/12

Got scripts?

New works festivals present great opportunities for writers and audiences

Jason Tremblay of Austin won last year’s EVCT aspiring playwrights contest with “Queen Zixi of Ix, The Story of the Magic Cloak” — which was performed by East Valley Children’s Theatre just last month. It’s the adaptation of an L. Frank Baum story about two young children forced to live with a greedy aunt who moves them from country to city in search of work — and the adventures that help them bring happiness and prosperity to everyone in their new land.

Second place in last year’s EVCT playwriting contest went to Drew Ignatowski of Gilbert for “Moonprince,” and third place went to Texan Bobbi A. Chukran of Leander for “Princess Primrose & the Curse of the Big Sleep.” Cash prizes go to the top three winners each year, and the winning play is produced by EVCT (assuming it meets their criteria for performance). The deadline for 2012 submissions is Fri, March 15.

New Carpa Theater Co. recently issued a call for scripts inspired by the legacy of the civil rights movement, the United Farm Workers Union and contemporary social justice issues. They’re looking for works to present during a short plays festival they expect to hold in late May/early June as well as October. Think 5- to 10-minute stage plays, monologues, play excerpts and performance pieces. Scripts are due April 20, and can be submitted in either Spanish or English.

James E. Garcia, producing artistic director for the company, notes that eight to 10 pieces will be selected by a panel of seven local playwrights, writers and producers for staging at the festival. Additional works may also be presented for festival goers. Garcia describes the festival as “a non-partisan, grassroots, community-based project” designed to give theater artists and audiences “an opportunity to express their concerns regarding some of the most compelling human and civil rights issues of our time” — including those effecting immigrants, women and people of color.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is now considering plays for its 2013 New American Playwrights Project. Scripts submitted for consideration must be postmarked by Nov 1, 2012. Three works (all with mature content) are being presented during the 2012 series directed by Charles L. Metten — “The Greater Love” by Frankie Little Hardin, “Turquoise Wind” by Kurt Proctor and “Play Desdemona” by Daniel Hintzsche.

Those of you who favor watching new works rather than writing them can enjoy the 15th annual Hormel New Works Festival being presented July 8-22 by Phoenix Theatre. The festival features staged readings performed by professional actors.

Phoenix Theatre also holds a “2nd Draft Series” designed to further the development of select plays presented during the Hormel New Works Festival. Three plays will get the “2nd draft” treatment in coming weeks and months — including Richard Warren’s “Pollywogs” (March 24), Kurt Shineman’s “Mother’s Milk” (April 21) and Scott McCarrey’s “The Wilds” (May 19).

The Arizona Women’s Theatre Company presents its 6th annual Pandora Festival of New Works May 18-20 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. It features full-length plays, one-act plays and 10-minute plays written by Arizona women.

Theatre Artists Studio in Scottsdale is home to the “New Play Series and Reader’s Theatre.” Up next in their new play series is “4” by Terry Youngren (March 17). Their next reader’s theater will be presented April 23 by Drea Pruseau.

A Childsplay world-premiere read of Dwayne Hartford’s “The Color of Stars” comes to The Temple Lounge in Tucson Sat, April 14 as part of the Arizona Theatre Company’s Café Bohemia” series. The play’s described as “a touching story about life in America during World War II with modern-day parallels about the costs of war both overseas and at home.”

Folks who prefer seeing plays fully staged and polished will be pleased to know that “The Color of Stars” is being performed by Childsplay April 22-May 20 at Tempe Center for the Performing Arts.

— Lynn

Coming up: Frankly speaking, So you want to be a playwright…

When golf meets musical theater…

Women’s issues have been front and center in discussions of national politics of late — in a way I don’t recall seeing since my time reading feminist authors like Mary Daly during doctoral studies in the philosophy of religion in the 1980s.

It seems the perfect time to revisit the lives of women who’ve challenged or changed American mores, especially while so much talk of insults hurled at Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke has failed to find fault with the term “feminazi” (an observation shared by my acutely astute husband).

Olympic medalist Babe Didrikson is the subject of a new musical opening in Scottsdale this month

Valley theatergoers can enjoy the tale of an incredibly accomplished athlete named Mildred “Babe” Didrikson as Theatre Artists Studio in Scottsdale presents “Babe: An Olympian Musical,” directed by Christy Welty, March 16-April 1.

It’s perfectly timed considering that the LPGA Founders Cup tournament takes place March 12-18 in Phoenix — and includes a special tribute to LPGA founders (including Didrikson and 12 other golfers).

“Babe: An Olympian Musical” features book and lyrics by Carolyn Gage and music by Andrea Jill Higgins. A sampling of songs with titles that include “No Next Time,” “The Fine Line,” “Olympic Gold” and “Watch Me Fly” is already available online.

The National Women’s History Museum, which supporters including Meryl Streep are working to take from online resource to brick and mortar museum, details Didrikson’s accomplishments in golf and other sports — also describing her struggles with the cancer that took her life.

Musical theater is full of women deemed ditsy or dumb, so folks eager to support those who elevate the stories of smart and capable women will find this work, and others from Theatre Artists Studio, intriguing.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to read a piece published by the Women’s Media Center about the development of the National Women’s History Museum, here to read the Babe Didrikson bio from the LPGA and here to read a “Broadway World” article about the show.

Coming up: Marketing Broadway

Theater meets Christmas

Irving Berlin's White Christmas comes to ASU Gammage in Tempe Dec. 6-11

More than a dozen Valley venues are presenting family-friendly theater fare with a Christmas theme. Here’s an early round-up, listed by city, to help families who celebrate Christmas with holiday planning…

Anthem

Musical Theatre of Anthem presents a “Holiday Show” Dec. 16. www.musicaltheatreofanthem.org.

Fountain Hills

Fountain Hills Theater presents “Christmas Jukebox” Nov. 25-Dec. 18. www.fhtaz.org.

Gilbert

Hale Theatre Arizona presents “It’s a Wonderful Life” through Nov. 26 and  “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 1-23. www.haletheatrearizona.com.

Glendale

Spotlight Youth Theatre presents “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” Dec. 2-18. www.spotlightyouththeatre.org.

Mesa

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 17-Dec. 25. www.broadwaypalmwest.com.

East Valley Children’s Theatre presents “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” Dec. 1-11. www.evct.org.

Southwest Shakespeare Company presents “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 26-Dec. 17. www.swshakespeare.org.

Southwest Shakespeare Company performs A Christmas Carol Nov. 26-Dec. 17 in Mesa

Peoria

Arizona Broadway Theatre presents “Miracle on 34th St.” Nov. 25-Dec. 29 and “A Broadway Christmas Carol” Dec. 9-17. www.arizonabroadwaytheatre.com.

The Homestead Playhouse presents “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 1-4. www.dcranchnet.com.

Theater Works presents “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 2-18. Theater Works/Youth Works Puppet Works presents “Saving Santa” Dec. 3-24 (Sat only). www.theaterworks.com.

Phoenix

Grand Canyon University presents “Amahl and the Night Visitors” Dec. 2-11. www.gcu.edu.

New Carpa Theater Co. presents “American Pastorela” Dec. 9-18 at the Third Street Theater (Phoenix Center for the Arts). www.newcarpa.org. (Mature content)

Phoenix Theatre presents “A Christmas Story” Nov. 23-Dec. 18. www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Space 55 presents “A Bloody Mary Christmas II” Dec. 1-17 and “7 Minutes Under the Mistletoe” Dec. 17. www.space55.org. (Mature content)

The Black Theatre Troupe presents “Black Nativity” Dec. 2-11. www.blacktheatretroupe.org.

Valley Youth Theatre presents “A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail” Dec 2-23. www.vyt.com.

Scottsdale

Theatre Artists Studio presents “Holiday Music & Musings: From the Page to the Stage” Dec. 2. www.thestudiophx.org.

Sun City

Sun City Grand Drama and Comedy Club presents “Over the River and Through the Woods” Dec. 1-4. www.granddrama.com.

East Valley Children's Theatre presents The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Dec. 1-11

Tempe

ASU Gammage presents “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” (touring production) Dec. 6-11. www.asugammage.com.

If your Valley organization is presenting a theater production with a Christmas, or other winter holiday, theme — please comment below to let readers know.

— Lynn

Note: A calendar of family-friendly events is always available online at www.raisingarizonakids.com. This post will be updated as I learn of additional theater offerings with a Christmas theme. Although most of the events noted above are designed for family audiences, please note that some are “mature audience” only productions.

Coming up: Christmas concerts, A cup of cheer

Update: Some of these shows are extending their runs, so check theater company websites for the latest and greatest information. 11/26/11

Art meets Arizona

Full Moon by Sandy Tracey

Like Amy Silverman — Valley mom, journalist and creator of “The I Heart Phoenix Project” — I’m still working on working up a deep and abiding passion for the state I call home.

So news of the “Living in Arizona” summer exhibit at the Herberger Theater Center struck a chord.

The exhibit kicks-off with a free opening reception Sat, July 9, from 4:30-6pm at the Herberger Theater Art Gallery, which might be the only place downtown not crawling with folks donning their major league baseball gear.

The Center’s swanky lounge, formally known as the “Bob’s Spot Gallery Lounge,” will have a no-host bar for the opening, and live music will be provided by “String Serenade.”

Those of you sickened by incessant talk of the Casey Anthony jury will be happy to know that an entirely different sort of jury has been at work a bit closer to home — selecting works for the “Living in Arizona” exhibit curated by Jim Covarrubias.

Members of the local arts community juried the “Living in Arizona” show, choosing which of 500 works submitted by 79 qualified artists from across the state would be included. Event organizers note that the exhibit “conjures desert landscapes in many genres.”

Still, I’m told that “many of the interpretations in this exhibit will pleasantly surprise art lovers.” Participating Arizona artists include Sandy Tracey, Leland Beaman, Diana Creighton, Kathleen Escobedo, A.E. Rieff and Beata Wehr.

“Living in Arizona” will be on display through Aug 28 during regular Herberger Theater Center Art Gallery Hours — which are Mon-Fri from 10am-5pm. The gallery is also open during performances at the Center.

Upcoming performances include “With Friends Like These” from Theatre Artists Studio (July 12-21), “Peoplesongs” with Annie Moscow (July 26-Aug 4), “Wacky, Wickedly Wonderful Women” presented by D’Amore Productions and “Hairspray” performed by Valley Youth Theatre.

It’s family, and the fine art found at Arizona venues like the Herberger Theater Center, that make life in Arizona most meaningful.

— Lynn

Note: Save the date! Herberger Theater Center and SRP present the “Herberger Theater Festival of the Arts” Oct 1, 2011. Click here to learn about the diverse arts experiences you can enjoy at this year’s festival.

Coming up: Library musings, Ode to hairspray

Last call for theater camps!

Comedy mask in stained glass window at the Scottsdale theater where Greasepaint Youtheatre camps are held

When I spoke recently with ASU dance major Echo Laney, I asked her to share a bit about the benefits of participating in theater camps. Laney participated in Camp Broadway at ASU Gammage several years ago, and describes it as a life-changing experience.

“Theater camp opens you to new experiences,” reflects Laney. It makes for “nice networking” and helps campers “discover who they are and what they can do.” Reflecting on her own time with Camp Broadway, Laney shares that theater camp “opens the mind” and fuels powerful dreams.

Tragedy mask in stained glass at the old Stagebrush Theater in Scottsdale

I learned the hard way many years ago that many Valley summer day camps start filling up as early as February, but I know plenty of parents have yet to sit down with their children or teens to firm up summer plans — despite the fact that some camps begin next week.

For those still exploring summer camp options, here’s a nifty list of Valley organizations offering theater camps — complete with links so you can easily learn more about your many options. Don’t delay, because in many cases this really is your last chance…

Actor’s Youth Theatre at www.actorsyouththeatre.org

Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre at www.azact.org

Arizona Broadway Theatre at www.azbroadway.org

Arizona Jewish Theatre Company at www.azjewishtheatre.org

Art and Sol Performing Arts Program at www.artandsolprogram.com

ASU Gammage at www.asugammage.com

Chandler Center for the Performing Arts at www.chandlercenter.org

Childsplay Theatre Company at www.childsplayaz.org

Christian Youth Theater at www.cytphoenix.org

Creative Stage Youth Theatre at www.csyt.org

Dearing Acting Studio at www.dearingstudio.com

Desert Stages Theatre at www.desertstages.org

Do Re Mi School for the Arts at www.doremischool.com

East Valley Children’s Theatre at www.evct.org

Fountain Hills Community Theater at www.fhct.org

Greasepaint Youtheatre at www.greasepaint.org

Kirk’s Studio for the Performing Arts at www.kirksstudio.com

Life’s a Stage Productions at www.lasacting.com

Mesa Arts Center at www.mesaartscenter.com

Musical Theatre of Anthem at www.musicaltheatreofanthem.org

Phoenix Center for the Arts at www.phoenixcenterforthearts.org

Phoenix Theatre at www.phoenixtheatre.com

Scottsdale Conservatory of the Performing Arts at www.scottsdaleconservatory.com

Scottsdale Glee at www.scottsdaleglee.org

Scottsdale Studios at www.gleecamps.com

Spotlight Youth Theatre at www.spotlightyouththeatre.org

Starlight Community Theater at www.starlightcommunitytheater.org

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy at www.studio3arts.com

Theater Works at www.theaterworks.org

Theatre Artists Studio at www.thestudiophx.org

Valley Youth Theatre at www.vyt.com

Voices: A Music & Arts Studio at www.voicesstudio.com

To learn more about theater and other camps, check out the “Summer Solutions” 2011 camp directory compiled by Mala Blomquist of Raising Arizona Kids.

If you know of another Valley organization offering summer theater camps, please comment below to let our readers know.

–Lynn

Note: Click here for links to camps that participated in the RAK Camp Fair 2011.

Coming up: Celebrating Father’s Day — arts and culture style!