Thursday, December 14, 2017

WEEK AT A GLANCE: December 11 - December 17

photos - A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL - Actor's Youth Theatr

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through December 23rd

photos by Melissa Brassow

Impossible Things in CINDERELLA at Gammage

Erin Weinberger
by Jennifer Haaland

Dancer and actor Erin Weinberger practices daily making the impossible possible. As a cast member in the upcoming national tour of Cinderella at ASU Gammage AND as an online student of ASU too, her Tempe stop is layered with implausible dreams that she's turning into reality.

"I would say I'm at an age of growing into myself," Weinberger said.

At 23, she's known for many years that she wanted a lifetime of performing on stage.  After high school, she added to that wish list her desire to become a licensed massage therapist. With each of those careers in full swing, Weinberger is figuring out how to grow both into lifetime commitments.

In the roles she's playing and her real life choices, it's like she's building lives within lives.  For instance, in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical fairytale, her main job is to support the central rags to riches plot.

"We portray the life and lifestyle that the leads are living. So at one point I protect and celebrate the Prince. As a peasant, I'm the bread seller, one of Cinderella's friends. We are all in different class systems, but our purpose is clear," she said.

the company of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
photo by Carol Rosegg
But if they portray that lifestyle, they also have their individual lives. Weinberger noted that each character has separate relationships and that the dynamics change when the dance partners change.

"We each have our own love story going on. Our director drilled into us that 'you have to fall in love every night.' And literally, we fall back into the man's arms every performance."

Like the interior life of her characters on stage are deeper and more full than the big story of Cinderella suggests, Weinberger's personal goals intensify below the surface, too. That is, she loves the massage studio she currently maintains in New York when she's not on tour, and is happy that some of her cast mates are also her clients.  But she's gunning for more.  And ASU was the only university she found that offered her an online degree program that would work with her career as a performer.

"I need more than just my license because I want to be completely and truly invested in massage therapy," she said. "The health science program through online study at Arizona State University was a brand new major when I enrolled."

As a full-time performer her ideal is to fit one to two classes per semester into her schedule. She already has some of the biology out of the way. She's thinking Spring holds courses in modalities of Eastern science, nursing, or communications.

People assume that a dancer's life is finite and that Weinberger is being smart about a back up plan. But we're not talking back up plan, we're talking concurrent lifestyles. When Weinberger thought out loud about her performance career, she said simply, "I don't think I'll ever stop."

Whether it's a lifetime of performing or getting a science degree in the midst of a singing and dancing career, Weinberger is all about challenging conventional thought.  Watch closely to see how her character on the Gammage stage is committed and deeply involved in a life that's so much bigger than being a royal servant or an empathetic, hard-working peasant in Cinderella next week.  It's a perfect blueprint for making impossible things happen every day.

cast announcement - ROMEO & JULIET - Southwest Shakespeare Company

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs January 12th to January 27th

Romeo - Kyle Sorrell
Benvolio - Rachelle Dart
Mercutio - Spencer Dooly / Felix Abidor
Gregory - Dylan Kim
Montague - Karolina Jozwiak
Juliet - Sasha Wilson
Tybalt  - Drew Latham
Lord Capulet - Mike Traylor
Lady Capulet - Elizabeth Blair
Nurse - Jodi Weiss
Prologue/Prince Escalus /Paris - Alexis Baigue
Friar Lawrence/ Apothecary - Michael Baily
Friar John/ Samson - Hira Ismail

Directed by : Patrick Walsh
Fight Choreography : Randy Messersmith

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

photos - A CHRISTMAS CAROL - TheaterWorks

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through December 24th

photos by John Groseclose

cast announcement - MAD GRAVITY - Mesa Encore Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs February 2nd - 18th

Director: Eric Schoen
Eudora - Toni Jourdan
Dr Joe - Daniel Nicolai
Dakota - Carly Doyle
Mary - Madison Desoto
Archie - Joe Musil

Fountain Hills Theater's CASINO ROYALE

9475 CasinoNightInvite

Tickets Now Available

MartiniGlass 2
Tickets are $95 and available for purchase online here or
call the Fountain Hills Theater box office at 480.837.9661 x3.

Dress to impress — as this evening, you'll be donning your most elegant "Bond-esque" black-tie attire! This exquisite adults-only evening will feature  hors-d’oeuvres, cocktails (cash bar), the live jazz trio, "The Jan Sandwich Trio", a VIP "Poker" table (extra $25), a live auction and raffle items. You won't want to miss this special evening!

Join Fountain Hills Theater and Fountain Hills Sister Cities for "Casino Royale" on Saturday, January 27, 2018 from 6:30pm – 10:00pm at the Fountain Hills Community Center,

promo photos - THE SANTALAND DIARIES and A TUNA CHRISTMAS - Davisson Entertainment

CLICK HERE for more information on THE SANTALAND DIARIES which runs December 13 - 23

CLICK HERE for more information on A TUNA CHRISTMAS which runs December 15 to December 23rd
Louis Farber
photo by Laura Durant

photo by Reg Madison Photography

photo by Reg Madison Photography

photo by Reg Madison Photography

photo by Laura Durant

David Barker and Ben Tyler
photo by Laura Durant
photo by Reg Madison Photography

photo by Reg Madison Photography

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Happy Hanukkah from PHX Stages!

reviews - A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Hale Centre Theatre

Cory McCloskey
photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through December 23rd.

"It's never too late to change. That simple statement is the important message that runs throughout Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and a worthwhile message that all of us can learn from. Fortunately, there are some things that are already just about perfect and have no reason to change, including Hale Centre Theatre's impressive annual production of this classic tale of redemption which seems to get better each year in a production that is a feast for the eyes and ears and infused with music, humor and an abundance of heart and emotion....Ted Lehman's adaptation is a sumptuous holiday treat that is completely faithful to the novel, including using an abundance of dialogue taken directly from the book. Director David Dietlein ensures the emotional impact of the show is felt with scenes that don't rush the importance of the story. Hale pulls out all of the stops to include an abundance of set elements, fog, snow, and numerous special effects as well as sumptuous lighting from Jeff A. Davis and a nonstop parade of beautiful costumes coordinated by Mary Atkinson. ..
The Hale production is double cast and the night I attended the Green cast with Mark Kleinman as Scrooge was performing. This is Kleinman's sixth turn as the stingy, heartless and unfeeling man at Hale and he clearly excels at playing this gruff and cruel character. In his impressive portrayal, the changes the miserly man makes are beautifully displayed through Kleinman's changing body language and facial expressions. There isn't a weak link in Hale's large cast, with the majority of the ensemble playing multiple roles. Tim Paul Fiscus does a wonderful job as Cratchit. ...As Marley, the Ghost of Christmas Past, and the Ghost of Christmas Present, Matthew R. Harris, Heidi-Liz Johnson and Mark Hackmann, respectively, provide clear and effective portrayals of these very different specters, and Stephen Serna is full of life as Scrooge's carefree nephew Fred....Each year Hale presents this show, it sells out for almost all of the over 50 performances it plays, so it's easy to see why they continue to bring it back year after year. It's a testament to both the stunning achievement of Hale's production and the power of Dickens' tale. With exceptional creative elements and an incredibly talented cast, Hale's A Christmas Carol is a magical and moving holiday treat and a beautiful adaptation of this classic tale.. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...Hale Centre Theatre’s totally delightful production of A Christmas Carol... has run every December in Gilbert since 2003.... Last year’s review covered the Green Cast with Mark Kleinman. This weekend saw the alternating Red Cast with Cory McCloskey, and as hoped, the production is every bit as pleasing and as heart-warming as seen last year. Director David Hale Dietlein, who clearly has a love for the story, has directed every production since its inception....there’s a genuine feel of Dickens’ presence throughout Dietlin’s production, particularly in the second half when things become dark and those from London’s underbelly’s their inclusion in Hale’s production that further enhances the Dickensian tone and completes the spirit of the story that the author had always intended.....Cory McCloskey as the Red Cast’s Scrooge, and he’s first-class. ...McCloskey snarls, scowls, and glowers his way through Christmas Eve, until the work of the three spirits is complete and the man’s redemption is fully realized. His giddy delight of being given a second chance is our giddy delight, one that will make your smile broaden all the more upon realizing that once Bob Cratchit (an appropriately warm and likable Miles David Romney) turns up late for work the day after celebrating a modest Christmas Day, his salary will be raised. Using all the theatre-in-the-round tricks that it can – ominous swirling smoke, ghostly projections, a mirror ball reflecting seemingly magical lights, falling snow, chiming bell sound effects, a haunting image of a large, ticking clock marking Scrooge’s passing of time, and the acapella voices of Dickens’ carolers singing in the aisles – writer Ted Lehman’s faithful adaptation of the Dickens novella ensures that what you’re seeing and hearing is as close to the work of the Victorian author as is possible without it developing into a dry, literal account. And as before, look closely at the framed picture above the fireplace in Scrooge’s bedroom; it’s a portrait of Charles Dickens overseeing the proceedings. Knowing the author’s love of live theatre, I’m sure the look on his face is one of great approval." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"David Dietlein's production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL gift wraps the celebrated tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's redemption with all the sparkle, festivity, and messaging that befits the Holiday Season. It is Hale Centre Theatre's 15th annual love letter to the community, a resplendent and intimate affair that displays the spirited choreography of Cambrian James, Brian Daily's glittering special effects, and Mary Atkinson's well-tailored period costumes. ...a perfectly tuned ensemble, under the direction of Lincoln Wright, carols a medley of songs of cheer and grace....Hale's schedule of performances alternates between a Green and Red Cast, featuring, respectively Mark Kleinman (the focus of my 2015 review) and Cory McCloskey as Scrooge. McCloskey is superb. Dietlein gives him full rein to deliver a uniquely affable and sympathetic man of avarice. As much as he may scold the solicitors of charity, chide his nephew (Jeff Deglow), exploit clerk Bob Cratchit (Miles David Romney), and otherwise Humbug! his way through the holiday, the vulnerability of 's Scrooge is apparent from the first tip of his top hat through his encounters with the ghosts of Christmas Past (Holly Payne), Present (Mark Hackmann), and Future (Malcolm Hooper). McCloskey sweeps across the stage, his face and gestures a perfect roadmap to the miser's moods, swirling his black cape like a matador and shedding, slowly but surely, Scrooge's veneer of cynicism and greed. So it goes that not every deplorable is irredeemable. Joy and charity abound in this marvelous celebration of the Christmas spirit. This production is the perfect Holiday fare for the entire family, a must-see show that runs through December 23rd at the Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert's Heritage District. " Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

photos - ELF, JR - Greasepaint Youth Theatre

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through December 17th

photos by Laura Durant

audition notice and workshop - DECIDED - Musical Theatre of Anthem - December 16 & 17

Decided (ages 8-19, plus three roles for adults: A world premiere musical written specifically for MTA to celebrate our 10th Anniversary Season, by composer and playwright Brian M. Kunnari

​​Audition Workshop ($35): Friday, December 15th, 4:15-5:45|

Auditions: December 16-17, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. (12 p.m. for Workshop participants) ​
Performances: March 1-4, 2018

CLICK HERE for character breakdown and more information

Deja has been raised right. A large, loving family and the knowledge that a good decision is a crucial part to every day. By properly calculating every move, she knows that life will never take her by surprise. That is until the last few months. Life is getting more complicated now that Deja is a senior in high school. On a fateful night, she decides it's time for something new and begins her journey to discover that being you is the hardest thing you'll ever do.

"Decided" will be a world premiere musical written specifically for MTA to celebrate our 10th Anniversary Season. Composer and playwright Brian M. Kunnari has created a personal and thoughtful new musical. Participants will have the rare chance to discover the intricacies and excitement of producing an original show on the MTA stage. They will have the opportunity to collaborate and influence the work with the author and composer throughout the rehearsal process and will conclude the show's run producing an original cast recording.

photos - JUNIE B. IN JINGLE BELLS BATMAN SMELLS - Fountain Hills Theater

CLICK HERE for more information on this production, which runs through December 17th

photos by Chris Bendet