Summer Hiatus

During the months of July and August, 2017, no major theater openings are scheduled locally so there will be no new reviews on this site until September 2017 when the 2017/18 theater season begins.  All posted reviews will remain accessible on the site.  Please rejoin me in September for what appears to be an interesting season based on the announced shows at the local professional theaters.  If you have any comments or suggestions about the site or the reviews, please feel free to send those comments to me.  I will read and seriously consider any suggestions any reader may have. … Continue Reading

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – June 22, 2017

ASU GAMMAGE OVERWHELMS AN INTIMATE EXPOSE ON A YOUTH WITH AUTISM

“THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

It’s nice that ASU Gammage’s Broadway series schedules an occasional play along with the musicals it usually features.  But plays aren’t designed for large venues like ASU Gammage so they get lost in such big theaters.  Such is the case with the final show of the current season, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” that won the 2015 Tony Award as best play.

It is an intimate expose … Continue Reading

2017/18 Theater/Opera Season Highlights

Theater/Opera Peview – June 19, 2017

2017/18 MAJOR THEATER/OPERA SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

Over the past few weeks, we have reviewed Arizona Theatre Company, ASU Gammage, and Phoenix Theatre 2017/18 seasons.  In addition, the Valley has other significant performing arts companies that bring popular, classic, and premiere attractions here.  Today we look at highlights from the new Arizona Opera, Childsplay, Hale Centre Theatre, Phoenix Symphony, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, and Stray Cat Theatre seasons.

Arizona Opera presents five productions of usually standard operatic fare.  This season, in addition to three warhorse productions, the company will present a new opera based on the popular … Continue Reading

2017/18 Phoenix Theatre Season

Theater Review – June 12, 2017

2017/18 PHOENIX THEATRE SEASON ANNOUNCED AND DISCUSSED

Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

Under Michael Barnard’s expert artistic direction and Vincent Van Vleet’s fiscally sharp manaqing direction, Phoenix Theatre is now a thriving local professional theater that focuses on new and classic musical theater productions plus an annual festival of premiere shows.

The company’s productions are attractive, sleekly staged with strong choreography that result in Broadway quality productions featuring the best local performers augmented by imported professionals, often with Broadway credits.

The company’s downtown Phoenix three theater campus has abundant free parking, and allows production of big and intimate musicals.  What was … Continue Reading

2017/18 Arizona Theatre Company Season – Herberger Theater Center

Theater Review – June 5, 2017

2017/18 ARIZONA THEATRE COMPANY SEASON ANNOUNCED ALONG WITH SOME ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES

Arizona Theatre Company
Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

After 50 seasons, the Arizona Theatre Company approaches the 2017/18 season with renewed vigor after several recent financial struggles almost closed Arizona’s only fully professional theater company that performs in Phoenix and in Tucson.

The new season will see some major administrative changes plus an eclectic six show season that includes a popular musical, two classic plays, a recent musical revue, a new play that won the 2013 ATC National Latino Playwriting award, and a Broadway Tony Award nominee for Best … Continue Reading

2017/18 ASU Gammage Broadway Season Announced and “Bare” – Nearly Naked Theatre

Theater Review – May 29, 2017

2017/18 ASU GAMMAGE SEASON ANNOUNCED AND DISMAL “BARE” BEST IGNORED

ASU GAMMAGE 2017/18 BROADWAY SEASON
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

As the current theater season ends we search the 2017-18 season to see what looks enticing.  Today, we look at the shows that will stop at ASU Gammage.

These touring shows bring us recent Broadway hits and the ten-show season includes a recent Broadway play, the Tony Award-winning “The Humans.”  Since ASU Gammage executive director Colleen Jennings-Roggensack is the only Arizona Tony Award voter, she sees every Broadway production and selects her season to include the … Continue Reading

“The Book of Mormon” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – May 22, 2017

HILARIOUS AND SUPERLATIVE “THE BOOK OF MORMON” RETURNS TO ASU GAMMAGE

“THE BOOK OF MORMON”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

When “The Book of Mormon” opened on Broadway in 2011, it created a raucous uproar of extreme hilarity.  Irreverent but never mean or nasty, the musical found the humorous foibles and follies of the rigid Mormon Church and let audiences laugh at the religion’s unyielding rules.  The show won lots of awards and has been a huge hit as it entertains the world.

So when such a popular musical returns to the Valley, the hit show … Continue Reading

“Beehive” – Phoenix Theatre and “Holmes and Watson” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – May 15, 2017

“BEEHIVE” ENTERTAINS MIGHTILY WHILE INTRIGUING “HOLMES AND WATSON” EXPLORES THE DETECTIVE’S DEATH

“BEEHIVE”
Mainstage Theatre, Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

Two very different but marvelously produced local theatrical productions opened over the weekend.  A dynamically nostalgic trip back to ‘60s girl group song hits explodes at Phoenix Theatre in the entertaining “Beehive” while at the Herberger Theater Center, playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s world premiere tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous British detective, “Holmes and Watson,” keeps you intrigued as a succession of unexpected twists and turns results in an unforeseen finale.

With the melodic rock ‘n’ roll tunes of the ‘60s, … Continue Reading

“Once Upon A Mattress” – Theater Works

Theater Review – May 8, 2017

THEATER WORKS “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS” IS A COMIC TRIUMPH

“ONCE UPON A MATTRESS”
Theater Works, Gyder Theater, Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
Peoria, AZ

Back in 1959, there was a small off-Broadway show based on the “Princess and the Pea” that boasted the talents of a then undiscovered Carol Burnett.  The show was so successful, producers moved it to Broadway where “Once Upon A Mattress” added a few new songs and more saucy fun that turned the show into a comic triumph and made Burnett a star.

“Once Upon A Mattress” has a pleasant, if undistinguished, Mary Rodgers … Continue Reading

“Hir” – Stray Cat Theatre and “The Scottsboro Boys” – Phoenix Theatre, The Black Theatre Troupe, and ASU

Theater Review – May 1, 2017

DIFFICULT “HIR” MAKES YOU THINK AND SUPERB “THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS”

“HIR”
Stray Cat Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

Dysfunctional families exist throughout America but you’ve never met one quite like the Connor’s who populates Taylor Mac’s often hard-to-watch play “Hir” (Here) that is presented superbly by Stray Cat Theatre.  The dynasty is headed by stroke-impacted father, Arnold, a sexually ambiguous son, Max, a military family man, Isaac, and Paige, the twisted matriarch.

Paige heads the floundering family and her “I don’t care…” attitude has taken over her once conventional Central California Valley household.  The play … Continue Reading