“Daddy Long Legs” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – June 26, 2021

LOVELY “DADDY LONG LEGS” IS A SUMMER DELIGHT

“DADDY LONG LEGS”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Hormel Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

After years of reviewing Valley theater, I have seen most local shows previously on Broadway or in London.  So, it is especially refreshing to see a musical here I haven’t seen and know little about.  When that show is the tenderly endearing “Daddy Long Legs,” produced smashingly by The Phoenix Theatre Company, there is little more local theater lovers could cherish.

“Daddy Long Legs” traces the unusual but respectable relationship between rich Jervis Pendleton who uses his money to provide higher … Continue Reading

“Becoming Dr. Ruth” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – June 6, 2021

MARVELOUS PERFORMANCE BRINGS DR. RUTH’S WITTY SEX THERAPY BACK TO LIFE

“BECOMING DR. RUTH”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Mainstage Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

We all knew Dr. Ruth Westheimer and her witty jabs at common misconceptions about sex practices.  Bringing the sex therapist back to life is a challenge for any performer but The Phoenix Theatre Company found the perfect actor in Debra K. Stevens who crafts a remarkable portrait in “Becoming Dr. Ruth.”

After over a year without live theater where virtual and outdoor performances substituted for the real thing, “Becoming Dr. Ruth” marks the return of … Continue Reading

“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – April 17, 2021

“MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA” PRESENTS THE CROONER’S WELL-KNOWN SONG HITS IN AN ENJOYABLE TPTC STAGING

“MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

Iconic crooner Frank Sinatra died in 1998 but his legend lives on because his recordings, television appearances, and movies preserve his unique song styling and well-known and relaxed delivery.  David Grapes and Todd Olson use Sinatra’s hits to create a winning tribute “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.”  This melodic, memory-filled entertainment uses four performers who sing … Continue Reading

“Ring of Fire” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – March 13, 2021

“RING OF FIRE” IS A TREAT FOR JOHNNY CASH LOVERS AND ROUSIING ENTERTAINMENT FOR CASH DOUBTERS IN FOOT-STOMPIN’ TPTC STAGING””

“RING OF FIRE”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

For musical theater lovers, country/western singer Johnny Cash has little relevance while Cash lovers have little use for musicals.  So, it was surprising when Richard Maltby, Jr. and William Meade used several popular Cash song hits to create “Ring of Fire,” a tribute to the great song writer/singer.  And when The Phoenix Theatre Company mounts a sharply performed production, the result is a … Continue Reading

“Murder for Two” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – February 20, 2021

“MURDER FOR TWO” MOCKS SUSPENSE THRILLERS IN FUNNY STAGING

“MURDER FOR TWO”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

The Phoenix Theatre Company was the first local live theater to be reborn after the pandemic closed venues last March.  Since November, TPTC has presented musical revues that have been safely and socially distanced in their new outdoor playhouse at the Central United Methodist Church courtyard north of the company’s theater complex.

Now TPTC has tackled a popular musical murder mystery farce, “Murder for Two.”  It’s refreshing to have a nicely staged and expertly performed … Continue Reading

“Get Happy: Angela Ingersoll Sings Judy Garland” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – January 31, 2021

TPTC’S JUDY GARLAND SHOW BRINGS BACK THE ICONIC SUPER STAR

“GET HAPPY: ANGELA INGERSOLL SINGS JUDY GARLAND”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Judy Garland was a dynamic, one-of-a-kind entertainer who had it all – looks, a legendary voice, all the right moves, impeccable stage flourish but most of all a personality like no other performer.  Even when I saw her in her last San Francisco engagement before she took London by storm just before her passing, she was beyond her prime but still something special.

Her earlier brilliance had … Continue Reading

“Unwrapped: A Rockin’ Holiday Spectacular” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – December 6, 2020

TPTC’S HOLIDAY “UNWRAPPED” LACKS FESTIVE FLOURISHES

“UNWRAPPED”
The Phoenix Theatre Company
Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

During the holidays, a musical tribute to these festive times is always welcome especially in this bleak year.  But while The Phoenix Theatre Company’s revue “Unwrapped: A Rockin’ Holiday Spectacular” premiered with a quintet of top singers and a spirited back-up band plus two dozen songs – both familiar and unfamiliar – the concert lacks holiday jollity.

The performers are costumed in drab, everyday clothes while the band is garbed in somber black.  There’s little staging in this … Continue Reading

“Happy Birthday Dionne” The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – November 14, 2020

TPTC BRINGS BACK A LIVE EVENT WITH “HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIONNE”

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIONNE”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

The pandemic has translated into no live theater.  Virtual productions on computer screens aren’t equivalent because theater is something shared with others in an auditorium.  Lacking that dimension, it is not the same experience.  Local theater has been dark since March and Broadway and touring shows will remain closed until June at the earliest.

The Phoenix Theatre Company was anxious to bring back safe live theater.  So TPTC looked beyond its three theater … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Impacts Local Theater & Changes Made At ASU Gammage

Theater Commentary – May 2, 2020

COVID-19 IMPACTS LOCAL THEATER AND CHANGES ARE MADE IN ASU GAMMAGE BROADWAY SEASON

By Chris Curcio

Since live theater will not return until September at the earliest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local theatergoers are facing the challenge of not attending the art form they love.  For those who value theater, seeing performances on a television, a computer, or a smartphone is nothing like enjoying live theater with other audience members.

For live theater to return the experience must be different.  We can no longer crowd into a playhouse because social distancing must be established.  We must wait … Continue Reading

2020/21 ASU Gammage and Tucson Broadway Season Announcements

Theater Review – March 22, 2020

2020/21 ASU GAMMAGE AND TUCSON BROADWAY SEASON ANNOUNCEMENTS

Broadway Across America, ASU Gammage, Tempe, AZ and
Broadway in Tucson, Centennial Hall, Tucson, AZ

The two 2020/2021 Broadway in Arizona seasons of touring shows has been announced.  Interestingly, many of the shows in the two cities are the same, an occurrence that has only occasionally happened in past seasons.  The ASU Gammage season usually gets the touring Broadway shows at least one season before Tucson but the new seasons share five shows.

The Tempe season does feature the Broadway hit “Frozen,” a major Broadway revival of “Oklahoma,” and the New … Continue Reading