“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

Norm Lewis with Seth Rudetsky – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Theater Review – March 6, 2020

BROADWAY’S NORM LEWIS PROVIDES STUNNING SONGS AND AMUSING BACKSTAGE CHATTER

NORM LEWIS WITH SETH RUDETSKY
Virginia G. Piper Theater, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Scottsdale, AZ

Beautiful voiced Broadway star Norm Lewis brought his stunning vocals for one night to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts interspersed with hysterical backstage insights prompted by series host/pianist Seth Rudetsky.

Lewis’ concert was the final offering in this season’s series presenting Broadway stars singing highlights of their careers with catty banter.  Rudetsky said the series will return next season although no performers have been revealed.

Lewis sang many Broadway hit songs several … Continue Reading

“Once on This Island” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – March 4, 2020

“ONCE ON THIS ISLAND” HAS GREAT T-SHIRTS EVEN IF THE CARIBBEAN LOVE TALE DOESN’T MAKE GREAT MUSICAL THEATER

“ONCE ON THIS ISLAND”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

The best part of the touring “Once on This Island at ASU Gammage this week was the festive bright blue show t-shirt with muted tones of yellow that I bought in the lobby before the 90 minute, one-act musical began.  The Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens musical didn’t equal the team’s earlier “Ragtime” triumph.  “Once on This Island” is a morality tale about Ti Moune, a young girl, … Continue Reading

“Americano!” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – February 23, 2020

A WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL DEBUTS AT THE PHOENIX THEATRE COMPANY

“AMERICANO!”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Mainstage Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

The Phoenix Theatre Company is branching out to present world premiere musicals and plays.  It just closed the new musical “Americano!” that told the true story of Tony Valdovinos, a Phoenix immigrant who had lived in this country since he was two but had never been told by his parents that he was not an American citizen.  This fact stifled his longtime hope to enlist in the Marine Corp when he turned 18.

Before I go further in this commentary about … Continue Reading

“Master Harold … and the Boys” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – February 16, 2020

BRILLIANT PERFORMANCES GIVE FUGARD’S “MASTER HAROLD…” A STRONG SLAM AT SOUTH AFRICAN APARTHEID IN 1950

“MASTER HAROLD … AND THE BOYS”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

Three brilliant actors create vivid depictions of the appalling apartheid conditions in South Africa circa 1950 in Athol Fugard’s tensely dramatic semi-autobiographical work “Master Harold” … and the Boys.”

Master Harold is an immature White lad who grew up under the tutelage of his household’s two Black servants, Sam and Willie.  They substituted for his errant and drunken father.  But now with a bit of age, a tad of … Continue Reading