2017/18 Phoenix Theatre Season

Theater Review – June 12, 2017


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 once a struggling semi-professional local company with a mixed bag of productions, Phoenix Theatre has evolved into the best local musical theater producer.

For 2017/18, Phoenix Theatre’s ten show season will present several home grown productions of shows that have only played here in touring versions of their Broadway originals.  There is a fully developed new production of a show the company premiered here plus the annual new plays and musicals festival.

Opening the season in September is the first local production of the popular Abba musical hit, “Mamma Mia!,” that Barnard will stage.  Next is the local premiere of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” an unusual musical that will appeal to younger theatergoers while challenging older patrons because it is not a conventional musical.

Disney’s popular “Newsies” based on the film will explode with lots of dancing in November and December.  January brings the non-musical, “It’s Only A Play,” that celebrates the theater while taking a slap at theater performers followed in February by a special engagement of “Hand to God” that brings puppets back to the theater but is also a very adult-themed attraction that is a co-production with Stray Cat Theatre.

Another solo show that premiered during a recent Phoenix Theatre Festival of New Plays and Musicals returns in February after updating by star Sally Jo Bannow and collaborator Craig Bohmler.  The show’s title can’t be named on the air but it is billed as an uplifting comedy that celebrates women.  Four rock n’ rollers, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, are featured in a jam session based on a 1956 recording session in “Million Dollar Quartet” that arrives in March  followed later that month by this season’s new shows festival.  Closing the season will be two off-Broadway musicals “Godspell” in April and “Little Shop of Horrors” in May.

Phoenix Theatre’s 2017/18 season brings several diverse productions.  To order tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 602-254-2151 or order tickets online at www.phoenixtheatre.com.