John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men needs little introduction to many of us. The heartwarming yet emotionally devastating book was required reading at many schools, including my alma mater, Arcadia High School in Phoenix. Arizona Theatre Company brings the story to life through April 17 in a co-production with Milwaukee Repertory Theater. The play is aptly directed by Mark Clements.
If you’ve read the Diary of a Young Girl, written by Anne Frank while she and her family hid in an Amsterdam warehouse during the Holocaust, you know how profound her words were then and remain to this day. In 2005, British composer James Whitbourn set Frank’s poignant diary to music, and the 14-movement work will make its way to the Valley for two performances in April.
Some characters are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. So it is with Sir Andrew Aguecheek, a secondary character who’s red of face, dim of wit and lily of liver. But actor David Dickinson thrusts upon him such joyous jackassery he steals the show, and sets the tone for the production: gloriously over-the-top.
“Twelfth Night” – a Shakespearean “Yentl” that blurs the lines between feminine and masculine, friends and lovers, servitude and sex drive – is meant to be fun. It’s also one of the Bard’s most respected plays. And it treats us to some of his most famous lines: “If music be the food of love, play on,” “Some are born great...,” etc.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the tragedies in Billie Holiday’s life, you can hear them. They’re the dusky bass notes that haunt even her happy songs. They’re the sad cymbal beat behind her sassy flirting, her swearing, her minor key cackling. “I do the blues feelin’ with a jazz beat,” she says in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. There’s a moment late in the play when, after staggering offstage, she walks back on with her white glove pulled down, revealing a telltale blue bruise down her arm. That’s essentially what this one-woman show does: It peels back the dressing – the upbeat jazz, the celebrity, the showiness – to reveal the blues and the bruises beneath.
Combining Hamlet, Doctor Faustus, and Martin Luther and creating a comedy is the equivalent of mixing lead, nickel and iron and making gold. Playwright David Davalos has indeed achieved theatrical alchemy in this über-literary romp packed with witticisms that fly as fast as Hamlet’s tennis balls (more on that later).
This time of year, many of us are busy decorating our homes, baking cookies and scurrying to find gifts for the December holidays. There are also opportunities galore to see some festive holiday entertainment. Here are the top five shows to see in December.
Space 55, the downtown Phoenix theatre known for offbeat original variety shows, isn’t afraid to tread on tradition. Their annual holiday show A Bloody Mary Christmas, for example, involves a trio of foul-mouthed retirees from Sun City who spend more time getting sloshed than wrapping gifts or hanging garlands.
The America’s Got Talent crew is back on the road, hunting for the next Terry Fator or Mat Franco. This year, locals will have a chance to nab a spot in Season 11 when the 12-stop audition parks its sizeable entourage at Phoenix Convention Center, on Thursday, December 3.
When William Peter Blatty’s novel-turned-film The Exorcist hit the silver screen in 1973, audiences were so freaked out that some theater owners stocked smelling salts. One disgruntled fainter actually sued Warner Brothers after breaking his jaw falling on the seat in front of him.
When sizzling temperatures start to subside, Phoenicians look forward to cooler September nights and more time spent outside. But autumn also signals the start of the performing arts season at venues across the Valley. There’s a lot to choose from, but here are five of September’s can't-miss performing arts events:
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