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THE DAY LINK........


Archives August 2012


Brenda continues to impact women in cities where the Women of Faith conference brings her like Denver, Portland, San Antonio, Seattle and Spokane (pictured) where she blesses a local women's organization with tickets, care packages and meets with the women to encourage and pray with them.                       

Kurt & Brenda supported Kurt's ex-teammate Larry Fitzgerald at his annual celebrity server's fund-raiser in Phoenix.

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One N. First Street
 Suite 730
 Phoenix, AZ 85004
602.385.0841 fax
1.877.FIRST 13


As the temps in the midwest start to chill, it's time for the annual Warners' Warm-up Coat Drive.  We are thrilled to be celebrating 11 years of warming the St. Louis Bi-state and look forward to another successful drive!  In addition, help kids (or any gridiron novice) enjoy the excitement the second half of the NFL season brings by downloading Football 101 free on Apple devices.  As always, we appreciate your continued support of the Warners and First Things First, including forwarding this email to friends, family and colleagues.  Blessings!

Warners' Warm-up Back to Warm up Bi-State
Nearly 300 Drop Off locations throughout greater St. Louis



Once again, we are calling on support from greater St. Louis for the 11th annual Warners’ Warm-up Coat Drive with the donation of winter coats of all shapes and sizes for Bi-State residents in need. Nearly 300 locations throughout the Bi-State are collecting new and gently-used winter coats from November 1st – 14th.  As always, Operation Food Search will get the coats to those who need them most through their network of social service agencies, homeless shelters, and social workers in the schools. Special thanks to our Warners’ Warm-up teammates: FedEx Office, Walgreens, LookAfter Hair Company, credit unions, police stations, A-mrazek Moving Systems, MESI, Fox 2, WB11, KMOX, Y98, Fresh 102.5, American Cleaners, and the St. Louis Rams. Click here to find a drop-off location near you.

Financial donations are also accepted by clicking here and will be used to buy new children’s coats at a discount. 


"Football 101" FREE Now until end of season!
iPhone/iPad app to help young fans understand the game

From now through the end of the NFL season, Kurt is offering a free download of his expanded and enhanced HD version of Football 101 for Kids, designed to teach youngsters and any "gridiron novice" the basics of the game.  Now available for the iPad, iPhones, iPods and new Retina displays, the touch-screen interactive format takes learning the hows and why's about football to a higher, more exciting level and gives young fans the opportunity to win virtual trophies as they master the basics!

With capability to save scores for up to four people, Football 101 users will learn to identify players and positions, read the field, move the ball, calculate downs, and add up the scores.  With two levels of difficulty, both young and old can participate and be challenged.  Timed lightning rounds and new bonus rounds with expanded material test each user's skills.

"Football 101 is a fun way to teach kids the fundamentals -- and then the whole family can really enjoy football together," said Kurt Warner.  "We're excited about creating a line of apps that's engaging to kids, challenges their educational skills and entertains them at the same time.  Our next app "Think Fast! Scramble!" will be released soon and there's more to come!"

Click here for more information and to download Football 101 now!

Philips Docking System DC390 for iPod, iPhone, and iPad


Product Features and Reviews
Retail $149.95 

Bill Johnson’s Big Apple
Restaurants Share Tantalizing Secrets for Top Notch BBQ

Historic Arizona BBQ Restaurants Show you How to Get Restaurant Style Steaks in your Backyard

As Summer approaches, families everywhere are anticipating the unmistakable aroma of slow roasted meat that waft through the thick summer nights. In an effort to give grill masters tips on smoking the ultimate restaurant-style steak, Bill Johnson’s Big Apple Restaurants offer them professional techniques sure to turn their backyard BBQ into a culinary haven.

“Creating the ultimate steak begins with choosing a top quality, choice cut of grade A meat,” said Johnny Johnson Jr., one of Gene and Bill Johnson’s four children. “As my grandma used to say: Always start out with a great piece of top quality meat and it’s all downhill from there. You can’t go wrong…and she was right!” Johnson touts Prime, Choice and Select cuts as the best quality available in your butcher’s case. Look for steaks that are light pink in color, with marbling running throughout to give it the utmost flavor.

Once the steak is home and ready to grill, Johnson recommends marinating the steak in Worschestire sauce, salt and pepper, massaging the steak through a plastic bag to evenly distribute the mixture. After at least four hours of marinating at room temperature, brush the steak with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper—adding cayenne for a kick. BBQ sauce can be brushed over the steak and grilled into the cut of meat, giving it a moist, savory flavor unparallel to any other grilled meat. “As the number one selling BBQ sauce in Arizona, Bill Johnson’s Big Apple’s sauce can give your steak that professional edge and make it taste like an expensive cut of meat—but without breaking the bank,” said Johnson. “And, you can even get a coupon for a free bottle on!”

Johnson then recommends placing the steak over a medium-high fire, on the direct heat side of the grill. “The length of cooking time really depends on the size and cut of the steak—and what your preference is. But be warned: cooking the meat until it’s well done is truly a crime against the steak,” Laughed Johnson. “For a nicely charred steak with a pinkish tone on the inside, it’s best to grill on high heat for approximately three minutes on each side. It gives it a nice crisp flavor while still retaining all the juicy flavor on the inside.”

Once the steak is finished, Johnson recommends brushing again with BBQ sauce, and serving with a tall glass of red wine. “Steaks have long been the pinnacle of tradition in the Johnson family, and throughout generations we have each added our own flare for grilling meat,” said Johnson. “With the right techniques and methods, we believe anyone can grill restaurant-worthy BBQ in their own backyard—and ultimately create their own family traditions behind the grill.”

With five Valley locations, Bill Johnson’s Big Apple Restaurants have been delighting Arizonans with their award winning breakfasts, rich Western dishes and world class barbeque for over 50 years. In addition to their unparallel dishes, Bill Johnson’s harbors a unique and rich history showcased by a museum-like ambience of western nostalgia. Having served country legends such as Wayne Newton and Johnny Cash, as well as countless Arizona dignitaries, Bill Johnson’s Big Apple Restaurants have always retained its signature penchant for serving real food for real people—the way it’s always been, and always will be.

PHOTOS: Below -The Original Bill Johnson outside of his restaurant; Above- Bill with wife Gene Johnson, who developed and honed Bill Johnson’s famous BBQ sauce.

        To experience world-class BBQ today that will definitely inspire your own backyard efforts, visit one of the Bill Johnson’s Big Apple Restaurants:

The Original
3757 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85008 - Ph. (602) 275-2107

16810 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85023 - Ph. (602) 863-7921

1330 N. Dysart Rd., Goodyear, AZ 85338 - Ph. (623) 882-8288

3101 W. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85017 - Ph. (602) 277-6291

950 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ 85203 - Ph. (480) 969-6504

 For more information, visit  

Since 1956, Bill Johnson’s Big Apple Restaurants have been providing guests with award winning breakfasts, world class barbeque fare, and Arizona’s number 1 selling barbeque sauce. Its unique history and legend has become a mark of the Old West, and was established in the heart and mind of Bill Johnson, one of Arizona’s original showmen. The nostalgic ambiance, spectacular service, and famous home cooked barbeque defines Bill Johnson’s 54 year journey – “Real Food for Real People.” Visit one of our five Valley locations today. Call (602) 863-7921 to book your next event. For more information, please go to:

Out of Print announces a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the final product development stages of its eBook Jackets for iPad 2/3 and the Kindle Fire

Key Positions Still Hard to Fill, Complain U.S. Firms

Wells Fargo Conducts statewide food drive for Arizona Food Banks

Sexual Harassment and Bullying:
A Guide to Keeping Kids Safe and Holding Schools Accountable

by Dr. Susan L. Strauss

 It’s a topic in the news every day lately. The newscasts and television magazine shows are filled with stories about bullying and sexual harassment. As the summer comes to a close, and school gears up for another year, it is bound to be brought up more often. And why not? Every parent fears for the safety of their child as they send them off into a seemingly more dangerous world than they encountered. Teachers are frustrated at trying to solve the issue in their classrooms. Administrators fear lawsuits and violence resulting from such behavior in their schools.  Read more




Excerpt from Clint Eastwood




Solair®:  Leading Shade Solutions Enhance Outdoor Living Space for Homeowners

Story of the US Dollar Interesting details of the US Dollar design.

INCREDIBLE! Compare yourself to the universe and put
our life into prospective Click Here for Link

Beyond the Physical explains what happens after you die and enter the spirit world with Gene's experiences seeing Jesus and prophets in Heaven.

 Order your copy of this incredible book direct here or on ebay at

Senior Discounts Can Add Up $$$
Click for List of Places to Save$$$ 

Actor Adrian Grenier at Glenfiddich’s 125th Anniversary Celebration  Breaks World Record at Auction
Reserve Single Malt Whisky Goes under the Hammer for $94,000

Encyclopedia Britannica Goes Strictly Digital - No more huge set of books to lug around! But I will miss browsing the pages...

Meditate to Reduce Stress and Improve Health

CMSA History Cowboy Mounted Shooting Assoc. pictures from past events...


Chamber Networking Events Updated

OrthaHeel Walker Shoe Reviewed  




logoNestlé Purina and Kroger Award More Than $150,000 to Animal Welfare Organizations
in the "Tales for the Pet Lover's Heart" Campaign
Animals Benefit Club of Arizona receives top donation of $55,883

Learn to Ride a Unicycle Book 

  Poll Finds Half of Americans Think Doctors Write Too Many Prescriptions

    Need Credit ?

  How to Earn Money on the Internet taking surveys

    New Dining Reviews

  Weight Loss with Alkaline Water

  The Enzyme Factor Book Review

 Just When You Think It Can’t Get Deadlier

The Paris Wife Review
 Featured ItemS

Arizona Centennial
Jackson Designs
Arizona Centennial Buckle
Arizona buckle maker Jackson has created a beautiful Arizona Centennial buckle shown here. Arizona Duuude Bob Roloff is the first to wear this unique buckle with two toned copper and gold depicting the state flag and name with the state dates 1912 -2012. The buckle will be available for sale, Just contact Jackson at 623-873-2475 and let him know AZ Duuude sent you


OPTN/UNOS Policy Proposal Distributed for Public Comment

September 16, 2011

This document contains fourteen policy proposals being offered for public comment. These proposals were developed by OPTN/UNOS committees. When the public comment period ends on December 23, 2011, each sponsoring committee will review the feedback they receive and consider modifications to the original proposals. The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors may then review and vote on these proposals at its meeting on June 25-26, 2012.

We welcome your feedback on this policy proposal and other aspects of the public comment process as we continue to improve the way that we communicate with the community.

Please note that all exhibits and appendices to these proposals can be found on the OPTN website via the link below.

Please click on the following link to provide your comments on these proposal:

You may also send general feedback to

Please submit all comments no later than December 23, 2011. For questions about the proposal, please contact your Regional Administrator at (804) 782-4800.

Cell Phone Numbers Go Public - Register on Do Not Call List 

REMINDER.... All cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.
YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS Even if the message is saved on your phone, you will be charged for the minutes to listen to it.
To prevent this, call the following  number from your cell phone:  

It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.  
You  must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked.  
You cannot call from a different phone number. HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS..
It takes about 20  seconds.
  After 30 days you may file a complaint if telemarketers call your number. To file a complaint go to




Gene Schmitz wants to tell you about his out of body experiences and face to face meeting with Jesus in Heaven. 

Check out his new book "Beyond the Physical"
NOW Available in Apple ITunes Store $8.99 

Dates Events (click for details) DISCLAIMER: AZPHM  makes every effort to verify that the information on events we print is accurate. However, details can change up to the last minute. We advise that you call and confirm that ALL information is correct. Where
August 29 • 8:00 PM
On Sale Tues 5/24 at 10 am!
An Evening with
Donny Osmond

Monday August 29, 2011

Club Doors @ 6:30 PM
Theatre Doors @ 7:00 PM
Showtime: 8:00 PM

Rows 1-8 = $70.00
Rows 9-25 = $40.00
Seating is in the Round.

Visit artist's website »
Donny was born December 9, 1957 to George and Olive Osmond in Ogden Utah. He is the seventh of nine children: eight boys and one girl. The entire Osmond Family have a long and varied career, which had a humble beginning singing barbershop harmony on Main Street Disneyland. Soon thereafter, Donny and his siblings became very successful teen idols worldwide. READ MORE
Celebrity Theatre
440 N 32nd St
"One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you'll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do."— Earl Nightingale: motivational author and speaker
"Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world."— Johann von Goethe
 "Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind." — Henry James, American author (1843-1916).








 “Humorous and lively…the Devil Has Rarely Been Given His Due More Perceptively!”


“Wickedly Witty…One Hell of a Good Show!”


“A Profound Experience!”


 Chicago, IL - THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, the provocative and wickedly funny theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view, will be presented for two performances only at the Ikeda Theater, Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street in Mesa on Saturday, February 4 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. 

The National Tour of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS kicked off after a hit nine-month run at the Westside Theatre in New York where it played 309 performances.  Prior to that, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS was a sold out sit down hit in Chicago and Washington D. C. Now in second smash year, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS’ National Tour continues to break box office records and has played to capacity audiences in numerous cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Atlanta and Dallas. 


Associated Press calls the production “Devilishly funny!” The Chicago Sun-Times hails THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS as “Smart, sizzling entertainment!”

 THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS creates a topsy turvy morally inverted universe set in an eerily stylish office in hell, where God is called the “Enemy” and the devil is referred to as “Our Father below.” 

 The play follows His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape, Satan’s top psychiatrist, played by award winning actor Max McLean, and his creature-demon secretary Toadpipe, as they train an apprentice demon, Wormwood, on the fine art of seducing an unsuspecting human “patient” down the “soft, gentle path to hell.”


Along with The Chronicles of Narnia (including The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe), The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is still one of Lewis’ most popular and influential works.  The book's piercing insight into human nature and the lucid and humorous way Lewis makes his readers squirm in self recognition made it an immediate success.  When first published in 1942 it brought worldwide fame to this little-known Oxford don including the cover of Time Magazine.


Lewis dedicated it to his close friend J. R. R. Tolkien who had expressed to Lewis that delving too deeply into the craft of evil would have consequences.  Lewis admitted as much when he wrote “Though I had never written anything more easily, I never wrote with less enjoyment . . . though it was easy to twist one’s mind into the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long. The work into which I had to project myself while I spoke through Screwtape was all dust, grit, thirst, and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness, and geniality had to be excluded.”


THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is produced by New York City based Fellowship for the Performing Arts. Max McLean serves as Artistic Director.  Executive Producer and General Manager is Ken Denison of Aruba Productions. Scenic Design is by Cameron Anderson, Costumes by Michael Bevins, Lighting Design by Jesse Klug, and Original Music and Sound Design by John Gromada.

The performance schedule for THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is Saturday, February 4 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.  Tickets range from $29 - $59.  There are a limited number of premium seats available for $89.  For groups of 10 or more (including student groups) call 866.476.8707.

To purchase tickets, visit, call 480.644.6500 or visit the Mesa Arts Center, Monday – Friday from 10:00am to 7:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday from 12:00 noon to 4:00pm and 90 minutes prior to performance start time.

Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews? (Actors Theatre)
The Blue Room (Nearly Naked Theatre)
Grey Gardens The Musical (Tempe Little Theatre)
At Home in the Zoo (iTheatre Collaborative)
Sex and The Second City, Version 2.0 (Arizona Theatre Company)
Comedy Show: Competitive Improv (National Comedy Theatre Phoenix)

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The Drowsy Chaperone

Running now through April 10


Click here to view a Drowsy Chaperone Slideshow 





The Full Monty

"YOU KNOW you wanna see it!"


Running April 22 - May 28, 2011


Hey ladies! Every night is a Ladies Night Out at The Full Monty! Make a date with the girls and join us for this funny and touching musical. Get a group together. Groups start at 10 people - with up to 25% off the regular ticket price! 







  "Get out your GREENladies"


March 17 at 11 a.m.


Enjoy a preview of The Drowsy Chaperone.

Robert Shaw will join us for a preview of How Great Thou Art - The Gospel Music of Elvis.

And be charmed by a special performance by the Music Box Dance Studio's Celtic Dance Troupe!




DeLoach Vineyards

Wine Dinner

March Wine Dinner

 Thursday, March 24




  How Great Thou Art

April 16 & 17 at 2 p.m.

From the earliest days of his boyhood until his untimely death, gospel music always held a special place in the heart of Elvis Presley. Before he became the most famous entertainer the world has ever known, as a young man Elvis wanted nothing more than to sing bass in a gospel group. Starring Robert Shaw and a 12-piece band with a gospel quartet performing such hits as "Peace In The Valley," "Amazing Grace," and, of course, the title track, "How Great Thou Art," you're sure to find inspiration and lots of great memories in this wonderful music. Come and see for yourself why the Arizona Daily Star says "Shaw's firm grasp of Presley's powerful vocals are keeping the King's spiritual legacy alive."



What people are saying about

The Drowsy Chaperone 


"Opening night was great! I really enjoyed it. Eddie Maldonado is hysterical!!" 

"So great to see the talented Abby and Geoff Belliston sharing the stage. Funny show - something for everyone. Buy tickets and go see it!"      

"I saw the The Drowsy Chaperone and I think everyone should order tickets right away! GREAT JOB, cast, crew and production staff! What a fun show! Coming back and bringing friends!"


Featured Spotlight: Martha J. Clarke, Costume Director 

In this edition of ABT Exposed, we thought it would be fun to take you behind the scenes and into the costume shop to see some of the design concepts created for The Drowsy Chaperone - our current production running through April 10. So many elements come together to make a musical come to life of the ABT stage, but possibly none more noticeably stunning than the amazing costumes designed by our award-winning Costume Director, Martha J. Clarke!  


 Martha Clarke


   Drowsy                                     Man In Chair 

  Chaperone Man in chair 

Aldolpho & Chaperone Man in chair 


The Pastry Chefs                Mrs. Tottendale

          Gangsters 1      Tottendale

Toledo SurpriseTottendale


Martha is one of the original company members of the Arizona Broadway Theatre. As the Resident Designer for ABT, she has designed costumes for many of the mainstage productions, including: Anything Goes! ('05), Damn Yankees, How to Succeed..., La Cage Aux Folles, Crazy for You, Jeckyll and Hyde, The Music Man, Cabaret, Guys and Dolls, A Christmas Carol, Bye Bye Birdie, Phantom and CATS. Some of Martha's most memorable work was most recently seen in the classic musical favorite, My Fair Lady.  





Martha serves as the Internship Coordinator for Arizona Broadway Theatre and works with promising students from high schools and universities from both in and outside of Arizona.  Recently, Martha served on a committee with the Arizona State Department of Education and Arizona State University to establish Program Standards Validation for courses in the Performing Arts and Entertainment Industries in Arizona's Public School System.  She has also served as an Adjudicator for the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, offering feedback and mentorship to students pursuing theatrical design education in the state of Arizona.  Martha earned her Bachelors degree from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon and her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Montana, in Missoula.  As a student at Linfield College, she was recognized nationally for her design of Stop the World...I Want to Get Off!  She has taught at several colleges and universities around the country, including Western Oregon State College (now Western Oregon University), Western Washington University, Alabama State University, The University of Montana, Weber State University and Idaho State University.  She spent nine seasons designing and running the costume shop at The Bigfork Summer Playhouse in Montana, and has also designed for a number of companies including Idaho Repertory Theatre and Sierra Repertory Theatre. Martha has also worked as a draper for The University of Michigan, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival and The Utah Shakespearean Festival.  Since relocating to Arizona, Martha has received several ariZoni nominations for her work at Arizona Broadway Theatre, including Best Costume Design Award for her design of ABT's 2007 production of La Cage Aux Folles. In 2010, Martha won for her Costume and Make-up design for CATS




Don't miss Martha's amazing creations in The Drowsy Chaperone, now through April 10.



Fund Development Matters

We couldn't do it without you!


                                           Leaving a Legacy                                                       



Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT) lost a dear friend on February 1, 2011.


Meredith R. Flinn was a strong early advocate for the theatre and a founding member of the ABT Performing Arts Association, Inc. Board of Trustees. It was during her tenure as the Deputy City Manager of Peoria, Arizona that Meredith helped to find a location for ABT on Paradise Lane.


Unabashedly, ABT was Meredith's passion. In addition to supporting the theatre's Annual Fund, Meredith was one of the first season ticket holders and attended all of the theatre's 40 mainstage productions since it opened in November 2005. During her last outings, Meredith's presence graced ABT's New Year's Eve Gala and the opening night of My Fair Lady on January 7. 


But her final magnanimous gesture was her wish to join ABT's philanthropic Legacy Circle, which honors and recognizes the foresight and generosity of individuals who establishes a deferred gift to ABT through a bequest, trust or other estate planning provision. Meredith's legacy gift makes a powerful statement about her belief in the valuable role of the performing arts in people's lives and in our communities. It also speaks to her desire to ensure the long-term vitality and sustainability of an institution she held so dear.


Arizona Broadway Theatre thanks and salutes Meredith Flinn - an extraordinary woman whose cherished friendship and dedication to our theatre will live in perpetuity.


The Velveteen Rabbit Takes Center Stage


Due to two generous grant awards to ABT, The Velveteen Rabbit will be focal point of a two-part program held in Surprise and Glendale on Tuesday, March 22, and Thursday, March 24.


Based on the classic children's book by Margery Williams, the Velveteen Rabbit is presented with two options:  become a real rabbit or stay with his sick friend to help him get better. Which choice will he make? At the end of the adventure, the Velveteen Rabbit learns that love makes all things real.


In Surprise: ABT actors will present a simple reading of the adapted stage play at the Countryside Recreation Center on March 22 at 10 a.m.  The full one-hour performance of the play will be held on March 24 at the same time and place. The general public can pick up free tickets at the Northwest Regional Library beginning March 14. Seating is limited to 300 and tickets are required for admission.


In Glendale: ABT actors will present a simple reading of the adapted stage play in the Glendale Public Library Auditorium on March 22 at 4 p.m.  The full one-hour performance of the play will be held on March 24 at the same time and place. Tickets are required for admission. The general public may pick up free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis at the Glendale Public Library 20 minutes before the doors open for the programsIndividuals must be in line in order to get their own tickets (Holding space in line or picking up tickets for others is not allowed). Seating is limited to 240.   


Both programs also have an art project focusing on The Velveteen Rabbit.  For more information about the art component, contact the Glendale Public Library and Northwest Regional Library.  


The Surprise programs are sponsored by a grant award from the Sun City Rotary Club Foundation and those in Glendale by grant funding from the City of Glendale and the Glendale Arts Commission.


Thanks to our ABT sponsors for their generosity!


Wondering about the ABT Ticket Donation Policy?


As you know, Arizona Broadway Theatre is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and must rely on financial support from the community-at-large. Yet, ABT recognizes the same need exists for other nonprofits and wants to play an important role in the community.  The theatre believes it should serve as an example of a good corporate citizen and neighbor. Therefore, ABT is pleased to support other not-for-profits' fundraising endeavors to the extent it is possible.

Because ABT receives several hundreds of donation requests each year, the theatre has implemented a Philanthropic Donation Policy by which it determines the donations it is able to grant. If you are interested in applying for an in-kind contribution of tickets for a nonprofit fundraiser, please review the policy before submitting any request. Go to  and click on TICKETS on the left side of the home page.  Open the drop-down menu and click on TICKET DONATIONS.


Kindly keep in mind that ABT is only able to approve a donation appeal in which every one of the specifications is met.  In addition, please recognize that the theatre has strict financial considerations and may be unable to fulfill every request.


Best of luck with your fundraising endeavors!


Capitol Steps Nov. 27–28, 2009 Friday @ 8 p.m. and Saturday @ 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts The NEW Virginia G. Piper Theater
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will present the Capitol Steps on Nov. 27–28. Single tickets are available for $50 from the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Web site at or the box office at (480) 994-ARTS (2787) ext. 2.  

Famous for putting the ‘mock’ in democracy, the Capitol Steps have become an annual Thanksgiving weekend tradition at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. The irreverent group charms audiences on both sides of the aisle with its unique brand of political humor set to popular music. While the Steps are renowned for poking fun at occupants of the White House, no one is safe from their wickedly funny jabs, from Democrats to Republicans and from Congress to the Supreme Court.

Depending on the scandal of the day, the Steps will perform selections from their up-to-the-minute repertoire, including songs and skits from their latest albums, Obama Mia and Barackin’ Around the Christmas Tree, with special ‘guest appearances’ by President and Nobel Prize winner Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi and many more.

 The Capitol Steps’ performances are sponsored in laughing memory of Steve Simon by his family and are presented with support from Marriott Suites Scottsdale Old Town.

Photo by Keith Stanley of Bari Biern as Sarah Palin

LOCATION AND PARKING Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is located at 7380 E. Second St. in downtown Scottsdale, four blocks south of Indian School Road and three blocks east of Scottsdale Road. Free parking is available in the public parking garage located to the west of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and directly behind Los Olivos restaurant on Wells Fargo Avenue. Additional free parking is available at the Old Town Parking Corral at East Second Street and Brown Avenue and at the Civic Center Library parking garage located on Drinkwater Boulevard at East Second Street.

 ACCESSIBILITY Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts offers performance accommodations to enhance audience members’ experience, including: American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation or live audio description with two weeks advance notice. Assisted listening devices and wheelchair seating are always available. Visit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Web site at or contact the patron services box office at (480) 994-ARTS ext. 2 [TDD: (480) 874-4694] for further details. Please inquire about services when ordering tickets.

GROUP AND STUDENT DISCOUNTS Attend with family and friends, or bring a group from your business, civic or religious organization. Save $3 per ticket and at least $30 in handling fees when purchasing 15 or more tickets to the same event (subject to availability; some restrictions apply). Instead of $2.50 per single ticket, the handling fee is only $7.50 total for group orders. Full-time students may purchase half-price tickets one hour before events/performances (subject to availability; limit one single ticket per full-time student; some restrictions apply). Must present current valid student I.D. in person at the patron services box office. No phone orders.

 SCOTTSDALE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Opened in 1975, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents a dynamic, culturally diverse season of dance, jazz, classical and world music, theater and satire. Approximately 2,000 performances, educational programs, festivals and other events are showcased annually serving more than 300,000 people and contributing substantially to Scottsdale’s high quality of life and vibrant arts scene. Performances take place in the Center’s newly renovated 853-seat Virginia G. Piper Theater and 137-seat Stage 2 as well as the 2,000-seat amphitheater on the grounds of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. The Center’s youth education and outreach programs reach more than 50,000 school children each year, and its free events are available to the entire public. The Center also produces the award-winning Scottsdale Arts Festival every March; Sunday A’Fair, a series of free outdoor music festivals held on Sunday afternoons from January to April; and Native Trails, a collaboration with the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau that features free demonstrations of Native American arts and culture from January to April. Opening in fall 2009, the Center Bistro by Arcadia Farms features pre- and post-show menus. Open daily and during performances, The Store @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts offers hand-crafted jewelry, accessories for the home, imaginative toys, recordings, books, greeting cards and more.

 The Scottsdale Cultural Council, a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is contracted by the City of Scottsdale, Ariz., to administer certain City arts and cultural projects and to manage the City-owned Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Public Art Program. The programs of the Scottsdale Cultural Council are made possible, in part, by the support of members and donors and grants received from the Arizona Commission on the Arts through appropriations from the Arizona State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.


AriZoni Award-winning actress Patti Hannon celebrates nine years performing as Sister in the “Late Nite Catechism” comedies at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

"Late Nite Catechism” Performed weekly, Fridays @ 8 p.m. (starting June 12, 2009) “Late Nite Catechism III: ’Til Death Do Us Part” Performed weekly, Saturdays @ 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Stage 2(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – The “Late Nite Catechism” comedies have been a habit in Scottsdale for a record-breaking nine seasons! To celebrate this milestone, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is bringing back the original “Late Nite Catechism” by popular demand for a limited summer engagement on Friday evenings at 8 p.m. starting June 12. With a newly updated script, “Late Nite Catechism III: ’Til Death Do Us Part” will also run throughout the summer on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. All performances will take place in Scottsdale Center for the Performing Art’s intimate Stage 2 theater.

 Single tickets are available for $36 from the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Web site at or the box office at (480) 994-ARTS (2787). 

Spontaneous, witty and fun, “Late Nite Catechism” is an interactive show starring AriZoni Award-winning actress Patti Hannon as tart-tongued Sister. Ruling her classroom with an iron fist, she teaches her students – who happen to be the audience – everything she knows about sins and saints while dolling out rewards and reprimands with lightning speed.

 In the series’ latest class, “Late Nite Catechism III: ’Til Death Do Us Part,” Sister offers up even more, including the latest dogma fresh off the Web, some hilarious lessons on love and marriage and her own outrageous version of “The Newlywed Game.” Each “Late Nite” performance is unique and will appeal to people of all ages and faiths.

 “Late Nite Catechism” debuted at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in June 2000 and became an overnight sensation. Since then, more than 150,000 people have seen “Late Nite Catechism” and its other popular sequels, which include “Late Nite Catechism II: Sometimes We Feel Guilty Because We Are Guilty” and “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold.” Hannon has performed the role of Sister in all of the Scottsdale productions.

 LOCATION AND PARKINGScottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is located at 7380 E. Second St. in downtown Scottsdale, four blocks south of Indian School Road and three blocks east of Scottsdale Road. The amphitheater is located on the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall at 75th Street and Main Street. Free parking is available in the public parking garage located to the west of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Wells Fargo Avenue. Additional free parking is available at the Old Town Parking Corral at East Second Street and Brown Avenue and at the Civic Center Library parking garage located on Drinkwater Boulevard at East Second Street.

ACCESSIBILITYScottsdale Center for the Performing Arts offers performance accommodations to enhance audience members’ experience, including: American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation or live audio description with two weeks advance notice. Assisted listening devices and wheelchair seating are always available. Visit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Web site at or contact the box office at (480) 994-ARTS [TDD: (480) 874-4694] for further details. Please inquire about services when ordering tickets.

 GROUP DISCOUNTSA $3 discount per ticket is available for groups of 15 or more (subject to restriction and limitation). Call (480) 874-4690 for more information.

STUDENT DISCOUNTSStudents with valid student identification may purchase half-price tickets (subject to availability; limit one per student) 72 hours before any performance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts box office. Tickets must be purchased in-person; phone orders are not accepted.

 SCOTTSDALE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTSOpened in 1975, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents a dynamic, culturally diverse season of dance, jazz, classical and world music, theater and satire. Approximately 1,000 performances, educational programs, festivals and other events are showcased annually serving more than 300,000 people and contributing substantially to Scottsdale’s high quality of life and vibrant arts scene. Performances take place in the Center’s 838-seat Virginia G. Piper Theater (closed for renovation during the 2008–09 season) and 136-seat Stage 2 as well as the 2,000-seat amphitheater on the grounds of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall and the 326-seat Theater 4301 in the Galleria Corporate Centre. The Center’s youth education and outreach programs reach more than 40,000 school children each year, and its free programs are available to the entire public. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts also produces the popular Scottsdale Arts Festival every March; Sunday A’Fair, a series of free outdoor music festivals held on Sunday afternoons from January to April; and Native Trails, a collaboration with the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau that features free demonstrations of Native American arts and culture from January to April. Open daily and during performances, The Store @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts offers hand-crafted jewelry, accessories for the home, toys for imaginative young minds, recordings, books, greeting cards and more.

 The Scottsdale Cultural Council, a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is contracted by the City of Scottsdale, Arizona, to administer certain City arts and cultural projects and to manage the City-owned Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Public Art Program. The programs of the Scottsdale Cultural Council are made possible, in part, by the support of members and donors and grants received from the Arizona Commission on the Arts through appropriations from the Arizona State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 HOW TO REACH US Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 East Second Street Scottsdale, AZ 85251 Box Office: (480) 994- ARTS (2787) TDD: (480) 874-4694 Web:



My First Time
Feb. 13–March 15, 2009 Thursday @ 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday @ 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees @ 2 p.m.
Theater 4301, Galleria Corporate Centre, Scottsdale
(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will present the hit Off-Broadway comedy
My First Time
from Feb. 13–March 15, 2009, at Theater 4301 in downtown Scottsdale. The performances are presented with support from Leslie Dashew and Jack Salisbury. 

Single tickets are available for $38 through the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Web site at or the box office at (480) 994-ARTS (2787).

 An acclaimed new play in the style of The Vagina Monologues, My First Time features four actors telling real stories – from the hysterical to the heartbreaking – about first sexual experiences. In 1998, nearly a decade before the rise of blogging, a Web site was created that allowed people to anonymously share their own stories about their “First Times.” The site became an instant phenomenon with more than 40,000 stories pouring in from around the globe that were silly, sweet, absurd, funny, straight, gay, shy, sexy and everything in between. These true stories and all of the unique characters in them are brought to life in this unforgettable play written by Ken Davenport and starring Valley actors Roxanne Garcia, Vi Flaten, Joshua Yeatts and Dion Johnson.

 These performances contain adult themes and language.


Patti Hannon stars as Sister in the all-new comedy
Late Nite Catechism III: 'Til Death Do Us Part opening October 2, 2008, at
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts(480) 994-ARTS (2787) or online at


Arizona Shakespeare Festival
September 6, 2008 - November 2, 2008

This year, the Arizona Shakespeare Festival will be traveling Arizona, performing  "As You Like It" by William Shakespeare

9/7-Sierra Vista-4pm
9/13-Prescott Valley-11am

10/24-Orme School-4pm
10/25-Bullhead City-10am
10/26-Lake Havasu-3:30pm

11/1-Anthem/No. Valley-3pm
For more information,


“Rent” is not for everybody. But it is for you, it’s a delight. The National Touring Company of “Rent” opened at Sun City’s Maricopa County Events Center (Sundome) Saturday May 10th with a mixed audience containing “Rent Heads” who follow the production and cheer heartily. And there were a few seniors not ready for the operetta based on "La Boheme" that so openly addresses AIDS and homosexuality, who walked out after the first act. (Or maybe the theatre temperature was too cold, or they couldn’t hear the words, as was told to this reviewer.)

"American Idol" finalist Anwar Robinson and South African "Idol" winner Heinz Winckler are making their theatrical debuts in the show were outstanding. And Jennifer Talton, who brings the show's Mimi to life with an incredible voice that fills the theatre with emotion is wonderful.

Rent ran on Broadway for over a decade. The National Tour has been on the road and their schedule can be found at . Only 4 shows in Phoenix. We have what we call 'Rent heads' who follow the show; we have some really loyal fans and it's great to see those familiar faces," said Talton.

This cast does a phenomenal job of singing a challenging script with some extreme choreography. How they can still sing with all of that dance and gymnastics is amazing. And they sing very well.  So if you get the opportunity check it out!  

The Theatrical Experience that Changed Broadway Forever
Featuring South African Idol Winner Heinz Winckler and American Idol
Finalist Anwar Robinson in the National Tour of RENT
            The 2007-2008 national touring production of RENT features Heinz Winckler as Roger Davis and Anwar Robinson as Tom Collins. The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical RENT, written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, is coming to the Maricopa County Events Center, 19403 RH Johnson Blvd in Sun City West for four performances, Saturday May 10th at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and Sunday May 11th at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  Tickets for all performances will go on sale Sunday March 30th at 10:00 am.  Tickets are $30, $40 and $50 and may be purchased online at  or by phone at 480-784-4444.  Tickets will also be available at the Maricopa County Events Center Box Office, Tue.- Sat. 10 am – 4 pm.  For group sales, call 480-218-9332.

Winckler was the winner of the first South African Idol in 2002 and the 4th place finalist in the 2003 inaugural World Idol competition, in which he competed against American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson. Robinson was the 7th place finalist on the 4th season of American Idol.

On stage, Winckler played Tony in the Toronto production of West Side Story. Winckler has recorded three hit albums with Sony BMG, including: One Step Closer, Come Alive (both South African Music Award “SAMA” nominees for “best pop album”) and Moment of Truth.  His song, “Once in a Lifetime,” was a “SAMA” nominee for “best single.” He performed the song “Chasing Shadows” for the Walt Disney movie, Treasure Planet, and participated in the Westlife Greatest Hits Tour in South Africa.  Winckler has received the People Magazine Award for “Hottest Hunk,” “South Africa’s Hottest Artist” and “Best Male Personality.” He was also featured in Cosmopolitan’s “Sexy Man Calendar.”

Robinson will make his stage debut in this touring production of RENT. American audiences will recall Robinson as the Music Teacher who was rocketed to television stardom on season four of the pop-culture phenomenon American Idol.  His vocal range quickly landed him a coveted spot in Idol’s Top 10, where Judge Paula Abdul touted him as technically the best singer of the competition.” Robinson has toured the country as part of the Idols Live show. The New Jersey native has worked and appeared with a number of music icons, including Clive Davis, Patti Labelle, Kelly Price, Byron Cage and Pastor Donnie McClurkin. Robinson recently released his debut album, The Truth About Love.

            Critics have called RENT  “the best thing that has happened to the Broadway musical in a long time,” and have said that RENT  “justifies every bit of attention that has been lavished on this phenomenal musical.”  “It shimmers with hope for the future of the American musical.”  The New York Times.  RENT is the theatrical experience that transformed how a generation feels about musicals, changed Broadway forever, and inspired a major motion picture.  Set in the East Village of New York City, Rent is about being young and learning to survive, falling in love, finding your voice and living for today.  RENT has made a lasting mark on Broadway with songs that rock and a story that really resonates.

The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996 to ecstatic reviews.  It rapidly became a sold-out hit.  The show transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996 where it continues to play at The Nederlander Theatre.  RENT is now the 7th longest running show in Broadway history. The success of RENT is always tempered by the death of its creator, Jonathan Larson.  Larson died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on the morning of January 25, 1996, just hours after Rent’s final dress rehearsal off-Broadway, and ten days before his 36th birthday.

RENT features musical direction by Tim Weil, choreography by Marlies Yearby, set design by Paul Clay, costume design by Angela Wendt and lighting design by Blake Burba.

The 2007/08 Broadway on the Boulevard Series is sponsored by


Marjorie (Robin Austin) is attacked in her own home by Raul (Ryan Nelson) in the intense play "Extremities" produced by Theater Works.  The show runs in the McMillin Black Box Theater at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, Feb. 22-24, Feb. 28-March 2 and March 6-9.
 "William Mastrosimone wrote his play to fill in a blank," says Theater Works Artistic Director Robyn Allen.  In May 1978 the playwright met a 55-year old woman he calls Mary.  She was raped the night before, and for some reason needed to tell someone, even a stranger like Mastrosimone - about her ordeal.  Mastrosimone befriended Mary and followed her case through the trial, where the 19-year-old rapist sat quietly in a three-piece suit, white shirt and tie.  When he was cross-examined he made amusing remarks.  The jury laughed.
While evidence was presented that Mary was raped, there wasn't enough to convince the jury the defendant was the rapist. Acquitted, the rapist walked behind Mary on the courthouse steps and said, "If you think that was bad, wait until next time."  

Mary became consumed with fear.  She slept with the light on, next to the phone with a butcher knife.  But it was too much.  She quit her job, lost her pension and bought a one-way ticket to the opposite coast.  Mary stopped to thank Mastrosimone for his support before she left.  
"Mary recounted something about the rape that had haunted her - how there was a moment when she could have kicked the rapist in the groin, but didn't," explains Allen.  "She was brought up not to hurt people or she feared if she didn't hurt him enough he would kill her.  With Mary not taking a stand the rapist lit a cigarette and raped her again.  Then beat her with a lamp."  

Mary told Mastrosimone she would think of that moment the rest of her life and fantasize about hurting her attacker, of getting "real justice."  She told him, "If I had five minutes in a locked room with him now_____" and never finished her sentence.

"The production you will see at Theater Works, finished her sentence," proclaims Allen.

Don't miss Theater Works' extraordinary presentation of an intellectually stimulating evening of theater.  The cast includes Robin Austin, Ryan Nelson, Chanel Bragg and Heather Cambanes.  "Extremities" is directed by Richard Hardt.  Robyn Allen serves as the Theater Works' Artistic Director and Levy Antal is Executive Director and Producer.  

Tickets are now on sale at the Peoria Center for Performing Arts, 8355 W. Peoria, or by calling 623-815-7930.  They can also be purchased on line at .   Tickets are $16.00.  The show will run February 22-24, Feb 28-March 2 and March 6-9.  


Desert Foothills Theater Pokes Fun at Romance With
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

 Desert Foothills Theater (DFT), a division of the Foothills Community Foundation, continues its season in February with its Main Stage Show, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The schedule follows:

 Written by playwright/lyricist Joe DiPietro and composer Jimmy Roberts, the show was a surprise hit of the 1996-97 Broadway Theater season. DFT’s production is directed by Sara Bernstein with musical direction by Flora Mogerman. Although there is no plotline per se, the songs and sketches nonetheless trace the evolution of male-female relationships, from caveman days in the prologue to the joys of single life in Act One, and then the rather different joys of married life in Act Two. This production includes adult topics and language.

 Now in its 33rd year, Desert Foothills Theater has been honored with 64 ariZoni award Nominations (five in 2006-2007 for A Grand Night for Singing).  For information, visit , or call 480-488-1981.

 At the Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, 33606 N. 60th Street, in North Scottsdale (60th Street south of the Carefree Highway). Now through Sun., Feb. 17th, 2008: Main Stage Show: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. depending on show date. Tickets range from $7 to $18 depending on show date.


The Oldest Profession Review Opening Night Jan 5, 2008

By LeeAnn Sharpe

The Algonquin Theater Company presents “The Oldest Profession”, Paula Vogel’s pert and passionate play, directed by Robert Harper at Phoenix Theatre’s Little Theatre, January 4-20, 2008, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinees.

 First, I must be honest and qualify myself as a lifetime fan of Ms.Gaston. So know I will be biased about anything she does. But from what I hear and see, I’m not the only one. A lifetime of acting, directing and teaching reveal a professional performance, second only to her charisma and beauty, now more pronounced than ever.

 Pulitzer Prize winning Playwright Vogel describes “The Oldest Profession” as her only pattern play. She is successful in the overlay of painful experiences with humor.  Five acts set in a New York City park in the early 1980’s follows the lives of five over-the-hill hookers sitting on a bench near the Broadway and 72nd Street subway station. Their enterprise not only continues to lose customers, but its own members. And so, the five "blackbirds" become four, then three, then two until only one is left, and the park bench scenes end with a song from the last departed, reminiscent of their New Orleans bordello days long past. Costumes slip back to cinched up bordello bustiers and sexy stockings, a wardrobe that took guts for these actresses to wear, especially in such and intimate theatre setting.    

 The award winning cast of five thoroughly professional actresses, who manage to be funny and emerge as real people who tug at our heartstrings, include Mae (Sharon Collar), Edna (Jacqueline Gaston), Ursula (Barbara McGrath), Lillian (Judy Rollings), Vera (Jo Ann Yeoman) and Piano Man (Toby Yatso).  Director is Robert Kolby Harper.

Scene One: A sunny day in October, one week before the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 features "Love for Sale" by Cole Porter sung by Lillian (Judy Rollings). Scene Two: A week later, a day with a hint of winter and "I Am Built for Comfort, I Am Not Built for Speed" by Chester Burnett sung by Mae (Sharon Collar).  After Intermission, Scene Three: Three months later, a chilly winter's day "If I Can't Sell It, I'll Sit on it, 'Cause I'm not Going to Give it Away" by Hill/Razaf sung by Ursula (Barbara McGrath).  Scene Four: A crisp day in summer, several months later. And last Scene Five: Many months later with "Come Up and See Me Sometime" by Johnny Mercer and Robert Emmett Dolan sung by Edna (Jacqueline Gaston). And the finale is "On the Sunny Side of the Street" by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields sung by Vera (Jo Ann Yeoman).
Photo L-R Jacqueline Gaston, JoAnn Yeoman, Sharon Collar, Judy Rollings, & Barbara McGrath.

Sharon Collar (Mae) has a long and varied career in theatre, film and television. Her professionalism served her well when opening night flubs, she confessed, resulted in “minor on the fly rewrites to the script.” This reviewer never noticed, and the mark of a great actress was it never showed in the performance and her fellow actresses never revealed the rewrites either.  Mae is the Madam at the start of the show and manages the finances of all the ladies, who plied their trade above Zabar’s on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Collar portrays her as a caring madam concerned for her ladies long term safety and well being. They live pretty well under her wing, but regret their diminishing clientele, as the old gents die or move to Florida. They consider advertising in The Village Voice or getting the AARP Mailing List. In the end, Mae must cope with Alzheimer’s.

 Judy Rollings (Lillian) Judy is a founding member of Actors Theatre of Phoenix and served as its Artistic Director for nine years. She is presently Director of the Lunch Time Theatre at the Herberger Theater Center. Lillian an aspiring actress, is the first to die, surprising the other ladies as they never expected her to be the first to go. She reappears in spirit as the others follow. Rollings has a great voice and kicks off the first musical number in the show "Love for Sale".

 Barbara McGrath (Ursula) first acting at age nine, has been acting, teaching, and directing in the Valley for over thirty years, and has received four ariZoni awards. Her character Ursula is Mae’s antagonist, and is thrilled to take over when Mae departs. Her investment scheme has Edna and Vera irate, knowing their retirement is lost.  McGrath portrays Ursula’s all business know it all ambition well.    

 Jacqueline Gaston (Edna) an actress since age three with over 200 shows in the Valley, a Charter Member of the Algonquin Company. She says, “I thought I was auditioning for a different part. When I learned I would be singing and dancing at my age… well I figured it's my last shot.”  Gaston’s portrayal of Edna brought balance and stability to the production. Edna played off each character, especially when the cast had been whittled down to just Edna and Vera. Their interaction was truly sad and bittersweet; seeing even McDonald’s had no place for an old hooker when the manager finds her "May I help you?" too seductive.

 JoAnn Yeoman (Vera) Yeoman is a Professor of Practice and Musical Theater Specialist at ASU and also works with the Arizona AGMA ensemble, the Sonoran Desert Chorale. and can be heard as co-host of KBAQ's ASU in Concert.  Vera is the slower quiet one of the group, but the last to go. Her life reaches the depths of poverty and brings to light the plight of the homeless and unappreciated in society. Yeoman brings a deep and beautiful tenderness to a woman whose life had been hard and desperate in the end. She had chances for stability when she gets a proposal, but makes the mistake of inviting the man’s daughters to the ceremony. They quickly whisk him into a retirement home.  Yeoman’s beautiful powerful and sensitive voice was the perfect finale.   

Toby Yatso (Piano Man) recently finished graduate work in musical theatre, music theory and bassoon performance at ASU. His piano and few lines carried the production well from scene to scene.

 Vogel uses the characters to send a message of elderly prostitutes as a way to talk of the economic situation of women in a male society, the need for security in old age, the fears of death and change, and the age-old notion that a woman's best, and sometimes only, bargaining chip is her body. The characters reminisce about their past in New Orleans’ famed red-light district, Storyville, when courtesy and elegant houses with piano players were the order of the day. They lived well and cared for one another. But now they needed to be responsible for themselves and the result of not doing so was the sad desperation of an elderly homeless woman. 

I very much enjoyed this production of The Algonquin Theater Company’s “The Oldest Profession” and encourage all to attend. Rated for “adults” subject matter.



Football: The Musical
by Alexx Stuart opens this week!  (Darknight Productions)

Cast is: Charlie LeSueur – Gilbert – plays Coach Knute Figgins, Rebecca Kalk – Mesa – plays the ex-Stripper owner’s wife, Flopsy Jetsam – later returns as Deputy Bernie Fife, Matt Morgan – Laveen – plays the Quarterback, Dash Upright, Denise Kelleher – Fountain Hills – plays the head cheerleader, Bitzy Dreems, Garry Myers – Mesa – plays the lineman, Lumbo Drumm, Jori Dodge – Glendale – plays the owner’s assistant, Pilar Strunk

 Grimaldi’s Pizzeria – 4000 N. Scottsdale Road – doors open at 6:30 PM  - January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31- $40 plus tax for dinner, show and gratuity

 The Encore Room at Arizona Broadway Theatre – 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria - January 6 – doors open at noon January 13, 19, 20, 27 – doors open at 5:30 PM $41.25 plus tax for dinner, show and gratuity

 Tickets available online at or calling 480-595-7346.

 Football: The Musical by Alexx Stuart – a hysterical interactive mystery show – 12 song parodies help to tell the story of the losing Arizona Wallaby’s football team who lost it’s owner to a tragic heart attack.  He left the ownership of the team to his ex-stripper wife who changes the team name to the Arizona Hummingbirds and creates new uniforms more to her liking.  The Hummingbirds hope to make it to the Super Duper Bowl game but only can get there if the owner is out of the way.  Deputy Bernie Fife comes on the scene to solve the crime of the kidnapping of the owner. See if you can help get the Hummingbirds get to the Super Duper Bowl and help Fife solve the crime.  Full of local humor and clever song parodies.  Even non-football lovers will enjoy this!

Diedre Kaye - Darknight Productions - Comedy, Mystery and Music with Dinner - 480-595-7346 -


By LeeAnn Sharpe
Last Christmas I enjoyed "Coyotes Dreams: A Very Arizona Christmas" and wrote my review here 
Story Link Once again husband and wife team of playwright Alexx Stuart and director Diedre Kaye re-launch their successful holiday show, “Coyote Dreams: A VERY Arizona Christmas” about a Minnesota couple who contemplate a move to Arizona. Alexx and Diedre are both from Minnesota, so Alexx wrote 20 song parodies of popular carols to tell humorous stories about Arizona from the perspective of newcomers.   Music Direction by Kevin Glenn. Special Performance on Thursday, December 11th in Carefree at Los Portales Mall – 7:30 PM (doors open at 7:00 – caroling at 7:15)  Show only.  Tickets are $15.00  General seating. All remaining performances in The Encore Room at Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria.  Dinner, show, tax, gratuities – all inclusive for $48.50. Reservations required at 623-776-8400 or online at (additional fee for internet sales) 

  • Saturday, December 13th at 7:00 PM

  • Sunday, December 14th at 12:30 PM

  •  Friday, December 26th at 6:30 PM

  • Saturday, December 27th at 12:30 PM

  • Saturday, December 27th at 6:30 PM

  • Sunday, December 28th at 12:30 PM

The laughs are non-stop with every aspect of Arizona covered. The six actors take on various roles and take us on a journey around the state. Stuart wrote some very creative lyrics to traditional holiday tunes including, “Have Yourself a Tacky Tombstone Christmas”, “Oh Little Town Built by Del Webb”, “Santa Baby” sung by a jail bird inviting Sheriff Joe Arpaio to “come on down to my cell tonight”. And Sun City seniors would enjoy "Silver Hairs," to the tune of Silver Bells. Arizona students can appreciate "All I Want for Christmas is No AIMS Testing." He takes plenty of swings at Arizona sports as well. Attend only if you are ready for good laughs!

Cast Photo Front Row - Lindsay Urbank (Glendale) as Lena Johnson, Wade Moran (Tempe) as Carl Johnson, Back Row from left to right - Harriet Fusaro (Sun City West) as Greta, Kevin Young (Peoria) as Omar, Heather Cambanes (Phoenix) as Brittany, Mike DeBusk (Phoenix) as Myke.  Josiah Laubenstein (Scottsdale) is also in the cast playing the role of Myke but is only performing in The Encore Room at Arizona Broadway Theatre.



Menopause The Musical Returns by Popular Demand to Scottsdale's Theater 4301

The international hit show Menopause The Musical®, The Hilarious Celebration of Women and The Change®, is returning by popular demand for a limited run at the Theater 4301 at the Galleria Corporate Centre on
January 10.

The ensemble production features four women at a department store's lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black lace bra and hot flashes, night sweats, memory loss, chocolate binges, not enough sex, too much sex, and more. A joyful parody of 25 re-lyricized classic baby boomer hits, the 90-minute show features chart-toppers including "I Heard It Thru the Grapevine You No Longer See 39," "Puff, My God I¹m Draggin,'' "and the disco favorite "Stayin' Awake! Stayin' Awake!"

The Scottsdale cast includes several popular, local actresses including Oregena Rose as Professional Woman; Patty Davis as Soap Star; and Katherine Todd as Understudy. The cast is rounded out with P.J. Jenkinson as Earth Mother and Jeannette Manor as Iowa Housewife. Menopause The Musical® is directed by Kathryn Conte and choreographed by Patty Bender with musical direction by Alan Plado.

Tickets for Menopause The Musical® are $42.50 and can be purchased at the Box Office or by calling (480) 994-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 888-MTM-TKTS, #11 (888-686-8587). Theater 4301 at the Galleria Corporate Centre is located at 5th Ave. and Drinkwater Blvd. in downtown Scottsdale. Show times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Since its first show in a tiny, 76-seat perfume-shop-converted theatre in the former Church Street Exchange on March 28, 2001, Menopause The Musical® has launched a women¹s movement that has superseded entertainment and become a must-see event. It is estimated that nearly 9 million women have attended a performance since the show¹s opening in Orlando, Fla., in 2001. Inspired by a hot flash and a bottle of wine, writer/producer Jeanie Linders, an Orlando, Fla. resident, created the show as a celebration of women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived The Change. Since its first performance, the show has evolved as a "grassroots" movement of women who deal with life after 40 and all the challenges that result from the mental, physical, and spiritual freedom of the post-WWII baby boomer generation.

"Most women know intuitively that every other woman is experiencing hot flashes or night sweats,"says Linders. "There is always a close friend or two who can sympathize or identify with her, but when they are sitting in a theatre with 420 other women, all laughing and shouting’ 'That's me! That¹s me on stage!' they know what they are experiencing is normal. They aren¹t alone or crazy. It becomes a sisterhood."

Menopause The Musical® has entertained audiences across the country in more than 100 cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Danville (KY), Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Haven (CT), New York, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Syracuse (NY), Tampa, Upland (CA), and West Palm Beach, as well as internationally in 12 countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, United Kingdom, South Africa, and South Korea. Each week nearly 35,000 women of all ages and stages find their spirits lifted by the show¹s light-hearted look at menopause. It is estimated that nearly 9 million women have attended a performance since the show¹s opening in Orlando, Fla., in 2001.


Review of Alice Cooper’s 7th Annual Christmas Pudding Concert
a fund raiser for the Rock Teen Center
by LeeAnn Sharpe
 It’s almost 1am and I just got home from the 7th Annual Christmas Pudding Concert by Alice Cooper. What a show! Alice calls all of his friends and they turn out for what has to be one of the best rock shows in Phoenix this year! Starting at 7:30pm it was over 4 hours of incredible jams. My hands are sore from clapping so much!

 The finale with Alice Cooper & Band had the place hopping, but then when he brought out all of the performers to sing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, the crowd went wild.

Jordin Sparks, the 2007 American Idol Winner, and her band (two guitarists and back up singers) shared her hit “Tattoo” and a new song she wrote “Virginia is for Lovers”  as well as the duet from her album, “No Air” she says will be her next single release.

CTA with Danny Seraphin & Marc Bonilla belted out all of the top hits from Chicago days.  Danny’s drum solos were an example of how years of experience can out perform youthful exuberance. I remember hearing him years ago and he is so much more exciting now!

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers rocked the joint with hit after hit. You can see why this Tempe band is the only independent band to have five consecutive top-10 albums on the Billboard Internet Sales Chart.

Flo & Eddie of The Turtles flooded the audience with memories of “Happy Together” and “She’d Rather Be with Me” and more. The generational gap was evident as the parents all knew the lyrics and the kids giggled at their parent’s enthusiasm. By the end they had the entire audience on their feet singing along.

Whiskey Falls provided al little country. "Proof is in the Pudding" Winners Brewed to Perfection and Shaun Patrick Moe performed with the hope that their future will follow the footsteps of former “Pudding” winner Jordin Sparks.

Rock Demarco "The World's Fastest Painter" demonstrated his talent and creating a work of art in minutes on stage. The painting was latter sold along with an autographed guitar for $13,000. Two other guitars sold for $8,000 each.

Destiny Dancers led by Cheryl Cooper opened the show with a variety of talented dancers showcasing their dance styles.

Videos were shown, as the stage was being reset for each act, highlighted past “Christmas Puddings” with each year raising more and more bucks for the Solid Rock Foundation. Last year Funds are slated for the Rock, a Teen Center. Groundbreaking is anticipated for the coming year at the present rate of fund acquisition. The website tells the entire story of how Solid Rock needs to raise 7.3 million for the 29,000 sq ft facility which will be located on the campus of Grand Canyon University at 33rd Avenue and Camelback. It will reach out to youth and teenagers in the surrounding community and throughout the whole valley. Panorama Hills Newspaper will have continuing articles about the Rock’s progress and how you can help with not only donations of cash and equipment, but mentoring skills as well.

Review of Andre Bocelli Glendale Arena Dec 14, 2007
by LeeAnn Sharpe
Glendale’s Arena was the venue for Andre Bocelli December 14th, 2007.

 What a voice. He filled the arena with such a bold and emotional tenor that it didn’t matter if it was in Italian, and the majority of the audience were unfamiliar with most of the arias from operas he performed. The passion came through with such force as to bring tears to your eyes anyway.

 Bocelli, a disciple of Luciano Pavarotti, spoke of the great loss of his friend and dedicated his performance to the memory of his mentor and sang "Nessum Dorma", Pavarotti’s signature song.  He said, “Tonight he is with us.” It was so beautiful and heart felt. You could feel the love he put into that song.  

And for additional motivation for a magnificent performance, Bocelli said he was performing for his personal hero and special guest in the front row. To the audience’s surprise, Muhammad Ali, former three-time World Heavyweight Champion stood up to wave. As the camera came into focus on his face on the big screens, a roar of applause filled the arena. Bocelli ended the concert donning a pair of boxing gloves autographed by the Champ.

 There has been much criticism of this concert tour where most dates are booked into large arenas or venues not particularly suited to the esthetic sounds of opera. But they are the only places large enough to accommodate the massive audiences who rush to see this charismatic singer. Glendale’s Arena was no exception to the criticism depending on where you were seated. On the floor near the stage sound and lighting were pretty good. The only complaint was the cold. With ice under the flooring it’s bound to be pretty chilly. On the upper levels the concourse noise was surprisingly loud and freezing air from doors open to the outside made the distractions pretty annoying. 

 But the voices and music were still incredibly amazing. The New West Symphony Conducted by Maestro Steven Mercurio was perfection. Mercurio opened with Verdi’s “Overture from I vespri siciliani”.  And for an arena, the sound system of the nearly new Glendale arena is state of the art providing the best possible sound in the cavernous area.

 Bocelli opened with "La donna e mobile" from Verdi's Rigoletto, which has great popular appeal and is even familiar to non-opera aficionados.  Baritone Luis Ledesma joined Bocelli onstage in the duet “In un coup” from Puccini’s La Boheme. Next Soprano Daniela Bruera took the stage with Verdi's “Ah, Fors'e Lui, Sempre Libera” from La Traviata.  Bocelli joined on stage for another aria from La Traviata “Brindisi”.

 Maestro Mercurio conducted “Intermezzo” from Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini.

 Ledesma returned with a beautifully intense performance of Puccini’s “Te Deum” from Tosca. Bocelli followed with the famous aria from Tosca’s violent conclusion “E Lucevan le Stelle”. The first act was concluded with a rather long Madama Butterfly’s “Viene la sera” with Bocelli and Bruera. The scenes from the opera were played on a large screen behind the orchestra. It was beautifully sung, but a little long for the restless audience.

 One couple I spoke to said, “We were expecting a show with more "popera" than opera.” The same was echoed by several others who knew Bocelli more from his pop performances on PBS and on Pop radio stations and television, than from his operatic career for which he is celebrated the world over.

 After the Intermission they got their wish for some pop.

Mercurio opened the second act with “Overture from Russian and Ludmilla” by composer Mikhail Glinka, often called the father of Russian classical music.  

Then Bocelli gave the gift of his beautiful “Ave Maria” by Schubert, followed by the sacred aria “Panis Angelicus” holding the final note in a mood of veneration for a small eternity.  
Daniela Bruera brought a bit of German opera to the stage with “Meine Lippen, Sie Kussen So Heiss” from Franz Lehár's Giuditta.

“Musica Proibita”, “Aranjuez”, and “Mattinata” all by Bocelli followed.

At this point Andrea returned to the stage wearing the white jacket saying it was time for a change of pace. He played the flute at the beginning of the “Melodramma”. Then Heather Headley joined him on stage for “Canto della terre” and “The Prayer”.

The finale was “Time to Say Goodbye” with Daniela Bruera. It is considered Bocelli's signature song and what was obviously what the audience wanted to hear from the beginning. A long and appreciative standing ovation followed. 

I can not say enough about Maestro Steven Mercurio and his devoted attention and obvious friendship he bestows on Andrea leading him onto stage and together delivering a most memorable performance. Ticket Prices: $81-$281

 Bocelli recently issued “The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivire”, his first hits collection. It features his signature “Time to Say Goodbye”.

By LeeAnn Sharpe
It’s amazing how much laughter 6 actors can bring into a room. That’s just what happens when Darknight Productions “Coyote Dreams: A VERY Arizona Christmas” is performed at Grimaldi’s Pizzaria in Scottsdale or Arizona Broadway Theatre in Peoria. Attendance has been so good, the show has been extended until January 5th at the Encore Room at Arizona Broadway Theatre.

 Husband and wife team of playwright Alexx Stuart and director Diedre Kaye relaunch their successful holiday show, “Coyote Dreams: A VERY Arizona Christmas” about a Minnesota couple who contemplate a move to Arizona. Alexx and Diedre are both from Minnesota, so Alexx wrote 20 song parodies of popular carols to tell humorous stories about Arizona from the perspective of newcomers.   

The laughs are non-stop with every aspect of Arizona covered. The six actors take on various roles and take us on a journey around the state. Stuart wrote some very creative lyrics to traditional holiday tunes including, “Have Yourself a Tacky Tombstone Christmas”, “Oh Little Town Built by Del Webb”, “Santa Baby” sung by a jail bird inviting Sheriff Joe Arpaio to “come on down to my cell tonight”. And Sun City seniors would enjoy "Silver Hairs," to the tune of Silver Bells. Arizona students can appreciate "All I Want for Christmas is No AIMS Testing." He takes plenty of swings at Arizona sports as well.

 The intimate setting and abundant food and drink put the audience into a jovial frame of mind and the laughter is so infectious outsiders might think the room was tipsy. Not a dry eye is simply the result of hilarious puns and cracks at familiar institutions and personalities. Kaye and Stuart have this dinner show routine fine tuned to a smooth running machine with every moment falling perfectly into place. Music, dialogue, and food all choreographed perfectly. They are more than writer and director. They are the perfect hosts for a lovely evening.  

 Cast include Barbara McGrath (Ahwatukee), Dan Stroud (Phoenix), Barb Ellis (Tempe), Fernando Duran (Mesa), Denise Kelleher (Fountain Hills), Wade Moran (Tempe).

 Coyote Dreams  East - Grimaldi's in Old Town  4000 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale doors open at 6:30 PM December 8th, 22nd, 23rd & 27th West-Encore Room at Arizona Broadway Theatre at 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria  December 2nd, 9th and 30th  For details, visit or call 480-595-7346.  Tickets for dinner, show and gratuity are $41.25 plus tax.  Reservations are required. 


Review of Ballet Arizona The Nutcracker

By LeeAnn Sharpe

 It has been a holiday tradition to go see the Nutcracker. So year after year I go and enjoy it immensely. This year was extra special. I was privileged to introduce my niece Stephanie to her first ballet and what is more perfect for a young girl than the Nutcracker.

 Opening night was cold and rain made driving treacherous. Downtown traffic was in gridlock as every venue seemed to have major events. Parking seemed impossible and we found what may have been the last parking spot in the city! The downtown was sparkling with colors and lights reflected in the rain, limos and cabs unloaded gloriously garbed men and women along with young boys and girls in party dresses and suits. Umbrellas bumped as the crowds moved briskly to various destinations. Honks and traffic cops whistles above the traffic noise completed the picture of a big city at full throttle. You could as easily been in London or New York. Phoenix has truly become a big city, although perhaps on a smaller scale.   

 But the scale of this production of the Nutcracker is anything but small. A spectacular world is created with such beauty and imagination it brings tears to the eye. The mastery of design and execution is flawless. From director to dancers this production is the finest that can be found anywhere in the world.   

 Ib Andersen has once again chosen a team of top designers from throughout the theater world to create a magical, grand-scale Nutcracker exploding with holiday charm and wonder. Choreographed by Ib Andersen , Set Design by Carey Wong and Ib Andersen, Costume Design by Fabio Toblini,  and Lighting Design by Michael Korsch, the best found anywhere.

 The lavish new sets and magnificent costumes from around the world make this magical holiday event such a joy. And the talent of these dancers is so incredible to watch. The leaps and lifts and twirls make your head spin.  

 The costumes of Herr and Frau von Stahlbaum and their children, Clara and Fritz and their party guests are more realistic of German families of the era. They provide a stronger contrast with the colorful costumes of Clara’s dreams. There are 260 costumes in The Nutcracker, requiring more than 6,500 yards of fabric. The costumes were created in 17 shops across America, including Ballet Arizona’s, with final assembly by Ballet Arizona’s costume shop personnel. During the run of the show Ballet Arizona dancers will use up to 300 pairs of pointe shoes. Most pairs of shoes last one performance. The budget for pointe shoes for  December alone is $45,000.

 The set design and transformation as the Christmas tree grows gigantic and the furniture disappears, leaving a huge, empty room that will soon become a battleground for an army of toy soldiers is magical. More than 100,000 Austrian Swarovski crystals were used to create the Snow scene. The production uses 25 different backdrops.

My niece gasped and then giggled as all the mice in the house have grown to enormous size. Costume designer Toblini didn’t want the mice to be too cute, so he modeled them after New York City subway rats. The Mouse King is 9 feet tall without his crown.

When the Nutcracker is revealed to be a prince who gives Clara a crown, the fantasy of every young girl is born. The Snow Queen and King and a magical journey to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy plant the seed of beautiful dreams. The dancers among the falling snow and twinkling stars transport you to a place where you wonder am I dreaming or is this real?

 As always the music of the Phoenix Symphony is perfect.  I was shocked to learn my niece’s elementary school’s limited music program does not teach Tchaikovsky, but they do learn rap and hip hop. That’s all the more reason to expose the next generation to as much classical music as possible. 

 Ib Andersen’s The Nutcracker cost $1.8 million to create, involving more than 300 people. The production was made possible with a $1.3 million grant from the Sybil B. Harrington Trust. Revenue from The Nutcracker accounts for 30 percent of Ballet Arizona’s annual income with ticket sales of more than 50,000 seats. 

Once again Ballet Arizona has brought talent and inspiration to create a production of such beauty it will stay in your heart forever. To this day I can recall the Nutcrackers I saw as a child, and this one seems to have grown to a much more sophisticated and beautiful place. You really must see this exquisite ballet. It will fill your soul with the magic and beauty that should be Christmas.


“Local Color” Movie Review
By LeeAnn Sharpe   

“Local Color touched my heart!” is a quote heard often from audiences in Scottsdale’s previewing of this beautiful movie in limited release at the Harkins Camelview 5 this weekend.

 Director/Writer George Gallo says the film is autobiographical and a personal passion project that he had to do even when the big financial backers dropped out and he had to mortgage his home to get it done.  

 Gallo knows how make a film with plenty of successful films in his resume including “Wise Guys” and “Midnight Run”. His recent projects include the soon to be released “My Mom’s New Boyfriend” with Meg Ryan and Antonio Banderas.

 “Local Color” is the story of a young painter John Talia, Jr. (Trevor Morgan) finding a mentor in an elderly Russian master Nicholi Seroff (Armin Mueller-Stahl) living in his New York town in 1974. Frame Shop owner Yammi (Charles Durning) helps instigate an introduction with the vodka guzzling artist who has blocked out the world. Against the wishes of his overbearing homophobic father, John Talia, Sr. (Ray Liotta), John runs off for a summer in the country to learn the artist’s techniques, but the cantankerous alcoholic artist ends up teaching him more about life than painting. The imagery is a feast for the soul with beautiful landscapes and vibrant paintings.   

Nicholi Seroff's wisdom and concern about the direction of art in the world is discussed in long dinner conversations with art critic Curtis Sunday (Ron Perlman) and his wife Sandra (Julie Lott), where Seroff’s colorful dialogue is punctuated with an abundance of profanity, true to the personality of the artist. The use of the “F” word earned the film an “R” rating, even though there is absolutely no violence, sex or nudity. Gallo said he couldn’t whitewash his character’s language anymore than he did without losing the essence of the man.

 Carla (Samantha Mathis) is a beautiful young woman and neighbor friend of Seroff’s who awakens passion in young John. Knowing Seroff is jealous of the attention, John engages her in the purest of big screen romances and earns the scorn of his mentor at the end of the summer. Still they end up each learning from the other and all the better for the passion ignited. John sees the world through the eyes of the master, and the master sees the world through the eyes of innocence once again.    

 Gallo spoke to the audience after a local screening and told how important it was he make this film, and make it his way, because it’s the story of his own youth and the mentor who guided him in his dreams. Working without major studio support, taking out loans against his home, as well as several producers doing the same, he managed to create a poignantly moving portrait of a glimpse of a moment in his life that many of us experience when inspiration takes hold and sets the course of your life. Gallo shot the entire film in only 18 days, in what he called keystone cops shooting technique, setting up and tearing down lights and cameras so fast as to be ridiculous. But he got it done and the end product defies you to find where he cut corners. The top notch cast and beautiful score, by Academy Award nominated composer Chris Boardman, accent this masterpiece of film making.

As a young man, Gallo attended college as a Graphic Arts major. After seeing Martin Scorsese's film “Mean Streets”, he was inspired to become a Film major instead. When the school informed him that he couldn't switch majors without repeating his first year's studies, he decided to drop out and ended up writing his first film, “Wise Guys”.

Gallo was quoted as saying, "Eventually, I came to understand that all of the arts are intertwined. That composition in painting is the same as structure in storytelling; that characters are the same as colors; that colors are the same as chords in music."

Armin Mueller-Stahl came out of retirement for his portrayal of Nicholi Seroff.  He received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Shine” (1996) and more recently had appeared in four episode of The West Wing. Much has been made of Seroff’s use of profanity in “Local Color” but Mueller-Stahl made it a natural part of the foul mouthed artist’s personality, to the extent it was no longer profane, but simply the way he spoke. We’ve all known people cut from this cloth, especially old men who have been through much horror and have limited ability to express themselves and their frustration through language. They generally ask to be excused when speaking in the presence of ladies, but Seroff’s frustration with life has reduced his attention social niceties to nil. Gallo was brilliant to cast Mueller-Stahl in this role. The accent, the facial expressions, the body language, all spoke of this old man’s frustration with life. And Mueller-Stahl is a painter. Bravo for a wonderful job in painting this character.

 Trevor Morgan wasn’t the first choice for the role of John Talia, Jr. Gallo’s wife Julie Lott explained how their first choice had a conflict and Trevor Morgan fell into his place. It was the best thing to happen because he was perfect. With years of acting experience since the age of six, the 21-year old actor was especially good in expressing fear when his homophobic father’s predictions haunted him as the old man opens his bedroom door to check in. Morgan was an excellent choice. The big movie studios wanted a sex scene added to the romance but Gallo insisted in real life it had only been a kiss and that was what he wanted in the story. Morgan made that kiss express more than any sex scene.

 Ray Liotta as John Talia, Sr. provided the humor and quirkiness we all see in our own families. He’s a loving father and husband trying to hold on to a son ready to fly the nest. Liotta brings his usual professionalism to the role and gives us the chance to hate him and love him. It didn’t hurt that he was a family friend who actually knew Gallo’s father.    

 Samantha Mathis as Carla took the character right where she belonged, as the fuel to the fire that ignited between Nicoli and John. Mathis has acted since the age of three, (daughter of actress Bibi Besch). Mathis was quoted, “During the kissing scene it started to rain, which was perfect. And during the raining scene we were using hoses to simulate rain - and it started raining for real. It was as if God was saying, "Make this film." I loved the experience of working on the film and all the collaboration and encouragement. Gallo was open to suggestions and that sort of enthusiasm makes everyone want to work for him.”

 The film won a Director's Choice Award at the Sedona Film Festival. That’s where the connection to Harkin’s came into play. “It's a true story,” Dan Harkins says. “We ran to each other in slow motion. We made a film deal in front of a full theater. My children loved the film and wanted to see it again.”  The limited release at Harkins has been a big success.

 A week after production wrapped, most of the locations used in the film were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

 Idealism created an impressive piece of work with its heart in the right place. It will touch your heart, mind and soul with a shared experience of anyone with a passion.


Movin' Out

By LeeAnn Sharpe

First you take the music of Billy Joel, which is so woven into the American landscape it’s imbedded deep into your memory, as a fan or not. Then you take the talent of Twyla Tharp who conceived, directed, and choreographed “Movin' Out”, for which she won the 2003 Tony Award. Next a voice that takes Joel’s lyrics and music into a storyline with emotion. Finally, add the energy of a troupe of young dancers who seem to float and fly across the stage, using their bodies to tell the story. It’s a magical combination that had the audience captivated and cheering super human feats of endurance on Opening Night of “Movin' Out” at Sun City’s Maricopa County Event Center.

“Movin' Out” isn’t a musical in the sense that there are not actors speaking roles, but dancers, dancing to the music telling the story. There are characters and a story line which tells the story of five friends coming of age over three decades from the 60’s to the 80’s. And there's live music with an incredible band singing about 30 Billy Joel songs. “Movin' Out” is more a ballet, an extraordinary dance, rock, theatre infusion, thoroughly entertaining.

The dancing is non-stop and amazingly energetic for nearly two hours. The incredible energy, especially Eddie (Drew Heflin) and Tony (John Corsa), are like the energizer bunnies doing unbelievable feats of gymnastics, jumps, spins and lifts. These are superhuman dancers! “Movin' Out” has definitely been well cast with incredible talent.

Given an amazing catalog of music from Joel, the band took it to new heights with an inspired sax and the fabulous voice of Kyle Martin.

The only fault I can find is in the lighting throwing maximum wattage into the eyes of the audience, blinding this recent cataract removed reviewer into painful squinting to see several times, especially in the opening scene. My companion also commented he wished the lighting hadn’t been so extreme. The theatre also seemed to echo and on more than one occasion I turned around to see who was singing in the back of the theatre a step behind.  

The storyline follows five characters from their 1960’s high school graduation, love found and lost, becoming soldiers, off the Vietnam where James dies in battle, the sadness of a soldiers funeral and the girlfriend left to mourn, the pain of vets readjusting to life at home, the nightmare of war haunting them, a drunken brawl, and finally their reunion years later. Read the plot synopsis in the Playbill, as there’s almost no spoken dialogue to help you follow the story and characters.

The long legs of Tony (John Corsa) in Scene 2: Tony Move Out, caught my attention and his legs and leaps kept me captivated throughout. Especially in Scene 10, when he danced to “Shameless” with Brenda (Amanda Kay).  The sweetly sentimental pair of James (Eric Bourne) and Judy (Karolina Blonski) were delightful as they danced Scene 3: James and Judy are Forever to “Just the Way Your Are.” It wasn’t until Act II that Eddie (Drew Heflin),  came to the forefront with his amazing gymnastic feats at an unbelievable pace that had the audience applauding during several numbers. How does he keep it up night after night? Actually there are 4 dancers in the program who take turns on different nights as Eddie.

The real star is the Piano Man Lead Vocalist Kyle Martin who gave voice to every scene almost non-stop. What stamina to sing at such a level emoting feeling and enthusiasm to propel the dancers and storyline forward for almost two hours. His voice is comfortable and embracing, with full definition of every word as it must to make the story understood. He has a beautiful voice that brings everything required to make this show a great success. The rest of the band is excellent with kudos to the sax men Tim McNamara and John Isley.

“Movin' Out” is entertaining and musically satisfying leaving the audience uplifted and wishing they could bottle some of that energy!  Movin' Out ran for 1331 performances on Broadway.

Movin' Out ran two days - three shows at the Maricopa County Events Center, one night at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix and has shows scheduled for Oct 30th & 31st at the Mesa Arts Center. Be sure to check it out!


Starlight Community Theater Honored with ZONI Nomination
Anthem’s Sherry Henderson Receives Prestigious Nomination

Starlight Community Theatre’s Director of Choreography, Sherry Henderson, has been nominated for an ariZoni Theatre Award of Excellence (ZONI) for her choreography of Starlight’s production of “High School Musical” last February.  Nominees were just announced, and the final winners will be named in September.

 “I am very excited to be nominated,” said Henderson.  “It makes me proud when choreographers are recognized for their hard work, especially when we are having a blast doing it.”

 Henderson, an Anthem resident and original Starlight Board Member, is currently choreographing her seventh Starlight production, “Fiddler On The Roof”, which opens in September. A veteran of the stage, Henderson started her career at the age of seven in the Broadway production of “Annie”. This was followed with musicals such as “42nd Street”, the “King and I”, and the “Wizard of Oz”. She has performed at Radio City Music Hall with Liza Minnelli and toured the U.S. and Europe with her show “Steppin’ Out”. She has been teaching dance and choreographing for over 17 years, and is currently teaching at Anthem’s Dynamic Motion Dance Academy.   Story Continues


West Valley Arts are Shining Bright!
 After years of people thinking they had to go elsewhere for great entertainment, theaters in the West Valley are shining bright after receiving the results of the ZONI nominations last Tuesday. 
 Story Continues


Theater Works 4 YOUth Auditions
*All TWY productions are ages 8 and up unless stated otherwise. Auditions will be from cold readings of the script unless stated otherwise.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theater Works Black Box Stage) Original book by Roald Dahl Adapted by Richard R. George   Auditions: August 11th at 10am, Show Dates: October 12th, 2007 through October 28th  A Charlie Brown Christmas (Theater Works Black Box Stage) Book by Charles M. Schulz, based on his Emmy and Peabody Award-winning television special. Music by Vince Guaraldi Auditions: October 8th and 9th at 7pm, Show Dates: November 30th through December 16th, 2007   Life As Joby (Theater Works Black Box Stage) Written by Jim Gradillas  Auditions: December 3rd at 6pm (Ages 12 and up), Show Dates: January 11th through January 27th, 2008  Bridge to Terebethia (Theater Works Black Box Stage)  Katherine Paterson and Stephanie S. Tolan Music by Steve Liebman.  Auditions: February 11th and 12th at 7pm  Peter Pan (Theater Works Main Stage) Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Music by Mark Charlap and Jule Styne. Auditions: March 15th at 10am and 18th at 1:30pm, Show Dates: MAIN STAGE May 2nd through May 25th, 2008. School performances: May 7th and 14th, 2008 Performance Troupes They will rehearse and train every week and perform monthly at the theatre, libraries, events and serve to outreach in the community!  Auditions are August 18th, 2007 from 10am to 1pm For information call Theater Works, Robin Austin, Publicity Manager 623-687-6677 or Peoria Center for the Performing Arts 8355 W. Peoria Ave., Peoria, AZ  85345. Call 623-815-7930 for the Theater Works Box Office tickets now available online at  Story Continues

Theatre Review
"Midlife Madness" a play by Jennifer Kirkeby
Produced by Darknight Productions at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts

By LeeAnn Sharpe

 Don't miss the last chance for “Midlife Madness” a play by Jennifer Kirkeby closing it's curtain Sunday, May 20th at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. It’s a delightful little company in an intimate new venue. It delivers just what’s expected and more on the topic of midlife madness. The “more” is the relationships with good friends and the hilarity they can bring to life. 

Director Diedre Kaye selected the play to co-produce with her husband and Darknight Productions partner, Alexx Stuart.  The first thought on my mind was where to park. Having never been to the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, but I drive by there frequently on my way to the 101 I didn’t remember seeing any parking. When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of parking around the city park area to the south, adjacent to the theatre. As I parked, a courtesy shuttle arrived to deliver me to the theatre curb. What a nice treat. 

Peoria Center for the Performing Arts brand new multi-theater performing arts building is a delightful design by Westlake Reed Leskosky with a “craggy copper clad roof hovering above a base of masonry which evokes the color and forms of the desert basin and distant mountains” or so says their website. The complex features 250 seat and 80 seat theaters with support spaces as well as exhibition and educational spaces. The design and experience was very pleasant.

Inside the brand new facility was a crisp clean cool functional design. It’s a blank pallet for artists to create their art. I stood on line at will call to learn there were actually four productions going on in the same facility that evening. Darknight Productions performance of “Midlife Madness” was in a small theatre on the south side of the larger theatre where another company, Theatre Works, was performing “The Miracle Worker”.  Two other small productions were in theatres on the north side. The snack bar, although limited in selections, was very economically priced.

“Midlife Madness” author Jennifer Kirkeby of Minnesota attended the production opening, but was not at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts as the production finished it’s run. Diedre Kaye says, “Jennifer and I have been friends for years and used to perform together in Minneapolis.  When I read the script, I knew I wanted to be the first to produce and direct it.  The relationships in this play are so special and so reminiscent of the times we had together in theater in Minneapolis.  I was thrilled when Jen gave us permission to do the world premiere.”



The playwright admits the play is somewhat autobiographical when she responded to audience questions following the opening night performance.  “Yes, many of the stories are true – except I never had an affair with a Mime.”  And now, according to Kaye, she can claim another piece of the story is true.  The lead character and playwright in the story, Susan, (played by Jenny Mulcahy) gets a review of her new play “Midlife” that says, “The audience loved it.  They laughed, they cried, they bought the t-shirt.” Except for buying the t-shirt (there were none), the same was true for the audiences of Kirkeby’s newest play which premiered May 11th.  

At the center of this production is Susan, played by Jenny Mulcahy, the midlife single woman always on the prowl for men.  Her apartment is the primary set where the stories unfold. Susan has the beautiful sun tanned glow, and low cut breast accentuating wardrobe of the looking for love, (but not so much commitment) women you can find in any bar or gym in town.  Mulcahy plays the role well in a happy, almost giddy light hearted style that makes us warm to her even in her most obviously self-centered moments. Like the wine Susan drinks constantly, her dry wit flows through the script arousing everything from snickers and mild chuckles to belly laughs, and “oh my god I’m gonna pee my pants!” from the audience. The only criticism I can lay on Mulcahy’s feet, or actually on her breasts, is the makeup line fell far short in the final scene gown, creating a very distracting glow under the bright lights. The secret is out, you’re not really that tan! Not to worry, the performance was wonderfully entertaining.

Trish, played by Alaina Beauloye, and Susan are best friends who find their way through new and old relationships as they reconfirm their unconditional love for each other. Trish is the straight man to Susan’s delivery of hilarious lines. It’s hard being the straight man and getting the timing and tone just right and Beaulove has a great sense and connection for delivery with Mulcahy. As the married and unappreciated wife and mother, she hits midlife looking for more and finds it in a fling with a mime from her daughter’s birthday party who showers her with passion and admiration. A gorgeous blonde, Beaulove plays Trish as vulnerable and easy prey for a conman. Betrayed when her best friend writes about her secret extramarital affair, she quickly overcomes the hurt to engage in the infectious laughter they generate as they retell their stories of performing together blended with the trials of growing older that keeps the audience laughing with them. 

 Especially enjoyable was Rick played by Tom Koelbel. Rick’s recent breakup with his lover Mark caused him to search for emotional support through Performance Art (his warm ups are precious!) and his friends Susan and Trish. It’s as much fun watching the girls watch Rick perform as it is to watch him. Koelbel’s stage presence is so strong from the first moment he appeared it seemed he might overwhelm the rest of the cast, but he tones his character to “play well with others”. An amusing unsolicited review came in the restroom during intermission when a woman told me, “You know he’s not really gay!” I responded, “Oh really?” And she said, “He just plays it so well!”  There you have it!Koelbel has talent and I’m sure he could play most any role well. He is exceptionally entertaining and enjoyable in this production.

 The fine troupe of actors is rounded out by Rolando Zee’s ability to create two distinctly different characters as Ross, the personal trainer at the girl’s gym, and Milton, who has the steamy affair with Trish. Zee’s stage, film and modeling credits are impressive as is his incredible physique. For much of the production his character is little more than eye candy. But the few lines and two characters he portrays demonstrate he has acting talent as well. The gym scene was great. How to be a crazed hold up man while two women are doing a hysterical comedy act is tough. But Zee pulled it off and took the fall as well as any professional stunt man. He will certainly have a long and successful career in acting.

 Music was from Lisa Koch CD’s “Tall Cool Drink and Both of Me” available online at Director Deidre Kaye says, “Her music fit perfectly into the storyline.” Menopausal women will love her lyrics.

 So if you missed this delightful production you will want to mark your calendar for the next show by Darknight Productions to be held in old town Scottsdale beginning next October. You can see a preview on June 14th - Murder at Savings & Loan Ballpark (s.lo.b.)by Alexx Stuart. It’s a parody of the Diamondbacks and baseball in general.  The location is Grimaldi's Pizzeria at 4000 Scottsdale Road (southwest corner of First Avenue and Scottsdale Rd.) It promises to be great food and a very funny show! Tickets are $40 and include play, dinner (4 courses) tax and gratuity. Grimaldi's was just voted "Best pizza in the valley that isn't Bianco".

 For more information or tickets see:  or call 480-595-7346.

Photos: Top- The cast and playwright of Midlife Madness greeted the audience following opening weekend performances.

2nd – Playwright Jennifer Kirkeby and Director Diedre Kaye relax on the set of Midlife Madness prior to it’s world premiere on May 11th, 2007.

Susan and Trish at the gym – Alaina Beauloye as Trish watches Susan  (Jenny Mulcahy) avoid exercising.

 Opening night of Midlife – Best friends celebrate the opening night of Susan’s (played by Jenny Mulcahy) first play.  Left to right: Jenny Mulcahy, Tom Koelbel, Rolando Zee, Alaina Beauloye.

This article was printed in the May 2007 issue of Panorama and distributed to 25,000 readers in the greater Phoenix North Valley. It remains in the Archives for years to come. This builds traffic to the theatre's website listed online. The best advertising is continued exposure.

To have your next production reviewed email or call 602-565-5785.


Local Children and The Nutcracker

Ballet Arizona presents one of the most elaborate productions of The Nutcracker---enlisting the help of over 100 young students of not only The School of Ballet Arizona, but from kids across the far reaches of the Valley.Every year, there are auditions held at Ballet Arizona to cast the parts of Clara, Fritz, and an array of youth roles in The Nutcracker. Just the thought of performing on stage at Symphony Hall surrounded by talented company dancers is enough to excite any child. This is one of the many reasons why this show is such a family favorite.

Among these talented children is a group of 21 students from Clarendon Elementary School, who are members of Osborn School District’s after-school Ballet Program. This tuition-free program, launched in2003, is headed by Camden Lloyd, former School of Ballet Arizona teacher. Lloyd’s vision is to give young students a chance to explore and pursue their ballet ambitions while learning the cultural and professional aspects of the art. According to Lloyd, in the Ballet Program, kids must maintain their academics and demonstrate “stellar responsibility” in order to earn the privilege to audition for The Nutcracker. Lloyd believes that children of all backgrounds deserve a chance to learn and excel at ballet and says “Ballet Arizona offers that chance” through open auditions for The Nutcracker and extensivecommunity outreach programs. There are three casts of children ages 9-16, assigned to perform throughout the 21-show schedule this holiday season. Parents are invited to volunteer backstage, to chaperone as well as help the kids with make-up and costume changes. For each performance, stage manager Mandy Brommel gives about a dozen parent volunteers backstage access and photo IDs.

With so much opportunity to shine in this full-length and kid-friendly production, the youth are centerstage. Roles include Clara, the star of The Nutcracker, who dreams of giant mice and The Sugar Plum Fairy; as well as her brother Fritz, Drosselmeyer’s prince, party boys and girls, toy soldiers, angels, and Mother Ginger’s children.Not only is The Nutcracker one of the most imaginative and exciting shows for children to perform, it is also amazing to see. Every season, in addition to our community outreach program Angel Night, Ballet Arizona presents Student Matinees, in which schools and other youth organizations visit Symphony Hall to view these performances. The 2008 Student Matinee performances are December 17, and 18; tickets are always in high-demand, selling for only $4 per student. Teachers are offered an in-depth study guide for their students to prepare them for the magical holiday tale. This year’s Angel Night and Student Matinee performances are expected to turn out a full-house at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Keeping with the spirit of family fun and community youth outreach, Ballet Arizona is dedicated to making The Nutcracker the most enchanting, and enjoyable experience in the Valley. Before every show, a special guest reads the story of The Nutcracker, and kids can also enter in the Guest Soldier drawing, for a chance to appear on stage in the first act of the show. Ballet Arizona is proud to have so many Arizona children perform, attend, and delight in this celebration of holiday magic and imagination. The Nutcracker opens this Friday, December 12th at 7:30 pm! Ballet Arizona Ib Andersen’s The Nutcracker Phoenix Symphony Hall December 12-28, 2008 TICKETS/ INFO:Available at Ballet Arizona Box Office602- 381- 1096   3645 E. Indian School Rd Phoenix, AZ 85018