- Your Voice
The national tour of the off-Broadway hit, Murder for Two, a laugh-out-loud musical comedy whodunit with the classic feel of a murder mystery and a contemporary homage to vintage comedy – with some cheeky references to murder mysteries that have come before thrown in – takes off in its Southwest premiere at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., from Nov. 29-Dec. 20. Arizona Theatre Company’s 2014-15 season is sponsored by I. Michael and Beth Kasser.Murder for Two channels composer Joe Kinosian and lyricist Kellen Blair’s love for both Agatha Christie and the Marx Brothers into a zany 90-minute blend of classical musical comedy and madcap mystery with killer laughs and two performers playing 13 roles – and the piano. The New York Times called Murder for Two “Ingenious! A snazzy double-act that spins out a comic mystery animated by funny, deftly turned songs.”It’s the story of Officer Marcus Moscowicz, a small-town cop with dreams of making detective. One fateful night, shots ring out at the surprise birthday party of Great American Novelist Arthur Whitney and the writer is killed --- fatally. With the nearest detective an hour away, Marcus jumps at the chance to prove his sleuthing skills with the help of his silent partner, Lou. But, whodunit? Did Dahlia Whitney, Arthur’s scene-stealing wife, give him the big finish? Is Barrette Lewis, the prima ballerina, the prime suspect? Did Dr. Griff, the overly-friendly psychiatrist, make a frenemy? Marcus only has a short amount of time to find the killer and make his name before the real detective arrives … and the ice cream melts!Directed by Scott Schwartz, Kinosian (The Suspects) and Ian Lowe (Marcus) from the off-Broadway production make their Arizona Theatre Company debuts in Murder for Two.BMO Harris Private Bank is the Opening Night Sponsor for Murder for Two.ATC follows Murder for Two with the world premiere of Five Presidents, Jan. 10-31; Romeo and Juliet, Feb. 28 to March 21; and A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, April 4-26.
Someone once asked me what my favorite thing about Gaslight Theatre is.I asked them how much time they had.That couldn’t be truer than of the playhouse’s newest comedic gem, “The Secret Santa,” which debuted last week and runs through Jan. 4.Set in the 1960s, the play revamps the age-old tale of Santa Claus with a modern twist – his sleigh has broken down in the Town of Merryville – but that’s not the real dilemma.The Cogsworth Toy Factory is under siege by its owner, CC Cogsworth (Brian Hale) and manager, Barkely Simpson (Todd Thompson), who together plot to halt toy production in order to launch a potentially more lucrative lawnmower factory. Initially unaware of the devious plan, the spirited toymakers are caught off-guard when they discover management’s true motives, and things look grim for the factory workers and Merryville alike. The potential shutdown could mean Christmas passes by as just another day.
SaddleBrooke resident Susan Shear grew up knowing that her parents had escaped from Nazi Germany in the events that lead up to the Holocaust. But her family really didn’t talk about it and in school, she and her fellow students weren’t taught much more than a paragraph or two mentioning what had happened.Later in life, she began to read up on it and research it when she came to the realization that she just needed to know what happened. Her course in life to study, learn and to try to understand what people suffered through was set in motion.Then, one night she was sitting and talking with her mother.“She said, ‘You know, I do have a few letters.’ And that was her sentence. So she went down into the basement, she gets a tiny little box, and she brings it up.”Enclosed were three or four letters, written in German, from Shear’s aunt, her mother’s sister.Once the discussion and topic of the letters spread throughout her family, she learned her brother had more letters and her uncle had a giant stash of letters written by her grandfather chronicling the events that were taking place in Germany.
It may be hard to believe, but Oro Valley’s Great American Playhouse is already celebrating its one-year anniversary as the premier melodramatic theater in the neighborhood, if not the entire city. This Halloween season, the all-star cast is setting the spooky mood with a Sean MaCarther re-imagining of the Tim Burton 1988 cult classic film,“Beetlejuice”.The GAP’s rendition, “Beetle-Juiced”, introduces Roger and Susan Baldwin (Brian Paradis and Jennifer Ackerly Lawrence). The Baldwins are a cookie cutter couple from the suburbs that seem to be perfect were it not for one minor detail: they are dead. That’s right, the Baldwins are dead to begin with. And even worse, they are trapped as ghosts inside their beloved home with its new owners, Charles and Cordelia Fairmont (Jesus Limon and Amy DeHaven). Cordelia Fairmont and her psychic Otto (Nick Seirvert) have a nefarious ploy to rid Mr. Fairmont of his fortune, but young Timmy Fairmont (Randy McDonald) is wise to the plot against his father. As luck would have it, Timmy is also the only one who can see the ghosts of the Baldwins, and with eachother’s help, the trio may just be able to rid themselves of Cordelia and Otto. But Timmy also calls on the aid of a spooky troublemaker from the netherworld, and things quickly become much more complicated (and hilarious).By now, two things have become unmistakably clear about the GAP. The first is that director and playwright Sean MaCarther has his successful formula down to a particular science. MaCarther is a master of re-invention, recycling and straight comedy. The multi-talented storyteller is a genius when it comes to pulling major ingredients from a famous film of our nostalgic past, and placing his own twist on them. Under a new guise, productions such as “Beetle-Juiced” and the recent “Naomi and Michelle’s Excellent Adventure” become entirely new family friendly creations unique to the GAP.The second hard fact about the GAP is that they, without fail, cast each role with perfect precision, made easy of course by a dynamic group of talented players. “Beatle-Juiced” offers enough diversity in its characters to allow the actors to breath in their roles and to make each character their own. Each of the actors have their own separate moments to shine before the audience, and the overall allure is complimented by a special attention to the detail of costume and stage design, which is particularly on point this time around.An especially delightful aspect of the GAP’s latest product is the “Fractured Fairy Tales Olio”. The team conjures up melodies of the last 60 years of Disney favorites, hosted by the not so traditional fairy Godmother played by Nick Seivert, and including an uncanny portrayal of Marry Poppins played by Amy DeHaven, a Randy McDonald led hip-hop rendition of Little Red Riding Hood, and Sean MaCarthur singing “Under the Sea” in an enormous crab costume. Need I say more? The GAP is back to its old tricks, and it keeps getting better and better.
“Buy tickets now and see it later!”That line will make sense to those fortunate enough to have already seen the Gaslight Theatre’s latest production, “Cronan The Barbarian,” kick-started Sept. 4 and running through Nov. 9.For those who haven’t yet, expect what you’ve come to expect of the Gaslight Theatre: A slew of hilarious one-liners mingled into a well-structured script that incorporates a family friendly theme, song and dance, and an acting crew that has mastered the craft of melodramatic and improv comedy.While my timeslot was missing the always popular and spunky Joe Cooper from the lineup, there was enough depth and talent in the acting crew to fill the void, and in “Cronan” that is particularly true of lead Todd Thompson (Cronan), whose high-energy, and mere stage presence demands attention, and Mike Yarema (Pirate Captain, Bragdar the Horrendous, Equinox the Centaur, several soldiers), who somehow has the state of mind and versatility to flawlessly transition between numerous roles that give him nearly no time for a breather.Loosely following the 1982 storyline of director John Millus’ “Conan the Barbarian,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gaslight’s latest gem opens with the introduction of General Ataxia (Armen Dirtadian) heading up a pirate ship full of slaves he and his crew have collected along their journey – slaves who are told they will be land laborers until their death.Among them is Cronan, who unlike his fellow captives, won’t go down so easily. He makes his mission known early and often – he will free the slaves and restore order to his land no matter the cost.
One of the primary allures of the Tucson climate is the seemingly endless amount of outdoor entertainment that can take place nearly year round. Games of golf, family picnics, hiking expeditions, and films underneath the stars have become community favorites in years past, but one local theater group is quietly bringing a much more educational twist to the list.The El Rio Theater Project is gearing up for their 8th annual production of Shakespeare in the park with the classic tale “King Lear”. The series of performances began in 2006 as part of a vision experienced by long time Tucson theater staple Michael Givens. Givens had a dream of making quality theater more accessible to people who do not usually purchase tickets to expensive productions. By performing for a fee in a public space, El Rio Theater has become a community theater that places more emphasis on the importance of exposing community members to classic plays rather than seeking monetary profits. Givens and his team of top-notch players are true to their word and true to their vision, as there is no price for admission (though a small donation is welcome).Following last year’s comedic park performance of “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, “King Lear” promises to be a much more dark and gritty spectacle in the night. The tragedy focuses on a waning leader who decides to forfeit his estate, electing to divide it among his three daughters, Regan, Goneril, and Cordelia. But there is a catch. King Lear, blinded by hubris, wishes to be showered with flattery from his daughters before they receive a portion of the kingdom. When two of the daughters deceive the Lear by lying about the extent of their love for him, a series of tragic events unfold that bring about devastating consequences for the entire kingdom. Providing the perfect opportunity for a night out with the family, a cozy date under the stars, or a class outing, the Shakespeare in the park performances are sure to deliver something special for all groups of entertainment seekers, outdoor enthusiasts, and literature buffs alike. The team of performers remind those attending to bring a blanket and a picnic basket, and prepare to become lost in a timeless allegory written over 400 years ago, yet still captures constant and universal nuances of the human condition that speak to audiences in the 21st Century. The play will take place at Himmel Park at 1000 N. Tucson Blvd. at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19-21, Sept. 25-28, and Oct. 2-5, and yes, the weather should be lovely.
FLASHDANCENovember 4-9, 2014Centennial HallCelebrating its 30th Anniversary, the pop culture phenomenon of FLASHDANCE is now live on stage. With electrifying dance at its core, FLASHDANCE-THE MUSICAL tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a bar dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional performer. When romance with her steel mill boss threatens to complicate her ambitions, Alex learns the meaning of love and its power to fuel the pursuit of her dream.***Please note there is no Sunday evening performance***Recommended for ages 12+. Contains language and some adult content.
Who you gonna call when you want to see a hilarious spoof of the 1984 film “Ghostbusters”? The Gaslight Theatre, of course. In its latest production, “Ghostblasters,” the Gaslight Theatre manifests another comedic work of art under writer/director Peter Van Slyke, starring Mike Yarema and Jake Chapman as ghost-hunting protagonists tasked with saving the city from a flurry of trouble-making spirits. As is the usual with Gaslight shows, this one starts out high-energy and doesn’t let up for the duration, in the process seamlessly revisiting some of the most memorable scenes from the “Ghostbusters” series, the third and latest film of which is rumored to be going into production next year. But “Ghostblasters” doesn’t share in that speculation. With a running date of June 12 through Aug. 31, this one is already made, and made well.Initially set in New York City’s Metro University Science Lab, we are introduced to scientist/ghostblaster Zack Freeman (Yarema), and parapsychologist/ghostblaster Wally Beaker (Chapman), who are in the process of creating a hi-tech device that will allow them to visualize ghostly spirits.
By now the Great American Playhouse has gained notoriety across north Tucson as a rowdy melodramatic theater that fills its auditorium with laughter and energy. On weekend evenings, the theater is commonly filled to the back with audience members who join in on the fun by singing along with the familiar ballads, booing at the villains, and cheering for the heroes. The roof threatens to fly off the foundation on these crowded evenings of rowdiness. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I attended the theater’s Sunday afternoon showing of their newest production “Naomi and Michelle’s Excellent Adventure”, and found the auditorium half full. It seemed as though it would be a different crowd than I had grown accustomed to in prior GAP experiences, as the audience appeared tired from the mid-day heat, from large Sunday lunches, and from the thoughts of beginning a new a work week. I sat in my seat, and prepared myself for what I fully expected to be a toned down and lazy rendition of GAP’s newest play, lacking the perennial punching power that the company has become known for.Boy, was I ever wrong.By the beginning of the second act, the Great American players had won over the crowd completely, and I had entirely forgotten that attendance was far less than that of a weekend evening. You never would have guessed by the volume and energy that filled the room. In “Naomi and Michelle”, playwright Sean MacArthur blends elements of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” to bring us a wonderfully silly tale about two hip high school girls from the fictional Oro Valley High in the year 1984. Naomi and Michelle are facing academic probation on account of their less than radical grades in American history. Unless they can pull off an incredible final presentation, the girls will be forced to sit out of the championship volleyball game. But as luck would have it, the desert dwelling duo happens upon a time machine that ultimately takes them on a journey throughout American history, opening the floodgates for hilarious occurrences between the clueless teenagers and the most prominent men and women in America’s formation.The GAP is comprised of much more than actors. These are all out performers, feeding off the orchestration of musical director Mike Padilla to deliver a top-notch over-the-top invention.Sean MacArthur seems to lead the way of the talented team, as he masterfully slips into historical role after historical role as John Adams, John Muir, and American General MacArthur (as well as a few secret cameos). Nick Seivert and Jesus Limon are comedic naturals, undoubtedly in their element in a company such as GAP. The mere presence of Limon and Seivert seems to bring the hilarity up a notch whenever they appear on the stage. Amy Dehaven may be the most diverse part of the GAP comedy machine, as she masters roles ranging from a stereotypical 40-something high school volleyball coach, to the tough and rugged cowboy Frank James, to a refined and principled Susan B. Anthony. Jacinda Rose Swineheart has established herself as an ever-faithful centerpiece of the team. With Swineheart, you always know what you are going to get, a strong presence, talent, and a bounding energy. Swineheart’s partner in crime, Dennis Tamblyn flows in a similar vein as Seivert, unmistakably self aware that just about anything he does is funny. In this production, he conquers as Todd, the metro and evil high school cheerleader who, as malicious as he is, is impossible to hate. Most of the team’s energy is pumped from the bottomless reservoir that is the young Randy McDonald. McDonald has a way of stealing the show with his comedic precision and dancing. GAP’s young aces are Erin Anderson and Jacqueline Williams, who play the title roles. They bring much promise and stability to a group oozing with talent, and are perfect as oblivious 80’s teens who begin to learn valuable life lessons.
The Tucson Fringe Theater Festival is proud to announce its acceptance of performer applications for its 2014 festival. The Tucson Fringe Festival is an unjuried and uncensored performance, art, and theater festival promoting accessibility for presenting established and emerging artists, and unrestrained artistic freedom. Tucson Fringe is looking for writers, performers, actors, directors, sign twirlers, puppeteers, balladeers, auctioneers, playwrights, bards, jugglers, raconteurs, stage managers, state legislators, other clowns, artists, guitarists, creative alarmists, poets, thespians, musicians, sirens, comedians, really talented sign twirlers, dancers, prancers, knowers of answers, and other prognosticators.The Festival will take place Sept. 12 through Sept. 14 at Club Congress in downtown Tucson. The priority deadline for performer applications is June 23. Interested performers may apply to for a single performance during the festival, or a two-night residency.Interested artists can visit www.tucsonfringe.org for more information.Tucson Fringe is also looking for volunteers for the upcoming festival. Rewards for interested individuals may include free admission to upwards of at least half of one festival performance, a sense of accomplishment, free leftover popped corn, a feeling of moral superiority, a commemorative festival lanyard, and more.Tucson Fringe Theater Festival strives to expand upon an already thriving theatrical community by promoting affordable opportunities for artists to craft original ideas while presenting a wider array of performance practice. Downtown Tucson provides an ideal backdrop for bringing together arts patrons of all demographics and the creative force that is Fringe. Fringe doesn’t curate. Fringe restores the artist’s creative influence. Fringe is affordable. Fringe is unique. Fringe doesn’t preach. Fringe gives all the money back to the artist. Fringe is a laboratory for ideas. Fringe is community.
Casino Del Sol presents singer, comedian, ventriloquist and celebrity impressionist Terry Fator at Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater.May 30, 2014Event Location: 5655 W. Valencia Rd., Tucson, AZ 85757 Venue: Casino Del Sol Resort, Spa and Conference Center Time: Starting: 8:00 PM Admission: See website
The Great American Playhouse presents "Quest of the Caveman," with an invasion of the Ashers home in Wildcat Valley. A small ragtag group goes on a quest to united their tribe amidst unseen monsters and a hostile world.March 27, 2014 - June 07, 2014Event Location: 13005 N. Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85739 Venue: The Great American Playhouse Time: Thurs.&:00 PM; Fri. 6:00 PM & 8:30 PM; Sat.3:00 PM & 6:00 PM; Sun.3:00 PM Admission: Adults – $17.95 Seniors (60 and over), Active Military and Students – $15.95 Children (12 and under) – $7.95
THEATER Wednesday to Thursday, Nov. 12-13• Enjoy a performance of Jessica Lang Dance as she incorporates striking set and costume pieces transforming the language of classical ballet. Details: 7:30 p.m.; Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, 1713 E. University Blvd.; $65; www.ticketmaster.com. Wednesday to Sunday,
Former hip-hop mogul Suge Knight and actor-comedian Katt Williams were arrested last week and charged for an incident in Beverly Hills. The charges claim that the two men stole a camera from a celebrity photographer in September.The photographer, whose name has not been released, claims that the two men stole her camera while she was working in Beverly Hills. Williams shared in an interview with TMZ that they never stole anything from the photographer; they only tried to protect a five year old child from the paparazzi who was acting “unethically”. The two men say that they saw the photographer taking pictures of the child, who was alone, in an alley and thought that something inappropriate was occurring, prompting the men to chase her off before making her delete her footage. Williams goes on to claim that before the photographer actually deleted the footage, she took off running, prompting the two men to chase her. According to Williams, no theft ever occurred.Knight was arrested last week while in Las Vegas, and Williams was arrested while he was appearing in court for an unrelated assault charge.This is not the first run in with authorities that these two men have faced. The two men faced trouble in 2012 for getting into a fight in the middle of a packed Los Angeles nightclub. One week prior to that incident they were sighted for causing a “disturbance” outside of a Subway when they parked too close to a fire hydrant. Knight was shot six times outside of a nightclub in Los Angeles before the MTV Video Music Awards, an incident he brushed off as just part of his life. This most recent summer, Williams was sued by his former tour manager for assault and battery for knocking the man unconscious, these were the charges Williams was in court for when he was arrested last week.Though this relatively small robbery charge may seem insignificant to the two men, the sentencing could carry some heavy punishment due to their already extensive arrest records. Williams faces a seven year sentence if convicted and Knight could face thirty years because of aprior conviction of assault with a deadly weapon.It seems as though troubles with police are not limited to glowing socialite celebrities.
The one point that director Dan Gilroy’s latest film hammers home to moviegoers is that we’ve emerged as a society with an inherent morbid curiosity. We seek out and are drawn to this fascination with other’s death or unpleasant circumstances. Feeding this obsession with over-the-top gruesomeness is a news media hell-bent on higher ratings at any cost. “Nightcrawler” unapologetically illustrates the high price television stations are willing to pay to get that grisly, leading story even if truth and fairness must be discarded to the side as collateral damage. Gilroy’s vision for the movie is either a tongue-and-cheek play upon our grim desires as consumers of news or a gallant effort on his part to bring awareness to society’s lack of respect and dignity for one another. Regardless, “Nightcrawler” is a dark and disturbing thriller about the sick, reciprocal relationship between television viewers and the media.Jake Gyllenhaal is superb as the emotionally troubled and socially awkward freelance cameraman capturing overnight violence for Los Angeles’ TV audiences. Intellectually brilliant yet residing firmly within the autism spectrum, Gyllenhaal’s character skillfully manipulates others to achieve his primary goal of notoriety through violent videos. Nominated for an Academy Award in 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain”, this could be the year and movie that Gyllenhaal actually wins the coveted award. This unhinged role brings us a much darker and more unusual Gyllenhaal than we’ve seen in other films. His demeanor is believably off-kilter with a dangerous, menacing angle that taps into the fears of his bright supporting cast--especially his sidekick and videographer Rick (exceptionally played by Riz Ahmed). Any uncomfortableness viewers have watching this film is easily overmatched by one’s inability to turn away from the action, underscoring the strength of “Nightcrawler” and Gilroy’s salacious direction. The message of the movie is clear; as we become more immune to violence in our lives and build up a tolerance, the media must work harder to induce fear in their TV viewers. Not any crime story, however, will do. It must make the untouchable now feel touchable. Spinning this vicious cycle of violence through fear creates a slippery slope of media reporting that fuels higher ratings, burying any feel-good stories to later in a news cycle. Although we hate our penchant for this type of reporting, there’s no denying it exists or our uneasiness with it. It’s this unmistakable draw and one’s level of discomfort that “Nightcrawler” is counting on from filmgoers to make it a success. Grade: B(Editor’s Note: Patrick King is a resident of Oro Valley and writer for the REEL BRIEF movie blog at www.reelbrief.com. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s long been surmised that Jeff Azersky has the most beautiful bivalves in Southern Arizona.Lest your imaginations run wild, let me be clear. We’re talking oysters, people, and Azersky indeed has every reason to take pride in helping to pioneer Tucson’s raw bar culture, a culture that will be celebrated at the annual Kingfisher Oyster Festival on Nov. 8.Azersky spent nearly 30 years on the South Shore of Massachusetts, what some consider to be the nation’s oyster capital, halfway between Boston and Cape Cod. When he relocated to Tucson more than 20 years ago, he started shipping fresh oysters here, and today they’re among the top sellers at both of his local restaurants – Kingfisher Bar and Grill, 2564 E. Grant Road, and Bluefin Seafood Bistro, 7053 N. Oracle Road.In preparation for the Oyster Festival, I sat down with Azersky last week to learn more about our squishy little friend.He started the lesson by describing the significant number of oyster varietals currently being harvested across the globe, and that he expects to feature nearly 20 different types at the festival.“We’ll be serving oysters from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, California, New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and other regions that produce great oysters,” he said.
Diana Madaras doesn’t feel comfortable painting in public because the creative effort of putting color on canvas and bringing an idea to life is a very private endeavor for her, yet she readily shares her finished work, many pieces of which depict life in the Sonoran desert, with that same public.And as an additional way of showing how she developed her style of painting, as well as developed and changed as an artist, she’s published a retrospective of her life and work in the book, “Private Spaces,” which Madaras will introduce to Tucsonans this month. “Sharing the personal information in the book was difficult because I’m a very private person,” Madaras said. “But I hope that people will draw inspiration from the book and realize that it’s never too late to follow their dreams and make them come true.”“Private Spaces” chronicles the story of how Madaras, a New Jersey native, became a desert dweller who walked away from a successful marketing career to pursue her passion for art. Madaras was raised by a veterinarian father and developed a love of animals at an early age, which would feature in many of her artworks.Madaras came to Tucson in 1976 to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Arizona, and after graduation worked in sports marketing for national events. She didn’t pick up a paint brush until taking a trip to Greece, and within five years she was painting full time, and within 10, opened two galleries in Tucson and established herself as one of the most recognized artists in the area.“Private Spaces” reproduces 152 images of Madaras’s paintings, from her first watercolors painted in the Bahamas and Greece, through her African animal paintings and South Dakota Artist Rides work, to the Southwest landscapes, animals and florals from 1992 to the present.