Opening Nights | August 2016

Seven productions heading Arizona stages this month

By Richard Schultz, August 2016 Issue.


Prescott Summer Repertory
Through Aug. 14

facebook.com:PrescottCenterForTheArts

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/prescottcenterforthearts.

Escape the Valley heat and take a theatrical excursion to Prescott and enjoy three plays in repertory titled Lunacy, Love and Laughter!

With a touch of the poet and couched in homespun language with down-to-earth humor, N. Richard Nash’s The Rainmaker is a magical tale of what we want and need to hear about hope and human nature. The Curry family is wilting under the dry Western heat when a traveling rainmaker with a smooth line of talk sells them a promise of renewal and refreshment in the form of rain that will end the current drought. Sure, he’s a phony, but he’s a true believer in the power of optimism to water dry souls. Lizzie, Pops, Noah and Jimmy learn that “once in your life you gotta take a chance on a conman.”

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged! Revised! is a parody of the plays of Shakespeare’s classic tales, and the entire canon is performed in comically shortened form by only three actors. The fourth wall is nonexistent as these actors speak directly to the audience where some scenes involve audience participation. There are common references to pop culture, local people and places. Each performance can be vastly different from another when this high-speed rollercoaster of a show condenses all of Shakespeare’s plays into 90 minutes.

Neil Simon began his writing career in television and established himself as a leading writer of comedy by creating a succession of Broadway hits. The Good Doctor is vintage Simon, featuring 11 vignettes, hilarious and heart-warming as they put a twist on short stories written by Russian playwright Anton Chekov. Individually, the scenes are remarkably original as the character of the Writer – who some critics believe is Neil Simon’s vision of Chekov himself – narrates and bridges the scenes and also appears in some of them.

Prescott Summer Repertory
Through Aug. 14
Prescott Center for the Arts
208 N. Marina St., Prescott
Tickets: $15; 928-445-3286
pfaa.net


August: Osage County
July 29-Aug. 14

A vanished father. A pill-popping mother. Three sisters harboring shady little secrets. When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after dad disappears,
the family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. The action takes place over the course of several weeks in August inside the three-story home of Beverly and Violet Weston, the drugged-up, scathingly acidic matriarch, outside Pawhuska, Okla. This powerful dramedy is the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts that unflinchingly and uproariously exposes the dark side of the Midwestern American family.

August: Osage County
July 29-Aug. 14
Theatrikos Theatre Company
11 W. Cherry Ave., Flagstaff
Tickets: $14-$19; 928-774-1662
theatrikos.com


Shrek, The Musical
Through Aug. 14

Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film, this enchanting musical brings the hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre to life. In a faraway kingdom turned
shrekupside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre, not a handsome prince, shows up to rescue a feisty princess. All the beloved characters you know, Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Gingy and more are together to prove that there is more to the story than meets the “ears.” As the curtain rises, you’ll be transported to the land of Duloc, where our green hero finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking donkey, a feisty princess, a short-tempered bad-guy, a cookie with an attitude, a chorus of tap-dancing rats and dozens of misfit fairytale characters. It’s the kind
of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand … and his name is Shrek.

Shrek, The Musical
Through Aug. 14
Arizona Broadway Theatre
7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria
Tickets: $ 47.50-$82; 623-776-8400
azbroadway.org


Land of a Thousand Dances
Aug. 8-18

How did four Mexican American teens from the projects hit end up on Billboard Magazine’s Top 100 and opening for The Beatles on the band’s 1965 U.S. tour? It all began when Robert “Rabbit” Jaramillo, Richard “Scar” Lopez and Joe “Yo Yo” Jaramillo teamed up with Frankie “Cannibal” Garcia to play R&B and Doo Wop in East LA. Inspired by such groups as The Temptations and The Olympics, their band was called Cannibal and the Headhunters, but Paul McCartney nicknamed them “the na na boys,” a takeoff on the chorus of their biggest pop hit, “Land of a Thousand Dances.” The rest is rock ‘n’ roll history. New Carpa Theater Company brings this story to the stage.

Land of a Thousand Dances
Aug. 8-18
Herberger Theater Center
222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix
Tickets: $6; 602-252-8497
herbergertheater.org


The Lady With All The Answers
Through Aug. 20

lady2

Photo courtesy of Ryan Fagan.

For decades, newspaper columnist Ann Landers dispensed wit and wisdom to millions of Americans in need of advice. Written by David Rambo and directed by Sabian Tour, Landers, played by Leslie Abrams, finds herself writing a column about a new kind of heartbreak – her own. Drawn from Landers’ life and letters, this show is a touching and comic portrait of a wise, funny, no-nonsense woman who is one of the most influential figures in America. Through her sometimes-controversial opinions, she shaped the way we view war, politics, marriage, divorce, sexuality and even the proper way to hang a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.

The Lady With All The Answers
Through Aug. 20
Live Theatre Workshop
5317 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson
Tickets: $15-$20; 520-327-4242
livetheatreworkshop.org


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