Opening Nights | March 2017

Eight productions heading Arizona stages this month

Kevin Kern as JM Barrie and Tom Hewitt as Captain Hook and Cast of the National Tour of Finding Neverland. Photo Credit Carol Rosegg.

By Richard Schultz, March 2017 Issue.


Finding Neverland
March 14-19

finding_neverlandThis Broadway musical tells the fascinating story of how Peter became Pan. Based on the Academy Award-winning film of the same name, this breathtaking show follows playwright J.M. Barrie as he summons the courage to become the writer, and the man, he yearns to be. Barrie finds the inspiration he’s been missing when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her four young sons: Jack, George, Michael and Peter. Delighted by the boys’ hilarious escapades, Barrie conjures the magical world of Neverland and writes a play unlike any the high-society London theatergoers have ever seen. It’s a tremendous risk, but as Barrie himself has discovered: when you believe, you can fly.

Finding Neverland
March 14-19
ASU Gammage
1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe
Tickets: $20-$207; 480-965-3434
asugammage.com


Hal Halbrook in Mark Twain Tonight
Jan. 7-8

Fifty years ago, a young actor took the stage in a tiny off-Broadway theater and introduced the world to the portrait of a man they would never forget. HalHal_Holbrook_as_Mark_Twain_SUPPORT Halbrook, one of the greatest character actors, presents one of the most acclaimed and enduring performances in the theater history. Three new numbers have been added to its revolving repertoire of material: one on the Christian Bible, another from the feuding clans in Huckleberry Finn killing each other off and another on the fate of the laboring class in America. “Mark Twain never stops surprising me,” Holbrook said. “He keeps firing me up and asking questions.”

Hal Halbrook in Mark Twain Tonight
Feb. 24
Mesa Arts Center
1 E. Main St., Mesa
Tickets: $30-$60; 480-644-6500
mesaartscenter.com


church-graphic_aStorefront Church
Feb. 24-March 12

This memorable play joins Doubt and Defiance to complete Tony, Oscar and Pulitzer winner John Patrick Shanley’s “Church and State” trilogy. Set in 2009, the story revolves around Bronx borough president and preacher’s son Donaldo Calderon who’s drawn into a complex financial triangle to save his friends’ home from foreclosure. As in all his best works, Shanley calls out authority figures and tests their mettle with moral issues.

Storefront Church
Feb. 24-March 12
Theatre Artists Studio
4848 E. Cactus Road, Ste. 406, Scottsdale
Tickets: $25; 602-765-0120
thestudiophx.org


UnknownRuthless!
March 3-April 9

Tina Denmark is a pretty, charming and diabolical 8-year-old girl who “was born to entertain.” With the encouragement of slick and overbearing potential agent Sylvia St. Croix, Tina will do anything to play the lead in her school play, and we mean anything. The question is where does such remarkable talent and unstoppable ambition come from? The answer may shock you in this camp/cult classic that spoofs Broadway musicals, as well as iconic films including The Bad Seed and All About Eve.

Ruthless!
March 3-April 9
Desert Stages Theatre
4720 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Tickets: $28; 480-483-1664
desertstages.org


Bullets Over Broadway
March 8-April 2

bullets_over_broadwayBased on the screenplay of the acclaimed 1994 film by Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath, this hilarious musical is a love letter to the golden age of Broadway. David Shayne, played by Valley favorite Toby Yatso, is a straight-arrow playwright who plans to stand firm against compromising his work, but quickly abandons that stance when his producer finds a backer to mount his show on Broadway. There’s just one catch, however: the backer is a mobster who sees Shayne’s play as a vehicle for his dizzy, talent-free girlfriend. Throw in an aging diva, a savant hit-man and a bevy of beautiful chorus girls and this is show will knock ’em dead. Look for a powerhouse production featuring some of the Valley’s most talented performers.

Bullets Over Broadway
March 8-April 2
Phoenix Theatre
100 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix
Tickets: $36-$91; 602-254-2151
phoenixtheatre.com


Leading Ladies
March 10-26

In this hilarious gender-bender comedy by the author of Lend Me A Tenor, two English Shakespearean actors, Jack and Leo, find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing leadingladies“Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. When they hear that an old lady in York is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. Upon their arrival, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister.

Leading Ladies
March 10 – 26
Fountain Hills Theater
11445 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills
Tickets: $30; 480-837-9661 ext. 3
fhtaz.org


Native Son
March 10-25

Native_Son_SUPPORTOn the south side of Chicago in the 1930s, a world exists where opportunity is elusive for people like Bigger Thomas. After landing a job in the home of a wealthy family, Bigger unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently and irrevocably seal his fate. Using W.E.B. DuBois’ theory of double consciousness as a grounding point, Nambi E. Kelley’s adaptation of Native Son focuses on the landscape inside Bigger’s mind, bringing the power of Richard Wright’s novel to life for a whole new generation.

Native Son
March 10-25
Stray Cat Theatre
The Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center
1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix
Tickets: $30; 480-227-1766
straycattheatre.org


Kinky Boots
March 14-19

In this hilarious gender-bender comedy by the author of Lend Me A Tenor, two English Shakespearean actors, Jack and Leo, find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. When they hear that an old lady in York is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. Upon their arrival, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister.

Kinky Boots
March 14-19
Broadway in Tucson
Centennial Hall
1020 E. University Blvd., Tucson
Tickets: $19-$100; 520-903-2929
broadwayintucson.com


BIO_RichardSchultz_WEB