Opening Nights | December 2016

Five productions heading Arizona stages this month

By Richard Schultz, December 2016 Issue.

Anthony Rapp in Concert
Nov. 19

The iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning musical RENT went on to become an international phenomenon from its Off-Broadway beginnings. As fans and theatergoers celebrate 20 years of RENT, the original “Mark Cohen,” Anthony Rapp, appears in a brand-new show featuring hits from RENT and If/Then. With a full band, including original RENT musicians, Rapp performs both original tunes and songs – ranging from the rock world to Broadway hits – that have influenced their lives. Most recently, Rapp returned from the national tour of If/Then, repeating the role he originated on Broadway opposite RENT-mate Idina Menzel.

Anthony Rapp in Concert
Nov. 19
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale
Tickets: $39-$69; 480-499-8587

beautiful-1Beautiful – The Carol King Musical
Nov. 22-27

Before she was Carole King, superstar, she was Carol Klein, teenage songwriter whose music would become the soundtrack to a generation. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her 20s, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. It wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. This Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.

Beautiful – The Carol King Musical
Nov. 22-27
ASU Gammage
1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe
Tickets: $40-$200; 480-965-3434

billy-elliotBilly Elliot
Thru Dec. 24
Based on the international hit film, and featuring a score by music legend Elton John, this rousing musical offers a powerful storyline set in a northern English mining town against the background of the 1984 miners’ strike. Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dream come true. Follow Billy’s journey as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and community and changes his life forever.

Billy Elliot
Thru Dec. 24
Phoenix Theatre
100 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix
Tickets: $56-$96; 602-254-2151|

anything-you-hear-draft-tixAnything You Hear and Only Half of What You See
Nov. 25-Dec. 10

Recently filmed as a local feature titled Postmarked, and written by Valley playwright Ron Hunting, this original play is a comically dark, taut new thriller and a world premiere. While making his appointed rounds, mailman George Ruth witnesses a murder. He thinks it’s a drug deal gone bad. Boy is he ever wrong!

Anything You Hear and Only Half of What You See
Nov. 25-Dec. 10
Stray Cat Theatre
Tempe Center for the Arts
700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe
Tickets: $25-$30; 480-350-2822

Fiddler on the Rooffiddler-on-the-roof
Tucson: Dec. 3-31 | Phoenix: Jan. 6-29

Set in the little village of Anatevka, the story centers on Tevye, a poor milkman, and his five daughters. With the help of a colorful and tight-knit Jewish community, Tevye tries to protect his daughters and instill them with traditional values in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia. Rich in historical and ethnic detail, Fiddler on the Roof’s universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion. The score includes such iconic songs such as “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”

 Fiddler on the Roof
Arizona Theatre Company
Tucson: Dec. 3-31
Temple of Music and Art
330 S. Scott Ave., Tucson
Tickets: $25-$68; 520-622-2823

Phoenix: Jan. 6-29
Herberger Theater Center
222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix
Tickets: $25-$75; 602-256-6995