All The State’s A Stage, 2015-2016
By Richard Schultz, October 2015 Issue.
The Grand Canyon State is home to many inspiring landmarks – from that corner in Winslow, Arizona, that the Eagles were standing on in “Take it Easy” to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural proficiency that is the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium.
And many great artists have inhabited the furthest reaches of this great state – from Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti in Mayer, Ariz., to John Wayne’s 26 Bar Ranch in Eagar, Ariz.
So the question is: Why would one limit themselves to consuming the arts in only their hometown venues?
The next time you head out of town to play tourist – regardless of where you are from or where you’re heading – be sure to take on the role as an arts patron as well. In sampling local talent of neighboring communities, you will be supporting the people and organizations that bring the arts to these audiences.
Borderlands Theatre | borderlandstheatre.org
Sept. 10-27 Más
Commissioned and developed through a National New Play Network playwright residency, and further developed by a Tucson Pima Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, this original play was one of eight recently selected for the national Latino Theater Commons Carnaval play festival in Chicago. Based on a true story, Más details a community struggling to hold onto their history, identity and humanity as they fight to save Mexican American Studies in the Tucson Unified School District.
Dec. 3-6 A Tucson Pastorela
This Tucson holiday tradition, written by Howard Allen and the Pastorela ghostwriters, returns after a one-season hiatus. While shepherds make the harrowing journey to find the baby Jesus, audiences are treated to a generous serving of farcical satire lampooning 2015’s biggest political and pop cultural events.
April 14-May 1 Ghosts of Lote Bravo
Playwright Hilary Bettis’ new play, a National New Play Network Rolling world premiere, was developed at the Julliard PlayLab and Kennedy Center. Juanda Cantu’s daughter, Raquel, has disappeared in the desert outside Ciudad Juarez. Through visions offered by La Santa Muerte, Juanda is shown Raquel’s past only to discover that her daughter had hopes, dreams and courage Juanda knew nothing about.
Invisible Theatre | invisibletheatre.com
Oct. 13-25Bakersfield Mist
Maude, an unemployed bartender living in a trailer park, has bought a painting for a few bucks from a thrift store. She’s now convinced it’s a lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions. But when world-class art expert Lionel Percy arrives at her trailer home in Bakersfield to authenticate the painting, he has no idea what he is about to discover. Inspired by true events, this hilarious and thought provoking new comedy-drama by Stephen Sachs is a Southwest premiere that asks vital questions about what makes art and people truly authentic.
Jan. 30-31Gene Kelly – The Legacy
Legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly brought astonishing grace and athleticism to the movies. His engaging onscreen personality is so accessible we feel like we know him. In fact, we know very little. In this unique, live one-woman show, Patricia Ward Kelly, his wife and biographer, uses brilliant film clips, previously unreleased audio recordings, keepsakes and stories to guide an unforgettable journey into the life and heart of the man who changed the look of dance on film and became one of the world’s most beloved and iconic stars.
In a world premiere, Tucson playwright Warren Bodow has written an enchanting and insightful play that examines the nuances of human motivation. Bernie Harris, 65, is vigorous, vivacious, hearty, successful in business, and living in Palm Springs with a wife he’s crazy about. He realizes he’s been getting older and the world around him has been getting younger. Should this champion “deelmayker” hang it up and count his blessings or try to win the multimillion dollar account of a reluctant 30 year old dotcom entrepreneur?
March 5-6Ethel Merman’s Broadway
In an Arizona premiere, Rita McKenzie recreates her award-winning off-Broadway portrayal of Ethel Merman, the Queen of the Broadway Musical. The score includes timeless songs, including “I Got Rhythm,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and 20 more of Broadway’s all-time greatest songs. McKenzie weaves Merman’s larger-than-life story with her signature tunes.