Kristiana Colón Wins Arizona Theatre Company Latino Playwriting Award

Categories: News, Theater

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Courtesy of ATC
Kristiana Colón's Octagon is about eight young poets competing in a slam.
Arizona Theatre Company announced on Monday, July 7, that Kristiana Colón is the winner of its 2014 Latino Playwriting Award for her original work Octagon.

Based in Chicago, Colón is a playwright, poet, education, and member of Teatro Luna. She appeared on the fifth season of HBO's Def Poetry Jam and has published a collection of poems.


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Downtown Phoenix's Space 55 Presents a Different 7 Minutes in Heaven Each Saturday in June

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courtesy of Space 55
Patrick Hershey and Amy Ouzoonian are Expat, and they wail.
The setup: Space 55's Late Night Series is a thing we've visited and written about before. It's alternative performance for (eventually) every taste, something we both enjoy and pine for more of.

This month, Saturday nights at 9 p.m. bring us 7 Minutes in Heaven, a thing that link kind of describes the content of, but not the concept. (Disclosure: I have performed in 7 Minutes Under the Mistletoe. Space 55 does not select or vet artists or material for its 7 Minutes . . . series -- and that is the concept.)

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"Storyline: Bad Buddhist" Showcases Top Downtown Phoenix Storytellers

Categories: Theater

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Image courtesy of Gabriel Radley
Storyteller Dan Hull rehearses for the upcoming "Bad Buddhist" show at Space 55
"Really, to me, the whole thing is about building a storytelling scene."

These are the words of Dan Hull, architect of the downtown Phoenix storytelling scene. After two seasons of the weekly Yarnball storytelling open mic night at Lawn Gnome Publishing, and one season of the monthly Storyline feature at Space 55, Hull has truly laid the groundwork for an entire community of up-and-coming storytellers in the Valley. This season's final Storyline show, "Bad Buddhist," represents a bridging point for the scene up into the future.


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The Full Monty from Mesa Encore Drops More Than Trou

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Wade Moran
Foreground, Michael Leeth, and left to right, Chad Campbell, Andrew Lipman, Jonathan Holdsworth, and Julian Peña discuss "The Goods" in The Full Monty.
The setup: There really isn't anything wrong with the lemons God gave you, even before you pluckily make lemonade from them. But in 1997, when director Peter Cattaneo showed us the work of screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) in The Full Monty, the desperate, laid-off male inhabitants of economically ravaged steel town Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, became brave, brilliant, sexy heroes. (Oh, yeah -- by stripping for money in front of friends, family, and neighbors, despite zero qualifications to do so, in case you didn't know.) Mesa Encore Theatre's mounting of the fine stage musical that resulted (set in Buffalo, New York) runs one more weekend in the Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse at Mesa Arts Center.

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Downtown Phoenix's Orange Theatre Launches IndieGoGo to Fund Local, National Productions

Categories: Theater

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Courtesy of Orange Theatre
The cast of Orange Theatre's most recent production of Blood Wedding.
A new home. A Big Brain award. A knockout run of successful pay-what-you-can productions.

Think that's enough for downtown Phoenix's Orange Theatre? Not quite.

Recently, the company launched its latest IndieGoGo fundraiser. While past fundraisers have gone towards basic (by this group's standards) production expenses and moving into a new venue, this time around Orange is going a little farther from home: first to ASU's Lyceum Theater, and then to New York's North American Cultural Laboratory.

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Howl Theatre Project Presents Its First Production at Space 55 in Phoenix

Categories: Theater

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Howl Theatre Project
Rehearsal image from "Monsters of the Sea (III): endofplay/7"
"Out of your head and into your heart."

Throughout our interview with the members of Howl Theatre Project, it was this phrase that kept appearing. By their own admission, this was a bit of a clichéd phrase, particularly for a troupe with such experimental bonafides as theirs. But still, the phrase holds true in describing the methods, practices, and presentation brought to the table by the collective in their attempt to achieve a sort of universality in the new works they develop and perform.

From Friday, May 30 through Sunday, June 1, the newly formed theatre group presents the final weekend of its first production, Monsters of the Sea (III): endofplay/7, at Space 55 in downtown Phoenix. The play acts as the third installment in writer Chris Danowski's "Monsters of the Sea" series, and the first in the series to be presented in a public venue. Sound strange?


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Young Frankenstein Is Proportionally Large at Peoria's Arizona Broadway Theatre

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courtesy of Arizona Broadway Theatre
From left, Kurtis W. Overby and Adam Vargas put on some Raaarh in Young Frankenstein.
The setup: You may remember a massive hit musical, The Producers, that was based on a Mel Brooks film that, by the time this century turned, not really all that many people remembered. You might not realize that Brooks wrote all the songs for that show, not just "Springtime for Hitler" (which was in the original fake musical in the original movie). He's very musically talented!

Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein are probably considered Brooks' biggest hits, and I don't know whether there'll ever be a musical version of Blazing Saddles, but YF makes a nice, fun musical, and it's stomping into Arizona right now at Arizona Broadway Theatre.


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Bitch of the Baskervilles at Downtown Phoenix's Trunk Space This Weekend Only

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Heather Corner
From left, Liz Bragg and Amanda O'Halloran search desperately for a clue in Bitch of the Baskervilles, in a photo that displays vastly greater quantities of hat and lesser quantities of bosom than the real thing.
The setup: Let's set you up, first. You obviously need something to do with yourself this long weekend, based on last night's two-hour-plus karaoke rotations, and now that the chick who sang "Don't Stop Believing" has doubtless been murdered, you can get some investigative tips from Holmes and Watson at Bitch of the Baskervilles, a short new play that's here on a three-day stop on a two-city tour, i.e., get a move on.

A Toronto troupe called Socratic Theatre Collective has collaborated with Current Theatrics, which provided Philippines-born, Dublin-educated, Las Vegas-residing director Ruth Pe Palileo, to produce S. R. Kriger's Bitch of the Baskervilles this weekend in Phoenix and next weekend in Vegas. It's a short, gender-blended parody of the Conan Doyle story with adorable, sexy, steampunky costumes (including the first tiny deerstalkanator hat I've ever seen), some nice, goofy acting choices, and subtly self-referential jokes about literature, stage conventions, and gender [insert noun here].


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Avenue Q: We Can Tell You How to Get to It (Go to Phoenix Theatre)

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courtesy of Phoenix Theatre
Colin Ross (right) and two unseen puppeteer/actors operate part of the ensemble of Avenue Q during the number "Purpose."
The setup: Avenue Q, a sort of adults-only musical parody of Sesame Street that exists and functions, nevertheless, completely independently of the kids' show, opened in 2003 and won a cluster of Tonys. One would think its songs and subject matter, apparently quite topical at the time, would feel dated and stale by now, but happily for the show (maybe not so happily for the prospects of people like its 22-year-old characters), it works as well as ever.


Phoenix Theatre
's current production, a revival of its 2011 staging, still has two more weekends to run and, surprisingly, a lot of you have never seen Avenue Q and you need to remedy that immediately.

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Booking The Book of Mormon, or Do Population Demographics Have Anything to Do with This Tour Taking Three or Four Years to Get Here?

Categories: Theater

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Joan Marcus
The first North American tour cast of The Book of Mormon, making the world a better place sometime last year
Innocent questions that arise naturally, especially in the minds of people of all types who live in areas with a nice, large, healthy proportion of residents who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, include the following:

1. Just how many Mormons live in my stomping grounds?

2. If it's a lot, does that have anything to do with why I haven't been able to see The Book of Mormon yet without taking a road trip that, for a neurotypical person, would involve at least one overnight stay or, at least, sleeping and driving in shifts? (Don't fly to L.A. or Las Vegas unless you're staying at least three days. You will spend more time getting to and from the airport than it took to drive or, if you're supa-green, to ride Amtrak or a bus.)


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