Downtown Phoenix’s own Valley Youth Theatre is closing out their 2014-2015 season with a production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s fractured-fairy tale musical, Into the Woods.
The production opened on June 12 at the Herberger Theater to positive reviews and the final run of the show begins Thursday, June 25, with multiple performances through Sunday, June 28.
It is the first time the production has run locally since the release of the 2014 Oscar-nominated film version starring Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick. According to Valley Youth Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, Bobb Cooper, “This is the largest and most lavish production of Into the Woods that has been produced in years in the valley.”
The cast includes 22 local young actors and features the overall high production values that Valley Youth Theatre is known for. According to Cooper, “It is the best entertainment value for the dollar! (Audiences) will love and enjoy the production and will want to come back for more.”
Theater is a key part of downtown Phoenix’s arts and culture landscape. “There is nothing like a live theatrical production,” says Cooper. “It is so important to the experience of visiting downtown and it is imperative to attracting business and retail thereby impacting the economy in a dramatic (pun intended) way.”
If You Go:
What: Into the Woods presented by Valley Youth Theatre
Where: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E Monroe St, Phoenix, 85004
When: Thursday, June 25 – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 26 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 27 – 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 28 – 2:00 p.m.
Tickets: $20 – $39
Photos courtesy of Valley Youth Theatre
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From Roosevelt Row CDC:
Join your favorite friends and downtown Phoenix leaders for the revival of the Roosevelt Row Summer Solstice annual fundraiser! Celebrate with us as we highlight the organization’s triumphs over the last eight years with friends and family. Block by block, brick by brick, we are committed to continuing the evolution of this beloved arts community – together.
A selection of light refreshments, including beverages and appetizers, from the eclectic restauranteurs of DeSoto Central Market are included in all ticket prices. The full DeSoto Central Market drinks and food menu will be available for purchase.
BUILDING BLOCKS: SUMMER SOLSTICE FUNDRAISER
DATE: Thursday, June 25, 2015
TIME: 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM
ADDRESS: DeSoto Central Market, 915 N Central Ave, Phoenix 85004
To purchase tickets, please visit bit.ly/solsticebuildingblocks
$30 Early-bird Special (VALID THROUGH JUNE 19!), includes reserved free parking *Limited to 100 tickets*
$35 General, valid through June 24
$40 Day Of, valid June 25
David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
For the past year, Phoenix residents have provided thoughtful feedback on the City of Phoenix’s future investment in the Move PHX transportation plan (Prop 104) and the General Plan (Prop 100). At our next Radiate PHX networking event on Tuesday, June 16 at the DeSoto Central Market at Central and Roosevelt, the Downtown Phoenix Inc. (DPI) board of directors invites you to rally in support of these important initiatives and their beneficial impact on Downtown Phoenix at the ballot box on August 25.
We’ll hear from Shawn Connelly, general manager of the wonderfully-restored DeSoto Central Market; Mo Stein, board chair of the Phoenix Community Alliance who has been instrumental in developing the General Plan; and District 8 Councilwoman Kate Gallego, who co-chairs the Move PHX Campaign. In “Rock The Vote” spirit, an official voter registration ambassador from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office will be on hand to register voters and answer questions. For more information about RadiatePHX and to RSVP, click here.
On Wednesday, June 17 at 3 p.m., the Phoenix City Council will consider a new five-year contract for DPI to manage the core Enhanced Municipal Services District. While the Downtown Phoenix partnership (DPP) will remain a major partner overseeing services in the core, the new contract ensures we have a coordinated and collaborative approach to managing our increasingly dynamic downtown.
In other recent news about our downtown…
- Retiring Deputy City Manager Naimark Looks Back and Ahead
- ASU downtown charter school graduates first class
- Charlie Rose receives Cronkite Award from ASU Downtown
- Deserving good neighbors to be awarded artistic front porch benches
- Randy Johnson receives key to the city
- Kimber Lanning saves vintage Wurth House on Roosevelt Row
- The Counter Custom Built Burgers opens in Downtown Phoenix
- Freak Out Dinner at DeSoto Central Market to feature 13 top Valley chefs
- Restaurants open and close in May in metro Phoenix
- Short Leash Hot Dogs opening second Downtown Phoenix restaurant
- Surge in seafood restaurants hits Phoenix area
- The Duce on first episode of new Food Network show
- Bentley Gallery creates intimate Warehouse District art space
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- First Friday music guide for June in Downtown Phoenix
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- Soak up thriving art scene, great food in Phoenix and its suburbs
- 10 cool things we saw in Downtown Phoenix during June’s First Friday
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- Business execs, change agents & localists attend national BALLE conference
- Center 8 Townhomes planned for 8th Avenue
- Community forum highlights opportunities for proposed Roosevelt BID
- Construction firms, engineers betting on Phoenix light rail expansion
- Cutting edge, arts-oriented infill coming to Downtown Phoenix
- Developers ask for more time to buy, redevelop Barrister Building project
- Forum explores Phoenix’s rapid growth and future
- Four Phoenix coworking spaces among top 100
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- Residents long for fix to Downtown Phoenix’s business problem
Downtown Phoenix Inc. recently launched a new mobile-friendly website with bright colors, a visually rich design, and expanded content. We realize it’s a big shift from the old website and through this transition, we want to ensure you have the best experience possible. To continue providing you the latest and greatest Downtown Phoenix events, news, research, maps, and information, please click here and take five minutes to fill out the questionnaire. We feel this new resource better showcases our vibrant urban center, and hope you love the new website as much as we do.
The newest What’s Happening Guide for the upcoming week is hot off the presses. You can download a copy by clicking here.
I wanted to share with you an interesting perspective and commentary from former Arizona Republic reporter Eugene Scott about the significant downtown changes and community building he experienced during his time in Phoenix. Whether riding a GRID Bike Share bike, walking our neighborhoods undergoing transition, or taking in the First Friday arts and music scene, Eugene reported from a refreshing “ground up” approach. Congrats to Eugene on getting his Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard and now reporting from our nation’s capital on all things politics.
It’s unusual to see a Broadway musical enriched with a full symphony orchestra onstage behind the actors, but Phoenix Theatre’s fifth collaboration with The Phoenix Symphony promises the best of both worlds.
“It’s something so unique for an audience, because you’re basically watching a symphonic concert at the same time you’re witnessing a semi-staged production, so it’s just a very cool experience that you’re not going to get anywhere else,” says Phoenix Theatre Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard, who directs Oliver! at Symphony Hall this weekend. “You can walk out going, ‘Wow — I’ve never seen this show done that way,’ you know? …And it only happens once a year and it’s a really neat collaboration with two arts organizations working in sync with each other.” He adds, “And Tito’s been great.”
“Phoenix Theatre is a great company, and the way we’re collaborating in Symphony Hall is very unique to both institutions,” agrees Tito Muñoz, who’s wrapping up his first season as music director of The Phoenix Symphony. “The wind parts for a lot of musicals are written for a small complement, but it’s the strings that we can augment and have much more than there normally would be,” he says, anticipating a full, lush sound.
“When we do a show at Phoenix Theatre – and even on Broadway any more – pit orchestras aren’t much bigger than 14,” says Barnard, “so to be able to have 56 pieces is quite remarkable. It definitely has its challenges, but it’s really quite lovely, and you don’t get that opportunity.” He continues, “It’s just completely unaffordable other than this kind of concertized version.”
Before his appointment in Phoenix, Muñoz served as music director for France’s Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy. “Between opera and musical theater…the only big difference is that everything is amplified,” he says. “And generally speaking, in opera the stage and the theater are vehicles for the music, so the music is the most important part of the art in opera. In musical theater that’s not necessarily the case.”
Muñoz grew up conducting musical theater throughout high school and college before playing as a violinist for Broadway shows in New York. He explains, “I think there’s a little bit more balance between the storytelling, the production itself and of course the musical numbers, but there’s a lot of underscoring dialogue, there’s a lot of scene change music.”
Although this is his first official pops concert with The Phoenix Symphony, he’s confident in the musicians’ expertise. “The orchestra does so much pops that this kind of thing is nothing new to them, actually…they’re well versed in musical theater.”
First produced in London in 1960, Oliver! was written by Lionel Bart, who based his musical on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. The novel was Dickens’s social commentary on the Poor Law of Victorian England, and was published in serialized form between 1837 and 1839. As a 25-year-old author Dickens drew on his own experiences working in a shoe-blacking factory as a child when his family was trapped in debtors’ prison. His misery during those years was aggravated by a bullying coworker named Bob Fagin, after whom Dickens named a villain in Oliver Twist.
Set in England, the plot follows the orphaned Oliver’s difficult and abuse-filled journey from workhouse – where we hear the famous tune “Food, Glorious Food” — to a dangerous community of pickpockets overseen by Fagin (“You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two”). After a kidnapping and a murder, Oliver ultimately finds his way to better fortune in a comfortable household thanks to a kindly benefactor.
This production’s cast includes familiar Phoenix Theatre favorites D. Scott Withers as Fagin, along with Toby Yatso, Johanna Carlisle, Yolanda London and David Simmons. Sixth-grader Vincent Jacovo stars as Oliver with 12-year-old Asher Angel as The Artful Dodger, a youthful criminal.
“It’s so easy with these kids,” says Muñoz. “They’re unbelievably well trained; they’re fantastic onstage.” Adds Barnard, “Hats off to their parents, and hats off to the other youth theaters that have helped prepare them for an experience like this…they’ve done a good job.”
He continues, “I think the challenge is always in making sure that you can get the best out of the kids without losing your ability to get the best out of the adults as well. Molly Lajoie has been the choreographer in particular for the kids, so she’s been a big help in that regard.” Phoenix Theatre’s technical team also features music director and rehearsal pianist Jeff Kennedy.
Other challenges include timing and staging constraints. “The entire show has to come in with intermission under two hours and 15 minutes [due to the Symphony’s contract with its musicians],” explains Barnard. “Second – and probably one of the bigger challenges – is [that] we only use the apron of the stage because the symphony is occupying the bulk of the stage.” Muñoz elaborates: “We’re having the staging…in front of the proscenium, and so the orchestra’s onstage but behind all the action…so it’s a very big symphonic sound.” He says, “I’m not facing the action, so we’re doing it very much electronically – the singers have a couple of monitors so they can have a visual of my baton…and then I also have a monitor in front of me that shows the stage.”
Barnard continues, “Scenically speaking, we want to just do just fragmented or suggested locales because we want the audience to see the symphony orchestra – that’s part of the fun. So you just have to sort of think it out – necessity becomes the mother of invention. But since this is our fifth collaboration we’ve sort of learned a lot about how this might work.” He adds wistfully, “This also could be our last. I’m not really sure why, but from what I understand it’s not part of the Symphony’s calendar for next season, so this may be the swan song. I’m sad about that because I love that collaboration.”
If you go:
- The Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Theatre perform Oliver!
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“It’s a beautiful day!”
That’s right, U2 is coming to town and this weekend CityScape Phoenix is throwing the unofficial welcoming of the band with the “It’s a Beautiful Day Block Party”.
During the two-night, pre-concert block party at Patriots Park at CityScape and LUSTRE Bar at Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix, guests will enjoy live music by Brazen Heads and Keltic Cowboys, a U2 concert ticket giveaway and special party discounts from various CityScape tenants.
• It’s A Beautiful Day Block Party at CityScape Phoenix
• Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23 from 4pm-8pm
• Live music by Brazen Heads and Keltic Cowboys
• Locations: Patriots Park at CityScape and LUSTRE Bar at Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix
• A U2 concert ticket giveaway, drink specials
• MillerCoors Party Bus and Uber VIP Area for guests 21 and over
• Yakitori by Squid Ink Sushi
• FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Also, enjoy special block party discounts from CityScape Phoenix tenants including:
• Grabbagreen: Combo meal deal – 2 meals, 2 juices and 2 bars for $25.
• Copper Blues: Show your U2 concert ticket and wear any U2 gear to receive a penny pint.
• Lucky Strike: With a U2 ticket, get a 2 for 1 drink special at Happy Hour pricing. After the concert, receive a half-priced appetizer from the regular menu.
• Verizon: $5 off any power accessory. Coupon available via MBF app.
• The Corner: 20 percent off any regular menu items with U2 tickets and a $20 pizza and 2 draft local beers for those without tickets.
• V’s Barbershop: Haircut, straight razor shave, shampoo, shoulder massage, hot towel service for $39. Add a facial or face massage for an additional $20.
• Yogurt Time: 15 percent off total purchase.
• rePose Salon & Spa: 20 percent off a service of your choice at repose Salon and Spa.