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First annual World Refugee Day benefit concert will feature live music, refreshments and opportunity to learn the stories of refugees living in Phoenix.
Concert will commemorate the courage and resilience of refugees, with all proceeds going to an emergency fund for refugees in crisis.
On Saturday, June 20 the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix will mark its first annual World Refugee Day benefit concert, honoring the strength and resilience of refugees forced to flee their homes and seek sanctuary elsewhere.
Held at the Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix, guests will have the opportunity to listen to live music performed by refugees from Malawi and Zimbabwe, enjoy a signature cocktail made with fruits grown by refugee farmers and meet refugees from around the world now making a new life for themselves and their families in Phoenix. Admission to the concert is $25 per person and 100 percent of the proceeds go to an emergency fund for resettled refugees in crisis.
“Through this event we hope to raise awareness and turn up the volume on the rich diversity refugees bring to Phoenix and the work done at the IRC,” said Nicky Walker, development manager for the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix. “The IRC cannot function without the help from all of our generous partners and volunteers. Nevertheless, because the U.S. is the largest welcoming nation for refugees, the work is continuous and the challenge is ongoing. We hope this event will connect new volunteers and partners to help make refugees’ transition easier.”
World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20 to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. Escaping with their lives and few possessions, refugees who are resettled into the United States — a small percentage of the more than 51 million people forcibly displaced around the world — arrive with dreams of hope, safety, and stability
In 2013, Arizona received a total of 3,336 new neighbors from 42 countries through the refugee resettlement program, and more than more than 62,000 people from 109 countries have made Arizona their home since the program began in 1980. In 2014, the IRC welcomed more than 837 refugees, and served over 3000 clients through one of the IRC’s many programs, including immigration services and programs for survivors of human trafficking. In 2015, the IRC in Phoenix is forecasted to welcome 850 individuals from countries including Somalia, Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Burma (also known as Myanmar) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
WHERE: The Crescent Ballroom, 308 N 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
WHEN: Saturday, June 20th. Live music from Refugees begin at 7:00PM during V.I.P. hour, Concert and Story telling at 8:00PM
HOW: CrescentPHX.com or at Stinkweeds on Central and Camelback
ABOUT THE IRC
The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 25 U.S. cities. Learn more at Rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.
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!
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
“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.
Gin & Jazz at Heritage Square
Heritage Square is swinging into its 35th Anniversary with a Gin and Jazz Preservation Party, a flash back to the roaring twenties and includes swing dance lessons, live jazz band, antique cars, Prohibition – themed cocktails and local food trucks. Featuring a dance lesson with Arizona Lindy Hop and performance by the Sugar Thieves.
When: Saturday, May 2; 5pm—Ceremony and Champagne Toast; 7pm—Dance and Concert, Local Food Trucks
Attire: Period attire admired, not required
Tickets: $16 members; $19 non-members. Buy your tickets here.
Davisson Entertainment Announces Monthly Arts and Entertainment Event
Davisson Entertainment strives to provide an outlet for musicians, performers and artists each month with the goal encouraging collaboration and growth within the diverse artistic community that resides here in the Valley. Each month will highlight a specific artist, dancer, musician or theme.
Our inaugural event, PHXFLAMEnco part uno, will take place on May 1 in the historic Ice House venue in downtown Phoenix, doors open that evening at 6 o’clock. PHXFLAMEnco will focus on showcasing Arizona’s top Flamenco talent for a night of live dance, music and art with a decidedly Latin flavor. The festivities will also include fine food and refreshments, vendors, as well as a traditional ‘juerga flamenca’ reception after the final performance. Participating artists include: Flamenco Por La Vida, Un Corazon Flamenco, Inspiracion Flamenca, Yumi La Rosa, Chris and Lena Jacome, and Carlos Montafour.
The fundamental idea behind all our events will be to support local art and local artists.
Ticket Information: For $25 presale tickets call 602-252-8497. $30 tickets available at door.
Venue: The Ice House, 429 W Jackson St, Phoenix, AZ 85003