Announcing the cast of Arizona Broadway Theatre’s Production of ‘Elf The Musical’

It’s all happening! Elf The Musical is coming to Arizona Broadway Theatre and everyone’s a-buzz! We had a chance to meet the cast on Monday when they reported for their first rehearsal day. So, without further ado, here’s your cast of Elf The Musical:

Buddy………………………………… Adam Vargas
Walter Hobbs…………………….. Bill Saunders
Emily Hobbs……………………….. Carolyn McPhee
Jovie………………………………….. Madison Cichon
Mr. Greenway / Santa……….. Rob Watson
Michael Hobbs…………………… Tristan Klaphake / Dane Shepard
Deb……………………………………. Hannah Clarke Levine
Matthews…………………………… Jeff Tierney
Store Manager…………………… Justin Emmanuel Parker
Charlotte Dennon………………. Christie Dabreau
Ensemble…………… Blair Beasley, Halley Daigle, Danny Durr, Alyssa Ishihara, Scotty Jacobson, Tyler Pirrung, Delaney Spanko, Caleb Summers, Erika Wasko, Brody Wurr

Tickets are going very quickly for this extremely popular show so don’t wait.

Buy your tickets by CLICKING HERE or visit or call the Box Office at 623.776.8400 x0.

An Arizona Broadway Theatre Gift Guide

If you Google what to give as holiday gifts, you might see lists like these:

  • 60 Best Gifts for Your Wife 2019
  • 55 Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas For 2019
  • 14 Inexpensive Homemade Gifts That Feel Extra Special
  • 12 Gift Ideas For Your Spouse If You Are On A Tight Budget
  • 21 Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for Married Couples
  • 100 Cool Christmas Gifts That Don’t Suck

But, we here at Arizona Broadway Theatre have a better list! How about this year, you treat friends, family, co-workers, and all the rest of them to a show! We have packed entertainment into every space in our theatre so that we can offer you this awesome holiday line-up:

  • Murder and a Meal Presents: The Holidays Can Be Murder* – November 14 & 21, 2019 (at the ENCORE)
  • Elf The Musical – November 22 – December 29 (Mainstage)
  • The Boys of D63 Christmas Show – December 2, 2019 (Mainstage)
  • A Broadway Christmas Carol – December 16-24, 2019 (at The ENCORE)
  • So This Is Christmas! American Idol Edition! – December 16, 2019 (Mainstage)
  • Sunday Brunch at the ENCORE Presents We3Trio – December 22, 2019 (at The ENCORE)
  • Viva Las Vegas: A New Year’s Eve Celebration – December 31, 2019 (Mainstage)

So, get out your gift list and start matching your loved ones to the shows they would enjoy! If you want to see all that is on stage at ABT or purchase tickets, CLICK HERE, then click “On Stage.” Or, as always, you can visit or call the Box Office at 623.776.8400.

Happy Holidays!

*Not a production of Arizona Broadway Theatre

A Broadway Christmas Carol At The ENCORE Features ABT Fan Favorites

You mean there is more holiday entertainment to be had at Arizona Broadway Theatre than just Elf the Musical?! Why yes, there is! A Broadway Christmas Carol, part of our Off-Broadway at the Encore series will premiere December 16 and run through December 24, 2019. A Broadway Christmas Carol is a delicious cross between the classic Dickens’ tale and uproarious song parodies of 33 of your favorite Broadway show tunes by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and many more! Great music, great fun, and a great redemptive message to share with family and friends this holiday season!

And, the all-star cast is made up of four very talented ABT alumni:

Jamie Parnell

Jamie Parnell is currently part of The Company in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and has also appeared as Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins, Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat and Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl on the ABT stage.

 

Stephen Hohendorf, also on the stage of Sweeney Todd has also been in other ABT shows such as Fiddler on the Roof, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Mary Poppins and Camelot. Stephen was on the national tours of The Full Monty, Sesame Street Live!, and Pinkalicious.

 

Liz Fallon most recently starred as Clio/Kira in ABT’s production of Xanadu. She’s had several other starring roles in ABT shows such as, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical, and Charity Hope Valentine in Sweet Charity.

 

Kurtis Overby, Associate Artistic Director at ABT, will no doubt bring a winning performance to A Broadway Christmas Carol. He has an extensive list of choreography credits, having won ariZoni Awards for his work on Anything Goes and 42nd Street. His performance list is also strong, including ABT’s Singing in the Rain, The Drowsy Chaperone, Cabaret and received an ariZoni nomination for his role as Bud Frump in How to Succeed…

The talented quartet will, no doubt, have you in stitches throughout the performance.

CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets today.

The Story Goes On: A Solo Cabaret by Sarah Ambrose

Come enjoy an evening of musical theatre and pop music with singer Sarah Ambrose on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 from 6-10pm. It will be a night filled with incredible music, surprise guest singers, and loads of talent and passion to raise funds and support Sarah as she brings her talents to New York City. CLICK HERE for tickets.

A little about Sarah… She discovered her passion for musical theatre during her participation in the very first Academy for Young Performers at Arizona Broadway Theatre and has been performing ever since. Throughout high school and college, she performed in a variety of shows with ABT as well as around the country. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona in 2016 and went on to perform all over the globe as a vocalist with Aida Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines. This winter, Sarah plans to move to New York City to pursue her dream of performing on Broadway.

We sat down with Sarah to dig a little deeper…

Arizona Broadway Theatre: What particular songs might be people be expected to hear at your event?

SARAH AMBROSE: Well, not to give too much away, but there will be many Musical Theatre-style songs, from more contemporary shows such as Waitress, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, Bonnie and Clyde, and The Last Five Years. There will also be some more classic songs that people will recognize that are by Carole King. There will also be some pop songs by artists people might not know, so I will surprise them with those. I have chosen many “story” songs, since that is the theme of the concert, and stories are what we live for as humans, I mean, who doesn’t like a good story? But, to reveal one song that I will for sure, be singing is “The Story Goes On” from the amazing Broadway musical Baby.

ABT: What year was that first summer camp at ABT you attended?

SA: I believe it was 2006! That makes me feel very, very old but it was for The Jungle Book and I was proudly Wolf #1 and I totally rocked it. Ever since that camp, I did every summer camp possible at ABT and I never looked back. I caught the theatre bug and I am so fortunate I did!

ABT: What shows have you been in at ABT?

SA: I was in Footloose, Into The Woods, and Legally Blonde! All fun times.

ABT: What is one memory that stands out from your cruise line stint?

SA: One memory, or let’s say, destination, that sticks with me the most is when we visited Italy! We spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean while on my cruise ship contract and I was lucky to visit this one town called Lucca in the southern part of Italy. I instantly fell in love with that place. It felt like I was in a movie and I never wanted to leave. I also took the train on a whim one day to Florence to see Michelangelo’s Statue of David. That was incredible. Fingers crossed I get to go back to Italy sometime soon!

ABT: What made you decide to move to NYC?

SA: In my career, you have to move to New York to audition and be seen by the best casting directors and perform on the best stages, so it has always made sense for me to move to New York. I booked the cruise line jobs right after college and spent over two and half years traveling the world, so that delayed my move initially so I am ready now to take this next step in my journey. I also made it to the finals for a National Tour this past spring where many of the auditions took place in NYC, and that lit a fire in my heart and rekindled my love for Musical Theatre, and it inspired me to dive fully into it, which requires the move to the Big Apple!

ABT: Do you have a game plan for your new life in NYC?

SA: I do! I plan to take as many dance classes as I possibly can, work on getting an agent who will help me secure the auditions I would like to be seen for, and I will have a part time job at Walgreens since I already work for them part time out here and can transfer to New York. My dream shows that I hope to audition for are Frozen, Wicked, and any production of Big Fish or Light in the Piazza! I will also sublet a friend’s apartment and keep doing that once I get more comfortable with navigating such a big city.

ABT: What specifically will the fundraiser help you pay for?

SA: This will help pay for my acting/dance classes, voice lessons, new dance shoes, agent showcases, new sheet music for my repertoire book, my flight out there, and basically anything that will be going towards my career. Being an actor is expensive, so anything would help! It just means the world to me that I can put on an event like this and share my favorite songs with people I care about to raise money to chase my dreams — it really is awesome.

To buy tickets to the show, CLICK HERE!

Announcing 2019-2020 “Off-Broadway At The Encore” Series

It’s been years in the making, but the renovation of the Encore Room at Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT) is complete and has already hosted numerous community events, private parties, Sunday brunches, murder mystery dinners, and now an all-new series of shows entitled Off-Broadway at The ENCORE.

Completed in 2018, the Encore Room at ABT was achieved through an advantageous refinance of the building, making it possible for the nearly $1 Million, 6,000 square foot infrastructure expansion to become a reality. Adjacent to ABT’s lobby, the new space features two levels, balcony seating, luxurious wood floors, beautiful lighting, great acoustics, and complete privacy.  The room is available for public rental for events, with full food and beverage service if needed. The room can be set in a variety of ways to accommodate groups from 20 to 250 people.

Arizona Broadway Theatre has a full-service kitchen and bar with professional staff on hand to service events.  Food and beverage options range from a simple box lunch to elaborate formal dinners.  Custom menus, bar packages, linens, cakes, audiovisual, DJ, entertainers, photography, ticketing, and equipment services are available upon request. Event space rental can be requested on the website at azbroadway.org.

“We dreamed of this space for years until we were finally able to make it happen,” says Kiel Klaphake, Executive Producer and co-founder of Arizona Broadway Theatre. “We are very pleased with all of the use the Encore Room has been getting over the past year and are thrilled to be bringing more high-quality entertainment to another ‘venue’ in our own space with the upcoming Off-Broadway series.”

Off-Broadway at The ENCORE showcases amazing musical theatre works (both edgy and traditional) featuring smaller casts and intimate sets perfect for the more “chameleon” style of the Encore Room. Attendees can enjoy food and bar service available for purchase before the show and at intermission.

The upcoming line-up includes A Broadway Christmas Carol (December 16 – 24, 2019); Some Enchanted Evening (February 7 – 23, 2020); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (March 20 – 29, 2020); and Next To Normal (July 10 – 19, 2020). Tickets (ranging from $49-$59) may be purchased through the Box Office online, by phone, or in person.

Inaugural ‘Sunday Brunch at the Encore’ A Great Success

Sunday, October 20, 2019, marked the day of our first Sunday Brunch in a series of monthly brunches in the newly-renovated Encore Room adjacent to the lobby in Arizona Broadway Theatre. Patrons were treated to a delicious omelet bar as well as an assortment of meats, pastries, fruit, desserts and freshly-made breads. The bar was open for the duration, and mimosas and bloody marys flowed. Nicole Pesce, pianist, keyboardist, composer and arranger, dazzled everyone with her unique blend of virtuosity, humor, and pizzazz.

The idea behind Sunday Brunch at The ENCORE comes from ABT leadership and the City of Peoria who got together to bring this fresh new approach to the arts and dining to the West Valley.

Pianist Nicole Pesce with Marylou Stephens

We spoke with Marylou Stephens, Arts & Events Manager of the City of Peoria, who gave us some insight into this new venture.

“The City of Peoria wants to encourage the arts in all its forms,”  says Stephens. “Participation in the arts is a direct connection to the quality of life we experience in this beautiful city.  By supporting artists in a variety of mediums, we are encouraging more artists to create here in Peoria, and our residents are the winners that get to enjoy an ‘arts-rich life’ right in their own backyard.  ABT already understands the connection between great food, great art, and great company – the Sunday Brunch series was a perfect way for the City to support this endeavor and make more arts opportunities accessible to more Peorians and attract art lovers throughout Maricopa County to this great destination.”

When asked to expound on the city’s goals for the future of this event, Marylou replied, “I hope it will continue to grow so that we can include a wide variety of artists that will entertain the current ABT audience and entice music lovers from around the Valley to make the Sunday Brunch Series a monthly tradition.”

Artistic Directors at Arizona Broadway Theatre chose a diverse collection of local quality artists to grace the stage at The ENCORE to create that special upscale entertainment environment.

The next Sunday Brunch at The ENCORE will be on November 17, 2019, 10:30 am-12:30 pm, featuring Curt Cichon. Curt is a Flamenco/Rumba-style Guitarist that has been playing for over 25 years. With the intense rhythms, strumming, and scale runs, his sound is guaranteed to be a beautiful and intense sound to the ears. Playing many other styles such as Bossanova, Classical, Jazz, and Pop and many others, diversity is key. Curt had studied in Sevilla, Spain, learning how to accompany Flamenco singers and Flamenco dancers thus creating the cohesive sounds blending all three aspects to create the magic or “Duende” in the room.

The cost for the generous buffet is $29. The bar opens at 10 am, and full beverage service is available for purchase throughout the event. View all upcoming artists and purchase tickets by CLICKING HERE.

What people are saying about Sunday Brunch at the Encore:

“Entertainment was outstanding, it was great to be so close to the performer.”

“Never seen so much fantastic food with great variety.”

“The bar makes a mean Bloody Mary!”

“Educational component provided by the musician was incredibly insightful.”

“We didn’t know ABT had such an amazing culinary team!”

Arizona Broadway Theatre Rings In The Holiday Season With Elf The Musical, The Annual Community Tree-Lighting Ceremony and Toy Drive

Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT) kicks off the holidays in a big way with the wildly-popular, Elf The Musical and the Theatre’s annual Christmas tree lighting on November 22, 2019. Elf will continue to delight ABT audiences through December 29, 2019.

Based on the cherished 2003 holiday film, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity. Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised by Santa’s elves, unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Elf The Musical opened on Broadway during the Christmas season of 2012-2013 and has seen a number of national tours around the United States during the past five years, most notably last year’s national tour which featured ABT’s own Tristan Klaphake as Michael Hobbs. Tristan is the youngest son of ABT’s Executive & Artistic Producers, Kiel & Cassandra Klaphake, and will be reprising his role in the ABT production.

“It’s hard to believe that almost fifteen years ago in the fall of 2005 we learned we were pregnant with Tristan at the very same time we were working to open our very first production of Anything Goes,” said Tristan’s mom, Cassandra. “No doubt the little guy was hearing a ton of musical theatre from day one, but I don’t think I ever thought he would take to the craft and profession as he has. I’m a very proud mom!”

Elf The Musical has become a staple for theater-goers during the holidays, and Arizonans will be pleased to know that they can find the heartwarming yet hilarious Broadway musical right in their own backyard at Arizona Broadway Theatre.

“This holiday season is special because it marks ABT’s 15th season of bringing high-quality Broadway musical theatre entertainment to the Valley of the Sun. We always take a moment during this time of year to appreciate our community and all of the many volunteers, patrons, sponsors and donors who have made ABT what it is today,” says Kiel Klaphake, Co-founder and Executive Producer, Arizona Broadway Theatre. “It’s our hope that Elf The Musical will be a time for family & friends to gather together this holiday season!”

The annual Christmas tree lighting will take place in the lobby of Arizona Broadway Theatre at 7701 W Paradise Lane, Peoria at 5:00pm on November 22 and is open and free of charge to the public.  Not only will the community enjoy the dazzling lights of the tree and lobby decor but also a short performance of festive holiday tunes by ABT’s youth company, HyRev. HyRev is specifically for young performers ages 13-19 with some previous music theatre/dance /show choir experience, and they truly know how to share the holiday spirit. The annual toy drive also kicks off on November 22 and will run through December 29, 2019.  New, unwrapped toys are welcome and can be brought to the ABT lobby whenever the theatre is open. Toys will go to “Helping Hands For Freedom,” a 501(c)(3) dedicated to supporting the military families of the fallen, wounded, and deployed.

ABT’s production of Elf The Musical is made possible in part through the generous support of Dr. Keith & Kim Haar of Epiphany Dermatology. As part of the Haar’s generous support, members of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital community have been invited to attend opening weekend performances free of charge.

ABT’s Season 15 Broadway Series continues in 2020 with La Cage aux Folles (January 24 – February 28 (in Peoria) & March 6 – 22 (at Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix) and Chicago (March 13 – April 19, 2020). For more information about these and other upcoming productions presented at Arizona Broadway Theatre, visit azbroadway.org or call 623.776.8400.

That time when Sweeney Todd swept me off my feet

My Date With Sweeney Todd
By Maddy Dowler, Communications Manager

As a new staffer at ABT, I am tasked with attending opening night showings of all of our shows. Normally, this would be great. However, there are two things I tend to veer away from in my entertainment choices — period pieces and evil stuff. And, it seemed Sweeney Todd had both.

But on opening night, I put on my big girl pants and headed to the show with my husband in tow. I chose to upgrade my meal to the short rib ravioli which was delicious while my husband dove into the meat pie. I tasted it as well — very yummy! With the specialty cocktail, Pirelli’s Elixir and a glass of house Chardonnay under my belt, I sat back to enjoy the show.

And, enjoy I did! I can’t believe the talent that erupted from the people onstage that I have been seeing in the hallways backstage and in the office. The overall humorously outrageous plot line made any “darkness” I feared dissipate. The “period” of London in the 1800’s that would normally make me yawn was brought to life with amazing costumes (which I actually saw being made last week!) and sets hand-crafted by those same people in the hallways.

Overall, I became a convert to Sweeney fandom — maybe you want to ‘take a stab’ at it yourself! See you in the hallways!

               

Meet the Cast of Xanadu