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Our Story

Our Story: From Vision to Reality

It started with a suitcase. Or more accurately, the desire not to have to continue living out of one that sparked the idea of the Arizona Broadway Theatre with Kiel and Cassandra Klaphake. Both classically trained performers with busy careers sending them in different directions, they discussed the idea of starting a dinner theatre with Kiel’s parents, Ronald and Penelope Klaphake. A different kind of dinner theatre. One that harkened back to supper clubs of yore, evoking a sense of occasion.

After researching various markets in the United States and soliciting others to invest (including Kiel’s sister and brother-in-law, Karena and Mark Tapsak, and Penelope’s mother, Jane Brown), they chose Phoenix’s Northwest Valley as the perfect place to build such a dinner theatre.

By December 2002, the Peoria City Council approved a development agreement on city owned property east of the Peoria Sports Complex. In October 2004, bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment plowed through in preparation for construction. In between rain bouts from the fall monsoon that delayed the project for seven weeks, concrete was poured, and steel was unloaded, placed and bolted together.

On February 2, 2005, the Arizona Broadway Theatre started selling season subscription tickets at its first event held at the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery on 76th Avenue and Bell Road. As a result of this kick-off evening and the many articles written about the Arizona Broadway Theatre that followed, the phones kept ringing as callers bought tickets and expressed how excited they were to see theatre finally coming to their side of town.

Kiel and Cassandra moved their home office to a temporary business office space about five minutes from the theater’s building site. The office measured 200 square feet ample room for two; however, as staff was hired, the office soon bulged with five people. To accommodate the increasing numbers, they acquired another room down the hall, and then another.

While the box office kept selling tickets at an enviable rate, a second delay in April 2005 hit the building’s construction schedule: this time, the U.S. Government took over the contractor’s steel fabricating plant so Uncle Sam could get a military contract fulfilled while an Air Force squadron was sent off to Iraq. Everything seemed to remain on schedule for the planned September 16, 2005, opening until a shortage of steel in worldwide markets postponed the opening to November 4, 2005. But the Klaphakes maintained their vision and forged (no steel-pun intended) ahead.

By late 2005, that vision was made manifest in an elegant, state-of-the-art performing and dining facility.

In addition to providing the best of Broadway in a luxurious setting complete with a fly loft, proscenium stage and a technically advanced sound system, the Arizona Broadway Theatre offers sophisticated table service in lieu of a buffet setting, providing guests with undivided attention from experienced and gracious wait staff.

Where We Are Now

Today, Arizona Broadway Theatre stands as a beacon of creativity and entertainment in the Southwest. With a diverse season lineup that includes family-friendly musicals, dramas, and comedies, we continue to delight and inspire our patrons. Our talented cast and crew, drawn from across the country, bring each production to life with passion and professionalism.

As we look to the future, we remain committed to our founding vision: to be a cultural hub where people come together to share in the transformative power of theatre. Whether you’re joining us for the first time or have been part of our journey from the beginning, we invite you to be our guest and create lasting memories at Arizona Broadway Theatre.

We hope you find Arizona Broadway Theatre to be a different kind of dinner theatre. And the suitcase? It’s in storage.

Join Us

Discover the magic of live theatre at ABT. From our captivating performances to our delectable dining options, we promise an experience that will leave you enchanted. Thank you for being part of our story. We look forward to welcoming you to Arizona Broadway Theatre, where every show is a new adventure.