Arizona Broadway Theatre Holds 7th Annual Broadway Ball

Black Tie Fundraiser Benefits Artistic, Educational, and Charitable Programs

Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT) will host the 7th Annual Broadway Ball on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at 5:30 pm. Proceeds from this vital fundraising event benefit the artistic, educational, and charitable programs at ABT.

The Broadway Ball features a cocktail hour with complimentary Champagne, a three-course dinner, silent and live auctions, the Broadway Ball Wine Pull, an all-new “Bubbles & Barrels” Whiskey Experience, and much more! Live entertainment includes performances from Mainstage shows and ABT’s teen performance troupe, HyRev. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased at the ABT Box Office by calling 623.776.8400 or online at azbroadway.org.

“The sole purpose of the Broadway Ball is to raise awareness within our community of our mission to bring the highest-quality production values to the stage in the Valley of the Sun as well as raise funds in support of the theatre’s educational programs and community engagement initiatives,” said Brad York, Director of Marketing & Development. “We have an amazing 16-member volunteer committee that prepares all year for this crucial event. I’m so incredibly thankful for their tireless efforts to make this year’s Broadway Ball the best yet!”

Kristin Wurr, Co-chair of the Ball, has strong convictions about why ABT and the Broadway Ball are important to her.

“Many people know that Arizona Broadway Theatre is a place you can experience the magic of professional live theater. I don’t think as many people know that ABT is an educational venue where children like my son learn not only dancing, voice, and acting skills, but life skills such as how to work with others, how to manage time, how to overcome obstacles – skills they need to succeed in whatever career they choose. When you attend the Broadway Ball, you help ABT continue to inspire patrons like me, as well as the stars of tomorrow. ABT is part of our community’s family. Please come be a part of it.”

To ensure the success of this festive yet critical fundraiser, ABT is also seeking sponsors to help defray the costs associated with the Ball to assure that all funds raised can be directed toward the organization’s artistic, educational, and charitable programs.

“Corporate, individual, and community partners will be the key to success,” says ABT CEO/Executive Producer Kiel Klaphake. “Sponsorships allow ABT to continue fulfilling its mission to enrich lives through the power of the performing arts.”

Portions of sponsorships are tax-deductible and range from $1,000 to $25,000. Those wishing to support this important event through a generous sponsorship should contact Sally Jane Kerschen-Sheppard at sallyjane@azbroadway.org.

“We have some incredible auction items this year,” says Jamie Boscardin, Co-Chair of this year’s gala. “From an eight-day Rhine River Cruise generously donated by Viking Cruises to a Phoenix Suns package for four including tickets, food, drinks, and parking, to a Sedona vacation package, we are working hard to secure highly-biddable items.”

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Arizona Broadway Theatre 7th Annual Broadway Ball, contact the Box Office at 623.776.8400 or online at azbroadway.org.

[Photos from 2019 Broadway Ball]

Anti-Bullying Impact Project Is Important Part Of Theatre’s Vision

BULLYING FACTS

Only 20-30% of students who are bullied tell adults or authorities.

Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others.

The most common types of bullying are verbal and social.

20% of students ages 12-18 experience bullying.

Most bullying happens in middle school.

70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.

41% of school staff witness bullying once a week or more.

15% of students ages 12-18 were bullied online or by text.

29.3% of middle school students have experienced bullying in the classroom.

29.2% of middle school students have been hit, slapped, or kicked by bullies.

Adults often don’t know how to respond when they recognize bullying.

When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.

RESOURCES

StopBullying.gov

CrisisTextLine.org – Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

AZ Teen Helpline: 602-248-8336 (TEEN)

Arizona Broadway Theatre Launches La Cage aux Folles Teen-Youth Anti-Bullying Community Impact Project in Partnership with Other Valley Community Organizations

By Maddy Dowler, Communications Manager

Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT) – known for its high-quality musical theatre productions since opening its doors in 2005 – is now creating opportunities to give back to the community through show-specific Impact Projects that correspond to the subject matter of the show running on stage. The first Impact Project is a teen-youth anti-bullying campaign entitled, “I Am What I Am,” which includes partnerships with Herberger Theater Center (HTC) and other Phoenix-based community organizations such as One Community and One n Ten.

Beginning January 24, La Cage aux Folles will run on ABT’s Mainstage in Peoria through February 28, 2020, and then transfer to Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix March 6-22.

With music by the late Jerry Herman (Mame, Hello, Dolly!) and book by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, Hairspray, Kinky Boots), La Cage Aux Folles is the winner of six Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and has become one of the most popular musicals of all time. Opening in 1983, the show broke barriers for LGBTQ+ representation by becoming one of the first hit Broadway musicals centered around a same-sex relationship (later made into the movie “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane). The show’s now-infamous torch-song, “I Am What I Am,” has become an anthem within the greater LGBTQ+ community.

“While the central theme of La Cage may focus on the issues of inclusion and acceptance related to the LGBTQ+ community,” says Brad York, ABT Director of Marketing & Development, “our intent with the ‘I Am What I Am!’ teen-youth anti-bullying Impact Project is to broaden the focus of inclusion and acceptance among all people, regardless of one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, national origin or socio-economic background; especially teen-youth who confront the demands and pressures inflicted by today’s modern, fast-paced social atmosphere. At the end of the day, we should all be accepted for who we are.”

On January 11, the cast of La Cage will perform at the One Community Block Party for Equality in downtown Phoenix, and several ABT and HTC staff will lead a panel along with other local arts organizations on the importance of inclusion in the arts and in the state of Arizona. Find more information on the Block Party at http://bit.ly/OCBPE2020.

 ABT will also partner with One n Ten, whose mission is to serve LGBTQ+ youth and young adults ages 11-24. One-n-Ten provides empowering social and service programs that promote self-expression, self-acceptance, leadership development, and healthy life choices.

As part of this partnership, ABT will host fifty-six One n Ten participants at the opening night of La Cage  in Peoria on January 24. The youth will be treated to chartered transportation to and from ABT, a free performance of La Cage aux Folles, and complimentary dessert at intermission, followed by a meet and greet with the cast after the show. On March 11, ABT and HTC staff, project sponsors, and the cast of La Cage will visit the One n Ten facility in downtown Phoenix to learn more about the important work One n Ten is doing to improve the lives of young adults. Learn more about One n Ten at https://onenten.org/.

For the run of La Cage at HTC, partial funding has been provided by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture through appropriations from the Phoenix City Council.

We’d like to thank our sponsors for La Cage and this important impact project, Jim Cramer, Allen Kalchik, Judd Barlow, Matt Peterson, and Linda & Scarlett Buscemi-Spring.

For ticket information to La Cage aux Folles, CLICK HERE.

Why Madison Cichon (Jovie in ‘Elf The Musical’) Loves ABT!

PLANTING THE SEED

When Madison Cichon was 8 years old, her grandparents brought her to see H.M.S. Pinafore at Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT), and to say she was awestruck would be an understatement. “I had never experienced a show that was so beautiful at a venue that was so unique,” she said.

THE SPARK

Recognizing Madison’s interest in theatre, her parents soon enrolled her in ABT’s Summer Academy for Young Performers and its production of Disney’s The Jungle Book. From acting classes with ABT’s Teaching Artists to prop workshops with Mary Rooney, ABT’s Props Master, Madison got to experience an entirely new side of theatre that she had never seen before.

From ACADEMY to MAINSTAGE

The first Mainstage production Madison was cast in was A Christmas Carol in 2008 when she was just 10 years old. In the eleven years since, she has been on ABT’s Mainstage in productions of Sound of Music, Shrek, Hands on a Hardbody, Titanic, and this Christmas she will have the wonderful opportunity to portray Jovie in ELF the Musical. In addition to performing, Madison has worked various other jobs at ABT, and she says they “have helped me to understand just how much hard work and love is put into every production here.”

PERSONAL GROWTH

The impact of ABT, and the family it creates, has been monumental in Madison’s growth into the person she is today.

“ABT taught me how to be a professional (always arriving early, knowing my materials beforehand, doing my homework to come prepared the next day, etc.),” she says.

Working in live theatre gave Madison many important skills, including the ability to think quickly and problem solve. Whether it was a rip in a dress or a flubbed line on stage, Madison learned how to handle all possibilities with self-confidence and grace. She is now a better manager and faster thinker, and those are talents she can use in every situation.

Madison’s experiences with ABT came full circle when she started teaching at the Academy for Young Performers. She is now able to impact new performers in a positive way, just as the Academy’s Teaching Artists did when she was a kid.

LIFELONG IMPACT

Madison has created relationships and learned skills that she will carry throughout her life.

“I am forever grateful to everyone who has made my dreams come true for the past 15 years, and I hold them very near and dear to my heart,” she said.

ABT is grateful for Madison, too!

Our Teen Troupe Is Revving Up For The Holidays

HyRev, Arizona Broadway Theatre’s advanced and elite performance troupes, is specifically for young performers ages 13-19 with some previous music theatre/dance/show choir experience. The program includes two performance troupes: HyperToneZ (advanced troupe) and Sonic Revolution (elite troupe) – both build upon and improve participants’ performance strengths and include Valley-wide performances (with future out-of-area performances as time and scheduling allow).
 
This time of year is very busy for the troupe with a performance at the annual ABT community tree lighting, special fundraising performances during dinner service at Elf The Musical, the big Winter Jam concert, as well as auditions for next year’s troupe.

ABT Community Tree Lighting

At 5 pm on November 22, the community is invited to participate in the annual lighting of the tree in the lobby of Arizona Broadway Theatre before doors open for Elf The Musical. Sonic Revolution will be performing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” HyperTonez will be performing “Little Drummer Boy,” and both groups together will do “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.” Come on out!

Tree of Dreams

After you finish your meal and are waiting to enjoy Elf The Musical, you can relax and take in some more holiday magic as four to five HyRev members perform holiday tunes at the HyRev Tree of Dreams on various nights prior to showtimeThis is a fundraiser for the group for their annual California performance trip to Universal Studios and Disneyland.

Winter Jam

Twice a year, HyRev showcases their talents at a big concert open to the public. This year, the Winter Jam concert will be held on Monday, December 9, at 7 pm. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for students. You will have a night of song and dance and holiday celebration! Ticket proceeds for this event are a HUGE help in getting the kids to California, so be sure to purchase tickets and help support our kids!

BUY TICKETS NOW

Auditions

Auditions for HyRev happen twice a year and now’s the time. Auditions will be taking place on Monday, December 16, at Arizona Broadway Theatre beginning at 5 pm. Dance callbacks (invitation only) will happen at 7 pm. Those who audition need to be between the ages of 13 & 19 and must prepare two contrasting sections of 16 bars each (does NOT have to be music theatre).

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP TO AUDITION

Happy Holidays from HyRev!

Blue Man Adam Zuick talks about the good ol’ days at Arizona Broadway Theatre

Over 35 million people on our blue planet have experienced the exciting and spectacular show that is BLUE MAN GROUP. And now, the Blue Men return with a new touring show — BLUE MAN GROUP SPEECHLESS TOUR. SPEECHLESS will feature new and original compositions, acts, and instruments alongside iconic Blue Man Group moments based in joy, art, music, comedy, social commentary, and profound absurdity.

Adam Zuick, one of the Blue Men, went to high school and college in Arizona as well as the Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics and Paradise Valley Community College, and his first professional job was in GREASE at Arizona Broadway Theatre. He has been living the dream of being a Blue Man since 2013!

We were able to talk to Adam during his very busy schedule.

Arizona Broadway Theatre: What’s your fondest memory of performing at Arizona Broadway Theatre?

Adam Zuick: It’s hard for me to pick a fondest one because of the five years of memories I have at ABT. The show I think about the most that I performed in was Forever Plaid. Since the show was only four guys, we grew very close. I remember singing with those guys and creating the harmonies of the music was such a treat. You could see the audience light up as they recognized the song we were about to sing. It was priceless. I am just thankful to have met so many great people at ABT. I have so many close friends that I met 10+ years ago at ABT. I am forever grateful!

ABT: How has Arizona and your time in local theatre here shaped your career?

AZ: The knowledge that I gained at ABT is the foundation of my career as a professional actor. I learned so much from working there, not only as an actor, but also working backstage, building sets, and playing in the orchestra. I was able to see every aspect of the theatre first-hand to help really understand how the whole thing works. By watching others perform I could improve my own performance. By being involved in every aspect of the theatre, I became a more well-rounded actor. If I didn’t have that variety of experience at ABT, I know I would not be where I am today.

ABT: How did you land The Blue Man Group gig?

AZ: Blue Man Group was auditioning in New York very shortly after I had moved there. Luckily, I fit the requirements that were stated on their website for people to audition. I had a music background (piano) from my high school (ACAA) that also continued to ABT where I played second keyboard in the orchestra for three main stage productions. They were also looking for people who could express emotion with no words, only your face/eyes. The variety of character acting work that I did at ABT helped a lot in this. The audition was an invited call. We were not only in front of the Blue Man directors, but we were also in front of the other people auditioning during that time slot. I went through 4 days of callbacks. The final day we got to get into costume (bald and blue is what they call it) and perform a number from the show. Afterwards, they called me into their office and said they would like me to join their training class to become a Blue Man. After 9 weeks of training in NYC and Chicago, I got signed off as a Blue Man and I have been doing it since then.

ABT: If you could share any words of wisdom to aspiring actors, what would they be?

AZ: Test your boundaries. Audition for and do things that stretch your comfort zone. Get involved in the different elements of theatre — seeing it from different perspectives is eye-opening. Most importantly, BE YOURSELF!

You may remember Adam from his appearances in the following ABT shows:

Grease, Ensemble
The Music Man, Olin Britt
A Christmas Carol, Old Joe
Forever Plaid, Smudge
My Fair Lady, Servant
Miracle on 34th Street, Mr Sawyer/Whitey
Sunset Boulevard, Ensemble
Tarzan, Snipes
Oklahoma, Ensemble

ABT Partners with VetTix and Helping Hands for Freedom to Support our Troops

With Veteran’s Day coming up, we wanted to let our community know that because of the sacrifice and service of our veterans, ABT offers a select number of tickets through VetTix as our thank you to those who have served our country as members of our armed services, and to the families of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms at home and abroad. To date, ABT has given over $150,000 worth of tickets to the organization.

VetTix provides tickets to events which reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build life-long memories and encourage service members and veterans to stay engaged with local communities and American life. They support our troops by honoring their service and providing positive family and life experiences, during and after their years of service to our country. VetTix provides tickets to all branches of currently-serving Military and Veterans, including immediate family of troops KIA.

Recently, several military families came to a performance of Sweeney Todd. Here’s what they had to say:

“Thank you for your generous donation. We have wanted to see this show live for many years but were never able to until now. Thank you for giving us a wonderful date night.” — Gregory, United States Coast Guard Veteran, 2000 – 2011

“We had a fantastic time at Arizona Broadway Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd! The play was excellent and the seats were in the fourth row. The staff was very pleasant and accommodating! Thanks Arizona Broadway Theatre and Vettix for this amazing night with my wife!” — Ralph, United States Army Veteran, 1968 – 1970

“Thank you Arizona Broadway Theater for the Sweeney Todd tickets! The show was amazing and the actors were so talented. I’m so thankful for the tickets. My friend and I had so much fun!” — Stacy, United States Army Veteran, 1997 – 2003

For more information about VetTix, CLICK HERE.

Executive Producer and ABT co-founder, Kiel Klaphake, was a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1990-1994. He wants the theatre to be a veteran-friendly, supportive organization, which is why this holiday season our annual toy drive will be conducted in partnership with Helping Hands For Freedom, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to supporting the families of the fallen, wounded and deployed.

ABT’s annual toy drive 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.

For more information about Helping Hands For Freedom, CLICK HERE.

So, please join us in thanking our military and their families for their sacrifice this Veteran’s Day weekend.