An Interpreted Performance of ‘La Cage aux Folles’ Available for the Arizona Deaf Community

Beginning with Season 15, Arizona Broadway Theatre launched a new program to create community-related impact projects to accompany each production. These projects are designed to provide ABT the opportunity to expand its community engagement in meaningful, measurable and memorable ways that extend beyond the stage. Art, as they say, imitates life, and with each production come real-life show-specific themes that correlate to topics and issues of the day. With this in mind, ABT is running a teen-youth anti-bullying community impact project entitled, “I Am What I Am” in conjunction with the run of the La Cage aux Folles. In the spirit of inclusion and acceptance, Arizona Broadway Theatre and Herberger Theater Center are proud to host this interpreted performance for the Arizona Deaf community at the 2pm show on Saturday, March 14, 2020. BUY TICKETS FOR THIS PERFORMANCE.

About our ASL Interpreting Team

Lisa Schulman is a Washington, DC, native with extensive onstage drama and musical theater experience since early elementary school.  Now based in Phoenix, AZ, Lisa holds an RID NIC (National Interpreter Certification) and specializes in Theatrical interpreting, as well as Mental Health and Addiction & Recovery settings. Her favorite shows to have interpreted include the Broadway national tours of Hamilton, Pippin, Book of Mormon, and Aladdin, and local professional productions of Avenue Q, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Cabaret. Lisa is thrilled to collaborate on another show for Arizona Broadway Theatre.

Cameron Eggers has been involved in theatre and dance from a young age. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language, he became immersed with the Deaf Community in Sacramento, California, where he discovered his passion for interpreting. Cameron was also a company member for the Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre, where he collaborated with the Deaf Community and Hearing Community alike to aid in curating Sign of Life, a production that embedded American Sign Language into Contemporary Dance movement. This production benefited Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and CODA youth. After relocating to Phoenix, Arizona, Cameron became certified and now works as a professional interpreter in many settings, with theatre closest to his heart. Cameron is currently a company member with Scorpius Dance Theatre under the direction of Lisa Starry. Cameron would like to thank Arizona Broadway Theatre for a warm welcome, and he looks forward to La Cage Aux Folles.

Missy Keast is the ASL Coach for this interpreted performance of La Cage Aux Folles. Profoundly Deaf, she has taught ASL classes since 1989 and today owns the ASL online curriculum website (www.aslinside.com). After training with the National Theatre of the Deaf in the early 1990s, Missy worked at Deaf West Theatre as an ASL consultant in several plays including Oliver! and also worked at Southwest Shakespeare Company in the mid-2000s where Cyrano was her favorite production!

Brandon Kazen-Maddox plays Bitelle/Cagelle in La Cage Aux Folles and has also been the Deaf Community Liaison for this interpreted performance. Brandon is a Grandchild of Deaf Adults (GODA) and a third-generation native user of American Sign Language (ASL). Based in New York City, he recently graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with his Master of Fine Arts degree from the department of Dance and New Technology. He began his career as a gymnast from the age of four, attended the San Francisco Circus Center’s Professional Training Program in Chinese Acrobatics in 2010 and worked as a professional circus acrobat and dancer for seven years in San Francisco, CA. Brandon is also the president and CEO of Body Language Productions, Inc., an American Sign Language Dance Theater and Video Production Company (2012). Brandon is grateful to Arizona Broadway Theatre for accommodating his Deaf family members and bringing the art of musical theatre to the Arizona Deaf community!

“i.DANCE” Community Impact Project Coincides With Run Of ‘Chicago’ At ABT!

Beginning with Season 15, ABT launched a series of show-related impact projects designed to expand the theatre’s community engagement in meaningful, measurable and memorable ways that extend beyond the productions on stage. Bob Fosse’s iconic choreography and unique style of dance have made the musical Chicago one of the most beloved and longest-running shows on Broadway.

With this in mind, ABT is hosting a two-day dance intensive workshop April 10 & 11, 2020 entitled “i.DANCE” to accompany the run of Chicago (March 13 – April 19). The Chicago i.DANCE Community Impact Project is designed to provide local dancers ages 13-23 the opportunity to expand their personal & artistic growth in a supportive environment, allowing every dancer to excel. The two-day workshop will be led by ABT’s own Associate Artistic Director (and Director/Choreographer of Chicago), Kurtis Overby. Kurtis, along with a number of ABT’s talented Teaching Artists (including members of the cast of Chicago), will deliver outstanding training in both fundamental dance techniques and other styles.

This project has been generously supported by longtime ABT patron, Bette Aronsohn. Bette lived in Manhattan for 30 years pursuing a career in theatre before moving to the West Valley of Arizona 20 years ago. Bette admits she has been in love with the arts since she was six years old “tap dancing and singing Shirley Temple’s ‘Good Ship Lollipop.’” Her love for the arts is why she generously gives of her finances.

“All of the arts are very important to me,” says Bette “and I think more people should give their money to theatre, ballet, opera and museums.”

Bette feels that the arts are suffering in our society and we don’t want to “lose that magic” for our kids and their kids. And, it’s because of children that Bette has given to the i.DANCE Community Impact Project. “Adults get to enjoy the show, but I want young people to have the opportunity to follow their dreams and hone their skills and i.DANCE accomplishes that.”

i.DANCE will be intermediate and advanced workshop classes focused on fundamental dance techniques as well as other dance styles (including Jazz, Ballet, Fosse, and some of today’s other more cutting-edge styles). It is a unique dance workshop opportunity offered in the West Valley where technique, discipline and versatility are rewarded and promises to be an encouraging atmosphere that will expand artistic expression and personal growth in a supportive environment.

Registration for the workshop is open from February 14 – April 1, 2020. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER.

Broadway Blockbuster Musical CHICAGO Next On The Mainstage At ABT

“i.DANCE” Dance Intensive Community Impact Project To Coincide With Show’s Run

Like many single-named celebrities, this show only needs a single moniker as well – Chicago! The 1926 play, written by reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins based on actual criminals and crimes that she reported on, has become an icon in American culture. The 1996 Broadway revival of Kander & Ebb’s Chicago holds the record as the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, and, in 2002, the film version won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Chicago will be here in the Valley of the Sun at Arizona Broadway Theatre March 13 – April 19, 2020.

Set amidst the decade of the roaring twenties, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and wannabe nightclub dancer who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media, and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, and hires the slickest criminal lawyer in town to transform her crime into a barrage of sensational headlines. Filled with greed, corruption, exploitation, and one show-stopping hit after another, Chicago is sure to give you the old “Razzle Dazzle!”

Kurtis Overby

Kurtis Overby

The show will be directed & choreographed by ABT’s Associate Artistic Director, Kurtis Overby, whose credits include direction and choreography for ABT shows Cats, My Way, A Chorus Line, Trailer Park, Hairspray, Rock of Ages, Hair, An American in Paris, and most recently, La Cage aux Folles.

“In the rush to open and close one show after another here at ABT, I sometimes have to pinch myself as a reminder that what I get to do every day is pretty darn awesome,” said Kurtis. “After coming off choreographing La Cage aux Folles, Chicago is extra special simply because the two shows have such contrasting styles of dance. La Cage is such an extravagance, which I love, but Chicago gives me the chance to explore Bob Fosse’s iconic repertoire of movements. He truly invented a style that has become known by one word, and one word only – FOSSE! Audiences are in for a real treat!”

Beginning with Season 15, ABT launched a series of show-related impact projects designed to expand the theatre’s community engagement in meaningful, measurable, and memorable ways that extend beyond the productions on stage. Bob Fosse’s iconic choreography and unique style of dance have made the musical Chicago an icon of Americana. With this in mind, ABT will host a two-day dance intensive workshop April 10 & 11, 2020, entitled “i.DANCE” to accompany the run of Chicago on the Mainstage. The Chicago i.DANCE Community Impact Project is designed to provide local dancers ages 13-23 the opportunity to expand their personal & artistic growth in a supportive environment, allowing every dancer to excel.

Kurtis Overby will lead the two-day intensive workshop. Kurtis, along with a number of ABT’s talented Teaching Artists (including members of the cast of Chicago), will deliver outstanding training in both fundamental dance techniques and a variety of styles. The workshop will culminate with a night out at ABT enjoying dinner and a performance of Chicago as well as a photo with the cast after the show. The fee for the workshop and the night out is $150. Registration opens February 14 at azbroadway.org and will close April 1, 2020. The impact project is made possible in part through the generous support of ABT patron, Bette Aronsohn.

BUY TICKETS

‘La Cage aux Folles’ Transfers to Herberger Theater Center March 6-22

By Maddy Dowler

Following its highly successful run in Peoria at Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT), La Cage aux Folles will move to Herberger Theater Center (HTC) in downtown Phoenix March 6 through March 22, 2020.* ABT has been a resident company at HTC since 2018 having partnered with HTC on productions such as A Christmas Carol, Beauty and The Beast, Mary Poppins, Sweeney Todd, An American in Paris and, most recently, the hilarious Addams Family in June 2019.

The precursor to the well-known 1996 film The Birdcage starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, Jerry Herman’s 6-time Tony Award-winning La Cage aux Folles tells the story of Jean-Michel and Anne who are newly engaged, and her strait-laced parents want to meet his. The only problem? His birth-mother is out of the picture, his dad owns a drag nightclub, and his mom is the star of the show! Jean-Michel wants just one night with his parents playing it “straight” to impress Anne’s parents. What’s a drag queen to do? Audiences will devour Herman’s well-known power ballads, rowdy show tunes, and dreamy duets.

With the run at HTC, ABT will continue its teen-youth anti-bullying community IMPACT PROJECT entitled, “I Am What I Am.” “While the central theme of La Cage focuses on issues of inclusion and acceptance related to the LGBTQ+ community,” says Brad York, ABT Director of Marketing & Development, “our intent with this impact project is to broaden the focus of inclusion and acceptance among all people.”

ABT has several community outreach elements aligned with the “I am what I am!” IMPACT PROJECT, including PSA type videos that focus on the impact of bullying among teen-youth, the emotional and physical impact of bullying, as well as resource information for those seeking help. Also, the cast of La Cage will visit One n Ten in downtown Phoenix whose mission is to serve LGBTQ+ youth and young adults ages 11-24.  Learn more about One n Ten at https://onenten.org/.

Finally, in the spirit of inclusion and acceptance, ABT and HTC will host an interpreted performance for the Arizona Deaf community on Saturday, March 14, 2020, at 2 pm at HTC. Tickets for this special performance can be purchased at HerbergerTheater.org.  

Upcoming ABT productions at HTC include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which will run on the Mainstage in Peoria June 5 – July 3 and then transfer to HTC July 10 – 26, 2020. Partial funding is provided by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture through appropriations from the Phoenix City Council.

BUY TICKETS TO LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

*Presented in partnership with Herberger Theater Center. Show transfers to Herberger Theater Center at 222 E. Monroe St, Phoenix, AZ, following the run at Arizona Broadway Theatre, located at 7701 W Paradise Ln., Peoria, AZ.

We’ve Got Your Holidays Planned for the Next Six Months!

By Maddy Dowler

Do you ever look forward to holidays like I do but you never know exactly what to do with them once they get here? Three-day weekend but nowhere to go? High-pressure holidays like Valentine’s Day but no original ideas? Well we took the guess work out of it just for you!

Here’s our list of holidays over the next six months and exactly what you should do with them… You’re welcome.

Valentine’s Day – February 14, 2020
Tapestry: The Album, The Music of Carole King – BUY TICKETS

I Feel the Earth Move. It’s Too Late. You’ve Got a Friend. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. ALL of those – and more – were part of the best-selling 1971 album Tapestry. International performer Katherine Byrnes headlines the evening, performing all songs top to bottom (plus a few more), and captures the spirit of the record that Rolling Stone calls “one of the greatest albums of all time”.

The price of your ticket includes a long stem red rose for your significant other, fresh bread basket, choice of soup or salad, and choice of included entrée from our menu. You will also receive a special chocolate treat. Not included: beverages, appetizers, entrée upgrades, and tip.

President’s Day – February 17, 2020
ARETHA: A Tribute to the Queen of Soul! – BUY TICKETS

Charity Lockhart, hailed as one of the finest vocalists in Arizona, stars in this spectacular homage to one of the greatest female vocalists of all time, Aretha Franklin. Aretha’s iconic career spanned six decades, inspiring and influencing generations of aspiring musicians and vocalists. In her life, she recorded countless classics, garnered 18 Grammy Awards, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the USA’s highest civilian honor), and earned the #1 spot on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of The Greatest Singers of All Time. This stunning concert stars the immensely talented Charity Lockhart accompanied by spectacular vocalists and musicians as they celebrate the legendary life & music of ARETHA FRANKLIN!

St. Patrick’s Day – March 17, 2020
Chicago – BUY TICKETS

Set amidst the decade of the roaring twenties, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and wannabe nightclub dancer who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media, and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, and hires the slickest criminal lawyer in town to transform her crime into a barrage of sensational headlines. Filled with greed, corruption, exploitation and one show-stopping hit after another, Chicago is sure to give you the old “Razzle Dazzle!”

Directed & Choreographed by Kurtis Overby (Cats, My Way, A Chorus Line, Trailer Park, Hairspray, Rock of Ages, Hair, and An American in Paris!)

Cinco de Mayo – May 5, 2020
Bonnie & Clyde A New Musical – BUY TICKETS

In Depression-era Texas, young dreamer Bonnie Parker falls in love with Clyde Barrow, an escaped inmate desperate to prove This World Will Remember Me. As their notoriety — and body count — rises, the ill-fated lovers find themselves racing to the top of the Public Enemies list and realize It’s Too Late to Turn Back Now. The electrifying story of love, adventure, and crime that captured the attention of an entire country, Bonnie & Clyde A New Musical will take you on a wild ride with the original Made in America criminal superstars!

Father’s Day – June 21, 2020
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – BUY TICKETS

Made famous on stage and screen by Donny Osmond, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat sizzles with energy, humor, and excitement with the retelling of the Biblical story rife with prophecy, jealousy, famine, forgiveness, and reconciliation. This summer, wrap your entire family in this glorious coat of many colors as Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice’s vibrant family favorite returns to the ABT stage!

 

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked the cast of ‘La Cage,’ “What’s your favorite love song?”

By Maddy Dowler

You know what yours is… that song that comes on the radio and you’re immediately transported back to eighth grade when you had a huge crush on Chris Meeks (maybe that was just me). But we all know that feeling and have the song or songs that take us there. So we got to wondering, what love song tickles a nerve for members of our cast of La Cage aux Folles.

And here’s what they said…

Kat Gold (Jacqueline)
“This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by  Talking Heads

 

DJ Hersh (Francis)
“Til Kingdom Come” by Coldplay

 

Stephen Hohendorf (Hanna)
“Is That Alright” from A Star is Born soundtrack

 

Cody Petit (Angelique)
“Confessions, Part II” by Usher

 

Brandon Kazen-Maddox (Bitelle)
“You Don’t Know My Name” by Alicia Keys

 

Seth Tucker (Jacob)
“Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers

 

Izzy Arrieta (Phaedra)
“When He Sees Me” from Waitress Soundtrack

 

Brandi Bigley
“The Story” by Brandi Carlile

 

But that’s the past right? You know what’s in your future? A night out for Valentine’s Day at Arizona Broadway Theatre singing along to the songs of Carole King’s Tapestry album. I Feel the Earth Move. It’s Too Late. You’ve Got a Friend. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. ALL of those – and more – were part of the best-selling 1971 album Tapestry. International performer Katherine Byrnes headlines the evening, performing all songs top to bottom (plus a few more), and captures the spirit of the record that Rolling Stone calls “one of the greatest albums of all time.”

The price of your ticket includes a long stem red rose for your significant other, fresh bread basket, choice of soup or salad, and choice of included entrée from our menu. You will also receive a special chocolate treat. Not included: beverages, appetizers, and entrée upgrades.

BUY TICKETS

Oh my song? Ok, here’s the one that makes my little junior high heart swoon…

“Yes, I’m Ready” by Teri Desario with K.C.

Love is Love is Love — that is the message of ‘La Cage aux Folles’

By Clayton Phillips, Director, ABT La Cage aux Folles

First, there was a French comedy written in 1973 by Jean Poiret. The translation of the title is “The Cage of Madwomen” (or Fools). In 1978 there was a Franco-Italian film of the same title, which is the basis for the musical La Cage aux Folles, which was originally presented on Broadway in 1983. There was also an American film entitled The Birdcage.

At the heart of this story is an older couple who have been together for many years. They care for one another in ways that only a long-lasting and unconditional love allows. They also havea child, whom they love. There may be ups and downs, but there is love. Love that transcends differences of opinions and relies on compromises and understanding. The unique part of this story is that the couple is two men: Georges and Albin. Two men who have been together for a long time in a loving relationship, raising a child who is the biological child of Georges.

This was a time before Marriage Equality was even considered as an option. One of these men owns the club “La Cage aux Folles,” a nightclub with female impersonators as entertainment. The other half of that couple is the star of that club: the incomparable ZAZA! The comedy ensues when their son decides he is marrying a young lady whose family will never accept his family, and they are brought together in a hysterical clash of values and ideologies allowing us to experience fabulous female impersonators and teaching us, along the way, that we can all find a way to get along.

When I first saw the film of La Cage aux Folles in 1978, I loved the premise and how it just presented this older (sometimes bickering) couple with such honesty and love. A same-sex couple, in those days, was usually either comic relief or ridiculed, and this film challenged our perspectives. We see a healthy long-term relationship that, while still mimicking the tradition of a male/female relationship, is complex and loving.

One of the major themes of the musical is “illusion.” The illusion of the images we present. What you see is not always what is the truth. What we see is an illusion, a vision of what we want to be seen. Our illusions, in life, are not as clear cut as a male presenting himself as a female, they run deeper. Each and every one of us present illusions every day. Sometimes they are healthy and sometimes they are not. Love can see past illusion to truth, and true love accepts both the illusion and the truth. Albin sings “I am what I am, and what I am is an illusion,” and we shall discover what is behind that illusion. Love.

Love is Love is Love.

BUY TICKETS TO LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

Season 16 Announced At Arizona Broadway Theatre

Drum roll please…. And here is the lineup for Season 16 at Arizona Broadway Theatre!

Ring of Fire – October 16 – November 8, 2020

I Walk The Line
From one of the titans of Country Music, Ring of Fire brings the unforgettable songs of Johnny Cash to life in this concert musical featuring the timeless “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Jackson,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and more. Though he is never impersonated, a multi-talented cast paints a musical portrait of “The Man in Black” that promises to be a foot-stompin’, crowd-pleasin’ evening that will both move and exhilarate!

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical – November 20 – December 29, 2020

Even If You’re Little, You Can Do A Lot
Winner of 4 Tony Awards! Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s “Naughty.” She expects school to be different, but there she runs afoul of Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress who loves to bring down “The Hammer.” It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves, and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

Mame – January 15 – February 13, 2021

Life Is A Banquet
Mame follows the madcap adventures of everyone’s favorite aunt and her adoring nephew. Surrounded by an eccentric cast of characters, she celebrates the Roaring 20s, shamelessly spoils her “little love,” and perseveres through life with humor and style, all without missing a dance step. Jerry Herman’s Tony-nominated score is packed with musical favorites “Bosom Buddies,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” “Open a New Window,” “If He Walked Into My Life,” and more.  This year, spend time with the wonderous, the wonderful, the winsome – Mame!

Crazy For You – March 19 – April 18

Someone To Watch Over Me
A banker with show business stars in his eyes travels from New York to Deadrock, Nevada on official business where mistaken identities, love at first sight, and hilarious hijinks resuscitate an abandoned theatre and the spirit of a small town. With a wealth of memorable Gershwin tunes including “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” Crazy for You bubbles over with spectacular show-stopping numbers and glistens with 1930s glamour.

Kinky Boots – April 30 – May 23, 2021

What A Woman Wants
The exhilarating true story about a struggling shoe factory that will lift your spirits to high-heeled heights! Having inherited the factory from his father, quiet Charlie forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of high-heeled boots and save the business. In the process, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all. Winner of six Tonys, including Best Musical and Best Score (Cyndi Lauper), Kinky Boots reminds us that sometimes, the best way to fit in… is to stand out!

The Wizard of Oz – June 4 – July 10, 2021

We’re Off To See The Wizard
The classic tale winds its way to ABT! Join Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion as they “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” “Over the Rainbow” toward the “Evening Star” in an attempt to get Dorothy back home to Kansas and give her companions their true hearts’ desire. Based on the 1939 film, with new songs and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and additional lyrics by Tim Rice, this is your chance to travel to “The Merry Old Land of Oz” this summer!

Footloose The Musical – July 23 – August 21, 2021

Out For A Hero
It’s the 80s, and Ren has moved to a quiet backwater town where dance is outlawed. Through explosive choreography and classic pop-rock songs such as “Holding Out for a Hero,” “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Almost Paradise,” and the exhilarating title track, Ren challenges the community to reverse the rule and heal from the tragedy that kept their hearts from dancing. Filled with high-energy, unforgettable music, this Tony nominee is the heartwarming story of rebellion, redemption, and closure.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – September 3 – 26, 2021

Stop! Wait! What?!
Tony Award’s Best Musical of 2014! A distant heir to a family fortune sets out to speed up the line of succession by using a great deal of charm… and a dash of murder! A Gentleman’s Guide is a merry romp filled with unforgettable music and non-stop laughs as low-born Monty Navarro finds out that he’s in line for an earldom. Can he knock off his unsuspecting relatives without being caught on his way to becoming the next Earl of Highhurst? This truly original and fresh new comedy will delight and leave you begging for more!

If you are a current season subscriber or wish to purchase an 8-show subscription, CLICK HERE.

4-7 show subscribers – BUY Mar 23, 2020 – May 2021
Single tickets will go on sale July 6, 2020

Top Ten Reasons To See Arizona Broadway Theatre’s ‘La Cage Aux Folles’

By Maddy Dowler

  1. Men dancing in high heels.
  2. Seth Tucker is hilarious as Jacob, the outlandish butler/maid.
  3. The salted caramel panna cotta is To. Die. For.
  4. Jamie Parnell as Georges with his beautiful voice makes a heart go pitter-patter.
  5. Jacob and those short shorts.
  6. Michael Ursua’s portrayal of Albin/Zaza is show-stopping!
  7. The birdcage number is absolutely gorgeous.
  8. Did I mention Jacob?
  9. The vichyssoise (served hot) is delish!
  10. This amazing night out satisfies all the senses!

BUY TICKETS HERE