Arizona Broadway Theatre is celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this year by featuring the women working at ABT and highlighting the diverse roles available to women in the performing arts. Like many theatres across the globe, Arizona Broadway Theatre continues to rebuild itself from the pandemic. Amid this daunting task, co-founders Cassandra and Kiel Klaphake seized the opportunity to restructure the organization with up-and-coming artists and leaders. On the grand scale, men may still dominate many top theatre jobs; however, at ABT, that is not the norm. In its 17th year of existence, Cassandra, Artistic Producer, is changing that narrative at the theatre by including talented females eager to break the stereotypes found behind the scenes.
Audiences marvel at the glitz and glamour of the production elements on stage yet may not know anything about the individuals that create the magic behind the scenes. Every ABT show, regardless of where it may be found — in the Mainstage Theatre or the Encore Room — has individuals running the show, rarely seen by the public.
Historically, women’s roles in various theatrical fields have been disproportionately represented. Forging through this perception and stereotype, this troupe of strong, talented women is led by Cassandra Klaphake, ABT’s co-founder and Artistic Producer. A remarkable performer in her own right and recently seen on the stage in the theatre’s production of Gypsy, Cassandra ensures that each element of a production is of the highest caliber. From auditioning and casting national and local talent to directing improvements to a performance during technical rehearsals, to designing costumes, she provides years of experience in the arts to mentor others and a strong representation of female leadership in the theatre.
Opening Friday, March 18, ABT’s production of Flashdance the Musical is a story about a young woman pursuing her dreams against the odds. This musical is directed and choreographed by Courtney Laine Self, another strong creative female artist from New York City who previously directed and choreographed ABT’s 2019 production of Xanadu. ABT continues to stand behind its conviction that women can take the lead in any aspect of a theatrical production, from the booth to the catwalk to the front offices and beyond.