ABT Raises Over $140,000 in Support of Artistic & Educational Programming At 7th Annual Broadway Ball

By Maddy Dowler

Arizona Broadway Theatre’s (ABT) 7th Annual Broadway Ball was a spectacular affair overflowing with champagne, chandeliers, guests wearing their very best, live performances, and loads of fun! ABT’s annual event brought out over 300 attendees on Saturday, February 29, 2020, and raised over $140,000 in support of the theatre’s artistic and educational programs. The festivities included a live auction featuring a Viking River Cruise, Sedona “Cool Down” summer get-away, an exclusive in-home dinner for eight featuring ABT’s talented culinary and service team, a silent auction, the all-new “Bubbles & Barrels” sparkling wine and whiskey tasting experience, “Gift Card Frenzy,” and the very popular “Wine Pull.”

Executive Producer Kiel & Artistic Producer Cassandra Klaphake, Brad York, Director of Marketing & Development, Susan Casper, Host of Sonoran Living with husband Sidney

Co-emceeing with Brad York, ABT’s Director of Marketing & Development, was Susan Casper, host of ABC15’s Sonoran Living. Susan joined ABC15 in 2008 as an anchor and reporter before moving to Sonoran Living, the longest-running television lifestyle show in Phoenix. Susan is an executive board member of Dress for Success Phoenix and a founding member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Phoenix Metropolitan Chapter. Susan and Brad used an interview-style format with ABT co-founders and Executive & Artistic Producers Kiel & Cassandra Klaphake as well as Associate Artistic Director Kurtis Overby to give Broadway Ball attendees an “insiders” look at the theatre’s mission, vision, educational plans & goals, artistic successes stories, and its influence and impact in Arizona and on the national stage.

Not only was the night informational and inspirational, it was also filled with spectacular music from ABT’s Mainstage shows. The cast of La Cage aux Folles kicked-off the program portion of the evening performing the show’s opening number and the evening wrapped-up with the talented Tiffany Sparks and Liz Fallon, leads in ABT next Mainstage offering, Chicago (Mar 13 – Apr 19), impressing the audience with “Nowadays” and “Hot Honey Rag” from the show.

HyRev, ABT’s teen performance troupe, brought the house down with their high-energy renditions of “Cross the Line” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Bring It On and “A Million Dreams” from the film The Greatest Showman. The versatile group also performed a memorable version of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” HyRev teens will benefit specifically from the $16,000 raised for scholarships to help defray the cost of employing the youth in the Mainstage shows for which they will audition and be cast.

HyRev troupe members L to R: Brody Wurr, Alyssa Armstrong, Liv-Boscardin, Jack Yampolsky, Tristan & Kieran-Klaphake

“The theme of this year’s Ball was ‘Raising the stars of tomorrow!’ said Brad York, Dir. of Marketing & Development. “Be it the next big Broadway star or the next star in the classroom, boardroom, on Wall Street or in the ER, ABT’s Academy for Young Performers and HyRev programs provide pre-teen and teen youth with not only the skills to become the best singers, actors and dancers they can be, but also, practical life-learning skills such as self-expression, team building, and critical thinking – quite simply, becoming the best human beings they can be!”

Corporate sponsors for the evening included “Tony Award” sponsors A.L.S.REM, Arrowhead Cadillac, Midwestern University, New Valley Construction, and Renew Dental; “42nd Street” sponsors The Jason Mitchell Real Estate Group, Red Bird Farms, Sun Health, Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat, Warren & Delores Huebner, and Birt & Louisa Kellam. Table sponsorships for this year’s Broadway Ball reached record numbers, which was vital in assuring the success of the event.

The 7th Annual Broadway Ball Is Coming Together Nicely

On Saturday, February 29, 2020, 400 people will don their fancy attire and descend on Arizona Broadway Theatre to experience The 7th Annual Broadway Ball. And do we have great plans coming together! Our committee has been hard at work to create an unforgettable evening and it is sure to be one of the highlights of the year for the West Valley social scene.

Susan Casper, co-host of ABC15’s long time hit morning show Sonoran Living, will be our emcee once again for the elegant evening. Susan joined ABC15 News in 2008 as an anchor and reporter before moving to Sonoran Living, the longest-running television lifestyle show in Phoenix. Susan is an executive board member of Dress for Success, Phoenix and a founding member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Phoenix Metropolitan Chapter. You can catch Susan on Sonoran Living weekdays at 9 am on ABC15.

Brad York, Director of Marketing & Development will co-emcee the event.  Brad is thrilled to share the stage with the lovely and talented Susan Casper as co-emcee of the 7th Annual Broadway Ball! Originally from the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the great state of Oregon, Brad first came to Arizona in 1996 on a full-ride out-of-state tuition vocal scholarship to Arizona State University. He holds a BA in Music from Linfield College (Oregon) and an MM in Musical Theatre Performance from Arizona State University. Upon graduation, Brad moved to New York City where he lived and worked for ten years – marrying the life of an actor with steady jobs at an investment firm and as a waiter. He returned to Arizona full-time in 2010 to work on “the other side of the table” at ABT in Marketing and Development. You’ll likely also recognize Brad from his many appearances on the ABT stage over the years. His roles include Evelyn Oakleigh (Anything Goes), Hysterium (A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum), Man 1 (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), Harold (The Full Monty), The Baker (Into the Woods), Igor (Young Frankenstein), and most recently Gomez Addams (The Addams Family).

The committee has confirmed four extravagant live auction items, including an eight-day Rhine River Cruise generously donated by Viking Cruises valued at $7,500, as well as numerous silent auction items from sports memorabilia to art to gift baskets and so much more.

Cases of wine have been generously donated by our ABT community for the very popular “Wine Pull” where participants pay to “pull” from 150 concealed bottles of great wines. “Bubbles and Barrels” is another fun activity happening at the Ball where participants pay a fee and choose to taste delicious sparkling wines or aged whiskeys. They will also get to take home their special customized glass!

Of course, there will be live musical performances, a gift card frenzy, and special surprises throughout the evening. Some tickets are still available. Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased at the ABT Box Office by calling 623.776.8400 or online HERE.


Fourth annual event raises awareness of and funds for the performing arts at ABT

Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT), the Valley leader in musical theatre, hosted its Fourth Annual Broadway Ball on March 4, 2017, raising more than $100,000 for the nonprofit performing arts organization.

The formal event was attended by arts-minded donors and supporters and sponsored by some of the West Valley’s leading names in philanthropic support including Season 12 and “Times Square” level event sponsor Arrowhead Cadillac and “Tony Award” level sponsor TC Schuttler. Other sponsors included the Arizona Coyotes Foundation, Arrowhead Dermatology and the Honorable Cathy Carlat, Mayor of the City of Peoria.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to raise awareness about why arts funding is so crucial. Professional arts programs benefit artists, patrons, children, and everyone in the community,” said Ellen Versen, Development Director at Arizona Broadway Theatre. “We are extremely grateful to our community partners who stepped up this year to sponsor such an exquisite event in support of the arts at ABT.”

Ball guests enjoyed a cocktail hour in the theatre’s lobby followed by a three-course meal created by ABT Executive Chef Erik Angelo. Silent and live auctions, raffle opportunities and a wine pull offered friendly rivalry among guests. The live auction featured unique experiences including cooking classes in the ABT kitchen, a Disney’s Beauty and the Beast birthday party for 12 during ABT’s production of the show and a “Queen + Adam Lambert” rock ‘n’ roll experience for six. Members of the all-volunteer Broadway Ball committee, led by co-chairs Sharon Jarnagin and Michele Meewes, were on hand to welcome guests and oversee the successful event.

Kiel and Cassandra Klaphake, Producers and Co-founders of the Arizona Broadway Theatre, spoke on behalf of the organization and introduced live entertainment representative of ABT’s Mainstage and children’s programming including previews of Jesus Christ Superstar and Man of La Mancha. The evening brought attention to the impact ABT has had on residents and visitors to the Valley of the Sun for nearly 12 years as one of Arizona’s premiere performing arts destinations.

The date of the Fifth Annual Broadway Ball has been tentatively set for Saturday, March 3, 2018. For more information about ABT and The Broadway Ball, please call the ABT Development Office at (623) 707-8842 or visit

Broadway Ball Co-chairs Michele Meewes and Sharon Jarnagin

Fourth Annual Broadway Ball Committee

CEO & Executive Producer Kiel Klaphake