MORE HOPE! OR: Some of what I’m most excited about in the 2015-16 Season of Theatre in Arizona

I wanted to write a post to chime in with some of the shows I am particularly excited about around the valley during the 2015-2016 season. There are honestly too many to write about in the time I have (ah theatre life- rehearsals, performances, writing the next show, oh my!) so to help me narrow down my list, I’ve decided to focus on something I’m obviously passionate about: works written by women! They exist and they are being produced here and I think they have the potential to be some of the most interesting productions this season. So without any more ado, here’s just a few I’m looking forward to seeing:

The Taming by Lauren Gunderson – Class6 Theatre at the Mesa Arts Center
November 4-22, 2015
Ok, this one is a bit of a cheat since I am directing it and therefore biased. But I had to include at least one of my projects and Lauren Gunderson’s writing is quirky, timely, and hilarious. This play features three powerhouse female roles- an extreme conservative assistant to a prominent congressman, an extreme liberal blogger obsessed with saving the Panda Shrews, and a beauty queen who happens to have extensive constitutional knowledge and big aspirations for the future of our country. There’s also a lot of fun jokes about James Madison. And while this play’s namesake comes from The Taming of the Shrew, I promise there is absolutely no plot involving starving women to make them subservient trying to pass itself off as being funny…

From Two Old Broads Do Santa- get ready for some laughs!

Two Old Broads Talk Turkey by Judy Rollings & Patti Davis Suarez- Lunch Time Theater at the Herberger Theater Center
November 9-19, 2015
If you live int he valley and have not heard of these illustrious women, do yourself a favor and look them up! If you have heard of them, you already know that one of them being involved in a production is enough reason to buy a ticket, let alone both of them! A few years ago these talented actresses got together to write Two Old Broads as a fundraiser for the Theatre Artists Studio and then had an encore performance run as part of the Lunch Time Theater season that next year. I saw it and loved it in both iterations. They then wrote a sequel called Two Old Broads Do Santa which I heard was even better, but unfortunately I missed it because I was in the middle of teething insanity with my son and running on very little sleep, so this year: I’m planning on childcare and finding a way to see what is sure to be a hilarious, music filled romp.

Grand Concourse by Heidi Schreck- at the Theatre Artists Studio January 15-31 2016
This is one of those productions that made me wish I didn’t stubbornly take off rehearsing anything during the holiday season because this show sounds amazing: “Having dedicated her life to religious service, Shelley runs a Bronx soup kitchen with unsentimental efficiency, but lately her heart’s not quite in it. Her brisk nature masks an unsettling fear that her efforts are meaningless. When Emma — an idealistic but confused college dropout — arrives to volunteer, her reckless mix of generosity and self-involvement pushes Shelley to the breaking point. With keen humor and startling compassion, this fascinating play navigates the mystery of faith, the limits of forgiveness, and the pursuit of something resembling joy”

The Bridges of Madison County Book by Marsha Norman, Music by Jason Robert Brown- at ASU Gammage
February 16-21, 2016
OK, so I MIGHT be stretching my parameters on this one because the music is by one of my favorite male composers, but Marsha Norman is not only a brilliant playwright but also an advocate at the forefront of getting more female representation in theatre (seriously, if you haven’t read her 2009 article, go click the link) JRB also happens to be a pretty stellar feminist as showcased in this snarky acceptance speech from when he won the Tony Award for best score for Bridges of Madison Country

Children’s hour By Lillian Hellman at Desert Foothills Theater
February 19-28

If you haven’t heard of Lillian Hellman then this show is a great place to brush up on your theatre history/ old school Feminist writing. Hellman wrote this play in the 30s and it was pretty gutsy back then to explore the themes of suggested homosexuality. If you see this production and like Hellman’s writing, I also strongly suggest reading or seeing Little Foxes!

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Just a few of the amazing ladies I had the privilege of performing with this weekend in Brelby’s Miscast Concert! Some of these women will be writing After Hours at Rosie’s Pub!

After Hours at Rosie’s Pub- by the Brelby Company Women- at Brelby Theatre in Glendale
June 16-25, 2016
A new work! A new collaborative work! And it’s not by A woman, but SEVERAL women! Here’s the lowdown: “After the lights have dimmed, and the early crowd has left the scene, Rosie’s Pub is frequented by a medley of female revolutionaries from throughout history. As they take the stage for an unconventional open mic night, they tell their stories through song, poetry, and narratives. Their individual histories weave together, and allow them to pose questions about today’s world. Its history like you’ve never heard it before, and these women have a lot to say.” I can’t wait to see which women they’ve picked to tell their stories!

It’s going to be a GREAT season. Hope to see you at the theater! What are your excited about this season? comment below OR write your own season preview: #ourvalleyseasonpreview

 

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