Tonight I could stay close to home and enjoy “Six Characters in Search of an Author” performed by the NYC-based Aquila Theatre at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, or head downtown for opening weekend of “Lost in Yonkers” performed by Arizona Theatre Company. “Yonkers” has special appeal because it features two young actors, one of whom goes to school with my 17-year-old daughter Lizabeth. It’s always fun to support young actors in our midst!
If I head to Phoenix College, I can enjoy the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company production of “My Name is Asher Lev.” I’m intrigued by this piece because of the subject matter (art and Jewish identity), the fact that it’s being directed by Layne Racowsky (whose work I know best from their youth theatre productions) and because I was so smitten with the last work I saw the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company perform (“Hard Love” — also a work about Jewish identity).
I’m seriously tempted to head to Theatre Artists Studio in Scottsdale (near Paradise Valley Mall) to see a Lee Blessing play titled “Eleemosynary.” The cast includes Maureen Watson (known to many for her work with Childsplay in Tempe and her producing director gig at Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale) and another student Lizabeth knows from Arizona School for the Arts, 16-year-old Tasha Spear — as well as Judy Lebeau.
From a mere math perspective, compelling reasons to hit “Eleemosynary” are starting to add up. Theatre Artists Studio counts Debra Rich Gettleman, who writes and blogs for Raising Arizona Kids magazine, among its members. Her work is brainy and biting, and always leaves me wanting more. I love the vibe of the venue, which I last enjoyed during the Scottsdale Community College performance of “The Diviners” (they used the studio while their on-campus digs were being renovated). And “Eleemosynary” features lots of fun words, something it’s hard for a wanna-be-wordsmith to miss.
Sure, I could wait to hit most of these tomorrow night (Aquila Theatre is a one night gig). Or head out Saturday night to see Arizona artists ages 15-18 perform for the chance to win a $1,000 first prize in this year’s “Arizona Young Artists Competition” at the Herberger Theater Center. Finalists in acting, dance and voice will be competing for top honors. It doesn’t take a math whiz to know that this is a seriously good thing.
But I’ve already got tickets to see Betty Buckley perform “Broadway by Request” at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Considering how much time we spend in the teen taxi listening to musician and comedian Seth Rudetsky on the Sirius XM “On Broadway” channel, Lizabeth would be heartbroken to miss anything involving Rudetsky, who’s accompanying Buckley on piano.
Once again, the math just isn’t in my favor — because tomorrow is the final night of Southwest Shakespeare Company’s performance of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” I can feel less bummed (and guilty) about missing that one, though, since it’s already sold out. I hope the same isn’t yet true for the Scottsdale Community College production of “The Bald Chairs,” which I’m also eager to see should the math ever work in my favor — it opens March 31 so the odds are more in my favor.
Chances are, I’ll give up on the math entirely. English was always my better subject, so I suppose most of the weekend will find me writing about theater rather than enjoying it firsthand. So I hope the rest of you will do me a favor. Pick at least one of the shows I’m longing to see and get yourself a ticket (or more if you want to take along family or friends). Then drop me a note about your experience. Who knows — I might even ask you to elaborate for a “guest blog” so you can spend some time in the “reviewer” chair. It beats the heck out of sitting at home snuggled up with a calculator.
Note: Those of you seeking performing arts options for younger children can always consult the print or online calendar from Raising Arizona Kids Magazine.
Coming up: Choosing a college theater program, Baggage — with wings