Arizona Theatre Company Puts Spin on AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, 3/27-4/13

Arizona Theatre Company Puts Spin on AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, 3/27-4/13

The celebrated off-Broadway comedy, Around the World in 80 Days, which features five actors in a theatrical tour-de-force playing 39 characters from Jules Verne's classic adventure novel, will come alive through the Arizona Theatre Company production at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe, from March 27-April 13.

Adapted by Mark Brown and perfect for the whole family, this hilarious take on the celebrated novel about explorer Phileas Fogg's attempt to circumnavigate the world in order to win a bet, is directed by David P. Saar, founder and artistic director for the award-winning Childsplay, and boasts an incredible cast of characters. Along with his man-servant Passepartout, and pursued by the relentless Detective Fix, Phileas races from London through India, the Far East and across the American frontier in a mad scramble of adventures, romances and cliffhangers.

Mark Anders, who last appeared at ATC as the mysterious man with the cream tarts in Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of The Suicide Club and, perhaps most memorably in 2 Pianos 4 Hands, is our hero, Phileas Fogg. He is joined by Jon Gentry as Passepartout; Yolanda London as Aouda; Kyle Sorrell, who skated through the lead role in the recent ATC hit Xanadu, in 16 roles; and ATC favorite Bob Sorenson making his 21st ATC appearance as Detective Fox.

"The stage has always been a perfect place for a good adventure story," said ATC Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein, "and the adventure stories of Jules Verne have been on stages around the world ever since his novels were first published in the 19th Century. This particular version of Around the World in 80 Days is as speedy as a locomotive racing across America and as ingenious and intricate as Passepartout's pocketwatch. It is a particular pleasure to welcome to our stage so many wonderful Arizona artists to tell this story. Bring your imaginations to the theatre: they will get a glorious workout."

David P. Saar (Director) is one of Arizona's most distinguished and celebrated artists and he returns to ATC after directing The Origins of Happiness in Latin several seasons ago. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Childsplay where he has directed and taught since the company was formed in 1977. Favorite Childsplay credits include Still Life with Iris, A Year with Frog and Toad, Pero or the Mystery of the Night, Afternoon of the Elves, and Cyrano. Other regional credits include Charlotte's Web, The Yellow Boat and Tomás and the Library Lady (Seattle Children's Theatre); and The BFG (Chicago Theatre for Young Audiences). Mr. Saar is the recipient of numerous awards and achievements, including the Governor's Arts Award for his contributions to the arts in Arizona, the Notable Achievement Award from the Herberger College of Fine Arts at ASU, the Thomas DeGaetani Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), and the prestigious Medallion Award from The Children's Theatre Foundation.

Mark Anders (Phileas Fogg) has appeared at ATC in Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of The Suicide Club, Oh, Coward! and 2 Pianos 4 Hands. Recently, Mr. Anders has had some acclaim for playing Henry Higgins in Pygmalion; a man haunted by The Woman in Black; and Stu Rasmussen, the transgender mayor in the world premiere musical Stu for Silverton. He is a regular actor and director for - and a founding member of - Endangered Species Project, a consortium of theatre artists dedicated to readings of great neglected plays of the past.

Jon Gentry (Passepartout/various others) is making his Arizona Theatre Company maintstage debut. He was chosen by ATC to be one of the inaugural ten actors to participate in the Lunt/Fontanne Actor Fellowship Program at Ten Chimneys with Lynn Redgrave as Master Teacher. Mr. Gentry helped develop ATC's Summer On Stage program and was a director and lead instructor for its first nine years. As an actor, productions include: Pirates of Penzance (Mill Mountain Theatre); Steen, Paier, Schaar (Speel Theater Holland); Yellow Boat, A Year with Frog and Toad (Seattle Children's Theatre); Angels in America: Parts 1 & 2, The Pillow Man, Lloyd's Prayer, The Complete Works of Williams Shakespeare (Abridged) (Actors Theatre of Phoenix); 1776, You Can't Take It with You (PCPA Theatre Fest); The Producers, Forum, and The Robber Bridegroom (Phoenix Theatre). His longest collaboration has been as an actor, teacher and director with Childsplay, where he has been an ensemble member for the last 31 years.

Yolanda London (Aouda/various others) is making her ATC debut. Credits include The 1940's Radio Hour and A Christmas Carol (Fulton Theatre); and Lost and Foundling (Geva Theatre/Childsplay). In Phoenix, her credits include This and Hunter Gatherers (Actors Theatre of Phoenix); Rent, Avenue Q and Hairspray (Phoenix Theatre); Wolves (Stray Cat Theatre); Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (Black Theatre Troupe); and Aida (Phoenix Metropolitan Opera). Ms. London can most frequently be seen on stage with Childsplay, where she has been a member of the acting ensemble and a teaching artist for the past 10 years.

Kyle Sorrell (Sir Francis/various others) appeared previously at ATC in Xanadu, Twelfth Night and It's a Wonderful Life. Mr. Sorrell was most recently seen as Edward Tulane in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Childsplay); Bandleader in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Phoenix Theatre); and as Justin in Fox on the Fairway (Actors Theatre of Phoenix). He has also appeared at Southwest Shakespeare Company, Stray Cat Theatre and Childsplay. Other regional credits include Prior Walter in Angels in America and Padraic in The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Ion Theatre) and Phillip in The Lion in Winter (Northcoast Repertory Theatre).

Bob Sorenson (Detective Fix / various others) returns to ATC where he has appeared in 21 productions including Sunshine Boys, God of Carnage, The Mystery of Irma Vep, The Pajama Game, I Am My Own Wife, Permanent Collection, Over the Moon, Fully Committed, Ghosts, Art, How I Learned to Drive, Scapin, Swinging on a Star, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Noises Off. Actors Theatre of Phoenix credits include The Arizona Project, Henry V, Illuminati and Putting It Together, among others. For Phoenix Theatre he has appeared in Annie; Mr. Roberts; I Do, I Do; Rumors; and Play It Again, Sam, among others. His film and television credits include HBO's Boardwalk Empire and the recurring role of Dr. Stephen Kurt on NBC's Law & Order.

Jules Verne (Author) was born in Nantes, France on February 8, 1828. He was sent to Paris in 1847 to study law, but soon found a stronger calling as an author and playwright, writing numerous pieces for The Family Museum, a popular magazine that sought to relate geography, history, science and technology to a popular audience. Publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel accepted Verne's first novel in 1863, a story entitled Five Weeks in a Balloon and inspired by his love for maps and the great explorers of the world. Verne continued to write for Hetzel's family magazine, the Magazine of Education and Recreation, in which he serially published at least two volumes a year for the next decades, including what would become some of the most enduring works of fiction to emerge from the 19th century: Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869), and Around the World in 80 Days (1872). He died in 1905 from complications from diabetes, leaving his son, Michel, to oversee the publication of two posthumous novels: Invasion of the Sea and The Lighthouse at the End of the World.

The creative team for Around the World in 80 Days includes Carey Wong, set designer; Karen Ledger, costume designer; David Lee Cuthbert, lighting designer; Brian Jerome Peterson, sound designer; Gregory W. Towle, projections designer; Roberta Carlson, composer; Timothy Toothman, stage manager and Glenn Bruner, assistant stage manager.

Tickets for Around the World in 80 Days start at $37, are subject to change depending on time, date and section, and are available at www.arizonatheatre.org or by calling the box office at (602) 256-6995. Discounts are available for seniors and active military. A $10 student ticket pricing is now available for all performances. Half-price rush tickets are available for balcony seating for all performances one hour prior to curtain at the ATC box office (subject to availability). Pay What You Can is March 30. Tickets for this performance are available for a suggested $10 donation and must be purchased starting one hour prior to curtain. Seating is first-come, first. Cash only. (Two tickets maximum per person.) For discounts for groups of 10 or more, call (602) 256-6995.

Arizona Theatre Company offers accessibility services for patrons with disabilities for select performances. Audio Description provides patrons with vision loss a running audio description of the movement and activities onstage through an infrared broadcast system. Audio-Described performances are offered on Thursday, April 3 at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. Interested patrons with vision loss may request a tactile tour one hour prior to curtain. American Sign Language Interpretation is presented by professional, theatrically trained ASL-interpreters for people who have deafness or hearing impairment. An ASL-interpreted performance is offered in Phoenix on Saturday, April 12 at 4 p.m. p.m. Open-captioning allows patrons to read the play's dialogue on an LED screen as the play progresses. An open-captioned performance is offered on Sunday, April 6 at 7 p.m. For open-captioned or ASL-interpreted performances, patrons should request seats best suited to ASL interpretation or captioning when purchasing tickets. Large print and Braille playbills and infrared listening amplification devices are also available at every ATC performance with reservation. TTY access for the box office is available

About Arizona Theatre Company: Touching lives through the power of theatre, Arizona Theatre Company (ATC), is the preeminent fully professional theatre in the state of Arizona. Boasting the largest seasonal subscriber base in the performing arts in Arizona, ATC is the only resident company in the US that is fully based in two cities providing its wide array of programming and community outreach across the region. Now in its 47th season, more than 130,000 people a year attend our performances at the historic Temple of Music and Art in Tucson, and the elegant Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. Each season of home-grown productions reflects the rich variety of world drama-from classics to contemporary plays, from musicals to new works-along with a wide array of community outreach programs, educational opportunities, access initiatives.

Pictured: Bob Sorenson (back), Kyle Sorrell (left) and Jon Gentry in Around the World in 80 Days. Photo by Tim Fuller.

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