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Feature: CRITICS CHOICE - TOP THEATRES IN PHOENIX: A Guide To The 2021-2022 Season

A guide to the top venues in Phoenix, information on upcoming productions, how to buy tickets, and more!

A Guide To The 2021-2022 Season

There's something for everyone in the Phoenix region's growing and robust world of diverse theatre offerings ~ from upstart to established companies, from black box to dinner theatre and theatre-in-the-round, from edgy and provocative productions to classics and family-friendly shows, from Broadway-inspired musicals to comedy and drama.

Nonprofit theatre companies continue to lead the way in ensuring that the Valley of the Sun has as vital and diverse a selection of quality offerings as possible.

The excitement these days about the return of live theatre to the Phoenix Metro region is palpable. After too long an absence from "the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd," theatre lovers are checking out Season schedules and theatre companies and their artists are setting their stages. Sadly, not all companies have returned to the fold, and our hope is that they will soon again turn on their lights.

As BroadwayWorld prides itself on our vast and expansive coverage of theatre in over 250 cities all over the world, we know our readers love to take in theatre when they travel, whether to another city or abroad.

To that end, for those who live in the Phoenix Metro region and for our visitors, here's a critics choice list of 20 of the top venues in the area.

Arizona Broadway Theatre ~ ~ 7701 W. Paradise Lane, Peoria

Arizona Broadway Theatre features professional Broadway productions with restaurant style dining. Featured productions this Season include LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, CHICAGO, ELF, GYPSY, GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, FLASHDANCE, GHOST THE MUSICAL, THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL, GAME SHOW, and HAPPY DAYS~A NEW MUSICAL.

ASU Gammage ~ ~ 1200 South Forest Avenue, Tempe ~ on the Tempe Campus of ASU

ASU Gammage is the premiere venue for the national tours of Broadway's premier productions. Its Cultural Participation programs also produces new works, artist residencies and education programs that foster the great artists of today and empower the artists of tomorrow. This Season's highlights include HAMILTON, OKLAHOMA, MEAN GIRLS, MY FAIR LADY, THE BAND'S VISIT , TOOTSIE, HADESTOWN, COME FROM AWAY, and THE LION KING.

Arizona Theatre Company ~ ~ Venue: Herberger Theater Center
222 E. Monroe Street, Phoenix

Known as the "State Theatre," the company runs a Season of productions that reflect the rich variety of world drama - from classic to contemporary plays, from musicals to new works. Upcoming productions include MY 80-YEAR-OLD BOYFRIEND, MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY, WOMEN IN JEOPARDY!, NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN, JUSTICE, and HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN SON.

The Black Theatre Troupe ~ ~ Helen Mason Performing Arts Center ~ 1333 E. Washington Street, Phoenix

The Black Theatre Troupe operates to enhance the cultural and artistic awareness of the community by providing productions that illuminate the African-American experience and culture.

The Bridge Initiative ~ ~ Performances at Tempe Center for the Arts ~ 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe

The Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre exists to create opportunities for all Arizonans to participate in and experience the arts, specifically to provide professional opportunities for female theatre-makers and to promote gender parity in the region's theatrical landscape.

Childsplay ~ ~ Venue: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe Street, Phoenix

Childsplay is a nationally and internationally respected professional theatre company whose chosen audience is children, possessed of a belief that young people deserve to experience challenging and thought-provoking theatre of the highest artistic quality. This Season's shows include SELENA MARIA SINGS, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL, and THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW.

Don Bluth Front Row Theatre ~ ~ 8989 E. Via Linda, #118, Scottsdale

The Don Bluth Front Row Theatre, founded by one of the most acclaimed directors and artists in the animation industry, presents a marvelous mix of old chestnuts, popular dramas, and Broadway-inspired comedies and musicals in an intimate and family-oriented setting. The stage is set for A Bench in the Sun, Bell, Book & Candle, It's A Wonderful Life ~ A Live Radio Play, Drinking Habits, Camelot, The Curious Savage, Sleuth, and It's A Wonderful Life.

Fountain Hills Theater ~ ~ 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills

The company's two theaters provide an intimate setting for showcasing plays & musicals, including youth performances. The Season includes SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE, RUMORS, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, DISENCHANTED, 13 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, GREASE, RIPCORD, SUDS, and NUNSENSE.

Greasepaint Youtheatre ~ ~ Stagebrush Theatre, 7020 E. 2nd Street, Scottsdale

Greasepaint Youtheatre programming is designed to develop the life skills and aesthetic knowledge that youth will carry with them both as artists and audiences of tomorrow. The company provides unique and compelling theatre experiences that educate and challenge young people to stretch the boundaries of imagination and awareness and achieve a positive sense of self

Hale Centre Theatre ~ ~ 50 W. Page Avenue, Gilbert

Hale Centre Theatre is a 350-seat theater-in-the-round that presents high quality family-friendly plays and musicals throughout the year, featuring highly talented local actors, directors, and choreographers. Having opened its summer schedule with STEEL MAGNOLIAS, a full menu of shows lies ahead: FREAKY FRIDAY, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, HARVEY, MARY POPPINS, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, CHAPS, NUNSENSE, BRIGADOON, DADDY LONG LEGS, THE MUSIC MAN, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, FOOTLOOSE, and THE LITTLE MERMAID.

The Phoenix Theatre Company ~ ~ 1825 N Central Ave., Phoenix

The Phoenix Theatre Company prides itself as the largest producing regional theatre company in the Valley, with nearly 500 performances on multiple stages. Its mission is to create exceptional theatrical experiences by using the arts to articulate messages that inspire hope and understanding. On tap for 2021-2022 are productions of STEEL MAGNOLIAS, CAMELOT, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET CHRISTMAS, THE HELLO GIRLS, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, THE 24th ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF NEW AMERICAN THEATRE, THE COLOR PURPLE, SOMETHING ROTTEN!, ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE, and ON YOUR FEET!

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts ~ ~ 7380 E 2nd St, Scottsdale

The Center showcases a diverse season of dance, music, theater and film from around the world. More than 1,000 indoor and outdoor performances, educational programs, festivals and other events are presented and hosted at the Center each year. Its theater-focused shows include the following comedies: UNDER THE JELLO MOLD, ASSISTED LIVING: THE MUSICAL, LUCY LOVES DESI, THE OTHER MOZART, and PARADISE OR THE IMPERMANENCE OF ICE CREAM.

Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre ~ ~ Inside Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale

The community theatre focuses on Broadway-inspired musicals and dramatic shows as well as productions providing aspiring young actors an introduction all aspects of musical theatre production. The Season schedule includes A CHORUS LINE, MADAGASCAR, JR., INTO THE WOODS, and CLUE: ON STAGE.

Southwest Shakespeare Company ~ ~ Main Stage performances at Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main Street, Mesa

Southwest Shakespeare Company, the premier classical theatre company in Arizona, aims to explore the intricacies of language through the vibrant and passionate performance of works of classical theatre. Featured this Season: LEGENDS OF THE WEREWOLF, FROM TIDWORTH WITH LOVE, HAMLET, SCROOGE! A CHRISTMAS PANTO (IN THE BRITISH STYLE), THE TEMPEST, FARINELLI AND THE KING, SHALL I COMPARE THEE: THE SONNETS, and MOJADA: A MEDEA IN LOS ANGELES.

Stray Cat Theatre ~ ~ Performances at Tempe Center for the Arts Studio Theatre, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe

Stray Cat Theatre, decidedly off the beaten path, has distinguished itself as "indie theatre" at its best: quirky, edgy and irreverent. It "scratches the Valley's itch for a visceral, provocative theatre experience for culture-savvy cats who crave something beyond the standard kitty chow." Purring pleasures will include BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD PATTERNS, OUR DEAR DEAD DRUG LORD, SHEEPDOG, and ASSASSINS.

Theatre Artists Studio ~ ~ 12406 N. Paradise Village Parkway East, Scottsdale

Theatre Artists Studio is a community of artists-actors, directors, playwrights, producers, singers, dancers, musicians, designers and technical wizards-practicing their chosen crafts in a professional, challenging environment that fosters collaboration and mutual growth through Studio membership. The Studio's new Season includes POUND, THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE, WORDS FOR MUSIC: IRVING BERLIN, A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2, A DELICATE BALANCE, BY THE WATER, THE CHILDREN, and 2022 NEW SUMMER SHORTS.

Theater Works ~ ~ Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 10580 N. 83rd Drive, Peoria

The company aims to provide a broad range of theater to the West Valley. In the wake of COVID, it has been breaking new ground with A CURIOUSER NUTCRACKER, its innovative venture into "an immersive, multi-sensory theater experience in which up to twelve audience members per performance explore the Winter Realms; where every theater, rehearsal space and hallway in the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts transports you into the worlds of Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker." Hints of great things to come!

United Colours of Arizona Theatre ~

The newly formed company is quickly establishing a solid reputation as a driving force for "strengthening Arizona's fine arts community by advocating for diversity, inclusion, access to opportunity, and global awareness." Its first offering in July, presented in both English and Spanish productions, was Jason Robert Brown's THE LAST FIVE YEARS.

Valley Youth Theatre ~ ~ 525 North First Street, Phoenix

Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) presents itself as a supportive and safe place that teaches young people meaningful life skills, builds their self-esteem and fosters their creativity. Its reputation as a premier venue for youth productions is reinforced by the list of graduates who have gone on to great success in the world of theatre, including Emma Stone, Max Crumm, Kimiko Glenn, and Jordin Sparks. Young audiences can look forward to SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN: THE MUSICAL, A WINNIE-THE-POOH CHRISTMAS TAIL, SLEEPING BEAUTY, JUNIE B. JONES THE MUSICAL, and HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.

Zao Theatre ~ ~ 550 South Ironwood Drive, Apache Junction

As a community theatre and a ministry of Centerstage Church, the company's mission is to engage, inspire, entertain, and challenge audiences. This Season's schedule includes productions of HELLO DOLLY!, FROST/NIXON, and OLIVER!


From This Author - Herbert Paine

Herb Paine ~ Herb has served as Senior Contributing Editor and lead reviewer for BWW's Phoenix Metro Region since 2014. He has been acclaimed as BEST THEATRE CRITIC by PHOENIX magazin... (read more about this author)

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