Now & Then Creative Company Continues Their 3rd Season of Workshops with HIT MUSIC

Review: BEN BUTLER At Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

Now & Then Creative Company continues their 3rd season of successful workshops by Arizona writers with HIT MUSIC - - book + lyrics by Guillermo Reyes, music by Carlos Urtubey - - a heart warming, foot stomping, and unpredictable new musical from one of the Valley's finest writers. "Guillermo is a local favorite with national recognition," says Artistic Director John Perovich. "His writing is simultaneously endearing and hilarious - - sometimes heart breaking. With HIT MUSIC, Reyes ventures into the world of musical theatre and has given us an entire family to enjoy as they navigate the difficulties of growing older with the threats of growing apart."

The premise of HIT MUSIC teases its entertaining situation: The eccentric father in a Latino-Italian American family in 1990s Los Angeles announces his imminent death which brings together his children and a beloved niece to stage a commemorative concert - - but everything gets derailed by twists of fate, a romance, a heartbreak and lots of funky singing in English, Italian and Spanish.

Now & Then is committed to developing the work of Arizona writers and provides opportunities to intensely focus on the development of a work on the page for its future life on the stage. "The plot points have varied some, but the basic element of the relationships has been fairly constant," shares writer Guillermo Reyes. "What types of songs do the characters sing and how do they express themselves? That was the question that we've been asking from the beginning. But since the new generation of kids demanded their own songs, I had to delve into pop music, rock 'n roll and rap, to express the younger characters' needs to have their own music. But then, when we had to write original Italian songs, we had to get into the mind of the father who was brought up in the 50s and 60s, and I would then try to express some aspect of that period - - songs by Domenico Modugno, Nada, Massimo Ranieri, Mina, Patty Pravo and a few other Italian singers - - served as an inspiration for those songs. A Caribbean, tropical sound emerged in 'Ecco la Ragazza,' which creates a fusion of sounds - - and this is a blended family, anyway - - they run an Italian-Peruvian restaurant, so their music and their cuisine is fusion."

HIT MUSIC will be presented at Now & Then as a workshop production - - there will be staging, live music, limited design elements, and the cast will be on book. Reyes shares that one of his goals for the workshop is to "take joy in the creation of new songs and to celebrate an aspect of these characters' lives. The play is a form of commemoration for those lost. There is tremendous loss in these characters' lives," continues Reyes, "and I think the music helps them (and us - - the audience) make that transition into acceptance of what's been lost."

Audiences are invited to attend this exciting and unique event. HIT MUSIC runs 1/31, 2/1, 2/7, and 2/8 at 7PM - - 2/9 at 2PM. The musical workshop features performances by Esther Almazan, Cameron Bloom, Julian Martinez, Karla Benitez Orellana, Jesse Saywell, and Carlos Urtubey, and is directed by Guillermo Reyes. Tickets are $15 and are available at the door and online at

Now & Then Creative Company performs in the theatre at Metropolitan Arts Institute, 1700 N. 7th. Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85007. Parking is available in the lower level of the building.


The Studio to Present NEW SUMMER SHORTS Festival in June

The NEW SUMMER SHORTS Festival runs for 2 weeks from June 8 through June 18, Thursday through Friday nights at 7:30 pm with Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

Local Stars Align To Benefit Theatre Artists Studio

Four of Phoenix's own notable musical stars will come back Together Again in a benefit concert for the Theatre Artists Studio on June 24th. Headed by Matt Rollings, (Phoenix Country Day School, Young Sounds, Mr. Luckys, Berklee College of Music and Nashville) Matt is a Grammy award winning musician, composer, and producer whose iconic piano can be heard on literally thousands of albums, perhaps most notably Lyle Lovett.

Adult Dance Camp Comes to The Phoenix Theatre Company

Summer camp is traditionally something for kids, but at The Phoenix Theatre Company, adults are invited to a special kind of summer experience: Summer of Dance. It’s eight weeks of dance classes for people at all skill levels, ages 15 to 80 years old. Professional choreographers teach a variety of classes four nights a week from June 5 through July 27. This is the program’s 15th year in the Valley.

Review: BEN BUTLER At Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

Richard Strand's BEN BUTLER highlights a seminal moment in the march to emancipation. Now on stage at Don Bluth Front Row Theater in Scottsdale AZ through July 8th, the play, directed by Lee Cooley and featuring an outstanding cast, is a compelling profile of courage.


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