The Explorer: Scene1


  • Great American Playhouse continues streak of excellence

    By now the Great American Playhouse has gained notoriety across north Tucson as a rowdy melodramatic theater that fills its auditorium with laughter and energy.  On weekend evenings, the theater is commonly filled to the back with audience members who join in on the fun by singing along with the familiar ballads, booing at the villains, and cheering for the heroes. The roof threatens to fly off the foundation on these crowded evenings of rowdiness.  You can imagine my surprise, then, when I attended the theater’s Sunday afternoon showing of their newest production “Naomi and Michelle’s Excellent Adventure”, and found the auditorium half full. It seemed as though it would be a different crowd than I had grown accustomed to in prior GAP experiences, as the audience appeared tired from the mid-day heat, from large Sunday lunches, and from the thoughts of beginning a new a work week. I sat in my seat, and prepared myself for what I fully expected to be a toned down and lazy rendition of GAP’s newest play, lacking the perennial punching power that the company has become known for.Boy, was I ever wrong.By the beginning of the second act, the Great American players had won over the crowd completely, and I had entirely forgotten that attendance was far less than that of a weekend evening. You never would have guessed by the volume and energy that filled the room.  In “Naomi and Michelle”, playwright Sean MacArthur blends elements of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” to bring us a wonderfully silly tale about two hip high school girls from the fictional Oro Valley High in the year 1984. Naomi and Michelle are facing academic probation on account of their less than radical grades in American history. Unless they can pull off an incredible final presentation, the girls will be forced to sit out of the championship volleyball game. But as luck would have it, the desert dwelling duo happens upon a time machine that ultimately takes them on a journey throughout American history, opening the floodgates for hilarious occurrences between the clueless teenagers and the most prominent men and women in America’s formation.The GAP is comprised of much more than actors. These are all out performers, feeding off the orchestration of musical director Mike Padilla to deliver a top-notch over-the-top invention.Sean MacArthur seems to lead the way of the talented team, as he masterfully slips into historical role after historical role as John Adams, John Muir, and American General MacArthur (as well as a few secret cameos). Nick Seivert and Jesus Limon are comedic naturals, undoubtedly in their element in a company such as GAP. The mere presence of Limon and Seivert seems to bring the hilarity up a notch whenever they appear on the stage.  Amy Dehaven may be the most diverse part of the GAP comedy machine, as she masters roles ranging from a stereotypical 40-something high school volleyball coach, to the tough and rugged cowboy Frank James, to a refined and principled Susan B. Anthony. Jacinda Rose Swineheart has established herself as an ever-faithful centerpiece of the team. With Swineheart, you always know what you are going to get, a strong presence, talent, and a bounding energy. Swineheart’s partner in crime, Dennis Tamblyn flows in a similar vein as Seivert, unmistakably self aware that just about anything he does is funny. In this production, he conquers as Todd, the metro and evil high school cheerleader who, as malicious as he is, is impossible to hate. Most of the team’s energy is pumped from the bottomless reservoir that is the young Randy McDonald. McDonald has a way of stealing the show with his comedic precision and dancing. GAP’s young aces are Erin Anderson and Jacqueline Williams, who play the title roles. They bring much promise and stability to a group oozing with talent, and are perfect as oblivious 80’s teens who begin to learn valuable life lessons.

  • Tucson Fringe Theater calls for submissions

    The Tucson Fringe Theater Festival is proud to announce its acceptance of performer applications for its 2014 festival. The Tucson Fringe Festival is an unjuried and uncensored performance, art, and theater festival promoting accessibility for presenting established and emerging artists, and unrestrained artistic freedom.  Tucson Fringe is looking for writers, performers, actors, directors, sign twirlers, puppeteers, balladeers, auctioneers, playwrights, bards, jugglers, raconteurs, stage managers, state legislators, other clowns, artists, guitarists, creative alarmists, poets, thespians, musicians, sirens, comedians, really talented sign twirlers, dancers, prancers, knowers of answers, and other prognosticators.The Festival will take place Sept. 12 through Sept. 14 at Club Congress in downtown Tucson.  The priority deadline for performer applications is June 23.  Interested performers may apply to for a single performance during the festival, or a two-night residency.Interested artists can visit for more information.Tucson Fringe is also looking for volunteers for the upcoming festival.  Rewards for interested individuals may include free admission to upwards of at least half of one festival performance, a sense of accomplishment, free leftover popped corn, a feeling of moral superiority, a commemorative festival lanyard, and more.Tucson Fringe Theater Festival strives to expand upon an already thriving theatrical community by promoting affordable opportunities for artists to craft original ideas while presenting a wider array of performance practice.  Downtown Tucson provides an ideal backdrop for bringing together arts patrons of all demographics and the creative force that is Fringe.  Fringe doesn’t curate.  Fringe restores the artist’s creative influence.  Fringe is affordable.  Fringe is unique.  Fringe doesn’t preach.  Fringe gives all the money back to the artist.  Fringe is a laboratory for ideas.  Fringe is community.

  • Terry Fator at AVA Amphitheater

    Casino Del Sol presents singer, comedian, ventriloquist and celebrity impressionist Terry Fator at Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater.May 30, 2014Event Location: 5655 W. Valencia Rd., Tucson, AZ 85757 Venue: Casino Del Sol Resort, Spa and Conference Center Time: Starting: 8:00 PM Admission: See website 

  • Great American Playhouse: Quest of the Caveman

    The Great American Playhouse presents "Quest of the Caveman," with an invasion of the Ashers home in Wildcat Valley.  A small ragtag group goes on a quest to united their tribe amidst unseen monsters and a hostile world.March 27, 2014 - June 07, 2014Event Location: 13005 N. Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85739 Venue: The Great American Playhouse Time: Thurs.&:00 PM; Fri. 6:00 PM & 8:30 PM; Sat.3:00 PM & 6:00 PM; Sun.3:00 PM Admission: Adults – $17.95 Seniors (60 and over), Active Military and Students – $15.95 Children (12 and under) – $7.95 

  • Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat"

    First Stages Theater for Young Audiences presents a lively, engaging "play" by adults for young children, directed by Katie Bucher, featuring Brian Levario as The Cat, Eddie Diaz as The Fish, Cisiany Olivar and Carrie Silverman as Thing 1 & Thing 2, and Shira Maas and Bradford Hill, at the Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theatre.May 17, 2014 - May 25, 2014Event Location: Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701 Venue: Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theatre Time: Sat, May 17, 12:30 PM and 3:00 PM; Sun, May 18, 12:30 PM; Sat, May 24, 12:30 PM and 3:00 PM; Sun, May 25, 12:30 PM Admission: First Weekend Special -- all tickets $12.00; May 24-25 $15 adults, $10 children ages 2-16 

  • The Gaslight Theatre’s ‘Beach Blanket Bee-Bop’

    If within the first few minutes of The Gaslight Theatre’s new show, “Beach Blanket Bee-Bop”, your eyes aren’t transfixed on the stage, you’re not laughing, and your foot isn’t tapping along to the musical beat, you may want to check your pulse.But chances are that if you’ve selected The Gaslight Theatre for your entertainment destination, you’re functioning just fine.In the wake of the compelling show, “The Belle of Tombstone,” the crew at Gaslight set the bar high for any subsequent performances, and in impressive fashion, “Beach Blanket Bee-Bop” leaps over that bar with room to spare.After the always-captivating intro from the Gaslight Band, the curtain draws to the side, and we find ourselves smack in the middle of the 1960s in Surfside, Calif. – a place known for its sunny days, beaches, boardwalk, and, you guessed it – surfing.We soon meet the very likeable protagonist, Moondoggie (Jake Chapman), a fun-spirited, curly-haired high schooler who is looking to better the city’s popular boardwalk by fixing the Tornado, a roller coaster that is experiencing technical difficulty.With the help of his nerd-genius sidekick Melvin (Mike Yarema), the two successfully repair the ride, only to have it sabotaged soon thereafter by a couple of boardwalk bullies known as Moose (Todd Thompson) and Lunkhead (Seth Fowler).

  • Christian Youth Theater takes flight in upcoming performance of Peter Pan

    Wanting to ‘wow’ the audience through their voices and acting, performers from Christian Youth Theater (CYT) will be putting on Peter Pan from May 15-18.Peter Pan will be held at Crowder Hall at 1017 N. Olive Road. Christian Youth Theater will be putting on six performances and tickets are $12 per person.CYT is a nonprofit organization that helps train students, ages 5-18, in theater arts. The mission of the organization is to provide wholesome family entertainment. Anyone is welcome to be a part of CYT. For more information visit their website at“We have kids from all different faiths. It’s neat because they all learn from each other and the different aspect of each other’s beliefs and religion,” said Kathy Thuerbach, executive director of CYT. “We are modeling good character to the kids, honesty, responsibility, being kind to others and being inclusive.”Thuerbach first got involved in CYT back in 1986 while living in San Diego. After helping there for a few years, as well as being a part of Christian Community Theater, a nonprofit theater arts program for people ages 16 and up, Thuerbach moved to Tucson with her husband and three kids. In 2005, after her kids had grown up a bit, Thuerbach started CYT in Tucson. It originally started at her house with only 35 students. Since then, the program has grown to having 1,500 students be involved every year.With so many students now a part of the program, CYT has grown in how many classes it offers throughout the year. Classes include training in voice, acting, magic, tech classes, musical theater workshops and more. Summer camps run for 10 days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On the last day the campers perform their show. This summer they will offer three different camps: Tangle in Tucson, Camp Frozen and Hairspray Junior (only for teenagers).

  • Great American Playhouse presents ‘Quest of the Caveman’

    The Ashers, a tribe of cave people, find their world turned upside down when their primary source of fire is taken.  A humble seed planter leads a group in search of reclaiming the flame.  A Neanderthal clan, an unknown monster and the ever-changing world await them on their quest.Written and directed by Sean MacArthur, “Quest of the Caveman” will be presented between March 27 and June 7 at the Great American Playhouse, located at 13005 N. Oracle Road, Ste. 165.Show times are Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays with a show at 3 p.m. and one at 6 p.m.For tickets, call 512-5145, or visit the website at

  • Great American Playhouse rocks Oro Valley with the ‘Quest of the Caveman’

    The Town of Oro Valley is home to much quiet beauty, powerful landscape, and a calm temperament. The last collective personality that Oro Valley could possibly draw attention for is as a rowdy and rambunctious enclave that knows how to sing and dance the night away. The Great American Playhouse (GAP), however, is trying to change that. The eight-month-old melodramatic theater prides itself on lively productions with audience interaction, a family friendly environment, and a loveable gang of whimsical stage performers. Now kicking off its third production, “Quest of the Caveman”, The GAP is beginning to show why it is the premier hotspot of fun in the growing Oro Valley community. “Quest of the Caveman” brings the audience back in time to an age when Man and Neanderthal shared the planet, the power of fire was absolute, and everyone ate 100 percent organic (yet still somehow only lived to be 30). The play begins with the theft of the Asher tribe’s fire at the hands of the Schmuck tribe. But things are not always as they seem. A larger plot begins to unfold, one that reveals an evil cave dweller, Ork (Michael Claridge), as a criminal mastermind who has hopes of burning Black Mountain, and gaining control of the entire tribe of Ashers. The play stars Jacinda Rose Swineheart as Nola - the tough and outspoken heroine, Nick Seivert as Rube - the tribe’s wise man, and Colleen Zandbergen as Bobo -  the primitive muscle of the Asher tribe. Amy DeHaven, Jodi Darling, Jesus Limon, Randy McDonald, and Sean MacArthur complete The GAP’s ultra-talented team of players that possess an endless supply of boisterous energy. Showing exponential growth and improvement in the last eight months, The GAP’s cast has truly become top notch. The play’s acting, singing, and dancing is infectious, pouring out into the aisles and over the crowd, beckoning both audience and staff participation. The liveliness of the spectacle that takes place within the walls of The GAP’s building can surely be heard from the parking lot, as hoops and hollers, sing-a-longs, and laughter ring happily throughout the theater. The atmosphere is perfect, exuding a sense of family, community, and a certain warmness that welcomes all ages.

  • Beach Blanket Bee-Bop at Gaslight Theatre

    Catch the sun and surf with the colorful crew of Gaslight Theatre for a comedy stages in Surfside, California during the 1960's.  There will be fun, romance and music for all.April 03, 2014 - June 08, 2014Event Location: 7010 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85710 Venue: Gaslight Theatre Time: check website for times Admission: Adults $18.50 plus tax, Students & Military $16.50 plus tax, Children (under 12) $8.50 plus tax 

  • AZ Opera: Don Pasquale

    In this Arizona Opera production of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" an exuberant cast comes to Tucson for a limited engagement. Renowned Maestro Gary Wedow and singer/director Chuck Hudson celebrate the composer's comic masterpiece of wit, wealth and domestic warfare, at Tucson Music Hall.April 12, 2014 - April 13, 2014Event Location: 260 S. Church Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701 Venue: Tucson Music Hall Time: Sat. Apr 12 at 7:30 PM; Sun Apr 13 at 2:00 PM Admission: Please see website for details. 

  • Broadway in Tucson: I love Lucy, live on stage Broadway

    Broadway in Tucson brings the behind-the-scenes filming process, the 1950s hi-fidelity technology and television, with the hilarious antics of Lucy and Ricardo in their New York apartment and music of the famed Tropicana Nightclub, at UA Centennial Hall.March 25, 2014 - March 30, 2014Event Location: 1020 E. University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85721 Venue: Centennial Hall Time: Tue-Thur, 7:30PM, Fri, 8:00PM, Sat, 2:00PM & 8:00PM, Sun, 1:00PM & 6:30PM Admission: See website for details 

  • Happenings - Week of July 16

    THEATERFriday to Saturday, July 18-19• Catch a performance of Dorothy Parker’s Last Call, a one-woman show depicting the poet, critic, author, activist, and member of the infamous Algonquin Round Table who delighted in skewering the culture of the early Twentieth Century. Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd.; $20, $18 seniors/students; 327-4242.Friday to Sunday through July 27• Laugh out loud at the wild, wacky Shakespeare comedy Twelfth Night. Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Red Barn Theatre Company, 948 N. Main Ave.; $13-$16; 887-6239.Friday to Sunday through Aug. 24

  • Saturday Puzzles 7-12-14

  • Reno Del Mar to perform July 11 at Main Gate Square

    Reno Del Mar, a dynamic instrumental ensemble will perform in Geronimo Plaza during the July 11 Friday Night Live! at 7 p.m.Reno del Mar is a dynamic instrumental ensemble performing beautiful, original guitar music in a wide range of styles that include Latin jazz, adult contemporary, Spanish, Western swing, tango, gypsy, flamenco, Mexican, bebop and blues.The influences of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Django Rheinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, Ry Cooder, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Duke Ellington, Bob Wills and others permeate Reno del Mar’s compositions and playing styles.Presented by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance at Main Gate Square, the free performances alternate Fridays at 7 p.m in Geronimo Plaza. Coupled with delicious food from nearby local restaurants, the evenings provide a great way to begin the weekend.“People come to Geronimo Plaza and discover Main Gate is a great place in a lively atmosphere,” said Jane McCollum, Main Gate Square general manager.Main Gate Square, between Park and Euclid Avenues on University Boulevard, features more than 20 retailers and 30 restaurants near the University of Arizona.

  • ‘America: Imagine The World Without Her’ - Political film sparks controversy

    This controversial political film from directors Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan will invoke vastly different reactions from audience members.  Many will find the film a patriotic, yet underreported, story on how our nation has prospered from our early years due to innovation, entrepreneurship, and capitalism--emerging as not only the wealthiest nation on the planet, but also the most generous.  Just as many other viewers will leave the theaters feeling jilted by a political infomercial disguised as a documentary.  Lastly, some moviegoers may be introduced to several political hot-button issues for the first time, and left reflecting on D’Souza’s historical data points on subjects such as relations with Mexico and Native Americans, slavery, imperialism, and capitalism.  Regardless of a person’s position or thoughts on these subjects, this film accomplishes one significant feat—it empowers people to formulate one’s beliefs and positions, squaring the movie’s interpretation with their own life experiences.The movie’s title alludes to the notion of how our world would exist today without the United States of America.  However, D’Souza doesn’t go quite that far in the film, only providing visions of landmarks and key events or people which, if omitted, would have altered our nation’s course—leaving it up to us to contemplate the ramifications.  He adroitly promotes how wealth was created from capitalism and American ingenuity.  D’Souza also casts the importance of religion upon politics and our community—believing that the American people can do a better job of helping one another than an intrusive, big government attempting to fill that same role. D’Souza connects the dots on his understanding of U.S. history for viewers to either embrace or reject.  It can be argued that D’Souza is the Republican response to liberal activist, and director, Michael Moore.  Using red meat political tones and sound bites, the director who brought us “2016: Obama’s America” just prior to the 2012 presidential election once again goes right after the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton in this feature.  Unfortunately, once D’Souza changes course in the film from merely a look back at our nation’s collective rise in influence and power to a political referendum on President Obama and his associates, the movie’s gains become lost in the partisanship.  The film’s strength is that the topics it raises will cause discussions at family dinner tables, work centers and on the streets—the melting pot of America.  Whether you agree or disagree with D’Souza’s “America” and his historical viewpoint, one can tally their own scorecard on the successes and failures of our nation—and isn’t that what makes our country so great? Freedom of thought where all are created equal, with “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.  Those rights securing our protection from a government “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”.  It’s a testament to our nation’s fabric that a controversial film taking aim, in part, at a sitting U.S. president and his policies can be aired and viewed by Americans.  Imagine the consequences if such a film were made in Iran, the Middle East--or even North Korea.  The fact that we can view this film, discuss it civilly, and come to our own conclusions is a success. 

  • Primetime Review: Marvel continues to build with “Guardians of the Galaxy”

    By now the 2014 summer movie season is in full swing, and we have seen our fair share of action packed adventures. There is one upcoming film, however, that may well be one of the most important movies of the year. Marvel’s “Guardian’s of the Galaxy”, which is set to release on Aug. 1, is seemingly a mere outer space saga full of cartoonish characters and ships blowing up. In reality, however, it is the next step in Marvel’s flawless execution of changing the movie industry forever. “Guardians” will tell the story of a motley crew of mercenaries that turn out to be the galaxy’s last hope of survival. Nothing groundbreaking here. But Marvel will fuse this new and fantastic out of this world story with its already flourishing planet earth based Avengers franchise. If all goes well with critics and box office numbers, Marvel just may build upon a new and fantastic production strategy that is revamping the way Hollywood operates: world building. What Marvel has accomplished in the last six years is nothing short of magic. So magical, in fact, that other production companies have made desperate sloppy attempts at recreating that magic. Earlier this year, Sony Pictures released “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”. Critics failed to swoon over the film, as it felt disjointed and unsatisfying. The story line lacked oomph, and the lack of discretion behind hidden Easter eggs was almost insulting. It almost seemed as though the film was less a stand-alone allegory about a noble super hero, and more a rickety bridge to future films that the company wants to make. Sure enough, even before the release of “Spider-Man”, Sony had already announced sequels and spinoffs involving comic book characters that were not so subtly introduced in the latest Spider-Man film. Marvel’s comic book rival, DC Entertainment, is also heading in a direction that may lead to disaster. The success of last year’s “Man of Steel” somewhat justified the hasty announcements of a sequel, but in the spirit of impatience, DC and Warner Bros. chose to leap frog that idea. Instead, the “Man of Steel” sequel was transformed into “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, which will be a Batman and Superman crossover film that intends to pave the way for a world of superhero spinoffs.The primary problem with Sony and DC’s world building technique is that they are planning sequels and spinoff films before the audience has even had the opportunity to demand them. In a similar vein, they are force-feeding new characters to moviegoers before viewers have even had the time to bond with the old ones. 

  • Happenings -- Week of July 9

    THEATERFriday to Sunday,July 11-27• Laugh out loud at the wild, wacky Shakespeare comedy Twelfth Night. Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Red Barn Theatre Company, 948 N. Main Ave.; $13-$16; 887-6239.Friday to Sunday,July 11-Aug. 24• Catch a performance of Peré Summers’ comedy The Stripper, The Wrestler, and Messages from Space. Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; the Comedy Playhouse, 3620 N. First Ave., Suite 154; $16-$18; 260-6442. 

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