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The Phoenix Theatre Company releases lineup for 2023-24 season

Photo of Phoenix Theatre Company production
The Phoenix Theatre Company is a professional theatre, producing shows from start to finish in-house with its team of artisans and experts. (File Photos/
Phoenix Theatre offers musicals, family favorites & original works
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

The Phoenix Theatre Company’s season 104 of live performance contains a full range of musicals, dramas and new works.

The season kicks off in September and includes 11 shows ranging from classics like ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘Cabaret’ to family favorites like ‘Elf,’ plus the world premiere of two new shows originally workshopped at the Theatre’s Festival of New American Theatre, ‘Tiananmen’ and ‘The Truth About Winnie Ruth Judd.’

Each performance is presented at the Theatre’s multi-venue campus in the heart of the Phoenix Central Arts District.

“The upcoming season is an ambitious lineup of full-scale productions selected to help audiences escape the pressures of the world while providing a beautiful, shared experience of laughter, tears and inspiration,” said Michael Barnard, producing artistic director at The Phoenix Theatre Company. “The season also demonstrates our continued commitment to producing new works and providing a place for the Valley’s most talented artisans and theatre-makers to bring remarkable shows to life for audiences across the Valley.”

Performances in the 2023-24 season will alternate between the Mainstage and Hardes Theatres.

Thanks to an ambitious capital campaign, The Phoenix Theatre Company is undergoing its first major renovation in 20 years, expanding the mid-size Hormel Theatre from 250 seats to 500 and adding cutting-edge technology perfect for pre-Broadway production opportunities in the future. The renovation is anticipated to be complete in spring 2025.

In the meantime, the Hardes Theatre, used mostly for rehearsals, will be transformed into a cabaret-style space with round tables and chairs, creating a more intimate and engaging experience for the audience.

Season ticket packages for the 2023-24 season go on sale to the public May 23, 2023. (File Photos/
Phoenix Theatre offers musicals, family favorites & original works

The 2023-24 season includes:

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”
Sept. 6-Nov. 26, 2023
Hardes Theatre
Have you ever witnessed a legend? Behold the tour-de-force portrait of the iconic jazz songstress Billie Holiday. In a tattered Philadelphia bar, it’s 1959 and she is performing, and storytelling, for one of the last times before her unexpected death months later. In this haunting yet humorous cabaret, the prolific vocalist interweaves personal and professional anecdotes with memorable canon including “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “God Bless the Child,” “Strange Fruit,” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do.” Through her distinct and frank form of expression, audiences will empathize and admire the soulful lady throughout an evening that hits all the right notes.

Tiananmen: A New Musical”
Oct. 4-29, 2023
Mainstage Theatre
The world premiere of an epic rock musical inspired by the protests that defined a generation.
Leading up to the Chinese Communist Government’s crackdown on June 4, 1989, a student leader and her classmates coordinated the self-liberation of millions across China. A generation later, her sister fights for the right just to say their names in Hong Kong to commemorate their sacrifice. Conceived by Tiananmen Square protest leader, Wu’er Kaixi, “Tiananmen” is a vital reminder of the fragility of human rights and the importance of bravery and self-determination in the face of totalitarianism.

Nov. 22-Dec. 31, 2023
Mainstage Theatre
“Elf” is a comedic confection that will make you want to spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear. When Buddy, a stowaway orphan turned would-be elf, realizes he’s a larger-than-average human, a journey unfolds to find his birth father and true identity. Although New York City and his family reveal some harsh realities, Buddy’s heartfelt determination proves to everyone the real meaning of Christmas. Based on the beloved 2003 film and making a merry return to The Phoenix Theatre Company, this musical adaptation is a sugary treat the whole family will enjoy during the holiday season.

“Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold”
Nov. 24 -Dec. 31, 2023
Hardes Theatre
It’s “CSI: Bethlehem” in this holiday mystery extravaganza, from the author of “Late Nite Catechism,” Sister takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages ­– whatever happened to the Magi’s gold? Retelling the story of the nativity, as only Sister can, this hilarious holiday production is bound to become an annual classic. Employing her own scientific tools, assisted by a local choir as well as a gaggle of audience members, Sister creates a living nativity unlike any seen before. With gifts galore and bundles of laughs, “Sister’s Christmas Catechism” is sure to become the newest addition to your holiday traditions.

“The Lehman Trilogy”
Jan. 24-Feb. 11, 2024
Mainstage Theatre
From Bavarian brothers to fabled financiers – a poetically opulent play about a family dynasty that triggered the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. It’s 1844 and a young Jewish immigrant opens a dry goods store in Alabama where his siblings join him a few years later. Building from the slave-driven cotton industry, the brothers become New York City brokers and eventually leave in their legacy an investment bank that helped define the disingenuous American dream – before spectacularly crashing into bankruptcy. Through a mesmerizing human lens, this epic tale of profit and pain chronicles how each successive generation succumbs to boundless ambition and audacity on the disgraced financial firm’s road from riches to ruin.

“The Truth About Winnie Ruth Judd”
Feb. 7-March 17, 2024
Hardes Theatre

From secretary to “trunk murderess,” this real-life Phoenix local bagged more than she bargained for.
Many have heard of Winnie Ruth Judd, a lovesick woman who killed her friends over a man’s affection before escaping the asylum six times. While you might think you know one of Arizona’s most notorious homicide cases, this is the chilling truth. After premiering at the 2020 Festival of New American Theatre, this bizarre investigative play will have audiences raising their magnifying glasses to the newspaper-sensationalized woman and her real story.

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”
March 6-April 28, 2024
Mainstage Theatre
From young songwriter to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, get ready to feel the earth move with this incredible true story. Before Carole King became one of the most successful solo artists in popular music, she was Carol Klein, a Brooklyn teenager striving to make it in the record business. By her 20s, King was composing for the biggest acts on the radio, despite her love life crumbling. Fortunately, that’s when she finally discovered her own voice behind the microphone. With classics like “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Up on the Roof,” and “Natural Woman,” audiences will feel nostalgic, inspired and some kind of wonderful.

“What the Constitution Means to Me”
April 10-June 16, 2024
Hardes Theatre
A soul-stirring play of civic engagement that hilariously examines America’s fundamental document. Earnestly polite high schooler Heidi Schreck put herself through college by winning Constitutional debates across the U.S. A quarter-century later, the now-writer reflects on how her younger self, four generations of female relatives, and other marginalized people were shaped by America’s foundational definition of law. While addressing gender and racial biases, this fiercely urgent, partial autobiography peels back the Constitution’s layers of beauty, contradictions and failures, and optimistically analyzes how the living document could evolve with modern America.

“Fiddler on the Roof”
May 22-July 7, 2024
Mainstage Theatre
Whether you’re a papa, mama, son or daughter, this treasured musical is the miracle of miracles. A poor and traditional milkman, Tevye, faces the duty of marrying off his five daughters, only to be made more difficult with turn-of-the-century Russian oppression. Set in a Jewish village, Tevye’s three eldest daughters resist tradition by marrying men they love rather than those designated by a matchmaker. Tevye struggles to accept the bending of tradition and the idea that romantic ideals are changing in their tight-knit community. Enjoy hits like “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” while raising your cup to love, family and freedom.

“Fully Committed”
July 10-Aug. 11, 2024
Hardes Theatre
Bribes, intimidation, histrionics – the best food always incites the worst behavior. Follow the chaotic day in the life of Sam, an out-of-work actor who mans the frenzied reservation line at Manhattan’s hottest restaurant. As the only employee on shift, Sam alone must answer a slew of phone calls from absurd elite foodies including a merciless maître d’ and Gwyneth Paltrow’s patronizing assistant. With over 40 assorted characters played by a single versatile actor, this fast-paced comedic play shows just how far wit, luck and self-determination can take you.

July 31 – Sept. 1, 2024
Mainstage Theatre
Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome … to the legendary musical about Bohemian Berlin. Narrated by a mischievous master of ceremonies, Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret” follows a struggling American writer finding inspiration from the pleasure-filled Kit Kat Klub and its vivacious English singer. As a shadow falls over the city with the Third Reich rising to power, the Klub’s performers and patrons must decide if they’ll wake up to the evil on their doorsteps or keep escaping to the alluring fantasy world of the cabaret. Featuring classics like “Don’t Tell Mama,” “Maybe this Time,” and the titular song, “Cabaret,” this dynamic masterpiece thinly veils a German city’s tragic trajectory.

In addition to the season’s full slate of shows, The Phoenix Theatre Company will host the 26th annual Festival of New American Theatre, Jan. 3-21, 2024. The Festival continues the Theatre’s time-honored commitment to the development of new works, playwrights and performers, as well as showcases a variety of events that allow artists of all kinds to see their work come alive onstage.

The Phoenix Theatre Company is a professional theatre, producing shows from start to finish in-house with its team of artisans and experts. This allows freedom in creative interpretation for directors, the construction of sets, the design and selection of costumes, and other components necessary to create a live production.

Existing subscribers can renew season tickets starting April 4, 2023. Season ticket packages for the 2023-24 season go on sale to the public May 23, 2023. Single tickets go on sale July 12, 2023.

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