Get out the party hats and favors! This is a banner year for Phoenix Theatre. This cherished Arizona theater landmark is celebrating it’s 90th anniversary. No one is more proud of this remarkable accomplishment than PT’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard. Barnard has said, “Can you believe it? Ninety years old and still going strong?…We celebrate everyday the lives we influence with the art we create.”
Native born, Michael Barnard, grew up in Glendale. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from ASU and a Master’s in Theater, with an emphasis in directing, from Northwestern University.
Barnard’s history with Phoenix Theatre dates back to the early 80’s when he was their first production manager from 1979 to 1982. He continued on with PT as resident director/choreographer until 1985. Prior to returning back to the Valley in 1999, Barnard was a senior show director for the Disney Corporation in Anaheim.
PT Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard
As Artistic Director for Phoenix Theatre he has directed and choreographed such hits including Crazy For You, Dream a Little Dream, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Quiltmaker’s Gift, Chicago, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Cabaret, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas to name but a few.
The Examiner spoke with Mr. Barnard about both the historic Phoenix Theatre partnership with the Phoenix Symphony, presenting Meredith Willson’s The Music Man in concert at Symphony Hall this September, and the fabulous 2010-11 season planned to celebrate ninety glorious years of entertaining Valley audiences on PT’s Main Stage.
To read more about The Music Man see: Phoenix Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard on The Music Man.
November 10 to December 12 Directed By Michael Barnard
Here is the list for the scintillating 2010-11 Phoenix Theatre six:
Noises Off: August 25 through September 12
Three Redneck Tenors: Broadway Bound: September 29 through October 17
Hairspray: November 10 through December 12
No Way to Treat a Lady: January 12 through January 25
Avenue Q: February 23 through March 20
Nine: April 13 through May 8
April 13 to May 8 Directed By Michael Barnard
Q: Let’s talk about Phoenix Theatre’s upcoming 90th season. What can you share with us?
A: I am very excited about the 90th season. We are currently in rehearsal for our first show of the season, Noises Off. It is going to be the start of a blockbuster season. Plus, we are planing to do a lot of new things. We have established new incentive programs to help people buy tickets. We have a lot of things planned to happen before each show, during the intermission and post performance. Eventually, our goal over the next few years, is to have some form of entertainment from four in the afternoon until midnight on our campus in some degree, shape or form. We are also looking into doing cabarets after our main shows, for those in our audience who would like to stay and see more entertainment while enjoying dessert and wine. We call it our Urban Oasis.
Also, we are hoping to expand on the New Works Festival. There are a lot of great educational programs that we are launching out in the community during the course of the season. And, of course, we have six great Main Stage shows and three great Cookie Company shows. We are just really jazzed about this season and celebrating ninety years. In fact, we are thinking of doing a big birthday party, maybe at the end of the season as a big thank you to everybody for ninety years of support and community involvement.
Q: What productions will you personally direct?
A: I am personally directing the productions of Hairspray and Nine. I was also closely involved with putting the Three Redneck Tenors: Broadway Bound show together. It is now running in other cities and we are bringing it to Phoenix in October.
A: Do you have any personal favorites among the many shows you have staged for Phoenix Theatre?
A: There are several: Chicago, Dream a Little Dream, Thoroughly Modern Millie. I actually loved doing Curtains. I had a blast with that. I had a ball doing Always…Patsy Cline, the last show of the 2009-10 season, simply because the two women were so wonderful to work with. They were so great. I also enjoyed doing Unbeatable because it was a new work and I really love doing new works.
Q: I have my fingers crossed that the Valley will soon see fully staged productions of some of the highlights of this summer’s New Works Festival. Any thoughts?
A: I am so glad you asked that. We are looking at developing a project from this summer’s New Works Festival and conversations are taking place to further develop and workshop the script. There are a lot of wonderful things that we could do with the piece to make it a great evening of theater.
Q: Ninety years of theater for Phoenix Theatre. How wonderful is that?
A: I am so grateful to be here to celebrate ninety years of Phoenix Theatre. It’s such a part of our history. When the theater began, it was only eight years younger than the state itself. Arizona was fresh out of the territorial days and a little theater that began way back in 1920 is still here today. We are all very proud and excited about being a part of our culture and history. There has been so much great talent that has come through these doors. Did you know that Steven Spielberg’s beginnings happened here? Premieres have happened here. Phoenix Theatre is an amazing organization.
Read more about Phoenix Theatre’s 2010-11 season, The 2010-11 Season at Phoenix Theatre, Part One and Next Season at Phoenix Theatre, Part Two.
Photos and graphic art courtesy of Phoenix Theatre.
The Phoenix Theatre is about to open its extraordinary 90th season with a spectacular array of great musical and comedy entertainment. Subscriptions and individual ticket sales for all of the Phoenix Theatre upcoming shows are available by phone at (602) 254-2151 or ON LINE.
Phoenix Theatre 100 East McDowell Road Phoenix 85004