Phoenix possesses one of the strongest and best organized theater communities in the United States. Throughout the Valley, Zonis can find wonderful opportunities to discover the excitement of the Broadway theater right here in their own backyard. From as far east as Fountain Hills to the west in Peoria, theater abounds. Almost all of our theater companies, from the professional to community players, offer not only rich entertainment for our adult audiences but also have auxiliary educational outreach programs that cultivate and mature the budding talents of our young.
One such company is Fountain Hills Community Theater. The FHCT Youth Theater will open their 2010-2011 season with George M. Cohan’s musical 45 Minutes From Broadway, adapted by June Walker Rogers. Cohan’s theater career spanned nearly sixty years from the 1808’s to 1937. He was a true “renaissance man” of the stager: actor, singer, dancer, song writer, playwright, director and producer. Cohan came to be known as “The Man Who Owned Broadway.” On November 2, 1937 he made his final appearance on Broadway in Rodgers and Hart’s I’d Rather Be Right playing FDR. This triumphal return to the stage was later portrayed in the Academy Award winning 1942 Cohan film biography Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney.
Elysha Nemeth, Chris Disney, Peyton Jordan and Jessica Miller
Rogers has made her 45 Minutes From Broadway into a show with in a show. You remember Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in all those old MGM film musicals? The main plot device was the old adage “let’s find an empty barn and put on a show.” You don’t? Then ask your parents and if they are still too young to recall MGM’s musical glory days, then ask your grandparents.
“Let’s do a musical!” is the cry from the play’s members of the school drama club. The problem is which one? This dilemma is solved by the appearance of an old theatrical trunk filled with memorabilia from a bygone era of show business. The students discover some George M. Cohan props, his derby straw hat and cane and a script of 45 Minutes from Broadway. Miss Templeton (named for the original show’s star, Fay Templeton), the teacher, and Jason, the student director, guide the cast through the auditions, casting and, ultimately, the presentation of the musical. Some os the classic Cohan songs that will be heard are I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, Give My Regards to Broadway and You’re a Grand Old Flag.
Elysha Nemeth, Chris Disney and Jessica Miller
45 Minutes From Broadway is directed by Ross Collins, with musical direction by Miciah Dodge and choreography by Noël Irick. The large cast includes Logan Barrett, Will Bates, Skye Leigh Brewster, Sammi Briggs, Devin Derr, Chris Disney, Nick Disney, Jodie Grief, Peyton Jordan, Natalie Kilker, Haylee Klein, Andrey Lull, Jessica Miller, Elysha Nemeth, Christopher Scott, Ryan Smith, Trista Smith, Austin Staten, and Shaye Stewart.
The FHCT Youth Theater production of 45 Minutes From Broadway opens August 27 and will run through September 12.
Production photos by Patty Torrilhon and graphic art, courtesy of Fountain Hills Community Theater.
For additional information on 45 Minutes from Broadway, regarding ticket availability and/or performance schedule, please contact the Fountain Hills Community Theater Box Office directly either by phone (480) 837-9661 ext. 3 or ON LINE.
Fountain Hills Community Theater 11445 North Saguaro Blvd. Fountain Hills 85269