Hello Dolly, Goodbye Risk

Fresh theatre chokes in the dust as war-horses storm Valley stages

There's an upside to the abundance of reruns being produced here, according to actor Radford Mallon. "A lot of us are motivated to find and produce new plays ourselves," says Mallon, who recently co-founded Whenever Productions. "We're mounting shows that we want to see and act in. We don't have to answer to a board of directors or worry that our subscribers will be offended and cancel their subscriptions."

Mallon hopes that audiences will stay in their seats next month when his company unveils its first production. Patient A is based on the story of the late Kimberly Bergalis, who claimed she contracted AIDS from her dentist.

"Several local actors were anxious to do this play, but no established theatre would touch it. So we started our own."

Unfortunately, few other companies are taking such risks. While Actors Theatre of Phoenix and Arizona Theatre Company continue to push the envelope with untried material, most of the remaining professional and community theatres aren't taking any chances. Until they do, it's up to the little guys to prove to audiences that a play can succeed even if an actor in a Lucite mask doesn't drop a chandelier on them.

--Robrt L. Pela

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