11 Best Summer Dance and Theater Events in Metro Phoenix

There's plenty of onstage action around these parts for those who like to mix their summer heat with short escapes to other worlds created by metro Phoenix artists. This summer's crop of dance and theater offerings include a classic play about America coming to grips with AIDS, a behind-the-scenes look at theater infused with technology, a dance program inspired by music that dominated the airwaves from the 1960s to early '80s, and an opportunity to become part of an improvisational performance with other brave souls. Here's our summertime roundup.

Angels in America
Through June 20
The Hormel Theatre at Phoenix Theatre

Tony Kushner’s political drama exploring the early years of the AIDS epidemic, which is a two-part affair being performed in repertory by Nearly Naked Theatre. Part one, titled Millennium Approaches, received the 1993 Pulitzer Prize in drama and Tony Award for best play. It’s directed by Nearly Naked Theatre’s artistic director Damon Dering. Showtime is 8 p.m. on alternating evenings through June 20. Tickets start at $28 and are available by calling 602-254-2151 or through www.phoenixtheatre.com. Visit www.nearlynakedtheatre.org for more information.

New Summer Shorts
June 18 to 28
Theatre Artists Studio

Ten 10-minute plays comprise New Summer Shorts. Each is written and directed by Theatre Artists Studio members, who tackle power struggles, relationship foibles, stereotypes, and more. Playwrights, actors, and directors include a balanced mix of men and women artists – and most have many years of experience honing their dramatic and comedic chops. Consider these shorts a pu pu platter with a performing arts spin. Times vary. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 602-765-0120 or through www.thestudiophx.org

Experimental Art Night
June 20
Phoenix Center for the Arts

A laboratory evening filled with artists trying out works in progress, completed pieces, or performance experiments with nue[BOX], a group created by ASU students through the PAVE program in arts entrepreneurship at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Experimental Art Night allows informal, adventurous audiences to experience works by emerging artists in multiple disciplines. Look for additional programming by resident artists during the summer. The free event starts at 8 p.m. Visit www.nuebox.org for more information.

7 Minutes in Heaven
June 20 and 27
Space 55

Plenty of art aficionados who hit the First and Third Friday art scene in downtown Phoenix have walked right past Space 55, a small theater space located next door to Palabra, the combined hair salon and gallery space that was a 2015 Big Brain Award finalist. Those ready to make the leap from visual to performance art can see Space 55 bring diverse acts to the stage for these evenings featuring a series of seven-minute acts with a “random, raucous” vibe. Tickets are $10 to the 9 p.m. shows and available by calling 602-663-4032 or through www.space55.org

Digital Performance Lab
June 25
Lyceum Theatre at ASU

Technology nerds take note: Orange Theatre is presenting an open demonstration of its digital performance lab so you can check catch resident digital media artists and ensemble members test new technologies they’ve created for the stage. Orange Theatre was one of several Arizona organizations awarded a 2015 Art Tank grant through Arizona Commission the Arts, and it took home a Big Brain Award back in 2014. The free event starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.orangetheatre.org for more information.

June 25 to 27
The Hormel Theatre at Phoenix Theatre

Scorpius Dance Theatre performs dance and aerial arts inspired by music from the 1960s to the early 1980s. The production also features two short films and guest performances. ROCK includes 10 new works by Lisa Starry with creative support from Nicole Olsen. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are available by calling 602-254-2151 or through www.scorpiusdance.com

The Carpa Plays
July 11 and 18
Phoenix Center for the Arts and Theater Works

Teatro Bravo, another 2015 Arizona Arts Tank grant recipient, takes to two different stages with devised theater works created by Latino and non-Latino artists who tell stories of the Latino experience in and beyond Arizona through comedy, song, and dance. Times vary. Tickets are $7 and available by calling 602-402-9954 or through www.teatrobravo.org

4th Friday Flash Jam
July 26
The Torch Theatre

Different groups of seven people perform 10-minute improvisations. Audience members can throw their names into the jam jar for a chance to perform rather than watch others give it a go. This free event starts at 11 p.m. Visit www.thetorchtheatre.com for more information.

August 15 and 16
Tempe Center for the Arts

Convergence Ballet Company presents the world premières of dance works by Daniel Marshalay and Thom Dancy, plus a Phoenix première by Kevin Jenkins. Artistic director Jennifer Cafarella has performed with Center Dance Ensemble, Terpsicore Dance Company, and AZ Dance Group. Showtime is 7 p.m. on August 15 and 2 p.m. on August 16. Tickets are $35 and available by calling 480-350-2822 or through www.tempe.gov. Visit www.convergenceballet.org for more information.

Le Cirque Noir
August 22
The Hormel Theatre at Phoenix Theatre

Romantasy Cabaret performs a three-act show for the age 18-plus set. The first two acts feature variety and vaudeville performance, adult comedy, fire performance, aerial arts, magic, and several types of dance including tap and belly dance. The second act features burlesque performance. 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $23 to $43 and available by calling 602-254-2151 or through www.phoenixtheatre.com. Visit www.romantasycabaret.com for more information. 

September 9 to October 4
Phoenix Theatre

Those of you with a fondness for Bob Fosse’s famous jazz hands can get a big dose as Phoenix Theatre makes the summer-to-fall transition with the first show of its 2015-16 season. They’re performing the classic musical first choreographed and directed by Fosse, which is filled with the sort of glitzy song and dance numbers long at the heart of the Phoenix Theatre repertory. Tickets range from $36 to $81 and are available by calling 602-254-2151 or through www.phoenixtheatre.com. Showtimes vary.  

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