Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Meet the Costume Designer - Victoria Widener

It's time for the designer run-through and it's time to meet our wonderful costume designer Victoria Widener! Victoria, do you have any previous experience with class 6 theatre?

This is my first time designing for Class 6! It's fun to be able to work on two shows at once--Drive being set in a 1950s-60s time period versus the contemporary nature of Sylvia is an enjoyable experience because I get to take inspiration from two distinct periods.

I hear you are quite the popular professional around here! What's up next for you?

I currently work as the costume technician for Arizona Opera. We're excited to be presenting The Magic Flute with a Steampunk influence, designed by Leslie Bernstein, in late February. 

We are all very excited to see your work take us back in time in these exciting and intriguing productions!

Get your tickets today!

Victoria Widener is excited to be designing for Class 6 Theatre! Graduating from University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Fashion Design, Victoria is now using her experience in design and construction. Previous design assistant credits under Adriana Diaz include Phoenix Theatre's Memphis and Childsplay's Charlottes Web.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Enjoy Special Post-Show Discussions

Join us on the second and third Thursdays and Fridays (2/12, 2/13, 2/19, 2/20) of the run for Special Post-Show Discussions! Don't miss your chance to chat with the cast and directors of these great productions! Ask your questions, make your comments, have your voice be heard! These events are available to the audiences of the evenings and take place immediately after the performance.

Thursday, February 12th
Friday, February  20th
Friday, February 13th
 Thursday, February 19th

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Meet The Cast of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE - Tony Latham (Male Greek Chorus)

Hello Tony! We are glad to have you working with Class 6 Theatre. This is your first production with us, correct?

This is my first project with Class 6.

Well, we are very excited to have you aboard! What about this production excites you?  

Everything! I enjoy the small company feeling as well as the deep storytelling of Paula Vogel. This is a project that I've been wanting to do since college and I'm excited to knock it out of the park with the whole company.

We're glad to give you the opportunity to work on this story! What about this story in particular makes it important to share?   

It's a different perspective to a touchy issue. Paula Vogel does a fantastic job at showing the coin from both sides, yet leaves a lot of what's right and wrong for the audience to decide. Essentially, there is no correct answer, there isn't a correct perspective, but it's important to see a story from all angles and perhaps learn what makes people tick along the way. 

I agree and I think the audience will definitely be impacted by that. What do you think is in store for the future of theatre here in Phoenix?  

I think Class 6 is on the vanguard of some truly exciting times in the Phoenix theatre scene. There seems to be a lot of buzz, but not a lot of fire. Opportunity is the name of the game. We have to strike while the iron is hot.

Speaking of opportunities, what's up next for you?   

I will be playing Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at Theater Works opening in March, running through April.

We're looking forward to that and, of course, to your contribution to the telling of this powerful drama.

Get your tickets today!

TONY LATHAM (Male Greek Chorus) graduated from Northern Arizona University with his Bachelors in Theatre Performance and Political Science. Some past performances at NAU include Alan Strang in Equus, Mortimer in Arsenic and Old Lace, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Other performances: How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (Theater Works), Spirit (Grey Matters), Shifting Gears (Canyon Moon), and Gun-Shy (Canyon Moon). Following How I Learned to Drive, he will be performing as Billy Bibbitt in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Theater Works.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Meet The Cast of SYLVIA - Racquel McKenzie (Sylvia)

Hello Racquel and thank you for taking the time to tell us a little about yourself. Have you ever worked with Class 6 before? 

This is my very first show with Class 6 Theatre. I recently moved to Phoenix for work so I decided to audition and voila!

Welcome to Phoenix! We are glad to have you on our team for this production. Can you tell me some of your thoughts on this project?

My first thought was 'this is so strange'. Seriously, I was wondering how to play a dog with out prowling around on all fours; how to keep the balance. Then I realized it was a challenge that I was willing to accept. Projects like these grow you as an actor and that excites me the most.

On that note, what do you think makes this story important to share?

I think the story is important because at some point everyone is missing something from their lives. We can't always put our finger on it but if we remain open and receptive it may just appear before us while sitting on a park bench.

Being a recent transplant, can you tell me what is your vision for the future of local theatre in Phoenix?  

I lived in Chicago most of my life, so my vision for local theatre in Phoenix is for it to mirror a huge bustling city of art and performance.

We all hope that too! Until then, what’s up next for you?  

Well, I moved to Phoenix to direct my own troupe for my theater company so many more shows in murder mystery style.

Sounds like a lot of fun! Thank you again for taking the time to speak with us today. We are all very excited to see your performance in this production of SYLVIA! 

Get your tickets today!

Racquel McKenzie is a native of Jamaica. By the age of two she made the big move to America and settled in Chicago. Growing up with a business man for a father and a dancer for a mother she was built to make performance her business. She states, “"My mom danced with the Alvin Ailey dance company. She toured all over the Caribbean before coming here. And once we got here my dad showed me how to build a business solely on a dream. Together they both inspired me"”. Through grade school and secondary school she performed in many plays, talent shows, dance shows, and as a second violinist in her school’s orchestra. Not only did she shine artistically but she also played basketball and ran track; receiving medals in both.
In high school she performed in over ten shows ranging from witty satire to the orchestral performances in Florida; from Anything Goes to the Harlem sounds of Ragtime. She graduated with honors and set forth to achieve a degree in theater.

Racquel McKenzie is a graduate from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with her BA in theater. While in school she appeared in, Anton Chekhov’s The Proposal, One Fine Day, and Box Office: A History. She was also seen as Abigail in SIUC’S The Crucible, Miss Shields in A Christmas Story, Beneatha in A Raisin in the Sun, and as Esther in Intimate Apparel. Half way through her college career she lost her mother unexpectedly but still finished off her semester with high marks and graduated Cum Laude. She remarks, “"Nothing can ever hold me back. I’ve been through one of the most despairing things a young person could go through and I still finished strong. If I can do that I can do anything"”.She was President of the Africana Theater Lab, the only registered student organization for the theater, for her last two years. She was a student representitive on the Recruitment and Retention board for SIUC’s theater and from that taught an African Dance workshop for IHSF. She has received many awards including Outstanding Service in Theater, the Ira Aldridge/Shirlene Holmes Award for service and excellence in theater, the Verizon Scholarship for excellence in Theater and a KCACTF commendation for an exemplary performance in Box Office: A History.

Her professional works began with the St. Louis Black Repertoire Theater’s production of Death and the King’s Horseman. Since then she has been seen as Suzanne in McLeod Summer Playhouse’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile and as a featured ensemble in All Shook Up. She played little Leayn in the premier of Timmy the Tractor. Soon after she began an international tour through Barbados, England, and Nigeria in which she played Elizabeth in Seven and Ayisatu in Preemptive. After returning to the US in the fall of 2010 she filmed with Steven Soderberg for Contagion. She was last seen as Pearl Joiner in Theatre-Hykes' Werewolf's Curse or Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow and performing every weekend as a veteran dancer with Gorilla Tango Theater in their nerd burlesque shows including Don’t Blink; A Doctor Who Burlesque and A Nude Hope; A Star Wars Burlesque.
Racquel is excited to have recently made the move to sunny Phoenix to run her own troupe with The Murder Mystery Company. For Racquel this is just the launching pad for a missile of works that are yet to come. "I'll float like a butterfly and sting like a bee...or just try my best in every moment."
Twitter: @kellzbroadway1
Instagram: @kellzbroadway

Friday, January 16, 2015

Meet The Cast of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE - Vanessa Kiernan (Lil' Bit)

Hello, Hello Vanessa! We are very excited to have you play Lil’ Bit in our production of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE. Have you ever worked with Class 6 Theatre before? 

This will be my first show with Class 6, although I have worked with many members of the Class 6 family before.

Welcome to the family! Can you tell me a little about what excites you the most about this opportunity? 

Everything about this project excites me! Getting to work with Amanda again, getting the share the stage with Eric, getting to play one of my dream roles... But what excites me most of all, well... As a "character" actress, I am typically cast in these larger-than-life comedic roles, and I love playing those roles, but I am very excited (and grateful) for the opportunity to explore a softer, subtler side of myself. The only way for us to grow as artists is to be challenged, and Vogel's play is nothing if not challenging, even if I weren't playing a role so far outside my comfort zone. It is the chance to meet this challenge that excites me more than anything.

It will be quite the challenge! We would love to hear more about your process and challenges as you progress through rehearsal. Until then, can you tell me what makes this story so important to tell? 

Before rehearsals even began, Amanda and I were exchanging emails, discussing the play. And one of the things we both seemed to zero in on is how this play differs from the standard media portrayal of abuse. Abuse is, unfortunately, a very common reality. But it is also quite often a far more complex and complicated reality than it is generally made out to be in tv shows and movies. Instead of focusing on the horror of the abuse itself in a kind of vacuum, Vogel's play manages to keep the abuse in context, presenting it against a cultural backdrop that both encourages and creates the conditions for such behavior, while revealing the abuser himself as a sympathetic victim in his own right. This is no small feat. This is, ultimately, a play about love and forgiveness and healing, not trauma and damage and rage. That is why I think it is so important, why I think it has the potential to truly touch people, to change lives and help them heal.

I absolutely agree. Thank you so much for your insight and dedication to this powerful project. We can’t wait to hear more about it and, of course, pack the house on opening night (2/5/15)!

Get your tickets today!

Vanessa has been acting in the Phoenix area off and on for the last eight year, and she has been lucky enough to have appeared on the stages of some very well-known Arizona theatre companies. Her favorite past work around the Valley includes: Maria in Lend Me a Tenor (Theatre Works), the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Sedona), Mrs. Bob Cratchit in Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge (Southwest Shakespeare Company), 4.48 Psychosis (Stray Cat Theatre), and Dixie in Chicks with Dicks (Stray Cat Theatre). She has also been a puppeteer with All Puppet Players. She is a graduate of the conservatory-style theatre program at the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, and she may one day actually complete the three credits she needs to finish her Master's in philosophy and performance at ASU West.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Meet The Cast of SYLVIA - Jeff Huffman (Greg)

Hello Jeff and welcome to Class 6 Theatre! This is your first time working with Class 6, correct?

This is my first time working with Class 6 (I've worked at the Hale and Southwest Shakespeare Company during the last two years) and I'm very excited to be working with a group of truly talented and insightful artists that have really made their mark on the local theatre scene. I've seen a couple of Class 6's previous shows and have a couple friends that have worked on past productions, and everything I've seen and been told about in connection to Class 6 demonstrates to me that it is a great company on the rise.

Thank you! Word of mouth has been our best friend when it comes to the awareness of Class 6. Is there anything in particular that excites you about this project?

What excites me about working with Class 6 is the group's obvious willingness to take risks. The reversed casting of Julius Caesar was nothing short of brilliant. I'm also very excited to be playing the role of Greg once again. I did the show ten years ago back in Minnesota and I've always loved the story. In fact, this production of Sylvia will be opening almost exactly ten years to the day from the opening performance of the previous production I was in.

Very cool! Doing this show twice, 10 years apart, must be quite the experience. What do you think is the message behind the show that makes it so important for you to tell this story 10 years later?

I think the most important message that Sylvia has to offer is the idea that love comes in many different forms, and unconditional love is the ultimate expression of our humanity.

That is a very important and enduring message. With that in mind, what is your vision for the future of theatre in Phoenix?

My vision for the future of local theatre in Phoenix is one of growth and expansion. The local theatre scene has faced many challenges during the recent economic recession and my hope is that more and more people in the valley remember that one of the best ways to weather those sort of storms is through the enjoyment and support of a vibrant and growing arts community. 

Within that arts community, what's up next for you?

I don't have anything schedule after this production, but I do intend to keep hitting the auditions around town and hopefully be able to continue honing the craft and building my acting career.

Well, we are all very excited to see what you bring to this production. Maybe you can share the experience of doing this show vs. the show 10 years ago? We'd love to hear all about it! Until next time, have a great rehearsal!

Jeff Huffman (Greg) is excited to be performing for the first time with Class 6 Theatre. He has actually performed the role of Greg in a previous production of Sylvia back in Minnesota almost exactly 10 years to the day prior to the opening of Class 6's production. In the Phoenix area, Jeff was previously seen in Southwest Shakespeare's production of A Midsummer's Night Dream, and at the Hale Theatre where he was in The Hit as the gangster Slavo, and as the dastardly Bob Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird. Jeff earned his degree in Theatre from Minnesota State University, Mankato and has participated in over 60 full scale stage productions from Fargo to Phoenix. Jeff would like to thank the talented group that makes up Class 6 Theatre for a wonderful opportunity, and all of his family and friends for their support.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Meet The Director of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE - Amanda Noel Trombley

Hello Amanda! We are so glad to have you working with Class 6 Theatre again. Last year for Class 6, you...

I directed the staged reading of Stop Kiss last year and am thrilled to be working with this company again.


We are very excited to have you, specifically working on this project. Can you tell me about this project excites you? 

There are so many things about this project that excite me. I love that we are producing a repertory offering. I love that both shows offer more women the chance to be on stage than men, which is a pretty rare occurrence. I'm excited to tell this beautiful story that Paula Vogel has written. I'm excited to be jumping back into theatre after almost a year off thanks to having a baby in May! This is my first project back since my son was born so it is definitely one I will remember and one I did not consider lightly.

We are all looking forward to your success with HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE! What do you have on the horizon?

Up next I am shifting gears into writing mode. I am writing the next installment of Pandanda Players' ALPHABET SHAKESPEARE series. Then I'll switch modes again and perform that play with my husband in July as part of there Herberger's Lunchtime Theatre program. There will also be various teaching endeavors in the meantime.


That sounds great! There are a lot of very exciting things coming up for you including this power piece of theatre. Thank you so much for your time. 



Get your tickets today!

A native of Arizona, Amanda Noel Trombley left to pursue a Bachelor's from Pepperdine University and a Master of Letters and a Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College in association with the American Shakespeare Center. Since graduating, she has been involved with theatre around the valley as an actor, director, writer, and teacher. Directing highlights since returning to the valley include last year's Stop Kiss staged reading at Class 6, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream (co-directed with her husband, Daniel) and more. Amanda is grateful to create art with wonderful people in a place she loves. Her artistic motto comes from Much Ado About Nothing: Serve, Love, Mend.