TRIUMPH OF HUMAN SPIRIT. World War I and an influenza epidemic provide the backdrop for a moving story by Oscar-winning playwright Horton Foote.
The play, 1918, is part of Foote's nine-play cycle called Orphan's Home.
This story is set in the fictional town of Harrison, Texas. Foote scrutinizes the hopes and fears of a young couple, Horace and Elizabeth, and their fellow townsfolk, creating characters with vital emotions and experience.
"I believe very deeply in the human spirit," Foote once said. "I have a sense of awe about it ... I have known people the world has thrown everything at--to discourage them--and yet something about them retains a dignity."
Foote won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama with The Young Man from Atlanta, and Oscars for To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies.
To check out 1918 in a special 7:30 p.m. preview today, get down to Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd. Preview tickets are $8. The show opens Friday and runs through June 3 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets for all regular performances are $12, with a dollar discount for students, seniors and active military. Tickets are available at the door. For more information, please call 327-4242.
MATT THE HOOFER. When we first got a look at young Matt Henley a few years back, the dancer seemed a little too wholesome for his roles, what with his upturned nose, 1950s little boy's crewcut and baby fat plumping up his cheeks. That was then. This is now.
Toned into a powerful package of muscularity, Henley regularly dazzles audiences at stages all over Tucson, particularly when he swings on the tricky trapezes of Orts Theatre of Dance. This spring, dance lovers saw Henley cavorting in the David Dorfman community dance performance, playing the lead puppy in Thom Lewis's dog tale for Funhouse Movement Theatre, writhing as an ancient Cretan in John Wilson's dance farewell at the UA, sneering as Envy and Pride in Orts' Seven Deadly Sins and soaring under the stars in Orts' Reid Park concert. Now Henley is ready to go off and seek his dance fortune in New York City, thereby contributing mightily to the Tucson male dancer deficit.
Tonight the graduating UA senior bids farewell to Tucson in a show of his own choreography, The Approach. Danced by a baker's dozen of UA students, the hour-long piece follows a young woman on a life's journey. Student Joe Rouse composed most of the music, with Neil Dunn getting credit for one piece. Student musicians and singers perform live, and art students produced photographs and paintings for the set.
Matt Henley's The Approach begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Ina Gittings Theatre on the UA mall between Cherry and Campbell Avenues. Admission is free. For information call 695-1000.
UNACCOMPANIED. I got a demo CD from Tucson's Catacoustic Groove and listened to it on a drive with my mother last week.
She played it again when we got back to her house, then tried to hurry me out the door when I was ready to leave.
Anyway, I thought I would never get the damned CD back. As it turned out I did, but only briefly, because my wife loved it too.
Whatever. The bottom line is that this group is great fun.
The group was formed in 1993, performing close harmony a cappella--no instruments and no safety nets.
The demo's smoothly crafted vocals include Midnight Train to Georgia, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Grazing in the Grass and Just My Imagination. According to a press release that accompanied the CD, Catacoustic Groove's been tucked away for the past few months working on it.
With the new release comes a European tour. Both are being kicked off at 8 tonight in a party at the Mat Bevel Institute, 530 N. Stone Ave. A $4 cover gets you in. For more information, please call 400-0980. Samples of Catacoustic Groove's groove are available at www.thenail.com/catacousticgroove.
SINGING WITH EXPERIENCE. Take a bus driver, a Purple Heart winner and a lawyer. Throw in some businessmen, retirees, scientists and engineers. For good measure, add architects, doctors and students.
What you'll get is Sons of Orpheus--The Male Choir of Tucson, which returns for a pair of concerts in the Old Pueblo after a whirlwind tour through Ciudad Obregon, San Carlos and Hermosillo.
The choir, which explores a broad range of classical and popular choral literature for men, includes its founder, distinguished American tenor Grayson Hirst, a professor of voice at the University of Arizona.
In performances tonight and Saturday, Sons of Orpheus plans the opera choruses of Wagner and Offenbach, selections by Johann Strauss, Russian folk songs with Balalaika orchestra, a Welsh hymn, Appalachian spiritual and canciones populares Mexicana.
The show tonight starts at 7:30 with a second performance at 3 p.m. Saturday at Pima Community College's Proscenium Theatre in the Center for Performing Arts, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 seniors and $5 students and children. Tickets are available at the PCC Box Office, 209-6988, or Sons of Orpheus, 241-7330. Visit the choir's website at www.sonsoforpheus.org.
ANOTHER LOOK AT WAR. Ever wonder what led to the war between the United States and Mexico?
A new exhibition, Dueling Eagles: The U.S. War with Mexico, at the Arizona Historical Society Museum presents a reinterpretation of the social, economic and political conditions that precipitated the war.
Admission and parking for the exhibit, which opens today, are free. Visit the museum at 949 E. Second St. For more information, please call 628-5774.
TAKE A FLIGHT OF FANCY. Bird watchers will want to catch this.
Enthusiasts from across the country will flock to Bisbee for the Fiesta de las Aves International Migration Celebration.
The festival features field trips to bird habitats on both sides of the Mexican border. Guides will help participants identify the many beautiful and fascinating species that make Cochise County one of the most popular birding destinations in the United States.
Also part of the event are educational and commercial exhibits, as well as presentations on a variety of topics, including bird banding, birds' nests, beginning birding, backyard habitat, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
Tonight special guest Walt Anderson, author and professor at Prescott College, will share his insights in A Naturalist's Way of Seeing.
A Saturday evening gathering will feature music by the Raw Deal Bluegrass Band and a presentation by Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory director Tom Wood on the spectacular "River of Raptors" hawk migration phenomenon in eastern Mexico. The general public is invited to visit the exhibit and vendor hall, located in the Copper Queen Plaza in Old Bisbee, at no charge.
The event begins today and runs through Sunday in Bisbee. Registration for the event is $5. Field trips are $15 to $30. For more information, please call 520-432-1388, 602-493-3534 or visit www.sabo.org.
FIXING UP THE FOX. Turn out for a great evening of music and food and you might just walk away with a piece of the past.
More than 50 items, many of them historic artifacts related to Fox Theatre, will be up for grabs in auctions at the second annual Light-Up-The-Fox Gala, a benefit to restore the 71-year-old downtown theater.
The event in the courtyard of La Placita Village features music by Paul Elia, a Frank Sinatra style crooner, and Big Band Express. The Barrio will provide the cuisine.
Historic photographs, many of them autographed, and gift certificates for restaurants and resorts are among the items to be auctioned in the gala that begins at 6 p.m. at 110 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $125 per person. For more information, please call 622-0077 or 624-1515.
FINDING A FINE LINE. A new art exhibit that takes a look at borders was created by two artists who have crossed a few.
Misha Harrison and Fiona McLaren, both immigrants to the United States, explore different interpretations of life with, around, through and across borders in their new exhibit.
Borders looks at two sides of the same coin--that is, while individuals create borders within and between themselves, societies create borders to keep others out. Through visual narrative and simple repetitive sculpture, the two artists illustrate the stark contrast between the First and Third worlds.
McLaren, a Canadian citizen who was born in Switzerland and immigrated to Tucson in 1998, centers her work around research and documentation of the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, on Nogales, Sonora. Her large-scale black and white mural photography creates a visual narrative that both documents and investigates what happens when two worlds collide.
Harrison is a Canadian-born U.S. citizen who immigrated to Tucson via other First-World countries.
She uses repetitive box sculpture to question whether or not the sterile environments which society creates are serving their purpose. Through use of a somewhat minimalist aesthetic, Harrison examines the way in which we build up walls, why we create international, interpersonal, and cultural borders, and how these borders function as fences and walls over time.
The exhibit, which runs through August 16, is located at Lionel Rombach Gallery on the University of Arizona campus, at the southeast corner of Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, please call 626-4215, or visit www.arts.arizona.edu/galleries.
NOW YOU SEE IT ... Eric Buss is sometimes called the "Master of Foolology."
Translation: The international award-winner is one clever magician, willing to take a chance on innovative approaches to the ancient craft.
His After the Gig act gives audiences a glimpse of what happens to a magician after the applause has died and the show's over. Animals and magic props appear mysteriously as he sheds parts of his costume.
The act won Buss the Stage Champion of the Year in 1995 at the World Convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Buss, and special guest magician Gregg Frewin, take the stage at 7 tonight at the Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd. Tickets are $10 and available at Williams Magic and Novelties, 6528 E. 22nd St. For more information, please call 790-4060, 886-0543 or 749-8886.
KILL THE DEATH PENALTY. The road to healing and forgiveness steers society away from state-sponsored killing, also known as the death penalty.
Organizers of an event called Healing Violence hope to set a tone of forgiveness and healing as a road away from the violence that pervades the American culture. Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty sponsors the event.
"The government portrays executions as something that will bring closure to victims, and healing. Killing doesn't bring healing, just more suffering. We think there is a better way," said Ron Prince, part of a group called Catholics Against Capital Punishment.
The 90-minute service will feature a liturgy drawing on many religions and philosophies, including Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Native beliefs. It will include the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, and will feature hymns and sacred dance.
Healing Violence begins at 7 p.m. today at St. Cyril's Catholic Church, 4725 E. Pima St. For more information, please call 751-0924.
WISE OLD HAMLET. "It never strives to be original."
That might not seem to be complimentary, except that the writer, Benedict Nightingale, is from The Times of London, and he adds that Simon Russell Beale's performance in Hamlet is "wonderfully wise."
The Royal National Theatre's production of Shakespeare's classic tragedy has garnered the praise of countless critics. The play opens tonight courtesy of Arizona Theatre Company.
It's an opening ATC's artistic director Ira Goldstein says is a "remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for Shakespeare lovers.
Hamlet, directed by John Caird, is performing in exclusive engagements in Tucson, Phoenix, Boston and Minneapolis.
The gala opening in Tucson is at 7 p.m. today at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are $100 tonight--the price includes a post-play dessert reception with the cast, and $45-$60 for all other shows. Performances at 7 p.m. also are scheduled for May 17, 18 and 19. Matinee performances also begin at 1 p.m. May 19 and 20. Tickets are available at ATC's Temple Box Office, or by calling 622-2823.
See Margaret Regan's "In the Temple of Shakespeare," page 38, for an interview with Simon Russell Beale.