Sing It Loud
The All Broadway Extravaganza Concert
7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Aug. 24 and 25; 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 26
948 N. Main Ave.
If you love the songs from famous Broadway plays such as Gypsy and Les Misérables, look no further: The Red Barn Theatre has you covered with The All Broadway Extravaganza Concert.
Robert Ulsrud, a theater board member who helped put together the production, said that the Red Barn is doing the Broadway-themed concert again because of last year's overwhelmingly successful show. The show will feature nine of the top performers from the theater, who will be musically accompanied by Sal Formicola.
Narrator Scott Berg is also an important part of the show. Ulsrud said that Berg will offer information between songs involving "a lot of stuff that not a lot of people know." For instance, Ulsrud said that Berg pointed out at last year's performance that when Liza Minnelli auditioned for the role of the unconventional Sally Bowles in Cabaret, she didn't get picked to perform on Broadway. It wasn't until years later that Minnelli would star in the film version of the musical—stealing the show with her talent and charm, and walking away with an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Beyond Broadway tunes, the Red Barn Theatre has a lot of excitement in store for the upcoming season. Because the theater is celebrating its 10th anniversary, Ulsrud said, they "let the audience decide the entire season." Shows on the schedule include South Pacific, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Steel Magnolias, Gypsy, Oklahoma and Arsenic and Old Lace.
Admission to The All Broadway Extravaganza Concert is $10. —H.M.
A Competition With Flavor
5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25
2905 E. Skyline Drive
Spice up your Saturday while helping the community at the Southern Arizona Salsa and Tequila Challenge.
The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona are teaming up to present the event for a second year, after the inaugural version was attended by thousands of people, said Kate Marquez, the executive director of SAACA.
Marquez said that a salsa and tequila challenge is a perfect event for the Old Pueblo, because the city is "kind of a Mecca for Hispanic foods," filled with chefs who get their inspiration from the traditional foods and culture of the Southwest.
The challenge will feature chefs from more than a dozen different restaurants who will present unique takes on culinary classics, alongside tequila-tastings from a variety of distilleries. There will also be 30 different salsa recipes for attendees to sample, and culinary students from the Art Institute of Tucson will show off their skills and compete in their own amateur salsa competition.
A panel of judges will select the best amateur and professional salsas, as well as the tastiest tequilas—and attendees will have a say by casting their votes for the people's choice awards.
Live entertainment by Ballet Folklorico La Paloma and gypsy-flamenco fusion band Tesoro will get people in the Southwestern spirit. There will also be dancing, giveaways and a silent auction in the garden courtyard.
Of course, the event is a "wonderful charity event," Marquez said: The money raised supports the Food Bank and SAACA's educational arts programs.
Tickets are $20 per person for the salsa challenge, and $70 for both the tequila and salsa challenge. —H.M.
Richness of Harmonies
Folk Music: From the British Isles to America
3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 26
Christ Presbyterian Church
6565 E. Broadway Blvd.
"Awen" is a Welsh word that means "poetic spirit of muse" or "divine inspiration."
So it's fair to say that AwenRising—an acoustic chamber ensemble influenced by the traditional folk music of Northern Europe and the Americas—is aptly named. The group is made up of locals of varying ages, interests and backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: They love to sing.
Their upcoming concert highlights traditional British and American folk music, including the patriotic "Yankee Doodle," the hauntingly beautiful "Greensleeves" and the timeless "The Ash Grove."
Lillian Meriwether, one of the founders of AwenRising, said she and others formed the ensemble because they were seeking a local "higher-level group" to inspire them. After she and two other members attended a concert by Anúna, an Irish choral group, they decided to form their own ensemble. Though AwenRising has many sources of inspiration, Anúna has been the most prominent.
While many of the members work in nonmusical fields such as accounting, teaching and veterinary medicine, they all have "strong musical backgrounds" and a desire to perform. They also want to immerse their audiences in the musical history of Northern Europe and the more-recently established Americas, Meriwether said.
The members' passion for folk music closely aligns with artistic director and conductor Richard Hintze's areas of interest. He is pursuing his doctorate of music arts at the University of Arizona, and was thrilled at the chance to lead AwenRising, he said.
"We're a pretty unique group ... that is really coming together vocally," Hintze said. "We've had some stunning moments in rehearsal the past few weeks. At the concert, we're expecting it to be a richness of harmonies."
Admission to the concert is free. —H.M.
Remembering the King of Pop
Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson
3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 26
Dunbar Cultural Center
325 W. Second St.
Whether you know all the moves to "Thriller," or simply owned a Michael Jackson cassette when you were young, you can come and celebrate the pop star's 54th birthday in style this Sunday.
The Barbea Williams Performing Company is presenting its fourth MJ birthday bash. It will be packed with dance contests, special Michael Jackson-themed performances, sing-alongs and more.
Barbea Williams said that because her first MJ birthday celebration was such a huge success, she felt compelled to make it an annual event.
"So many people not only want to remember him, but share their experiences with their children," Williams said. "We were all intrigued by Michael, so we're passing it on to the next generation."
Appreciating MJ is not intended to be a passive experience: Attendees can show off their best moves by entering contests for moon-walking and doing the robot, or perhaps by joining in on a Soul Train-style line dance. People are encouraged to dress up as Michael himself, or in attire befitting his era.
Williams said that at previous celebrations, there have been moments when almost everyone in attendance was dancing along to Michael's hits.
"It's just amazing to me—the whole audience gets up," Williams said. "On the aisles, on the sides ... it's definitely participatory. ... I feel like I'm getting to know Michael every year."
In addition to Williams' company, hip-hop troupe the Human Project, acrobats from the Dynamic Flight School, gymnast/dancer Shayla Walton, high school songbird Sa'Mon Thompson and other talented Tucsonans will pay tribute to the pop star with performances. Recently deceased Dick Clark and Whitney Houston will also be honored at the event.
Admission is $6, with family discounts available. —H.M.