Musical Theatre Arizona

PLEASE HELP
This page is in development. I would be grateful if you would share any memories, anecdotes, photographs or other memorabilia. Please use the button at top right to contact me and I will give you the details on sharing. Thank you, Kyle Lawson, page manager. (PS: It would help if you could provide the IDs of those pictured, the name of the production, the year, the company and the photographer credit. If you know them, that is.)

PHOTOGRAPHS, REVIEWS & THE KITCHEN SINK

1989-1990 Season.¬† “Damn Yankees.” Directed by Michael Barnard. Starring Ray Walston, Jo Ann Yeoman, Dennis Ford, Johanna Carlisle (debut). Produced by Ron Newcomer.

Dennis Ford recalls this funny (though not so funny then) moment from this production.

In 1990, MTA brought in Ray Walston (about 70 at the time) to reprise his Tony Award-winning role as the Devil in Damn Yankees, with a beautiful Jo Ann Yeoman playing Lola.

One night, at Gammage with … oh … 2,500 people in the house, in a scene featuring just the Devil and Lola, everything is going just fine, as usual, with a whole bunch of us in the wings ready for the next scene. Out of nowhere Ray goes into the “speak the speech I pray thee” speech from Hamlet.

Poor Jo Ann looked pleadingly left, then right, with all of us thinking Ray had actually snapped¬† – as in “lost it” – as in “OMG, he has slipped into another reality”.

Seriously, everyone was simply stunned and thinking “we are SO screwed here”! The chatter on headsets must have been classic.

Anyway, he finishes the speech and slips right back into the scene as if nothing was out of order. Turns out this Hamlet speech really fit nicely into the very scene they were playing out, where he was admonishing Lola for caring about Joe and he wanted her to just follow his “script”.

So, he was just having a bit of fun, but had not told anyone what he was going to do. I haven’t done a lot of theater, but this moment will remain with me forever.

Now that's what I call a fan club! (Photo courtesy of Patti Graetz)
Now that’s what I call a fan club! (Photo courtesy of Patti Graetz)

*****

1989. “Annie.” Director: Michael Lancy. Musical Director: Jerry Harkey. Cast: Karen Morrow as Miss Hannigan, John Schuck as Daddy Warbucks, Bob Sorenson as FDR, John Sankovich as Drake and Andi Watson, Teresa Springer and Molly Davis. Noel Irick was Dance Captain and the chorus was filled with Valley regulars.

A CRITIC REMINISCES
As a youngster growing up in Milwaukee, I was in a production of The Music Man that starred Karen Morrow as Marian the Librarian. Not only was she a funny, kind, loving human being, she was a phenomenally gifted actress and singer. Why she never became an A-List star, I will never know. Sometimes there is no justice. I not only reviewed this production for The Phoenix Gazette, I had the chance to interview Karen. To my delight, though it had been a few years, she remembered me. Of course, you might expect her to say that out of politeness but she proved it by recalling how she had caught me writing “I love you” on her dressing room door and, later, taking me out for ice cream after the show to say “I love you, too.” An enchanting woman.

Karen Morrow and the orphans in Musical Theatre Arizona's production of "Annie" in 1989. (Photograph courtesy of Andi Watson)
Karen Morrow and the orphans in Musical Theatre Arizona’s production of “Annie” in 1989. (Photograph courtesy of Andi Watson)

1989. My Fair Lady. Cast: Sarah Tattersall, Doug Durant, Alan Lea, Tony Hodges, Rand Mozingo.

Musical Theatre Arizona 1989 My Fair Lady. Sarah Tattersall with, from left, Doug Durant, Alan Lea, Tony Hodges and Rand Mozingo. (Photo Credit Unknown)
Musical Theatre Arizona 1989 My Fair Lady. Sarah Tattersall with, from left, Doug Durant, Alan Lea, Tony Hodges and Rand Mozingo. (Photo Credit Unknown)