Camp Imagination remounts “Happily Ever After …”

The Webb Center’s summer arts camp, Camp Imagination, is proud to announce that it will remount a production of Happily Ever After … A Cinderella Tale.  Not familiar with this musical? The Webb Center actually had it commissioned, especially for Camp Imagination, in 2008.

The Webb Center received a generous grant from the Wellik Foundation in 2007, to commission a new play that would be written to embrace the number of campers and their age ranges. Executive Director Cathy Weiss contacted Ruth Fost who gladly accepted the task. At the time, Ruth Fost was Executive/Artistic Director of New Jersey’s premier children’s theatre company – The Pushcart Players. Over 35 years, Fost had written more than 30 shows for the company and led them on tour to nearly every state and many countries abroad.

After agreeing to write the show, Fost’s next step was to determine the needs that the play had to fulfill. Roles for 10-15 lead characters. Check. Scenes for an ensemble cast of 100 children. Check.  Check. Songs appropriate for actors with varying singing abilities. A familiar story that would engage first through twelfth grade campers. Check. Fost settled on a retelling of Cinderella’s tale due to its rich history and thematic elements for the basis of the new musical.

Larry Hochman was recruited to write the music and orchestrations for the show. Hochman has won four Emmy Awards for his original music on the TV series The Wonder Pets and a prestigious Tony Award for his work on The Book of Mormon.

“My thoughts about this particular play, were that I wanted to evoke the sound of a fairy tale, but in a grand way, a style similar to Tchaikovsky,” Hochman stated about his inspiration for the music. “I wanted the main theme to evoke royalty, pomp and circumstance, and a melody that would suggest romance.”

“After I wrote the main theme, I dealt with the other songs, some of which are sung by characters in a specific part of the story.  I would think about those characters in the particular moment – how they feel, what they’re thinking.  So the music is personal to that character – like Cinderella’s ‘Work Song.’”

“Lastly, there are other songs that are ‘show numbers’ that don’t necessarily move the plot forward, but add energy, rhythm and fun to the show, more for entertainment, for example, the Stepmother and Stepsisters’ song, ‘When We Move Into The Palace.’”

After many revisions, the final script was completed and world premiered at Camp Imagination in 2008.

Having never commissioned a play, the Webb Center staff did not realize all of the additional work it would take for the production to be a success. Scene change music and sound effects were just a few of the extra tasks the technical crew had to tackle the first time around. But this time, they will be ready with more spunk and pizzazz, making this production even more spectacular.

The Webb Center and The Pushcart Players relationship began when the children’s theatre company was brought to the Webb Center to perform Peter and the Wolf for students, as a part of the Webb Center’s Arts for Kids programming. It was through this partnership with Pushcart that the relationship with Harry Patrick Christian began. Christian is the Director of Education for Pushcart, and became the Musical Director for Camp Imagination in 2007.

There will be a public performance of Happily Ever After … A Cinderella Tale, featuring all 120 campers either onstage or behind the scenes, at the end of each session of Camp: June 16 (Session 1) and June 30 (Session 2). For information on volunteering for Camp Imagination, registration, or auditions contact the Webb Center Box Office at (928)684-6624.

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Seventh Annual “Guys Who Grill” in Wickenburg

In March, the seventh annual “Guys Who Grill”
competition will take place in Wickenburg.  This fun-filled community event is open to the public and features teams competing in grilling, smoking, and barbecuing categories. Because all men grill, and all men think they are the best!

“Guys Who Grill” will be held at the Wickenburg Community Center, 160 North Valentine Street, on Saturday, March 18 from 11:30 am to 2 pm.  The event is presented by the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts; all proceeds go the the Webb Center’s “Arts for Kids” programming, including Camp Imagination.

McKeever’s Ace Hardware is donating a barbecue grill valued at $1,000 to be raffled off the day of the event. There will be live entertainment, cold beer, fresh food, and children’s activities available during the event.

Tickets are $10 for ten tasting samples; the public can purchase tickets either in advance from the Webb Center Box Office or at the event.

Any business, restaurant and individual can form a team and enter the competition. The entry fee for grilling teams is free, and the Webb Center will reimburse a portion of any food costs. Team registration forms are now being accepted and can be found online or at the Box Office on the second floor of the UMB Bank.

Additional information can be found at the Webb Center’s website, To learn more about forming a team, call Shelby Fuller at (928) 684-6610 or email at

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Jessica Lang Dance returns to Made in Wickenburg Residency

The Webb Center is hosting NYC-based Jessica Lang Dance as part of the Webb Center’s “Made in Wickenburg” artist residency program.

The ballet-influenced company will reside in Wickenburg for two weeks in January, while Artistic Director Jessica Lang creates a new contemporary work.

While in Wickenburg, the company will be offering open rehearsals that are available to the general public.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend any time during those rehearsal periods to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process. Jessica Lang Dance will hold FREE Open Rehearsals on  Tuesday, January 24 from 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm in the cArt Barn at Wickenburg Ranch.

Choreographer Jessica Lang is known for artfully crafted contemporary work that seamlessly incorporates striking design elements with classical ballet language.  Jessica Lang Dance will also perform The Wanderer at the Webb Center on January 20. The Wanderer had previously been finished during Lang’s Wickenburg residency in November 2014.  In evening length piece, nine dancers move nimbly through a pastoral landscape, spinning a tale of jealousy and obsessive desire that terminates darkly at a babbling brook. The narrative is set to a live performance of Franz Schubert’s song cycle “Die schone Mullerin.”

Tickets to the January 20 performance with Jessica Lang Dance are $20. Call the Box Office at (928) 684-6624 to reserve seats or ask about $5 student tickets.

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Artist Spotlight: Storm Large

stormlarge3clauradomelaStorm Large has been making a name for herself from tours with Pink Martini to Carnegie Hall, but it is with her loyal and fearless band, Le Bonheur, that she shines with a fierce emotional commitment to every song. A vivacious stage presence, Storm mesmerizes with a compelling mix of smoldering seduction and edgy humor. Every live performance showcases her powerhouse vocals on a blend of American songbook classics, Broadway tear-jerkers, rock goddess anthems and original compositions.

Storm spent the 90s singing in clubs throughout San Francisco. Tired of the club scene, she moved to Portland to pursue a new career as a chef, but a last minute cancellation in 2002 at the Portland club “Dante’s” turned into a standing Wednesday night engagement for Storm and her new band. It wasn’t long before Storm had a cult-like following in Portland, and a renewed singing career that was about to be launched onto the international stage.

Storm shot to national prominence in 2006 as a finalist on the CBS show Rock Star: Supernova, where despite having been eliminated in the week before the finale, she built a fan base that follows her around the world to this day. Storm made her debut as guest vocalist with the band Pink Martini in April 2011, singing four sold-out concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She continues to perform with the band, touring nationally and internationally, and she was featured on their CD, Get Happy. Storm has also sung with Grammy winner k.d. lang, pianist Kirill Gerstein, punk rocker John Doe, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer George Clinton.

The vocalist returns to the Webb Center on January 15 at 7:30 pm. Tickets to the performance start at $30. Reserve your seats today by calling the Box Office at (928) 684-6624. For more information or video previews, click here.

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Made in Wickenburg Artist Residency Program

Choreographer and Artistic Director Bill T. Jones

Choreographer and Artistic Director Bill T. Jones

The Webb Center is continuing its “Made in Wickenburg” Artist Residency Program by hosting the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company November 29 – December 12, 2016.

During their two-week stay, Choreographer Bill T. Jones and Company dancers will be creating the third installment of their Analogy trilogy, titled Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant.

The Company is offering FREE Open Rehearsals at the cArt Barn at Wickenburg Ranch on Thursday, December 1 & 8 from 2:00-4:30 pm as part of the residency’s community outreach. During Open Rehearsals the public is welcome to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance will conclude their residency with a “Studio Showing” at the Webb Center on December 11 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20. Call the Box Office at (928) 684-6624 to reserve seats, ask about $5 student tickets, or click here for more information on the residency program and outreach.

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An Evening with Garrison Keillor at the Webb Center

high-res-photoOne of the most prolific American storytellers of all time, Garrison Keillor is coming to the Webb Center on November 30 at 7:30 pm.

Best known for his live, internationally syndicated radio variety show, A Prairie Home Companion, the humorist shares hilarious anecdotes about growing up in the American Midwest, the people of Lake Wobegon, and late-life fatherhood. True to his radio form, Keillor brings a wonderful, dry sense of humor, and unique charm to the stage for an evening of new insights on love, nostalgia, and daily life.

One of America’s most beloved radio hosts and acclaimed humorists, Garrison Keillor was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota, and began his radio career as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1966. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. Four million listeners tuned in weekly, on more than 600 public radio stations coast to coast to listen to the tales of Lake Wobegon. Keillor has been honored with Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards.

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Artist Spotlight: Paul Thorn

Before he became a singer-songwriter, Tupelo, paul-thorn-3Mississippi native Paul Thorn was a middleweight boxer who one time fought champion Roberto Duran. The story has nothing to do with Thorn’s subsequent musical career, but as far as ice-breakers go, they don’t get much better than that.

“Just trying to hit him was so hard,” said Thorn, who fought Duran for six rounds before the referee ended the bout in Duran’s favor. “It was almost like he read my mind.”

Perhaps more relevant to Thorn’s emergence as a musical artist was his upbringing in Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley, and the fact that he was singing in a church run by his dad, a Pentecostal minister, at the age of 3.

That, more than anything, contributed to what he would become: a bluesy, rocking, Southern-style musician with a gift for making people laugh. A formidable guitarist, Thorn shares personal stories and universal truths through his deeply honest songwriting. His authentic lyrics come from a varied life full of experiences, including working in a furniture factory, and jumping out of airplanes.

paul-thorn-band-large3-1Thorn’s latest release, “Too Blessed to be Stressed,” reflects his philosophy as an entertainer and showman. “In the past, I’ve told stories that were mostly inspired by my own life,” said Thorn. “This time, I’ve written 10 songs that express more universal truths, and I’ve done it with a purpose: to make people feel good.”

The Paul Thorn Band will be performing on Saturday, November 19 at the Webb Center. This will be Thorn’s first performance in Wickenburg, although he’s played at the Musical Instrument Museum and other Arizona venues.

To see a video preview of The Paul Thorn Band click here.


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Webb Center tickets on sale September 7

Folk rock band America.

Folk rock band America.

The Webb Center has announced the 2016-2017 Season! Tickets go on sale to members of the support organization, the Encore Society, on Wednesday, September 7. Membership begins at $50 and permits early ticket buying opportunities before tickets go sale to the general public on September 21.

The theater’s season will open on Saturday, November 5, with a performance from 70’s folk rock band America. Founding members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell have been creating and performing music together since 1970; with hits “Horse With No Name” and “Ventura Highway.”

“After our very successful 15th Anniversary year, we are thrilled to be presenting a combination of brand-new and returning artists this season,” stated Cathy Weiss, Executive Director of the Webb Center. “The Webb Center strives to offer exciting performances from multiple genres. For example, storyteller Garrison Keillor, whose A Prairie Home Companion ran for 42 seasons; Piano Battle, where members of the audience decide which of the dueling pianists is the best; and returning favorites, The Texas Tenors.”

Audiences will be delighted by the sophisticated sounds of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra; Greek guitarist Pavlo’s blend of Latin and Mediterranean music; Americana singer-songwriter Paul Thorn; and a new Phoenix Symphony’s pops program.

Guitarist Pavlo

Guitarist Pavlo

Country music fans will enjoy hits by singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal; a rocking performance from Roots & Boots, featuring Sammy Kershaw, Pam Tillis and Collin Raye; the high-energy hits from band Sawyer Brown; and Riders in the Sky, King of the Cowboys! A Salute to Roy Rogers. Kicking off Wickenburg’s Gold Rush Days celebration in February is John Anderson, who had five #1 singles top the country charts.

Comedy this season comes in the form of Capitol Steps, with a brand new show just days after the election in November; and stand-up comedian Tom Papa, who got his big break opening for Jerry Seinfeld.

Canadian Brass

Canadian Brass

Holiday shows in December include a performance from adult contemporary artist Melissa Manchester; a fun take on classics with Canadian Brass Christmas; and the return of western-swing band Asleep at the Wheel Merry Texas Christmas Y’all.

In January, Jessica Lang Dance returns to showcase her “Made In Wickenburg” Residency piece The Wanderer. Also performing in January will be the Prague Philharmonia; dynamic vocalist Storm Large with her band; and classical pianist Alpin Hong in collaboration with the exciting Portland Cello Project. February welcomes the a capella styling’s of The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6.

Completing the season is jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis; and a fascinating presentation of National Geographic Live with explorer and environmental anthropologist Kenny Broad, who has led or participated in extreme scientific and filmmaking expeditions on every continent.

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UPDATED: Camp Imagination’s The Music Man audition results

The Webb Center held auditions for the production of The Music Man on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. Thirty-six students auditioned for lead roles in the Camp Imagination musical; two casts of eighteen students each were chosen for the two sessions of camp. The first session of Camp Imagination runs from June 6– 17; second session runs June 20-July 1.

Auditions were open to all students enrolled in this year’s Camp Imagination entering the sixth grade or higher. “We had more students try out than ever before and everyone had a great audition,” commented Cathy Weiss, Executive Director of the Webb Center. “Our two casts are a wonderful mix of long-time campers and younger students who will have their first lead this year.”

The students chosen for main roles (called “Centerstage”) will spend the two weeks of Camp learning the show as an ensemble and depending on each other for success. The Centerstage cast members for the first session are: Harold Hill – Brian Walker, Marian Paroo – Ivonne Acero, Marcellus Washburn – Isaiah Carman, Mayor Shinn – Joey Sweeney, Eulalie Shinn – Hailey Wingert, Mrs. Paroo – Jade Meintjes, Winthrop – Coleman Rigo, Charlie Cowell/Tommy Djilas – Peter Tavary, Salesman#1/Oliver Hix – Kiley McTighe, Salesman#2/Jacey Squires – Tenacity Hughes, Salesman#3/Olin Britt – Jacob Hodgkiss, Salesman#4/Ethel Toffelmier – Tristen Johnson, Salesman#5/Ewart Dunlop – Alexa Walter, Alma Hix – Breanna Babb, Maud Dunlop – Jane Hahn, Mrs. Squires – Yesmeen Duncan. The following students will take regular classes and join Centerstage to learn their roles: Amaryllis – Megan Ullery, Zaneeta Shinn – Megan Walters.

The Centerstage cast members for the second session are: Harold Hill – Caleb Demeter, Marian Paroo – Emily Hobrock, Marcellus Washburn – Pedro Salazar, Mayor Shinn – Chase Perkins, Eulalie Shinn – Angel Page, Mrs. Paroo – Emmi Perkins, Winthrop – Jimmy Rogers, Charlie Cowell/Tommy Djilas – Luke LaRocca, Salesman#1/Oliver Hix – Maddy Spillane, Salesman#2/Jacey Squires – Saige Zobel, Salesman#3/Olin Britt – Nicole Reithal, Salesman#4/Ethel Toffelmier – Mary Montgomery, Salesman#5/Ewart Dunlop – Katy Stahlhut, Alma Hix – Jessica DeShazo, Maud Dunlop – Raquel Rose, Mrs. Squires – Emily Ayers, Conductor/Amaryllis – Addie Root. The following students will take regular classes and join Centerstage to learn their roles: Zaneeta Shinn – Ashley Sorensen, Gracie Shinn – Brianna Fornoff.

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Registration for Camp Imagination this month

Registration for Camp Imagination begins this month! Camp Imagination is a two-week summer arts camp for 1st – 12th graders, produced by the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts.

Two sessions of Camp will be held again this year. Each session of Camp Imagination will be two weeks long with the musical being performed on the last night of the session. The first session of Camp Imagination will run June 6 – 17; the second session will run June 20 – July 1.

All students participate in the creation of a musical; this year’s selection is The Music Man. Campers also take classes in a variety of performing arts areas, including comedy, dance and instrumental music. The Webb Center will once again collaborate with the Desert Caballeros Western Museum to offer visual arts classes and the Wickenburg Unified School District for use of its high school facility.

Returning volunteers who made their volunteer commitments the previous year can register their campers on Wednesday, April 20. First time volunteers can register their campers on Friday, April 22. Adults must volunteer a minimum of 4 days during the two week camp to qualify for early registration.

Registration will open to the general public on Saturday, April 23 at the Webb Center Box Office (2nd Floor of UMB) at 10:00 am and will continue until the maximum number of 100 campers per session has been reached.

Camp runs weekdays from 8:30 am – 12:45 pm, and the cost is $100 for the first student in the family and $80 for each additional sibling.  Scholarships are available at many levels for any camper that would like to participate and might need financial assistance.

For information on volunteering, registration or scholarship applications, contact the Webb Center Box Office at (928)684-6624.

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