“There’s a place for everyone in theatre,” is a mantra at Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT). Located in the North Valley, ABT is a nonprofit organization and Arizona’s one-of-a-kind, award-winning, state-of-the-art professional theatre showcasing locally and nationally acclaimed artists. With a true emphasis on community outreach and education, ABT has a lot to offer its audience members, supporters, and performers on and off the stage.

During the height of the pandemic, ABT was shut down for nine months, relying mainly on its YouTube channel and virtual efforts to stay connected. Now, ABT is back to its live performances and this summer will be hosting its highly anticipated summer camps for the first time in two years.

“Between our shows for audience members of all ages, summer camps, and teen programs, we are here for the whole community,” says Michele A. Meyer, director of marketing and communication for ABT.

Opened in 2005, ABT is well-known for its dinner theatre offerings, which they still offer on a limited basis with seating spread out. Now, more than ever though, they are welcoming locals back to enjoy the magic of the theatre through quality high-energy shows and educational programming.

Summer Camps and Educational Opportunities
ABT Education Director Stephen Hohendorf has been in his role for over six months, but shares that the robust education program at ABT is in its seventeenth year.
“We offer summer camps, education and performing opportunities year-round for youth ages 7-19,” he says. “The camps and classes are comfortable, structured, and give campers a chance to meet others that are close in age and have similar interests.”

He notes that camps and educational programs don’t focus solely on acting—but on all aspects of theatrical productions. There’s rehearsing, staging, props, scenery, costumes, and more to consider with each show. “Being a part of a theatrical production and team teaches kids and teens empathy, discipline, how to set goals, how to succeed in a group, the importance of community, and more,” Hohendorf says.

“There’s also a big STEAM [science, technology, art and math] component as well, especially when it comes to set and prop design,” Meyer adds.

The ABT education team is planning for a busy summer as many of the camps are already full or have a waiting list. There are still some wonderful open opportunities available though, including:

Teen Camp: Band Geeks
This camp is for youth ages 14-19 and takes place from July 18-29 with its performance on July 30. Students will spend two weeks rehearsing, auditioning, and creating the show. In the tradition of “Glee” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” comes “Band Geeks,” a celebration of the tribulations of the millions who have spent football halftimes pounding out Sousa-like renditions of “Maria.” Whether you were in the band, on the team, or in the stands, you’ll recognize the woes and revel in the fun of “Band Geeks.”

The Master Class Series For All Ages
For each production, Arizona Broadway Theatre will provide a unique workshop for teens and adults to build acting, dance, and audition skills with in-person sessions with the production’s artistic professionals. “Each Master Class is done in conjunction with one of our shows and is a unique chance for locals interested in acting and dancing to unlock their creativity with a professional they might otherwise not have access to,” Hohendorf says.

The next Master Class is on May 7 with Nate Bertone (director and set designer of “Ghost The Musical”) titled “The Striving Artist.” More are in the works.
HyRev Troupe For Teens
ABT’s HyRev Troupe is a unique opportunity created for youth ages 13-19 who are ready for more opportunities to perform and grow artistically in performing arts disciplines. This troupe, which is by audition-only, provides a safe environment, cultivates important life skills, and allows troupe members interact with respected industry professionals in one-of-a-kind classes and workshops.

Performances For The Whole Community
If you’d rather experience the magic of Arizona Broadway Theatre as an audience member, check out this summer’s sure-to-be hit. From June 10 – July 17, ABT presents Nickelodeon’s “The SpongeBob Musical” that is based on the beloved animated series created by Stephen Hillenburg. Discounted tickets are available for students and performing arts industry employees thirty minutes before show times.

And, for those who like to plan, ABT recently announced their 2022-2023 season details. Their upcoming season, which begins in October, is a melting pot of must-see musicals. From Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and two newer Broadway musicals, “Disaster!” and “Escape to Margaritaville” to the classics, “Mame,” “Wizard of Oz” and “A Christmas Carol,” there’s something for everyone. In particular, families should mark their calendars for November 18 as ABT ushers in the holiday season with a special Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration in conjunction with the opening night of the holiday production. This year, an Arizona Broadway Theatre holiday tradition returns with “A Christmas Carol The Musical.”

“We are excited to bring a new season of musicals to life here at ABT,” says Kiel Klaphake, ABT Executive Producer and CEO.

Whether you’re a performer, regular patron of the arts, or have yet to attend your first show, Arizona Broadway Theatre has something for everyone and welcomes you to the show.

Arizona Broadway Theatre is located at 7701 W. Paradise Lane in Peoria. For information on shows, summer camps, educational opportunities and more, visit azbroadway.org.

This content is sponsored by Arizona Broadway Theatre.