In 1946, Tennessee Williams wrote a play about young girl named Willie who is forced to prematurely fend for herself after her sister dies and she's abandoned by her mother.
The one-act play follows Willie through her attempts to become closer to her dead sister by following in her footsteps as a prostitute. During a conversation on the railroad tracks in Mississippi with a wealthy boy named Tom, the two discuss the adoration of family and the truths about sisterhood and sexuality.
"It poignantly captures a subconscious confrontation between classes ... and makes comments on gender roles," says University of Arizona junior Nic Adams, who plays Tom and is directing the play. "The play speaks to the idolization of family members and the way we build them up."
The play is being produced by The Now Theatre, which is producing its first season. Adams started the company with friend Matt Bowdren; Adams says the two try to choose plays that speak to their age and offer a spot of education for the audience.
Adams says the appeal of the show comes from the story of Willie's family struggles and the class difference between Willie (played by Laine Peterson) and Tom--both of which will ultimately influence their fate.
"He's going to grow up above her, and she's going to grow up a prostitute," says Adams. "The tragedy is they're so young."
As an actor making his directorial debut, Adams says he's finding the challenge to be insightful. "It was fun," he says. "It allowed me to explore all the aspects I wanted as an actor."
Tickets are $10 at the door; a $5 discount is given to people who have a ticket to The Rogue Theatre's Immortal Longings, also taking place at ZUZI's Theater. --L.A.
There's something irresistibly sexy about half-naked women speaking French and playing with fire--but if that somehow doesn't float your boat, Cabaret Boheme has many other offerings.
Cabaret Boheme, who bill themselves as a "vaudeville variety troupe with an adult flair," is celebrating Frenchness with Le Petit Naughty. Between the poi burlesque, a psychological illusionist, comedy skits, can-can girls and a drag-king DJ, almost anyone can find something they like.
"I've been really happy to look around (the audience) and go, 'Wow. There are mature people; there are young people; there are military people; there are gay people; there's a little bit of everything all in one room, and they all seem to be enjoying our show," says Cindy Blue (aka Peaches VaVoom), who formed the group in 2007.
Cabaret Boheme seized inspiration from French songs, costumes and performances, including the Banana Dance, originally performed by ex-pat Josephine Baker. The troupe's anything-goes spirit comes from its vaudevillian roots and stimulates fresh ideas for their shows, according to Blue.
"Inspiration hits in the strangest places," says Blue. "Sometimes, it's in the mall; a sparkly shirt creates an idea. Sometimes it's a song on the radio; sometimes it's an e-mail somebody sends me. Our ideas come from all kinds of places; we just develop them."
While Boheme is a "naughty" cabaret group, their minds and shows stay mostly out of the gutter.
"I tell people if we were a film, I think we'd probably get the PG-13 rating," says Blue. "But something about seeing it live and in person seems a little more risqué. I hope that our shows are tongue-in-cheek ... but I hope that our shows aren't flat-out crude or vulgar; that's my goal."
Tickets are $10 in advance, or $12 at the door. --H.S.
I went to public school in Arizona. Stop right there; I've heard all the jokes.
In the third-grade, the powers that be pulled me out of class and gave me a test to see if I was "gifted." Later that week, they tested me to determine if I was "special." When I turned out to be neither, they scratched their heads and put me back in the third-grade.
If only they had told me about places like Holladay Magnet Intermediate School. Holladay is a third-through-fifth-grade, visual- and performing-arts school where individuality and creativity are encouraged. The halls are lined with photos from student plays, wire sculptures and paintings, and pictures of students shooting movies with filmmakers.
"The arts sometimes empower children who aren't academically on grade level, necessarily," says fifth-grade teacher and open-house organizer Mary Rogers.
Besides great arts, theater and sports programs, Holladay scores well academically. In 2008, Arizona LEARNS listed the school as one of 14 "excelling" schools in the Tucson Unified School District.
"I think if you step into the classroom or school doors here, immediately, you'll be struck with a vibrant, creative spirit that is threading itself though all the staff and teachers," Rogers says.
Holladay is inviting students and parents to visit the campus and talk with teachers and staff to see if the school is right for them. The school will host interactive workshops with speakers ranging from artists, authors, actors, directors, a state representative and Tucson Weekly writer Tim Vanderpool (who, we should note, is Rogers' husband).
"The goal is to just get word out to the community about how wonderful the school and the staff is," Rogers says. "I just feel like not enough people know about us." --H.S.
Wine and charity go hand in hand for the local RTEAM Wine Enthusiasts Club. The club's new mission: to combine love for the grape with charitable ventures intended to assist Tucson institutions and educate the community.
The mission has resulted in a wine-tasting event to raise money for Arts for All, at Elle Wine Country Restaurant on Sunday, March 22.
"We are looking to expand the events our club is in," says club president James Brewer.
Arts for All is an arts-based program which introduces children to dance, visual arts, music, sign language, drama and ceramics. Brewer says the wine club picked Arts for All because of its contribution to the community's children.
"They (Arts for All) have shown great success and received many awards (and) are an example of a Tucson institution that requires Tucson support," says Brewer.
At least six wines will be featured at the event, all of which have been produced using bio-sustainable methods. This means the land used to produce the wine will continue to be fertile year after year without the use of chemicals.
The RTEAM Wine Enthusiasts Club started in 2006 as a venue for wine lovers to learn more about the grape. Brewer says the club hopes that through these charitable events, the club can provide a new outlet for Tucsonans to both learn more about the wine industry and raise money for noteworthy causes.
"Part of our mission is to expand and understand wine culture, and we see that as a form of art," says Brewer. "It's a complementary relationship."
Tickets are $20. Contact Elle for reservations at 327-0500. --L.A.