City Week

Four Decades of Theater

The Invisible Theatre presents: Painting the Town Red

8 p.m., Saturday, April 9; 3 p.m., Sunday, April 10

Berger Performing Arts Center

1200 W. Speedway Blvd.


The Invisible Theatre has made a name for itself by showcasing a mix of fringe-style performances, artistic newcomers and established veterans. It's a recipe that has remained intact since the theater's creation four decades ago.

"In 40 years, our mission hasn't really changed," said Susan Claassen, the managing artistic director. "Our commitment to quality has never wavered."

In 1971, the Vietnam War was raging, and the country was in the midst of social upheaval. The Invisible Theatre was born in the middle of it all, raising questions through artistic expression, Claassen said.

These memories—and many more—will be at the forefront of the minds of attendees of the Invisible Theatre's 40th-anniversary celebration, Painting the Town Red, Claassen said. The celebration will include cabaret performers, guest artists and an awards presentation.

One of the guest artists performing cabaret will be Golden Globe winner Amanda McBroom, best known for writing the song "The Rose," made famous by Bette Midler in 1979.

McBroom, a friend of Claassen's and an Invisible Theatre regular during the 2000s, said she is impressed that the theater has stayed open for 40 years, through high and low economic times.

"Theater is an endangered species in this country," McBroom said. "I'm just going to be thrilled (for the celebration)."

Claassen said she hopes the audience will experience the same emotions being felt onstage by the performers during the 40th-anniversary event.

"They will hopefully go on the same kind of ride as we will," she said. "It really is a tribute to everyone who has contributed artistic talent to the Invisible Theatre."

Tickets are $42. —S.B.

Whole Lotta Classics

Pete Fine CD-release and recital

7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 9

St. Marks Presbyterian Church

3809 E. Third St.


Pete Fine has been playing guitar for almost 50 years.

"I've been in love with music since age 3," said Fine. He said that he spent a lot of time listening to his parents' classical music collection—but he also grew up during the British Invasion and Beatlemania. Thus, it makes sense that his music is a sort of mash-up of the two genres.

A self-taught classical composer, Fine has written a number of pieces for guitar and orchestra, and has had several of them performed in Tucson.

"Maybe I had a past life in Vienna or something," said Fine of his composing talent. "It comes naturally to me."

The CD that Fine will be selling at this weekend's performance is one that he recorded a few years ago. He said that he never got around to pushing his CD, Purple Winters and Past Lives, because of his time spent playing with his Led Zeppelin tribute band, Whole Lotta Zep. He plans on using this event to market the CD.

Much of the music he will be performing on Saturday evening will be played on a 12-string guitar, and most of what he plays will be music from his CD. Fine plans on ending the performance with a duet he wrote for violin (played by Rose Todaro) and 12-string.

Fine describes Purple Winters and Past Lives as an autobiography of sorts. "It goes back through the stages of my life," he said. "Music is such an amazing thing. ... It's a cliché to say music is a universal language, but it really is."

Tickets are $8 in advance, and can be purchased at Rainbow Guitars (2550 N. Campbell Ave.) and (Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave.). Tickets will be $10 at the door. —A.G.

A Seductive Good Time

Don Giovanni

7:30 p.m., Friday, April 8; 3 p.m., Sunday, April 10

UA Crowder Hall

Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue


UA Opera Theater director Charles Roe last directed Don Giovanni, an opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in 2000.

Eleven years later, he is bringing the 18th-century piece back to the university stage—and Roe says the final product is well worth the wait.

Don Giovanni is a 2 1/2-hour opera that deals with seduction, murder and the pathway to hell. Or, as Roe calls it, a typical day at the UA Opera Theater. The cast has been preparing day-in, day-out since January to perfect an opera that will show for two nights only.

Roe waited 11 years to bring back Don Giovanni, because the director wanted to wait until he had actors with "the amazing voices" and acting skills necessary to pull off such a complex opera, he said.

"It's one of the great operas of all time," Roe said. "And we have the cast for it."

Singing in the opera's original language of Italian, the actors will perform accompanied by the Arizona Symphony Orchestra, which is "an exhibit of the quality of the music school," Roe said.

Roe said the actors' status as college students "not jaded by professionalism" will work in their favor and connect them with the audience.

"(The audience) knows their music. They love the opera," he said. "They will love the energy and spirit we have."

Small parts of the original opera have been cut due to time constraints, but these are traditional cuts, such as the epilogue, that do not take away from the story or the experience of Don Giovanni, Roe said.

"It's a comic drama," he said. "It's got everything in it."

Tickets are $15; $12 for UA employees, members of the military and seniors; and $10 for students. —S.B.

50 Years in Space

"Yuri's Night"

Panel begins at 1 p.m.; evening events from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 9

Pima Air and Space Museum

6000 E. Valencia Road


Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut, was the first man to go to space, on April 12, 1961.

Now, 50 years later, "Yuri's Night" at the Pima Air and Space Museum is one of 200 events happening in 30 countries honoring space exploration.

The event begins at 1 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring four people: UA professor Peter Smith, leader of the Phoenix Mars Lander mission; Grant Anderson, vice president of engineering for the Tucson-based Paragon Space Development Corporation; astronaut James McDivitt, who flew on Gemini 4 and Apollo 9; and Sy Liebergot, the emergency, environmental and consumables management (EECOM) flight controller for Apollo 13.

The panel, which is free with admission to the museum, is geared more toward adults.

The evening activities, which start at 5 p.m., will be family-friendly fun. There will be telescopes to look through; displays and activities from the observatory at Kitt Peak; hands-on activities with the Physics Factory; a number of information tables; and a lot more.

"One thing you just have to come see is the Flandreau Portable Planetarium," said Mina Stafford, who is in charge of setting up "Yuri's Night." Stafford describes the portable planetarium as a dome-shaped tent that has a projection of the stars shined on the ceiling.

"There's going to be so much variety," said Stafford. "Chemistry, physics, history. ... There's something for everyone. ... If you've ever at all been interested in science, this would be the place to go."

Daytime admission to the museum is $12.75 for residents of Pima County; $9 for children 7 to 12; and free for children 6 and under. At 5 p.m., admission will be $10 for adults, while kids 12 and younger are admitted for free. The last admission will be at 8 p.m. —A.G.