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The Phoenix Theatre Company Celebrates 100 Years!

PLSN Staff • News • January 9, 2020


PHOENIX, ARIZ. –  For almost as long as Arizona has been a state, The Phoenix Theatre Company has been dedicated to bringing high-caliber performing arts to the Valley of the Sun. This significant milestone as the country’s sixth oldest continually operating regional theatre is a testament to the leadership, employees, volunteers and stakeholders who take great pride in the success of this theatre and the impact it makes in the city.

More details from Phoenix Theater (

Founded in 1920 as the Phoenix Players, The Phoenix Theatre Company is the first and largest producing regional theatre and arts organization in Arizona. It’s also among the oldest continually operating theatres west of the Mississippi River. In 1924, the family of Maie Bartlett Heard (who also founded the Heard Museum) offered the newly-named Phoenix Little Theatre its old coach house on Central and McDowell as a venue.

Today, The Phoenix Theatre Company is a non-profit corporation with three performance stages and numerous community outreach programs, including the improvisational group Partners That Heal, which brings laughter and comfort to children in hospitals across Arizona and Colorado. It is also home to a children’s summer camp program, an educational collaboration with Arizona State University known as the New American Musical Theatre Studio and a variety of theatre arts education and appreciation programs offered to audiences throughout the year.

Over the last century, The Phoenix Theatre Company has been instrumental in launching the careers of many world-renowned talents including Steven Spielberg, who worked in the theatre’s props department and premiered his first full-length film, Firelight, at The Phoenix Theatre Company in 1962. Other notable stars include Nick Nolte and Steve Allen.

According to Michael Barnard, producing artistic director at The Phoenix Theatre Company, the 100th anniversary season is a tribute to the theatre’s legacy as well as a salute to its future.

“Our 100th season is truly a celebration of everything we’ve been through as a company, everything we’ve worked towards and everything we believe we can be,” said Barnard. “Classics like HAIR, which we produced in 1986 in celebration of the show’s 20th anniversary, bring us back to our roots and pay tribute to some of our milestones over the years, while shows like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Americano! showcase the future of theatre with inclusive modern stories that help us really understand the people around us. With 10 productions and the 22nd annual Festival of New American Theatre, there’s truly something for everyone. We can’t wait to share this historic, celebratory season with the community!”

The 2019/2020 lineup includes a multitude of shows that pay homage to the theatre’s past, present and future, including: Kinky Boots; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; The Sound of Music; Million Dollar Quartet; the world premiere of Americano!; Sondheim On Sondheim; Festival of New American Theatre; Something Rotten!; The Rocky Horror Show and HAIR.

The Phoenix Theatre Company is committed to advancing performing arts in the Valley with a mission to create exceptional theatrical experiences that use the arts to articulate messages inspiring hope and understanding. The company produces nearly 500 performances each year on multiple stages including both well-known and original pieces of work. The Phoenix Theatre Company provides entertainment and inspiration to 100,000 people each year and employs more than 400 arts and culture workers annually.

For more information about The Phoenix Theatre Company’s 100th anniversary season, or to purchase tickets, visit:



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