Friday, November 30, 2012

Director keeps things moving in IT's 'Mesa'

Director keeps things moving in IT's 'Mesa':

November 18, 2012 12:00 am  •  

"Mesa" brings the question "are we there yet?" to life.
The Canadian play, which made its U.S. debut Wednesday at Invisible Theatre, is based on a five-day, 1998 road trip that playwright Doug Curtis took, driving his wife's 93-year-old grandfather from his Calgary home to his snowbird home, a trailer in Citrus Gardens in Mesa.
Two actors, Kevin Black, as 35-year-old chauffeur Paul, and Jay Hornbacher, as Grandpa Bud, hit the metaphorical highway lined with bittersweet moments and humor.
Read the entire review here: Director keeps things moving in IT's 'Mesa'

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A 5-day trip with grandpa

A 5-day trip with grandpa


Kathleen Allen

"Mesa" is particularly personal for playwright Doug Curtis and his wife and frequent collaborator, Heather Moore.
The play, which Invisible Theatre opens next week, is based on a trip Curtis took from their Calgary home with Moore's grandfather. "My mother-in-law asked me if I would like to drive Grandpa Bud to Mesa," Curtis said of that day in 1998.
Flying Grandpa Bud down wasn't an option.
Read the entire preview here: A 5-day trip with grandpa
Jay Hornbacher, left, as Grandpa Bud and Kevin Black as Paul, who is tasked with driving Bud from Calgary to Mesa.
Photo: Tim Fuller

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Uplifting vignettes dedicated to mother

Uplifting vignettes dedicated to mother:


Uplifting vignettes dedicated to mother

September 8, 2011

... "Motherhood," a mash-up of monologues by a very impressive list of contemporary playwrights, took us from birth to almost every significant event in a child's life - playground rifts to sex talks to graduation, birth again, and, finally, mothering our own mothers.
[Susan] Claassen smoothly wove the pieces together, creating an entertaining 90 minutes of wispy storytelling.
Read the entire review of "Motherhood Out Loud" here: Uplifting vignettes dedicated to mother
Uplifting vignettes dedicated to mother
Barbea Williams is one of four cast members in "Motherhood Out Loud," presented by the Invisible Theatre. The show is way, way inclusive on the various aspects of motherhood.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Invisible Theatre opens 42nd season with 'Motherhood Out Loud'

Invisible Theatre opens 42nd season with 'Motherhood Out Loud'
Southwest premiere of multi-authored salute to moms

Posted Sep 5, 2012, 4:30 pm
It’s a show with more writers than actors. “Motherhood Out Loud” is a celebration of all things mom. The show was created as a collaboration of more than a dozen writers from theatre, television, fiction and non-fiction to create a broad, diverse panorama of the motherhood experience. Beginning this week, the Invisible Theatre is presenting the southwest premiere of the show.

Tim Fuller/Invisible Theatre
Lori Hunt, Susan Kovitz and Barbea Williams in 'Motherhood Out Loud.'
Read the entire preview here: Invisible Theatre opens 42nd season with 'Motherhood Out Loud':

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Many voices on one topic: motherhood

Many voices on one topic: motherhood:

Many voices on one topic: motherhood

Susan R. Rose has had a storied career:
In 1984, fresh out of college, she became the youngest producer on Broadway when she mounted "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and was nominated for a Tony. She went on to produce plays by Athol Fugard, David Rabe and Larry Shue, among others.
She has also had a prolific career producing movies for television.
But it is her role as a mother that she cherishes the most. And it led her to conceive and organize, with her creative partner, the late Joan Stein, "Motherhood Out Loud," a series of monologues by an impressive list of playwrights. Invisible Theatre opens its season with the play next week.

Many voices on one topic motherhood
Susan Kovitz is among Invisible Theatre's cast of "Motherhood Out Loud," a series of monologues by several playwrights.

Many voices on one topic: motherhood:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One-woman show offers multiple perspectives | The Invisible Theatre

One-woman show offers multiple perspectives | The Invisible Theatre:

One-woman show offers multiple perspectives
Actress takes minimally decorated stage and doesn't let it go
Posted Apr 17, 2012

The Invisible Theatre’s Susan Claassen may have to relinquish her crown for one-woman shows. With its latest offering, “The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead,” Claassen, the theater’s charismatic managing artistic director, is making room for her protégé, Betsy Kruse Craig.

“The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead” closes the Invisible Theatre’s 42nd annual season with a seven character tour-de-force. Betsy Kruse Craig, who is also an associate director at IT, takes the minimally decorated stage and does not let it go. Portions of her costume changes occur on-stage through a screen, so that we can better appreciate the extent of her transformations. The play unfolds as each character layers on information to the narrative from her (or his) perspective.
Tim Fuller/Invisible Theatre
Betsy Kruse Craig as blond vixen Tanya in 'The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead.'

Thursday, April 5, 2012

'Vengeful Redhead': 7 characters, 1 actress

'Vengeful Redhead': 7 characters, 1 actress:
Embodying each requires more than a wig change
Kathleen Allen Posted: Thursday, April 5, 2012 

Betsy Kruse Craig is a stage veteran.
Still, her upcoming performance in Invisible Theatre's "The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead" has got her a wee bit nervous.
You see, she plays all the characters - young, old, male, female, blonde, brunette and redhead.
"The play is intense," admitted Craig.
"It's nothing like I've ever done before. Getting all those words and people straight …"
The play's conceit is this: Rhonda has been married for 17 years when her husband calls her and tells her it's over; he's moved out of the house.
This revelation, and her intent to confront the woman involved with her husband, brings on a catastrophic event.
There are seven characters in the play, and each one has a different take on what happened at that event. Think "Rashomon" on stage and in modern dress.
Betsy Kruse Craig transitions among her seven characters in "The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead" in less than 60 seconds, using a wig, or a stance, or a gesture to differentiate each.

Read more:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Look Ma, IT has a winner, if imperfect

Claassen & Co. mostly deliver the goods in 'Dancing'
Look Ma, IT has a winner, if imperfect
Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two weddings and a funeral serve as the backdrop for Invisible Theatre's latest, the world premiere of Janet Neipris' "Look Ma We're Dancing."

So does some mighty intense sibling rivalry in this production directed by Gail Fitzhugh.
And no one can do intense quite as well as Susan Claassen, IT's artistic director and one of the two sisters in this comedy.
Claassen's Vi has a strong wit, impeccable timing and a New York City sophistication.
She brings all that to Montana to attend her sister Franny's wedding (Franny is nicely portrayed by Susan Kovitz). Trouble is, she and Franny haven't spoken in a year, when something went terribly wrong at their mother's funeral. Franny isn't as interesting as Vi; nevertheless, Kovitz holds her own against Claassen - which isn't easy to do as Claassen is a force to be reckoned with on stage.
The crew received applause after it made the remarkable transition with the moving of a few walls and replacing of a few pictures during intermission. Blair and Claassen deserve applause, too, for their innovative and much-more-than-serviceable set design.

Susan Claassen and James Blair




By Chuck Graham

Family members may not be the world's most reliable support group, but we always have to remember: home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.

Playwright Janet Neipris and the players at Invisible Theatre celebrate such enduring truths in the world premiere production of her light comedy with a heart, "Look Ma We're Dancing" directed by Gail Fitzhugh.

Susan Claassen is full of feisty confusion as Vi, the intellectual sister of Franny (Susan Kovitz) the sociable sister – the one mom always liked best, at least in Vi's opinion.

Look Ma Were Dancing

Read the entire review here: LOOK MA WE'RE DANCING

Saturday, February 11, 2012

'Look Ma, We’re Dancing' is gentle Jewish-centric comedy | The Invisible Theatre:

The Invisible Theatre

'Look Ma, We’re Dancing' is gentle Jewish-centric comedy

Play is a funny, acerbic exploration of sibling rivalry

Feb 9, 2012
Dave Irwin

The Invisible Theatre’s latest play, “Look Ma, We’re Dancing,” is a gently acerbic comedy of sibling rivalry. The protagonists are two grown-up hyper-competitive New York Jewish-American princesses. We watch as they try to reconnect to their individual lives and their sisterhood following the death of their mother — the glue that had held their family together.

Tim Fuller/Invisible Theatre

From left, Burney Starks, Susan Kovitz, Susan Claassen and James Blair star in The Invisible Theatre's production of 'Look Ma, We're Dancing.

Vi, played note-perfect and knowingly by IT artistic director Susan Claassen, arrives in Montana to surprise her sister, Franny, played by Susan Kovitz, before Franny’s upcoming wedding…

Playwright Janet Neipris provides a funny, well-written slice of life that feels all too true…

Gail Fitzhugh’s stage direction was clear and takes full advantage of Claassen’s stage-savvy and mugging skills. Also notable is the efficient and effective set design by Claassen and Blair, who is also IT’s associate artistic director. The slick transition of the small IT stage from the Missoula set to the New York set with just a few hinged panels actually earned a round of applause during intermission from the opening-night audience.

Read the entire review here: 'Look Ma, We’re Dancing' is gentle Jewish-centric comedy | The Invisible Theatre:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sibling rivalry lives in 'Dancing':

Sisters vie for late mom's attention at Invisible Theatre premieres comedy

Sibling rivalry lives in 'Dancing'

Tayler Wancour For The Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012

Death doesn't always kill the need for mom's approval.

In "Look Ma We're Dancing," two adult sisters fight over their dead mother's affection.

Funny moments, sibling rivalry at its finest and family issues take center stage in the Janet Neipris play, which has its world premiere at Invisible Theatre Tuesday.

"The humor is in the characters, and then it has moments that are poignant where it moves the audience. I love that combination," said playwright Neipris, chairwoman of the Dramatic Writing Department at the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University.

IT collaborated with Neipris for about two years on "Look Ma We're Dancing." The company has been producing Neipris' work since she was straight out of graduate school.

Her last play at IT was "Natives" in 2008.

"Look Ma ..." "is an intimate play about two sisters with universal themes," said Susan Claassen, IT's managing artistic director who also has a lead role in the play. These themes include family, sisters pulling apart and coming together and unconditional love.


Sisters so close, it's hard to tear them apart: Burney Starks, left, Susan Kovitz, Susan Claassen and James Blair in "Look Ma We're Dancing."

Read more:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Amos' 'Comet' hits Invisible Theatre:
Patty Machelor | Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012

This time around, Tucsonans can see Hollywood star and philanthropist John Amos perform his sometimes comical, sometimes heartbreaking one-man show, "Halley's Comet."

Amos, 72, has been taking "Halley's Comet" to theaters across the United States and abroad for nearly two decades.
This is his first Tucson performance, courtesy of Invisible Theatre.
The story is that of an 86-year-old man who returns to the same spot where he first watched Halley's Comet 75 years earlier, perched on his father's shoulders.
The two-hour play takes the audience from the turn of the century to modern times, as "Old Man" remembers and relives parts of his life, including his childhood dreams, the advent of fast food, the civil rights era and battle scenes in the Pacific.

Read more:

• What: Halley's Comet, starring John Amos.
• Presented by: Invisible Theatre.
• When: 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
• Where: The Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd.
• Cost: $42.
• Reservations/information: 882-9721 or
• What: K.C. Amos and John Amos discuss K.C. Amos' Montford Point Marines documentary, "Their Stories, Their Voices."
• When: 9:45 a.m. Friday.
• Where: Tucson High Magnet School, 400 N. Second Ave.
• Cost: Free.
• Reservations/information: Seating is limited. Call 882-9721 for reservations.
You might remember him as the adult-aged Kunta Kinte in the television mini-series, "Roots," or perhaps playing James Evans on the hit sitcom, "Good Times."