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It was the night of a thousand stars. The graceful arches of the Georgia Frontiere Pavilion glowed in the rays of the setting sun.

Tuxedos and Oscar winning dresses, stars from television and Broadway - Sedona came together as a community that night.It was a fantastical setting for a spectacular event. The long awaited opening of Sedona's Cultural Park was here at last.

As the evening began, Phoenix Symphony Conductor Hermann Michael strode confidently across the stage, raised his baton, and the familiar strains of Aaron Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man wafted through the air.
It feels like home to me

The ampitheatre has a surprisingly personal atmosphere. The full seating capacity is 5,500, but there isn't a bad seat in the house. The genius of the design is that you could be seated way in the back and still feel like an intimate part of the action.

Hats off to Dan Schay and his team at the Cultural Park, and Steve Thompson, for his architectural devotion that will echo for lifetimes!

I urge you to walk the paths of the Park, some morning in the cool. . .the trails, the views, the future... it's a slice of heaven. If you listen, you can hear the symphonies tuning up; take a close look, a dancer is stretching before strutting her stuff across Sedona's grand stage; Native Americans are circled in sacred prayer; a couple is exchanging wedding vows.

'A Funny Thing'
at the Cultural Park

Next up at SCP is the Shakespeare Sedona season opener, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

This Tony Award-winning musical features a dynamite cast, directed by Jared Sakren, who has given us the delightful A Comedy Of Errors and Much Ado About Nothing over the past two summers.

Forum previews on June 16th, opens on the 17th, and runs through July 2nd. The festival then moves to Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, to perform Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night in rotation throughout the month of July.

Turn to our special pullout in this section of The Red Rock Review, for the finest Shakespeare Sedona season preview available.

Also at the Cultural Park this summer, The Sons of The Pioneers, legends in Western music. In fact, they have been declared a "National Treasure" by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

The Sons Of the Pioneers will perform on July 1. Tickets for The Sons Of The Pioneers or Shakespeare Sedona can by purchased by calling Sedona Cultural Park at 203-4TIX or 1-800 780-ARTS.

Theatre lovers are in luck

There is a bevy of theatre in Northern Arizona this summer. The Actors Repertory Theatre of Sedona's production of The Amorous Flea continues at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village through June 24.The show features a Broadway star, an hilarious script, and a delightful night at the theatre.

For more details, check out Liz Warren's column on page 3 of this issue of The Red Rock Review.

Then the company heads west to the gorgeous El Rojo Grand Ranch for its second production of the season, How the West Was Fun!

This show was written in 1984 by Michael Peach, a very talented local actor/writer/ director/you name it.

He first wrote the piece as an entry into a playwrighting contest sponsored by Black Bart's Restaurant, in Flagstaff. It was first performed for the Sedona Melodrama Festival, a 10-year tradition of steaks and skits, which were performed in the courtyard behind what is now the Canyon Portal Hotel.

The Festival was last held in 1985, the year Peach's hit play ran. How the West Was Fun! has gone on to be produced by theatre companies from as far away as Illinois.
Peach has written 22 plays. His ingenious Scams of Scapin was one of the big hits of the Sedona theatre season last summer. He has won grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for his writing. Seven of his plays have seen production.

How the West Was Fun! is a parody on the musical western genre. It is directed by Tobias Hardy a Vancouver, B.C. native.

The cast includes Garrison Bailey, Jason Gerau, Roberta Lairson, Ron Richie, and Bill Frank. Peach has revised the script since 1985, and if Scams of Scapin is any indication it should be charmingly hilarious.

Additionally, the performance space, the work barn at El Rojo Grande Ranch, will provide a marvelous ambiance.

How the West Was Fun!
opens on July 6 and runs for 12 performance through the 29th. Tickets can be purchased by calling ARTS at 204-2064.

NAU Summer Arts 2000

NAU Summer Arts 2000 kicks off its season June 22 with its production of Galileo.
Written by Bertold Brecht, Galileo tells the story of historic figure Galileo Galilei, with California actor Matt Henerson portraying the legendary renaissance man.

Other cast members include Clifford E. White, Bob Yowell, Richard Brandt, and Nancy Noble. It will be directed by Summer Arts 2000 Artistic Director Rick Davis.

Galileo is followed by Atomic Bombers, which is written by Russell Vandenbroucke.
Atomic Bombers presents a comic look at the men and women behind the H Bomb. Chicago actor Rod Gnapp plays the lead character, Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman. Atomic Bombers will be directed by its creator, playwright Russell Vandenbroucke.

Galileo previews on June 22 and 23, opens on the 24th, and runs through July 9th. Atomic Bombers previews on July 14, opens on the 15 and will run through July 23. Tickets can be purchased through the NAU central ticket Office 520-523-5661 or 1-800-520-7214.

Fourth of July Celebration

The July 4th holiday weekend brings us the premiere of Brent Michael Davids' Guardians of the Canyon, a piece written especially for this event.

The Grand Canyon Music Festival was chosen from many organizations to represent the state of Arizona as the recipient of the Continental Harmony Award for the millennium. There is one piece being written for each of the 50 states, all of which are set to premiere on July 4, 2000.

The American Composers Forum and the National Endowment for the Arts launched the historic initiative, with Continental Harmony, to link rural and under-served communities with composers, to celebrate the millennium with new musical works. This Award, which is underwritten by the Rockefeller and Knight Foundations, is an official White House millennium project.

Brent Michael Davids was selected to create an original piece of music to represent the state of Arizona. A member of the Mohican Nation, he is a classically trained composer who combines that training with the philosophies and music of his and other indigenous cultures.

He composed a piece for four flutes; crystal, metal, clay and wood. "My initial idea is to create a work that evokes the cultures currently living within the Grand Canyon, both human and non human; and to create a spatial sense of being inside the canyon listening to the music," Davids said.

Guardians of the Canyon will be accompanied by Havasupai dancers and will be performed as a concert of music, dance, and words inspired by the environment and diverse cultures of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Theatre at The Canyon

There will also be a performance of The Tramp and the Roughrider at the Grand Canyon on July 3rd. This meeting of the minds relives the meeting between conservationist John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt at Yosemite National Park in May, 1903.

Lee Stetson will portray John Muir and Doug Brennan plays Theodore Roosevelt. The performance takes place at the Shrine of the Ages auditorium at 7:30 pm. Tickets for either of these events can be purchased through the Grand Canyon Music Festival at 520-638-9215.

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