July 2022
New Works Festival at SPCA

Brandon Gabaldon is excited to be directing his first stage play as part of the upcoming New Works Festival at Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts. 

He had shadowed director Robyn Allen on the company’s recent production of Mamma Mia!, and the opportunity to premiere Anything You Hear and Only Half of What You See by Ron Hunting was “the farthest thing I could jump into, theatre-wise,” he says.

Gabaldon comes to the stage from a background in film and video, and has been looking forward to the process. Following up on last year’s productions of original work, the company is offering “a whole week of never-seen shows” in July, two fully produced and five in Readers Theatre format.

Speaking halfway through the two-month rehearsal schedule, Gabaldon says, “I’m very happy with my cast” of twelve, in this dark two-act comedy about a mail carrier in Phoenix. Young actors Dakota King, Tiffany Riall and John Spencer have the topline roles, with veterans Joseph Huff, Cat Buckley and Parker Anderson in support.

Drawing on his own life experience as a mailman in writing the play, Ron Hunting was a good friend of executive director Robyn Allen, who pushed to produce the work, only to have Hunting pass away of ALS after it was approved. This leaves Gabaldon with little guidance on the writer’s intent and adds a layer of challenge to directing it, he says.

“There are so many talented writers right here in the area, but it is very difficult for them to get their work out in front of people,” said Ed Gates, chair of the New Works Festival Committee. “The goal is to have their play presented in hopes of helping the author get it published and produced around the country. PCA has been working toward a venue for new talent for some time now, and we are so excited to present it this summer. With the new theatre opening next year, I am certain this festival will be an annual event.”

Gates is directing the festival’s kickoff production, Buster’s Wife, which he wrote from an original story. The cast includes Bill Krauss, Bethany Moore, Albert Hendeaux, Laine Murphy, Anthony Veneziano, and Tiffany Riall. 

The inaugural New Works Festival will present in the PCA Cabaret August 5-14, featuring seven new works selected by the committee from author submissions. Writers can submit works for consideration through pca-az.net by July 15. Following the last matinee performance the committee will announce the winners, selected by tallying votes submitted by audiences and committee members. Winning plays will receive cash prizes.

Festival format

Buster’s Wife will open the festival in three performances August 5-7. Each of the following four evenings will feature a different play in Readers-Theatre format. The closing weekend offers three performances of Anything You Hear and Only Half of What You See August 12-14.

Prices are just $15 for the staged productions and $5 for readings.

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