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76 2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE arts & culture by Michael Hammett I n the last decade, the Valley has stretched its boundaries in all directions, while enjoying a renaissance at its core in downtown Phoenix. Thankfully, the arts scene followed the same growth pattern. " Some communities have a single downtown location that is the clear locus of its arts," said Matt Lehrman, executive director of Alliance for Audience and ShowUp. com, a Web site launched in 2003 as a gateway to the Valley's arts scene. " In our vast community, there are many such locations — and a great wealth of offerings," Lehrman said The Valley is home to more than 300 unique venues. Step inside and you'll discover world- class arts experiences crafted by masters in our midst. Broadway's best When Broadway shows take to the road you can bet they'll stop at Tempe's ASU Gammage Auditorium. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the legendary venue makes any show feel at home — in fact, it was permanently modified to accommo-date the swinging chandelier in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, more than a decade ago. It's where you'll see the Tony- winning smash Wicked and classics such as Cats in 2009 — and the Broadway stars love to play Gammage. The Orpheum Theatre is a 1929 show-place restored to its former glory. Mae West made a historic visit back in the day to promote her film, I'm No Angel. You'll see shows like the Tony- winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and enjoy an evening with platinum- selling musician Jim Brickman. Enjoy dinner with your song and dance? You'll want to check out Arizona Broadway Theatre in Peoria and Broad-way Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa. Both pair great food with the best of the Great White Way. And Phoenix Theater, our state's oldest, is known for staging Broad-way favorites that pack the house. The company tackles Les Miserables in 2009. Stages of theater The Tempe Performing Arts Center is where Stray Cat Theatre gets frisky. " We present vital contemporary Downtown Phoenix building as an arts hub On the first Friday of each month, tens of thousands of people converge on downtown Phoenix to take part in First Fridays — a monthly cultural celebration launched in the mid-' 90s by Art Link, a non- profit organization created to promote the growth of the arts scene in downtown Phoenix. " It is now one of the largest art walks in the country," said Vaiden Boyer Kirchheimer, vice president, ArtLink. Roosevelt Row, located on Roosevelt Street, between 7th Street and Central Avenue, is a starting point for many on the tour. This is where you'll find Modi-fied Arts ( one of the area's pioneer art spaces, featuring a mix of fine art and live music), a funky boutique called Made, Carly's Café ( for drinks and eats), and Tammie Coe Cakes ( when you crave coffee and a sweet), among other popular hang outs. That's just the beginning. Trolleys transport art lovers to all the hotspots — including the world renowned Phoenix Art Museum, a must see art space at the southern edge of the city called Bentley Project, and an arts district on- the- rise located along Grand Avenue — this is where you'll find a Phoenix land-mark lounge called Chez Nous. First Fridays is a great way to taste all that Downtown Phoenix has to offer. But, why wait? Shops and galleries are open for business right now. More info: artlinkphoenix. com or rooseveltrow. org. — Michael Hammett Spotlight on the Arts An oasis of theatre, music, fine art and dance is waiting for you to dive in photo: The arizona republic arts & culture

2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE 77 Details on events and attractions can be found on these Web sites: Arts listings, events • www. showup. com City of Glendale Office of Tourism & Visitor Center • www. visitglendale. com Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau • www. phoenixcvb. com Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau • www. mesacvb. com Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau • www. scottsdalecvb. com Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau • www. tempecvb. com West Valley Arts Council • www. westvalleyarts. org ARTS AND CULTURE RESOURCE GUIDE material — sometimes completely new work — that's a little off the beaten path," said Ron May, artistic director. " And we tend toward stories that use younger actors so you get a killer sense of the emerging talent out here." Herberger Theater Center is where you'll see the latest works by Equity companies such as Arizona Theatre Company and Actors Theatre, along with productions by Valley Youth Theatre. Don't let the " youth" dissuade you — it's not your average high school musical. Young performers have leapt from the Herberger stage to starring roles on Broadway ( Max Crumb, Grease), in film ( Emma Stone, Superbad), and one even became an American Idol ( Jordin Sparks). The Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Paradise Valley Community College opened in 2005. It features the latest lighting and sound technology to allow Arizona Jewish Theatre Company shows to really sing. The refined pallet Phoenix Symphony Hall is a 1972 facility that, thanks to a $ 15 million full- body lift, has been reborn into a modern space that is a feast for the senses. This is where The Phoenix Symphony plays, of course, which is led by Maestro Michael Christie who also is known for his work with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Long- time guest guest- conductor Doc Severinsen, a. k. a. Johnny Carson's music man, offers evenings of pop. You'll also witness the opulent productions of Arizona Opera. Maestro Joel Revzen has been working his craft with the Metropolitan Opera since 1999. And Ballet Arizona is known for its annual production of The Nutcracker, and so much more. Its leader, Ib Andersen, came up through the ranks of the New York City Ballet under the guidance of the legendary George Balanchine. " What you will see in terms of production value will literally blow you away," Andersen said of The Nutcracker. " This is the most lavish, expensive production ever produced in Arizona." A night at the museum It may be hot outside but you'll always be cool at the Phoenix Art Museum. The temperature is always set at 72 degrees. Housed in a modern architectural masterpiece, the museum completed a $ 50 million expansion in 2006 — which means you can enjoy more of its 17,000 works of art. The Heard Museum, which seems to grow by thousands of square feet each decade, recently opened galleries in North Scottsdale and Surprise. Together they house almost 40,000 works of Native American art. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art features cutting edge works by some of the world's most exciting artists. And Scottsdale's Thursday night ArtWalk still draws big crowds after 30 years. New kids on the block The Tempe Center for the Arts is the jewel of a 17- acre lakeside art park. Here you'll enjoy poetry readings, comedy headliners, dance, and award- winning Child's Play productions. The Mesa Arts Center is the largest arts center in the state. You might see Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain, a reading by best- selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, or just hang out and enjoy the beauty of the facility. The Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, a 13 million dollar facility with a 280- seat main stage and 80- seat black box, is home to the award- winning Theatre Works — this is the Northwest Valley's arts destination. photo: the arizona republic