The Night the Lights (Almost) Went Out at the ATC

Arizona Theather Company TucsonThey say the show must go on.  But it almost didn’t. The Arizona Theater Company, a Tucson performing arts treasure, came close to closing its doors this summer due to a funding crisis. At the last minute, the ATC received an infusion of support from donors, enabling the embattled company to continue into its 50th year. And on September 10th, the ATC kicked off its season with the Broadway hit King Charles III, a compelling drama with comic undertones that explores a provocative future scenario: What happens in the world of the British royals when Queen Elizabeth is gone and Prince Charles ascends the throne with Camilla by his side?

Over the years, Tucson theater-goers have enjoyed an impressive offering of ATC performances worthy of a world-class fine arts community. The ATC is the sole major theater in the country that serves two cities, producing plays and musicals at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix and the historic Temple of Music and Art in Tucson. It’s also the state’s only member of the elite League of Resident Theatres. When the company ran into financial trouble, accruing a two-million-dollar debt, artistic director David Ira Goldstein, theatre patrons, staff, board members, and community officials rallied to raise funds in the nick of time.

Tucson has a vibrant, thriving performing arts community – from the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, to the Arizona Opera Company, to an impressive array of innovative independent theater companies like the Rogue Theater, to a number of acclaimed high school drama departments. On a given week you can enjoy Chaka Khan or Itzhak Perlman at a UA Presents event. This year’s Broadway in Tucson season includes The Sound of Music and The Bodyguard – as well as the Farewell Tour of Mama Mia. The Rogue’s line-up includes a spring production of Macbeth.

None of this would be possible, however, without the wholehearted support of the community. We almost lost one of our finest fine arts gems. This season, let’s get out and enjoy the arts in our own Tucson backyard, catching some of the upcoming ATC performances – maybe the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof, the Johnny Cash tribute Ring of Fire, or the Sherlock Holmes mystery Holmes and Watson.

Whatever your taste, live performing arts provide an enriching, one-of-a-kind experience. Somewhere in Tucson tonight, the curtain is going up on a performance. Why not get off the couch and make a night of it?

This blog has been written and edited by Andy Courtney Properties Director of Operations Sherri Courtney and our good friend Norma Roessler.

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