Writer Joseph J. Airdo // Photo courtesy of United Colors of Arizona Theatre
United Colours of Arizona Theatre this summer will present a series of performances at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts that will explore love in all its forms — from readings of classic stories to musical explorations and cabarets.
Founded in 2016, United Colours of Arizona Theatre began as a Facebook group to create space for Black, Indigenous and people of color within the fine arts, theater and film communities in our state. Its members make theater accessible for everyone by providing opportunities for workshops, dance classes and audition preparation. The organization’s initiative creates a theater that truly reflects our community.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts managing director Meribeth Reeves says that the theater aspires to strengthen Arizona’s fine arts community by advocating for diversity, inclusion, access to opportunity and global awareness.
“A long-term dream is the development of a BIPOC summer stock program, and I believe, this year, United Colours of Arizona Theatre has a program that audiences will not want to miss,” Reeves adds.
That program includes Romeo and Juliet Through New Works — an evening of readings that features a bilingual abridged version of “Romeo and Juliet,” created in collaboration with Pima Community College, and a love story of epic proportions that investigates God and mortals; realism and fantasy; and the shame and joy within queer love of color.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Chiarello will perform a solo cabaret called “Yours Truly” — a personal performance through the songs of musical theater that brought the singer/actor strength, love and an outlet to find and use her voice.
Damon J. Bolling will also perform his first solo cabaret — “Taking the Wheel,” a journey of love and determination through the decades. Bolling says that “Taking the Wheel” — which will explore love, love lost and finding love all over again — is about controlling your own destiny and not being a passenger in life.
“It took me a long time to realize that things do not happen unless you make them happen,’ Bolling explains. “I am not entitled to anything. You have to be brave and sometimes a little fearless to engage in the first steps in making that happen. You might miss an opportunity if you do not try. I am still on that journey, and I hope this performance can help other people who can relate find some comfort knowing that we are all on that journey together.
United Colours of Arizona Theatre’s Summer of Love Series // See website for schedule // Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts // 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale // $29+ // 480-499-8587 // scottsdaleperformingarts.org