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Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix to add more shows next year

(Google Maps photo/Brian Markham)
LISTEN: More theater choices in Phoenix

PHOENIX — Fans of live shows who live in the Valley will soon have more shows to choose from at a downtown Phoenix theater.

Three new resident companies — Arizona Opera, Childsplay and Arizona Broadway Theatre — have joined the Herberger Theater Center and will begin staging performances next year, the theater announced Monday.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said he could not be more excited for the expansion, but added that it is not surprising because word is getting around about the quality and number of theater performances in Phoenix.

Stanton said the Herberger saw more than 800 performances this year, calling it the “highest number ever. That’s an estimated 36 percent increase in performances and events from last year.”

In addition, Stanton said about 200,000 people attended shows at the Herberger this season, a “70 percent in audience from just last year.”

Keil Klaphake, the executive producer for Arizona Broadway Theatre, praised the move to become a permanent resident at the theatrical company, saying it will be wonderful in many ways.

“I’m really inspired by the mission of the Herberger,” he said. “The growth and the support of this community has been unbelievable. We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to continue that partnership in bringing musical theater into this amazing facility.”

Joe Specter with Arizona Opera said he was also thrilled to be a part of the new partnership, adding that presenting new and thrilling works are an “important element in our pursuit of best serving and deepening our engagement with our community.”

Starting next year, Specter said, Arizona Opera will present a main stage season at Symphony Hall and a performance series called Arizona Opera Red at Herberger Theater Center.

Childsplay, a company that aims to bring the theater to young audiences, will keep its headquarters and classrooms in Tempe. All its performances, however, will be at the Herberger starting next year.

Bringing on these new companies is expected to increase audience growth by 35 percent, according to Herberger President and CEO Mark Mettes.

“This adds to the diverse offerings of the resident companies, that will entertain and inspire audiences of all ages,” he said.

The Herberger Theater opened in 1989 to showcase and support local artists. Today, it has three performance spaces, an art gallery and lounge.

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