Scottsdale- For 21 years Scottsdale Desert Stages has trained over 6,000 young actors.
“We do 13 productions a year. Over 250 shows,” said Laurie Cullity. Executive Director & Artistic Director for Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre.
Many of the graduates have gone on to bigger stages like Broadway and TV.
“14-year-old Asher Angel who starred with us as Flounder and is now working in Hollywood as an actor,” Cullity said.
Other Alumni include:
• Max Crumm and Catherine Ricafort, ‘Disaster on Broadway’
• Landry Bender, Disney Channel’s ‘Best Friends Whenever’
• Natalie Ellis, ‘School of Rock’
• Riley Glick and Ross Nemeth, “Evita’
For almost 12 years Desert Stages has called the corner of Goldwater Boulevard and Scottsdale Road home. In October the theater will call the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall home. Co-founder Laurie Cullity says it's a great move.
“We'll have a lot more theater space. We'll be growing from 6,500 square feet to over 12,500 square feet. A lot more space for the actors. A lot more space for the audience,” Cullity said.
They'll be moving into what is the old Harkins Theater next to the food court and construction is set to start in June. And when the transformation from movie theater to performance theater is complete, Desert Stages will almost double the amount of seats and add state of the art sound and lighting systems. Cullity believes the mall will also bring more foot traffic in.
“Every time you leave a space, you have a little grief because you're leaving your home. No matter what it was. Now were in the excitement of a new journey and a new home. I got goose bumps,” Cullity said.
This will be the third time Desert Stages has moved. Its' original home in 1995 was on McDonald Road near Granite Reef. Then it moved to its current location in 2004. Now, as the Desert Stages continues to grow the young talent will continue to blossom.
“I'm like a proud parent with all these kids. They come to me inexperienced. We give them a home and a place to be and grow,” Cullity said.
Desert Stages has launched a capital campaign to help pay for the renovation of the new theater. For more information, visit desertstages.org.
Copyright 2016 KPNX