About Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre
Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre, an award-winning, non-profit performing arts theatre, is committed to offering high-quality entertainment to suit a variety of ages and musical tastes and to providing a creative platform that nurtures each stage of an actor's development.
Its ideal location at 4720 N. Scottsdale Road is a dream-come-true for this popular venue that began in 1995 as a community youth theatre in a Scottsdale strip mall at Granite Reef Road and McDonald Drive . Founded by husband and wife team Gerry and Laurie Cullity and Gerry's mother Joan Thompson , Desert Stages outgrew its humble beginnings and, in May 2004, moved to the beautiful 6500 square foot free-standing art-deco building that graces the corner of Scottsdale Road and Highland Avenue in downtown Scottsdale . This setting allows Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre to offer entertainment choices on two separate stages, as well as operate its Academy of Theatrical Arts year-round.
The main theatre within the Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre complex is a 136-seat theatre-in-the-round which provides a very personal and interactive experience for our patrons. Audience members often find themselves surrounded by actors who may appear and disappear from up to eight different entrances-four on stage level and four on catwalk level. Cullity Hall productions, featuring actors of all ages, alternate with Children's Theatre productions that feature young performers, ages 3 to 19. Our popular Cullity Hall series includes large-cast, family-friendly productions like Oliver! , Footloose, West Side Story and Hello, Dolly and often receives critical acclaim from Valley reviewers. Our blockbuster hit Cabaret , for example, was honored numerous times, receiving "Best Of" awards from Tribune Theatre Critic Chris Page , New Times Theatre Critic Robrt Pela and Arizona Regional Theatre Critic Mark S.P. Turvin . Be sure to visit our Awards page to see our list of accolades.
Our Children's Theatre series offers a mix of well-loved classic and original musicals, suitable for all ages. Desert Stages was blessed with the creative talents of original founder Gerry Cullity, who served as Artistic Director from our theatre's humble beginnings until March, 2005, when he passed away. An accomplished director, actor, musician and lyricist, he left a legacy of wonderful original musicals and original scores to adapted stories. He wrote music and lyrics to such favorite tales as The Ugly Duckling ,Cinderella , Charlotte's Web , Alice in Wonderland and The Snow Queen ; as well as book, music and lyrics to the popular children's musicals Southwest Tails , In the Kingdom Of Clouds , The Butterfly's Day and more. Gerry's ragtime adaptation of Cinderellaprompted Arizona Republic Theatre Critic Kyle Lawson to write: "It's clear that Gerry Cullity , Desert Stages founder and artistic director, knows how to write a musical. Adults will find much to laugh about in his witty dialogue. His songs are as pretty as any heard on a local stage this season ( May 26, 2004 )." Gerry's work continues to live on in our hearts and on our stage. We look forward to sharing his musicals with old and new audience members and actors every season.
Scottsdale Desert Stages' second stage is called The Actor's Café. This intimate 60-seat proscenium-style theatre combines traditional theatre seating with café-style tables and chairs and offers long-running small-cast productions. Our Actor's Café made its debut with the hilarious adult musical I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change in July, 2004 and continues to produce award-winning--and very popular--entertainment for our patrons.
In addition to its full-range of entertainment offerings, Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre operates a year-round Academy of Theatrical Arts and popular Summer Camp for Young Actors, ages 3-15. Its mission is to help would-be actors discover their creative abilities and to nurture and develop the theatre and dance skills of more experienced young actors. Our Theatre complex complements our Academy's offerings with its gorgeous dance facility and large multi-purpose area, as well as our two fully-operational theatre spaces.
Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre operates with the help of a talented staff and a dedicated and valuable team of enthusiastic volunteers. We are a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation that derives its funding through ticket sales, private donations and grants. We welcome your financial contribution or volunteer efforts. And we especially encourage you to discover for yourself the magic that is found at Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre.
"I have always believed in the moment...the perfect laser-like point where preparation, information, inspiration and, perhaps, divine intervention unite to enable a change. In my life I have seen real change as the product of such moments."
Theatre Founder and
Gerry Cullity (1953-2005)
Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre exists to create "moments"-that instant in time when an actor truly connects with his audience on a human level. For the actor, it is a time of self-fulfillment; for the audience, it is a time when hearts are touched. It is a moment that is special. A moment that empowers. A moment that creates change.
Our vision is to provide as many actors as possible with the opportunities to experience these "moments"; to explore and expand their creative talents and their dreams; to entertain; to develop and nourish their love and appreciation for theatre; and to enrich-and maybe even change-lives through this theatrical experience.