Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Phoenix

SHOUT! The Mod Musical
Arizona Broadway Theatre
Review by Gil Benbrook | Season Schedule

Blair Beasley, Kait Russell, Maris McCulley,
Amanda Valenzuela, and Harley Barton

Photo by Kat Barnes
As the 1960s saw the rise of women's liberation, the dawn of sexual awakening, and the understanding that the idea of self-help and self-discovery could be incredibly beneficial, the rock and pop music of the period, notably the songs made famous around the world by a group of UK solo female artists, helped to define the decade. The jukebox musical SHOUT! The Mod Musical features more than two dozen well-known songs from the '60s made famous by such popular artists as Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Shirley Bassey, and Lulu, depicting the individual journeys of a quintet of young women with the lyrics from the songs providing commentary and insight into their lives. Arizona Broadway Theatre's production features five sensational actresses, sharp direction, fun choreography, and gorgeous creative elements which result in an upbeat, charming, and crowd-pleasing production. It also proves to be one of the better jukebox musicals as, while it's a fun show and there isn't much of a plot, there is a lot of "meat" to the stories of the women involved, especially as the show touches upon some serious and meaningful topics.

Though there isn't a deep plot or intricate storyline, the musical, created by Phillip George, David Lowenstein, and Peter Charles Morris, follows five women with distinct personalities through a series of vignettes and the songs of the period to depict the journey their lives take over a series of years. Articles from the fictional magazine of the time, Shout!, "the magazine for the modern woman," comment on the latest trends in pop culture as well as the news of the decade. The women pen letters to the magazine's advice columnist, who attempts to assist them with answers to questions and advice on hardships they face, but they find the guidance they receive to be archaic, unhelpful, and somewhat condescending.

When the five women are introduced, we are told they represent different colors, or women, of the "mod rainbow," and the excellent color-coordinated costumes by Cassandra Klaphake and period perfect wigs by Amanda Gran assist beautifully in making each character unique. There is Orange girl (Blair Beasley), who pins her hopes and dreams on a husband and children; the thin, model with the bob hairdo, Blue girl (Maris McCulley), who has a secret; the smart but insecure and slightly nerdy Red girl (Amanda Valenzuela); and the slightly slutty Green girl (Kait Russell), who has had plenty of experience in dumping men. Added to this foursome of British ladies is Yellow girl (Harley Barton), the American who is visiting London and obsessed with Paul McCartney

The songs in the show include numerous solos, duets, and group numbers as well as several that are medleys of songs that work well together to comment on the period and the plight of these women. Some of the many highlights include "Wishin' and Hopin'," "To Sir with Love," ""Son of a Preacher Man," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," "These Boots Are Made for Walking," "Those Were the Days," and "Downtown". All five of the women in the cast have excellent singing voices and they each get plenty of chances to show off their super vocal abilities.

Director Seth Tucker does a beautiful job of making sure the comic moments pop and the serious scenes are meaningful. Choreographer Lauran Stanis Watson provides bright and upbeat retro dance steps, and music director Matthew Stephens derives lush harmonies and rich vocals from the entire cast. Leigh Treat's lighting design and the sound design by Kimberlee Christiansen deliver an abundance of changing stage images and bright and clear sound, respectively, and there is also a series of fun sound effects that add to the humor of the show plus projections that provide period imagery.

With an excellent cast and impressive creative aspects, Arizona Broadway Theatre's production of SHOUT! The Mod Musical proves to be not only a nostalgic trip back in time to swinging 1960s London, but also a rich journey into the lives of five unique women.

Arizona Broadway Theatre is adhering to all state and local safety guidelines for this and all of their upcoming productions. As Phoenix's only dinner theatre, they've found a way to successfully bring back the idea of "dinner and a show" at this time by separating the dining and performance experiences and temporarily locating the pre-show dining in the large ABT lobby space and limiting the dining capacity to 75. The socially distanced tables provide a complete feeling of safety. Face masks are required by all patrons during the show portion of the evening in ABT's main stage venue.

SHOUT! The Mod Musical runs through April 18, 2021, at Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 West Paradise Lane, Peoria AZ. Tickets can be ordered at or by calling 623-776-8400.

Director: Seth Tucker
Choreography: Lauran Stanis Watson
Music Direction: Matthew Stephens
Lighting Design: Leigh Treat
Sound Design: Kimberlee Christiansen
Costume Design: Cassandra Klaphake
Wig Design: Amanda Gran
Production Manager: Rob Watson
Stage Manager: Leigh Treat

Yellow: Harley Barton
Orange: Blair Beasley
Blue: Maris McCulley
Green: Kait Russell
Red: Amanda Valenzuela