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June is 'busting out all over' the Mesa performing arts scene

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School is winding down, winter visitors have headed north, but June is anything but quiet on the Mesa theatre scene. Some top picks for the coming weeks include shows at Mesa Arts Center, Gilbert's Hale Theatre and at ASU Gammage.

Mesa Encore Theatre closes its season with the Tony-nominated musical The Full Monty that plays from May 30 to June 15 at Mesa Arts Center. "The show isn’t all bawdy, male-stripping humor, though there’s plenty of that," according to company's press, and "at its heart, is a story about a guy who will do anything to be with his son." The title plays on the British slang that means to 'reveal or show everything,' and it's full of sweet moments...along with the discovery of with the salty ones, and plenty of naked truths.

Porgy & Bess pulls into ASU Gammage next week as the next show in their Broadway national tour series. The winner of the 2012 Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Musical, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess features members of the Broadway cast along with some stunning and stirring new staging in a show that's been tightened from the original. Accompanied by a lush 23-piece orchestra, this re-envisioned Broadway production includes legendary songs like “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “I Got Plenty of Nothing.” It's here for just a week, June 3-8.

Hale Theatre in Gilbert opened just Memorial Day weekend an excellent production of The Miracle Worker. Winner of 4 Tony Awards, the Hale says it's proud to present "the dramatic true story of Annie Sullivan's struggle to free Helen Keller from her prison of silence and darkness." The tale is often spell-binding as Annie opens a new world to Helen Keller, an inspirational young lady whose triumphant spirit has endured for generations.

Finally, for a taste of a television megastar making music, Mesa Arts Center is welcoming Hugh Laurie & the Copper Bottom Band, for just one night, next Tuesday, June 3. Laurie is arguably best known internationally for his performance in the FOX series, House which ran for eight seasons, starring him as a brilliant, antisocial diagnostician. But here in Mesa, he'll shine as the musician who has played piano for most of his life, is predominantly self-taught, and has gone on to have an incredibly successful music career. In 2011, he released a New Orleans Blues album ‘Let Them Talk’ which was distributed worldwide by Warner Bros Records.

So, let the summer begin, with excellent art abounding on the East Valley stages.

-Jennifer Haaland

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