Arizona Theatre Company opens 52nd season with ‘Native Gardens’

Arizona Theatre Company  lifts the curtain on “Scene in America,” the theme for its 52nd season and the first reflecting Artistic Director Dave Ivers’ influence and impact, with Karen Zacarías’ new comedy that’s anything but neighborly, “Native Gardens,” Oct. 4-21 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe in Phoenix.

Single tickets are now on sale at the box office and through the website,, as are a range of flexible season-ticket packages for the six shows or combination of them.  Single tickets prices start at $25 including fees.

David Ivers

The 2018-19 season is dedicated to Geri Silvi, ATC’s longtime box office manager in Phoenix. The season is sponsored by I. Michael and Beth Kasser.

“‘Native Gardens’ is a comedy that explores how a common disagreement between well-meaning neighbors about gardening can explode into a primal and absurd battle where no one comes out smelling like a rose,” Ms. Zacarías said. “I am so excited to share this play with Arizona audiences and watch how people ‘root’ for the different characters, arguments and alliances.”

Directed by Jane Jones, who is making her ATC debut, the story revolves around high-powered lawyer Pablo (Keith Contreras) and his wife, Tania (Arlene Chico-Lugo), a doctoral candidate who are working toward the American Dream.

They move into a well-to-do, mostly white Washington, D.C. neighborhood where the neighbors are an old-school, well-established D.C. couple, Frank (Bill Geisslinger) and Virginia Butley (Robynn Rodriguez) with a prize-worthy English garden.

A delicate agreement over a long-standing fence line soon spirals into an all-out ludicrously comic border dispute, exposing both couples’ notions of race, taste, class and cultural privilege.

“This brilliant comedy looks at the fast-receding ideal that we should be able to live next door to each other, whatever our background, age and politics – even as they play rightly observes that harmony cannot exist without some willingness for self-examination, especially on the side of the fence where historical privilege has resided,” Mr. Ivers said.

Looking at the overall six-play season, Mr. Ivers added that the season “will offer a kaleidoscope of reactions and explorations of the American experience, themes of literal and metaphorical family and views of the world we live in.  Our theme, ‘Scene in America,’ resonates in each and every play.”

Performance times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturday,  7 p.m. Sunday. All matinees will be held at 2 p.m.

For more information about season-ticket subscription, go to or call the box office in Phoenix at 602-256-6995.

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