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Next Stage

Theater That Provokes


Next Stage is about theater that provokes. We stage contemporary works that take us beyond the familiar, that ask more questions than they answer, that open our minds to thoughts we sometimes submerge and our hearts to emotions we often suppress. We want to represent the cutting edge of Tucson theater. 


Next Stage began in the literal dark. In 2020, as all live venues were shuttered against the Covid pandemic, four actors (one in Hawaii, three in Tucson) — came together with our director for an online staging of Yasmina Reza’s Tony winning explication of the human beast, God of Carnage. That was followed, online again with a cast scattered from New York to Florida to California to Tucson (in collaboration with the Arizona Rose Theatre), by Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize winning Disgraced and its exploration of racism and xenophobia. 

The return of live venue performance in 2022 allowed us to mount two acclaimed works with similarly provocative themes: David Ives’ taut dissection of the twisted power dynamics between men and women in Venus in Fur; and Halley Feiffer’s astonishing extraction of humor from the sufferings of a cancer ward in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City.


Now into 2023, our audiences continue to grow, and the kind of exciting work that we do has allowed us to present some of the best acting talent in Tucson, including Samantha Cormier, David Greenwood, Ryan Parker Knox, Cynthia Jeffery and Susan Arnold, just to name a few. 

We have an equally exciting — and equally outrageous — season planned for this year. Martin McDonagh’s depravedly funny A Behanding in Spokane, with something guaranteed to offend everyone, will run at the Temple of Music and Art Cabaret in a scripted but full staging in July, starring Taylor Hernandez, Robert Anthony Peters, Clark Andreas Ray and Richard ‘Chomps’ Thompson; and Neil LaBute’s thought provoking look at our obsession with female beauty and the male response to it, reasons to be pretty, will have a full run at the Cabaret in November and star Samantha Cormier, Taylor Rascher, Aaron Cammack and Taige’ Lauren. 

Please come see our work and let us provoke your mind, tickle your belly, and touch your heart. 


Mark’ Klugheit's passion for theater began in his undergraduate coursework at the Yale Drama School under Dean Robert Brustein. He managed to put that passion aside, mostly, for the next dozens of years earning a living as a lawyer and law teacher. In semi-retirement, in 2010, he returned to the performing arts, both stage (Neil Simon, Mamet, Shakespeare) and film (2013 Independent Film Arizona award for Best Actor). 

Roadrunner Theatre Company gave Mark an opportunity to direct in 2016, and in terms of his acting career that, as they say, was that. Between 2016 and now, Mark has directed ten fully realized productions, eight on stage and two online, including God of Carnage, Luna Gale, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, Venus in Fur and Disgraced.  His plays has been nominated for a total of 19 MAC and CARMEN awards (Tucson’s version of the Tony’s), including Best Director and Best Drama and Best Comedy. 

In 2019, as Mark was preparing to direct Cat, he was profiled in Broadway World by Nevada Shakespeare Founder Jeanmarie Simpson, in an interview where you can see some more of his thoughts about directing and theater.

Mark Klugheit, Director of Next Stage Theatre Southwest


Click on the Gallery below to see some of the scenes captured during our latest performances.  

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