For a period of 18 days (between June 12-25, 1974), the mercury rose to a whopping 100+ degrees, with the apex hitting 116.1°F June 24. Still, the hottest day in Arizona history came two decades later – a sizzling 128°F – recorded in late June 1994

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When Judi Rodman moved to Oro Valley seventeen years ago, she realized that the community had no theater company and founded the Oro Valley Theatre Company. As an actor, director, and theater lover, she had the passion and determination to get things started, so she rallied a committee of individuals involved in the arts. They mounted their first production, Our Town, in April 2019, as a nod to the town of Oro Valley and one of her favorite playwrights, Thornton Wilder.

The Oro Valley Theatre Company is dedicated “to nourishing the heart and soul of the town and surrounding communities by providing quality theater experiences both on and off stage”, and community support has been incredible. Judi notes that from the beginning, every show has been sold out every night, which is very rewarding. In February, OVTC will bring The Sunshine Boys to the stage. This must-see theater production is one of Neil Simon’s most hysterical comedies, and a great opportunity to support the arts and local theater in our community.

OVTC shares a successful partnership with the Gaslight Music Hall of Oro Valley that began with a cold call six years ago. “We produce book shows, not musical revues” Judi says, explaining the distinction and audience members come from neighboring communities in Tucson and Marana to attend performances. “People come from all over. One of our lead actors in The Sunshine Boys lives in Sierra Vista”, Judi says. Theater has a way of bringing people together and OVTC is living proof.

OVTC is also working with Pima Community College to provide opportunities for students who are interested in working in theater. The stage mistress and prop master for a recent OVTC production was a former PCC student, and Judi hopes to continue this partnership to provide work experience for more PCC students.

Off stage, Judi recently worked with local artist Harry “Mo” Greene, co-directing Once Upon a Time, a storytelling program that invites members of Splendido of Rancho Vistoso to write and perform their own stories. The first presentation in December was a holiday show, sharing stories of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas past. Judi hopes this is the first of many opportunities to bring storytelling to retirement communities throughout the area, encouraging residents to share and discuss memories of the past. She also plans to launch a new program called Shakespeare’s Corner, reaching out to new playwrights to mount performances of their pieces for the community in the future.

The Oro Valley Theatre Company is always looking for new volunteers, so if you are interested this could be a great opportunity to get involved and give back to the community. With future productions on the horizon, those interested in auditioning as actors, or working behind the scenes in props, costumes, or stage management can find more information online.

Our local community celebrates the arts, and OVTC is enriching our town with theater productions and community partnerships that create unique opportunities for individuals to get involved and be inspired. If you would like to support the Oro Valley Theatre Company, you can make a donation, participate as a sponsor, or attend an upcoming show.

Treat yourself and your friends to a wonderful evening of entertainment and check out The Sunshine Boys. Performances will be February 17-19, and tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Gaslight Music Hall on 520-529-1000.

To learn more about the Oro Valley Theater Company and upcoming productions, check out their website at

By Tom Ekman, J.D., M.Ed.