Nationally renowned entertainers such as Roy Clark, the Smothers Brothers and Frankie Avalon visit SaddleBrooke on a regular basis, and the community’s residents line up in droves to see the sold-out performances. If you don’t live in SaddleBrooke and are unaware of its magnificent theater at the DesertView Performing Arts Center, maybe it’s time to check out a show. And yes, tickets are available to non-residents and always have been.
“Any show on our website for DesertView is open to the public,” said Pat Beeks, the facility’s event manager. “Our biggest problem has been reaching the public. A lot don’t realize they can come to the theater.”
“There are few theaters like this in the country, especially in a small community like this,” added Alex Infald, DesertView’s stage manager, whose background includes working with iconic shows such as “Hair” during its early days on Broadway. “Acoustically,” he said, “it’s fantastic.”
The 478-seat performing arts center opened in 2005 after SaddleBrooke II homeowners insisted on a sophisticated venue for its entertainment. Events held at DesertView include movies, art shows, theatrical performances, comedy acts and concerts by local and national entertainers. This year, for the first time, a music series will be presented throughout the summer months featuring bands from Tucson and Phoenix.
Attracting non-residents to the theater, Beeks pointed out, is not only important for sustaining the theater’s ongoing programs, but also to Oro Valley and Tucson businesses. “On show nights, people go to dinner prior to the show or after. There are restaurants all up and down Oracle on the way,” she noted.
Directions to the theater are available on the website.
Behind every great theater is a great staff. Meet the behind-the-scenes folks at DesertView Performing Arts Center:
Pat Beeks, events manager
Beeks is responsible for hiring entertainment, scheduling, advertising, accounting and managing the website. She started working at the clubhouse 11 years ago and has run DesertView since its opening. She grew up in San Manuel and worked as a rail traffic controller before hiring on at SaddleBrooke. The biggest perk of her job, she said, is getting to meet the entertainers.
“When we bring a big name in, I make it part of the contract that they have dinner with me,” she said.
Darbie Baker, event administrative assistant
Baker sells tickets three days a week and helps Beeks with advertising, online marketing and artistic selection. She has experience in theater and ran a talent agency in California. She moved to SaddleBrooke 15 years ago and has been with DesertView for three years. What she enjoys about her work is promoting entertainers and working with the public at DesertView’s ticket window.
Marsha South, event administrative assistant
South spends half her time booking meeting rooms for the various facilities in SaddleBrooke II and the other half working with Beeks and Baker, primarily in ticket sales. She covers the ticket window on days Baker is off and also handles sales during the shows. South loves the fact that the events are family friendly.
“I can call my grandkids, who are 10 and 13, and they can come to any show we have,” she said.
Alex Infald, stage manager
Infald moved to SaddleBrooke immediately after DesertView opened. This was perfect timing, since the staff was short on technical experience. As a young man, he worked for Broadway theaters in New York City, where he was exposed to top sound and lighting people. He manages the sound and lights for DesertView’s larger shows, believing that good lighting adds a dramatic effect to the show experience.
“People don’t know all the work that goes on behind the scenes. They think it’s magic,” he said.
*Alex Infald was unable to attend the photo shoot for this story.
Tony Carrillo, technician
Carrillo spends parts of three days each week at DesertView; during the rest of his workweek, he sets up rooms at the country club for meetings and events. Prior to being hired eight years ago, Carrillo worked at a concrete factory and a mine, and he served in the military. His responsibilities include setting up the stage, lights, microphones, “anything that pertains to the stage,” Carrillo said. He also runs the soundboard during the shows.
Joey Mendoza, technician
Mendoza handles sound and lighting for shows that Infald and Carrillo are not working; he’s also in charge of audio-visual equipment at the country club. Mendoza started with DesertView when it first opened and previously worked at SaddleBrooke I and for an underground utilities locater in Tucson. He’s the regular sound and lighting technician for DesertView’s church service every Sunday, and he likes the challenge of his tasks and the variety of work.