The Saga of Sheriff Joe – new play debuts Friday

Sheriff Joe Arpaio constantly makes the headlines – and now he’s the star of a new play debuting on Dec. 4.

Charles Dee Rice Photography/

Charles Dee Rice Photography/

The Saga of Sheriff Joe, written and directed by James E. Garcia, runs Dec. 4 through 13 at the Third Street Theatre in Phoenix.

The production is put on by the New Carpa Theater, a group that focuses on multicultural and Latino theater works.

Maricopa County’s notorious sheriff has piled up an interesting list of acts that helped make him notorious since he took office in 1993.

These include:

* Immigration sweeps – and arrests – in targeted communities where illegal aliens are suspected of living
* Creating a tent city, bordered in barbed wire, in Maricopa County Jail
* Swathing inmates in pink – pink socks, pink towels, pink prison garb and pink boxer shorts
* Feeding convicts bologna sandwiches, cutting off coffee, smoking, and any cable except for the Disney and weather channels

Anyone who thinks his tactics are too harsh will especially enjoy the play since Sheriff Joe ends up dropping dead from a heart attack.

“Turns out his personal physician is the same guy who was ‘treating’ Michael Jackson before his early demise,” the New Carpa Theater synopsis explains.

“Satan offers to cut Joe a deal — his life in exchange for stopping the Hernandez family from making their annual trek by foot from Sonora to Phoenix to catch the light rail to Bethlehem (it also stops in Vegas now). Comedy ensues. Show intended for general audiences.”

Anyone who is a fan of Sheriff Joe can maybe throw tomatoes or something.

What: American Pastorela: The Saga of Sheriff Joe
When: 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 – 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 6, 12, and 13
Where: Third Street Theatre, 1202 N. Third St. in Phoenix
Tickets at the door: $16 gen. admission; $12 students and seniors; $8 kids 12 and under. Discounts for groups of eight or more.
Discount tickets online: Limited number available by clicking here

More info: Call (623) 252-2772; e-mail; or visit website

New Carpa Theater is funded, in part, by a variety of sources, including the City of Phoenix, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Maricopa Community College District and Phoenix College.

[tnipoll]wb-logolilWhat do you think?

What other public figures should get a play produced about them?

Do you enjoy live theater or prefer the sticky-floored movies?

Does this play sound like it has the makings of a good production? Why or why not?

Does Pima County need a Sheriff Joe?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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47 Responses to The Saga of Sheriff Joe – new play debuts Friday

  1. Jennatoolz says:

    Hello Ryn!! I don’t know much about Sheriff Joe..but this play seems like it would be pretty funny to watch. Hopefully Sheriff Joe won’t be offended, and he’ll enjoy the comedy, if he even goes to see this play. He seems to be pretty kooky already with his crazy ideas…pink prisoners? Of all the colors…why pink?? Lol. Silly man.

    • Rynski says:

      hiya Jenna!
      i agree the play sounds like a hoot. …and the writer/director had the same thoughts about sheriff joe perhaps being offended as he wrote a note to sheriff joe on the website saying “please don’t beat me up” or something.
      pink i think was chosen for humiliation – i know i get humiliated when i wear pink (unless it’s a flashy magenta) – hahhaha.
      he is a silly fellow. but his tactics often seem to work.

    • leftfield says:

      ” Hopefully Sheriff Joe won’t be offended, and he’ll enjoy the comedy…”

      You really don’t know much about Little Joe, do you.  Mr. Pink Panties has a history of using the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to harrass and intimidate his detractors.

      • Rynski says:

        mr. pink panties!!
        maybe he’ll show up and throw tomatoes?

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Lol. I just read an article about a press conference he attended last night. He was there answering questions..when a bunch of protesters showed up and started singing. Upon which Mr. Pink Panties was escorted out. Someone posted some lyrics in the comments section…I thought it was pretty clever. 😛

      • azmouse says:

        I think it’s rude.
        If you don’t want to hear what someone has to say, get up and walk away…maybe others DO want to hear it.

        A few shouldn’t decide for ‘all’.

      • azmouse says:

        I’m more about victims rights than criminals who feel humiliated over pink undies.

  2. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! This is a great idea! Maybe someone can put on a show about those who are robbed, raped and die each year crossing through the desert each year. I can see it now, Satan luring these unfortunates across with promises of easy money and entitlement programs, Mexican officials aiding the multitude across. Sounds like an epic though. Is Cecil B. Demille still above dirt? Arpaio is a ham, with larger aspirations than sheriff no doubt, but he’s the only one doing anything about the problem. I can live with it.

    • Rynski says:

      mornin’ radmax!
      i love your epic production idea – but it would take some 500 stages to properly portray all the mayhem. hahahahha.
      as far as higher aspirations than sheriff, perhaps joe should go for governor – hahhahaha.

      • radmax says:

        Governor Joe, I can see the furr flyin’ already… 🙂 …Ya got me thinkin’, Rynski.(uh-oh) I see Joe as the archangel Gabriel, ever vigilantly watching over Hell.(tent city) In the distance, fires rage from a Godforsaken wasteland(Phoenix). Evil, demon like creatures feeding on some putrid, green flesh.(bologna) Murmuring low and plotting man’s downfall.(their next caper) Held in check only by pink underwear, the vapid Disney channel’s effects,  and Joe’s angelic army. Anyone wishing to contribute to this costly production can send it to: 🙂 PS-for an extra $5, I’ll ask Joe to pray for you…

      • Jennatoolz says:

        No problem Radmax! I’d be happy to contribute to this! Tell ya what, I’ll donate $1k. How’s that sound? I’ll just need a favor though, I’ll send you a check for $3k…when you cash it, can you promise to wire the $2K difference to my long lost daughter? It would save me a trip…here’s her address:
        123 ABC Street
        Zimbabwe, Africa

      • radmax says:


      • Rynski says:

        you got it, jennatoolz!

        dearest one, ,,
        please bank account have money died inheritance for you.
        send bank account money i give you.

      • Rynski says:

        this is BEAUTIFUL! you are quite the creative writer! are you sure you didn’t write the play – hahah.
        esp. like the putrid green flesh as bologna…too bad it wasn’t olive loaf, that would be even more effective (although I happen to dig olive loaf, it does look barfy).

      • radmax says:

        Olive loaf Rynski???!!! That foul concoction was obviously devised by vegetarians to frighten us into steering clear of meat products. 🙂

      • Rynski says:

        ha! that’s a good olive loaf theory… but i thought vegetarians invented meatloaf for that purpose (the kind of meatloaf with gushy chunks of wonder bread to hold it together…)

    • leftfield says:

      How about a movie about how NAFTA forced 1.5 million Mexican farmers off their land, leaving their families destitute, by flooding the American market with subsidized corn?  We could have a scene wherein the migrants are rounded up whilet the real criminals in board rooms have their noses in the trough. 

  3. Carolyn Classen says:

    Did you read what Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly said about that Rasmussen telephone survey last week, with Sheriff Joe a contender for Governor of AZ?

    • Rynski says:

      hey carolyn,
      thanks for link, where i got this excerpt:
      A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Arizona voters finds Arpaio, famed for his crackdowns on illegal immigrants, leading Goddard, the state’s current attorney general, by 12 points — 51% to 39%. Seven percent (7%) prefer some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided.
      wow. that is def. not reflecting the early survey results here, with 60 percent saying he deserves to be mocked!
      if he does get the gov seat, maybe we can all wear pink! hahha

      • leftfield says:

        Of course, Sheriff Joe would be right in line with the Arizona gubenatorial tradition.  He would outclown Evan Mecham; no small feat.  What the heck; we’re already the laughing stock of the nation, why not go for the gold and show the whole world what a bunch of redneck fools we are in Arizona. 

      • leftfield says:

        “wow. that is def. not reflecting the early survey results here, with 60 percent saying he deserves to be mocked”

        That’s because most of Sargeant Sphincter’s fans can’t read.

    • Rynski says:

      p.s. carolyn – wasn’t one of your friends auditioning for this play? did he get in?

      • Carolyn Classen says:

        That’s right, not sure if Victor got the part.  Will check with him later.

      • Carolyn Classen says:

        Ran into Victor last night at a lecture, and he said it was a future movie on Sheriff Joe that he auditioned for, not this play in Phoenix.  And he has yet to hear back from the film producers.

  4. azmouse says:

    Okay, I like Sheriff Joe….go ahead and hate me for it, I can take it.

     Would you want to be in tent city in the summer eating green bologna sandwiches? He’s trying to be a deterrent so people won’t want to go back to jail.

    Also, Joe is an animal lover. He took over the Maricopa Humane Society to save money, by training the inmates on how to take care of the homeless critters. The inmates get to get away from the jail for a while, get paid a meager wage, and he’s saving the county millions of dollars. He actually spends more money taking care of the animals than he does on the criminals for their care.

    • leftfield says:

      Hitler was very fond of his dog and treated her very kindly.

      • azmouse says:

        Thanks leftfield…you always have to throw a wrench in my ‘hoorah’.

      • radmax says:

        Yeah, right up to the moment he tested the cyanide capsules on Blondie. Haven’t heard about Joe building any ovens or ‘special’ showers yet…but there definitely is a connection there…?

      • leftfield says:

        I believe Sheriff Blubber-Butt’s great grandfather killed his beloved German Shepherd (what else?) just before he killed himself (or did he…?).

    • Rynski says:

      anyone who helps animals gets a gold star in my book (except hitler – his mustache was too silly to get a gold star for anything).
      good for you for sticking up for sheriff joe, AZMouse. he’ll thank you when he’s governor!

      • azmouse says:

        I will stick up for him. It’s no fun being ‘the bad guy’ but he really isn’t the bad guy, he just gets treated like one. If people didn’t like him, he wouldn’t continually get voted in. I agree some of his methods are questionable and unsavory, but the people in jail are pretty questionable and unsavory. As long as you don’t break the law, you don’t have to deal with the guy.

        Why are people whining about a guy who is trying to make a positive difference about the crime issues in Az? Why aren’t they whining about all the crime and criminals instead? If you don’t like the way he is handling things, then go there and try to replace him. Come up with some better way to fight crime and keep costs down.

        When did people become so concerned with the comforts of criminals?

      • Rynski says:

        you tell them, AZ!!!
        i think people became so concerned with the comforts of criminals right around the time all the PC bullpoop hit the scene.
        it’s no longer PC to be rude to criminals.
        my other blog topic choice today, in fact, was a release from ACLU crying out about the discomforts of a women’s prison in wisconsin. i would have expected ACLU was up in arms about not having velvet couches and bubble baths, but it ended up being some valid complaints, like inadequate medical care and inadequate facilities for disabled prisoners.
        but the whole concept of “not treating prisoners properly” remains….too bad. the criminals should know they are going to a hell hole if they get caught. it’s not like we’re throwing them in oubliettes or something…

      • radmax says:

        Oubliettes! I’ll run it by sheriff Joe… 😉

      • azmouse says:

        Thanks for the support, Ryn.
        All I’m saying is, imagine if you’re all snugly and safe in your home asleep and then someone breaks in, does whatever he wants to you for as long as he wants, then takes whatever he wants when he leaves.
        The guy gets caught. While in jail awaiting trial, he starts complaining about living in a tent and wearing pink underwear. The public is aghast over this horrible treatment he’s getting!
        In the meantime, you have been to the hospital, which you will be responsible to pay for, because of what he’s done to you. Now, back at your house, you feel alone, frightened, all sense of security taken away from you, among other things that were taken away by this person.
        Where is the support for you? Are people up in arms over the fact that you will never be the same? Will you have to sell a home you love, because it reminds you of what happened that night and what HE took away from you? Will all those people who are upset because he has to stay in a tent and wear pink underwear BY HIS OWN CHOICE because of what he decided to do to you, will they try to reach out to you, the victim, to hear about the day in, day out hell you now go through because of him?

        Priorities……to me, your hell is much more important than his little inconveniences or perceived humiliations. His humiliations will be gone when he leaves jail. Yours will never go away.

      • james says:

        Good afternoon Azmouse! been there and done that in the prisons. 25 years. If leftfield and the other liberals in Arizona want the inmates to be treated better, then let them take them home, and feed them thier cookies and milk, and pay for the rest of the expenses.

        Most liberals want better treatment of the inmates because they are afraid of the truth, the truth being many of these folks are life long criminals and will not change even given the chance. there is always an excuse why they can’t change, but it isn’t because of a lack of good folks trying to give them a chance. there are many instances in which the inmate wishes to go back to prison because it easier than making it outside. Just one of many instances of the truth. Leftfield and his kind will probably not agree with me, and they have every right to not agree, but unless they have been there with me, they can’t dispute my experiences.

        Good day all!

      • azmouse says:

        Thanks for your input, James.
        I’m probably over sensitive about victim’s rights, but it’s an important issue to me. I certainly don’t advocate mistreatment of anyone, including inmates.
        Thanks again for your honest point of view.

      • leftfield says:

        Az and Jimmy,

        No doubt there are some very bad people out there; predators, sociopaths and just plain evil folk.  And no doubt we need to be protected from them.  People who commit crimes against the people and the peace need to be apprehended, adjudicated and punished.  It is also true that the victims of crimes often suffer long and hard from the offenses committed against them by criminals and the victims need to be remembered and helped to recover.

        So, yes, though I can’t speak for liberals (I’m not a liberal, Jim.  Karl Marx is my avatar), I can say that I do believe in a system of justice.  There should be consequences for crimes; definitely.  These consequences, however, should be decided upon by the law as enacted by representatives of the people.  If the penalty for armed robbery is X number of years confinement and the loss of rights A,B and C, so be it.  Part of my problem with Little Joe is that he has taken it upon himself to decide to implement extrajudicial punishment to prisoners.  This is for judges and juries to decide, not a county sheriff.  In a civilized society, we cannot have little martinets thinking they can run their own little kingdoms as they please.  Remember that many of the people that come under Mr. Pink Panties thumb have not been convicted of anything, and thus, by definition, are innocent.  Even when one is convicted, by law one loses certain rights, but not all rights, and certainly not basic human rights. 

        In closing, I will say that it is an unfair and false accusation to equate opposition to Sheriff Joe’s tactics to a complete disregard for the suffering of the victims of crime and “coddling” of criminals.

      • azmouse says:

        I agree, leftfield, that nobody should be allowed to put forth ‘their own justice’. But they (Maricopa) must want him because they keep voting him in. Lord knows, many civil legal eagles keep trying to go after the guy, but he still has a job and the inmates are still sporting pink. Personally, I think they’re lucky to have the Weather Channel and Disney. I think they should just be allowed specific reading material. I’m surprised they have any television at all.

        On the other hand, I never intended for it to sound like I think people who appose Joe are not sympathetic to crime victims. That wasn’t my point at all, only that a little pink humiliation and some bologna won’t ruin them for life, as some victims are ruined for life.

  5. james says:

    Having worked for ADC for 25 years, the treatment the inmates recieve at Maricops jails has been deemed legal. That said, some may be humiliating. The pink underwear was concieved by accident, some of the underwear was washed with the red outerwear and now its pink. The inmates did not steal the pink underwear, like they did the white. this equaled money savings to the county. Same with the balogna. Stuff was still good.

    As for the immigration sweeps, how are they illegal? Nobody wants profiling, but we all do it for survival! Think about dark parking lot, going to ones car, see a minority in the shadows, coming toward you, what is your thought? BE HONEST! See, we all profile.

    Joe has done some less conventional things, but I dare say, they have not been illegal. Yes he may irritate some folks and do things they may not, but they have not been proven to be illegal, in fact all but the latest has been proven legal. The justice department investigation has been a witch hunt (IMHO) since Janet went to DC.

    My thoughts and only that. Good Day.

    • Rynski says:

      thanks for input, james.
      love the history behind the pink, too. as long as he’s staying tippy toed on the side of being legal, it seems he should be allowed to carry on.
      also, in your earlier comment you noted some folks WANTING to come back to prison/jail because it’s easier. so true. free room, board, food and clean clothes. dental care and, well, the disney channel (haha).
      after spending years in juvenile facilities and jails, charles manson was totally lost as a young man when he was let loose…wanted to go back for the ease and comfort…but found something else to do instead.

  6. Carolyn Classen says:

    Ryn, take a look at this blog in the Tucson Weekly about Sheriff Joe:

  7. krazykillax says:

    At this point, I don’t think anyone cares about how the inmates are treated. Most people hate him because of his racism to Mexicans. The part about sheriff Joe always being reelected is because the immigrants have no say which is a large part of Arizona’s population. The only people who should have a say on whether immigration should be legal is Native Americans. I mea no disrespect to anyone, I just stick up for my own beliefs. By the way, the play was great.

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