Category Archives: theater

Silly old bear

Silly old bear. It’s one of my favorite lines from A.A. Milne tales of the little boy named Christopher Robin whose fluffy companions include a bear called Winnie the Pooh. I’ve got Pooh on the brain today after reflecting a bit more on the transition to a new blog site. I’m remembering my early days with our oldest son Christopher, whose room as a toddler was decorated with all things primary colors and Pooh.

Christopher has been a part of our lives for more than two decades, and I’ve been affiliated with Raising Arizona Kids for nearly that long — joining the staff when my three children were still small enough to read Winnie the Pooh tales in lap mode. They’re all in college now, so the nature of our relationships is evolving. Still, this will always be their home.

That’s how I feel about Raising Arizona Kids. Folks concerned that my new adventures mean their stories won’t get shared with RAK audiences needn’t fret. I’m continuing to cover Arizona arts and culture for the magazine, but in online article rather than blog mode. Also continuing to write an arts page for each month’s print magazine. Your stories are no less near and dear to me now than they were some 1,250 + posts ago when I started blogging.

Like all artists, writers need to explore and grow. We need fresh eyes on new landscapes. I never worry, when seeing associate artists for Childsplay direct or act in other settings, that their love for Childsplay is diminished in any way. I suspect their diverse adventures fuel both their individual creativity and work together as an ensemble. That’s how I feel about both writing for RAK and doing my own “Stage Mom Musings” thing.

Similarly, our children’s college adventures don’t mean they love us any less. It’s just that there are more paths for them to travel. And that’s as it should be. I fully expect that the road back home will stay well trodden. And so it is for my relationship with Raising Arizona Kids. I’ll be sharing arts adventures both there and here, which’ll help me champion Arizona arts both locally and beyond our borders.

I hope you’ll follow along on my road trip. Covering Arizona arts and culture — and those who nurture and create it — continues to be my great joy and privilege. So no worries, silly old bear.

– Lynn

Note: Please send arts and culture news my way at stagemommusings@gmail.com. That’ll get your events and programs on both my RAK and Stage Mom Musings radar. Once RAK recovers from flood mode, we’ll get old “Stage Mom” posts moved over to the “Stage Mom Musings” site at www.stagemommusings.com, where new posts appear each day.

Fertile field, empty nest

Soon I'll be taking flight with new "Stage Mom Musings" adventures

I planted a seed some 1,000 + posts ago, eager to share my love for theater with fellow parents. You could say that Raising Arizona Kids was the soil. It’s been a fertile field for parents to grow, nurture and share experiences for more than two decades. The “Stage Mom” blog has thrived there, growing into a tree of sorts with branches reaching far beyond the Valley of the Sun. I’m grateful for the roots that’ve made the next part of the “Stage Mom” journey possible.

Soon I’ll be leaving the nest to take “Stage Mom” solo, though I know I’ll never really have to fly alone. I’ll still be part of the Raising Arizona Kids family, continuing to write features for the magazine that gave my writing wings and nurtured its growth through the years. My first Raising Arizona Kids article was published in a birthday party issue – something about a Beanie Baby party for daughter Jennifer. Back then, all I knew of writing was “write what you know.”

Karen Barr – the magazine’s founder, publisher and editor – has been a mentor throughout my writing journey, and is incredibly supportive even now as I’m preparing to leave the nest. Much of what I know about writing came from years of “on the job” training with Karen and fellow writers in the RAK family. My writing for RAK has garnered both national and state awards, and I’m grateful for the magazine’s role in helping me find and share my voice about matters great and small.

Most recently, “Stage Mom” earned two Arizona Press Club Awards in the non-metro category – second place for arts criticism and first place for features blog. RAK writers earned an additional six awards. I’ll never stop learning from RAK, but other projects now beckon – including a book about dance that I hope will be the first of several guides to introducing children and teens to the arts. I’ve got an amazing partner for the dance book, and will be sharing more news on that front in coming weeks.

For now, I’m busy making a new home for the writer formerly known as “Stage Mom.” Think Twitter, Facebook, blog and beyond. Watching me wrestle the world of widgets should prove plenty entertaining. Cyberspace is filled with stage moms, so you’ll find me using the “Stage Mom Musings” handle. It seemed the best moniker given my tendency to muse, and I hope you’ll follow me for news of “Stage Mom Musings” developments and future arts adventures.

I’ll continue to cover the Arizona arts and culture that’s so near and dear to my heart, and hope you’ll all stay in touch about your own arts offerings and adventures. Folks who follow @stagemommusings on Twitter will be the first to know as I unroll the new blog.

I’m genuinely grateful for everyone whose support for “Stage Mom” has made the start of this journey possible. Thanks for reading the work, for sharing your own experiences with arts and culture, for making your own contributions to the arts scene in Arizona and beyond. The world is a better place with art, and I’m looking forward to many more years of telling her stories.

– Lynn

Note: Once the new site is up and running, we’ll transfer all “Stage Mom” posts to the new blog — and many will also continue to be available through RAK’s online archives. Please continue to share your news about Arizona arts and culture with me at rakstagemom@gmail.com.

Coming up: Once upon a widget

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience while the tech fairies work to move my 1,250 + posts to their new home. For the latest news follow me @stagemommusings on Twitter.

Tony watching

Jim Parsons (L) and Kristin Chenoweth announcing the 2012 Tony Award nominees. Photo courtesy of ASU Gammage.

Watching the Tony Awards ceremony is a longstanding tradition at our house, and our daughter Lizabeth was especially excited about viewing this year’s awards after seeing eight of the shows nominated for one or more 2012 Tony Awards.

I’m fondest of the acceptance speeches, which so often include odes to parents, spouses, partners and kids. Remarks by Audra McDonald topped my list this year. McDonald assured her daughter that although winning the award made it a very special night, the more important day was Feb. 14, 2001 — the day Zoe was born.

Lizabeth once recounted meeting McDonald after attending one of her shows. She was eager to ask her a few questions, but noted that McDonald’s daughter was with her and decided to let the opportunity pass — figuring she’d want to get home at a decent hour on a school night.

When a pair of gentlemen accepted an award for “Newsies,” one offered a simple “Look mom, a Tony!” And Paloma Young, winner for best costume design of a play for her work on “Peter and the Starcatcher,” thanked her father for giving her “way too much adventure for one little girl.”

John Tiffany, winner of a Tony Award for best direction of a musical for his work on “Once,” thanked his family for giving him the gift of music. Another director, Mike Nichols, recalled being at the Beacon Theatre as a child. Nichols won a Tony Award for best direction of a play for his work on “Death of a Salesman.” Seems the site of this year’s ceremony was once his neighborhood movie theater.

Christian Borle, known to many for rocking the Tom Levitt role on the television series “Smash,” earned the Tony Award for best performance of an actor in a featured role in a play for his work on “Peter and the Starcatcher.” His remarks shared thanks for “making my mom so happy.”

James Corden, who won the Tony Award for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play, thanks his “baby mama” and future wife for teaching him to say “us” instead of “I” and “we” instead of “me.” And Nina Arianda, winner of a Tony Award for best performance of an actress in a leading role in a play for her work in “Venus in Fur,” was ever so cherubic after Christopher Plummer handed her the award. “You sir,” she told him, “were my first crush.”

Most moving were remarks by Steve Kazee of “Once,” winner of a Tony Award for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical. Kazee lost his mother to cancer this past Easter, and shared something he recalls her saying — “Stand up and show them whose little boy you are.”

While most folks in Arizona were watching such moments on TV, others were enjoying the Tony Awards ceremony in New York. ASU Gammage organized a June 7-10 trip to NYC, with the option of staying an extra night to see the Tony Awards at the theater or in VIP seating in Times Square.

While in NYC, the ASU Gammage folks spent three evenings seeing shows and had several meals with Broadway professionals. Saturday’s itinerary included time with cast members from “The Book of Mormon,” “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and music types from both “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon.”

They also spent time with both the president and vice president of Disney Theatricals Group – and I’m hoping all involved resisted the urge to break into a rousing chorus from “Newsies” or “Beauty and the Beast.” The latter is a “special engagement” for the 2012-13 season at ASU Gammage.

In addition, they toured several parts of NYC — a “renaissance” portion of 42nd Street, the Art Nouveau-style New Amsterdam Theatre (where presidents Obama and Clinton appeared just last week), parts of the NYC subway system, the 9/11 Memorial and Manhattan’s financial district. I’ve experienced them all, and was happy this time around to be tucked under a quilt sitting on the couch next to Lizabeth.

Now that she’s attending college in NYC, annual traditions like watching the Tony Awards on television are bittersweet reminders of the fact that she’ll soon be creating her own traditions far from the nest that nurtured her love for Broadway.

– Lynn

Note: The 2012 Tony Award winning play, “Clybourne Park,” is part of Arizona Theatre Company’s 2012-13 season — click here for details.

Coming up: Go “Jimmy” Go, “Les Mis” meets movie theater, Reimagining “Stage Mom”

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings.

Get the scoop

Best to get the scoop on all things theater from trusted sources

Folks eager to get the scoop on celebrity comings and goings turn too often to unreliable sources. Before you buy that next gossip rag, or grace some tacky tell-all website with another hit, consider the source.

Folks who love theater will soon find plenty of compelling fare on the Actors’ Equity Association website – which recently launched “The Narrative Project” to gather and share accounts of actors’ professional experiences. The project is part of preparations for next year’s AEA “Centennial Celebration.” The organization was founded in 1903.

Actors’ Equity Association is (“AEA” or “Equity”) is a labor union representing more than 49,000 actors and stage managers in the U.S. The union “seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society.” They negotiate wages and working conditions, and provide benefits like health and pension plans to members.

Tonight’s Tony Awards ceremony will include the presentation of a special award to the Actors’ Equity Association, but also something a local AEA member put on my radar. This year’s event will feature not only live performances from several shows (including two shows not nominated who graciously accepted the invitation to perform), but also a beamed-in performance aboard a cruise ship. Not everyone is doing their happy dance.

Whatever your position, be wary of where you get the scoop. I’ve talked this week with folks I respect on both sides of the issue. Best to consult primary sources for such things. In this case, it’s Actors’ Equity Association and the organizations who’ve jointly administered the Tony Awards since 1967 – The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

If you’re eager to learn more about Broadway behind-the-scenes, check out this morning’s CBS Sunday Morning story on the “Gypsy Robe” — a longtime tradition for opening nights on Broadway.

When it comes to getting the scoop on individual actors, look for opportunities to hear actors themselves doing the talking. They beat all those other talking heads every time. Frequent interviewers of theater professionals include Charlie Rose and James Lipton.

Click here for more information on tonight’s Tony Awards ceremony.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the gypsy robe tradition (including where these babies live today). If it’s a real ice cream scoop you seek, check out this blog where I spotted the lovely specimen pictured above. For actor accounts of earning their AEA card, click here.

Coming up: The adventures of Arizona Tony Awards travelers, From big stage to small screen

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12

Fun finds for Father’s Day

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Folks eager to find unique gifts and experiences for celebrating Father’s Day need look no farther than local arts and culture. Museums make for fun family outings, and many have gift shops filled with fascinating fare making gifts like striped ties look purely passé.

Got a dad who’s into science? Hit your local science center. Got a dad who’s into art? Treat him to time at your local art gallery or museum. Got a dad who’s into history? Take him along for some time at the nearest history museum. And remember all those neighborhood arts districts with funky fare it’s hard to find elsewhere.

Military dads and their families can enjoy free admission to museums that participate in the Blue Star Museums program. Most museums participate from Memorial Day through Veterans Day — but some offer free year-round admission (with specified I.D.s) to active military personnel and up to five family members.

For dads who enjoy making art, consider taking a Father’s Day walk together in search of found objects for future art projects. Or looking around the house for boxes and other recyclable objects you can turn into forts, musical instruments and works of art. Or get dad a gift certificate to your favorite small business featuring art supplies or classes.

Remember studios in your community that offer hands-on arts experiences like painting pottery, folding origami, recreating famous art masterpieces and such. Check your local libraries, independent book shops,community centers and parks and recreation facilities for activities of special interest to fathers and families.

Also theater companies that offer family-friendly fare — plus performing arts venues that offer fun film, music, dance, poetry and other options. You’ll never know whether the dad in your life is hot for hip hop until you give it a try together.

– Lynn

Note: I’ll be updating this post with more photos as I discover more Father’s Day fare

Coming up: Art meets wild west, Getting to know Jimmy

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12

Million dollar moments

Austin Cook (center) with 2012 Camp Broadway youth at ASU Gammage in Tempe

Dozens of kids attending this year’s Camp Broadway at ASU Gammage saw Wednesday night’s performance of “Million Dollar Quartet,” then spent time with cast members and other fine folks who work on the show. The opportunity to interact with performers and other theater professionals is part of each summer’s “Camp Broadway” experience.

Camp Broadway participants enjoying lunch at ASU Gammage

Before enjoying a buffet lunch featuring cold cuts, burgers, assorted desserts and even some healthy stuff, campers in small groups of a dozen or so rotated through various stations. Three with ASU Gammage professionals who addressed marketing, technical elements of theater and such — plus another one with several members of the “Million Dollar Quartet” team.

Campers learned how the show’s set gets assembled in each city, how musicians manage tricks like playing a piano set behind them or standing on a double bass, how cast members prepare for their roles and plenty of other tricks of the trade. Also that equipment used in “Million Dollar Quartet” is all new but designed by 1950s specifications so it gives a genuine ’50s sound, and that the whole set weighs about 10,000 pounds.

Smiling faces participating in this year’s Camp Broadway in Tempe

During lunch, cast members took turns answering questions for eager campers, counselors and ASU Gammage VIPs. Each talked about how they caught the theater bug, shared a bit about where they’re from, discussed their college background and offered some sage advice.

Parents dream of moments such as these for their children — when grown-ups they admire share guidance not so different from their own, but more readily accepted because it didn’t come from mom or dad. Find your passion, team MDQ told them. Work hard. Practice. Be disciplined. Treat fellow theater folk (and all folk) with respect. Ignore the naysayers. Be yourself. Believe in yourself.

L to R: Lamont, Marie, Cook, Ferris, Presney and Krug from the first “Million Dollar Quartet” national tour during a Camp Broadway event at ASU Gammage

Kelly Lamont (Dyanne) recalled her first performance at the age of three or four. Think “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Alyssa Marie (u/s Dyanne) spoke of doing her Molly thing in “Annie” as a seven year old. Austin Cook (u/s, Jerry Lee Lewis) discussed his experience “on the classical side,” which started with an “Amahl and the Night Visitors” gig when he was 11.

Lee Ferris (Carl Perkins) admited he was all about baseball until a choir teacher suggested he try out for “Guys and Dolls” — while John Michael Presney (u/s Carl Perkins, Asst. Stage Manager) shared a tidbit from his 2nd grade performance in “Will Rogers Follies.” Seems his big entrance was popping out of a box. “I got stuck,” he told the campers, “in front of 2,000 people.”

John Michael Presney (R) with Camp Broadway campers at ASU Gammage

Stage Manager Michael Krug got his first backstage experience during a college program in technical theater. “I’ve never been a performer,” he shared, “because I can’t sing, act or dance.” After revealing that he’d rocked the Elephant Bird role as a fifth grader in “Horton Hears a Who,” Krug took some good-hearted ribbing from cast members — who pounced on his offer to show them the tape.

I was seated during lunch next to a Juilliard-trained musician named Steve, one of two music directors working with this year’s campers. The other hails from Pace University, where our daughter Lizabeth is a sophomore. He offered plenty of pearls, including one that’ll be a relief to parents who can’t afford oodles of voice lessons or private coaching for their child. Just sing a lot, he suggested, because using the muscles makes them stronger.

Camper and counselor enjoying Camp Broadway at ASU Gammage

One of the younger campers assumed I was a performer, and sweetly suggested that I sing for him. I assured him he’d be better off if I didn’t, then made the rounds to various tables — asking campers at each, “What’s the best thing about Camp Broadway?” Answers ranged from “everything” to “it’s awesome” — and lots of campers told me it was the chance to learn singing, dancing and acting in one place.

I also asked several of the campers how they’d heard about Camp Broadway. “My Nana made me come,” one told me. But that was last year. Returning this year was her idea. Another told me her mom signed her up, and that she plans to return next year now that she’s smitten with all things musical theater. There’s more to life, she says, than Beyonce and Mariah Carey.

Lee Ferris talks with youth participating in this year’s Camp Broadway

Several of the campers I chatted with described Camp Broadway as a great opportunity for self expression, adding that they feel especially free to be themselves in the theater setting. Some plan careers on stage or behind the scenes, and several expect to take lessons learned during Camp Broadway to school and community theater auditions in the coming year.

Everyone affiliated with “Million Dollar Quartet” did a remarkable job interacting with the campers. All were patient, friendly and genuinely engaged in sharing their knowledge. During lunch, they took time to talk with campers individually, pose for photos and autograph items from show programs to Camp Broadway t-shirts.

Alyssa Marie with a happy camper at ASU Gammage in Tempe

You can see “Million Dollar Quartet” at ASU Gammage through Sunday. Click here for ticket information, and watch for news of next year’s camp because slots tend to fill quickly. Following ASU Gammage on social media is a great way to get the scoop before word of camp dates and various promotions hits the streets.

– Lynn

Coming up: Broadway meets cruise ship?

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12

Two bundles

I’ve experienced many truly beautiful works of theater brought to life by Arizona Jewish Theatre Company. Most recently, Todd Salovey’s “Blessing of a Broken Heart,” first performed at the San Diego Repertory Theatre. It’s a work based on Sherri Mandell’s book of the same name, which shares the author’s experience of losing a son to a terrorist act in Isreal.

There’s a point in Salovey’s play where Sherri recalls the way she and husband Seth shared the news of Koby’s death with their three other children. I am like a canary in a mine, reflects Sherri. People ask if I’m OK. Jewish tradition says that each person is a world. I have lost a whole world.

I remembered that scene after learning that Arizona Jewish Theatre Company plans to cease operations, after years of struggling to meet economic challenges too deep and wide to overcome. “Since 2008,” says founding producing director Janet Arnold, “our revenue has steadily and rapidly declined.”

In a recent note to supporters, Arnold shared three factors fueling the decision to close — the virtual disappearance of government and corporate support, a decrease in individual contributions and a dwindling audience attributed to shifting performance spaces.

Even the bad, in Jewish thought, deserves blessings. It’s another thought shared by Sherri in the play. I do not bless the bad, continues Sherri. But I understand that light comes from darkness, and that evil exists in the world so that we can choose to do good.

There’s a chasm between the grief of losing a child and losing even the most cherished theater company. Still, I hear bits of Salovey’s script speaking to our community’s loss. G-d does his work with that which is broken. It is when our hearts are broken that G-d sculpts our souls, prodding open the narrow entrances to the caves of our being.

Arizona Jewish Theatre Company produced more than 80 plays in 24 years — reaching thousands of audience members, mentoring hundreds of young performers, employing plenty of theater professionals and giving voice to many new playwrights.

Even while sharing devastating news, they’re looking ahead to new opportunities for Jewish cultural programming in the Valley. Board chair Jay Bycer notes that “Janet is working with the Israel Center to bring in a show in October, and is talking with the Arizona Jewish Historical Society.” Both Bycer and Arnold insist that “there will always be a need for the arts in Jewish life.”

Near the end of Salovey’s “The Blessing of a Broken Heart,” Sherri recalls going to the cave where her son and his best friend were killed. I have learned that everything, she says, even the worst trial, contains sparks of holiness and it is up to us to release these sparks into the world.

Those whose lives have been blessed by Arizona Jewish Theater Company can still show gratitude for their work in the community. They’re asking supporters to make contributions that’ll help pay the non-profit’s “final bills.” They’re also sharing a special todah (thanks) with those whose gifts allowed them to finish out the 2011-12 season.

Salovey’s play includes Sherri’s encounter with a rabbi and his son who’ve emerged from the cave where Koby was killed. The pair enounters an old man carrying two bundles of myrtle branches, asking Why do you carry two bundles? The answer: One bundle is to honor and one is to remember.

Lynn

Note: Arizona Jewish Theatre Company notes that folks can click here to make a donation. Click here to learn more about Todd Salovey.

Coming up: Horsing around with art, Fun finds for Father’s Day

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12

Another Tony Awards adventure

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack (R) and daughter Kelsey on the ASU Gammage stage. Photo by Dan Friedman.

Arizona’s only Tony Awards voter, Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, flew to NYC this morning to enjoy festivities leading up to Sunday’s Tony Awards ceremony taking place at the Beacon Theatre with host Neil Patrick Harrris.  Jennings-Roggensack is executive director for ASU Gammage in Tempe, which presents touring Broadway productions through “Broadway Across America.”

Tuesday was opening night for “Million Dollar Quartet” at ASU Gammage, which blends historical fiction with the music and larger-than-life personalities of Jerry Lee Lewis (Martin Kaye), Carl Perkins (Lee Ferris), Johnny Cash (Derek Keeling) and Elvis Presley (Cody Slaughter). Also Sam Phillips (Christopher Ryan Grant), whose Dec. 4, 1956 gathering at Sun Records in Memphis inspired the work.

Tuesday’s audience seemed to favor Cash tunes, but it’s Lewis’ bad-boy shenanigans that bring this story to life. I was most taken with the show’s technical elements and actors’ exquisite command of all things movement. Seven of the eight cast members play instruments, so audience members enjoy piano and guitar licks along with riffs on harmonica, bass and drums. Two jumbo speakers on either side of the stage delivered the best sound I’ve experienced in two decades of Gammage-going.

The 2012/2013 ASU Gammage season opens with “Anything Goes.” Folks who watched last year’s Tony Awards ceremony saw Tony-winner Sutton Foster and the “Anything Goes” cast sing and tap the show’s title number, plus performances from two other shows coming to ASU Gammage next season — “Sister Act” and “Memphis.”

I’ve been taking Lizabeth to ASU Gammage for Broadway shows and other offerings for more than a decade, but now that she attends college in NYC, she also gets to enjoy plenty of shows on Broadway. So far she’s seen eight of this year’s Tony Award nominees, and I can tell she has a soft spot for “Once” — a musical we hope to enjoy together during my next trip to NYC. “Peter and the Starcatcher” is another one of her favorites, hailed like “Once” for its breathtaking simplicity and storytelling.

This is the eighth year that “Gammage supporters and advocates” are joining Jennings-Roggensack for a special “Broadway Adventure” and the Tony Awards ceremony. While Arizona viewers watch the Tony Awards Sunday night on CBS (click here for details), team Gammage will have some folks inside the Beacon Theatre and others inside the Tony Awards VIP section in Times Square, where the ceremony is being broadcast on the Sony JumboTron.

Other items on the ASU Gammage itinerary include lunching with folks from “The Book of Mormon,” getting backstage peeks at Tony-nominated shows, mixing historical perspectives with a walk along the “Great White Way” and meeting with stars, directors and set designers of shows from the current and future ASU Gammage season. Also donning gowns and tuxes for the post-Tony Awards gala at The Plaza Hotel.

“In the wee hours of the morning,” says Jennings-Roggensack, “I will slip away to join the casts of the best musical, best play and best revival at their celebratory after-parties.” Still, she says “the best part of all this is that we are already planning on these Tony Award-winning shows making their way to the Gammage stage.”

– Lynn

Note: Watch for an article about Roggensack and daughter Kelsey in the July 2012 issue of Raising Arizona KidsClick here for Tony Awards t-shirts and other offerings for folks eager to rock the Tony Awards vibe. And click here to learn about this month’s “Million Dollar Quartet” auditions in Las Vegas, L.A. and Austin.

Coming up: Fun with outdoor concerts, Art meets solstice

Art camps for at-risk youth

Tatiana (L) and Michael at Free Arts of Arizona’s 2011 Multicultural Arts Camp

Chicano arts. Native American arts. African drumming. Latin dance. And spoken word. They’re all part of this year’s Multicultural Arts Camp presented by Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, which “uses artistic expression and creativity to heal abused and homeless children across the Valley.”

This year’s camp will serve 125 abused, homeless or at-risk youth, who’ll rotate through five workshops focused on multicultural and multidisciplinary arts as well as team-building activities. All are led by professional teaching artists — including Frank Thompson, Melanie Sainz, Christa Iceforest, Myrlin Hepworth and Misha Pemberton.

“Artists and workshops are purposefully chosen so that campers can experience arts from various cultures as well as various mediums,” according to Barbara DuVal Fenster, executive director for Free Arts. Think dance, music, visual arts and creative writing.

Two camp sessions are taking place at Desiderata Alternative High School in Phoenix. Both include breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. This week’s camp, for 14-17 year olds, concludes with a June 8 showcase. Next week’s camp, for 9-13 year olds, wraps up with a showcase on June 15.

Pam Chu with campers during Free Arts’ 2011 Multicultural Arts Camp

“In addition to our artists and volunteers, we invite a few teens from the first session to serve as volunteers for the second session,” says Fenster. “For them,” she says, “it is a chance to move from camper to leader.” For the folks at Free Arts, it’s “an opportunity to watch young people grow, mature and build their self-esteem.”

Since 2001, the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix has worked with Free Arts to “heal young lives through the performing arts” by giving teens from group homes, shelters and treatment facilities throughout Maricopa County “the opportunity to create and experience the arts” through a two-week theater camp at the Herberger Theater Center.

During this year’s Summer Theater Camp, guest artists and volunteers will help children explore improvisation, character development, mask making, costumes, props and the technical side of theater production — then guide them in creating a production they’ll share during a final performance at the Herberger (Fri, June 29 at 7pm) that’s free and open to the public.

– Lynn

Note: A restaurant called Hula’s Modern Tiki, located at 4700 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix, is donating 10 percent of proceeds every Monday in July to Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona.

Coming up: Feeling like a million bucks

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12

Feelin’ folksy

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Families panning for gold. Kids making corn husk dolls. Folks touring an old one room school house. Women donning garb from territorial times. It’s all part of Prescott’s Folk Art Fair, taking place this weekend on the Sharlot Hall Museum campus — home to all sorts of log cabins, the Blue Rose Theater sporting a casual vibe, a rose garden honoring women pioneers and lots of lovely paths for strolling and such.

I spent a few hours at the fair on Saturday, part of a weekend getaway with my youngest daughter Lizabeth. After living for a year in NYC, she’s convinced there’s little going on in places like Prescott. But that’s not the case. In just a single day, we hit the Folk Art Fair and toured both the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Smoki Museum.

Later, as Lizabeth crashed at our charming little hotel near Prescott’s Courthouse Plaza, I headed to the Prescott Public Library – where folks were participating in an annual drum circle on a large outdoor courtyard. While there, I checked out a block of sidewalk etched with dates and historical highlights — all part of a world timeline that’s continued in other parts of town.

Earlier, we enjoyed lunch at a charming joint called the Firehouse Kitchen. Our waitress was cheerful and attentive, and the chocolate cake we split for dessert was the best I’ve tasted in a lifetime. Tomorrow may find me returning for the peach cobbler, but first I’ll be hitting the Phippen Museum.

Also exploring performing arts venues like Yavapai College Performing Arts CenterPrescott Center for the Arts, Prescott Elks Theatre and such. Plus window shopping along streets lined with antique shops, and checking to see which charming little bookstores are open on Sundays. All make for a lovely bit of mother/daughter time.

Watch for future posts featuring more photos of our Prescott adventures, and click here to learn more about upcoming events in and around these parts.

– Lynn

Coming up: Art meets library, Celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12