Tag Archives: GCU

Images in motion

Angela Rosencrans of Scottsdale Community College is one of several teachers being honored Friday by the Scottsdale Charros — but she’s also plenty busy preparing for this weekend’s “Images in Motion” dance performance at SCC — which features “original compositions of athleticism and artistry in many dance genres.” The event takes place Fri, April 27 and Sat, April 28 at 8pm at the SCC Performing Arts Center.

Rosencrans holds a BFA in dance from Centenary College in Louisiana and an MFA in dance performance and choreography from San Houston State University. She currently serves as dance program director for SCC, and will be receiving the Art DeCabooter SCC Teacher of the Year award named after a longtime president of SCC who’s now retired.

Dance is plentiful around these parts in coming days and weeks, as evidenced by these selections noted in the Arizona Dance Coalition’s April newsletter:

  • NYC-based DanceBrazil at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Thurs, April 26 at 7:30pm and Fri, April 27 at 8pm.
  • GCU Dance Concert at Grand Canyon University. April 27 & 28 at 7:30pm.
  • GCC Dance Benefit at Glendale Community College. Fri, April 27 at 6pm. Followed by GCC Dance: AEROS Spring Dance Concert at 7:30pm.
  • SIMPLY PUT by AZDance. Sat, April 28 at 2pm (Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center in Scottsdale) and Sun, April 29 at 2pm (Paradise Valley Community College Center for the Performing Arts in Phoenix).

A little something with a Kick-A vibe from Scorpius Dance Theatre

Come May, you can enjoy the first choreographer showcase from Scorpius Dance Theatre. They’ll present “Kick-A” — which features works by more than a dozen choreographers from Arizona and California, plus five new works by director/choreographer Lisa Starry — May 3-5 at Phoenix Little Theatre.

To find additional dance events in your area, check the calendars of local performing arts venues, schools and colleges, and the Arizona Dance Coalition. For additional family-friendly events with an arts and culture spin, check print or online calendars from Raising Arizona Kids Magazine.

— Lynn

Note: Are you a parent with questions about finding the best dance education and experiences for your child? Send them to me at poisedpen@cox.net and you may find them included in a book I’m writing with a local dancer and dance educator.

Coming up: Once upon a dress rehearsal, Fresh art for new plays, A couple of crafty chicks


The Boy Friend

Actress, director and author Julie Andrews made her American stage debut as “Polly” in a Sandy Wilson musical called “The Boy Friend” — which had fewer than 500 performances on Broadway during the mid-’50s. Her debut in theater director mode came nearly a decade later with a production of “The Boy Friend” performed in NYC, Connecticut and on tour.

Its ongoing appeal is evidenced by the numerous school and community theater productions mounted each year — including this season’s production of “The Boy Friend” by students at Grand Canyon University, which opened just last night and runs through next weekend. It’s the final production of their 2011/12 season, and the upcoming season — just announced — looks like this:

• “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare, Aug. 31-Sept. 2 and Sept. 7-9, directed by Claude Pensis. I’m told their production of the comedy about two pairs of lovers, originally set on the island of Sicily, will get an “Old West” twist.

• “Beauty and the Beast” by Vittorio Giannini and “Comedy on the Bridge” by Bohuslav Martinu, Oct. 12-14 and 19-21, directed by Michael Kary: Both one-act operas — the first a classic tale of finding love in unexpected places and the second a farce about two countries connected by a bridge — are described by GCU as plenty “family-friendly.”

• “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, Nov. 23-25 and Nov. 30-Dec. 2, directed by Claude Pensis. I’m told the show features Michael Kary as Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s Dickens. Enough said.

• “The Cherry Orchard” by Anton Chekhov, Feb. 15-17 and 22-24, directed by Claude Pensis. Think fall of the Russian aristocracywith an “eccentric” vibe. It’s Chekhov, and it’s rarely performed around these parts — making it one of my favorite pieces coming to Valley stages next season.

• “H.M.S. Pinafore” by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, April 12-14 and 19-21, directed by Michael Kary. GCU notes that the 1878 musical, set aboard a British ship, was the first international sensation for team Gilbert and Sullivan — better known to some for “The Pirates of Penzance.”

It’s a diverse season full of fascinating takes on classic works. Click here to learn more about these and other offerings coming to the Ethington Theatre on the CGU campus (including an April 27 & 28 “Spring Dance Concert”).

— Lynn

Note: British actor, author and all-around astute fellow Simon Callow has authored works on Shakepeare and Dickens that help elucidate their work, life and times. Click here if you’re up for a little theater homework.

Coming up: Of Maine and men, Observing Holocaust Remembrance Day, Actors turned author

Theater meets Christmas

Irving Berlin's White Christmas comes to ASU Gammage in Tempe Dec. 6-11

More than a dozen Valley venues are presenting family-friendly theater fare with a Christmas theme. Here’s an early round-up, listed by city, to help families who celebrate Christmas with holiday planning…


Musical Theatre of Anthem presents a “Holiday Show” Dec. 16. www.musicaltheatreofanthem.org.

Fountain Hills

Fountain Hills Theater presents “Christmas Jukebox” Nov. 25-Dec. 18. www.fhtaz.org.


Hale Theatre Arizona presents “It’s a Wonderful Life” through Nov. 26 and  “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 1-23. www.haletheatrearizona.com.


Spotlight Youth Theatre presents “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” Dec. 2-18. www.spotlightyouththeatre.org.


Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 17-Dec. 25. www.broadwaypalmwest.com.

East Valley Children’s Theatre presents “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” Dec. 1-11. www.evct.org.

Southwest Shakespeare Company presents “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 26-Dec. 17. www.swshakespeare.org.

Southwest Shakespeare Company performs A Christmas Carol Nov. 26-Dec. 17 in Mesa


Arizona Broadway Theatre presents “Miracle on 34th St.” Nov. 25-Dec. 29 and “A Broadway Christmas Carol” Dec. 9-17. www.arizonabroadwaytheatre.com.

The Homestead Playhouse presents “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 1-4. www.dcranchnet.com.

Theater Works presents “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 2-18. Theater Works/Youth Works Puppet Works presents “Saving Santa” Dec. 3-24 (Sat only). www.theaterworks.com.


Grand Canyon University presents “Amahl and the Night Visitors” Dec. 2-11. www.gcu.edu.

New Carpa Theater Co. presents “American Pastorela” Dec. 9-18 at the Third Street Theater (Phoenix Center for the Arts). www.newcarpa.org. (Mature content)

Phoenix Theatre presents “A Christmas Story” Nov. 23-Dec. 18. www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Space 55 presents “A Bloody Mary Christmas II” Dec. 1-17 and “7 Minutes Under the Mistletoe” Dec. 17. www.space55.org. (Mature content)

The Black Theatre Troupe presents “Black Nativity” Dec. 2-11. www.blacktheatretroupe.org.

Valley Youth Theatre presents “A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail” Dec 2-23. www.vyt.com.


Theatre Artists Studio presents “Holiday Music & Musings: From the Page to the Stage” Dec. 2. www.thestudiophx.org.

Sun City

Sun City Grand Drama and Comedy Club presents “Over the River and Through the Woods” Dec. 1-4. www.granddrama.com.

East Valley Children's Theatre presents The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Dec. 1-11


ASU Gammage presents “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” (touring production) Dec. 6-11. www.asugammage.com.

If your Valley organization is presenting a theater production with a Christmas, or other winter holiday, theme — please comment below to let readers know.

— Lynn

Note: A calendar of family-friendly events is always available online at www.raisingarizonakids.com. This post will be updated as I learn of additional theater offerings with a Christmas theme. Although most of the events noted above are designed for family audiences, please note that some are “mature audience” only productions.

Coming up: Christmas concerts, A cup of cheer

Update: Some of these shows are extending their runs, so check theater company websites for the latest and greatest information. 11/26/11

Costumes take center stage

I’m not a fashion designer but an artist who works in fashion-an engineer of color and form — Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo

So begins a recent e-mail from the Phoenix Art Museum alerting olks to a Sept 17-Feb 12 exhibit of di Sant’ Angelo’s works spanning the late ’60s to the early ’90s.  The exhibit includes dozens of ensembles and accessories — plus “never-released, original footage of runway shows and interviews, photographs and sketch books.”

The Florence-born artist, raised in Argentina and Brazil, moved to New York City after a brief stint with Walt Disney Studios in California. The museum touts his “pioneering use of stretch fabrics,” though I doubt di Sant’ Angelo expected they’d one day find their way into “mom jeans” sold by big box retailers.

Jennifer, age 10, rocking her hippie Halloween costume. This year savvy girls will be dressed as Edith Head.

Folks with a fondness for fashion can head to the Herberger Theater Center Wed, Sept 28 for a 7pm “pay-what-you-wish” performance of “A Conversation with Edith Head,” an Actors Theatre production about the costume designer to the stars whose work spanned six decades and garnered eight Academy Awards.

“A Conversation with Edith Head” is the work of playwrights Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen. Claassen, managing artistic director for Invisible Theatre in Tucson, performs the role of Edith Head — a woman who worked on 1,131 films featuring the likes of Mae West, Audrey Hepburn, Bette David, Robert Redford and Paul Newman.

Those of you readying to sew those darling Halloween costumes for your children may be seeking simpler inspirations — from ghosts and goblins to fairy princesses and forest animals. Perhaps this rundown of Halloween theater offerings will inspire you to new heights.

    • Fountain Hills Theater Youth Theater presents “Legends in the Attic” Oct 7-23. www.fhtaz.org.
    • Creative Stage Youth Theatre presents “Doctor of the Dead” (a student written and directed work) Oct 27-30. www.csyt.org.
    • Grand Canyon University presents “Dracula” Oct 21-30. www.gcu.edu.
    • Great Arizona Puppet Theater presents “Little Bunny’s Halloween” Oct 5-30. www.azpuppets.org.
    • Scorpius Dance Theatre presents “Lisa Starry’s A Vampire Tale VIII” Oct 13-22 (plus Oct 27-Nov 1 in Whitby, England). www.scorpiusdance.com.
    • Theater Works Puppet Works presents “Trick or Treat! A Halloween Puppet Show” Oct 8-29. www.theaterworks.org.

Once those costumes are ready to roll, take them for a spin at the “Hallowe’en and Zombie Walk” being presented Sat, Oct 29 by Rosson House Museum at historic Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix (also home to the Arizona Science Center — and close to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix).

Lizabeth, age 8, doing her corpse bride thing. Early signs of an acting bent, perhaps?

The 2-10pm event — which benefits the Rosson House Museum — features live music, children’s activities, costume contests, historic Hallowe’en games, food court and more. The walk itself, a wonderful alternative to traditonal “trick or treat” jaunts, begins at 6pm.

With three kids in college now, my days of sewing Halloween costumes are long gone. But I never tire of seeing what other children, who clamor eagerly at my front door for candy, come up with.

Jennifer, by the way, is still rocking the hippie vibe today.

— Lynn

Note: “Pay-what-you-wish” tickets for “A Conversation with Edith Head” are limited. Visit the Actors Theatre website at www.atphx.org for details. Learn more about the show at www.edithhead.biz. Find the Phoenix Art Museum online at www.phxart.org. And learn more about Invisible Theatre Company in Tucson at www.invisibletheatre.com. Reach the Rosson House Museum at www.rossonhousemuseum.org.

Coming up: Audition tales

A pair of pandoras

David Archuleta performs in a holiday show coming to Grand Canyon University Arena

When my daughter Lizabeth studied ballet as a child, I spent far too much time worrying that something outside the dance studio might cause some sort of injury.

High heels and ice skating were taboo in the months preceding “The Nutcracker” (she danced several children’s roles in the Ballet Arizona production). Too much potential for spraining an ankle, I thought.

Though Lizabeth rarely took to the rink, a schoolmate named Maddie invited her every year, for several years, to see ice skaters perform in elaborate arena shows. Lizabeth loved watching the ice skaters, having a holiday tradition to look forward to and spending time with Maddie.

I thought of Lizabeth and Maddie when I learned that the “Pandora Unforgettable Holiday Moments on Ice” show, part of the “Pandora NBC Skating Series,” is coming to the new Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix on Sat, Nov 12. It’ll be taped for national broadcast by NBC on Sun, Nov 27 at 4pm EST.

Kristi Yamaguchi inspires ice skating dreams

The event features Olympic champion Brian Boitano skating to a live holiday music performance split between American Idol alum David Archuleta and Mannheim Steamroller, a group well loved by Lizabeth’s grandparents. Olympic ice skaters Ekaterina Gordeeva, Kimmie Meisner and Michael Weiss are also skating in the show. It’s being hosted by Kristi Yamaguchi, inspiration for many a little girl’s ice skating dreams.

Recently I spoke with Archuleta, who shared that his mother “drug him out on the dance floor” just a few days before. Archuleta grew up in a house full of music and dance — with mom dancing salsa and dad playing jazz.

He’s known to many for achieving top two status on “American Idol” during the show’s seventh season, where he broke young hearts and captured several older ones by singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

So how did Archuleta’s own musical journey begin? “It was musicals that got me into music,” he recalls. Archuleta recalls singing along at home with a recording of the 10th anniversary performance of “Les Miserables.” After his mom printed out some sheet music from the show, says Archuleta, he learned his very first song. It was “Castle on a Cloud.”

Archuleta will be performing holiday music during the “Pandora Unforgettable Holiday Moments on Ice” show. He recalls his own early attempts at ice skating at an outdoor rink in Utah, where he grew up. It’s tough to find those outdoor rinks in Florida, where Archuleta was born.

“The first time I was afraid I might fall and slip,” recalls Archuleta. But on a recent ice skating adventure just a few months ago in California, he managed to stay on his feet the whole time — probably because he spent a fair amount of time roller blading in his teens.

Archuleta says he’s excited about performing with so many national and Olympic skating champions because his family always watched the Olympics on television when he was growing up. Ice skating was one of their favorite Olympic events to enjoy together. “The Olympics,” reflects Archuleta, “brings everyone together.”

I don’t expect much ice skating from the Arizona Women’s Theatre Company, which presents its second annual “Pandora Showcase” at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Nov 11, 12, 18 and 19. Their thing is presenting original works by women playwrights. It’s a whole other type of balancing act.

The “Pandora Showcase” features fully-staged favorites from previous “Pandora Festival” offerings. Fans of new theater works will also want to mark their calendars for the 2012 festival, taking place May 18-21 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

My daughter, by the way, no longer takes classical ballet classes five or more days a week. She’s off in New York City, doing her B.F.A. in acting — where ankles still matter, but not so much that she can’t enjoy a bit of rink time down at Rockefeller Plaza.

— Lynn

Note: Visit the GCU Arena at www.gcuarena.com and the Arizona Women’s Theatre Company at www.azwtc.org. Visit www.davidarchuleta.com for details on Archuleta’s “Pandora” performance and his “Constitution Week” concert in Gilbert this weekend.

Coming up: The fine art of bugs?, A trio of tenors, Honk if you love Hans!

Fun with frogs

The first thing I notice each time I hit the Phoenix Zoo is a large frog sculpture just outside the entry walkway, near an area for visitor drop-off and pick-up. He seems a happy sort, and always helps me feel welcome.

I got frogs on the brain after reviewing April events listed in the online calendar for Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

In the “On stage” section, I spied “The Frogs” — a “musical comedy adaptation  by Stephen Sondheim from an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes.” The piece runs through Sun, April 10 at Grand Canyon University’s Ethington Theatre in Phoenix.

In the “On exhibit” section I found something called “Once Upon a Time…Fairy Tales, Frogs & Fables.” It’s “an opportunity to explore some of the world’s favorite stories” through imaginative characters and sets, dress-up, puppet theater and more — running through May 29 at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa.

Alas, I learned too late that children could make frog puppets, and learn about the life cycle of frogs, at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix April 1-3. But I’m including a photo of some of their fine work to inspire your own frog follies at home — which could also include old-fashioned games, like leapfrog, that help kids stay fit.

But happily, I’m way ahead of the game for the third annual “Save the Frogs Day” — being celebrated April 29, 2011 by those with a special fondness for frogs and other amphibians. Some will even be rallying at the U.S. Capitol for more frog-friendly legislation.

The organization that specializes in amphibian conservation, called “Save the Frogs,” is currently holding several frog-related contests as part of “Save the Frogs Day.” Think poetry and art contests –plus a “build a frog pond” contest (open to schools and homeowners).

If you’re keen on wearing your frogs loud and proud, you can shop the “Save the Frogs” website for necessities like pro-frog clothing, bumber stickers, tote bags, wristbands and more.

There’s also plenty of frog-related fare at the Phoenix Zoo gift shop. Think T-shirts, books, plush toys and more.

“It’s Not Easy Being Green,” laments Sesame Street’s “Kermit the Frog” in the song of a same name. But maybe if we all work together, the world’s most celebrated frog will soon be singing a different tune.

— Lynn

Coming up: Children’s theater meets classic storybooks, Down to the final two