Tag Archives: Hair

A blast of blue!

Blue Man Group performs at ASU Gammage through Sunday

I first encountered the work of Blue Man Group while exploring a piece they donated to the Lied Children’s Discovery Museum in Las Vegas, but hadn’t seen them perform prior to attending opening night for their brief run at ASU Gammage (which ends this Sunday).

I went into the experience with a fair bit of skepticism, since I’m more of a traditional Broadway theater kind of a gal. My daughter Lizabeth, who joined me for most ASU Gammage shows before leaving to attend college in New York, offered sound advice: Don’t judge.

Tuesday’s nearly-packed house included folks of all ages, and everyone (other than a wailing baby) seemed to be having a great time. There was plenty of laughter and audience participation throughout, and two lucky audience members ended up joining Blue Man Group for a time on stage. Only one needed to wear full body protection.

The fun actually began before Blue Man Group took to the stage, as folks in two rows of seating added for this production donned the special gear provided — a clear hooded poncho for covering head and torso. It comes in handy when Blue Man Group makes some of their messier art on canvases sometimes given afterwards to younger members of the audience.

Folks who felt uncomfortable with loinclothed lads perched atop the arms of chairs at ASU Gammage during “Hair” last season will be relieved to know that Blue Man Group stays fully clothed for all their in-the-audience antics.

But before Blue Man Group takes the stage, there’s something you might call the warm-up act — a red crawl of words running across the top of the stage as if an Italian opera is taking place below. It’s got sensible tips designed to increase viewing pleasure, but it’s a sassy little thing.

Don’t text during the show, it warns, because it might frighten the old people. The old people to my left laughed the loudest, though the young people to my right are probably saying the same thing about me.

So here’s what I remember of the evening: Gumballs, marshmallows and film footage that looks remarkably like a trip down someone’s colon. Giant cell phones with apps presenting literary classics reduced to word counts you can easily “tweet.” Entertaining “tough love” for parents too busy with gizmos to pause for playtime. And blacklights the “Hair” hippies would die for.

Blue Man Group is an homage of sorts to the arts and sciences. Physics is cleverly couched in music making, and a brief lesson in animation creation quickly turns into a full-on dance party.

Giant props make their way from stage to audience, and back again. Visions of childhood food fights and teepeeing houses (consult your urban dictionary as needed here) return — and mild sexual innuendo entertains those with a taste for such things. 

Experiencing Blue Man Group is a bit like going to high school. You walk out smarter than you were when you walked in, and you get to experiment with all sorts of things along the way.

— Lynn

Note: Click here for additional show and ticket information, and here to learn more about Blue Man Group education initiatives like “Blue School” and “Invent an Instrument.”

Coming up: Homeschooling and the arts, From biology major to “Blue Man”


Amazing meets A-MAH-zing

My daughter Lizabeth poses with Broadway legend Betty Buckley

Those of you who are puzzling over the title of this post clearly weren’t lucky enough to snag tickets to see the amazing Betty Buckley perform at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts last week with piano and comedic accompaniment by the “A-MAH-zing” Seth Rudetsky.

For all the time we spend with Rudetsky via our car radio and the SiriusXM Radio “On Broadway” channel, he might as well be my fourth kid. He certainly seems eccentric enough to be one of us.

Rudetsky opened last week’s show with tales of his own childhood foray into live musical theater productions like “HAIR” at an age when most kids can’t even spell four letter words. Many related to film clips projected onto a giant screen — including my personal favorite from a horror flick called “Carrie” (something folks my age saw during the waning days of drive-in movies).

Soon Rudetsky was introducing Buckley, known to many for her amazing performance in the musical “Cats,” which features the song “Memory” — a little number Buckley now calls her “signature song.” Other songs she performed that evening included “Meadowlark,” “Send in the Clowns,” and even “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” (from the bawdy “Avenue Q”).

My daughter, Lizabeth, may have been the only teen in the house that night. It seems Lady Gaga was also performing in the Valley, and while we admire her work on- and off-stage — we’re going to see if she’s got Buckley’s staying power before we go gaga for one of her gigs.

Buckley opened this Scottsdale concert (I’m told it was her third) with “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from “Sunset Boulevard.” The piece was requested by, and dedicated to, Linda and Sherman Saperstein, who were celebrating their wedding anniversary that evening and graciously stood while Buckley led the crowd in singing “Happy Anniversary to You.”

I noticed in reading my program that the concert was “presented with support from Linda and Sherman Saperstein.” I was delighted to meet Mr. Saperstein after the show, and offered my heartfelt thanks for the couple’s support of arts and culture. Without such generous souls, many of us would never get to experience a bit of the magic of Broadway in our own hometown.

The “Broadway by Request” show is a blend of beautiful vocal stylings and storytelling. Buckley drops plenty of names along the way — Stephen Sondheim, Bob Fosse and others that might take you by surprise.

Buckley’s passion for performance, and musical theater, was evident in each anecdote, as she proffered with panache her theater experiences from school days through today. Seems Buckley got her first gig from her first audition — on her first day in New York City.

But life in the theater isn’t all smooth sailing, as evidenced by her tales of an egregious agent Buckley had to do away with in short order. A single thread seemed to tie all of Buckley’s stories together. The woman never stopped knocking on doors — or pounding, frankly, if that’s what it took to land the roles of her dreams.

Buckley complimented the Scottsdale crowd for its sophistication after a few of her therapy-related revelations were accepted with warmth and good humor. Apparently some folks in the Midwest react to similar material by casting a pall over the theater. Buckley recalled the day her therapist, dismissed shortly thereafter, gave her advice we’ve all heard at one time or another (usually for free): “Get over it.”

After Buckley shared several songs featuring especially glorious belting, Rudetsky sent her offstage for “two cups of hot tea” — then took over the mic to demonstrate one of his own great passions: “Deconstructing.” He explained in detail the intricacies of Buckley’s vocal performance, then played a sample of her singing as he talked the audience through each element.

Buckley and Rudetsky (who has admired Buckley’s work since boyhood) make a powerful pair. Rudetsky caresses the keys like Buckley caresses the air — and both have genuine flair.

Lizabeth and Seth Rudetsky

Buckley and Rudetsky enjoyed a lengthy standing ovation after wrapping the show, and another after an encore featuring a single haunting song. Both graciously stayed long after the concert to autograph programs, CDs and such. We were thrilled to chat with them briefly, and I couldn’t resist the urge to solicit advice for Lizabeth as she heads off to study theater.

Buckley’s offered a single word: “Practice.” Seth had a great deal more to say (all of it good) but seemed genuinely puzzled about why, when Lizabeth rattled off the list of colleges/conservatories on her “short list” of favorites, she didn’t mention Oberlin College & Conservatory — his own alma mater. We love Rudetsky’s loyalty, and want to assure him that Oberlin tops the list of plenty of students at Arizona School for the Arts.

Now if only there was a “Seth-mobile” bumper sticker for the teen taxi that routinely blasts “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” during all those drives between home, school and theater adventures…

— Lynn

Coming up: Bald chairs?, Fiddling around in Alaska, How hip is “HOP?”

Follow the children

We got some not so welcome news last week about an hour before I was scheduled to judge auditions for a student talent show at Kiva Elementary School in Paradise Valley, whose distinguished alumni include my hubby James.

I was reminded of a song called “Where Do I Go” from the musical “Hair.” It follows the question “Where do I go?” with the answer “Follow the children.” I knew that watching children perform was just what I needed.

I entered the Kiva cafeteria after school last Tuesday to find it abuzz with doting stage mothers and fathers, and kids with all sorts of performing arts fare – a cello in a hard neon green case, a pink Daisy Rock guitar, tattered costumes a la “Annie” orphans, tumbling mats and more.

I sat at a long table in front of the stage, joined by two fellow judges – including Desert Stages Theatre co-founder and executive director Laurie Cullity, who was quick to introduce herself with a confident handshake and broad smile.

The other judge was Matt Peterson, a 14-year-old student at Mohave Middle School who “founded” the Kiva talent show when he was in 5th grade and vice president of the student council.

Peterson eagerly described his acting ambitions and plans to utilize “YouTube” to make his talents known.

As Peterson described his dreams of heading to Hollywood to pursue television or film work before graduating from high school, I thought of my own daughter’s eagerness to graduate and begin B.F.A. studies in theater.

I hope he’ll stay in school – because his experiences there will likely broaden his horizons and add the depth of character that makes an actor’s performance authentic and compelling – and because childhoods cut short can never be recaptured.

Together we judged fifty performances ranging from fiddling and gymnastics to skits and singing. I was surprised by how many details rushed back from watching my own children’s lessons and recitals.

Bow placement on violin strings. Hand position at the piano. Posture during dance. We weren’t judging on these factors, but I realized while judging that I’ve developed a critical eye over the years (for better or worse).

I admire every single one of the students who took to that stage. It takes guts, and all demonstrated true class and composure. I remember my own modern dance and gymnastics performances at that age, which I’m sure were far from perfect.

Whatever the outcome of auditions – students, parents and teachers should be proud. We rated each performance on a scale of 1-10 based on entertainment value and student preparedness, but there’s more to performance than pleasing judges.

Every child gave it all they had – and it showed. The talent show takes place in March, and I’ve no doubt it’ll feature both polished acts and supportive audience members. I hope I’ll be able to attend.

Next time you have a bad day – even a truly dreadful day – just follow the children. Their smiles will show you the way.

— Lynn

Note: The Kiva Elementary School talent show is Thurs, March 10, at 6pm at Saguaro High School (and is open to the public)

Coming up: Arizona art volunteers, You’ve got Spam!, Grammy winner performs for Valley students

Artwork from Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

Musings on “mature content” musicals

I finally broke down and watched the movie “Shutter Island” with my 17-year-old daughter recently after someone who’d seen it mentioned how much she’d probably enjoy it.

I’m one of those quaint parents who’s not a big fan of the under-17 set seeing movies with an R-rating, although Lizabeth saw plenty of “mature content” musicals before turning 17.

Folks who watch “Glee” will recognize the actress in this poster from “Spring Awakening” on Broadway (Photo: Joan Marcus)

She’s seeing “Spring Awakening” for the second time this week when it returns for two nights only to ASU Gammage.

Last time it toured in Tempe, we surprised her with tickets for on-stage seating — since rows of audience members sit stage left and stage right for the entire production.

This time around we’ll enjoy it together from seats in the house — and it’ll be our second “mature content” musical for the week.

About the time this gets posted, we’ll be seeing “Next to Normal” at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego.

Lizabeth first saw “Next to Normal” at the Booth Theatre during a high school trip to NYC and DC last year, but Alice Ripley didn’t perform the night Lizabeth attended.

We’re thrilled to be seeing Ripley perform in the touring production — and will offer more musings on our return.

People often ask me what theater material is and isn’t appropriate for certain ages. My answer to this mirrors my take on most parenting issues. It depends on the child.

Families have different values. Children have different sensitivities. And everyone has a different take on art.

When I spoke a while back with Paris Bradstreet, a member of the touring cast for “Spring Awakening” at ASU Gammage, she noted that primetime television offers far more violence and sexual content than the plays and musicals folks fear as too racy.

Touring cast of “Spring Awakening” (Photo: Andy Snow)

Since we spoke, MTV has started airing a weekly series called “Skins” — billed as “a journey throughout the lives of nine high school friends stumbling through teenage adolescence.”

Think partying with drugs and alcohol, trading sexual favors, popping pills, reading porn and more.

Pay attention when theater offerings have content advisories, but do more digging.

Sometimes the things parents fear, like the brief and barely lit nude scene in “Hair,” are far more tasteful than what your kids are seeing on television or in movie theaters.

Bradstreet observes that “mature content” fare often sails right over the heads of younger children.

If your tween or teen is old enough to know when a character is simulating sexual activity (with self or others), it’s unlikely the thought of sex has yet to cross his or her mind.

And as the mom of a teen who has seen everything from “Rent” to “Avenue Q,” I can assure you that no Broadway show has ever inspired her to run right home and start swearing up a storm or sneaking out at night for some sinister purpose.

Touring cast of “Spring Awakening” (Photo: Andy Snow)

If anything, it’s taken the glamour away from activities that would otherwise derive power from their mystery.

Who wants to raid a liquor cabinet after watching the mother in “August: Osage County” drink herself into oblivion? Who wants to shoot heroine after seeing a drug user in “Rent” contract AIDS?

I hadn’t realized, when we rented the movie “Shutter Island,” that it involved a mother killing her children. I only recall the slick little DVD case warning against language, cigarette use and nudity.

Apparently it’s the smoking killers who most offend. But all is well if they’re fully clothed.

I wasn’t entirely sure after watching “Shutter Island” that I’d made the right call.

But I am sure that much of what our tweens and teens experience via television, video games and the Internet is far more rude and crude than anything I’ve ever seen in a work of musical theater.

— Lynn

Note: One of the best ways to gauge the age-appropriateness of content is to view something for yourself before deciding whether it’s okay for your child or teen. If you check with friends, ask enough of them to get a good sampling of opinions — which will give you more insight than a single thumbs up or thumbs down.

Coming up: Good clean fun with children’s theater, All things “Alice,” Spotlight on Sedona

Update: ASU Gammage has just announced special pricing for certain tickets to “Spring Awakening.” Use the code “SPRING” when ordering tickets in price levels 1-3 (excludes balcony seating; additional fees apply). Offer not valid on previously purchased tickets or in conjunction with any other offers. Tickets available from ASU Gammage and Ticketmaster.

Shrek: I’m a believer

Scene featuring Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona

I ran into Colleen Jennings-Roggensack and Kurt Roggensack after the opening night performance of “Shrek the Musical” at ASU Gammage in Tempe.

She’s the executive director for ASU Gammage, while he’s an ASU volcanologist. I was there with my 17-year-old daughter, Lizabeth.

It looked at the time like a volcano had just erupted in the theater, as children scurried to and fro trying to capture a few of the large circles of green and silver confetti released during the show’s final number — the song “I’m a Believer,” composed by Neil Diamond and recorded by the Monkees in 1966. (It’s the Smash Mouth cover that you hear during the 2001 movie “Shrek.”)

“I didn’t want to like it,” I confessed to Jennings-Roggensack. “But now I’m a believer!” We agreed that, although the musical is plenty fun for kids, it seemed at times that the adults might be having the most fun. As we chatted, a silver-haired woman walked by — unaware she was sporting confetti in her gorgeous locks.

Lord Farquaad isn't phased by talking cookies like Gingy

It’s hard to pin down the intended audience of this baby. Unlike some works that integrate youth and adult material with ease, “Shrek” seems to skip back and forth between the two.

It leaves the show, though perfectly enjoyable, feeling a bit choppy and disjointed. At times, it reads like a sparkling Las Vegas extravaganza. But sometimes it’s just a simple fairy tale.

To the credit of playwright David Lindsay-Abair and the rest of the musical’s creative team, “Shrek the Musical” isn’t a mere rehashing of the “Shrek” movies. The same characters are there, but the story has more layers — much like the onion Shrek uses to show his new friend Donkey that he’s more complicated than he appears.

Princess Fiona sparkles like Las Vegas royalty with her tap dancing rats

So is Lindsay-Abair, whose work you might have seen in movie theaters of late. He’s the playwright and screenwriter for “Rabbit Hole” — originally a play, which earned a Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

“Shrek” is great fun for those who enjoy the occasional homage or parody of favorite fairy tales or Broadway musicals. Think “Wicked,” “Les Mis,” “Lion King,” “HAIR” and more.

I’m certain I heard echos of “Rent” and “Hairspray” tunes, but Lizabeth tells me I’m merely “ovethinking things again.” I found myself wishing they’d found a way to incorporate “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” but perhaps that would have been in poor taste.

Can you hear Pinocchio sing?

The show is heavy with messages and morality tales. I suspect they’re too complex for younger theater-goers, yet a tad too sappy for the more mature crowd. “What makes us special,” we’re often told, “is what makes us strong.”

Tear down your walls. Don’t judge. Things aren’t always what they seem. Don’t fear something just because you don’t understand it. My favorite number, “Freak Flag,” is a high-energy celebration of diversity.

Still, Lizabeth and I agreed that we might enjoy the show more if it ran a bit shorter — closer to 90 minutes or so. Though I certainly wouldn’t want the job of deciding which scenes to cut. It’s best, I suppose, that producers never think to call for my opinion on such matters.

The four lead actors — Eric Petersen (Shrek), Haven Burton (Princess Fiona), Alan Mingo, Jr. (Donkey) and David F. M. Vaughn (Lord Farquaad) — were well matched in terms of talent, with each showing particular strengths. Sadly, the full measure of Petersen’s vocal talent isn’t revealed until well into the second act.

Four puppeteers operate this magnificent flying dragon

Other vocal powerhouses in this production include Carrie Compere (Dragon, Mama Ogre, Tweedledum), who dedicates her performance to the memory of her mother — leading me to surmise that her mom was a blissful blend of joyous and strong. Also Aymee Garcia (Mama Bear, Gingy), whose gingerbread cookie is smart and sassy. (Think “Eat me!”)

My favorite scenes featured Fiona’s entourage of tap dancing rats, a Shrek and Fiona burp-fest, and Shrek’s anthem to self-doubt titled “When Words Fail.” Plus anything and everything involving puppetry — especially the dragon scene — which you’ll appreciate even more if you’ve seen the fine work of our own local Great Arizona Puppet Theater.

See if your children can figure out the mechanics of Lord Farquaad's short stature and nimble legs

Puppetry on this grand scale requires athleticism and agility, and you’d be wise to extend the fun at home by having plenty of puppets at the ready so your child can act out his or her own stories.

Laptime with favorite fairy tales may also surge in popularity at your house after you’ve experienced this show with your kids.

You might also want to revisit the “Shrek” films — as well as the “Shrek” book written by William Steig (first published in 1990). It’s fun to find and talk about differences in various tellings of a single story.

When all is said and done, I suppose you’d have to say that I’m a believer.

— Lynn

Note: “Shrek the Musical” (Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, Music by Jeanine Tesori) runs at ASU Gammage in Tempe through Jan 9. Click here to see “Gammage Goer” reviews of “Shrek” and other ASU Gammage productions.

Coming up: Expert tips on college theater program auditions

Peace, love and HAIR

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have books in our lives know that family favorites are often handed down for generations.

As the child of a before her time hippie who stayed ever young at heart, I was raised on the likes of a book called “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs.”

I hadn’t given it much thought until opening the program for “HAIR” while attending the show at ASU Gammage Wednesday night.

I discovered cast bios proudly listing astrological signs like Gemini and Aries, Virgo and Leo. And yes — even Aquarius.

I suspect one cast member takes her astrology especially seriously. Caren Lyn Tackett (Sheila) notes that she was “Born Sun in Leo Moon in Aries Aquarius Rising” — which leads me to believe I wasn’t the only person to experience the wonders of astrological charting as a child.

I’ve been told that I’m Scorpio “sun, moon and rising” but I’m guessing it only felt that way to my oft-times exasperated, though ever-supportive, mother.

Also of note in cast member bios are final words consisting of “love,” “peace,” “namaste” and such.

It’s hard to know where the hippie ends and the actor begins — which is part of the charm and appeal of this show.

I was especially moved by one particular monologue, which encourages parents to run right home and have a talk with their teenagers.

And to say something like this — be yourself, embrace your freedom and love your life.

Of course, you could just take them to see the show. I think they’d get the message.

Be forewarned, however, that the musical “HAIR” is “mature audiences” fare.

I’m completely supportive of my high school age daughter seeing the show, but other parents might make a different choice knowing there is nudity (albeit brief and tasteful), swearing and simulated sexual/drug activity.

If you’re uneasy with exposing your child to the questioning of authority — whether God, country, the military or parents — you may not be comfortable having your child or teenager see the show.

But having said that, I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced a better multi-sensory snapshot of this particular period in American culture.

And since issues related to war, drugs and sexuality are still with us today — I don’t know that there’s a better way to expose youth to these issues.

It’s your call, of course, and you should know what you are getting into.

Certainly it would be a shame for anyone even remotely close to being “mature” to miss this show. It’s among the best Broadway productions I’ve ever seen.

Sorry, Phantom. The cape and mask have been replaced in my heart by fur and fringe. Believe me, my daughter Lizabeth has been waiting for this moment. That whole “music of the night” vibe just never spoke to her, I suppose.

I’ve never had more fun at the theater, and never heard those around me enjoying such profound conversations. One doesn’t always find this mix in a single show.

Everyone left dancing — that’s true. But I think they also left wondering about the modern-day American tribe, and whether we’re really living up to all that “peace” and “love” hype of the hippies who came before us — or who were us.

Especially strong performances were delivered by Phyre Hawkins (Dionne), Matt DeAngelis (Woof) and Paris Remillard (Claude). Josh Lamon makes a marvelous Margaret Mead.

Steel Burkhardt was clearly born to play Berger, and delivered one of the finest performances I’ve seen on the ASU Gammage stage.

Of course, some of his best performance art happens off stage — something it’s best to experience for yourself (rows one through five are especially lively).

Forget about that whole “fourth wall” thing when you see this show. 

Be ready to let your hair down, flash those peace signs and embrace whatever the goddess of musical theatre throws your way.

If you need a little something more concrete to go on, I offer this brief review…

Brilliant lighting. Incredible live band (on stage, no less). Strong acting. Moving vocals. Fever-pitch dancing. Oh yeah, and way cool costumes. (They give those Tony Awards for a reason.)

I suspect “HAIR” is unlike anything you’ve ever seen on stage before, and I don’t happen to think that anyone should miss this opportunity to see it.

Go. Dance. Hug. Sing. Love. Laugh. Shake your big hair. And be grateful for every last minute of this supremely unique and extravagant production.

— Lynn

Note: “HAIR” — described as “The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” — runs through Sun, Dec 12 at ASU Gammage. Click here to learn more about the show, read reviews by “Gammage Goers” and find ticket information. Also visit ASU Gammage on Facebook to learn about Thursday night’s talkback and apres-show dance party/costume contest. I’m holding out for the biggest hair contest — I think I might have that one covered.

Coming up: Stage Mom reviews new movies

It takes a village

Sometimes it take a village of 19 youth actors from around the Valley

Sometimes it takes a village — which is just what you’ll enjoy this weekend if you attend a performance by Curtain Call Youtheatre, the educational division of the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company.

They’ll present “A Village of Idiots” — Sat, Dec 11 at 7pm, and Sun, Dec 12 at 2pm — at the John Paul Theatre at Phoenix College. The cast includes 19 young actors from around the Valley in a comedy based on “the tales of Chelm.”

But you needn’t wait until the weekend to enjoy Arizona arts and culture. The Arizona Humanities Council holds an “Authors’ Night/Fundraiser” Wed, Dec 8, at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix.

The event features nationally renowned authors Matthew Whitaker and Cynthia Hogue, as well as photographer Rebecca Ross, exploring “the journey of Hurrican Katrina evacuee’s grief and hope through stories, poems and photographs.”

See Joel Sartore at the MAC

“America’s Great Wildlife Migrations” featuring Joel Santore, “National Geographic” photographer, also takes place Wed, Dec 8 — at the Mesa Arts Center.

For the “12 to 21” set, the Phoenix Art Museum presents “Speak & Slam 2.0” Wed, Dec 8, at 6:30pm. It’s their second installation of “original poetry and recitation” — held in partnership with the national “Poetry Out Loud” recitation contest. Young poets can practice performing for a live audience or come to support the readings of other youth.

Take time this season to support aspiring performers

Chandler-Gilbert Community College invites community members to attend a free “Student Actors’ Showcase” Fri, Dec 10 at 7pm in room Agave 155. 

They’re also offering a free event Mon, Dec 13 at their Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center — a “Winter Sampler” featuring various vocal and musical ensembles. (Reservations at 480-732-7343 are required.)

The Phoenix Art Museum presents “PhxArtKid Day” Sun, Dec 12, for children ages 5-12 and their adult companions — which is free with museum admission. This “Gifts of the Season” event features exploration of art and the opportunity to create original art with a holday theme.

Adults and kids can attend the Phoenix Art Museum’s “Holiday Festival” Sun, Dec 12, from noon to 8pm — which features the 12:12pm unveiling of a new work of art. Other activities taking place at various times include a scavenger hunt, balloon dancing and more. Think strolling musicians. Adorable critters. And an ice igloo.

Make holiday cards at the Children's Museum of Phoenix

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix presents “Holiday Cards” Dec 7-12 in their art studio. It’s for children and adults who’d like to spend some time making artwork together — and it’s just one of many family-friendly activities and events they offer on a regular basis.

Exciting art projects can also be found at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, which routinely offers times for children to create art while they’re at the museum to enjoy its many kid-friendly exhibits.

Young Arts of Arizona opened a new exhibit last Friday at their “Purple Space Gallery” in Phoenix. It features artwork by students at Phoenix Country Day School, who were inspired by an “Interpretations of Nature” theme.

If architecture is your thing, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art invites you to attend a free event on Sat, Dec 11. It’s the 11am-2pm “official public dedication” of the Soleri Bridge and Plaza. Related events (some with limited seating and/or an admission charge) are also scheduled — including a “VIP Tour of Cosanti,” a lecture/panel discussion and more.

"HAIR" has a tribe rather than village vibe

Broadway lovers can enjoy the touring production of  “HAIR” this week at ASU Gammage. If you like a bit of brunch with your Broadway, you can enjoy brunch on campus at the University Club before the Sun, Dec 12, matinee performance.

Dance aficionados have several options this week, including the “Breaking Ground 2010” dance and film festival presented by CONDER/dance Fri, Dec 10, at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Enjoy dance at Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents a “Student Dance Showcase” at 8pm Fri, Dec 10, and Sat, Dec 11, at their Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler.

And those who donate cans of non-perishable food items to United Food Bank through a food drive at Kriti Dance in Chandler this weekend can enjoy a free trial class in Bollywood style dance Sun, Jan 9, 2011.

Finally, there’s the fine art of civic engagement — which you can practice this week at the State Capitol. Thurs, Dec 9, at 9am, the Arizona Capitol Museum will “celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Arizona Constitution with the opening of a new exhibit.”

It’s titled “We the People of Arizona….” At 2pm Governor Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett will join others in commemorating the centennial of Arizona’s Constitutional Convention.

It really does take a village…

— Lynn

Note: Comprehensive daily listings of family-friendly events in the Valley of the Sun are always available online from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Always call ahead to confirm event details — day/time, location, cost, age-appropriateness and such.

Coming up: A true Broadway baby

Photo credit: “HAIR” photo by Joan Marcus