Tag Archives: Juilliard

Young artists win Arizona competition

L to R: Kresley Figueroa, Aubrey Ares and Sarah Ambrose won this year’s Arizona Young Artists’ Competition (Photo: Apatrou Photography)

I’m told there’s rarely a shortage of entries in the vocal category when the Arizona Young Artists’ Competition hits the Herberger Theater Center each year. But at least one vocalist found a way to truly stand out. She sang opera.

Kresley Figueroa, who won the 2012 AYAC vocal competition, was singing in community theater productions by age nine, and recalls starting “formal vocal training” at the age of ten. The saw her first opera, performed by the Sante Fe Opera, around the same time.

It didn’t wow her, she recalls, because the opera featured mostly men. And frankly, the tremendous power of their voices felt a little scary at the time. But other operas — performed by The Metropolitan Opera in NYC, the Arizona Opera in Phoenix and students at Northern Arizona University — tugged at her heart.

Figueroa, now a 15-year-old sophomore at Flagstaff High School, has studied vocal performance for about five years with Deborah Raymond, associate professor of voice at the NAU School of Music.

Kresley Figueroa of Flagstaff, who won the 2012 AYAC vocal competition

Figueroa takes lessons with Raymond once a week or so, but also participates “every few weeks” in a pre-college program at Juilliard in NYC for those who’ve got the potential to pursue professional careers in music.

When in NYC, Figueroa also studies with Adam Guettel, whose work on “The Light in the Piazza” earned him two Tony Awards — one for best score, and another for best orchestrations. Seems his family, including grandfather Richard Rodgers and mother Mary Rodgers, had a thing for music too.

Figueroa is generous about sharing tips with other young vocalists. Find someone you work well with, she says. And be sure there’s plenty of mutual respect. Above all, choose someone you trust — because “your voice is a fragile thing.” But study with others teachers too, suggests Figueroa. It’s good to get out there and work with more than one director.

Beware of trying to sound too old, vocally or emotionally, cautions Figueroa. “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” The voice is constantly developing, she says, so it needs consistent attention over time.

Figueroa plans four years of study in a college or conservatory setting once she graduates in 2014 — plus graduate studies that’ll continue to hone her vocal performance. There’s little opportunity to experience arts at the local high school, says Figueroa. But she finds what she needs elsewhere.

She’s already taken two semesters of opera history at Northern Arizona University, and says she does a lot of reading on her own about opera and related topics — often tied to pieces she’s working to master.

Her advice to those who feel intimidated or turned off by opera is simple. Just try it. “Just experience it,” says Figueroa. Don’t worry about doing tons of homework ahead of time. It’s perfectly fine to go in completely blind. If something moves you, you can always go back and try to make sense of the pieces that didn’t click.

Folks wary of opera because they expect a stuffy atmosphere full of dressed-up patrons have another option — seeing simulcast or filmed opera performances in movie theaters and performing arts venues. Mixing opera with popcorn helps vanquish outdated stereotypes, so Figueroa’s all for it.

Figueroa’s first place finish earned her a $1,000 scholarship. Scholarhips were also awarded to Sarah Ambrose for first place in acting and Aubrey Ares for first place in dance.

Three AYAC people’s choice winners were also recognized this year — Logan Mitchell for voice, Sarah Ambrose for acting and Tori Mazzacone for dance. All competitors were between 15 and 19 years old.

The Arizona Young Artists’ Competition is a collaboration between Herberger Theater Center and Center Dance Ensemble designed to “showcase the diverse and emerging talent of young Arizona artists.”

Click here to learn more about visual and performing arts presented at Herberger Theater Center, and here to sign up for their newsletter so you’ll be among the first to learn about next year’s call for AYAC entries.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about Arizona Opera programs for youth, and here for information on Phoenix Opera

Coming up: Blog meets casserole?


MLK takes center stage

As previews for “The Mountaintop,” a play inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., are taking place at the Bernard B. Jacob Theatre in NYC’s Broadway theater district, ASU is readying for its annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2012.

The ASU MLK, Jr. committee has put out the call for nominations for an MLK Servant-Leadership Award to be presented to an ASU student, with a $1,000 award, at ASU’s MLK breakfast on Jan 13, 2012. Nominations are due Mon, Oct. 3.

“The Mountaintop,” by playwright Katori Hall, had its world premiere in London, and earned the 2010 Olivier Award for best new play. Its official Broadway opening takes place Thurs, Oct 13. “The Mountaintop,” a title that references one of King’s most powerful speeches, is directed by Kenny Leon.

Leon’s directing credits include “Fences,” a show well-loved by Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, known to Valley Broadway fans as executive director for ASU Gammage. Jennings-Roggensack is Arizona’s sole Tony Award voter and head of ASU’s MLK Jr. committee.

“The Mountaintop” features original music by jazz instrumentalist and composer Branford Marsalis. It stars Samuel L. Jackson (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) and Angela Bassett (Camae) — both of whom serve on the “Dream Team” for the Martin Luther King, Jr. national memorial being dedicated in Washington, D.C. on Sun, Oct 16.

Tickets for The Mountaintop, which opens Oct 13, are now available

The play is “a gripping imagining of events” the night before King’s assassination in 1968. It depicts an exhausted King retiring to his motel room one stormy night after delivering one of his most memorable speeches, only to receive an unexpected visit from a mysterious stranger with suprising news that forces King to “confront his destiny and his legacy to his people.”

Hall shared in a Q & A article published online by The Juilliard School that she “wanted to depict not only Dr. King’s triumphs but also his struggles.” She hopes people who see “The Mountaintop” leave feeling that they, and everyone around them, can “be a King, too.”

It sounds a lot like the spirit of ASU’s MLK Servant-Leadership Award. “The importance of the MLK award,” says Jennings-Roggensack, “is to remind us that every single day throughout the year, we can hold true to Dr. King’s legacy and continue to make the communities, the country and the world we live in a better place.”

She references a letter King wrote from a Birmingham jail in April of 1963, something that makes compelling reading today and reminds us all of King’s call to servant leadership — and says the MLK committee is looking for ASU students who make contributions beyond the school community to the larger community we all share.

Past MLK Servant-Leadership Award recipients have included a student who set up diabetes clinics in Guadalupe, a student dedicated to helping women and children escape domestic violence, a student committed to the environment and social justice who worked to clean up local communities, and others.

Jennings-Roggensack, whose work frequently takes her to NYC, says she’s excited about attending opening night for “The Mountaintop.” Her admiration for Katori is evident, as is her delight with the fact that three African American women playwrights currently have works being performed on Broadway. “It’s a long time coming,” she reflects.

We’ve yet to realize the full measure of King’s dream within American society, but recognizing students and others who are moving his mission forward is a step in the right direction. Keep walking, and pause often to invite others to join you.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the ASU MLK Servant-Leadership Award, here to learn more about “The Mountaintop” on Broadway, here to learn more about the national MLK, Jr. memorial and here to read The Juilliard School’s Q & A with playwright Katori Hall.

Coming up: Christie mysteries from New Jersey to Gilbert, What’s a Zoot Suit?, Scottish writer tackles suicide tales, Best new offerings on Broadway

A tale of teen angst

We forget sometimes that the musical “West Side Story” is a modern-day take on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” — a tale of young love thwarted by feuding families and the fickleness of fate.

I tend to think big song and dance numbers set against colorful sets and costumes — which is what I expect the touring production of “West Side Story” to deliver when it hits ASU Gammage Sept 27-Oct 2.

If I snap, will the West Side Story cast jump? (Photo: Joan Marcus)

But I was reminded, after chatting recently with cast member and seasoned television actor John O’Creagh, that it also delivers a powerful portrayal of “the difficulty kids have in defining themselves.”

ASU Gammage says the show is appropriate for ages 13 and up because it “deals with adult themes: violence, murder, rape and bigotry.” It includes “bad language, sexual innuendos and racial slurs.”

“It’s a very powerful work,” says O’Creagh, who describes “West Side Story” as “a very painful show in a lot of ways.” It’s a tough look at teens in rival gangs in New York City — and the challenge of making love survive in an atmosphere of hate.

Ali Ewoldt and Kyle Harris of West Side Story (Photo: Joan Marcus)

The original production of “West Side Story” opened on Broadway in 1957, when Americans commonly judged one another based on skin color, language and the like — something that still happens all too often today. Something else was true both then and now, according to O’Creagh. “Adolescence is a nightmare.”

The original Broadway production of “West Side Story” featured music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and choreography by Jerome Robbins. The script was written by Arthur Laurents, who died earlier this year at the age of 93.

O’Creagh recalls that Laurents attended many rehearsals for this touring production of the show’s 2009 Broadway revival, exploring the show’s characters with cast members who include Kyle Harris (Tony), who holds a BFA from the University of Arizona, and Ali Ewoldt (Maria), who holds a BA in psychology from Yale University.

O’Creagh describes fellow cast members as “sensible, disciplined and hard working.” Not surprising given that they’ve studied at places like The Juilliard School, performed on Broadway in shows like “A Chorus Line” and “Les Miserables,” and worked with dancers like Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp.

Please control the urge to attempt these West Side Story moves until you get home after the show (Photo: Joan Marcus)

But when did O’Creagh first catch the acting bug? While playing Stage Manager in a high school production of “Our Town” — which left him feeling he’d spent his whole life preparing to do acting. “It was comfortable,” recalls O’Creagh. “Acting felt like a good old pair of sneakers.”

So what’s his advice for youth considering the acting life? “Read everything you possibly can,” he says. “Learn everything you possibly can.” Study grammar and language too — because acting is a craft born and carried by words.

— Lynn

Note: Those who attend the Thurs, Sept 29 performance of “West Side Story” at ASU Gammage can stay after for a free talkback with cast and creative team members presented by 99.9 KEZ. Fans of “West Side Story” can also see the Actor’s Youth Theatre production which runs June 26-30, 2012 at Mesa Arts Center.

Coming up: Fall break camps with an arts twist

9/11 meets Arizona arts and culture

This work by Sam Irving is one of several you can enjoy at exhibits at two Gilbert libraries this week (Photo courtesy of Gilbert Fire Department)

The town of Gilbert is preparing for Sunday’s dedication of a 9/11 memorial to feature an 8-foot long beam from the World Trade Center.

Recently they invited folks to submit photographs, paintings and drawings with a “Memory of Hope” theme. Selected works are on exhibit through 9/11 at the Southeast Regional and Perry High libraries. www.gilbertaz.gov/911memorial.

One of several works currently on exhibit at the Tucson Jewish Community Center

Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona has created a mixed media 9/11 memorial called “3,000 Souls” that’s being exhibited at the Tucson Jewish Community Center through Sept 26. ww.tucsonjcc.org/arts.

The ceramics program and fine arts department at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix (part of the Tempe Unified High School District) presents a 9/11 memorial Thurs, Sept 9 from 6-9pm (room 149).

The event features “students from dance and theatre,
choir, speech and band, a special slide and musical tribute, the
signing of victims’ names into a tribute vessel to be delivered to New
York in December, and fundraising for the WTC Health Hospital.” The event is free and open to the public. www.desertvista.schoolfusion.us.

Several 9/11-related items, including a huge “National Unity Flag” designed and created in Arizona, will be exhibited Sept 9-16 in the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts atrium.

A “9/11 Memorial Wall” with 2,996 full-color memorial cards featuring biographical information and photographs of 9/11 victims will be exhibited as well.

Scottsdale begins a “9/11 Day of Remembrance” program in the atrium at 1pm on Sun, Sept 11 with a reading of victims’ names.

Keynote speaker Ray Malone, a former New York police office and firefighter, follows in the Virginia G. Piper Theater at 6pm. The evening also includes performances of patriotic music by school bands and choral groups, as well as a candlelight vigil. www.scottsdaleaz.gov.

ProMusica performs with other Valley groups this weekend

ProMusica Arizona Chorale and Orchestra of Anthem will perform Mozart’s “Requiem” (a work being performed by groups throughout the country on 9/11) at two Valley churches on Sun, Sept 11. www.promusicaaz.org.

Mozart’s “Requiem” is also being performed at a “Remembrance and Renewal” concert at UA’s Centennial Hall in Tucson on Sun, Sept 11 at 3pm. It features the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Tucson Chamber Artists’ professional choir. www.uapresents.org.

The Damocles Trio, who met as doctoral students at The Juilliard School in NYC, will perform the “Requiem Trio” by Spanish composer Salvador Brotons (b.1959) at Tempe Center for the Arts at 2:30pm on Sun, Sept 11.

The work was “written especially for the group to commemorate the tragic terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.” The piece was first performed in Sept 11, 2004 in NYC.

Tempe officials note that “this concert will be linked to the Tempe Beach Park 9/11 Healing Field and other city commemoration events.” The concert also features the music of Dvorak and Villa Lobos. www.damoclestrio.com and www.friendsofTCA.org.

The Tucson Pops Orchestra, with guest conductor George Hanson, performs “Americana: Remember 9/11” Sun, Sept 11 at Reid Park in Tucson at 6:30pm. www.sept11tucson.org.

The National Unity Flag will hang in Scottsdale this weekend

Folks looking for additional 9/11 memorials and related events can check with local interfaith or religious groups, performing arts venues, universities or colleges, museums, local governments and community centers for local offerings.

If your Arizona organization is presenting a music, dance, theater or visual arts event in remembrance of 9/11, please comment below to let our readers know.

— Lynn

Note: Several 9/11 remembrance events will be televised, including a New York Philharmonic concert with Alan Gilbert conducting Mahler’s “Resurrection” (Sept 11 on PBS). Listen to KJZZ 91.5 all week for 9/11 memorial coverage (including 9 hours of live coverage on 9/11). www.kjzz.org. Watch the “9/11: 10 Years Later” concert live Thurs, Sept 8 and share your reflections with others at facebook.com/KennedyCenter by clicking on the 9/11 Livestream tab.

Coming up: Remembering 9/11 with literature and love

Kids remember 9/11

This 9/11 Peace Story Quilt on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was designed by Faith Ringgold. It features three panels created by NYC students ages 8-19.

Folks in NYC have plenty of art-related opportunities to reflect on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this week. An art installation “made from 9/11 dust” and paintings “which contain ash from ground zero.” A quilt featuring NYC’s skyline and a quilt with three panels crafted by NYC students (pictured above). www.metmuseum.org.

A roving memorial called “Dances for Airports.” A concert for peace featuring the Juilliard String Quartet. A release of balloons inscribed with poetry in several languages. Even a human chain open to anyone who wants to join hands in Battery Park at 8:46am on Sept 10.

Work by a student from the Calhoun School class of 2006

My favorite events and exhibits feature the words and works of youth — like a series of collages created by 31 thirteen year olds who started 8th grade together at Calhoun School that tragic day. Their “9/11: Through Young Eyes,” a project coordinated by teachers Helen Bruno and Jessica Houston, will be exhibited at the D C Moore Gallery in Chelsea Sept 8 – Oct 8. www.dcmooregallery.com.

Several Arizona youth are participating in a community memorial service called “Moving Memories — Moving Forward.” The Sun, Sept 11 event is being presented by the Arizona Interfaith Movement, which seeks to “build bridges…through dialogue, service and the implementation of the Golden Rule.”

It’s taking place from 11:30am-12:30pm at the 9/11 memorial located at Wesley Bolin Plaza. The plaza is adjacent to the Arizona State Capitol at 17th Avenue and Adams Street just west of downtown Phoenix. Program highlights include remarks by Donna Killoughey Bird, a mother of two whose husband Gary Bird (a UA grad and longtime resident of Tempe) died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

High school student Kris Curtis will play the national anthem on trumpet after emcee Pat McMahon opens the ceremony. Following several prayers and speakers, ten children will “say the Golden Rule from ten different faith traditions.” www.azifm.org.

Eighth grade students from the Temple Emanu-El Kurn Religious School in Tucson will lead a “9/11 Interfaith Memorial Service” Sun, Sept 11 (10am) at Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging. www.handmaker.org.

A new book titled “Art for Heart: Remembering 9/11” (with introduction by Alice M. Greenwald) features drawings, murals, paintings and poems by children who were affected by the terrorist attack.

“The Day Our World Changed: Children’s Art of 9/11” (by Robin F. Goodman, Ph.D. and Andrea Henderson Fahnestock) began as a project of the New York Child Study Center in NYC. It was published several years ago, but it’s every bit as compelling today.

Many of the works featured in “The Day Our World Changed” have been donated to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Lower Manhattan, which first opens for families on 9/11 this year. The general public can visit the museum (with pre-purchased tickets due to high demand) starting 9/12. My daughter Lizabeth plans to tour the museum this week with other students from Pace University. www.911memorial.org.

NBC airs a Darlow Smithson Productions documentary titled “Children of 9/11” tonight, Sept 5, but folks who miss it can watch local listings for rebroadcast information. More than 3,000 children lost a parent on 9/11, and this special follows 11 of them for a period of one year.

The Day Our World Changed includes this work by Matthew Sussman

If you missed the Sept 1 broadcast of “What Happened? The Story of September 11, 2001,” a 30-minute Nickelodeon program geared for younger viewers, you can watch it online — then read an online discussion guide created by psychologist Robin H. Gurwitch, Ph.D. for Nickelodeon and the American Psychological Association. www.nicknews.com and www.parentsconnect.com.

Stories of more than 40 twins who lost a sibling on 9/11 are the subject of a BBC Wales documentary titled “Twins of the Twin Towers.” It’s being broadcast on Sun, Sept 11 on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Be thoughtful, in the days ahead, about how much time you spend watching programs that show the traumatic events of 9/11 in graphic detail. Most aren’t suitable for children, and even kids who didn’t lose a loved one on 9/11 can feel traumatized by exposure to the events of that day.

— Lynn

Note: Donna Killoughey Bird will share her story several times in comings days. Hear her speak Tues, Sept 6 (noon) at the Mustang Library auditorium or Thurs, Sept 15 (6pm) at the Civic Center Library auditorium in Scottsdale (Register at www.scottsdaleaz.gov). Or meet her Sun, Sept 11 (3pm) at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, where she’ll be signing “Nothing Will Separate Us” (part of the proceeds go to scholarships, service awards and educational support for young adults). www.changinghands.com/event.

Coming up: 9/11 takes center stage, Children’s books inspired by 9/11

Update: Find a collection of children’s drawings from “The Day Our World Changed” at www.pbs.org/newshour/multimedia/911children

Remembering New York

There’s an image that I work hard to keep alive, just as I’m learning to let so many other memories go. It’s the image of watching my daughter Jennifer, dressed in peach and lavender tulle, dancing the role of “Bon Bon” in a Ballet Arizona performance of “The Nutcracker” many years ago, before Ib Andersen unveiled his own choreography for the classic work.

Jennifer loves these typewriters and card catalog drawers at Poets House

I thought of Jennifer Thursday when I happened upon the Poets House on River Terrace in Battery Park City, because their children’s area had all sorts of folk art, stuffed animals and other things she’d truly enjoy — even pint-sized manual typewriters and old-fashioned school desks with chairs attached.

Poets House in NYC invites children to read to these stuffed animals

But it’s the desk of a gentleman who works there that really caught my eye. I snapped oodles of pictures, eager to show them to Jennifer when I got back to Phoenix. It was a creamy shade of green Jennifer would simply call “retro” — and it was covered in large magnetic words like “family” and “imagine.”

I wanted to bring this desk home for Jennifer's dorm room

I was struck by how many of the words reminded me of New York — especially the word “different.” There’s an amazing diversity of people and experiences in the city, and I adore it.

Ferry station along the Hudson River near Poets House in NYC

After my time at the Poets House, and my stroll along the Hudson River that followed, I felt like running away from home — never leaving this city that feels such a rare blend of comfortable and thrilling.

Visitors to Lincoln Center enjoy several sculptures throughout the plaza

Thursday night I went with Lizabeth to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where we saw “War Horse” — this year’s Tony Award winner for best play. While strolling between various venues within the center, we happened upon one of the “Pop-up Pianos” that Sing for Hope places around the city for a brief bit of time each year. Each piano is painted with a different motif, and members of the public are encouraged to play them.

Another sculpture found in the plaza near the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center

Soon after we spotted the piano in an open courtyard where nearly a hundred people sat on long concrete benches or metal chairs at bistro tables, two men who appeared to be college-age played — one right after the other. Each played an elaborate, lengthy piece and we suspected, because The Juilliard School is located within eyeshot of the plaza, that they were accomplished music students.

A Pop-up Piano from Sing for Hope placed in a plaza at Lincoln Center

Lizabeth was eager to play the piano when it first caught her eye, but hesitated after hearing the two gentlemen play — fearing she’d spent too much time away from piano to sound nearly that polished. I held back so she could choose whether or not to brave the piano bench, but shared that hearing her play might inspire younger, beginning students to give it a go.

View of The Juilliard School from the Vivian Beaumont Theater

Soon she was playing pieces like “Peer Gynt” from memory and trying selections from piano books left atop the instrument. She told her dad when we got home Friday night that she didn’t play as well as the others, but I told her it wasn’t about the performance. It was about courage, and she has it.

View inside the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center

Like Jennifer’s performance in “The Nutcracker,” Lizabeth’s performance in that majestic plaza will stay with me for a lifetime — a fact that gave me comfort when it appeared my NYC photos had been lost. Still, I think sometimes that the moments we can’t preserve are the ones we remember best.

— Lynn

Coming up: Remembering 9/11

Don’t judge a diva by her cover

Patti Lupone's memoir makes for great Tony weekend reading

After opening a gift from my husband late last year, I exchanged a knowing glance with my daughter Lizabeth. Think smirking, and rolling our eyes. It was the one book I’d never imagined myself reading. A memoir by legendary actress Patti LuPone. We’ve always considered her more of a diva, as if that was some kind of crime.

But on the eve of the 2011 Tony Awards, I find myself turning to the memoir with a newfound admiration for LuPone, who tells her own story with fluid writing and thought — plus grace, gratitude and humor. I like it. I see a lot of LuPone in Lizabeth, though it’s unlikely she’ll appreciate my saying so before she’s braved some time with the book for herself.

LuPone enjoyed early dance and piano lessons, caught the performing bug at the tender age of four, and hated most academic study with a passion. She played cello, took the laissez-faire approach to Juilliard auditions, and counted on a small group of teachers and mentors who really “got her.”

LuPone first performed the role of Rose in Gypsy in 2006 at the Ravina Festival (Photo: Patti LuPone website)

“A Memoir” by Patti LuPone would be wise summer reading for theater students eager to learn more about the craft of acting, the path to self-discovery and the means for avoiding so much folly along the way. The book will also interest breast cancer survivors, and those of us labeled “stage mother” by self or others.

LuPone’s own mother spent much of her time driving daughter Patti and twin boys Billy and Bobby to and fro. “My mother was not a stage mother in any respect,” writes LuPone. “Mom’s life force was driving us from one lesson to the next. If she was a stage mother, it manifest itself in her pride in her three kids.”

The final three chapters of LuPone’s memoir are devoted to her time with the musical “Gypsy.” She begins as follows: “Rose Hovick–Madame Rose–is commonly stigmatized as the mother of all stage mothers, but that’s not the woman I see.”

LuPone earned a 2008 Tony Award for her Broadway performance of Rose (Photo: Patti LuPone website)

“I see a woman,” write LuPone, who loves her daughters. She’s ferociously driven, but she loves her kids.” LuPone performed the role of Louise (“Gypsy”) as a 15 year old but admits she “didn’t pay any attention to the character of Rose.”

LuPone first played Rose in 2006, and went on to sweep all sorts of 2008 theater awards — including the Tony Award for best actress — for her portrayal of Rose in “Gypsy” on Broadway. “I know,” writes LuPone, that Gypsy will remain one of if not the best experiences I’ve ever had in my career.”

She’ll bring “The Gypsy in My Soul,” a collection of story and song, to Arizona next year — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on March 3 and UA’s Centennial Hall in Tucson on March 4.

Get your tickets now. Read the book right after. Then mark your calendar for the Phoenix Theatre production of “Gypsy” — which runs March 7-April 1, 2012. I’d love to see LuPone extend her Arizona stay long enough to enjoy opening night.

The only thing better would be having LuPone in the house on April Fool’s Day. By her own admission, LuPone can be a bit reckless. LuPone says she loves to laugh, and it’s clear from even a cursory reading of her memoir that “mischief” could have been her middle name.

— Lynn

Note: Both LuPone and Laura Benanti are nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for “best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical” for work in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

Coming up: Feeling blue, Stage meets suffragette, What a difference a move makes