Tag Archives: Million Dollar Quartet

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

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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

Another night with “South Pacific”

South Pacific runs through Jan. 15 at ASU Gammage

It’s been more than fifty years since my mother-in-law saw a revival of “South Pacific” at the New York City Center. Neither my husband James nor his sister Julie had been born yet. And the work, which raises themes of racism, was much closer in time to everyday clashes between Americans taking different sides on race-related issues.

The musical, which is based on a 1947 James Michener novel titled “Tales of the South Pacific,” premiered in 1949 and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama the following year. A “South Pacific” film was released in 1958, which Glenna also enjoyed. But she wasn’t in the house for the “South Pacific” concert held at Carnegie Hall in 2005. That production starred Reba McEntire as Nellie and Brian Stokes Mitchell as Emile.

My daughter, Lizabeth, has long been a Broadway buff — and I think we may have watched the Tony Awards with James’ parents in 2008, the year a revival of “South Pacific” earned seven Tony Awards, including best musical revival. The ceremony that year included a cast performance of three songs from the show — “Nothing Like a Dame,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “A Wonderful Guy.”

The 2008 revival played at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, where I saw “War Horse” with Lizabeth just last year. Its opening cast included Kelli O’Hara as Nellie, Paulo Szot as Emile and Matthew Morrison (now known to tweens as Mr. Schuester on FOX’s “Glee“) as Lt. Cable.

I first saw a live production of “South Pacific” with Lizabeth many years ago, during an earlier tour that included ASU Gammage in Tempe. The current tour of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific,” recommended for ages 8 and up, is being performed at ASU Gammage through Sun, Jan. 15.

Marcelo Guzzo (Emile) and Katie Reid (Nellie)

Both Glenna and Tom attended the opening night performance, so I asked Glenna to share a few thoughts about the show. With so many lawyers in the family, I wasn’t surprised by her description of the sets as “effective.” And though she felt some of the acting was a bit stiff, Glenna shared that she really enjoyed the music.

I suspected as much knowing that Emile is played by Marcelo Guzzo, who has a long list of opera credits. Glenna shared that Cathy Foy-Mahi’s performance as Bloody Mary was “really good.” She’s a Hawaiian actress whose stage credits include “Les Miserables” (Mdme. Thenardier) and television credits include ABC’s “Lost” and CBS’s “Hawaii 5-0.”

Folks who attend tonight’s performance can stay after the show for “TalkBack Thursday” with 99.9 KEZ — enjoying insights from cast and crew members. Families who prefer afternoon to evening performances have both Saturday and Sunday matinees to choose from.

When you attend, watch for 7-year-old Cole Bullock from New Jersey, who makes his professional theater production debut in the role of Jerome. Also 8-year-old Hannah Isabel Bautista, from San Francisco, who plays Bloody Mary’s assistant. Kids love seeing other children perform on stage.

Glenna tells me they’ve already got tickets for the Feb. 15-March 11 run of “Wicked” at ASU Gammage, but confessed that she’ll need to do a bit of homework before attending. I have a friend, Alan Handelsman, who can help with that. He’s seen “Wicked” eleven times in seven cities — and he’s written a guest post for the “Stage Mom” blog that’ll  go up later this month.

— Lynn

Note: Other shows coming to ASU Gammage this season include “Green Day’s American Idiot,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” and “Million Dollar Quartet.” Click here for details.

Coming up: Rock & roll — for a cause

Kids’ Night on Broadway

Nick Jonas was just named national ambassador for Kids' Night on Broadway 2012

The Broadway League announced today that actor and musician Nick Jonas will serve as national ambassador for the 2012 Kids’ Night on Broadway® — which takes place next February at participating theaters in New York City and across the country.

Families who’ve long wanted to experience live Broadway theater together can start planning now. Kids’ Night on Broadway tickets are available for participating shows Feb. 5-9, 2012.

Tickets go on sale Tues., Nov 1 at noon EST at www.kidsnightonbroadway.com.

Participating shows (to date) include two Off-Broadway productions — “Million Dollar Quartet” and “Stomp” — plus eighteen Broadway productions, including a new show at the top of my list called “Seminar.” Especially kid-friendly selections include “The Lion King” and “Mary Poppins.”

All Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket holders can join Jonas at a pre-theatre party Tues, Feb. 7 at Madame Tussauds New York. I’ve enjoyed several Jonas Brothers concerts with my daughter Lizabeth and friends, and know what an absolute thrill this type of opportunity presents for the fans.

Nick Jonas returns to Broadway on Jan. 24

Nick Jonas was all of eight years old when he launched a successful stage career, and will be returning to perform the role of J. Pierrepont Finch in the musical “How to Succed in Business Without Really Trying” starting Tues., Jan. 24. Jonas fans will want to make haste in securing tickets for this baby.

Thanks to our local public television station — Eight, Arizona PBS — I’ve watched Jonas’ performance in the “Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2” not once, but many times. And I’ll be watching those television listings next year for Jonas’ guest appearance on the new NBC musical drama “Smash.”

Jonas has previously been seen on Broadway in “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Les Misérables” — plus productions of “A Christmas Carol” and “The Sound of Music.” “As someone who got their start as a kid on Broadway,” says Jonas, “it’s truly an honor to be involved in such a fantastic event.”

“Broadway played an enormous role in inspiring me to be the performer I am today, and as this year’s ambassador I hope I’ll be able to encourage kids across the country to get involved in the theater,” adds Jonas, “whether on stage, behind the scenes or in the audience.”

Folks fortunate enough to be in NYC beginning Mon, Oct. 31, can get their Kids’ Night on Broadway tickets at the Broadway Concierge & Ticket Center located inside the Times Square Visitor Center. Both NYC and out-of-town theater lovers can now enjoy the center’s new online chat component.

The presenting sponsor for this year’s event is The New York Times, the paper I faithfully carry with me and read each day. Other people have smart phones. I have smart journalism. Madame Tussauds New York is also a presenting sponsor, though the Arizona heat would make it hard for me to haul around a lovely bit of wax work as a show of support.

— Lynn

Note: There’s even a cause-related component to Kids’ Night on Broadway. This year it’s Givenik.com — “the only place on the web to get Broadway tickets and have 5% donated to the charity of your choice.”

Coming up: Arizona Jewish Theatre Company opens its 2011/12 season

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade auditions

Some of the kids who audition at ASU Gammage this Saturday might get to enjoy workshops, performing and sightseeing in New York City this November

I’ve got NYC on my heart and mind today as Hurricane Irene threatens to head up the East Coast, possibly affecting some of my favorite sites in New York City — the beautiful Battery Park waterfront, Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan and more.

Folks enjoying their weekday lunch hour along a waterway in Battery Park

But I’m also thinking ahead. More than 3 million people are expected to line the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route in NYC on Nov 24, and your child could be among those performing for the crowds. Macy’s expects another 50 million people to watch the 85th anniversary parade on NBC.

Auditions for this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are being held by the national Camp Broadway organization this Sat, Aug 27 at 9am at ASU Gammage. It’s an open call dance audition but no dance experience, headshot or resume is required — meaning any child who will be 12-16 at the time of the parade who might like to participate can try out.

Camp Broadway will be casting 120 children and teens from across the country (there are about ten auditions total) to perform an original number titled “There’s No Place Like Here” at the parade. They’ll be performing on and near a Zhu Zhu theme float — which will feature a performance by a “mystery teen pop star.” Tempe is stop number one for these auditions.

Those chosen will participate in a special Camp Broadway experience that includes six days of music, movement rehearsals and workshops — plus on-site rehearsals at Herald Square under the direction of Tony Parise, artistic director for Camp Broadway at the national level.

Parise will teach a dance combination on Saturday as part of the audition process. Auditions will be conducted in groups, and participants are expected to dress for dance. Think comfortable clothes and soft rubber-soled shoes. Sandals, flip-flops and hard-sole dress shoes are a no-no.

There are no time slots for auditioners, and the length of the audition process will depend on the number of kids who take part. Camp Broadway estimates that it could be a two to three hour process, but urges families to prepare for longer or shorter hours. Be sure you arrive at the audition no later than 9am.

I’m happy to report that the experience sounds a good deal more enjoyable than dancing with Abby Lee Miller at the Pittsburgh studio where Lifetime television films portions of its new “Dance Moms” reality series.

Those selected to dance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will pay an $895 program fee to participate. While in NYC, they’ll receive Camp Broadway giveaways — and they’ll even get to keep their parade costume. Participants also pay associated costs like travel, housing and such.

Perhaps some of the parade performers will get inspired to study one day at places like the Juilliard School in New York City

While in NYC, dancers will not only prepare for their parade performance, but enjoy time with dance captains from various Broadway shows — who will teach them actual choreography from these shows. Parise notes that there will also be time for sightseeing, since some rehearsals last just half a day.

While in NYC, parade performers will spot taxis sporting ads for all sorts of Broadway shows -- and maybe feel inspired to perform on Broadway one day

Those with an interest in all things Broadway might want to mark their calendars for next year’s Camp Broadway at ASU Gammage taking place Jun 4-8. Campers will see a touring production of the Tony Award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartet” and meet the show’s cast.

Participants from Camp Broadway at ASU Gammage in 2007

Come Saturday, I’ll have a heavy heart for those along the East Coast who might be experiencing or bracing for the storm. Especially folks at places like the 9/11 Memorial Preview Center and Poets House, which I so enjoyed visiting during my last trip to NYC.

But I’m glad to have something positive to think on as well — all those dancing feet and smiling faces as Camp Broadway gives oodles of young dancers at ASU Gammage a chance to live their own NYC dreams at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to read about special Macy’s discounts available through Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale

Coming up: Saturday event featuring family-friendly comedy

Ode to blue

I'd love to see The Blue Bike Kid Show picked up by PBS

I’ve got blue on the brain after learning that one of Lizabeth’s theater teachers, Boyd Branch, is launching a project called “The Blue Bike Kid Show” with Steve Wilcox and Elizabeth Peterson.

Blue Bike encourages kids ages 8-13 to shift their focus on technology from consuming to creating.

It’s got live, video and web components, and is seeking backers via an online “funding platform for creative projects” called “Kickstarter.” Cool.

While running with the blue theme, I discovered that the next “Music in the Garden” at the Desert Botanical Garden features “blues and boogie” by The DelRayz and Sistah Blue. It’s an adults only performance (Fri, June 17) with catered dining options and a “professional ballroom dance floor.” I suppose suggesting that we all wear blue might be a bit much.

ASU Gammage presents Blue Man Group as part of their 2011/2012 season (Photo: Paul Kolnink)

There’s plenty of blue at the Phoenix Zoo. But you’ll find wild of a whole different order when the “Blue Man Group” hits ASU Gammage Nov 1-6. Think three guys. Blue skin. No spoken word. And lots of technology.

If songs like “Blue Suede Shoes” are more your style, hold out for “Million Dollar Quartet,” coming to ASU Gammage June 5-10. 2012.

Chandler Center for the Arts presents “The Official Blues Brothers Revue” Sat, Oct 22. It’s an homage to characters Jake and Elwood Blues, first played by John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd. There’s nothing blue about them, really, except the name. It’s hard to imagine Jake and Elwood trading in those black suits, hats and shades for blue Spandex — though they might be tempted if told their skinny black ties give them a bit of that “The Book of Mormon” vibe.

The Phoenix Symphony performs Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin as part of their 2011/2012 Pop Series

No review of the blue would be complete without a mention of George Gershwin’s famous “Rhapsody in Blue.” It’s be performed by the Phoenix Symphony Jan 6-8, 2012. Again, no Spandex — but lots of women and men in black.

Perhaps those needing a Spandex fix will fare better when “live circus meets the live symphony” March 25-27, 2012 during the Phoenix Symphony’s “High Flying! Cirque de la Symphonie” concerts.

Remember too that the “Blue Star Museums” program offers free admission to more than 1000 participating museums for active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2011.

Blue Nude was painted by Pablo Picasso during his Blue Period

Click here for a list of participating Arizona museums — which include Arizona Museum for Youth, Arizona Science Center, Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and more.

Surely somewhere there’s a Blue Star Museum housing works from Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Period.” And I won’t rest until I find it.

— Lynn

Note: For those of you following the adventures of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” (Hey–it’s a mostly blue costume!), there’s a review by The New York Times posted here. If you see the show, please drop me a line at rakstagemom@gmail.com to let me know what you think.

Coming up: Playing “20 Questions,” Is your child a theater geek?, Fun with Free Arts

Update: Check out this blog post from Wired magazine featuring the Blue Bike Kid Show. Meet the Blue Bike Kids Show gang Sun, June 26, at Tempe Beach Park when they hold a FREE nostalgic-style picnic from 5-7pm.

Touring shows with a Tony Awards® twist

Jackie Burns performing the role of Elphaba in Wicked (Photo by Joan Marcus)

In a perfect world, we could simply hop the light rail (or Elphaba’s broom) and hitch a ride to NYC for the latest and greatest Broadway productions.

Thankfully, there’s a plan B — attending touring productions of Broadway shows at three Valley venues during the 2011/12 season.

Theater League’s “Broadway Series” includes four shows that’ll be performed at both Mesa Arts Center and the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix

My Fair Lady,” coming to Arizona Jan 31-Feb 19, 2012, earned six Tony Awards® (including best musical) in 1957 and one in 1976 (for best actor in a musical).

The “Broadway in Your Backyard” series at ASU Gammage in Tempe features seven shows. ASU Gammage also presents three special engagements, including “Wicked” — a musical that earned three Tony Awards® in 2004 (best actress in a musical for Idina Menzel, costumer designer and scenic designer).

Other Tony Award® winners coming to ASU Gammage include “West Side Story,” “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific,” “Green Day’s American Idiot,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” and “Million Dollar Quartet.”

Kyle Harris and Ali Ewolt performing in West Side Story (Photo by Joan Marcus)

West Side Story” earned two Tony Awards® in 1958 — one for best choreographer (Jerome Robbins) and another for best scenic designer. The revival earned a 2009 Tony Award® for best actress in a musical. The touring production of “West Side Story” opens the 2011-12 Broadway season at ASU Gammage on Sept 27.

The touring production of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific” comes to ASU Gammage Jan 10-15, 2012. The revival earned four 2008 Tony Awards® — for best revival (musical), actor, lighting design and director.

The original “South Pacific” earned nine 1950 Tony Awards®, including best musical, actor (musical), actress (musical), score, libretto and director. Also best supporting or featured actor (musical), supporting or featured actress (musical) and producers (musical).

Green Day’s American Idiot” — which earned two 2010 Tony Awards®, for scenic design (musical) and lighting design (musical) — takes to the ASU Gammage stage April 24-29, 20102.

La Cage Au Folles” earned six Tony Awards®, including best musical, in 1984. Also actor (musical), book (musical), director (musical), score and costume designer. One revival earned 2005 Tony Awards® for best revival (musical) and choreographer.

Douglas Hodge earned the 2010 Tony Award for best actor in a musical (Photo by Uli Weber)

The most recent revival received three 2010 Tony Awards® — for best musical and director. Also best actor (for Douglas Hodge). The touring production comes to ASU Gammage May 15-20, 2012.

Million Dollar Quartet” rounds out the 2011-12 “Broadway in Your Backyard” series at ASU Gammage June 5-10, 2012. It earned a 2010 Tony Award® for best actor in a featured role (musical).

I hadn’t imagined, while watching last year’s broadcast of the 2010 Tony Awards®, that I’d be able to enjoy touring productions of three winning musicals right here in the Valley so soon thereafter.

But I’m thrilled that’s the case, and even more excited now to watch the 2011 Tony Awards® ceremony knowing that several of the shows being honored this year may soon find their way to Arizona.

— Lynn

Note: ASU Gammage is sponsoring a Tony Awards® contest, with a very nifty prize for the winner. Click here to learn more.

Coming up: A conversation with Arizona’s only Tony Awards® voter