Tag Archives: The Hobbit

VYT earns an “Easy A”

"Easy A" opens in movie theaters nationwide on Sept 17

Note: This post has been corrected subsequent to its initial posting.

Usually a stickler for staying home on school nights, I made an exception last Wednesday to take Lizabeth to a preview of “Easy A” at the AMC Movie Theatre at the Arizona Center in Phoenix.

We learned of the movie’s Arizona premiere because we get e-alerts from several Valley theaters — including Valley Youth Theatre, where Lizabeth volunteered not too long ago on the technical crew for “Cinderella” at the Herberger Theater Center.

“Easy A” stars Emma Stone — well known to Valley theater buffs as one of many young actors who honed their skills performing with Valley Youth Theatre, which is headed by the highly acclaimed and heavily awarded Bobb Cooper.

Stone, known to Valley audiences for years as “Emily,” has performed in several VYT productions — including Old Queen Maude in “The Princess and the Pea” and Portia in “Cinderella” (both earned AriZoni Awards).

Cooper proudly introduced the movie after sharing that VYT’s current production of “Grease” has just been extended due to popular demand (you can now enjoy the work being performed at VYT through the Labor Day weekend).

I met an especially delightful mother and son during the “Easy A” premiere. The son first caught my eye while going in and out of the aisle where we were sitting. I always choose an aisle seat, so other folks have to step over me for those fabulous popcorn runs.

Stone's character "Olive" only pretends to be "easy"

“Excuse me,” he said each time he passed. Always a stickler for manners with my own children, I’m ever impressed when I see other youth (and their parents) shine in good manners mode.

We got to chatting after the movie — which easily earned an “A” in my book (despite rampant use of words I’d rather not print here). It’s smart, funny and best described by Lizabeth as “sophisticated.”

The screenwriter pretty much rocked our world, for a whole host of reasons that I’ll share in an upcoming post.

Anyhow, the mom shared that her son will soon be performing in his third VYT production. Recently he appeared in “The Hobbit” and “Willy Wonka.” Next up is “Pinkalicious” — being performed at VYT Oct 1-17.

Seems he’s also a film buff, so I invited him to shoot me a review for possible posting. I can’t wait to see what he does with it — especially since I gave him a rather short deadline.  He shook my hand and I knew he’d work hard at crafting a strong piece.

VYT alumna Emma Stone

I expect to post a detailed review as the movie hits theaters nationwide on Sept 17. For now let me just share how delightful it was to enjoy a movie premiere featuring more than one longtime local talent.

Lizabeth noted that the cast also includes Max Crumm, who first gained national attention as the winning “Danny” on NBC’s reality show titled “Grease: You’re the One That I Want” and went on to star in a Broadway revival of the musical “Grease.”

Hit the VYT website to learn about the many acting gigs and other adventures of VYT alumni — and the many shows you can enjoy seeing them perform this season (including “Annie” at the newly-renovated Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix).

And stay tuned for a guest blogger review of “Easy A” — which has already earned high marks with at least a solid 4 out of 5 stars in my book.

— Lynn

Note: Auditions for VYT’s “Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tale” (a musical) will be held Sept 20 and 21 at 3:30pm at Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix. Click here for audition details. Or click here for a comprehensive listing of Valley auditions for youth and adults provided by Durant Communications.

Coming up: Shakespeare ala symphony, opera and ballet; Multicultural music and dance

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Broadway, beads, ballet and brass

Bring a bit of the arts into your weekend with one or more of these events featuring dance, music, theater or the visual arts…

Dance performance

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez.

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez. March 20 at Mesa Arts Center (Ikeda Theater). mesaartscenter.com.

Essential Martha Graham: Classics of the Martha Graham Dance Company. March 19 and 20 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

Music performance

Salt River Brass Concert: Way Out West. March 21 at Mesa Arts Center (Ikeda Theater). mesaartscenter.org.

Children from "HopeKids" pose with the cast of "Cats" at the Arizona Broadway Theatre after attending a special evening performance.

Theater performance

“Blithe Spirit” presented by Southwest Shakespeare Company through March 20 at Mesa Arts Center (Farnsworth Studio). A comedic work by playwright Noel Coward in which a writer researching a novel about the paranormal accidentally conjures the spirit of his biggest fan (his first wife). mesaartscenter.org.

“Cats” presented by Arizona Broadway Theatre in Peoria. 1983 ‘best musical’ Tony Award winner with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Visit azbroadwaytheatre.com for details, including menu information.

“George M” presented by Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa. Patriotic musical about an early American show business superstar. broadwaypalmwest.com for details, including menu information.

“The Hobbit” presented by Valley Youth Theatre. Opens today at Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix. Play version of the classic tale featuring Bilbo’s quest for a treasure needed to save all the Hobbits of Middle Earth. vyt.com.

“The Immigrant: A Hamilton County Album” presented by Arizona Jewish Theatre Company through March 21 at Paradise Valley Community College Center for the Performing Arts. A true story by playwright Mark Harelik that recounts the 1909 immigration of two Eastern European Jews to a small Texas town through a resettlement program called the “Galveston Movement.” azjewishtheatre.org.

“Johnny Guitar” presented by Theater Works through March 28 at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. Family-friendly musical with Old West theme. theaterworks.org.

“The Princess and the Pea” presented by the Children’s Theatre at Hale Centre Theatre through June 26 at Hale Center Theatre in Gilbert. The classic fairy tale in which a prince uses unusual means to find his one true princess. haletheatrearizona.com.

“Secret Order” presented by Actors Theatre through March 21 at Herberger Theater Center (Stage West) in Phoenix. A “suspenseful bio-medical psychological thriller” from Playwright Bob Clyman that considers this question: “What if you discovered the cure for cancer?” herbergertheater.org.

“Sweet Charity” presented by Tempe Little Theatre. Opens today at Tempe Center for the Arts. Musical comedy with book by Neil Simon that follows the adventures of a nightclub dancer who thinks she’s met her Mr. Right. tempe.gov/TCA.

“You Don’t Have to Take It!” presented by Fountain Hills Community Theater Youth Theater opens today. fountainhillstheater.com.

Kellie Agee. Photo by Daniel Friedman.

Arts-related Fundraisers

“Bead Inspired” fundraiser presented by Bead Inspired, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to empowering the quality of life of children coping with cancer and other serious illness” that works with more than 60 children’s hospitals nationwide (including Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Cardon Children’s Medical Center). 10am-4pm March 20 at Mesa Center for the Performing Arts (Wells Fargo Garden). Features live music, glass bead making, Phoenix Coyotes mascot, traditional Pow Wow dancers and more. Free. mesaartscenter.org.

(From the RAK Library: Read Daniel Friedman’s story about Kellie Agee, whose beads symbolize her fight against leukemia.)

“Broadway in the Hills” fundraiser presented by Fountain Hills Community Theater March 20 at the Radisson Resort at Ft. McDowell in Scottsdale/Fountain Hills. Features dinner, live entertainment and live/silent auctions. fhct.org.

More family fun

Look for weekend updates “Stage Mom” style every Friday. We’ll feature arts-related events—especially those that are family-friendly. Always check ahead to assure the suitability of material for your child or teen, and to verify event details (date, time, venue, cost, etc.).

Check our online calendar at raisingarizonakids.com each day to find fun, family-friendly activities from story times and puppet shows to craft lessons and outdoor adventures. Please check online for guidelines and information about how to submit calendar information for consideration.

If you’re presenting an arts performance or experience that you’d like to see featured in an upcoming “Stage Mom” weekend update, please drop me a line at rakstagemom@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from diverse arts organizations, local schools and colleges, and others offering unique family-friendly fare.

–Lynn