Emily Padgett, currently starring as the good-girl Sandy in the touring production of Grease, sat down for a chat. (Yes, she wears wigs on stage.) She gave us the scoop on opening night in Orange County, what it's like to work with Taylor Hicks who plays Teen Angel and more.
Originally from Lewisville, North Carolina, Emily has always had a big-time love for performing. She grew up listening to Broadway cast albums her parents played around the house and since then, she's been hooked on theater. After studying dance and working in community theater, she moved to New York City to live the Broadway dream. And she IS living it. Emily has toured with the 25th anniversary production of CATS and also appeared in Legally Blonde as well as in Grease on Broadway.
We wish you all the best Emily!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
The poster (pictured above with the artist) was designed by Amy to look like something Samantha Brown, the teen-aged protagonist in the musical, would draw or scribble on her notebook during a class. Amy said she was inspired by Samantha's struggles over her future and could relate to the character. Amy, a graduate of UCLA, said she is pursuing art and writing.
The Center's Education Department held the poster design contest and invited area artists to submit entries. The second-place poster designed by David Vargo is also on display in Samueli Theater.
Thanks to everyone who entered the poster contest!
P.S. If you come to a performance, let us know what you think about the winning posters.
Let me be the first to admit that I love big musicals. From Wicked to The Lion King, the spectacle, the production numbers, the million dollar sets and costumes; they are a completely thrilling theatrical experience. But what a lot of times these million dollar shows lack, what most shows lack for that matter, is a feeling of being alive. Alive in the sense that the artists, the performers, and the audience are sharing in an evolving and active theatrical experience. What most of us experience when we attend touring productions of shows is a static theatrical experience. The show was written and locked at least a few, if not several, years prior to the performance. The actors have rehearsed the piece extensively and the music is set in stone. Not to say that they can’t be enjoyable and moving pieces of theater, because they can be, but in a way they are a piece of art that has been completed and is on display to enjoy and appreciate. They can be as I said, static.
What I had the pleasure of experiencing tonight when I attended The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown was most definitely not a static piece of theater. Still in its developmental stages, I had the rare chance to watch a piece of artwork being created. Playing before an audience for the first time, the show is still being reworked, songs are being rewritten and cut, staging is evolving, costumes are still incomplete, and the actors are still finding their character’s voices. But that was the thrill of the experience for me. I felt somehow more connected to what was on stage then I ever have with other shows I attended. Not because the piece was especially resonant with me, but because I felt somehow that I was taking part in the creative process. Sharing in the creation of a new work of theater. Having the chance to see something that no one has ever seen before. Watching artists at work. That is what made the experience so special for me.
Yes the show is a moving, thoughtful, poignant and intelligent piece of theater. The music and lyrics are phenomenal, so fresh, and so relevant. (By the way you can listen to music from the show and more songs from the gifted songwriting team of Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan online at www.kerrigan-lowdermilk.com). On a deeper level, what was more moving and much more of an experience than any aspects of the show was having the chance to see a musical in its developmental stages. To see an evolving and fleeting piece of art. No one will ever have the chance to see that exact performance again. To experience that, to feel that while watching a show, well that is akin to a religious experience for a theater junkie like me. Thanks to the cast and creative team behind The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown for an extraordinary night of theater. And thanks to the Center for supporting the development of theater and giving artists a chance to showcase their works. The arts are a vital part of our society, and especially in these economic times, it is even more vital to ensure that amazingly gifted people like the team behind this work have the chance to keep doing what they do best. Because it would be a much less interesting world without them.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Top L to R: Terry Dwyer (Center president), Diane Sparacino (president, ASID Orange County), Irvine Councilman Steven Choi, Edward Sohn
Middle L to R: Laura Yorba (2009 Design Tour chair), Jeff Ditmire (president Orange Coast magazine), Diane Sparacino (president, ASID Orange County), Terry Dwyer (Center president)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Famed minimalist composer Steve Reich won the music Pulitzer for "Double Sextet," a piece co-commissioned by the Center and performed here last year by eighth blackbird. Though he has been a finalist several times, this award marks Reich's first Pulitzer. Said Reich in the LA Times, "I said, 'You know me, I've got to have pairs of identical instruments, that's really my life's blood. And I thought, what if eighth blackbird recorded themselves, then played against themselves? I'd have two clarinets, two pianos, two percussionists -- I'm home free." NPR aired a great story about Reich and the prize yesterday - click here.
Congratulations to Steve Reich and Diana Vishneva!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The views from the floor-to-ceiling windows were out-of-this world and the expansive indoor and outdoor spaces were full of cutting-edge design from green living to this year’s hottest colors and trends. One dining room had a large glass Dale Chihuly chandelier hanging above the dining room table and another dining space incorporated a sleek wine cellar. We saw leather walls, spa-like bathrooms with every amenity you could possibly imagine and enormous closets. In the living room of Penthouse 1301, there was a large glass cocktail table with a blown-up photo of the Center’s signature sculpture, Fire Bird, which is outside of Segerstrom Hall. It was a creative way to incorporate the tour’s beneficiary. Tour proceeds will benefit the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s acclaimed education programs which reach 500,000 students throughout Southern California.
There’s still time to get ticket to the preview party on Sunday, April 19. For more information on the tour (runs through May 17) and tickets to the preview party and other fun events, please visit: http://www.ocpac.org/home/Content/ContentDisplay.aspx?NavID=642
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Avenue Q cast member Ben Schrader took time out of his busy performance schedule to answer some burning questions we had about his experience on the touring production, which is currently playing Orange County. The Q&A with Ben was captured by our brand-new flip cam. Click above to see the full interview and find out what Ben really thinks about his co-workers, the puppets, what he's liked about performing at the Center and lots more insider-information about the show. Avenue Q is here through Sunday, April 12. For more Avenue Q information and interviews, please visit our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Orange-County-Performing-Arts-Center/6822650889.
Many thanks to Ben - see you on Broadway!