Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Center Thanks Local Schools

Staff members from the Center’s education and development departments visited Sonora Elementary School in Costa Mesa and McFadden Intermediate School in Santa Ana to thank students in-person for providing musical entertainment during the 37th annual Candlelight Concert fundraiser, which raised more than $1 million for the Center. During Candlelight Concert, Sonora’s Hand Bell Choir and McFadden’s Vocal Ensemble performed at the reception, reminding guests the funds raised from the evening positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of students who take part in the Center’s education programs each year.

To show the Center’s appreciation for the students’ talent, dedication and hard work, staff members presented each school with an honorarium to be used towards their music program.

A big thanks to Nick St. Royal and his students at Sonora and Greg Ellis and his students at McFadden for helping to make Candlelight Concert a huge success!

Photo above: Sonora Elementary School’s Hand Bell Choir performing during the school’s 2010 holiday concert.

Photo above: McFadden’s Vocal Ensemble during class

Photo above: Sonora Principal Christine Anderson, Mesa-Newport Unified School District Board of Education VP Walt Davenport, Mesa-Newport Unified School Disctrict Board of Education Member Katrina Foley, Center VP of Education Talena Mara, Sonora Music Director Nick St. Royal, Stephanie Jernigan and Aimee Cherie from the Center

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Desperate for Peter Pan

This past weekend, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy and their children took a trip to Peter Pan’s Neverland at the Center. The photo above shows the two Oscar®-nominated actors (center) backstage with cast members. There are only a few more weeks left to catch threesixtyº entertainment’s Peter Pan in Southern California before it travels to its next stop, Atlanta. The show ends January 2, 2011.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grammy Noms for Center's Jazz Series Artists

Nominations for the 53rd Grammy® Awards were announced last night and a couple of artists popular with the Center’s Jazz Series were selected: Esperanza Spalding and Freddy Cole. Esperanza, who sold-out her engagement here last year, is competing in the Best New Artist category and Freddy is up for Best Jazz Vocal Album with Freddy Cole Sings Mr.B. Freddy returns to the Center May 13 and 14 with the Bill Charlap Trio. Congratulations and the best of luck to Esperanza and Freddy! The Grammys will air on February 13 on CBS.

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ABT's Cuban Adventure

CBS News traveled with American Ballet Theatre on its recent trip to Cuba. The trip marked the first time in over 50 years that ABT performed in Havanna. The company honored former ABT dancer and the Founder and General Director of the National Ballet of Cuba (coming to the Center in June) on the occassion of Alonso's 90th birthday. Bravo!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Peter Pan Magic Comes to CHOC

Nate Fallows (Peter Pan), Shannon Warrick (Mrs. Darling and Neverbird), Beth Tiffon (Jane and a mermaid) and Lee Turnbull (Slightly, a Lost Boy) took a bit of time away from Neverland and the production of Peter Pan at the Center to visit with youngsters at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Some of the youthful patients painted their faces while Elliott Towfigh of Corona challenged them to air hockey. They also went from room to room visiting a number of the children who are being cared for with great skill and attention at CHOC.

Photo above: Cast and friends at CHOC hospital.

Photo below: Elliott Towfigh, front, with cast members Lee Turnbull, Shannon Warrick Nathan Fallows, rear, and Beth Triffon.

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Idina Menzel to star in new ABC musical drama

Wicked's Tony winning Elphaba Idina Menzel recently wowed Center audiences in her Center debut.  Next Fall you can catch the star in a new musical drama on ABC.   You can read more here.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Peter Pan Finds New Fans at Newport Beach Library

It was closer to the beach than "first star and to the right and onto Neverland," but more than 100 children did find their way to the Newport Beach Public Library on Tuesday, November 9 to meet cast members from JM Barrie's Peter Pan. It was a combination of various arts - literature, theater and puppetry. Following a brief reading from chapter one of Barrie's classic novel, Ciaran Joyce and Beth Triffon burst forth with an actual scene from the play, as Peter enters and Wendy sews his shadow back on. A special surprise was the appearance of Nana, the Newfoundland dog who is the Darling childrens' nurse (she was accompanied by her trainer/puppeteer Christopher Keller). Peter Pan continues its run at the Center through January 2.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hear the Szymanowski Quartet on KUSC

The Szymanowski Quartet was interviewed in-studio today by KUSC's very own Jim Svejda. The lively discussion with Jim and all four members of the ensemble covered everything from why they decided on the Szymanowski name to how reactions from American audiences differ from European ones. You can hear the interview as well as recordings by the quartet tomorrow night (Wednesday) starting at 7 p.m. on Classical KUSC 91.5 FM. The Szymanowski plays in the Center's Concert Series this Thursday evening at 8 p.m. in Samueli Theater. Click here for more information.

Photo: Jim Svejda (center) with the quartet (L to R: Vladimir Mykitka, Marcin Sieniawski, Andrej Bielow and Grzegorz Kotow)

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Wicked Cast Recording Certified Double Platinum

The original Broadway cast recording of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked has been certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Double platinum certification means the Decca Broadway recording, which features Tony Award winners Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, has sold more than two million copies.

To celebrate the occasion, composer Stephen Schwartz will be presented with a commemorative plaque following November 10th matinee performance of the smash musical at The Gershwin Theatre.

Other Decca Broadway cast recordings to achieve double platinum status include Rent, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Cats.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Chris Colfer Makes a Trip to Neverland

Chris Colfer, one of the stars of Fox's Glee, attended a performance of Peter Pan at the Center this past Saturday night. Chris is pictured above with a friend and couple of Peter Pan's Lost Boys. The show seems to be popular with Glee cast members - a few weeks ago Josh Sussman, who plays Jacob Ben Israel, also caught a performance. Due to popular demand, threesixty° entertainment's Peter Pan has been extended until January 2, 2011.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Mary Poppins on Dancing with the Stars

In case you missed the cast of Mary Poppins performing "Step in Time" on Dancing with the Stars...we've got it for you here along with a behind-the scenes look:

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Idina Menzel: From the White House to the Center

Tony Winner Idina Menzel was part of a star studded cast that performed at the White House as part of PBS' In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Broadway. The star of Wicked not only performed her show stopper "Defying Gravity", but also sang "What I Did for Love" from A Chorus Line. You can check out both numbers below.

Menzel comes to the Center November 7th for a not-to-be-missed concert with a full symphony orchestra.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

First Look at 9 to 5 The Musical

The new national tour of 9 to 5 The Musical is off and running. Here's a look at the show, interviews with the cast and creatives and more.

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Peter Pan Pirates Commandeer South Coast Plaza!

The hearty pirates from the threesixtyº production of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan at the Center proved they do, indeed, have hearts! The six took no prisoners at South Coast Plaza on Sunday, October 24, to show their support for the annual Pumpkins and Pancakes fundraiser benefitting Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA advocates for the safety and well-being of children who have been removed from their homes due to parental abuse and neglect. Pirates Darrell Brockis, Zoot Lynam, Jim Nieb, Brad E. Smith, Justin Torres and Mauricio Villalobos dueled, danced and charmed their way through the crowds, stealing the show – and the hearts – of everyone on hand to help CASA. If you haven’t seen them and are a pirates fan, you can catch the crew in Peter Pan through January 2.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Congrats to Chance Theater’s The Who’s Tommy!

The LA Stage Alliance’s 2009-2010 Ovation Award nominations were announced earlier this week and Chance Theater’s production of The Who's Tommy was nominated for five awards: Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre), Best Director, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design and a special Ovation Honors Award for Video Design. Audiences can see the acclaimed show when it plays the Center February 10 – 20 in Founders Hall.

The awards, organized by the Los Angeles Stage Alliance, are intended to honor excellence in L.A.-area theater productions. The Ovations ceremony will take place January 17 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. The best of luck to Chance Theater!

Photo by Doug Catiller, True Image Studio

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ahoy! Peter Pan Pirates Join Pumpkins and Pancakes at South Coast Plaza!

The pirates from J.M.Barrie’s Peter Pan now playing at the Center will mix and mingle at the Saturday, October 24 Pumpkins and Pancakes fundraiser at South Coast Plaza from 9:30-10:30 a.m. All proceeds from the event benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA works to break the vicious cycle of child abuse by training community volunteers to speak up for abused children and guiding them into environments where they will thrive. The pirates will join other entertainment and fun on the Crate and Barrel/Macy’s Home Store wing of South Coast Plaza. The event runs 8-11 a.m.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Dora the Explorer's Adventure at Westfield MainPlace Mall

Dora the Explorer, who looks lot like Allison Ramirez, visited Santa Ana’s Westfield MainPlace Mall on Saturday afternoon. Dora read one of her favorite adventure books to her fans and took time from her busy globe-trotting schedule to say hello and pose for photos. If you missed her at MainPlace, you can catch up with Dora and her friends the Backyardigans, the Wonder Pets and Kai-lan in Nickelodeon’s Storytime Live! at the Center October 30 and 31.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Center Offered Free Screening of New Opera Starring Plácido Domingo

The Center’s Arts Plaza was filled with 2,500 people last night for a screening of the world premiere production of LA Opera’s Il Postino starring Plácido Domingo as Pablo Neruda and Charles Castronovo in the title role. Domingo greeted the crowed before the broadcast and introduced the cast members who joined them for the showing. The Center’s Arts Plaza is turning into a happening place, as it continues to pack in crowds to its Summer Movie Mondays and just last week, 20,000 people attended three performances by dance company Project Bandaloop.

Pictured above: LA Opera President Carol Harvey (center), Placido Domingo (right) and Center President Terry Dwyer (left)

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American Cancer Society Makes Strides at the Center

The first Orange County Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk was held Sunday morning, October 9. The walk began and ended on the Center’s Arts Plaza, with approximately 8,000 people here to support the American Cancer Society. The Making Strides event is a celebration of survivorship, an occasion to express hope, and a shared goal to end a disease that threatens the lives of so many people we love.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Megan Mullally Mentors Master Students

The versatile star Megan Mullally conducted a master class for local students during her engagement in the Center’s Cabaret Series. After each student singer performed, Mullally discussed interpretation with them and had them re-sing their selections. Each time, there was a significant change – much to the enjoyment of the performers and the audience of fellow students. Mullally later engaged with the students in a Q&A period, giving them encouragement about repertory, auditions and career planning. These wonderful mentoring experiences are presented by the Center’s education department throughout the year as part of its Masters at the Center program.

Photo (L to R): Courtney Stokes (UCI), Amy (UCI), Daniel Wargo (CSU. Fullerton), Megan Mullally, Deanna Ott (CSU, Fullerton), Katie Perry (OCHSA) and Abby Sherrill (CSU. Long Beach).

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"A Wonderful Guy"

Meet three of the wonderful guys from the new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s prize-winning musical South Pacific: David Pittsinger and local Orange County boys Christopher Johnstone and Travis Roberston. You can see them all here when South Pacific starts its two-week run tomorrow.

David Pittsinger leads the cast as Emile de Becque - a role he played on Broadway. Click on the video above to hear why David thinks South Pacific is such a timeless story.

In the the video below, Christopher (Thomas Hassinger) and Travis (Tom O'Brien) discuss the things they are looking forward to during their trip back to Orange County.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Get Sweet with Peter Pan

Whimsical confections have been created expressly by South Coast Plaza restaurants to celebrate threesixty° entertainment’s smash hit production of Peter Pan which is playing at the Center through November 21. The Peter Pan-themed desserts include a special cupcake with pixie dust at Quattro Caffé, Io rifiuto di crescere (I don’t want to grow up) chocolate brownie at Antonello Ristorante and Tinker Bell’s fairy wand at Champagne’s. The sweet treats can be enjoyed before or after seeing Peter Pan performances or anytime a sugar craving hits. These delicious creations, plus many more, can be found at participating restaurants: Anqi by Crustacean, Antonello Ristorante, Champagne French Bakery Café, Leatherby’s Café Rouge, Quattro Caffé, Scott’s Restaurant & Bar and Vie de France. For more information, visit

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