Thursday, May 30, 2013

Record Breaking Arts Teach 2013 a Success!

Last week on May 22, more than 200 visitors representing various local schools and community programs attended the 2013 Arts Teach Showcase at the Center. During this annual event, artists from around the world performed various music, theater and dance skits while covering a variety of subject matters ranging from history to teaching math through music to dealing with bullying at school. This year a new record was set as 57 artists performed on three stages simultaneously. 

The Arts Teach Showcase is a great opportunity for the community to learn about our education programs and to meet with artists directly to decide which programs are best suited to meet the goals of their school or organization in the coming year. 

The Center’s Arts Teach program is one of many available through Segerstrom Center’s Education and Community Programs Department, which serves nearly 400,000 young people each year with programs both at the Center and in the community at schools, non-profits and civic events. The artists’ programs meet educational standards. Being one of the nation’s premier roster of teaching artists, all of them have auditioned and demonstrated their ability to enrich arts-in-education programs through performance and hands-on workshops with students and audiences of all ages. For more information, please visit

All photos by Joesan Diche. 

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Derek Klena Makes a WICKED Debut on Broadway Tonight!

Congratulations to Tomorrow’s Stars at the Center’s 2008 winner Derek Klena who makes his much-anticipated Broadway debut tonight! He will be playing Fiyero in WICKED, following successful roles and recordings in Marin Mazzie’s Carrie and the off-Broadway show, Dogfight

When Derek was interviewed for the scholarship competition, he was a junior at South Hills High School in West Covina. He shared with us how one of the first performances he saw at the Center was The Phantom of the Opera, and how much he loved the show. He also participated in the Center’s John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey master class. 

The Center's education and community engagement programs strive to make an impact on young artists' paths toward a professional career in the arts. We offer our heartfelt congratulations to Derek Klena and hope to see him back on our stages in the future! To learn more about Segerstrom Center’s Education programs, please visit

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Frank Abagnale, Jr.: The Real Story Behind CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

Catch Me If You Can stars Merritt David Janes, left, and Stephen Anthony,
right, meet Frank Abagnale, Jr.
Frank Abagnale, Jr. is an expert on fraud, scams, deception and beating the system. Between the ages of 16 and 21, he forged and cashed $2.5 million worth of bad checks in the United States and 26 other countries, while successfully passing himself off as an airline pilot for Pan Am, a doctor, a college professor and a lawyer. He was ultimately caught, as he always knew he would be, and served time in French, Swedish and American prisons.  

The Catch Me If You Can tour company. © Carol Rosegg

Abagnale’s life on the lam is the most entertaining part of his story – but it’s not the best part. Since leaving his life of crime, he has used his knowledge as a counterfeiter and scam artist to stop criminals and protect law-abiding citizens, initially working with the FBI – which was part of his parole agreement – and then by developing a host of fraud prevention programs that are used by more than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies.

Abagnale works with the FBI to this day, and became lifelong friends with the agent who relentlessly pursued him, Joseph Shea – known as Carl Hanratty in the movie and the musical – who died in 2005. He has his own business, Abagnale & Associates, a security consulting firm, and is considered to be a leading authority in the field. He is a dynamic, much sought-after lecturer, and a self-made millionaire – legitimately. 

The Catch Me If You Can tour company. © Carol Rosegg
He lives with his past every day, and, although three presidents have offered to pardon him, he has turned them down. “I truly believe that a piece of paper cannot excuse my actions. I don’t think it works that way. I made some mistakes in my life and I have to live with them. I know people are fascinated by what I did between the ages of 16 and 21. But what amazes me is where my life went when I came out of prison. I try to do the right thing, and I hope that in the end I’ll be judged for that.”

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev: Ballet's Power Couple

Osipova and Vasiliev. © Gene Schiavone
Gregory Wayne comments in DuJour magazine that not since Nureyev and Fonteyn have two dancers so captivated dance audiences as Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. Wayne writes, “Now that the 2013 season is upon us, dance mavens are gathering again to witness the magic.” He is referring to Osipova and Vasiliev’s appearances in New York, but Southern California dance audiences can see them in a special program being created for them by the Center and Ardani Artists that will be performed January 24 – 26, 2014. The evening will include “The Kingdom of the Shades” scene from Petipa’s La Bayadère, Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la mort as well as a world premiere work. As Wayne says, “The annals of millennial-era ballet have not seen a more mesmerizing duo than Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova.” Tickets to the Center’s engagement are available now through subscriptions to the 2013 – 2014 International Dance Series. 

Vasiliev in The young man, and death. © Damir Yusupov

Osipova as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. © Gene Schiavone
The Center’s 2013 – 2014 International Dance Series also includes an exclusive engagement by the incomparable Diana Vishneva, On the Edge, with all new choreography. Returning to Segerstrom Center are Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo with the American premiere of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s LAC (Swan Lake), the Hamburg Ballet performing the American premiere of John Neumeier’s award-winning production of Liliom and the always amazing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Congratulations, John Neumeier

John Neumeier © Steven Haberland 
The Center sends congratulations to John Neumeier, director and chief choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet. Mr. Neumeier will be awarded the Prix Benois de la Danse 2013 for his lifetime achievement in dance. The Benois de la Danse is one of the most prestigious ballet competitions. Statuettes are given to the winners in the categories of lifelong achievement, ballerina, danseur, choreographer, composer and designer. The award ceremony will take place at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. He became the director and chief choreographer in 1973 and was named Ballettintendant in 1996. 

John Neumeier's Liliom. © Holger Badekow
Neumeier has received many other awards, including the Herbert von Karajan Musikpreis in 2007 and the Deutscher Jubiläums Tanzpreis in 2008. In 2003, he was appointed to the rank of Knight of the Legion of Honor by French President Jacques Chirac. He was made an honorary citizen of the city of Hamburg in 2007. Last year he accepted the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation. In 2011, Neumeier founded Germany’s National Youth Ballet. The company of eight young dancers is based at the Ballettzentrum in Hamburg. 

The Center has presented the Hamburg Ballet three times. They have performed the U.S. premiere of Neumeier’s Nijinsky and the West Coast premieres of his Lady of the Camellias, Death in Venice and The Little Mermaid.

Silvia Azzoni and Alexandre Riabko in John Neumeier's The Little Mermaid
© Chris Emerick
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Taft Elementary Principal Steve Longacre Honored

Steve Longacre with Center VP, Education Talena Mara at OCMAA Awards.
Steve Longacre, principal of Taft Elementary School in Santa Ana, was honored for his 35 years as an educator and 25 years at Taft Elementary during the recent Orange County Music and Arts Administrators awards celebration. He earned the Outstanding Administrator Award for his superior dedication to support arts education at Taft Elementary. Taft has been a Center ArtsConnect partner since 2004. The Center has collaborated with Steve and his faculty on many projects, including those specifically designed for the deaf and hard of hearing students. Through the years, teaching artists such as Andrew Grueschow and the cast of STOMP have held special workshops and performed for the Taft Tigers. Congratulations, Mr. Longacre! 

Andrew Grueschow conducts workshop for deaf and hard of hearing students.  
Cast of STOMP performs for Taft Tigers.
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Guest Blogger: Jean-Christophe Maillot of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

”There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.”
  Vicki Baum

During National Dance Week (April 26 – May 5), we invited notable artistic directors, choreographers and experts for a special posting on Center Scene. Here, Choreographer-Director Jean-Christophe Maillot of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo reflects on the complex yet enjoyable nature of narrative dance forms. Segerstrom Center will present Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo dancing their production of LAC (Swan Lake) March 6 - 9, 2014 as part of our International Dance Series. 

LAC (Swan Lake) by Jean-Christophe Maillot Ballets © Laurent Philippe

By Jean-Christophe Maillot
Choreographer-Director, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

One could believe that the narrative ballet, in case it’s telling the story, would bring the audience from the point A to the point B, on contrary of so called abstract ballet that stays open to all the possible interpretations. It has been now 30 years that I experiment the narration in my pieces and finally things don’t seem so simple. For example I am not sure that all the people in the audience arrive to the same conclusion at the end of my performances. The point B is obviously not the same for everyone. So we could ask ourselves if the narration is a support for the comprehension or ... on contrary, as I think, a walking stick to venture off the beaten tracks. Inversely, the intrusions that I allow myself in the more abstract forms are not necessarily difficult to understand. 

Cendrillon by Jean-Christophe Maillot © Marie-Laure Briane
Certain movements talk by themselves, starting up simultaneous emotion in spectators. The reason for this is that we all have a body and in a certain way we are « already always » connected with what the dancer is doing on stage. If he jumps, if he curls up, or shakes, our body feels in its flesh what is happening and the sensations are more direct than through the story. 

It happens that Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo return today to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to present LAC (Swan Lake). It is a narrative piece that confronts us with uneasy characters, filled with the contradictory desires that are conspiring against each other. The narration in this case complicates things but unveils more and lets everyone to the self-interrogation until the point they choose to reach. This is why I love narration. Because it cures us of the environment where the messages and codes are simplified to the extreme in order to satisfy populist stakes.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Catch Us At Macy's South Coast Plaza

The Catch Me If You Can Tour Company  © Carol Rosegg
During their “American Icons Celebration of The People, Places and Things We Love,” Macy’s South Coast Plaza is promoting the June 25 – 30 engagement of Catch Me If You Can at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Now through Monday, catch the CMIYC display located just inside the Jewel Court entrance to Macy’s. Take your photo near the three authentic Pan Am flight attendant uniforms from the glory days AND enter to win tickets to Catch Me If You Can. Be sure to share your photos with us via Twitter and Instagram @SegerstromArts using #CatchMeOC.

Macy's South Coast Plaza Catch Me If You Can display
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FLASHDANCE Behind the Scenes: Nick Hurley

Expressive tenor Matthew Hydzik is Nick Hurley, Alex’s smitten boss and steel mill heir. In this interview, Hydzik shares stories on growing up in the show’s Pittsburgh setting and how his character becomes a positive force in Alex’s world by encouraging her to achieve her dream of training as a ballet dancer. 

FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL is currently playing at Segerstrom Center now through Sunday, May 19.   For more information, please visit

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

FLASHDANCE Behind the Scenes: Gloria


Meet Kelly Felthous who plays Gloria, protagonist Alex Owen’s bubbly best friend who travels down a different road than the strong-willed Alex. Here, see what the actress has to say about living in her own fantasy world on stage, being dramatic like Gloria and how classic Hollywood stars such as Gene Kelley continue to inspire her. 

FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL is currently playing at Segerstrom Center now through Sunday, May 19.   For more information, please visit

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Monday, May 13, 2013

SCFTA Prepares to Intercept "The Intergalactic Nemesis"

In 2010, the Long Center in Austin, Texas presented a whole new form of theater: Live-Action Graphic Novel. The Intergalactic Nemesis, Book One: Target Earth was an instant sensation and began booking its multi-year world tour after only ten days of performances. The creators took artwork from an original comic-book story, projected it panel-by-panel on a two-story video screen while three actors voiced the characters, one performer created sound-effects, and a keyboardist performed the score.

On May 31 and June 2 IN enters the artistic orbit of Segerstrom Center for the Arts as the climax to the 2012 – 2013 Family Series. Book Two: Robot Planet Rising, will join its sister opus on November 9 and 10 to open the 2013 – 2014 Series. Prepare for your encounter – learn the true origins of The Intergalactic Nemesis by viewing the fascinating documentaries created by KLRU-TV in Austin. Visit

Safe landing…

Jason Phelps, Danu Uribe and Chris Gibson in The Intergalactic Nemesis
© Sarah Bork Hamilton

The stage of The Intergalactic Nemesis Book One: Robot Planet Rising © Sarah Bork Hamilton

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OC Success Story - David R. Gordon Stars in FLASHDANCE!

David R. Gordon of FLASHDANCE - The Musical National Tour.
Check this segment that includes an interview with David R. Gordon, “Jimmy” in FLASHDANCE. He talks about attending a performance of RENT at the Center and deciding, ”I want to do that.” And here he is – hometown boy makes great!  

To see the segment, please click here or visit

David is also keeping a scrapbook of his time here in Orange County. He shared his scrapbook with

FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL is currently playing at Segerstrom Center now through May 19. 

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Spend Mother's Day at Leatherby's Café Rouge

For a special Mother’s Day on Sunday May 12, Leatherby's Café Rouge in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall will offer a delectable three-course brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chef Ross Pangilinan will feature a delightful twist on familiar brunch items, serving truffle egg omelette, house-made brioche french toast, olive oil poached salmon benedict and much more. Just $35 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger. 

Add a performance of FLASHDANCE—THE MUSICAL to your day. The Sunday matinee in Segerstrom Hall begins at 1 p.m. It’s a fun flashback to the ‘80s. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

To learn more about the special Mother's Day menu, please visit

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Center Receives Santa Ana Commendation

Terry Dwyer receiving special commendation from Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido.
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido presented Center President Terry Dwyer with a special Award of Recognition at the May 7 City Council meeting. In his remarks, Mayor Pulido expressed thanks on behalf of the city for the Center’s contributions to the schools, students, educators and residents of Santa Ana. Many schools and students in Santa Ana have benefited from a range of programs offered by the Center, including Arts Teach, Summer at the Center and special events conducted by the casts of the Trey McIntyre Project, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, In the Heights and STOMP

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Join Segerstrom Center for the Arts and OC Weekly as we bring back the ‘80s to the max! 

On Friday, May 10, put on your best ‘80s fashions and let’s celebrate the most righteous decade in history. Share your ‘80s look on the Center’s social media pages and you might win prizes such as tickets to the hottest show in town, FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL

To enter, post your photo on our Facebook wall ( or share it on Twitter or Instagram with #FlashdanceOC. Win ‘80s-themed prizes hourly throughout the day. Two grand prize winners will receive two tickets to FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL and a $50 gift card to Maggiano’s Little Italy at South Coast Plaza. Grand prize winners will be announced on Saturday, May 11 at 12pm.  

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Guest Blogger: John Neumeier of Hamburg Ballet

“The real dance is a spontaneous body movement that is in harmony 
with the beats of the music in your heart.”  
  Toba Beta  
My Ancestor Was An Ancient Astronaut

April 26 – May 5 
Join us during National Dance Week for a special posting in Center Scene by a noted artistic director, choreographer or expert. 

John Neumeier choreographing © Holger Badekow

John Neumeier
© Steven Haberland
By John Neumeier
Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer, Hamburg Ballet

My world is dance. As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to dance – even before I actually knew what it was! Almost from the beginning, I wanted not only to dance myself, but to create dances – to tell wordless stories using movement. It is our nature to be in movement. Even while standing still, our heart must pump, the blood constantly flows, and our breath rises and falls. Movement is the very sign we are alive. 

But, what has always interested me most are those special movements, guided by feelings, inspired by emotions which can give shape to our dreams, desires, and longings–movements which move us. It is my wish in choreography to translate our most intimate experiences, our aspirations, and deepest sorrows into moving images of beauty. 

Dance is the centre of my life–just as the human being is always at the center of dance. "Man" is its subject and, at the same time, its instrument. This instrument – the body – needs "tuning", needs a technique to make it articulate. The choreographer uses this well tuned articulate body instrument to shape his dreams.

Silvia Azzoni and Alexandre Riabko in Neumeier's The Little Mermaid © Chris Emerick

I feel privileged in my world. Although it is one of extreme hard work, concentration, dedication, unconditional commitment, and, of course, some disappointments – the world of dance never was a burden nor do I feel demanded sacrifice from me. Dance is a labour of love. Each day I’m reminded of Gustav Mahler’s title for the last movement of his Third Symphony: "What Love Tells Me". 

The history of dance has always been alive for me – and the memories of legendary figures whose steps have moved us to where we stand today have influenced my own work. One figure particularly stands out before all others – the dancer, choreographer and man Vaslav Nijinsky. He has fired my imagination, moved me deeply, and inspired my ballet Nijinsky

Movement for me signifies life. The language of feelings is universal, and maybe most immediate when we experience them through dance. I am very looking forward to coming back to Costa Mesa and share another ballet, Liliom, with you.  

Carsten Jung and Alina Cojocaru in Neumeier's Lilliom © Holger Badekow
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