Monday, October 27, 2014

A Whole New World

Historic collaboration brings musical theater programs to OC schools. First in a series. 

Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Disney Theatrical Group are off and running on an exciting new project, and four OC schools are bound to soon discover there may be something there that wasn’t there before. The Disney Musicals in the Schools program, the result of a $100,000 grant awarded by Disney to Segerstrom Center for the Arts last spring, recently dispatched eight teaching artists to four OC schools, where they will work with educators to produce a 30-minute Disney musical and lay the groundwork for ongoing musical theater programs.

Photo by Michael Kirsch

Training began with a flourish in our Studio Performance Space a few weeks ago with three days of intense instruction in which teaching artists were run through the paces of building an elementary school musical from the ground up. Directing, blocking and casting were just some of the elements featured in the sessions, the third day of which brought the actual classroom teachers from the four school sites in to the fray. 

Photo by Michael Kirsch

The four schools taking part include Eisenhower and Hill Elementary Schools in Garden Grove, Price Elementary in Anaheim and Rea Elementary in Costa Mesa. Teachers were given little time to stand on ceremony. “They had us jump right in,” Rea Elementary 2nd grade teacher Jessica DeLloyd told The OC Register

The 17-week program is free to participating schools and the goal is to bring substantial and meaningful encounters with the arts for students, building confidence and community, which in turn aims to enrich relationships and bolster motivation in academics.

It’s also going to be fun – and once that genie’s out of the bottle, he’s not going back in.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Out of the Background

Lisa Fischer. Photo by Chiaki Sato.
It's been a good year for Lisa Fischer. 

With the Oscar®-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom thrusting her into the national spotlight, Fischer now finds herself sharing that spotlight with Becca Stevens and Moira Smiley on tour with Billy Childs' Map to the Treasure, a jazz interpretation of the songs of Laura Nyro. 

They perform a show in the Samueli October 17th at 8 p.m. (Check ticket availability.)

Billy Childs. Photo by Javiera Estrada.
A Grammy®-winner as a solo artist in 1992 (for "How Will I Ease the Pain"), Fischer worked with the late Luther Vandross for 22 years and more recently with Sting, Tina Turner, Chris Botti, Nine Inch Nails and others. She has toured with The Rolling Stones since 1989, adding backing vocals before moving up front for the solo on the famous chorus of "Gimme Shelter." 

Now, Fischer, Childs, Stevens and Smiley are putting Nyro, who passed away in 1997, back in the spotlight with fresh versions of "And When I Die," "Save the Country," "Stoned Soul Picnic" and others. 

Read more about Billy Childs, the tour and the star-studded Map to the Treasure CD in this month's Revue

– Cristofer Gross

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