Friday, January 14, 2011
What's up Arizona State??? This is Jim Hogan, I play Georg in the National Tour of Spring Awakening which will be visiting ASU Gammage January 27-28 and I couldn't be more excited about it. I went to Penn State University last year so I love touring through big schools - it feels like home!
So, here's what's up with Spring Awakening. We just arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, a few days ago and rehearsed all day yesterday to prepare for our first show in seven weeks. That's right, after teching and touring for three months, we were lucky enough to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years at home with our families. How awesome is that? But now we're back on the job performing and doing the show we love. We open tonight at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake with an 8pm performance after a 2pm dress rehearsal.
Let me give away a little secret here - putting on a show in high altitude in a cold climate with bad air quality is one of the hardest things I've had to do. I completely lost my voice for a little bit yesterday - that was rough. Not to worry, though, because once we put on our costumes, grab our handheld mics and hit that stage, nothing is going to stop us from putting on a production with the highest energy you've ever seen. Which is why we're so excited to bring it to Tempe! Also, it doesn't hurt that after spending 5 days in 20 degree weather, your high for the day is 75 degrees... in January??? Oh yea, this is going to be a good stop.
All right, so, before I go eat something so that I don't pass out today let me just tell you - If you have not seen Spring Awakening: RUN, don't walk, to get your tickets. This is not just your average musical - it's a groundbreaking rock concert at heart topped with incredible choreography and a beautiful story that everyone can relate to. If you have already seen Spring Awakening, I know you've already purchased your tickets so I can't wait to give this story to you with this new cast!
See you in two weeks!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Happy New Year to teachers, staff and students in the extended ASU community!
A new year brings resolutions to do things better, smarter, faster – to find new challenges and get new ideas.
ASU Gammage offers workshops for teachers through its Kennedy Center partner school districts, and I’m honored to be presenting not once but twice – in Mesa on Tuesday January 25 and in Peoria on Tuesday February 8. My workshop is called “The Power of Chant: Building Oral Fluency and Reading Comprehension.”
As a trained singer, I love words and music and art and drama, and what better way to bring them all together in the classroom than by using the incredible treasure trove offered by picture books? Take a look at the contemporary picture book genre, with illustrations that mix photos and paintings, cartoons and watercolor and text that leaps off the page in a mix of sizes and typefaces. And the words! Rhythms and rhymes, vocabulary and word play get students’ feet tapping and bodies moving. Picture books target every age, every grade level and every subject – from literature and social studies to science and mathematics.
“Chant” is what I call these inventive rhythmic book texts, and in my workshops I lead my participants through the steps of performing chant in the classroom. We brainstorm in large groups and small groups and with partners. We ask questions and discuss the process. We apply what we’ve learned to new books and share our discoveries through performance. We also try our hand at making up our own chants to explore topics that may not be available in picture books.
Teachers who have been through workshops in the past have commented on how accessible the process is. They can go back to their classrooms the next day and immediately apply what they’ve learned with confidence! They also value the book resources. Some of their comments follow:
“The literature was fantastic. It wasn’t too familiar. It was vivid, colorful, and grade appropriate (and easily differentiated).”
“Using language, musicality, and movement together to reinforce reading and vocabulary is genius.”
“Cynthia challenged me to think differently about books and the words and characters in books.”
If you’re feeling adventurous and want a challenge, check out Chant - space is still available for the Mesa workshop on January 25. Hope to see you there!
– Cynthia Elek, Kennedy Center Teaching Artist and Workshop Presenter
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Greetings ASU Students, Faculty and Staff!
Morgan Rose here, Shoemaker's Elf from SHREK THE MUSICAL coming soon to a
campus near you! I'm just sitting here on a rainy San Francisco Friday getting
ready to hit up the nearest shopping mall…'tis the season, after all. There is
so much shopping to be done and so little time. Christmas hits in only a week
and I am having a hard time finding the perfect gifts for my amazing company.
My first option was a pair of shoes for everyone, ya know, working with the
Shoemaker theme of my character, but I think that may prove just a smidge
expensive for my budget. And while everyone loves chocolate, I find that it's
not the right sentiment. Surely I can find something creative and affordable
for my 50 traveling company members…any suggestions?
In addition to the craziness that is the holiday season, we here at SHREK are
busily preparing for a stint of one week stops on our tour. Tempe is the first
place we get to hit right after the new year and can I just say how excited I
am?!? I have worked in the Phoenix area before and seriously, it is one of my
favorite places EVER! One week just doesn't seem enough to enjoy all of the good
times that Arizona has to offer. What could be better than waking up, looking
out your window and seeing the glorious mountains, prickly cacti, and tumbleweed
rolling across the roads? I tell you, ASU kiddies, Tempe is going to be my
-Morgan Rose (Shrek The Musical Cast)