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Student Spotlight: Jack Zager

University of Arizona first-year music student Jack Zager and his writing partner, Rhiannon Lewis, won a juried competition for short musicals in Los Angeles this fall, earning a scholarship.

“Afikoman the Musical” tells the story of a feuding family settling old scores via a furious search for the Passover Afikoman, which is traditionally hidden by the family during Seder for the children to find.

Showsearch 2019, produced by the Foundation of New American Musicals, is a showcase for high school and college-aged students, who submit 10-minute musicals online for consideration. Submissions are judged on storytelling, musicality and originality. Finalists are mentored by entertainment industry professionals and their musicals are presented in a staged reading at UCLA’s The Little Theatre.

The finished musicals were directed by University of Arizona alumnus Richard Israel.

Israel has been a member of the Los Angeles theatre community for over 20 years and was the 2009 recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Career Achievement in Direction. Israel graduated from Arizona Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Musical Theatre.

Jack bonded with Richard.

“Doing Showsearch with Richard Israel was so cool,” Jack said. ‘He is also Jewish and was excited about the musical, saying like ‘in my Passover Seder, we did it this way.’ Also, just being able to talk to him about Arizona. I talked to him about my life here and he gave me advice, along with directing, which was just a really cool experience. He’s so talented.”

Get to Know Jack Zager

  • Jack plays piano, composes music and acts.
  • His grandfather had a massive disco hit in 1978, “Let’s All Chant,” by the Michael Zager Band, sold five million copies, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.
  • He got bit by the acting bug in fourth grade when he was cast as “Chip” for the local high school production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
  • Jack and his writing partner, Rhiannon Lewis, originally wrote “Afikoman” for an assignment from their opera teacher at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. The script is based on both of their families.
  • Last year, he won “Best Actor” for playing The Chairman in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” from the National Youth Arts Awards.
  • He volunteers at The Miracle Project, a theatre, film and expressive arts program for children, teens and adults with autism and all abilities. He spent a month in Northern Thailand with the program assisting young children with disabilities with musical exercises and theater games. Jack was the inaugural member of the Miracle Project Ambassador program, and founded “LACHSA Miracle” at his high school.
  • At the Fred Fox School of Music, “the most interesting class I’m taking is “Human Achievement in the Arts,” taught by Dan Asia. It’s just about the history of art and beauty. And I’m writing an essay right now on how you can analyze “Carousel” and how effective the repetition of “If I Loved You” throughout the musical. I just think it’s one of the most interesting essays I’ve ever worked on.
  • “Rodgers and Hammerstein … painted this love story through like a single song that they would repeat. I just thought that was so incredible and I would love to be able to do that, like create like a theme that sort of like carries over.”
  • He looks up to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lin Manuel Miranda (“obviously”), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“I really relate to the music that they write.”), and “obviously Stephen Sondheim, because he is great.”
  • Once got notes from Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked”) through a class called “Creating Musical Theater,” a collaborative lab at the Wallace Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. “That was cool, especially after seeing “Pippin,” to see how he applies what he says.”
  • Loves music theatre, obviously. “Pasek and Paul were BFA students in musical theater, performing in Michigan, but they were also writing. And I feel like that’s what I want to do here.”

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2 days ago
Arizona Arts

Congrats Sadie Shaw (BFA, 2019, Art & Visual Culture Education).

We are proud of you. Good luck with your new role.

Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona
University of Arizona School of Art
Arizona Alumni🌟 Please join us in welcoming Sadie Shaw to the Arts Foundation team as the Community Design Manager!

Sadie will lead SaludArte, a new private public partnership between Pima County Health Department (PCHD) and the Arts Foundation.

Sadie is an artist, art educator, oral historian, community organizer and Governing Board Member of the Tucson Unified School District.

To learn more about Sadie and her new role as the Community Design Manager, click the link below!

artsfoundtucson.org/welcome-to-the-team-sadie-shaw/
... See MoreSee Less

Congrats Sadie Shaw (BFA, 2019,  Art & Visual Culture Education). 

We are proud of you. Good luck with your new role.

Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona
University of Arizona School of Art
Arizona Alumni
2 days ago
Arizona Arts

The world premiere of LUTE, an inspiring documentary of the legendary The University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, is this Friday at 5:30p at Centennial Hall.

Relive the 1997 NCAA title run on its 25th anniversary!

Directed by UA School of Theatre, Film & Television alumnus Brett Rapkin (BA 2000).

azart.fyi/LUTEtix

Presented by Podium Pictures, in association with CBS Sports, this definitive documentary by Emmy Award-winning Director Brett Rapkin celebrates the legendary Coach Lute Olson on the 25th Anniversary of the 1997 National Championship.

“Not long after I showed up in Tucson as a 17-year-old freshman, I got to witness Lute lead the 1997 Cats to the promised land: a National Championship,” said Rapkin, who studied film at TFTV. “It is truly an honor to have the chance to help tell this story.”

“I’m thrilled to be a member of the team making a film celebrating Coach O’s life and legacy,” said Jason Terry, executive producer and member of the 1997 championship team. “This is also a special opportunity to allow the coaches, fans, players and families that he inspired along the way to tell their own stories.”

#lute #BearDown #RiseWithUs

Arizona Men's Basketball | Arizona Alumni | Arizona Athletics | Arizona A-Club Letterwinners | AZ Desert Swarm | Arizona Arts Live
... See MoreSee Less

The world premiere of LUTE, an inspiring documentary of the legendary The University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, is this Friday at 5:30p at Centennial Hall.

Relive the 1997 NCAA title run on its 25th anniversary!

Directed by UA School of Theatre, Film & Television alumnus Brett Rapkin (BA 2000).
 
https://azart.fyi/LUTEtix
 
Presented by Podium Pictures, in association with CBS Sports, this definitive documentary by Emmy Award-winning Director Brett Rapkin celebrates the legendary Coach Lute Olson on the 25th Anniversary of the 1997 National Championship.
 
“Not long after I showed up in Tucson as a 17-year-old freshman, I got to witness Lute lead the 1997 Cats to the promised land: a National Championship,” said Rapkin, who studied film at TFTV. “It is truly an honor to have the chance to help tell this story.”
 
“I’m thrilled to be a member of the team making a film celebrating Coach O’s life and legacy,” said Jason Terry, executive producer and member of the 1997 championship team. “This is also a special opportunity to allow the coaches, fans, players and families that he inspired along the way to tell their own stories.”

#lute #BearDown #RiseWithUs

Arizona Mens Basketball | Arizona Alumni | Arizona Athletics | Arizona A-Club Letterwinners | AZ Desert Swarm | Arizona Arts Live

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Miss you Lute 💙

3 days ago
Arizona Arts

Five students were selected as the inaugural JustArts Fellows, an Arizona Arts equity initiative to advance diversity and inclusion in the arts by asking student leaders to identify challenges and propose creative solutions.

🔗 azart.fyi/JustArts22

The inaugural cohort includes:

Dylan Crites
>> UA School of Theatre, Film & Television
Carlos Garcia Ramirez
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Dorthea Stephenson
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Ariana Aquino
>> The University of Arizona School of Dance
Joshua Barbre
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
... See MoreSee Less

Five students were selected as the inaugural JustArts Fellows, an Arizona Arts equity initiative to advance diversity and inclusion in the arts by asking student leaders to identify challenges and propose creative solutions. 

🔗 https://azart.fyi/JustArts22

The inaugural cohort includes: 

Dylan Crites
>> UA School of Theatre, Film & Television
Carlos Garcia Ramirez
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Dorthea Stephenson
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Ariana Aquino
>> The University of Arizona School of Dance
Joshua Barbre
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
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