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About the Event

There’s an old adage that states “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.” On Broadway, it might be more appropriate to say, “Behind every great musical, there’s a great leading lady.” Roles like Elphaba and Glinda (Wicked), Christine Daae (The Phantom of the Opera), Fantine (Les Miserables), Angelica Schuyler and Eliza Hamilton (Hamilton), Nala (The Lion King), Effie White (Dreamgirls), Eva Peron (Evita), Maria Von Trapp (The Sound of Music), Kim (Miss Saigon), Miss Adelaide (Guys and Dolls), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly (Chicago), Lucy (Jekyll & Hyde), Fanny Brice (Funny Girl), Sally Bowles (Cabaret), Nellie Forbush (South Pacific), and countless others have left an indelible impression on the Broadway stage. 

Produced and hosted exclusively for our venue by New York casting director Stephen DeAngelis, four of Broadway’s finest female vocalists will celebrate the roles and musical selections that underscore the leading lady’s influence on The Great Bright Way. Scheduled performers are Jackie Burns (Wicked, Hair, If/Then), LaVon Fisher-Wilson (Chicago, Newsies, The Color Purple, Lysistrata Jones), Sara Jean Ford (The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Little Night Music, Finian’s Rainbow), and Kissy Simmons (The Lion King). Musical directordAccompanist will be Eugene Gwozdz. The evening will include songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Lion King, Chicago, South Pacific, Jekyll & Hyde, The Sound of Music, Evita, Hairspray, Dreamgirls, The Wiz, Smokey Joe’s Café, and more. Join us for what is certain to be a can’t-miss event for musical theatre lovers of all ages. 

JACKIE BURNS holds the title of Broadway’s longest-running Elphaba in Wicked, having performed the role more than any other actress. She can also be seen in the commercials and print ads for the show. She starred in the national tour of If/Then, where she received rave reviews for her performance and was also a part of the original Broadway company. Other credits include the Tony®-winning revival of Hair (OBC) and Rock of Ages (original Off-Broadway cast). Jackie can be heard on the cast recordings for Hair, Island Song, and A Killer Party, and she has done more than 50 demos for upcoming musicals. Film and television credits include Set it Up, The Magnificent Meyersons, and Ghost. Burns has sung all over the world with Grammy®- and Tony®-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn as his featured female soloist. She has appeared in countless concert venues across the country. 

LAVON FISHER-WILSON has performed on Broadway for Chicago the Musical (Matron “Mama” Morton), Disney’s Newsies (Medda Larkin), Lysistrata Jones (Hetaira), and The Color Purple (Sophia). Fisher-Wilson’s national tours include Dreamgirls,Chicago, andTheColor Purple. Regional credits include Hairspray (Motormouth Mabel), Hello Dolly! (Dolly Levi), Once on This Island (Asaka), Dreamgirls (Effie), and Cookin’ atthe Cookery. She has also performed on the Disney Channel original movie Teen Beach Movie (Big Mama). Television roles include Team Toon, Nightcap with Jimmy, Divorce on HBO, and Quantico. She most recently appeared on the New York stage in the roles of Mdm. Squirrel and Hetty Muskrat in the special holiday production of Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. 

SARA JEAN FORD has performed on Broadway in Cats (Jellylorum), The Phantom of the Opera (Christine Daae), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Smitty), ALittle Night Music (Petra), and Finian’s Rainbow. Off-Broadway shows include The Fantasticks (Luisa) and Anyone Can Whistle (June Encores!). National tours include Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera, as well as regional performances of Sunday in the Park with George (Dot) and Candide (Cunegonde). Ford has a bachelor of fine art from Carnegie Mellon. 

KISSY SIMMONS, a native Floridian, attended the University of South Florida on a track and field scholarship. She grew up playing the keyboard and singing in church. Before moving to New York City, she had a successful modeling career and played numerous roles in theatrical performances in the Tampa Bay area. She was last seen on Broadway in The Lion King, playing the role of Nala for nine years (which makes her the longest running Nala ever!). Simmons has appeared in several national commercials, print ads and voiceovers. Television and film credits include Smash, 30 Rock, Hope & Faith, and Six Degrees of Separation. She currently appears around the world as a special guest vocalist in concerts produced by Disney, both on land and sea. 

EUGENE GWOZDZ (Musical Director/Accompanist) is originally from Fort Worth, Texas, and now resides in New York City. Gwozdz is the music director and arranger for the American Dance Machine for the 21st Centry and the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts. He was the MD/Arranger for Our Guy, Cy, a musical concert tribute to Cy Coleman, starring Tony® winners Randy Graff, Cady Huffman, and Lillias White, which received rave reviews from the New York City critics and was the musical director/arranger for the Jerome Robbins Awards, honoring Chita Rivera, Harold Prince, and Stephen Sondheim.  He also held roles as the music director and pianist/arranger for Tony®-winning Princess and the Frog star Anika Noni Rose at the Lincoln Center American Songbook Series and The Drama League Tribute to Patti. Broadway credits include The Full Monty   and   Oklahoma! Broadway and  national tour credits include Sunset  Boulevard with Petula Clark, FlowerDrum Song, Swing!, The Color Purple, The Phantom of the Opera, The Will Rogers’ Follies, and West Side Story, where he also conducted  and played keyboards.He has worked with many Broadway stars, including Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes  Mitchell, Norbert Leo Butz, James Monroe Iglehart, Shuler Hensley, Stephanie J. Block, Patti Lupone, Cady Huffman, Chita Rivera, Leslie Uggams, Donna McKechnie, Andre DeShields, Lee Roy Reams, Ken Page, Patrick Wilson, Billy Porter, Harvey Fierstein, Shirley Jones, Will Chase, Betty Buckley, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Will Chase, LaChanze, Nikki James, Victoria Clark, Kelli O’Hara, Andrea McArdle, Chris Seiber, Rachel York, Norm Lewis, Megan Hilty, Kristin Chenowith, Brent Barrett, Valisia Lekae, John Tartaglia, Laura Benanti, Melissa Errico, Karen Ziemba, N’Kenge, Mark Kudisch, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Laura Bell Bundy. 

STEPHEN DeANGELIS (Producer/Host) has produced more than 300 different Broadway concerts at venues in New York and across the United States, featuring a multitude of Broadway stars, many Tony® and Drama Desk Award winners and nominees, stars from hit television series and films whose roots are on stage, and Broadway’s fastest-rising young performers. Throughout his career, he has worked with more than 100,000 performers across all entertainment mediums. He is also the producing artistic director and host of At This Performance…,  the critically acclaimed concert series that has showcased the talents of  more than 1,100 Broadway standbys, understudies, and alternates since October 2003. His work as a producer of the ongoing series was acknowledged in Broadway World‘s List of “Best Club, Cabaret and Concert for 2021.” He has cast more than 3,600 network television and radio commercials for Manhattan’s leading advertising agencies, for such clients as DirecTV, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, E*TRADE, Febreze, Cover Girl, Pantene, Advil, Robitussin, Downy, and Hewlett-Packard. DeAngelis has contributed to many historic and award-winning spots and campaigns including many that have been recognized with Platinum, Gold, and Silver Lions at Cannes. He also cast the six-time Emmy®-nominated Playhouse Disney series Johnny and the Sprites, starring Tony® nominee John Tartaglia, which was seen on the Disney Channel. His work has been seen in New York and regionally in more than 300 theatrical productions for companies including Musicals Tonight!, York Theatre Company, John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, The Drama League, Casa Mañana, North Shore Music Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Stage One, Shea’s 710 Theatre (formerly Studio Arena Theatre), American Stage Theatre Company, Geva Theatre Center, Starlight Theatre of Kansas City, the St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre (The MUNY), and Dallas Summer Musicals, among others, as well as numerous festival showcases, workshops, and readings. Other credits include The World AIDS Day All-Star Concert Revivals of Pippin and The Secret Garden; the All-Starproduction of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens; and the 25th Anniversary National Tour of Hair. He is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and has staged musicals in major theatres across the country in Boston; Philadelphia; Washington D.C.; Dallas; and St. Louis and throughout New York and New England. Recent productions include the All-Star concert version of Into the Woods, the 50th anniversary celebration of the Tommy album (both at Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts), and a variety of productions for the Drama League. DeAngelis is the producing artistic director of the new Pocono Center for the Arts which is now scheduled to open in late 2022. 

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Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts | Virginia G. Piper Theater
7380 E 2nd St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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