Herberger students, faculty, alumni win ariZoni Awards; launch season


September 25, 2012

Faculty, students and alumni of the ASU School of Music's Lyric Opera Theatre and the School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts took home an impressive number of ariZoni Awards during the theatre organization’s 2012 awards ceremony that honors professional and non-professional theatres in the greater Phoenix area.

ASU School of Music’s Michael Barnard, faculty associate, won Best Director for a musical for Phoenix Theatre’s production of "Gypsy" and Robert Harper, School of Music faculty associate, won Best Actor in a Major Role in Actors Theatre’s production of "Next Fall." Download Full Image

Rachel Bowditch, School of Theatre and Film assistant professor, won best director for "The Sun Serpent," the epic tale of Aztec culture and the conquest of Mexico that she co-wrote and that was staged to rave reviews during its run at Childsplay last spring. Associate Professor Connie Furr-Soloman, costume designer, won for costume design for "The Sun Serpent," which also took home the Best Overall Production for a Contracted Theater.

ASU School of Theatre and Film Professor David Barker was recognized for his choreography of "Romeo and Juliet" produced by the Southwest Shakespeare Company and MFA student Brunella Provvidente took home the award for Scenic Design of a Non-contracted Play for her work in the ASU MainStage production of "The House of the Spirits." School of Music student Katie Frederick won Best Supporting Actress in a Musical of a Non-contracted show for the Mesa Encore Theatre’s production of "Hairspray."

Alumni from both schools winning ariZoni awards included Mollie Flanagan, Alfredo Macias, Steve Christensen, Anthony Jannuzzi, Jere Van Patten, Alyssa Chiarello, Sam Henderson and Lynette Kidman Nunez who won for their contributions on productions that took place on stages at ASU and across Maricopa County. In addition, newly appointed School of Music Lecturer Toby Yatso served as one of three hosts for the ariZoni Youth and Adult Awards 2012 ceremony.

The ariZoni Awards ceremony came as ASU MainStage and Lyric Opera Theatre are launching their ambitious 2012-13 seasons. The first of two world premieres, "POVV" by Punctum, opens the MainStage season Sept. 28. This provocative, mind-bending show created by 13 graduate students from the School of Theatre and Film explores questions of human connectedness in the digital age. For more information and to buy tickets for the season visit MainStage.

Lyric Opera Theatre begins its 49th season with a lively romp through an English village with its production of "Albert Herring" that opens Oct. 4. Its season includes the full production of Die Fledermaus, the musical version of "Little Women" and the fantastical, "Bat Boy: The Musical." For ASU students, faculty and staff are eligible for discounted tickets to the Herberger Institute’s complete performing arts series. Buy tickets online at the Herberger Institute Box Office, calling 480.965.6447 or by visiting the Box Office at Nelson Fine Arts Center on the ASU Tempe campus.

Totally 'buzzworthy': The 2012 ASU Academic Bowl


September 25, 2012

An early fall breeze swept through campus yesterday, ruffling abandoned newspapers and stirring up the first faint smells of autumn, reminding me that something serious is afoot.

The ASU Academic Bowl. Download Full Image

Admittedly, the breeze I felt was much more chilling – the kind that blasts from my office A/C vent and carries with it my boss' casual reminder of the annual event's return, just days away. (Five days to be exact.)

Having been in a state of hibernation for 358 days, the ASU Academic Bowl awakens each October for one week of intense brain-wracking, head-scratching, thumb-buzzing, high-fiving, skull-cramming, ego-crushing, blackout-inducing, "How the heck did you know that," robot-like academic competition among the university's brainiest students.

And it's awesome. (Frightening, yes, but awesome.)

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Opening rounds:
4-6 p.m. & 7-9 p.m., Oct. 1, Pima Room, MU
4-6 p.m. & 7-9 p.m., Oct. 2, Pima Room, MU
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Here's how it works:

Sixteen teams from schools and colleges across Arizona State University, each comprised of four players, go head to head in two nights of opening-round, rapid-fire question-and-answer play. Each team is jockeying for optimal position – a spot in the semi-finals which takes place on the third night of competition – for the chance to win the coveted championship trophy, school bragging rights, and a boatload of cash.

But getting there is rough.

Each match is a 15-minute marathon of questions and answers, requiring lightning speed and ninja focus. In order to win the points, one must first win the toss-up question – a feat for those quick on the trigger with information recall capabilities on par with Google.

You see, to win the ASU Academic Bowl, a team must be both fast and precise – in a word, "buzzworthy," or, as I see it, a team's ability to be the first to buzz in while staying cool under pressure, i.e. correctly answering the question.

Premature buzzing, or deciding to guess the answer, is a risky move that can result in point deductions and, ultimately, a loss – not to mention haunting visions of that creepy Grail Knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. "He chose poorly."

However, if answered "wisely," toss-up questions lead to bonus questions, which in turn, can lead to some serious point-padding.

And this is where the game gets interesting.

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We've got you covered: Can't make it to the opening rounds in the Memorial Union?

Follow the action on Twitter / @asunews_insider will be live tweeting / hashtag #ASUacbowl

Watch the competition live on ASUtv and ASUtv Ustream

Live web stream, Twitter updates, videos, photos and articles at asu.edu/academicbowl/stream
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A set of won bonus questions can ramp up a team's score of anywhere up to 25 points (toss-up points included), and become the deciding factor between a clear winner and loser. More information on how the game is played is available here.

The questions run the gamut – everything from world politics and pop culture, to history and geography, to that Russian author who wrote "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" – you know this! – but for the life of you can't spit his name out fast enough. 

You think an engineering team doesn't know their Leo Tolstoy? Think again. And if I had a nickel for every time the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts correctly answered an algebra question that required pen and paper, I'd have, well, a good chunk of change. (I'm not sure exactly how much.  I was never good at math.)

But wait, it gets better. Add $24,000 in scholarship money to the pot and you begin to understand why the competition can get a little heated.

If $24,000 isn't enough of a grand prize for you, then take comfort in the most priceless reward of them all: proof that your college or school is smarter than the rest. (For most players, though, the cold, hard cash is enough.)

The spectacular battle of wits is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., Oct. 1, in the Memorial Union, Pima Room, on the Tempe campus. The second night of opening round competition continues Oct. 2, with the semi-final and final rounds set to take place Oct. 4, in the Eight, Arizona PBS studios on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Check the schedule for more details. And don't let "no" be your final answer – come out and support our students at the 2012 ASU Academic Bowl. You won't be sorry you did.

You might even pick up a few pointers for the next time you face your friends – or, God forbid, your spouse – in a "friendly" game of trivia.

If you can't make it to the event, you can follow the action on Twitter @asunews_insider (hashtag #ASUacbowl) and also on ASUtv and ASUtv Ustream, which will be broadcasting the event live. For a one-stop shop – complete with live streaming and tweeting, and articles, videos and photos – visit asu.edu/academicbowl/stream.

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library