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12 November 1 - 14, 2008
Theatre from Page 1
the Ashley Park resident. “It’s my passion.” have similar opportunities, Okawa
As Copperstar’s artistic producing director, Okawa also co-created CUSD’S music
started the nonprofi t arts organization in July and curriculum and serves with other
held a kickoff gala in September. But this is not the educators on the writing team for
fi rst time a community has benefi ted from Okawa’s Arts Assessment in Arizona.
commitment to the arts. “Young people need to develop
Seven years ago Okawa and her family left San Jose, an appreciation and experience
CA where she also had a theatre company. Describing the arts,” Okawa explains. She says
that city as “one of the most expensive places to live it helps develop self-confi dence,
on the planet,” Okawa says she and husband Dave provides a different form of
decided to move to Chandler “for a better life.” expression and builds teamwork
She was hired by the Chandler Unifi ed School ethics.
District (CUSD) and worked for fi ve years as a music “We live in a time when all of our
teacher, in charge of the district’s chorale festival. She’s entertainment is becoming more
now in the Higley Unifi ed School District teaching individualized, with iPods, MP3s,
theatre arts full time, in addition to launching her new computers.” In contrast, she says,
company. “The theatre experience gives you a
“It’s not always easy. I feel like I’m in a circus chance to create something together
Submitted photo
because I’m juggling so many things, but it’s a joy to with a group of people.”
DIVAS: Performer Alan Palmer impersonates more than 30 Broadway actresses with
complete costume and makeup in Copperstar Repertory Company’s “Fabulous Divas of
me,” says Okawa, 43. Also the mother of Okawa says her own Broadway” on stage this month.
12-year-old daughter Shanti and 15-year- school experience was
The professional touring production of “Fabulous
old son Chris she adds, “Luckily, I’m not a the “catalyst” for a 30-year musical career
Divas of Broadway” will be presented Thu., Nov. 6
person who requires that much sleep.” that ranges from playing Dolly Levy in
through Sat., Nov. 8.
“Hello, Dolly!” to having her own nightclub
Youth auditions for ages 12 to 22 for “Fiddler
Bitten early by theatre bug and cabaret show in Manhattan.
on the Roof” are Sat., Nov. 1 and Mon., Nov. 3. For
Just like her children, who have been Today she is mostly behind the scenes
an appointment, call 480-699-1655. If cast, some
involved in their mother’s productions as director of productions, although
training fees may apply; need-based scholarships are
since they were toddlers, Okawa “caught she frequently sings at churches and
the bug” at a young age, growing up in occasionally performs onstage. Her main
To learn more, visit
family which loves and appreciates focus now, she says, is growing Copperstar
Submitted photo
music. Repertory and using it to “help develop
“I was always a singer and just gravitated
Suzanne McCormick is a freelance writer and
resident Mary-Jo Okawa
character and talent” in others. communication consultant who lives in the Vineyards with
toward theatre,” explains Okawa, whose got “bit” by the theatre Copperstar Repertory is the resident
her husband, two children, and cat, Abby. Contact her at
fi rst opportunities to perform were offered
bug at an early age,
company at Higley Center for the
and has now started
through school.
her own repertory
Performing Arts, a state-of-the-art facility
Wanting to ensure that youth here
recently built in Gilbert.
Hit the links for Special Olympics
SanTan Sun Chronicles
Support disabled residents and Chandler’s Special Olympics programs by
sponsoring the 12th Annual Chandler Golf Challenge held Fri., Nov. 14 at the Bear
Linda Minde of Tri-Lite Builders in S. Chandler will serve on the board of
Creek Golf Complex. The tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. with a shotgun start,
directors of Save the Family, a local nonprofi t organization assisting homeless
and concludes with a dinner and awards presentation.
families with children. Minde will chair the marketing, PR and fundraising
Tee box, hole, shirt, banquet and title sponsorships range from $100 to $3,000,
committee. To honor Save the Family’s 20th anniversary, Tri-Lite Builders is
and local businesses are invited to donate items for gift bags, raffl e prizes or a silent
helping SanTan Village collect 20,000 canned goods items, which can be dropped
auction. Registration is limited to the fi rst 132 paid golfers. The event costs $90 per
off at SanTan Village’s Food
person or $350 for foursomes.
Court Guest Services or the Tri-
The event is presented by Chandler’s Therapeutic Recreation Program and the
Lite offi ce. Info: 480-895-3442,
Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities.;
For sponsorship information or to register, contact Collette Prather at
480-782-2709 or visit
Carolina Daley, an artist from
Ocotillo, was accepted as a mem-
ber of the International Guild of
Realism (
In addition, two of her paint-
ings were chosen for the orga-
nization’s juried show in Naples,
Online Classifi eds
Florida in February 2009. Daley Spring Showers, oil on canvas, 24 x 18, by
recently signed with Rive Gauche
Carolina Daley
Gallery in Scottsdale.
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