Diva of Distinction

Natalie Joy Johnson ’00 shares some traits with her self-titled character in Natalie Joy Johnson: Full Bush, an adults-only show about a down-on-her-luck woman who is looking for love everywhere except where she’ll find it – deep within herself. The performance, described as “riveting” and “heart-stopping,” earned a 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Excellence for outstanding individual performance. The character “is a bit more grand…boozy…and over the top than I am,” Johnson told Playbill.com. “That’s saying a lot.” The Mary Washington theater major, one of Time Out New York’s Top-10 Downtown Divas, might be best known for her two roles in Legally Blonde – on Broadway as high-strung law student Enid Hoopes and on the national tour as divorced manicurist Paulette. The Village Voice called her weekly performance at Brooklyn’s Therapy bar “zingy…and fun…Bette Midler meets Courtney Love.” Her first self-titled piece, Natalie Joy Johnson Is Relentless, was named … [Read more...]

Leading for the Arts

UMW President Richard V. Hurley and Tiffany Kelly, director and owner of Dance Trance Fredericksburg, danced a rumba for arts education in August. Hurley and eight other area leaders partnered with professionals from Fredericksburg’s Strictly Ballroom Dance Studio for the fundraising event Dancing With the Fredericksburg Stars. Community leaders prepared for weeks for the inaugural event in Dodd Auditorium. Their polished, crowd-pleasing performances raised more than $65,000 to endow the UMW Performing Arts in the Community Scholarship for regional students who excel in music, theater, or dance. … [Read more...]