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Talents Galore at ‘Arts by George!’

The 7th annual George Mason University ‘Arts by George!’ to be held on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Sutton Foster

Sutton Foster Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

A bevy of incredible talent is set to entertain as the seventh annual George Mason University "Arts by George!" is coming on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m. Arts by George! will take place in the de Laski Performing Arts Building on Mason’s Fairfax Campus, as well as Harris Theater and a tented plaza next to the performing arts building.

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Members of the Mason Dance Company performing at last year's “Arts by George!” The Mason Dance Company will be performing at the 2012 event.

From the multi-talented, multi-Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster to aspiring creative artists from the Mason College of Visual and Performing Arts, there is a jam-packed day of events.

“We want audiences to “become 'infected' with the energy and creativity of the next generation of artists," said William Reeder, chair of Mason College of Visual and Performing Arts. His description of headliner Foster was simply this: "She is as good as it gets!"

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Members of the Mason Jazz Ensemble performing at last year's “Arts by George!” The Mason Jazz Ensemble will be performing at the 2012 event.

Notably, the benefit event will use proceeds to support student scholarships as well as the Great Performances at the Mason Center for the Arts.

Where and When

George Mason University’s "Arts by George!," showing at the Center for the Arts and de Laski Performing Arts Building, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012. Student performances and exhibitions, and silent auction of an array of arts-related items and experiences from 5-7:30 p.m., at de Laski Performing Arts Building. Sutton Foster event at Concert Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets: $40-$70. Special packages available. Call 703-993-2787 or visit www.cfa.gmu.edu/t.... For detailed information about "Arts by George!" student performances, silent auction and other benefit events information including Grand Buffet, visit www.artsbygeorge.... or call 703-993-4188.

This year's programs will include many diverse student performances. Guests will be able to visit all sorts of Mason spaces to take in performances or exhibitions. There is even a Smartphone App created by the Computer Game Design program that provides a program for the "Arts by George!" event.

Joseph and Carol Catalano are event co-chairs for this year's "Arts by George!."

Asked why people should come to the event, especially those who may have never attended before, the Catalanos said, "You will be amazed at the talent of the these young students who come from all over the world to attend GMU and it's right here in your backyard. Secondly, the funds raised go directly toward scholarships for these students and supports the Great Performances at Mason concert series. Lastly, you will have such a good time that you can't wait for next year's event."

"Having Sutton Foster as our headliner this year has created much excitement," said the Catalanos.

"I want the audience to have a such wonderful time; to have fun," said Sutton Foster in a recent interview. "It will be an eclectic evening with a combinations of Broadway show tunes, great standards, perhaps even folk music and newer tunes."

In selecting what to perform, "words and lyrics are so important to me and the melody of a song," she said. "I work with my arranger; together we come up with the way I will do something. We take things, play around, break them down, combine and redo into something that is me."

Foster spoke of some of her theatrical experiences, including as Janet Van De Graaff in "The Drowsy Chaperone." That role was "a very appealing character in such an original and a smart show. It was a highly original musical, not based upon a previous book or movie. Singing ‘I Don't Want to Show Off’ was like a dream come true role; just so much fun, and still a favorite."

When asked about the challenges of her vigorous dancing in her Tony Award performance in "Anything Goes," Foster spoke of it "as a physical, athletic endeavor...working so hard, out of breath at the end of a particular routine, but happy to please the audience.” Working on stage is "musical theater heaven...just such a thrill."