The world is full of unique people that each carry their own passion — passions that light a flame inside of them to keep them warm throughout their days. A person may be passionate about the comic strips printed on their morning newspaper. Or the smell of fresh baked bread emerging from their oven on an otherwise regular Sunday afternoon. However, some passions burn on a grander scale or, in the words of Jack Kerouac “burn, burn, burn like fiery Roman candles exploding like fireworks across the stars.” People whose passions take over their entire lives, like mathematicians who have built careers around the subtle joy of numbers or performers who will face far more rejection than acceptance in the fight to be granted the adrenaline rush of standing on a stage. Isabel Stein is one of these fantastically passionate individuals. Her love for performance brought her to the Musical Theatre Department of the University of Michigan, where she has spent the past four years not only performing, but also writing and composing, participating in all different aspects of the creation process. All of these experiences having informed her as not only a performer, but as an artist.
The culmination of Isabel’s experience at the University will be displayed in the Towsley Studio of the Walgreen Drama Center during her Frances B. Furlong Scholarship Recital. The Frances B. Furlong Scholarship was started 25 years ago by Ann and Charles Hutchins for a music teacher named Frances B. Furlong. Furlong had a deep seated passion for music, and in celebration of this passion, her namesake scholarship selects a student who has excelled in music to receive (in addition to the scholarship) means to perform in their own recital. The recital is meant to showcase the knowledge they have gained during their time at the University.
For her recital, Isabel Stein chose to perform a collection of musical theatre, jazz and pop songs that are both musically and lyrically strong. “Some of these songs I sung when I was very little, some in college, and some I have never sang before,” Stein said. “Actually, the recital takes place the day after my father’s sixtieth birthday. He’s coming to the recital and there was this song that he has always wanted me to sing. I’ll be surprising him with this song at the recital on Sunday. I’ve never wanted to sing this song before but, you know, sometimes you do things for people that you love because you love them. Your love for them is greater than your own pride. I am very much looking forward to celebrating this with him.”
In addition to this recital being a celebration of both Stein’s career at school and her father, it is also a celebration of the writers of the songs she will be performing. “I hope for this recital to be not only the culmination of my education at Michigan but also a celebration of all of these writers,” she said. “Because we would never be here if it weren’t for the writers that created this material that paved the way for musical theatre actors to thrive. Part of our education here is that we learn about and value writers in the field. A lot of actors don’t realize the significance of writers work in our work, and having written and being in my own original work the past couple of weeks, it’s an honour to celebrate other writers on Sundays.”
Audience members can expect to hear an array of musical theatre, jazz and pop songs sung by Isabel Stein and accompanied by musical theatre faculty member Tyler Driskill on piano. The event is sure to be a fiery celebration — even the stars seem to agree. “The sun will be in Aries and the moon will be in Leo so it will quite literally be a burst of celebration. Leo is the sign of party and host, Aries is the sign of a good time.” Isabel said. The stars are aligned for what is sure to be a transcending performance by Stein this Sunday at the Frances B. Dueling Scholarship Recital.