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Nancy Wood and Paul Safar

On the day they met, when pianist Paul Safar first played in singer Nancy Wood's jazz quartet, he told her of a Swedish folk tale he had read to his young son Julian: "I thought it had potential as an opera." Seven years later, Safar and Wood will present the world premier of their collaborative children's play, Nisse's Dream, August 12-21 at the Lord Leebrick Theatre. It's the story of a boy who travels to the land of trolls to rescue his family's stolen cow. "I wrote the lyrics and he wrote the music," says Wood. "We both have children the right age to tell the story to." A competitive figure skater as a kid in Minnesota and later a professional dancer, Wood began teaching yoga as a new mom, and now teaches prenatal yoga and mama-and-baby yoga at Four Winds. Safar started classical piano at age six in Philadelphia. He's been teaching piano and performing in Eugene since 1994. The pair founded Cherry Blossom Musical Arts and released a CD version of Nisse's Dream in 2003. They've assembled a cast of 23, mostly kids, directed by Maggie Tryk, plus six musicians under Safar's direction. Visit www.cblossom.org for details.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 14 July 2005

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