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Coming full circle

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

LEXINGTON, KY – Fourth grade changed everything.

That’s when Isabelle Wisdom-Flores saw a touring production of a Junie B. Jones story at her elementary school in Queen Creek, Arizona. And when she saw her future.

While Izzy had been playing music and singing since first grade, the live storytelling affected her deeply.

“It was the best day ever,” she said. “My friends and I talked about it constantly for weeks. That’s when I knew what I wanted to do.”

Wisdom-Flores went on to study musical theater at Emerson College in Boston (“I saw snow for the first time!”), graduated earlier this year and comes full circle after landing a job at Lexington Children’s Theatre.

She’s part of the LCT touring cast of The Smartest Girl in the World, now bringing impactful stories to kids like her younger self.

Smartest Girl… opens the Fitton Family Fridays series September 22 and tells the story of siblings Lizzy and Leo Martinez. Leo believes winning a local TV quiz show is the first step to a better life for the family. But when their parents refuse to let Leo participate in the quiz show, Lizzy decides to grow up, step up and complete the plan herself.

“It’s a really great story about a LatinX family and it’s about how much they really love one another,” Wisdom-Flores said. “As an audience member, it’s really nice to see a story about a family that’s close where the kids really support one another.

“Lizzy is funny and goofy, but also smart and driven. I think it’s really important for little girls – for everyone - to see they can be all of those things.”

Wisdom-Flores plays four different characters, including a mom and an aunt who speak Spanish (as well as English with accent). She said the opportunity to share her heritage on stage is important for young viewers.

“It gives them the knowledge they can do this,” she said. “Anybody can be an actor. Anybody can be creative. Anybody can be the smartest girl in the world. It’s not just certain people. It’s everyone. And if we don’t share these stories, we lose our uniqueness.”

“Lexington Children’s Theatre offers a commitment to provide diverse experiences that allow every young person to see themselves on our stage,” said Jeremy Kisling, LCT Producing Artistic Director. “(It) allow us to work towards creating an equitable and antiracist environment for young people and their families. We are choosing plays and providing opportunities for our community that work to deepen the connections to people of all colors, ages, and backgrounds.”

The Fitton Center offers a similar commitment to sharing a diverse range of artistic expressions. Its 30th anniversary season includes not only this show, but also Home Spun, The Wayfarers, Bollywood and Drag Show 3, representing urban, Appalachian, Southeast Asian and LGBTQ+ points of view.

Smartest Girl… opened last week in Lexington. The Fitton Center will be the second stop on a tour that takes LCT all over the region - as well as far-flung stops from Wisconsin to Staten Island, New York – from October through December.

The Smartest Girl in the World includes family-friendly appetizers and drinks by Fitton Center catering partner, Two Women in a Kitchen. Tickets are available by phone at 513-863-8873, ext. 110, or online right here. Cost is $7 for Fitton Center members, $9 for non-members (with a $1 ticketing charge per ticket).

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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