Desert Foothills Theater brings acclaimed N.Y. actress Libby Skala to North Valley for Lilia! and A Time To Dance

December 31, 2008

Libby SkalaCAVE CREEK – After overwhelming response from audience members last year, Desert Foothills Theater, a program of the Foothills Community Foundation, is bringing acclaimed actress and writer Libby Skala back to Arizona from New York. This time, Skala will perform two of her one-woman shows. Lilia! is set for Saturday, Jan. 10 and A Time to Dance will take place on Saturday, Jan. 17.

Both shows begin at 7:30 p.m. at the intimate Black Box Theater at Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, 33606 N. 60th Street. Tickets are $18 per adult and $10 per student per show or $31 for both shows.

“Libby received acclaim across North America and in Europe for her first solo play, Lilia! This heartwarming story chronicles the life of her grandmother, Lilia Skala, who fled Hitler-invaded Austria and worked her way to an Oscar nomination for her role in Lilies of the Field. The play explores Skala’s relationship with her venerable grandmother. It is very moving,” said Meribeth Reeves, managing director of Desert Foothills Theater.

Skala recently added A Time to Dance to her repertoire, a new solo show about her grandmother’s younger sister, Austrian modern dancer, Elizabeth Polk, also known as Lisl.
“Using improvised movement and creative dance, Libby shows how Lisl survived two world wars, immigrated to New York, survived 9/11, and danced to the Macarena on her hundredth birthday,” Reeves said.

A Tribute to Two Strong Women

Lilia Skala was one of the first women to have received a degree in Architecture and Engineering from The University of Dresden, before practicing architecture professionally in Vienna.  She went on to become one of Austria’s leading stage actresses and toured with Max Reinhardt in a 1934 production of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.  She won a special place in the hearts of audiences throughout the world as the chapel-building nun in Lilies of the Field. Her acting career in the United States spanned over 50 years, with featured roles on Broadway, in films and on popular television programs.
“It’s been a sheer delight playing my grandmother because she’s such a Grande dame,” Libby Skala said.

Skala said Lilia and her sister, Lisl, could not have been more different.

“Lilia approached life with great seriousness and intensity. Lisl was light and humorous in her life approach. She was one of the most joyful people I know,” she said.

During her visit, Skala will conduct a two-week, in-school residency with Black Mountain Elementary School and Desert Arroyo Middle School. She said her goal is to light a spark in the students which hopefully will lead them to value their own stories and experiences as a means of illuminating new perspectives for others.

To order tickets, visit or call (480) 488-1981.

Desert Foothills Theater is a division of the Foothills Community Foundation. Now in its 34th year, DFT has been honored with 71 ariZoni award Nominations and just recently won four Zoni awards, including Best Overall Production, Non-Contracted Musical, for its Feb. 2008 production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

Courtesy Photo/Doug Miner