Star Struck

A Broadway legend brings her talents to town

By Jessica Laskey
March 2024

You’re working at Sacramento Theatre Company during tough times. Live theater audiences are declining. Budgets are tight. You wonder what the future holds.

The phone rings. It’s Stephanie J. Block, Tony Award-winning star of Broadway hits “Wicked,” “9 to 5,” “The Cher Show,” “Falsettos” and “Into the Woods.”

She wants to help.

This isn’t the plot of a musical. It happened a few months ago.

“I had a visceral reaction when I hit STC’s website,” says Block, a Southern California native and longtime New Yorker who relocated to Sacramento during the pandemic.

“Reading about its transitional status, its passion and youth focus, I thought, I want to help this beautiful company that’s existed for nearly 80 years. So, I picked up the phone and left a message saying, ‘I’m in the area, I have time, talent and a lot of practical knowledge. I have no idea if I can be of service to your institution, but I’d like to try.’”

STC called her back minutes later. Block is now working with the theater company on a solo concert that will bring together her love of performing and her affection for her new hometown.

“I love doing these intimate concerts,” Block says. “It’s a real gift when you get to stand in your own body and shoes and sing songs that you know express yourself in such an intimate way.”

Block has local connections. Her sister married a Citrus Heights native. Block starred in several Music Circus productions, including “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Crazy for You” and “Damn Yankees.”

When COVID hit, Block and her husband, actor Sebastian Arcelus, put on their parental hats to figure out what would be best for 5-year-old daughter Vivienne, who was about to start kindergarten.

“All arrows pointed to Northern California,” Block says. “We didn’t know if it would be just for a year, two years or indefinitely. It was a huge leap of faith and a big, bold choice, but we did right by our girl.”

Vivienne attended kindergarten and first grade in person thanks to outdoor classes. She experienced horseback riding and skiing for the first time.

But New York beckoned when Block and Arcelus were cast in the Broadway revival of “Into the Woods.” They moved back to the East Coast, undertook the show’s national tour as a family for a year, then returned to Sacramento.

“When we came back, we wanted to invest a little more of ourselves into this community,” Block says. “This way of life was not just a bookmark or placeholder. It was the way we were going to move forward as a family.”

Now she’s focused on getting resettled in the region and finding new outlets for her artistry. “These kinds of concerts are a literal conversation between the audience and performer,” Block says. “It’s dictated by who’s in the room, and that’s what live theater has always been. It’s only happening in the here-and-now, which is so rare and so beautiful and so connected.”

“Stephanie is far more than amazing talent. She embodies what we believe live theater represents: integrity, empathy, professionalism and forward-looking,” says Carol Wieckowski Dreyer, longtime STC board member. “For us, Stephanie embraces the best of theater, and we are profoundly grateful to her for her time, dedication and desire to support us.”
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Jessica Laskey can be reached at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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