Stephanie Armiger-Holman looks much like the mom next door. A simple glance and you wouldn’t know that the single mother of four is an award-winning author and artist.
One day, Stephanie says, her 18-song musical, “Bartholdi’s Lady,” may be a household name, a Broadway staple show. The musical was written, produced and directed by the Twin Falls resident and Caleb Collins, who now lives in Tennessee. The storyline around the musical explores the building and dedication of the Statue of Liberty, sculpted by Fredric Auguste Bartholdi of France.
The musical premiered September 11, 2003 – on the two year anniversary of the terrorist attacks – at Vera C. O’Leary Junior High auditorium and was well-received.
The musical opens with Bartholdi writing his memoirs shortly after Lady Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. He takes the audience back to the very beginning conception of an idea for a large statue that would unite the two great nations of France and the United States of America. The statue would represent their common goal of democracy and liberty for all men and women.
Through original music, covering every emotion from patriotic to humorous to sad, the show travels through Bartholdi’s experiences leading to the completion of the statue. The audience meets important people in his life: his wife, mother and intellectual creator of the statue and what it would represent, Edouard de Laboulaye.
“The musical is all based on historical fact,” Stephanie says, “of course, with room for artistic expression.”
Writing the show was inspired by a family trip to New York City in August 2001. Stephanie and three of her children visited the famous statue.
“As the statue was coming closer, I was hit by all of these emotions, and songs just started going through my head. Even later, as we were driving along, these songs just kept running through my head,” she says. “When I came home I took the hint and started writing it down.”
Diving headfirst into the seven-month project, Stephanie kept her tape recorder within arm’s reach.
“I never knew when something inspirational would hit me,” she says. “So I kept my tape recorder right with me. It didn’t matter if I was in the shower, or whatever. I worked on the musical day in and day out. It really became my life.”
After putting the play on in Twin Falls, Stephanie submitted “Bartholdi’s Lady” to many playhouses, colleges and representatives in showbiz. Many believe in its potential.
“Sometimes it’s just all about who you know,” she says. “It’s a very long, hard road but I believe in the musical and know it’s great. If you quit, you don’t give yourself much of a chance.”
While “Bartholdi’s Lady” is by far one of Stephanie’s most personally prized pieces of work, it isn’t her first or her last. Her book, “Baby Hannah’s Journey,” first published in 2005, is an endearing story which tackles the age-old question of where babies come from. It won the American Mothers Inc., award.
“It really is a story about an end and a beginning,” Stephanie says.
Other works written by Stephanie include “A Devil in the Pines,” a book about a 250-year-old legend set in the Pine Barrens in South Jersey, where she was born and raised.
Stephanie received an award for her story “The Case of the Missing Scrapple” from Writer’s Digest, and has received numerous other awards for her writings and artwork.