Valley Youth Theatre producer revels in former pupil Emma Stone’s success

Mar 11, 2024, 11:06 AM

Split image of Valley Youth Theatre on the left and Emma Stone with the Oscar for best actress for ...

Emma Stone won her second Oscar for best actress during the 96th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 10, 2024. The Scottsdale native spent her formative years at Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. (Facebook Photo/Phoenix Youth Theatre and Getty Images Photo/Kevin Winter)

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Youth Theatre and Getty Images Photo/Kevin Winter)

PHOENIX – Valley Youth Theatre’s stated mission is to inspire young people to be the best that they can be.

When it comes to Emma Stone, it’s mission accomplished – again.

The Scottsdale native won her second Oscar for best actress at Sunday night’s Academy Awards, this time for her quirky and bold performance as Bella Baxter in “Poor Things.”

“That we had a small part of that is incredible, and it will forever be an important part of telling the story of Valley Youth Theatre and the impact that we have on young people’s lives,” Bobb Cooper, the Phoenix theater’s executive producer and Stone’s former acting coach, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday morning.

When did Emma Stone act at Valley Youth Theatre?

Stone went by Emily when she graced Valley Youth Theatre’s Phoenix stage more than two decades ago. Her first role was as Otter in a 2000 production of “The Wind in the Willows.”

“She auditioned and kept on auditioning and she was in, I believe, 18 shows over the course of four years with us, and we spent a lot of time together,” Cooper said.

Stone headed to Hollywood after appearing in Valley Youth Theatre’s “Titanic” in 2003. She’s now one of the biggest movie stars of her generation.

Who has more than one Oscar for best actress?

With her second Oscar for best actress, Stone joined an illustrious club that includes the likes of Meryl Streep, Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor. Only Katharine Hepburn (four) and Frances McDormand (three) have more wins in the category.

When Stone took home her first best actress statue for “La La Land” at the 2017 Academy Awards, she thanked Cooper during her acceptance speech.

On Sunday, the 35-year-old performer called the experience of winning a second Oscar “really overwhelming.” Cooper called Stone “a huge inspiration” for the kids who came after her at Valley Youth Theatre.

“We’re so proud of her … that she’s reached this pinnacle,” he said. “And two Academy Awards — I mean, one was incredible. Two is just — it’s mind-boggling.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Shira Tanzer contributed to this report.

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Valley Youth Theatre producer revels in former pupil Emma Stone’s success