Best of Phoenix

Sweet Role: Michelle Mahowald

As a principal with Ballet Arizona, Michelle Mahowald has performed solo in Swan Lake and Coppelia, and originated a role in director Ib Andersen's Play. But for our ticket money, the sweetest role in ballet is the one she performed last year, as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Andersen's take on The Nutcracker. Sadly, we expect to see Mahowald pirouetting out of town as soon as she can, judging from the fact that she was not able to tell us a single thing she likes best about our city. I arrived in Phoenix August of 2006.

When I’m stuck in traffic, I sing.

On Saturday night, you can find me usually at a restaurant with friends.

My favorite thing about summer in Phoenix is that I'm in a different state.

If I could redo my first kiss, I’d kiss Fred Astaire.

The one dessert I refuse to eat is — do celery sticks count?

If I was mayor of Phoenix, I’d quit.

In high school, I was the kid who was captain of the speech team.

The one place in Phoenix I don’t want anyone to know about is the place where I hide my desserts.

On my nightstand, you’ll find a pen, my Bible, some paper, a cup of tea and (right now) One Hundred Years of Solitude.

One thing I want to do before I die is travel much more.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at