For many of us, acting on stage is included in our bucket list somewhere between a visit to New Zealand and paying off the mortgage. But, while New Zealand and the mortgage may present a few obstacles before you can check them off your list, the acting gig is more attainable than you might think!
We are blessed with an abundance of theater opportunities. Whether you are young or old, a novice or expert, or love musical theater or the work of the Bard, there is a place for you in the McKinney theatre scene. If your preference is to work the back of the house or to settle in to a nice comfy chair and enjoy the show, McKinney’s got you covered too.
McKinney Youth Theatre
Founded in 2005, the McKinney Youth Theatre prides itself on being “a place where kids can be the star and a place where they can gain an appreciation and love for live theatre.” Danny Miranda, the McKinney Program Manager and Director, explains that the MYT musical theatre productions are collaboration between the director and the young actors.
For example, the theatre’s recent production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started off with a director’s vision that was then expanded by the students. This resulted in everything – from set to costumes – being created from recycled materials. “The kids are very free with us and therefore become a huge part of the vision of the show,” Miranda explains.
MYT is currently in rehearsals for Sweeney Todd and Peter Pan, and looking forward to working with students on two major productions over the summer, Beauty and the Beast and Footloose. In addition to the major productions, MYT offers ongoing acting skills classes.
For more information, visit planochildrenstheatre.org.
McKinney Young Actors Guild
Young Actors Guild — The Taming of the Shrew
The McKinney Young Actors Guild (YAG) was established in 2009 by the McKinney Repertory Theatre, with support from the McKinney Arts Commission, to provide a comprehensive theatre experience for McKinney youth. The four YAG productions each year are conceived and produced entirely by the students under the guidance of an adult and a student director.
Every aspect of the four major productions from their selection, to acting, set build-out, costumes, publicity, lighting and running the house is a result of the student cast’s and crew’s passion for theatre. “Once the show is done and the lights go out, these students can be proud because everything that happened on that stage they did,” explains Dan Slay, adult president.
Involvement in the McKinney YAG is open to students aged 8-18, who attend twice monthly meetings and workshops as well as participate in the four major productions each year. Since the YAG is an offshoot of the McKinney Repertory Theatre, students are often tapped to participate in MRT productions that call for younger cast members. For more information, visit yagmckinney.com.
McKinney Repertory Theatre
McKinney Repertory Theatre — The Odd Couple
If you’ve ever been to the performance of A Christmas Carol at the McKinney Performing Arts Center during the holidays, you’ve seen the work of the passionate group at the McKinney Repertory Theatre. In addition to the annual production of the Dickens’ Christmas classic, the MRT stages four other major productions each year, ranging from Shakespeare to the performance of a new play selected in their annual New Play Competition.
Open auditions are held for each of the productions, giving McKinney residents a fantastic opportunity to make their stage debut or dust off their acting chops from back in their school days.
If you see theatre from the other end of the script, and hope to see your work on stage, start polishing your work to enter the MRT’s annual New Play Competition. Deadline for submissions is March 31 of each year and the winner’s script is produced in full the following spring.
For the younger crowd, the MRT also sponsors the annual Broadway Bound. This summer’s workshop is open to students of all ages and culminates in a full-scale musical production. Students will spend two intense weeks perfecting their performance of Mulan.
Finally, if you have a talent you’d like to share with the community, consider auditioning for the MRT talent show.
For more information, visit mckinneyrep.org.
McKinney Summer Musicals
McKinney Summer Musicals — Fiddler on the Roof
For the Rogers and Hammerstein fan, McKinney Summer Musicals is just the ticket. With a full scale musical theatre production each year, you are sure to get your fill of big songs, big voices and big choreography culminating in a really big show. Open auditions are held for the annual musical production which typically includes 40-50 cast members and an equal number of crew.
Starting in 2007, MSM has performed such iconic shows as Fiddler on the Roof, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and The Music Man. Following many requests for the addition of a second show, 2014 marked the first year (of what they hope will be many) that MSM added a second production: Side by Side by Sondheim in March.
Director Kevyn Robertson explains that there are a wide range of ages, experience and interests among the cast and crew each year. There are many who enjoy the occasional production as an after-work hobby, but a number of young people participate each year who hope to pursue a career in some aspect of theatre. She notes that there are several MSM alums studying some aspect of theatre in college. The complexity of a musical theatre production makes MSM great training ground for anyone with those interests.
For more information about this year’s MSM production, Footloose, visit mckinneysummermusicals.com.
About the author: Amy Rogers is a freelance writer who loves to share her passion about her hometown, McKinney. You can find more of her writing at CopyinDisguise.com.