My daughter leaned toward the stage in wonder as she watched the flying monkeys, dazzling witches, smoking wizard, and the straw man who could talk! She was three years old and experiencing the wonder of live theatre for the very first time. It was the year 2009 in Mount Vernon, Ohio and a moment that the two of us will always treasure. Even now, eight years later, she remembers that show. Over the years, Mount Vernon’s community theatre has continued to ignite her imagination and has brought the experience of Broadway to our small town.
At MTVarts, everyone is a volunteer. Countless hours are put into these shows to bring beauty to life for the enjoyment of our community. Why would so many busy adults give up so much of their time to something like theatre? Who needs theatre? We need threatre.
Opening night! It is usually quite a stressful time for me. The long months of planning by the production team and the many, many hours of often tedious, detail-laden rehearsal are over. The orchestra has worked hard over the dress rehearsals to get everything together. At this point, my score is usually layered in pencil markings—noting repeats to be taken during complex scene changes, blocking details, and etc. As the crowd arrives and the house crew does their thing, I usually find myself in the pit, reviewing my responsibilities, contemplating what can happen. What if an important prop is not in its correct location? How efficient have the scene changes been? Where are the critical costume changes that might need more time? Finally, will this group of actors, most of whom do something else for a living, balk at the sight of the crowd in the house and drop a line, forget their lyrics, or skip a verse? Are the new people prepared for this?
The beaming kids in Arabian shirts
With messy veil-worn hair
forget the too-tight shoes that hurt
And the itchy socks they wear
The lights burn bright on my smiling face
The butterflies in my stomach do flips
Looking into the crowd, my heart starts to race
But my nervousness slowly slips
The glasses glare from the guy in row c
Is the only thing in sight
From the great big mass of people in the
The notes from the night before
are running through my mind
and that plot twist in scene four
gets the audience from behind
Intermission comes and goes
A game of mafia backstage
Grandma's opening night rose
Wilts. Showing how we've turned the page
The cast gets better with every laugh
A little sweaty hand squeezes mine
In 2014, Little Mermaid Jr. was my first time as a Production Manager for MTVarts. I had seen it done before, had assisted others in the role, but this was my first time in the role myself. I knew enough about it that I knew I could fulfill the role, but was nervous about venturing out on my own.
My favorite part of being the Production Manager for the artsIQ workshop and production is the 60 kids that need me to help, mold, and take care of them for 2.5 months. Those who know me know I love hugs already, kid hugs are fantastic! Bigger than that is the responsibility to teach, care and nurture these young minds with something that I enjoy so much, theater!
During Little Mermaid's tech week, one of my hardest moments was the amount of children that would continually tap me on the shoulder and call my name so they could ask me a question. I would wake up during the night hearing children's voices call my name repeatedly. A couple nights ago, during the Aladdin tech week, I realized that not a single child had done this. I had to think about why that would be, and I realized it was because we have an awesome team of volunteers. Not that the kids can't come to me or don't want to come to me, but that each volunteer knows their job so well that they don't have to come to me for every question or concern.
I wanted to share just a little bit about these hardworking people who are now great friends:
How MTVarts has helped/changed my life was helping me get out of my comfort zone. Being on that stage, with all those people watching you, can be kind of scary. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty scary the first time I did it. It also really helped my self-esteem a lot. I was one of those people who thought they couldn't do anything right, but once I got on stage, that all changed. MTVarts was the reason.
I have been in 2 shows, so far, with MTVarts. I was in The Little Mermaid Jr. I was given the honor of playing Alana, one of Ariel's sisters. I am now in the newest play, Aladdin Jr. I am playing the part of narrator 1. With both shows, I didn't get the parts I was trying for, but I know they assign roles that are perfect for each and every person who tries.
Thank you very much, MTVarts, for helping me with my self-confidence, forcing me out of my comfort zone and giving me the opportunity to be on stage, where I belong.
Chloe – age 13
Being a part of a production like MTVarts makes me feel proud. When I hear people clapping for us, it makes me feel like I am part of something important. MTVarts makes me feel like more than just a little girl. When I am in practice or performing with the group, I feel like an actor, a dancer, and a singer. I love it.
MTVarts gives children like me a place to interact with some of the other children around here and make new friends. It is so fun to be in a group of girls who are all dancing and singing together. I was still friends with some of the people I met in last year's show, and this year I met even more people! I'm grateful that I get to be a part of this show.
Cora - age 9