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Producer Blog

Merry Christmas, thanks for the gift!

Monday, 23 December 2013 21:36 Janis Stone

The greatest gift you can give to someone is to believe in their dreams.

Thanks for believing!

Merry Christmas from MTVarts

Believe 2013 small

Wow, what a year we have had with MTVarts.  Each year I think we can't do this and each year somehow people make it happen.  It all started with Aaron's vision for  "Of Mice and Men" coming to life thanks to donated barns and a cast of extremely talented actors.  Then we moved right into "The Music Man"  and again over 100 people worked to pull it off.  This was the first time Bruce turned over the director reins for a summer musical and Leah lead the parade beautifully.  Unbelieveably we kept right on marching into September and The JJ Project - "How I Became a Pirate".  Tremendous community support, Theatrical Rights Worldwide, Mark and Janet and Melinda, all those special guests and a gala to boot!  Aarrghh it was a great adventure, eh JJ?

There are truly are no people like show people.  To our audience, thank you for coming to see our shows.  To our patrons, thank you for giving us your hard-earned money.  To our advisers, thank you for keeping us on track.  To our volunteers, simply thank you!  The "more" we "imagine together" is amazing!
To all who are MTVarts . . .thank you for believing!

And 2014?  Well let's just say you will be shouting, "I'm a Believer!"


Remembering Jim

Friday, 06 September 2013 01:37 Matt Starr

Jim MillerJim Miller’s passing has come as a shock to so many of us in the MTVarts community. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I will look out in the audience and not see his face smiling with pride and contentment. I still cannot believe it.

I had the pleasure of working with Jim on several projects (some of which were behind the scenes), but my most favorite time sharing the stage with him was in the MTVarts’ Classics Series Twelve Angry Men. Jim played the role of Juror No. 4, the rational, well-manicured professional who sought reason and logic as the way to understand the world. As the story developed, each of the twelve jurors changes his opinion on the case involving a teenage accused of murder. For me, seeing Jim’s character change was the most dramatic of all of us because logic was used in the end to change his mind. Jim’s truthfulness to Juror No. 4 was as impressive to me as E.G. Marshall’s performance in the 1957 movie.
Jim’s presence remains with me. He is one of those rare human beings who understands the value of community and how each one of us fits into the world from everyday life to the major events in our society. Jim appreciates that our interactions, relationships, and struggles essentially capture the beauty and significance of our lives as growing individuals and as a collective community.

When MTVarts produced Of Mice and Men this past spring, Jim had a significant role behind the scenes in making that production as success.  Planning with him almost a year in advance enabled us to share this story with over 680 students and 400 members in the community. Jim not only oversaw the business plan of putting on this show, but was instrumental in marketing it to students (some of whom this show will be the only theatre they will ever experience). In addition to introducing the special matinee to the local high schools, Jim expertly facilitated the Q&A following the performance with the students and their teachers. I am so happy that these students (one of whom is my granddaughter), shared in such a rich cultural experience – much of which can be attributed to Jim Miller.

We all have our time on earth, this fleeting moment in our existence as we know it. It isn’t fair. As much as I am unwilling to accept it at right now, someone else decided that his work on earth was finished. While it is no consolation, I keep Jim in my thoughts frequently (even before his death). He occupies a special place in my heart that few people can. Whenever I am faced with significant decisions in my life, I imagine myself locked in a room surrounded by people from my past and present. None of them say a word to me or offer advice – they are there with me watching and listening. Sometimes I look to them for answers, but they will never answer me – only comfort me in my decisions. Since working with Jim, I will forever see the logically-thinking, well-manicured Juror No. 4 smiling at me with contentment and pride, and I am comforted in the fact that he will remain with me until my time on this earth is complete.


Courage of the Classics

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 15:51 Janis Stone
MTVarts Classics Series Chair
The Classics Series was designed as a truly community service based faction of MTVarts. With Bruce Jacklin & Companies' comedies and cabarets at the Alcove Dinner Theater, audiences don’t have to think (or want to think) and are able to escape life for a few hours and enjoy an evening out. The Broadway musical that MTVarts brings each summer draws sold-out crowds and is developed for entertainment for the whole family. We started the Classics Series six years ago in order to offer American literary classics to our community members who wanted something “heavier” than the other programs. Also, this was developed to augment the classroom setting for high school and college students who were reading these stories in school. Having a program devoted to more serious dramatic story-telling is a unique feature that our community has. Who knows why the classics are less popular in this community than the other theatrical productions? However, this year, MTVarts presentation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men will be performed for nearly 600 high school students from the area who have read the story being performed on stage.
 Taking on difficult pieces of literature requires a great deal of courage. On top of that, those who invest in these productions are also courageous because of the sensitive nature of the material. MTVarts would not have been able to perform this year’s production without the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Mortellaro of Mortellaro’s McDonald’s or the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County. Performing artists get to do what we do because of visionaries like these two organizations who understand the tremendous responsibility that creating art plays in our lives and that having diverse and challenging material adds significant value to the quality of life in our community. 
As the Classics Series Chair, I see each of our productions getting better every year. Again, I am proud of this production team and the MTVarts family. Also, I am humbled by the generosity of our sponsors. I urge you, our audience members, to please thank Mortellaro McDonald’s and the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County, for their community-mindedness and courage to bring you this story.

April News

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 17:34 Janis Stone
"April is officially National Humor Month, a month to celebrate the joy and laugher in life. Conveniently, it's also Stress Awareness Month, which makes it an ideal time to laugh away the stress in your life! Kicking things off with April Fools Day and ending with National Honesty Day, April is a fun, nurture-your-psyche month, all month long!"
Here is what is happening in April with our MTVarts world . . .
Diane and Corey hosted the audition help session at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.   Scott, Jen and Leah are handling the online audition registrations for THE MUSIC MAN, all the contracts are signed and rent paid for the Memorial.  Join the parade April 20 . . . and AUDITION!
Aaron and Steve deconstructed the barn donated by Dana's mother - thanks Linda, never thought I would be writting an in-kind receipt for a barn - and it is now at the warehouse ready to be transformed. Check out the director and actor blogs on The Classic Series OF MICE AND MEN. My calendar is marked and I am eager to see the finished show, join me and invite your friends.
JJ and his production team are hard at work with the ground work of production planning. The kids are selling bracelets, planning an art show and brainstorming for other ways to raise awareness and fund raise. Bruce is wrangling all that creative energy to help the kids pull together a cohesive vision for the show. 
We received great news that the folks at Theatrical Rights Worldwide as well as the composers/lyricists/ playwrights Mark Freidman and Janet Vogt will be flying in for HOW I BECAME A PIRATE in September. The author Melinda Long is also trying to clear her calendar to join us. Seeing the support mount is a little overwhelming. Dreams become reality when someone believes!  JJ, it is really happening! Come in September and witness first hand what believing can accomplish.
Partners are busy as well. Matt received the letter awarding NEITZSCHE ATE HERE entry into the Montreal World Film Festival. Ian is directing LEADING LADIES at the Alcove and Leah is directing ANYTHING GOES at the Naz.
So let's be honest, if you need to relieve stress, laugh or celebrate joy, you should look to MTVarts.



Fund raising

Thursday, 21 February 2013 00:09 Janis Stone

Carrie Crouch of BlackCatCreative designed an informative and concise fund raising piece with a simple message  ... BELIEVE and help our dreams LIVE in 2013!

The piece will be distributed to 2500 folks in Mount Vernon using the USPS Every Door Direct Mailing.  They are all bundled, labeled, and delivered to the post office so if you live on the east or south side of town, watch your mail.  If you aren't in the target area and would like to see the piece, check it out here.

MTVarts wants to be audience-driven so any donor can choose where they want their money to go.  Our financial goals include getting cash donations to cover the general operating budget; $6,000 for The Classic Series; $44,000 for our summer musical The Music Man; and $20,000+ for The JJProject in September.  

Questions and comments are always welcome 'cause we really believe we can do so much more together! Sure hope you choose to beLIeVE . . .Janis.


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28 August 2013
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