To me, being able to have my family with me in MTVArts has been a blessing. It all started with Mom and I doing a show together and eventually Mom dragged Dad in, and now, here we are. Theater has given the three of us something in common in our public lives. We have been able to talk about shows and what we like about them, our opinions on certain songs, and on how we like to play our characters. Also, personally for me it has been nice being in this show with both of my parents because this is my last show with MTVArts before I move away for college and I don’t know when I will be able to return to the stage with them.
Because of how my mom and dad have chosen to parent, not only do I get to hang out with my family, but they also have no problems letting me hang out with the other teenagers and young adults of the cast. I am so thankful to my parents, but as a teenager, I would go crazy if they wouldn’t let me hang out with all my friends. However just like the Addams family, at the end of the day it still is family first and family last, and my family is amazing. Now we just need to convince my older brother to get on stage!
I can’t begin to express how thrilled I am to be in the MTVArts production of the Addams Family the Musical with my husband and youngest son. Truly, in our case, “It’s family first and family last and family by and by.” Our theater story didn’t start here, though. Jay and I met in our college production of The Pirates of Penzance. I was new to the college, coming in mid-year, and was invited to a closed audition – meaning only the acting and music directors would be there. I was on stage, ready to sing, when in walked a handsome college guy. Well, I thought, I might as well make him feel uncomfortable and sing to him since he crashed my audition. Little did I know, he was the student director and my future husband. We did several college shows together, but after college, fell out of the drama scene. Twenty plus years later, our son decided to try his hand at the dramatic arts. In the summer of 2017, MTVArts did Bye Bye Birdie. Mark, an incoming senior, had the opportunity to do a show that both my mother and I had done as seniors in high school, as well. It seemed a perfect summer experience for mother and son. After this, I was asked to be the mom in How I Became a Pirate, and did I happen to know a man who could play the dad? This show ushered Jay into MTVArts.
One day you are a young college couple in love, the next you are couple who has raised two young men and you are looking at the soon-to-be empty nest. The feeling of the parental mission accomplished is deep and satisfying but what’s next for the family? I have been focused on work so long that I even turned my hobbies into work. My side job as a self-defense instructor allows me to spend a lot of time at the gym and at the shooting range and call it work. These are good things that I really enjoy, but realized I was spending all of my time working or at the gym or basically not with Kerri. I watched her going off to rehearsal and was really happy for her to have new friends and fun but I was missing it.
When she asked me to be in the How I Became a Pirate play I could say I jumped at the chance but I didn’t. Good theatre is hard work and a lot of it, even for those of us who are providing the background as the chorus. I very much respected the work MTVArts was doing and if I was going to be a part of it I wanted to do the best I was able to do.
Well, I did take the chance and it has been hard work, and a lot of it (especially for someone who stumbles through dance practices as badly as I do!) but it’s been good. Very good. Good people, good experiences, good time spent with Kerri and now Mark in the Addams Family. Family is first after all.
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: