MMTS's Original Musicals
Each year we endeavor to write and produce a completely original production that allows the students to have the unique opportunity to bring a fresh story to their community complete with elaborate set design, costuming, branding and music. Each musical takes on a life of its own.
Over Easy (2018)
A Note From The Director:
Back in college I suffered a brief stint waiting tables. Though it was the customers at The Olive Garden that really suffered. After introducing myself (with no shortage of pizzazz!) everything else was a struggle. I dropped trays of food, bungled the placement of dishes and found it impossible to remember who was drinking what. It was a means to an end and I didn’t really care about the people I was serving. In a fast food culture, where only the bottom line is embraced tables turn quickly as people are prodded through the dining experience like cattle at a feedlot. When the customer becomes a commodity, we have entered into something de-humanizing.
But not at this diner! Over Easy: The Musical is a meditation on the bouquet of colorful lives that fill one ordinary diner. The various vignettes, each a look into the lives of the diner’s customers, are presented by these five different classes.
Hospitality is a gift to others, making a space for them to be themselves and to receive the “art of service” and it requires esteeming the one you serve as more valuable than yourself. My assistant, Holly Tarkon, has been a true servant throughout our year together helping me in more ways than I can name and sharing with these students and their parents her whole, precious heart. What a gift she has been to us all! Holly, thank you! Hazel and Lois mirror us in so many ways and as we bid you farewell we pray God’s very best for you!
Over Easy’s score is a collection of standards from a bygone era (my favorite!). What a delight it has been to introduce these timeless songs to my students. They’ve embraced them in fresh ways that have made them new and even more beautiful to me.
My hope for these students is that they come to understand a little more about themselves with each passing class. Together, week after week, I seek to encourage these students to connect with their humanity – the good, the bad and the ugly. To the degree that they do they’ll become better performers and better servants to a world dying for hospitality…even if they do drop a few plates along the way!
IN MY ROOM (2017)
A Note From the Director:
Last summer I drove by my childhood home. To my amazement the curtains from my old room were still hanging, albeit a little sun-bleached and tattered. It caused me to consider the way inanimate objects often take on lives of their own following us as they do through the peaks and valleys of our lives. The expression of my imagination within those walls allowed me to process my darkest fears, deepest insecurities and highest hopes. Those curtains watched me grow up and I wonder now what they might have beheld in the lives of those that followed my wild and imaginative youth within those walls on South Azalea.
In My Room: The Musical is a meditation on one possibility. The various vignettes, each a product of Penny’s vivid imagination, are presented by my fiver different classes. Admittedly my life was different from Penny’s, but in many ways it was the same: day dreaming, procrastinating and praying that I would become someone who I secretly feared I was not.
My hope for all of these students is that they come to understand a little more about themselves with each passing class. Winston Churchill once wrote, “When you’re going through Hell, keep walking”. Together with my students, week after week, I endeavor to explore life, not as we would like it to be, but as it really is. It’s profoundly hard work, but I’m convinced the payoff is well worth the effort!
Thank you parents for the privilege of teaching your children and thank you students for your vulnerability, enthusiasm and your sacred imaginations.
THE MOMENT (2016)
A Note From The Director:
“Who have I become?” is a question that puzzles any intellectually honest person at some point their life. Am I simply the sum of my every experience? Am I ready for the roller coaster of life’s inevitable ups and downs? Am I shackled to my worst pain or completely bound to future hopes in a way that makes present peace impossible? Or can I transcend each moment and find calm amidst life’s passing storms?
Matt and I wrestled with these questions as I discussed writing another musical. Delightful songs and raucous dialogue makes digesting weighty themes possible. This is a kid’s musical but it’s packed with humanity’s biggest questions about identity, purpose and hope. The scenes in the musical are divided between my four classes each representing another memory for Jane as she contemplates her life.
My hope for all of my students is that they come to understand a little more about themselves with each passing class. Week after week, together, we have shared so many moments that have profoundly affected all of our hearts and minds. Thank you parents for allowing that to happen and thank you to all the girls for your vulnerability, enthusiasm and beautiful creativity.
A Note From the Director:
Last August Matt and I took a road trip. No kids, no plans, just the road before us and the road behind. After last year’s Little Miss Sweet Potato and with the phenomenon of Frozen ceaselessly ringing in our ears, it occurred to us that we too could write a musical together. As we laughed and dreamed through a possible story, the book and songs for LipShtick: The Musical came to life.
With all these precious girls taking class with me, we wanted to explore issues of identity and teenage angst. LipShtick examines the insecure child in all of us and the roots of true inspiration.
When Matt and I look back on our 20’s, we’re both so grateful we didn’t get all that we expected life would bring us. The disappointments and heartaches shaped us and continue to shape us. Anyone who knows us these days knows that our heart beats to the song of re-creation.
A look at the love, passion, character and grit exhibited by the women of one family throughout the decades allowed us to explore different genres of music and aesthetics as the script developed.
There is so much of “us” in this musical. Creating it together with Matt has been a wonderful experience and my students have done a bang-up job bringing the script and all the songs to fruition – I’m so proud of all of them!
Growing up in Tyler I was influenced in indelible ways by Pam Erwin and Thereza Bryce-Coates at The Dance Factory. They were unimaginably serious about their art and they conveyed that passion to their students unapologetically. They set a high bar and we rose to the occasion. I’m blessed with opportunity to impart my passion for musical theater to my students and the fruit of our work together will be clearly on display in LipShtick: The Musical.
Pucker Up and enjoy the ride!