Dancing flatware, menacing wolves, and singing furniture come to McKinney this weekend. No I’m not talking about Harry Potter or Third Monday Trade Days. Rather, “Beauty and the Beast” will enchant audiences July 22-24 at the McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC). Tickets are $6.50.
The cast and crew, ages 8-18, are part of McKinney Repertory Theatre’s Broadway Bound, a two week summer camp that teaches vocal, dancing and acting technique to students who have a passion for the stage. The intense, day-long camp culminates with performances open to the public in MPAC’s courtroom theater.
Having a passion for the arts myself, I was thrilled to find out that something like this was available to students. This wasn’t always the case. Cindy Johnston, Head Choir Director at McKinney High School and “Beauty and the Beast” Music Director founded Broadway Bound in 2005 with several fifth graders when she was a music teacher at Valley Creek Elementary.
“I remember looking around our community and nothing was available to students interested in musical theater in the summer,” said Johnston. “I simply had the desire to see a quality musical theater program for students and I did it.”
Johnston did everything herself back then but with all the details and logistics required to produce a quality show combined with the growing popularity of the program, she partnered with the McKinney Repertory Theatre and enlisted other trained teachers from the area to divide up the workload.
“The kids learn a lot about theater during the camp, working together as a part of an ensemble to create a piece of art that develops them both as artists and young people,” said Lisa Martin, Director of “Beauty and the Beast.” “I enjoy watching the progression over the two weeks.”
Kirk Anderson, a former McKinney middle school choir director, is in his fourth year as Broadway Bound’s choreographer. He said, “I love seeing new kids come to the camp just wanting to be in a great show, but then discovering something about themselves they didn’t know along the way.”
Broadway Bound is not a first-come, first serve kind of summer camp. Anyone can register but each student must audition and be cast to participate. From what I’ve seen at rehearsals this week, I’m excited to see the final product.
And if you’re so inclined, MRT will feature its adult production of the musical, “Into the Woods,” July 29-30 and Aug. 5-7 at McKinney Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $21.50 for adults with discounts for seniors, students & children.
McKinney Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the City of McKinney Arts Commission.
Beauty and the Beast, Jr.
Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and Book by Linda Woolverton performs
July 22 & 23 at 7:30 pm and July 23 & 24 at 2:30 pm at the McKinney Performing Arts Center.