By McKinney Summer Musicals
On Friday, February 8, a large crowd of McKinney Summer Musicals (MSM) supporters and enthusiasts gathered in the magnificent McKinney home of JR and Keresa Richardson to raise funds for this summer’s production. In the past, MSM had revealed its show choice well in advance of this event, but the MSM Board decided to change things up a bit this year.
Billed as MSM’s Showdown, the evening was full of suspense from start to finish. The big question of the evening was which of the eight shows under consideration—Annie; Oklahoma!; Anything Goes; Chicago; Fiddler on the Roof; Beauty and the Beast; Footloose; and West Side Story— would make the final four, and more importantly, which one would be selected as THE show for 2013?
Guests were transported in style from nearby Glen Oaks Elementary to the Richardson home via the McKinney Trolley and entertained along the route by MSM veteran Patrick Briggs, dressed in a vintage conductor’s uniform. Upon arrival at the house, the visitors were greeted in the rotunda by a unique receiving line made up of colorful characters from the eight shows represented in the showdown and then ushered downstairs to a sumptuous buffet and open bar.
The costumed characters and designated promoters encouraged their fans to make donations in exchange for an on-the-spot serenade of tunes from their favorite Broadway shows. Trey West, who played Joe Hardy in the 2010 MSM production of Damn Yankees even joined his biggest fan—his own mother—in a remarkable rendition of “Phantom of the Opera.”
After dinner, the guests journeyed back upstairs for more entertainment, led by emcees Mark and Geralyn Kever. MSM favorites Mollie-Claire Matthews, Jared Duncan, Trey West, and Tracy Lastrapes sang show-stopping tunes from the top four musicals: Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Footloose, and Anything Goes, respectively. Between songs, the Kevers interviewed MSM President Rick Robertson about the costs of producing the high-caliber productions for which MSM is famous, to encourage pledges of financial support from the enthusiastic audience.
Two big prizes were also auctioned off near the end of the evening. The grand prize, won by the Richardsons, was a private concert by former Broadway star David Gashen, to be performed in their home at a future date. The second prize, won by the Kevers, consisted of dinner at Rick’s Chophouse prior to the 2013 MSM show, reserved seats, and a backstage intermission tour to meet the cast and crew.
The big “reveal” occurred when MSM’s own Steve Haid appeared with his violin on one of the balconies high above the audience and played the unmistakable opening bars of the overture to Fiddler on the Roof to the delight of the audience. Director/Choreographer Kevyn Robertson explained the show choice by saying,
“Fiddler was especially attractive for MSM because it offers so many female roles, as well as a rich script, rich music, and spectacular choreography.” She added, “Mark your calendars now because you do not want to miss this show!”
Robertson will be joined by MSM’s Music Director/Orchestra Conductor Steve Garms and Assistant Director/Vocal Coach Noelle Chesney for the next step on the journey toward this summer’s production: assembling another diverse and talented cast. Open auditions for Fiddler on the Roof will be held March 22-24 at Trinity Presbyterian Church and Taylor Dance Center (dance auditions only) in McKinney. For more information and to download an audition brochure, visit www.mckinneysummermusicals.com.
Performance dates are Saturday, July 13-Sunday, July 14 and Thursday, July 18-Sunday, July 21 at McKinney NORTH High School.
Pictured (top right): Characters from some of the eight “showdown” shows gather in the rotunda. (L to R): Stewart Kouba (Oklahoma!), Ken Heston and Mollie-Claire Matthews (Annie), Jared Duncan (Fiddler on the Roof), Vicki Cravens (Chicago), and Steve Garms (Beauty & the Beast)
Pictured (top left): Patrick Briggs prepares to greet guests as they board the McKinney Trolley