News and Reviews

New acting program at Marin Summer Theater keeps students onstage

New acting program at Marin Summer Theater keeps students onstage

From the Marin Independant Journal - July 8, 2009

By Paul Liberatore

Posted: 07/08/2009 05:50:01 PM PDT

Marin Summer Theater, a new program for student actors, musicians, dancers and technicians, makes its debut July 10 in Novato with the first of three ambitious productions, the 300-year-old period comedy "The Beaux' Stratagem."

"It's like '2 1/2 Men' meets 'The Three Musketeers,'" said director Patrick Nims, a parent volunteer with two children in the program. "There are big wigs and hoop skirts. It's very fast, very witty and there's lots of kissing and sword play."

The other shows are "Bernstein on Broadway," opening July 17, and "Sweeney Todd," opening July 31.

With rehearsals and performances on weekdays evenings, Marin Summer Theatre was designed for young people between the ages of 13 and 22 who have to work or take classes during the day.

"There are many theater day camps for kids up to 18, but there wasn't a program I'm aware of that was structured in a way that if high school or college kids have to work for a living, they can still do something in summeater," Nims explained. "We're filling an in-between area for kids who have to work."

Auditions took place in the spring. Tuition is $275. "We've got some really talented kids from 17 different schools and universities involved in this," Nims said. "I've got 33 cast members on stage and another 15 or 20 in tech or in the orchestra."

Co-founder Emily Gates, music director of "Sweeney Todd," saw the new summer program as filling a vacuum for summer youth theater in Novato. "There's nothing in Novato, so all of our kids had to go to San Anselmo or Santa Rosa to do something," said Gates, a recognized choral leader who has taught at San Marin High School for 30 years and has helped launched some of her students' careers.   "Also we were able to do it inexpensively because we're all doing it mostly on a volunteer basis."

The new program came at the right time for 20-year-old Jocelyn Roddie, a San Marin High grad now studying musical theater at UC Irvine. Home for the summer, she's able to job hunt during the day and play the female lead in "Sweeney Todd" at night.

"I'm a drama major in college and wanted to continue to do theater this summer," she said. "I worked with the director in high school and really enjoyed it. Also they were doing 'Sweeney Todd' and I couldn't pass that up. And it's cool be part of something in its first year."

Marin Summer Theatre is sponsored by San Marin Music Boosters with support from San Marin High School and the Novato Unified School District.

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About Marin Summer Theater

Marin Summer Theater (MST) is an award winning non-profit theater company for students of performing arts between the ages of 13 and 23. The MST company prepares and presents three fully-staged productions in a six-week summer season. MST's mission is threefold: To present exciting, professional quality drama, musical theater and musical revue productions; to keep tuition as low as possible so that cost is not a barrier to participation; to create a diverse company of college and high school students.

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