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Broadway talents shine at Texas Musical Theatre Workshop

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
June 12, 2012

Texas State University-San Marcos, in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin, is offering the inaugural Texas Musical Theatre Workshop, a pre-collegiate summer intensive for high school students exploring a potential career in musical theater June 10-30.

This unique program brings New York’s Broadway talent to Texas, providing students the best in musical theater training by industry professionals. The workshop is held on the University of Texas campus.

The workshop was founded by Texas State faculty members Kaitlin Hopkins and Jim Price and University of Texas faculty member Lyn Koenning. As a collective, these artistic directors bring more than 75 years of industry experience to the workshop. Head of the Texas State playwriting program, Price is a veteran Broadway performer (The Civil War, Ring of Fire). Hopkins, a Broadway performer (Noises Off, Grinch) and director (Austin Critics Table Award winner for best director), heads the nationally renowned musical theater program at Texas State. Koenning is an award-winning music director, vocal arranger and voice and acting coach whose students have appeared on Broadway, regional theater, television and film.

The roster of teaching artists includes Mark Hollman, Tony Award-winning composer (Urinetown); Matt Lenz, Broadway director (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can); musical director Greg Bolin; and Broadway performers Joyce Chittick (Anything Goes, Jersey Boys), Rocker Verastique (Chicago, Miss Saigon), Danny Herman (Leader of the Pack), Natasha Davison (Beauty and the Beast) and Darren Gibson (On the Town, Fosse).

The workshop is also an incubator for the development of new musicals by professional artists. The creative team of Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical has been invited to include their new musical as part of the workshop this year. With music and lyrics by newcomer Michael Dexter and book by Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award-nominated Eric H. Weinberger, Giant Steps is a contemporary twist on the classic fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” that will delight young and old, alike. Texas State students Jackson Perrin and Dakota Smith are slated as featured performers.

Directed by Broadway star Billy Porter, the Giant Steps cast is composed of university students, alumni and community artists. A staged reading of the musical will be presented at the B. Iden Payne Theatre in Austin on June 29. The reading is free and open to the public.

For more information on the Texas Musical Theatre Workshop, visit texasmusicaltheatreworkshop.com. For more information on Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical, visit giantstepsthemusical.com.